Rate the match: England vs Ireland, Six Nations 2016

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Rate the match between England and Ireland at Twickenham in the Six Nations, and leave your thoughts on the game in the comments section below.

Rate the match: England vs Ireland

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Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

111 thoughts on “Rate the match: England vs Ireland, Six Nations 2016

  1. Too many errors but at least England showed some ambition. Surely Clifford must be close to a start. Brown, despite his try continues to frustrate me, never passes, gave away some stupid penalities. Overll happy that England are heading in the right direction. Cut out the errors and we will put Wales to the sword.

    1. Ireland flattered England with that passive drift defence, they could make 10 yards every attack without being touched. Failed to put numerous chances away, and error strewn.

      I don’t see England having it that easy against Wales. To be honest I don’t think it’s going to be great. Two defense orientated teams, both with issues in attack to sort out.

        1. The point is that it was a very poor England performance and they should have won with a 20 point score difference

          1. As opposed to the dire performance from both teams on Friday night? A couple of chances missed by England, but mainly due to individual errors (Ford!). If we’d finished them it could have been a 25 point difference. Wales were no more convincing against a poor French team in transition.

            1. Have to agree that both the Wales and England performances where DIRE but Wales always looked likely to score, England didn’t; MO

              1. Eh? England score 2 tries and have one disallowed and you state above that they should have scored more than they did and then you go on to say England didn’t look likely to score?

                Wales score one try off a bit of luck and some incredibly poor play from the French fly-half and yet they looked more likely to score?

                1. Not to mention England could’ve easily crossed the line three times in the opening 20 minutes if they had’ve held their nerve or if Hartley would’ve off loaded before crossing the line.

                  Wales did nothing of note really apart from try to entice a coma.

    2. Benjit

      Bold words indeed. England may ‘put Wales to the sword’, but didn’t you opine similarly before their WC group match?

      Home advantage, IMO, ought to steer England home, but I don’t see the Welsh ‘D’ being quite so generous as that of Ireland.

      Also, if either team’s coach had watched the opening S18 games last Sat (with a 6 bloody am start), he’ll have noted that the breakdown was cleared out by 4/5 yds & @ lightening speed. if either team can dominate likewise, then they’ll likely prevail.

      Previously, according to Brighty though, it ‘depends what happens on the day’, so we’ll have to see.

    1. I suspect that the many and thorough TMO replays ate into the time they’d allocated for post-match analysis…

  2. A lot like the England Italy match. Tedious rugby league first sixty, livened up when England had knackered Ireland out. Entertaining last twenty but the non rugby was a lot to do with that – cheap shots, yellow cards, comical scrums. Came away feeling genuinely entertained. Mike Brown will prob miss the Wales match – careless is an offence. Haskell braindead. Ireland underpowered, not helped by Heaslip the show pony being on the wing again, he is Ireland’s Croft. I gave the game an 8.

    Think the England Wales game could be shite. Two huge packs intent of beating the crap out of each other. Wales won’t wilt like Ireland did so we might not get the open last 20.

    1. Seems a little unfair about being tedious. I though England had a reasonably ambitious first half but were let down by their execution (time and again). They upped their game as Ireland tired and the second try was well executed.

      I have to say that I thought England looked a bit sloppy in defence, both missing and not holding players in the tackle (think the stats said 18 missed tackles). Agree with you on Brown and Haskell and thought Goode was unlucky not to come on in his stead, Thought Itoje was immense and I do wonder what EJ will do when Launch is fit. Given the Hask’s performance, I’d like to see Launch at lock and Itoje at 6 and Clifford at 7. Billy V is increasingly looking world class – will be interesting to see him take on Faletau.

    2. England showed more ambition in that 1st half than bosh merchant Wales have shown in the entire championship. England were very frustrating in their execution and discipline but were far from boring. Dont project your own teams deficiencies on the rest of us.

      1. Ha ha. Rubbish. Give it to the big fella and smash it up the field, the only difference was the number on the back. Twice in the first half England gave up excellent try scoring chances by giving it to the heads down and backsides up forwards to try and score it up the middle. Your comment on projection is hilarious- that’s not how projection works. 6-3 says it all. Tedious forward dominated smashing it up the middle – exactly what all the NH teams are being pilloried for on a weekly basis. It works and it worked today. If that’s your ambition then good luck to you.

        1. Wales drew versus Ireland and were hardly convincing versus a deflated, knackered French team.
          New coach and new regime, it’s early days but the talent is emerging. England Wales could go either way, I know you could say that about any game but arguably the two best teams so far.

          1. Ah the old A drew with B but C beat B so C must therefore be better than A argument.

            Also, please explain why France, a team on for the grand slam were deflated? And also why, after a two week break they were knackered? A statement that cannot be based on fact (unless you’re part of the French camp) to belittle the Welsh win.

            At no point did Wales ever look like losing. That’s convincing enough.

            1. I think you’ll find he’s using Wales’ games to demonstrate that both teams have their problems and the game is far from having an outright favourite, as evidence by the statement “England Wales could go either way”.

              I don’t think you can say the whole France team was knackered or deflated, but they most certainly didn’t have a two week break, some of them were playing for their club sides last weekend, including one (not sure who) who played 60 minutes on the Sunday, so that’s four days between matches which isn’t ideal. Still cannot use that as an excuse as they’re professional athletes.

          2. What does that have to do with what I said James? This reveals the real issue here doesn’t it – I’m not allowed to say England were not magic because I’m welsh and my team were not magic and by some opinions were less magic. The article is “rate the match”, not “compare this team with your favourite”. I gave this match 8, the Welsh one 6, so this was nothing to do with rivalries until people started talking daft rubbish about comparative ambitions etc.

            Completely agree the talent is emerging in England. It wasn’t there yet on Sat. Eng are favourites for the Wales match – they are playing better than they have for some time, they are at home, they are going for the slam, they want revenge and have the edge in quality right now. I’m not frightened of the game – I think we have a chance as the way Eng played against Ire is exactly the style we’ve been trained to counter, unfortunately.

          3. Hope springs eternal. England had/have their 2 ‘toughest’ games @ home, so have that advantage, but none of the 6N teams are that convincing.

            Their issue is that that CAN’T score (enough) TRIES. Check out S18. I doubt that any h union would get nr the top 2/3 Oz/NZ sides in a match. Too much tempo, accuracy, many clearouts & thought of speed & deed.

            Need to get better, quicker ball & speed up their games whilst improving accuracy, decision making & running lines.

            Apart form that, it’s all good & the battering ram brand is a live & well… as far as I’ve seen so far.

      2. Not sure what you were watching but I saw Wales with numerous overlaps and failed to execute any of them. Much like England failed to execute any of theirs (in the first half). Ambition is there from both. Execution had been shocking.

  3. Another weekend of Teams under achieving. Poor decision making, terrible ball handling skills, weekend of errors. England must improve their discipline as better teams will punish them severely. Hope we get at least one decent game this 6 nations or will be the worst on record.

  4. Entertaining but England underwhelmed really, just feels like they should have done more with the go forward they had. BV immense and actually thought Haskell played wellit was Robshaw that didn’t seem to have an impact, would like to see Itoje start at 6 and Launch come in next week.

    Brown may be due to bow out for, dare I say it, Goode next week as I think England would benefit more from a playmaking 15 who can pass.

    Thought Ireland can take a few positives from a tough game, McCloskey looked the part and Dillane looks a specimen. Their defense seemed oddly passive but with so much energy used in the first half it was always going to be tough.

    1. Ireland don’t have a defence coach at the minute. Hopefully AF can change our defence structure as a whole as for a long long time we have been defending far to narrow, Argentina exploited it and England now have.

  5. Feeling underwhelmed by England’s performance, dominated first half but couldn’t put points on board.

    Made so many mistakes and conceded so many penalties, ruined the tempo of the game.
    I can’t work out what robshaw brings, needs to go now for Clifford. I think Browns days are numbered, maybe time to start Watson at Fb now.

    Still billy v was immense, thought Farrell was quality and our general game plan seemed spot on.

    Overall an entertaining game.

    1. Agree on Brown. Despite all his quality, he’s been getting in my nerves for months now with moaning at the officials, petty footballery handbags at every opportunity and some blatant thuggery. The way he was swinging his foot about in that ruck yesterday someone was bound to get a stud in the face. I realise the officials decided it was OK, but I disagree. Unnecessarily dangerous and stupid.

      More importantly of course, defences now know that when he’s making one of his trademark runs, they can completely focus on him, no need to worry about the possibility of the ball being passed to any supporting England player.

      I would like to see Watson move to 15 and Rokodaguni is my favourite to replace him on the wing.

      1. With regards to Brown some wag has dug out his tweets from when Matthew Rees stamped on Nick Easter’s face. The best one is his angry “accidental? He nearly had an eye out!” indignation while calling for a big ban. Ironic.

        1. Ha fair enough hes been caught out there.
          My view on it was that it was that the first stab where hes actually catches Murray was a complete accident where he was trying to dislodge the ball got a nudge from an Irish player and tried to steady himself only to find a face where he was trying to plant his foot.
          However once he knew what had just happened to go in for a second and third stab at the ball was crazy and reckless.

        2. The difference of course being that Easter was nowhere near the ball at the time and Rees’ actions were clearly illegal no matter which bit of Easter he’d hit. Nor was it accidental – he was looking directly at Easter when he stamped downwards

          Brown was clearly going for the ball – entirely legally – and if Murray had released it after being tackled, rather than pulling it back into his body, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          That said, it seems clear that the second and third attempts were reckless if legal and some kind of ban would be in order.

          This incident has far more in common with POC’s boot to Kearney’s head a couple of years back. If I remember rightly, POC received no ban for it (but probably should have done)

          1. Oh yeah, I know the incidents are different, it’s the “it doesn’t matter if it was an accident, he could have had his eye out” nature of Brown’s indignation that is now ironic and I found it funny that someone had the idea to dig it out on Twitter from some time back.

            Brown wasn’t entitled to kick out repeatedly like that – it was reckless and was penalised. Holding onto the ball can’t be dealt with by retribution the same as lying on the wrong side is no defence for raking someone with your boots anymore.

            Officials at the time didn’t think bad enough for yellow, etc. We’ll see if he’s cited – I’m not overly bothered. I think he should be for the repeated kicks once he’s already hit the player in the head because that’s reckless and could be dangerous. Wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t cited though, it’s not a clear cut thing. Selfishly I’d rather he was fit as I don’t think he’s playing all that well right now and he’s liable to be a bit of a powder keg against Wales at Twickenham – when he was at his best he was 40% angry man, 60% skill, now he’s more like 70/30 the other way and he’s given interviews where it is clear that he is desperate to get revenge for the WC match. That desperation may play in our favour, or it may not. It’ll be interesting to see.

  6. A typical 6N game.A laboured English win at home against weakened opposition who put up a good fight.If we are to perform well in Oz in the summer there is a long way to go.Not sorry I gave up my debenture at Twickers

  7. Not pretty by any means, and the score flattered England, but happy for the win. Haskell has clearly been told to rush out of the line and hit the first receiver, which he did reasonably well, but not enough to make up for the idiocy of the yellow card. He has got to be replaced – I personally would keep Robshaw at 6 and put Clifford in at 7, with Itoje starting at lock but with the option to move to 6 to bring Launchers or Lawes on in the engine room.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Brown is cited for the kick (also idiotic) and frankly, that might not be a bad thing for England – Brown is solid under the high ball, which is useful, but increasingly one-dimensional in attack. Defenders surely must know now that he will never, ever pass – utterly predictable. I would love to see Watson moved to 15, or even give Daly a shout there – after all, he didn’t embarrass himself at 12 and full back would be more familiar. Please no Goode. One half-decent step out against Italy does not a Test-worthy full back make.

    1. Can someone explain their concerns about Goode at FB? Brown is always aggressive etc but never seems to have the vision that Goode does to mount a successful counter-attack with the wingers. Goode got targeted last year by Ireland under the high ball and did fairly well, only once being beaten by Henshaw. He’s going well for Saracens so why not give him a run out to see what he can do. If no Goode then surely bring in Watson (who looked on form today) at 15 and bring on Roko at 14.

      Separately, I thought Faz had a great game today (should have knocked over both the penalty and conversion though) but Ford is still struggling. What about that moment he dithered and got nabbed? JJ put in a solid performance today, especially in defence, so why not start Faz at 10, Daly at 12, and JJ at 13, ideally with Manu on the bench. Big call to start Daly vs Roberts but he’s a big bloke and must have faced him in the Premiership.

      1. I can explain my concerns on Alex Goode.

        20 caps 0 tries. For 20 caps world class is 10 tries+, international class is 5 tries+, comedy class is 0 tries.

        He’s also been directly accountable for several tries conceded (through being run over)

        Has performed well at club level. Undoubtedly a good rugby brain, but not an international rugby athlete at 15.

        I’d be terrified if he gets starting jersey vs Wales. At some point he’ll be one on one with North, and 99 times out of 100 that has 1 outcome.

      2. When he dithered it was because the ball he got was way too slow and Ireland has enough time to get set. That ball came out a few seconds earlier and probable try, you see the rush defenders running around to fill the gap and then great subsequent line pressure

        1. Yeah very harsh to blame Ford for that, assuming we’re thinking about the same incident. One phase earlier Ford was calling for the ball and had a (roughly) 4 on 2 outside him. It didn’t come. Instead the ball was trucked up with forwards. By the time the ball came out of that breakdown, the Irish defensive line was full up and well organised. AND Youngs then delivered a very slow pass that arrived above Ford’s head and behind him.

          1. Fair call on the dodgy pass and impressive defence from the Irish. I guess I was just a bit underwhelmed by Ford throughout whereas I though Farrell had some great touches and it seems that his distribution has massively improved this series. Back to Brown, I can’t see him being dropped against Wales as North will be a constant threat and perhaps he might surprise us all by passing at some stage. If Goode is not going to be the 15 of the future (as everyone on this board seems to think), then quite agree that there’s little point in him keeping a seat on the bench warm. Watson can cover 15 and we already have 2 10s on the field already so why not bring in another player who can produce some impact. Assuming he’s fit enough, surely Tuilagi has to take his spot on the bench against Wales.

    2. Re Goode, he has looked as good as any full back in the premiership for the past two seasons. He has played a lot of his international rugby off the bench, and has spent too much time warming one. He has worked extremely hard at his perceived weaknesses under the high ball and in the tackle, and brings an awareness of space that Brown completely lacks. He may not be the long term answer, and I agree with you that Watson possibly is, but it might be better to wait until we have May and Ashton back as alternative wingers. I certainly wouldn´t put Daly in front of him at full back. Goode has done everything that could be asked of him and deserves a shot at establishing himself.
      Disagree too about Haskell. He always plays close to the edge and occasionally times things wrong, but I reckon he would be a nightmare to play against, constantly in your face and hitting hard whenever the opportunity arises. I would have Itoje at 6 and Haskell at 7 with Clifford on the bench for Wales. We only had two turnovers against Ireland, and Launchbury was missed in that department.

    3. How did the score flatter England, they clearly should’ve been 15 points+ up after the first 20 mins, yes they hat a couple of hearts in mouths moments in the second half but I fail to see your point.

      Daly playing at 15 from 13 is different to playing 12 from 13 too, Watson seems more logical.

  8. Goode has had run outs in the past and just didn’t look up to it. Too heavy footed. Easy to look good in last 20 vs Italy. Just looks a good club player. Agree re Brown’s ever more glaring limitations though.

    To me: if we want a utility back, then Daly (or even Cipriani) > Goode.

    If we want a reserve 15, then Foden > Goode.

    1. That is exactly my feeling. Goode is rarely quick enough to beat the first defender at international level, nor does his stuttering step-run thing usually make much headway. Add to that a propensity to give away turn-overs on the counter-attack (something Brown is increasingly guilty of as well, I will admit)…time and again Goode has shown he is a supremely solid club player who just isn’t quite able to replicate that form in an England shirt. If he were five years younger, and hadn’t come into his own yet, or had the option of training to develop an extra yard or two of pace, I would be in favor of keeping him in the set-up, but if EJ is serious about re-building and looking towards 2019, then why persist in keeping someone like Goode on the bench when there’s a chance to blood youngsters and develop longer term options?

  9. Far from flawless, but progress. An 8/10 game with a point deducted for scrum resets, so a 7 for me. Hope we find a way to accomodate Hughes and Billy V. in the same XV, what a beast. Jones giving him VC has been an inspired decision.

  10. Clifford made a good contribution. He should start against Wales with Itoje at 6 with Launchbury’s return. Brown is definitely misfiring so maybe EJ should recall Foden or put Daly there.
    Don’t understand some of the comments about Haskell as I thought he had a good game the sending off apart! Would put him on the bench against Wales however.

    1. I thought Haskell was bloody brilliant. Tackled everything that moved, made some good carries and a couple of turnovers too if I’m not mistaken. I even think the yellow card was an incorrect call. Of course it looked late in super-slow-mo; in reality he was lately about 1/100th of a second. And it was only high because Murray was at a 60 degree angle. Penalty at most.

      1. I think it was more the swinging arm than the lateness – or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

        Thought Haskell was great in the first half but seemed a bit knackered towards the end. Where he’d been getting man and ball in the first half, he later seemed a fraction foi a second off so that the ball had gone by the time he got there (even though he wasn’t tackling late)

        1. It looked to me like mostly no arms and a little bit late. Can’t agree it was only yellow because of the slo mo – it was seeing it in real time initially that got the attention of the officials.

  11. Finally a game that had me on the edge of my seat, swearing at the tele and jumping for joy.
    Quality of rugby wasn’t great but the drama was definitely there!

    Ireland really are struggling this year hopefully they’ll have a good finish and come back a better side next year.

    Thought england played pretty well but would like to see Clifford in for robshaw, or move itoji to 6 and bring in launch. I think I’d also prefer to see care start as the attack was noticibly improved when he came on. Brown doesn’t look great, I’d like to see Watson at full back and maybe bring in roko on the wing. Really happy to see Maro play so well who would surely have won mom had the angry man mammoth not been so brilliant.

    Once again comes down to england v wales… Can’t wait!

  12. good game , nice to see the English fans full of confidence as they usually are at this time , ignoring the fact it was an even more depleted Ireland than played against Wales in DUBLIN, also ignoring that a weak Ireland team had near 60% of posession and that the game could have gone either way , i thought a spirited Ireland really took the game to England, Brown was lucky not to see the red imo and we could be talking about a different result now , sure they’re all if’s and maybe’s about a developing side and to be fair i thought they looked like they wanted to play some rugby football , as did Ireland who played well beyond my expectations . I hope they stick with Farrel and Ford v Wales , but reckon smart Eddie will be wise to it and change the centres , can’t see BV being as effective v Wales , Ireland were going too high too often on him hoping to hold him up imo , 42 missed tackles !,23 from England , Wales will be looking at that . unfortunatelly as some have already said i cant see it being a classic , they will neg each other out with defence , England will prob be better in attack than Wales unless Scott Williams makes a miracle recovery, we dont seem to have anyone that can make a break unless Liam Williams is brought into the game . the comment above says it all, “comes down to eng v wal” , we both have a game before eng v wal , i know who i would prefer to play but neither will be easy

    1. Osiboy, not sure England fans are full of confidence. I think relieved we won and well aware that we really have to improve to beat Wales would be my assessment and I think that caution is generally reflected above.
      A real curates egg of a performance. Some good defence and endeavour, some poor execution and mindless play. Same can be said for both Brown and Haskell. Both did some good things, but both yellow cards waiting to happen and someone should really show Brown what a pass is. He’s not beating the first player like he used to either, but sound under the high ball.
      Thought EJ left it too late to bring on the sub’s as we had players struggling to get to their feet they were so tired and that let Ireland get some go forward with their subs and did result in our missed tackle count going up.
      Glad no one on here has criticised the ref as I have seen elsewhere. I thought he got most of it right. A couple of calls that could have gone either way. No complaint from me on any of them.
      Once again a wins a win, and I can see some progress, but need to improve to beat Wales. Was that was I expecting at this stage? It probably was. Wales still favourites in my book.

      1. Ah. I just criticised the refs and TMO further up the page, then read your comment and felt a bit embarrassed as its not usually my style. But I do maintain the Haskell yellow was wrong and had they reviewed At real-time speed, I’m fairly confident they’d have reached a more accurate decision.

        1. TBF to you it was a decision that could have gone either way. I think you made a fair assessment and as you say slo mo never does anyone any favours. That’s not criticism like I’ve seen elsewhere ie “England were playing against 16 men”! Which by the way is untrue, unfair, biased claptrap which should rightly make supporters of other nations get hot under the collar.

          1. Yes i saw another thread elsewhere which was full of ridiculous claptrap about 16 men and why wasn’t the refs shirt green etc.
            Didn’t agree with a number of his decisions but could totally understand them.

            1. Ah, OK, fortunately I (still) haven’t seen any of that sort of nonsense. I don’t think Poite had a brilliant game, but I didn’t see any evidence of bias towards either team.

  13. Definitely the best game I’ve watched in the tournament so far. So much criticism on england, I feel it isn’t warranted. They’re in a transition stage, bringing through youth and you can’t expect a 10/10 performance straight away. All you can hope for is game by game they improve a little, which as far as I can see they have. Bring on Wales.

  14. I’m interested to hear people’s opinions on Hartley’s non-try. I felt calling it a double movement was a wrong call as Hartley for me didn’t actively make another move but rather was pushed over by the force of the English players rucking over. Not really sure what the correct decision is in this case and would like to see other peoples take on it.

    1. I didn’t think it was a try for the length of time it took for the ball to get there, but wouldn’t grumbled had it been given. Personally, I thought a 5M attacking scrum to England would’ve been the correct call.

      1. That’s what I thought the fair call probably was, but it’s an odd situation, not sure the laws cover the ball and the tackled player being rucked over the line!!!

        1. All works out on balance I think – I’m pretty sure Ireland scored but a camera angle showing the grounding couldn’t be found. It looked to me like Daly wrestled the ball after the fact. Next time the Irish player will know to hang onto it for dear life until the ref awards the score.

          I thought Poite had a good game – delighted a ref finally dished out an instant card for cynical try scoring opp denial but, like Friday night, they are still woefully rubbish at handing out penalty tries.

          1. Agree Brighty. I didn’t think Hartley made it and couldn’t be sure about the Irish one given all the camera angles. Though I accept it’s not 100% reliable, I seem to remember hearing a senior ref saying that usually the best indication was the players themselves who would had a good idea of whether or not they’d got the ball down – Henshaw’s face gave it away when he dropped it (awesome cover tackle by Nowell though). Poite did okay but England really have to sort out their discipline – 2 yellows and some stupid penaties. Glad to see Faz keep a lid on it this time around.

            1. The day refs start relying on the expression on the try scorers face to decide if its a try or not will be a very sad day indeed

          2. Can´t agree with you about Poite brighty, though I concede that as a neutral you may have been more objective than me. I thought he was slow to penalise the man holding the ball in the tackle and ignored players going off their feet and over the top completely. My main concern however is that all the refs this weekend seem to be ignoring basic laws of the game. The crooked feed at the scrum has been going on for so long that nobody apart from Brian Moore bothers to mention it any more, and the lineout seems to be going the same way. I reckon there were a dozen unpenalised not straights this weekend. However the one that really irritates me is that every team now sends two or three scouts up in front of the ball carrier to make them difficult to get to and it hardly ever gets blown.
            I also thought that he did the right thing sending someone to the bin for denying a try scoring opportunity, but having seen it several times it should have been Haskell not Care. He went off his feet illegally and pinned Care over the ball, so should probably have seen red in view of his earlier yellow.

            1. The second half of your first sentence is about right Andy :-)

              I did wonder whether Haskell was more at fault there but a red card is pretty full on. Seemed to me they both knew what they were doing so a yellow was a good call.

              A big problem in rugby in general is the lack of penalising the man trying to get the ball at the ruck when he is on his elbows or hands ball. You see a bit of it and then the next 10 go unpenalised. Infuriating and Ireland are absolute masters at it.

              Still think Poite was good – best ref in the world for me. Unfussy, mostly accurate and without the awful Bob Monkhouse jokebook that Nige brings to the game.

            2. Andy re scouts I couldn’t agree more-blatant cheating.As a player if beaten fair and square fine but felt angry and frustrated when losing due to unfair cheating.Much criticism of the refs for non application of basic laws totally justified

        2. Once a player is tackled he is out of the game and should release the ball. The only way he can be rucked over the line is if he’s hanging on. That being the case the correct call is penalty Ireland. For England to have scored a legitimate try Hartley should have released the ball and when the ruck was forced over there would have been some tryline showing for another player joining from behind the ruck to pick it up and dot it down.

          1. Twelvestocks. Best analysis on that point I have seen. Better than the TMO claiming his right knee shifted him. So correct call but for the wrong reason during the game.

          2. Yes good point and one I hadn’t considered
            At the time I felt a pen was harsh but had I been given this reasoning, I would have found myself nodding and applauding the ref/TMO

  15. agree about the ref staggy, unlike Barnes was it ? wales v france game when the ref could have let a few things go, scrum after scrum reset after reset , who the f*** wants to see that , and a chat to both front rows did nothing to help,imo he should have sent off 1 from each side as he obviously did’nt know who was at fault, why would wales take it down on the french line with the put in ? .Re confidence of the english fans , i guess the press don’t help englands cause but time after time they hype themseves up , only to fall at the final hurdle again , …who ever wins this years 6n will prove very little imo, there is no outstanding team and half the games could have gone either way, the only thing it will do is give the players more confidence for the future , i recon england could get a suprise in paris before the final hurdle, ….no upsets yet this year , there’s usually 1 or 2 , could even be wales v italy …….OMG NO !

    1. England vs. France is the final match of the whole tournament… Wales England is in two weeks. Just thought I’d clear that up :D

  16. A few people on here rightly criticising Brown, but I also thought Youngs had a poor game. A few times his head high passing knackered some good attacking opportunities.

    1. Not his best performance was it. Thought in addition to unsympathetic height a lot of his passes were slow and laboured, particularly that one discussed further up this page where Ford got gobbled up. No coincidence that England’s tries came after Care had come on and injected some pace into the attack.

      1. Totally agree Stroudos. He seems to have developed a little hitch and half step before he lets the ball go and his service is definitely slower. Care looked really sharp when he came on and I thought his yellow was a dreadful decision. He had absolutely no chance to get out of the way before Haskell landed on top of him. I think you were right about Haskell as well. Fractionally late on a man already falling. Penalty, no more.

        1. The thing that annoyed me about Care’s yellow, was that neither him or Haskell were stopping the ball from coming out. When Poite blew his whistle Reddan already had his hands on the ball.

    2. Did think Youngs box kicking was excellent. Care came on and instantly over egged his first kick by 10 yards allowing an Irish counter. Agree his passing wasn’t brilliant – better than Fords though……….!

      1. Yeah i don’t think Ford has much of a future as a scrum half. after the amount of balls he had to catch above his head in the first half you would have thought he would be more sympathetic

  17. I thought England did well considering they played with 14 men for 60mins and 13 for 20mins of the game….I say this as Ford was pretty much anonymous! The sooner we have Faz at 10 and a proper centre partnership the better!

  18. Pretty underwhelming 6N so far – expectations too high perhaps after the RWC? Nothing to worry the SH teams yet. Eng v Ire not a bad game although not appreciably better than a lot of the other games. Expected Eng to have been further ahead at half time but Ireland’s defence was stellar but they couldn’t keep that up for 80 and it was only a matter of time before Eng found the space. Can’t see Wales beating Eng after that. Wales are going to have to take some risks and start attacking a lot more if they are to win. Howley’s contract is up after the summer; I’d like to se a new attack coach. The Ita v Sco game more enjoyable. Scotland playing some really nice attacking rugby. The Hogg offload for the try was a highlight – best try of the 6N so far.

  19. Pick one 10 please, it’s not working, Ford was particularly bad in defence, if I was Cips I’d be very very pissed off. Youngs was off again too. Brown is playing the same game as he always has, it’s just everyone now knows he ain’t gonna pass. Though everyone now knows this too, so play him and let them guess……one pass early on and the space opens up again.
    The good includes Itoje, the possibilities have already been said, what EJ decides will be decided with far superior in-sight and evaluation than anyone on this site can manage. Love to see him on the flank with Clifford and Launcho’ with Criuz tho…..
    Most top rank Test sides are close these days, and The next test will be closer than most. It will be a game for people that like rugby…..it’s gonna be the inspired hatred of Wales against the English desire to settle scores…….plus ca change……

  20. Enjoyed the game yesterday but overall the 6N seems so obsessed with defence leading to the boring games served up, surely the way forward is to adopt the bonus point structure to encourage try scoring which was why it was introduced in the first place.
    Was very surprised that Youngs started over Care as overall Care seemed to perform better in first 2 games & I expect him to start against Wales.
    MoM as a debutant performance could easily have gone to Itoje. But Billy was immense.
    TMO seemed to take forever, needed Ref to just get on with it at times and make a decision.
    Had this game down as a 6 & the Wales game a 3 which I thought was the worst game I’ve seen in this 6N including the performance from Barnes who seemed to avoid dishing out yellow cards at all costs.

  21. The WC wasn’t the skill show so many people think it is – NZ were pretty average in the group stages against some pretty average sides.

    Steve Hansen in the crowd in Twickenham – made me think of the 2017 lions. Quite a few positions becoming clear, some not so clear, on the balance of these 6 nations performances…

    Fullback – big question mark. Hogg probably the best on show, Halfpenny to return, Brown limited? Or back to 2014 form when he was the best in the business. Kearney seems past it…

    Wings – Watson and North are certainties, North more on reputation as i still don’t think he influences games as much as a man of his skill (re 2013) should do, possibly due to wales game plan. Seymour will probably get in. Nowell or Williams for the other spot? Williams excellent under high ball and in attack. None of the irish wings setting the world alight.

    Centres – Roberts obviously. Him and Billy V the players of tournament so far. Henshaw looking good for ire, and can play 12/13. Joseph for some pace? Davies or Tuilangi to complete the package? Bennett ok, but whilst all the scottish centres are good, they will not beat NZ.

    FH – i think there are 4 good options here – Biggar, Sexton, Ford and farrell. Sexton is a quality player, experienced. Biggar is a great kicker and under high ball, and is on form. Ford maybe more naturally gifted and attacking, but not hitting his 2015 heights, but could get back to that level. Farrell experienced, has form and can cover centre.

    Back row – billy v and Faletau – so much quality at 8. Warburton, Tipuric and Hardie for 7. O’Brien and POM at 6? Clifford?

    Second Row – lots of quality here too. AWJ of course. Charteris, Itoje, Launchbury, Henderson/Gray? Hard to leave Kruis out in his form.

    Props and hooker – Lee, Cole and Nel for tighthead. Possibly brookes over cole. Vunipola, McGrath for loosehead.

    1. Robbo

      ‘The WC wasn’t the skill show so many people think it is’.. then you woke up!?

      You might enlighten yrself by perusing last Sunday Times’ article by Stuart Barnes in respect of skill levels. Also get up earlier on Fri & Sat am’s & take a gink @ Super 18.

      Regds NZ, they did what they had to do; i.e. get through their grp. E.g., v Argentina they appeared to struggle somewhat for much of the match, but when it counted, in the last 1/4, they upped the tempo & skill level & put the game to bed.

      They also improved as nec during the tourny & for instance, weren’t too ‘average’ v France I thought.

      And yr NH opinions about ‘good options’ & ‘lots of quality here’ are thus perhaps from a relative perspective?

  22. On balance and reflection I’m quite optimistic, far more positive than negative. I’d much rather be able to see what we are trying to do and watch us struggle a bit to do it, rather than not have a clue what a team has been sent out on the pitch to do …. the last 4 years.

    Changes for next game
    – Start Clifford at the expense of Robshaw
    – Bring George on earlier
    – Manu (if fit) on the bench instead of Goode, Daly providing the utility cover.

    I hope the faith in Ford is repaid, I don’t think he’s currently our best 10. But picking a guy to fit a gameplan is better than just picking the form horse each week.

  23. For people talking about the England Wales game, and the loss in the World Cup, just remember that England played a one dimensional centre partnership who had never played together, and were being coached to play very conservatively. Now we have a more functioning back line, and an attack minded head coach who has got the tactics right for each game in this 6 Nations so far. I think England have the edge in attack, but the Welsh defence will be the hardest test so far. Makes for a cracking game in my book!

    1. For the sake of balance Dazza, fairly sure Wales were missing a fair few players for that match too. However I dont think the impact of that match on this one should be ignored. The majority of that team will be playing in 2 weeks and should be pumped up for pat back, heck a fair few would have been involved in the Cardiff mauling of 2013! Often in rugby the team that wants it more wins, that extra intensity and passion that most of our 6n rivals show for England should be reversed given recent events. If England can cut out the errors there is the potential to win big in 2 weeks.

      1. Agreed Benjit. England have been a very different team to the one Lancaster was coaching. Still some silly errors and needless penalties, but all teams are guilty of those at the moment.

        Much as I think Ford is not on his best at the moment, without an out and out 12, I would stick with him and Farrell.

        Daly looked ok when he came on, but I wouldn’t want to start him against Wales at 12.

  24. Why oh why does there always need to be a gripe between the Welsh and the English. Or the English and everyone else. Just let it go all of you.

    Also people moaning at England. To be fair some of their skills were shocking in the 1st half. But they are a team under new management, trying new things and were much better in the 2nd half. People would moan if they stuck with how it was. I like the look of the new England they are trying to be attacking. We beat the reigning champions (who were 3rd in the world until recently) by 11 points not bad. Yes they are going through transition and England were and still are.

    I am really excited by Itoje and lots of talent in the background eg Dave Ewers. I think the next championship and the summer tours following will be where we start to see the best of this England team. Rome wasn’t built in in day ;)

    I hope the England vs Wales match is a great one. I hope England win of course, but its going to be a hard match, as Wales have the more experienced and canny squad. Either way as rugby supporters we can all be passionate and at the end of the match all have a pint with each other. Remember its just another match and life goes on.

  25. Lets get the MB incident correct. Whether Mike Brown accidently or maliciously made contact with Murry’s head, he and he alone is responsible for the fact that he did. There was a big issue last year with players competing for the high ball had a duty of care to the opposing player’s safety, which thankfully is now being refereed correctly. This is where MB is at fault. If he could see the ball to kick at then he must also have been able to see Murray’s head. Therefore MB is guilty of the fact and should be cited, time will tell.

    1. Dia. I think there is a bone of contention here though as well as Murray should have let the ball go as he was on the ground and Brown was therefore trying to free it. Things always look worse in slow mo. I do not think Brown was trying to hurt Murray, he was trying to release the ball.

      Maybe going forward the authorities need to look at changing the rules. But he was entitled to go for the ball and as the refs (on field and TMO) agreed it was accidental. I do not think you can compare with clashes in the air at this point as this already in statute and players know if they do not get their 1st then they need return the player safely to the ground.

      Just my opinion ;)

      1. I do hope for the sake of the game that MB was not deliberately targeting JM head but he still made contact which is the point.

  26. My biggest gripe with this England performance is around our offensive breakdown work. We spent 30 minutes in the first half attacking in the Irish 22 to only come away with 6 points to show for it.

    Every time we started to build momentum and building towards a try one of three things happend
    1. English attack broke down due to poor passing
    2. Penalty conceeded at the breakdown, normally for not releasing
    3. Turned over by Ireland at the breakdown

    Now the first offence I can forgive because at least we were making opportunities and trying to exploit the defence. Given time we should start to build understanding and connect better.

    However the next two come down to failure to clear out at the breakdown and secure your own ball. Either because players are getting isolated and the support is late arriving or the support when it arrives is ineffectual

    Second half this was much better due to the introduction of Clifford, Lawes and Care

    Conclusion: We need a much more mobile backrow and a scrum half who is going to use the ball quickly before a couter ruck can be organised

    1. Agree with part of that. Englands breakdown issues are everything to do with how quickly we are getting to breakdowns, so I’d bring Clifford in for Robshaw to combat that. If Launchbury is fit then I’d get him in too.

      On the scrum half issue, I’d keep Youngs in. I don’t think he was the issue at all. Care largely had a much better platform because a) Ireland had made so many tackles they had started to tire and b) the introduction of Clifford/Lawes/Mako.

      Care came on and straight away put a box kick too long that led to an Irish counter attack. I like Care, but I think the dynamic is much better when he comes off the bench. Same situation with Mako/Marler. Both are top players and it seems whichever comes off the bench makes more impact simply due to the nature of the game at that point. Due to each players style, I think we are better off with Youngs/Marler starting and Mako/Care coming on.

      1. Clearing out attacking breakdowns has been a problem for England for a long time now and it really shouldn’t be, I think its not just a speed thing but too many forwards hanging out in the line rather than hitting rucks – the responsibility is not solely that of the back row

        Robshaw, for all that some people are calling for him to be dropped, got through a mountain of work. He really should starting wearing a colourful scrumcap a la Haskell so people notice him more. He also threw the best pass seen in this tournament to date for Watson’s try.

        Clifford is a great prospect, but I question whether he’d replace Robshaw’s work rate or whether it would have to be picked up by the other players. Its perhaps worth finding out though

        Disagree on Youngs Jacob. Thought he was very poor other than some OK kicking. Very slow to the breakdown, very hesitant once there and threw some awful, awful passes. What chance we can get Simpson in instead once he’s fit again?

        1. Pablito

          If it’s the clear out you’re concerned about (& rightly IMO), then all the NH coaches need do is to review the 1st round of the S18. Didn’t seem much of an issue for them.

          Why don’t they simply emulate what works down under & strive to do it better? It’s not rocket stuff.

          1. Don. I am concerned about England’s clear out and have been for some time.

            Comparing test rugby to the Super 18 is pointless though. It’s like watching T20 and asking why they don’t try to hit the ball like that in a test match.

            S18 is great but it’s the Big Bash of Rugby – it’s fun to watch, there’s lots of skill on show but most of it is frothy entertainment for people who have trouble concentrating

            1. Well the lesson of clear out is clear (no pun) for all who wish to see it.

              Regds S18 being ‘Big Bash of Rugby’, the last 7 out of 8 WC’s have been won by teams picked from ‘frothy entertainment’ S rugger!

      2. I think EJ might switch them again and have Mako and Care starting.
        I though Care looked much better when he started against Italy. When he comes off the bench he seems to try too hard, and then the mistakes creep in. His extra pace will also help keep Davies under control from the back of the scrum.

          1. No Youngs startsed the Scotland game, and then they switched for Italy, then switched back for Ireland.

  27. Based on the performances over this last weekend I would say Wales are going to find it very tough against England who because of the improvements they have made and will continue to make , I make favourites to win .Having said that the penalty count by England must be reduced and they must also take their chances . As EJ said himself at leat 10 -15 points were lost in the first half.Had they been taken England would have won much more comfortably.I expect Manu to be a amongst the subs and to come on to punch holes in the Welsh defence.He may even start with Farrel at 10

  28. For the Wales game a lot will depend on who the ref is Poite was quite fussy at the breakdown but let crooked scrum and lineout ball to go unchecked. Even though he cannot be picked I would take Owens over anyone else for the game, probably the fairest one out there at the moment

  29. EJ said “10 to 15 pts”… Well Ireland left that many out there the TMO ruled out 2 tries in the final quarter. One was a try, Henshaw should have finished. England could of lost to a depleted Ireland.

    1. TMO said even if Henshaw had grounded it his knee was in touch so no definitely not a try.
      The other one which was ruled held up probably was a try but difficult to tell even with the slow motion replays of 10 different camera angles so ref was justified in his decision.

  30. Brighty’s ” England are playing better than they have for sometime ” comment sums up England on Saturday. They have youth that is gaining experience every game. Brown’s tell tale kick returns are getting a bit stayed. Fair play to EJ for bringing on Daly on 55mins. I too thought Haskel was one of our better forwards. Getting a bit fed up with Cole, pity we don’t have any other options at the moment. ( Cooper Woolley please )Thought Ford was quite perky.
    I see England Wales being the game of the tournament. Wales with there experience and Bigger’s form have to be favourites.

  31. See Barry John’s comments in NZ Herald. Six nations is poor rugby until a couple of teams catch up to southern hemisphere

  32. ‘re the Brown rucking incident. Perhaps if rucking came back tackled players wouldn’t hold on and continue you to play the ball. It used to be the case that if you were on the floor you are the floor. See Campese’s comments. Could it be that players hold on, get a little cut, and an opponent sent off some may consider that cut worthwhile.
    If you are squeemish do not google Paul O’Connell kicks Dave Kearney or view Paul O’Connell vs Namibia RWC2003. Clearly the legend has a view regarding players on the ground and what to do when the ball is the other side of a player’s head or a player is interfering with play when on the ground. In neither incident was he sent off nor cited. In RWC he was penalised. Dave Kearney was carried off and missed several weeks.

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