Rate the match: Wales v England


Rate the match between Wales and England and leave your comments in the section below.

Rate the match: Wales v England

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What were the main talking points from the game? Who were the standout performers?

203 thoughts on “Rate the match: Wales v England

  1. England stunned and wales looking like one of the best teams in the world, as soon as they sung the anthems i knew that wales had it in them. They smashed pontential grandslam winners and fully deserved the title,second year in a row.
    just saw jenkins lift the trophy,extrodinary things! Welsh fans will be up down the pubs tonight after a unexpected 30-3 win over england. WALES RULE RUGBY!

    1. I think you may be getting a little carried away to say you rule rugby. You’ve only beaten 4 northern hemisphere teams, there’s a long way to go!

  2. Wales were incredible no two ways about it. Aus will be shitting themselves watching that, if only they could get that hyped for a team apart from England

    1. I really wish they’d put a like button on here. It is so frustrating to know that when Wales play there next game, they will be nowhere near the same level of intensity they showed today. If they could play like that in every game…………..?

  3. Gutted,

    Wales deserved everything, they were great, physical, fast, good at the breakdown, and lots more.

    England got beaten well, by a great team, but they didn’t have a plan b, the england backrow was outdone as they were against italy.

    This is still a good england team but they have a few areas to work on. Scrum, backline, back three, backrow balance.

    Wales need to go on, bet the SH team and they rencapable of great things.

  4. Chris Aston needs to work on his tackling and almost should be replaced manitou needs to get more involved we can’t just wait for his super runs they don’t always come my heart goes out to staurt Lancaster they need to change from the Wales defeat and I believe he’s such a good coach

  5. I said before the match if wales won they needed to do it by a huge margin just so people didn’t blame the ref. In the first 15min it looked like it would be a “let’s blame the ref” but there was one scrum where england got 4resets and each time got warned, they just mouthed back at the ref rather than adjusting. That to me was the turning point it was clear England weren’t going to be composed.

    Wales were (biased review here :p) amazing. That second half in particular was amazing to watch they just had so much going for them. There pace was unbelievable especially on the breakaways, they spotted the gaps made england work extremely hard.

    There was a few “small” errors throughout but they were quick to recover. The best rugby i’ve seen from wales in the past 15games they’ve had. I really do hope they can take this forward. 2 six nations in a row (despite v.bad form between) I can definitely see them moving on up in the world rankings if they keep it up!

  6. So who had Wales by 27?! I guess not the three sais sour faces that rated the game at 1 out of ten by the time I’d got here! If you get smashed man up and take it – like Lancaster, very modest in defeat

  7. As soon as the disgraced Kiwi, turned Aussie, self-declared English hating, coke-head ref decided that only Wales were allowed to scrummage, the game was over; i.e. after about 3 minutes.
    I’m from Lanelli, by the way.

  8. Wales was just awsome, and England, should bring back old Jonhny as the 10 was quite terrible, and do something with scrums

    1. The 10, as you refer to Farrell was probably one of the only players who could walk off the pitch with his head up. Aside from missing one penalty, he did everything he could to get England in the game, put his kicks in the right areas tackled when he needed to, and offloaded at the right times. The players outside him (all of them) should hang their heads. And most of the forwards too.

  9. It was humiliating! At least Johnson’s teams had some bottle. Lancaster is a loser and Farrell is not the next Wilkinson. Johnson and Corry were captains – Robshaw is captain Birdseye!

    1. We came second two years on the trot with a team that is still growing as a group. How long have the majority of that Welsh team been together? Much longer than England. To say Lancaster is a loser just shows you really know very little about rugby. Comments like that should be kept to yourself.

  10. Wow. How misplaced can ones faith be? Congrats Wales. What a performance. Really taught us a lesson.

    As for comment above. I don’t have much sympathy for SL. It was clear after the first match that we missed Morgan in the back row and that Ashton and Goode weren’t cutting it in the back three. He wasted a good opportunity in not trying out some alternatives in the Italy match. I mean what exactly did Croft add other than to weaken our breakdown. I’m not saying it would have changed this result but that attack scares nobody.

    1. As for all the crap about “it was good that England had a wake up call against Italy” …. it really wasn’t! It just meant we were defending a small points difference and didn’t get an 8 or 8s (Waldrom & Vunipola) into the matchday 23 at the right time.

  11. You talk of passion and rivalry! Wales, the best performace Ive ever seen! What a game, England, you did realise it was Grand Slam day? Because your whole squad should of stayed in bed lol! That was the most pathetic performance in a Grand Slam title match the 6 nations has ever seen!

    Congradulations to England, you could not have scored in a brothel nor won a golf fish a the fair…….. haha that was so completely hopeless, what a laugh.

      1. Aw come on where’s your sense of humour? Its was really very funny. Watch it again you will see what I mean.

    1. Sadly an example of misplaced arrogance, and an apalling lack of rugby knowledge. I can imagine the comments if we’d won a game by that margin and said something similar.

  12. Shit. Absolute shit. Neither team looked anywhere near to scoring a try from composed play, and instead looked comfortable enough to just capitalise off opposition mistakes and the whim of steve walsh, which the welsh did far better.

    England were unconditionally SHIT. Turned over at crucial times, inability to tackle, inability to get over the gain line, no support players on the few times we did, and on the very few occasions the stars aligned and a support players accidentally stumbled into a good line the ball carrier decided to take it into contact instead with overlaps beckoning. Based on that alone, I’d sack our so called “attack skills coach” and have Andy Farrell whip those southern posers who call themselves the England National Team into realising how shit they are. Ashton out, Goode out, Brown on bench, Croft out, Cole out Wood and Robshaw in last chance saloon, Marler out, Hartley out, Care and Flood out, and Barritt out.

    My England XV for the next full international:


    Mabye this team could actually hold up a scrum AND score tries. Although I’m not holding my breath.

    The scrum was SHIT. I’m going to post a video analysis of how SHIT walsh was at refereeing the scrum and how useless the england front row were. But suffice to say that when Gethin Jenkins collapses into the ground, england push, have to push around gethin and are then penalised for wheeling, you know something’s going wrong.

    Ashton, Goode, Cole, Marler, Ben Youngs, Barrit, farrel and Croft were SHIT. Brown, Tuilagi, Wood, Youngs, Robshaw, Launchbury and Farrell were anonymous. Parling was merely good, and battled on bravely in the face of the shits hitting the proverbial fan.

    Rowntree’s job should be questioned for turning what was once a devastating weapon into something as ineffectual as a Kitten trussed, bound, weighted down with lead and force fed sedatives like a foie gras goose is force fed hormones.

    Mike Catt’s job should be questioned for failing to , over a period of nearly a year, register a notable improvement in attacking intent and success.

    I can’t take this shit. I’m going to drown my sorrows and throw bottles at my wall till I miss and hit myself on the bonce.

    1. Ael … agree mostly …

      … BUT Morgan’s got to be in there, and Sheridan. WHY, WHY, WHY no Sheridan? He single handedly demolishes opposition front rows. But, having said that, Walsh would have found a way to nullify him, no doubt.

    2. This is why I didn’t go near a computer yesterday!

      Shows important Corbisiero is to us!.

      Wouldn’t have Wilson near the team. Would also have Morgan, B Youngs, Burns and Brown in, but really not sure about wings. The only good news is that our summer tour will allow some more players to stake claims, because Goode, Ashton, and Care have probably played themselves out of the team – or they certainly should have.

      1. Corbisiero was a huge loss for England but …. Walsh did not ruin the scrum for England. I said before first hit that England were trying to bizarrely wind him up by refusing to retreat as he was asking. For the first scrum they were practically engaged at the crouch. Wales front row were colossal – to dismiss their efforts as one sided refereeing is wrong.

        Wales have played against and dealt with Sheridan on many occasions. We are not Australia. He’s better off staying where he is.

        England have a back row made of 3 6s. A loose head who I have said before is a bit rubbish and has a crap haircut. A hooker who’s still learning the game and may never end up being world class. Second rows who are excellent in the line out but do not seem to add to the scrum. England can’t win scrums through the power of Dan Cole alone.

        Wales have GJ and AJ and now you can add Hibbard to their names. Would anyone think it crazy if the lions front row is welsh? Healy had another “good in the loose” scrum performance against Italy and Cole/Adam is so close you’d probably give it to Adam if the other two were welsh anyway.

        So Wales were on top in these scrums, just like the weekend before and the weekend before that.

  13. Walsh should never be allowed to referee an England game again.

    And just in case anyone accuses me – a Welshman – of bias in favour of England as sour grapes, or after the fact, this article appeared in The Week a few days ago:

    The referee in question, Craig Joubert, is from the southern hemisphere, as is Steve Walsh, the man charged with officiating in Cardiff tomorrow night. Put bluntly, there is a feeling among many in Europe that southern hemisphere referees just aren’t up to the job, particularly when it comes to overseeing the scrum. Walsh, an Australian, was in charge of last week’s Ireland against France match and he came in for much criticism on the back of another questionable display with the whistle.

    For England the prospect of being refereed by Walsh as they attempt to win their first Grand Slam in ten years is not a happy one because the two have ‘previous’. During the 2003 World Cup in Australia Walsh was given a three-day suspension for what the International Rugby Board termed “inappropriate behaviour” during England’s pool win over Samoa, behaviour which allegedly involved squirting water from a rehydration bottle over one of the England coaches after an argument about substitutions.

    Walsh was eventually sacked by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union in 2009 after arriving drunk at a refereeing conference in Sydney, an episoide he later admitted. He then moved to Australia, sobered up, and returned as a referee in 2010 having changed his nationality from Kiwi to Aussie, but still bristling with self-importance.

    He was in charge of last year’s Six Nations encounter between England and Wales, a match the Welsh deserved to win although English fans were convinced their cause wasn’t helped by several questionable decisions by Walsh.

    It’s not just the English who have had problems with Walsh. Described by a fellow official in 2009 as a “walking timebomb”, Walsh was once suspended for four months for verbally abusing Ireland’s Shane Horgan during a British and Irish Lions tour match in New Zealand in 2005. As recently as March this year, he had what one paper called a “physical altercation” with All Blacks centre Conrad Smith during a match between the Hurricanes and the Queensland Reds.

    It was crass of the IRB to appoint Walsh as referee for this fixture. They know his reputation and they should have avoided the risk of any potential controversy by giving the game to another referee. Instead the most eagerly-anticipated match in Six Nations rugby for years is in danger of being overshadowed by a man who often gives the impression of believing spectators have paid to watch him, not the 30 players he should be officiating.

    Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/rugby/52001/rugby-steve-walsh-six-nations-england-wales#ixzz2NjfAZAFM

    1. Lewy, just because it was in “The Week”, the news organ for those with ADD, does not make it correct.

  14. Well. Well done Wales – on the balance of things, they were marginally the better side today. But the ref really killed any contest in the game by awarding five or six crucial midfield decisions (mostly scrums that collapsed, and could have gone either way) to Wales. Each resulted in 5-10 minutes pressure for Wales in the England 22, and in most cases, Wales came away with points. The result was perhaps 30-40 minutes of pressure for Wales in England’s 22 that, had the ref’s discretion been ever so slightly different, could have been 30-40 minutes pressure for England. My point is sadly that it only takes a few key decisions to really change the tide of a game, and this places incredible power in the hands of the ref. And with so much left to interpretation at the scrum and breakdown, there’s a huge opportunity for a ref to (and quite possibly without malice, or knowing) ruin the chance of a contest, which I feel happened today. It really should have been a great, nail biting contest of two teams in form. Instead it was a very one-sided affair of attack vs. defense. The result was that everyone lost out on what could have (and perhaps should have) been a great game between two balanced teams (although I’m sure the Welsh be too upset at the lack of contest).

    1. Adam, Wales were “marginally” the better side? Tosh. Wales were, and everyone knows it, by far the better side in every aspect of that game. I can say this and be comfortable that sensible people know that this is a fact and not just some welsh bias.

  15. Well done Wales, you showed us how to play ruby. Today there was only one team who looked like they wanted to win. I hope SL realises now that his experiment of playing Wood at 8 has not worked. Just look at the stats from the Scotland game and it’s obvious we need an 8 at 8. How much did Wood carry the ball? How many metres gained? Those are the things an 8 should be doing, and Wood has not done enough. Waldrom, Vunipola or even Haskell would have been better. Morgan put us on the front foot, and steadied the scrum, without him we’ve been a completely different side.

  16. Cobisiera – Youngs – Sheridan

    Launchbury – Parling

    Robshaw – Morgan – Woods


  17. Stop whinging about the ref, ok he made some wrong calls but Wales played the ref and got on with it. England found out some hard truths today,Im Welsh so obviously happy, but england showed what they were , a team with potential but weak links in key positions, Ashton is a liability, Farrell is just overated, Mahler ” we can win the world cup now”..got stuffed, no plan B, not only the players but Lancaster showed his inexperience. Wales are a better side because of Gatland, you need a high quality international coach at this level these days, ireland will need to get rid of Kidney before they can improve…A number booked their lions places today…many others might as well put their passports away.. English Back row tried hard, Robshaw improved as a player, but welsh back row won this game.
    Lions will be based around this experienced welsh team plus…..I dont know??

    1. Easy for us to say, but can you imagine being English? I remember watching the World Cup final in 2003, thinking what a travesty it would be if England didn’t win, but fortunately they were so good, so superior that despite his best efforts, even the referee couldn’t stop them winning. Have you noticed that even when it’s bang to rights referees take a second or two longer to give a decision England’s way. Doesn’t matter who they’re playing; occupational hazard of being English – everyone loves to hate them. I don’t know why; I know many more arrogant Scots and Welsh (maybe not Irish) than I do English, in the rugby fraternity at least, which is why I defend them.

      1. Fortunately as an Englishman this is a defeat that I don’t have to chalk up to Walsh. Yes, he was awful, but isn’t he always?

        This defeat came because England didn’t turn up, and Wales did. Boy did Wales turn up!

        Definitely a few welsh lads booked (rebooked in some cases) their seats on the lions plane this summer.

        I would say a couple englishman may have shown, for whatever reasons, that they are not up to the task. Goode doesn’t look like he can handle the pace and physicality of test rugby. Ashton has been given a chance and failed to deliver. Until he can start producing the goods at sarries, he shouldn’t be playing for England. Mike brown proved he should be at 15. B. Youngs and Farrell still have a long way to go, but I think they have shown that they are the future, I would still like to see burns get more of a shot. Similarly with 12Ts. Barritt is solid, but will never be a world beater. (Solid is a good thing for me though). England need to vary how they use Manu, if he is only ever used to batter people, then it won’t be long until he is found out (the welsh suggested today that that time may be here).

        England have shown the importance of a lack of a ball carrier in the backrow. Regardless of which number is on the guys back, you need a big carrier, all the English ones happen to be 8’s, but I wouldn’t mind a ball carrying 6 or 7, just a ball carrier!

        The front row is throwing up lots of questions. Dan cole has declined in the scrum, and he is being targeted at rucks, so isn’t getting the turnovers there as often, he also hasn’t carried as effectively as he used to. Neither Marler or vunipola are the complete prop yet, which makes us miss corbisero even more.

        The list goes on, but I will stop now…

        1. What is it with Ashton – what does he have to do to get dropped? God, I’d rather have mr Boyzone Strettle in there than him. What is it with SL that despite all of his sensible talk about culture, honesty, etc. he still picks that score line averse countering monkey?

      2. Time for you stop making excuses for the English poor performance, blaming every ref for debating wether to give a penalty to England or not – please take the chip of your shoulder and grow up – this is about a good Welsh win – not about little Lewy and his issues. Great win for Wales and a great day for sport.

        1. Chip on his shoulder? Little lewy has said in this thread that he is welsh… I don’t see how admitting that the ref had a poor game, even though your team won is having a chip on your shoulder…

          1. Not really interested where he is from, we all said earlier on in the week, lets not make it the Steve Walsh show on here – lets talk about the rugby – not Walsh. Wales would have beaten England yesterday regardless who reffed the game – England were poor and Wales were clinical in what they did – far from being world beaters as England are far from being a poor side –

    2. Regarding the Lions selection …. your view is how I thought it was going to play out after last year’s championship. I thought the summer tour was going to be the blueprint of how to win a series in Australia, but it didn’t work out that way. Agree there deserves to be a strong Welsh contingent in the touring party but I think starting with a Welsh 23 with a few tweaks is stretching it a bit!

      1. The Lions team has to be about the best players for the 4 home nations – not Wales,it is a British Lion touring representing England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland – i for one would not want a large majority of Welsh players

  18. Schoolboy rugby, scrum practice and kicking practice, everyone in the pub were chatting so it must have been a sad game. The southern hemisphere will be laughing into their pints at Englands inability to play the ball into try scoring potential. We were flat and played a game of chess hoping for penalties to win our game, sad management tactics. Rugby should be an open running game with the forwards supporting and driving forward then opening the game for TRIES.

  19. Extactic with the result and I agree that the welsh was somewhat biased but with that said it happens its part of sport with ref’s. You need to be able to adjust to the ref’s needs as part of playing the game.

    The first penalty against warburton for re-engaging he spoke to the ref, “What do you want” he said remove your arms clearly before re-engaging. Every tackle of that Warburton removed his arms before hte player hit the ground so he could re-engage for it. < Adapting to the ref.

    The English team had 3 scrums in a row and the ref stopped, spoke to the player and said enough is enough, i'll mark the floor to not move from that spot before your told. He moaned then bloody moved before the ref said. < Lack of adaption.

    End of the day wales played much better and the ref's influence was give/take 9points so wales still v.clear winners!

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head!
      If an Englishman said ‘what do you want’ he’d be marched back 10 and accused of being arrogant.
      That’s the difference!

        1. Sorry, don’t know what ‘WUM’ means.

          Because for whatever reasons you may not be able to acknowledge it, doesn’t make it less true.

          As a Welshman having lived in England most of my life, I think I see things in a very balanced way. And I take far less satisfaction from a win against England for that reason.

          At this level, games are won and lost according to incredibly fine margins. Firstly, the tone of the game was set from the first scrum, and commentators here are right that England didn’t respond well to the referee’s interpretation, which I am led to understand was very different from the one he had explained to the England team in the dressing room beforehand (a bit of inside information there!), but my point is that why should England be put in the position unfairly where they have to respond at all. Don’t bother citing the Warburton example because it was singular. Secondly, Wales should delight in this victory, but should also know based on the theory of fine margins that – for example – had Tuilagi taken that ball in the first ten minutes, the result could well have been the reversal of what we saw. I know the Wales players know this.

          That’s rugby!

    1. Keith, go and watch football. I think your views will fit in better there. The ref had nothing to do with England losing

    2. England team not fit for purpose. Its been coming all championship. Scrum under pressure, lineout misfiring, creating next to nothing and buthering even that.

  20. Wales played well, put simply they where the better team, no matter what the ref did.

    Gutted as an England fan, but pleased overall as we now have a good squad, and a basis to put together a team that will do the business.

  21. Deserved Wales win,England capitulated,went to form and on paper,how the he’ll Steve Walsh gets games this important is a mystery

  22. Whilst I’ve not yet consumed as many units as Wales scored points I am closing in ….

    Congrats Wales you are well worth your win, it would have taken an exceptional team to beat you today. That was one of the most intense 80 min performances I can ever recall.

    Lets put England in context, a bunch of inexperienced players coached by a bunch of inexperienced coaches (who have a single domestic championship to rub together). We’ve had more grand slam chokes than victories in the last 15 years and better teams than this one have lost a grand slam showdown.

    That said I can’t find a single positive out of the England performance today, but focussing on the fundamentals:

    – No scrum = no win. Tight 5 was just too small and lightweight against the very best. We’ve probably had the weakest scrum in the championship. I can think of 7 tight heads that have scrummaged better than Cole this championship. Marler Vs Jones looked like a mismatch and it was boy vs man.
    – Having Robshaw standing back to catch kicks, Croft treating rucks like the plague whilst Wood gave us no go forward was the most ridiculous selection since Flood played 12 in a RWC QF. What really worries me is failing to understand what went really well (and therefore what we needed to replicate) against NZ and Scotland. This selection, along with the roles of the players, was the England back row from the evil parallel universe in comparison with the NZ performance.

    We have plenty of issues in the backline, but if we are decimated in the scrum and blown away at the breakdown it doesn’t matter who we pick in the backs.

    A huge test for Lancaster now …. the silver lining …. he may be working with a greater percentage of his EPS this summer than previously expected.

    Right … back to those units ….

    1. Matt, Well put. I go back to those dreadful days of teh early 70s when drubbings for England were the norm but I don’t think I can remember an England pack so comprehensively demolished as the one we saw today. Back to the drawing board Mr Lancaster.

    2. We’re really missing Corbs in the scrum. Spot on about tom croft, the first time I saw him was when he knocked it on off that kick. Lancaster really painted himself into a corner with the italy game: he could’ve tried Strettle, May, Foden, Vunipola, Kvesiv, Twelvetrees, Burns, but decides to play it safe, and as a result has no in form options for next week. Bravo. I hope flood picks up a bad injury ruling him out for long enough for Burns to cement his place as a starter, and that someone discovers that Barritt in ineligible for england, so that Twelvetrees and Harlequins’ Matt Hopper could come into play.

      1. The cult of Croftology followers will no doubt be out to say he took 4 lineouts and stole 1 opposition ball. Whooohooo. Parling is supposed to be a lineout specialist and didn’t take a single lineout so the inclusion of Croft just meant we didn’t use another line out specialist.

        Along with the absence at the breakdown, he also made 6 fewer tackles than Launcbury (who played 52 mins) and 8 fewer than Robshaw, Parling and Wood.

        Morgan doesn’t make too many tackles, because we he hangs back to start counters, so maybe Croft made loads of meters? No all of 6!

        Maybe it’s a vital role as a link man with loads of passes and offloads? A no show there as well.

        Personally I think Croft should take up 7s and try and win a gold medal in Rio. I’m not saying this as some sort of insult, just that his pace and athleticism are suited to that game. He’s not got the physicality to play in the backrow at an international level in the 15 man game as it is currently played.

  23. England are good team but Wales’s wonderful performance has brought to light the limitations of this england team.

    The same problems that most people talked about before the 6N still exist, we have a backrow inbalance with no n8, we have centres which require an abundance of chances in orde to take a try.

    Wales showed true class in taking the opportunities that presented themselves, enlgand could not be so clinical.

    Wlaes need to move on and beat the toop teams in the world, they are well capable of it.

    England need to find a number 8, a creative centre and a back three capable of continueing their development.

  24. Taken 4 hours to calm down. Yes, well done Wales – you took your chances really well, But don’t think I’ve ever seen a team penalised BEFORE the engangement of the scrum. What was the ref thinking? Adam Jones is a great tight head but England were’nt given a fair chance.

  25. Firstly, and most importantly, deserved win by Wales, it was a great performance. They do love to get up for when the English come to town! They used the passion to get the performance.

    England were lacklustre and simply not good enough.

    Speaking of not good enough (now my rant begins), Walsh was awful. Thankfully (and it sounds strange to be thankful, as an Englishman) the welsh win was so clear cut, that it cannot be put down to the ref. having said that, I have to agree with the concencus here, and say he isn’t fit to ref at this level. Most refs have to put a country of alligance so they don’t ref that team, I think they should start looking at teams refs hate. Walsh is bad with England, and plenty of other teams have refs who clearly don’t like them. Walsh also seem to completely not understand scrummaging. Calls were going every-which-way, and the same can be said for his recent performances in the super 15 too. He clearly does not understand the scrum.

    I think the ARU need to gain some pride, Walsh was dropped by the NZRU, yet the Aussies are happy to have reject kiwi refs???? Lets hope we don’t see him on the lions tour!

    As an englishman I would have preferred have Nigel Owens ref, he may be welsh, but he is professional, and actually knows the game.

    One final bit of credit to all the welsh fans on this blog, you are winning graciously (with the exclusion of one of you, who I am sure you can all read his comments). Pleasant winners are much appreciated, and it was definitely a deserved win by Wales.

    Now role on the lions! It’s time to take off the English/welsh/Irish/Scottish caps we have on, and all wack on the British and Irish lions ones!
    Also I think a fair few Englishman played themselves out of lions spots (either test or tour) with their past few games… Here’s hoping for some big games in the HC!

  26. Alright. Have just awoken from my coma. I’ve just realized how unimpressed I’ve really been with Robshaw. He’s not a bad player. But he’s average. He makes all his tackles, but he never drives anyone back or sends them to the hospital. He carries all the time, but more often then not he gets driven back. His passes are fine, but they never open up space at all, and his offloads are questionable. He goes into rucks, but he rarely forces crucial turnovers. He can deliver messages to his teammates, but does he have any real authority of his own?

    He has no presence. To illustrate the contrast, look at the italy ireland game today and watch parrisse play. He’s everywhere: He plays 9, he plays 10, he plays full back, and he sometimes plays 8 too. He knock people into the ground with his carries, his deft offloads open up space for his teammates, he distributes as well as Orquera, he drives everyone back with every touch. And it seems like Parisse is everywhere, at the heart of all his sides work. I never notice Robshaw: I’ll see him set up the line sometimes, or pass the ball back to a winger, or on the telly as the interviewee. But he does not strike the fear of god into me, and certainly doesn’t do so into the opposition. In short, much muchness.

    Martin Johnson, Parisse, Dusatoir, Martyn Williams, Francois Pienaar, Zinzan Brooke, and Nobody. Those were men with presence, proper players who broke bones and imposed themselves on their opponents. Zinzan, Martyn, Parisse and Nobody also had and have very fine rugby brains and all round skills on them: Nobody wasn’t called nobody for nothing. When you saw them play, they’d pop up everywhere, giving you the impression that there was an aura of supernatural ability about them which intimidated everyone.

    Robshaw does none of those things.If I may use a racing simile here, Robshaw is the old workhorse who does no wrong but on whom the best odds are of him ending up as a findus lasagne, and picking him for your lions captain is akin to the 600 : 1 outside bet you were sure was going to pay for that overdue loan.

    This is all from a swiss player of anglo-saxon origin. My modified lions XV:

    1. Alex Corisbiero
    2. Rory Best
    3. Adam Jones
    4. Launchbury
    5. Parling
    6. Wood
    7. Tipuric
    8. Billy vunipola (as the uncapped player in the squad)

    9. Greig Laidlaw
    10. Burns
    11. Zebo
    12. Tuilagi / Twelvetrees / Matt Scott (not sure here…)
    13. O’driscoll (C)
    14. Leigh Halfpenny
    15. Stuart Hogg

    Cole has been a joke recently. Hasn’t mauled a scrum since the scotland game, and even there it wasn’t much of a mauling. I’d rather pick a block of muscle at scrum time to avoid us giving away scrum penalties then an angry fatty who tries to force turnovers in the loose and ends up giving the joint most penalties in the competition… Meat before gravy, especially since the gravy here seems to be distinctly lumpy.

    Rant off. I’ll let off some steam on the pitch tommorow. Till then, I’ll be tossing bottles in my sleep at the management.

    1. Excellent points made, BUT Have you watched any French this year? THE nation of the scrummage and singularly the most feared prop in French rugby this year has been our Dulwich old boy Sheridan. He’s fixed and demolishing front rows like he used to. Remember when he did his job too well and ended up playing uncontested scrums?

  27. Walsh was a disgrace. Referees now decide International matches. England were on the back foot because of biased incompetent refereeing at the scrum

  28. If England are to progress, despite the niceties of not moaning about referees, they can never win when Walsh referees. They should not take the field until he is sacked

    1. There was a ref at the last World Cup, i can’t remember his name for the life of me (was it Bryce Lawrence) who the IRB stopped from reffing in South Africa, because he had received death threats…

      Obviously I am not condoning that kind of behaviour! But clearly the IRB has a say in which countries a ref can officiate, and for which teams… There must be a less morally questionable way of getting Walsh banned from reffing England. Although now I say that I think it is very selfish. Instead we should simply strive to have Walsh banned out right, because no country deserves to have him officiate for them!

    2. Blame the ref. Look at the team and the pathetic coaches on the squad. We lost due to poor play and even poorer coaching. We will never win again if we blame the ref! Poor excuse!

  29. If England want to progress they need to stick with a team for a good few years. They need experience of playing the big games and adjusting. They need to calm down. Lancaster said he wouldn’t have players with ego’s which is an important part, but you also need players that can adjust to the game.

    If the current England squad stuck together they would have a very good WC campaign. If they keep shaking it up then there wont be enough fluidity (see NZ for great example)

    1. They don’t want players with egos…

      There is one name in English rugby that makes me think you need the odd ego here and there.

      Lawrence Bruno Nero Dallaglio.

      That man didn’t get flustered, and more importantly, he never stepped on a rugby field thinking he had a chance of losing. A true competitor, and something that we need to get instilled in this team.

      I have actually become a bit disappointed with Haskell recently. Not because I think he has been playing badly, but more because of how his style of play has changed. When he first came on the scene he was dubbed the next Dallaglio. He played in a similar style, and he had a similar mentality. It seems to have been lost along the way.

      I think that this England team now needs a new approach. They have the young squad, and two get to a grand slam decider was very good. But the stage for development is reaching its close. After the summer tour to Argentina, England need to start focussing on winning, no more of the “we are working for the future” the build up to the World Cup starts after the final whistle in the 3rd lions test.

    2. Balanced perspective!

      Here’s the 23 I would go forward with for now:

      1) Vunipola (Corbs is better when fit, but I think Vunipola has huge potential so I would rather bring him through)
      2) Youngs
      3) Cole (But he needs to get back in the gym, add a stone or so to be the cornerstone again)
      4) Launchbury
      5) Parling
      6) Wood
      7) Robshaw
      8) Vunipola
      9) Youngs
      10) Farrell
      11) May
      12) 36
      13) Tuilagi
      14) Wade
      15) Brown

      16) Hartley
      17) Corbs
      18) Wilson (unless Stevens wants another go in the white shirt because he’s the form English tight head at the moment)
      19) Lawes
      20) Morgan
      21) Care
      22) Burns
      23) Foden

      1. I would maybe swap b.vunipola and Morgan round, but otherwise I think that this is my perfect team too.

        It’s a bit harsh on barritt, but 12Ts brings more to the team, and barritt does not provide enough of an impact to warrant a bench spot. If one of the centres was to get injured though, barritt would be the first one I looked too. He won’t set the world alight, but he is solid as a rock.

        We also have the likes of daly and JJ, who would probably both suit playing with Manu if 12Ts was to get injured (shifting Manu in to 12).

        I like the selection of foden too. W were stuck today when Goode didn’t produce the goods. We had to bring 36 on, and Manu was shifted out to the wing. Any lack of influence Manu had was further extenuated then!

  30. Walsh was just comical at times around the scrum and breakdown. I really think he unfairly disrupted Englands momentum in the first half resulting in England questioning their perfectly fine methods in order to please his insane demands. Ultimately I feel this distracted them immensely from all other tasks they needed to do around the park

    At any rate Wales were the better team on the day, and I can’t help but think England have choked twice now on a grandslam occasion. Wales have to big game experience that hopefully England can gain in time

  31. Also England players such as Brown being played out of position- discuss?

    I only mention this because I think it really started to show in the France game onwards, that you can’t just shoehorn a player into a similar position and expect to get world class results

    1. Liam, I would say that brown has been one of the best performers for England throughout the tournament, even though he has been on the wing.

      No doubt he is better at 15. And he isn’t a finisher, but defensively he has been superb, and he has made some great breaks. His direct running and his strength under the highball means England should look to him to play 15, especially because Goode does not seem fast enough or strong enough for test rugby.

    2. My point, spot on. Down to poor game plan and poor coaching..lots of losers are blaming the ref, No, look nearer to home?

  32. Well, what a sham! The players are 1st class but the coaches are 4th class. You cannot blame the team… They were on the field, from 1st class teams. Watching the coaches!!! A total lack of passion and so lacking in inventive play…we lost because we had losers coaching. Sack them all. I have a group of year 6 pupils that have been more inspirational than the losers on the coaching team! Give my guys a chance and win…and save £££££££££££££££££££

  33. I only say this because we have a squad with international great potential and the coaches just hold them back!

    Northants Saints, Bath, Harly, Quinns, …The only problem watching the game was with the coaches…what other team cannot form ans hold a scrum? Many passes….but dropped……it is Rugby….stop kicking and go back to basics! It is not brain science!

    1. Sorry simon, but I have to disagree with you.

      You are right to an extent, with the game plan and things coming from the coaches. But ultimately it all comes down to the players standing on the field. If they fail to execute when the pressure is on, then the blame lies with them, not the coaches.

  34. No complaints about Wales win, thoroughly deserved. England’s inexperience showed. Walsh had the scrum frightened, every marginal call went Wales way and England hadn’t the experience to play the ref the way the Welsh did, and that gave Wales the platform they needed.
    Wales full value and their second half performance was outstanding.
    A few questions answered here. A specialist 8 a must, as is a destructive 6. Have read over the weeks about Ashton’s shortcomings. England need at least one flier out wide and a ball player at centre that can take the pressure off 10 when needed and leave Tuilagi to do what he does best in the middle of the park – Twelvetrees?
    The front row going to need some work. Agree with some earlier posts Sheridan would have brought more strength and much needed experience. He should go on the Summer tour but could be with the Lions.
    In real terms let’s be honest and realise that this England team is in its infancy. Although the Slam would have been great perhaps this loss is more valuable in terms of development.

    Will be interesting now to see the squad for the summer. Probably fewer England players going with the Lions now so a good opportunity to develop the team.

  35. Why do we tolerate a referee like Steve Walsh? He openly hates England. Why was he put in charge of this match? He ruledagainst England in every scrum. The Welsh knew that all they had to do was collapse the scrum and they would get a penalty. THis destroyed England’s morale completely. They collapsed as a direct consequence of his refereeing. They knew that whatever they did he would find a way of penalising them. This match was won by Wales’ 16th man. Pure and simple.

        1. The planet of reality! Blame the ref for an amateur performance if you like…I have a team of 14 year olds that would not have walked away with such a pathetic performance….ref? Ref? Ref?…NO! Find your excuses some where else!

          1. Bullshit. Steve Walsh openly hates ENgland. We should simply refuse to play if this piece of convict sh1t is ever again made referee fo an England match.

    1. It’s funny that every Welshman knew if they won the excuse from a certain English quarter would be Walsh – lets get real here, Walsh could be blamed if England were beaten by 3 – 6 points – maybe, 27 points is a hammering, England have to stand up be counted take responsibility – fans also need to and stop making excuses, reading these blogs make me think England would never lose a game just bullied by referees.

      1. In the build up to the game wales online published an article about how Walsh could be the “welsh lucky charm” and they discussed walsh’s history with England, I think that the welsh are pretty realistic when it comes to Walsh.

        The fact of the matter is, Wales played to the ref, as opposed to England who decided to ignorantly carry on regardless of walsh’s interpretation.

        The best example would be warburton asking Walsh to explain what he was looking for, after the explanation Sam ensured that’s what he did.

        Not only did Wales blow England out of the water, but they adapted to the ref, which does show that they have experience at this level, and they understand what is required.

        Walsh was poor, but he was poor in general, not just for England. Wales on the other hand were not only outstanding in their play, but also the way that they adapted to the ref and played to his interpretation was world class. England were well beaten, regardless of who was blowing the whistle.

        1. Simo …

          As I’ve said elsewhere, therein lies the difference. Had any Englishman asked the referee “what do you want me to do’, he’d have been marched back 10 and accused of being arrogant. Have you noticed how it takes a second or two longer for any referee to give a decision in England’s favour, yet when it’s against England the arm shoots up instantly and the whistle blow is just that bit louder.

          It’s a sub-conscious thing; it’s England’s cross to bear and it must be frustrating as hell for the English.

          I consider myself quite objective: born 5 mins. from Stradey, my great uncle (Prosser-Harris) played for Wales, but I’ve lived in England all my life.

          1. little lewy, i am born and raised english (apart from a few years in USA and Aus as a kid) so, although i try and be as objective as possible, i can’t help but find myself wearing rose tinted glasses every now and then. i think things are made worse by the fact that two of the england team are former players of the club where i started out, and one of them is a friend.

            having said this, regardless of whether the perception of decisions taking a bit longer or not (i get the feeling they do, but as i said, cannot be totally objective) it is as you said “england’s cross to bear”. its nothing new, and england need to wise up. not only do they have to adapt to what a ref is telling them, but they also need to ensure that they are whiter than white.

            in the RWC final of ’03, a time when i was living in aus, it was pretty wide consensus that refs seemed to go against england on 50-50 calls. the thing that that england team did was to make sure that there were no 50-50’s in the game. this is something that all england teams need to strive to do. regardless of whether the team is actually being favoured against, this is how all england teams need to play. in fact its how all teams (as wales showed yesterday) should play. you have to play to the ref, because otherwise you are just giving yourself an up hill battle.

            one thing that i should say, having googled walsh to see his history, i am amazed to see that the irb have kept him around. based on his previous issues with england, and the lions, i hope he is not allowed to ref any of the lions games. if there is anyone in the world who has a chip on their shoulder, it is steve walsh to the entire of the british and irish isles!

  36. Magic. Well cut so will refrain from saying much but disappointing to see Walsh mentioned so often when Wales better team by some margin. What a day. Magic.

    1. Wales rose to the challenge and played a GREAT game…all down to the right mind set and good coaching?

        1. So he can’t comment on the ref without you saying “like you could do better” but you are here slagging off the entire England team and management…

          I shall quote you here in regards to your comments about the English performance.

          Like you could do better?

    2. Be fair Brightly they are just venting. I don’t anyone believes Walsh cost is this match we just believe Walsh is a massive bell end and need someone to lash out to!

    3. The sad losers talk about Walsh because they can not do better or find a reason for England playing like under 12s

      1. Firstly, plenty of the comments posted have been about how Wales were better than England on the day.

        Secondly, a number of the comments about the sub standard reffing from Walsh have actually been from Welshman as well as Englishman. There has been a majority agreement that his performance, though it was subpar, did not affect the result of the game.

        And finally, “England played like under 12’s” no they didn’t, and I would like to see you have a go against a Welsh team who are as pumped up as the ones today. Only one person here is acting like an 11 year old, and it is you with your constant berating of the England team. Yes, they didn’t have a great game, and that was magnified by the fact that wales played out of their skins. But let’s be realistic, this is a test team who had got themselves into a grand slam deciding situation, even the squad who went on to be the world beaters of ’03 couldn’t win a grand slam in Cardiff! Cardiff is never an easy place to go, and when you have 11 of your starting XV never having played there before, then it’s going to be difficult.

        I cannot stress enough though how much praise must be laid at the door of the welsh. Their first half against Ireland looked like this would be a horror show 6ns for them. But they turned everything around, and produced a simply magnificent performance today. Irrespective of the ref, the atmosphere or anything else, a welsh performance like that would have beaten any team in the world, and I think it could have gone toe to toe with the England that beat NZ (shame that they haven’t been seen since)

        So in summary. Well done Wales, fully deserved win.

        And on a separate note (because it had no effect on the result today, regardless of what people say) Steve Walsh is still a crap ref

        1. No one said England played like under 12. I said I know of under 14s that play better, so in 5 years we have a chance! Get your insults right! Do you coach England cos you are as off target as the current coaches! Facts and tactics off the mark Simo.


          1. You said England played like under 12’s in your post above mine! See below:

            “Simon / March 17, 2013
            The sad losers talk about Walsh because they can not do better or find a reason for England playing like under 12s”

            Either you have selective amnesia, or you are so blindly writing posts without thinking that you cannot remember them!

            In 5 years you want to put a bunch of u14’s (so they will be 18/19 at the time) out on an international test arena… Be my guest, but I guarantee that this England team will have put up a better showing that your lot will do.

            At what point have I talked about facts and tactics to you!? That’s right, I haven’t! How about you bother to take the time to remember what has been written, then formulate a decent argument. Take all the time you need to plan and prepare for your response, but just make sure you remember what you have said in your previous posts.

  37. Simo, Yes, I agree to an extent, but the team play to the coaches game plan…we didn’t have one.

    Mike H…it was not down to the ref…we did not play a good game! When was the last time didn’t collapse a scrum, catch a ball, knock on…..down to the coaches?

    Poor, poor and poor Rugby

  38. Look there’s no point blaming the ref no matter how much of a tw@t he is. England did not help themselves. We created chances and butchered them just as we did against Italy. As painful as it was to watch Wales have done us a favour in beating us so comprehensively. The coaches can’t hide from this. Our scrum is a mess, we need a proper no 8, we need backs who threaten defences and most importantly we need to stop playing people out of position.

    Still for those of us who are long suffering Eng fans let me say this. This is the third year in a row where we have been competing for the championship on the last weekend. All those years under Robinson and Ashton where the best we could hope for was 2nd or 3rd place come the final weekend were far more gutting. SL needs to freshen up the team/ squad but I do think in Corbs, Cole, Youngs, Launchbury, Wood, Robshaw, Morgan, Farrell, Tuilagi, 36 & Foden we have a decent core of players from which to add and improve.

    1. All good points – my perspective:
      The front 5 – need another 18 months to mature
      Back row – playing three 6s was always going to be exposed at some point – a decent 7 and backup No8 needed
      1/2 backs – good 3rd choice backups are needed to provide competition and variety
      Centres – Tuilagi is a problem – great in attack but no real footballing options and does not organise the defence (I actually think he is best as a bench player) – Barritt is picked because of what Tuilagi lacks (is that really worthy of a place? I don’t think so) – 12trees I think should be a starter and I would like to see either Tuilagi improve his defensive organisation or bring in Trinder from Glos or Joseph from LI
      Wings – Ashton has been given every opportunity – time to go – Brown is a great fullback and should play there
      Fullback – Brown and Foden should be fighting for this spot with Goode as back up

  39. Good to see some gracious acknowledgement that this really was a fantastic performance by Wales. Very few teams would have lived with that. So, so happy.

    1. Wales played a great game right to the last few minutes. Respect to a good squad and a great team.

    2. I disagree brighty… I don’t think ANY teams could have lived with that :D

      Great game by the welsh. Also it was nice to see Roberts, and a few others who have been quiet previously, had strong games.

      Roll on the lions!

    3. Agreed – as an Englishman I can hardly remember any side playing as wales did. Congratulations. Rugby is all the better for a strong Welsh side. If England play people who cant pass, what do we expect

    4. But Brightly isn’t that the perennial problem for Wales. They only ever seem to have these performances against Eng. Can they produce that level of intensity against NZ or Aus?

      1. Benjit has a point. It’s all well and good getting that pumped for a game, but it always seems to be England who bring it out of Wales.

        I could be wrong, so please correct me if I am, but I get the perception that in Wales they could go all 6Ns defeated, but if they spoil an English grand slam in the final game with a win then it is a good tournament…

        I don’t see why England don’t have this kind of passion. The welsh hate England, as do the Irish, scots and French.

        England need to find something/someone that will make the blood boil as much as the welsh managed to do yesterday, because that was a performance all about passion and commitment from the entire welsh team.

        1. Yes Simo, you are wrong. We’ve moved on from the “as long as we beat the English” era. We won the tournament yesterday; it’s self centred for anyone English to think that how Wales played yesterday was all about England. It wasn’t. It was about us clicking and going for back to back championships. England were the team we had to beat by 8 to do it. That was all the motivation we needed.

          1. thank god!

            it was a genuine question by the way. i only got the perception because JPR and North both came out this week saying that everyone wanted english blood. but as you have pointed out, it was more the welsh wanting blood, it just happened to be england who were in the sights.

            i do hope that wales can continue in this form. because at the moment the gap between the northern and southern hemispheres is too great, and we need at least one team to be on form to give a good showing!

      2. We will see the next time we play the SH teams Benjit. Personally I remember some awesome efforts down south from Wales last summer. One poor autumn doesn’t make us a bad team just as it was proved that one win against he ABs hasn’t turned England into much.

        1. i think that the ABs were extremely gracious in their loss to england.

          based on all the performances since, i think it has become clear that the virus in the NZ camp that week had a much larger impact than they let on. clearly all of england (myself included got ahead of ourselves)

          yesterday was an outstanding performance by wales, and there is no excuse for england losing other than we could not handle the pace and power of the welsh.

        2. Starting to hunt down your comments cos you seem to make the most sense.

          I think the media plays a large part in the Wales v England, Scotland v England, Ireland v England. It’s fairly outdated for a few, yes it was a big Rivalry but its hard to expect otherwise considering the number of times they play and the importance that comes with them.

          I spent 7years living in england and as a huge rugby fan going down to the pub to watch a game was a fairly fruitless venture, if we lose I took alot of crap from people there, if we won i took just as much. I watch the rankings as i have for a long time now and I personally think wales should be ranked higher, I am sick of seeing NZ, Aus & SA sitting at the top, I know Wales are capable.

          I don’t expect Wales to conquer the world at football, tennis etc Rugby is our sport and we are world class. Although I know a fair few english people (not all) that don’t think we should be, they seem to think the English team is the only British team when it comes to international sport. The whole “England has x gold medals” during the olympics etc

          To me and most Welsh people I know, our Rugby is the one thing on a sporting front we are able to compete on the Grand stage and I makes me proud to see the team doing so well.

          I would treat a win over England as the same as a win over Scotland, Australia or New Zealand. Its all about progress and showing the world what our tiny little country is capable of.

          1. You might, most wouldn’t.
            That’s the tragedy and it embarrasses me as a Welshman. You should have witnessed the anti-English vitriol in the pubs and bars of Cardiff last night.
            Shocking, shameful and does nothing but substantiate the feeling amongst our English cousins that the Welsh have a massive chip on their shoulder – something about ‘Taffy was a thief’, or some such ancient historical shit!

        3. That’s what is so satisfying and is giving me a warm, slightly hungover, feeling as O sit here now revelling in the memory of it all – the emphatic nature of the victory, the margin on the scoreboard, means that there is no point of contention about how good Wales were. Sure, some people have mentioned the ref but even most of then know and acknowledge that it didn’t change the winner. Magic day. First back to back titles for over thirty years. The SH teams can wait a while, for a few days I’m just gonna enjoy this feeling. Possibly better than a slam – not because its England but because, as someone over on the guardian put so well, to find something you thought lost is more satisfying than never losing it in the first place.

        4. True but I rarely see the level of intensity from the Celtic nations when they play other nations. Ire in 11 and Wales last night was something else.

  40. Well this discussion is certainly brightening up a slow first day in the office for me!

    Firstly, the better team won on the day, undoubtedly. As JPR wrote this morning, Wales were always going to be winners from the moment the anthems were sung, that was the moment when watching it I just couldn’t see any other result. The Welsh RU marketing/promotional men should get a massive slap on the back, the atmosphere within the stadium seemed incredible and it is surely one of the best ‘theatres of rugby’ in the world.
    Secondly, but building on point 1, whilst it was massively disappointing to watch as an Englishman, it was clear the occasion negatively effected the England team whilst the Welsh (understandably) thrived on it. It should be remembered that the majority of the team and even our head coach have never been to the MS for a match before, so what an intimidating experience to have for the first time.
    Thirdly, and finally, I hate being a person who comments on the referee, but it just has to be said in this situation. Before I go on, as said above, Wales were the better team and destroyed England, thankfully as if it had come down to a 3 pointer undoubtedly that would have given a ‘referee’s fault’ excuse. However, Walsh clearly is not a top level referee, and I don’t think there are many referees in the world who can handle the scrum. Brian Moore commented in his article last week that for some reason referees have decided they are now scrum coaches as well as referees, so when I heard Walsh saying “I don’t want you doing that, I want you doing this” it infuriated me. If a front row forward is doing something illegal then blow up for it, BUT if they aren’t, it is not the referee’s place to demand they do something differently. Surely the time has come for the scrum to be completely revamped (speaking as an ex-prop, forced to retire young due to neck injuries) and the front rows come together, then the second rows and back row come together once they are settled, then the ball comes in and you are allowed to push. Too much depends on the engage now (look at Wales v Scotland and last night’s game) which completely ruins the game and is not what should matter.
    Anyway, probably gone on long enough, Well done Wales, lets look forward to a good Lions tour and hopefully smash those Aussies 3-0!

  41. I agree wholeheartedly that Wales deserved to win. However, the referee was very poor. Wales were given penalties that were really 50/50 possessions, with England driving over the play they were then penalised.
    I think that this had a decisive outcome for the first half, and England went in at half time looking bewildered and puzzled.
    To see a referee suggesting to one of the front row players in the scrum that if he does not stand where the referee tells him he will be penalised is not only ridiculous, it is farcical.

    The crowd and the MS did a great job in providing the level of support that Wales deserved, and this only added to the roller coaster that Wales were riding. I feel that in order to have strong a 6 Nations we need teams playing well, and referee’s with the knowledge and experience to allow teams to play. Sadly this referee was not up to this task.

    Nigel Owens would have done a much better job!

  42. Walsh set the scene. His decisions early in the game at scrum and breakdown left the inexperienced English pack scratching their heads for solutions, and gave the experienced Welsh the opportunity to to impose themselves – which they did.
    The Welsh performance was so complete the inadequate refereeing made no difference in the end. I just found it difficult to understand how every time the front row came up or collapsed it was England’s fault; every time a Welsh player came in at the side of the breakdown he was identified as the tackler. As I said previously let’s not take anything away from the Welsh, that was as complete a performance as I’ve ever seen in the 6N’s.
    I think the present squad can and will become very good but I think there is a case for including some of the more experienced players such as Sheridan up front to bring the younger ones on.
    Get Wilkinson in as an extra to work with the backs if he retires this year been there, done it, and play players in their proper positions.

  43. I suggest one might google the referees history…..what an eye opener!
    Just how did he get such an important game?
    I think he is still banned in NZ.

  44. What a superb first half and, yes, Wales were brilliant. However, something HAS to be done about refereeing the scrum. No team can survive a game where they end up losing 40-50 metres at every scrum from a penalty no-one seems to understand. Only one scrum in the whole match ran to completion; that can’t be right and it ruins the game.

    I never played in the scrum but these farcical scrum sets and the refereeing thereof only started in recent years. I can’t believe that the current situation is an improvment in safety with many more scrums collapsing than previously. The players don’t seem to know what to do to please the referee and every ref is different. Why can’t we return to the days when the scrum competed for a ball which was put in straight with skilled hookers to strike for it.

  45. Firstly, well done Wales for showing England’s poor selections up. We all know Walsh’s history, but there is only one man to blame for this: Lancaster. I also think Farrell senior has to take his share of the blame: that side had far too much of a defensive mindset, and his influence over selection is far, far too great.

    I don’t know what Lancaster expected to happen, but I am so surprised this didn’t happen sooner. Let’s recap: he chose to play our best flanker out of position at 8, three 6s in a back row, he chose to play a full back on the wing, a full back who can’t tackle or beat a man at 15, two identical centres and a serially out of form winger. Oh, and Joe Marler, who has proved time and time again he is not a test scrummager.

    In anyone’s book, those decisions are at best naive, at worst display an obvious lack of comprehension for balanced selection.

    SL seems a really grounded decent, guy. I just can’t help feeling he is inherently even more conservative than Johnson. By next 6N, we MUST start seeing progression in selection, with the likes of Kvesic, Billy V, 36, Wade and May to complement returning players like Morgan, Foden and Corbs.

    Genuinely concerned that the AB result was the one anomaly that proves the rule: Lancaster is not brave enough.

  46. Well…how did England not win that, the Welsh were awful weren’t they :)

    This game ,from an English view, just highlighted the area’s that everyone has been commenting on for some time. We had no ball carrying player in the pack Youngs aside, Players playing out of position were exposed and the balance in the team poor. Finally Goode at 15 was rubbish.

    I questioned Croft and Goode before the game and all my worries were confirmed by this performance. Croft performed poorly as a carrier and at the breakdown/rucks. He won lineout ball but only in place of Parling. If he was in as an extra lineout option why did the gameplan not involve kicks to touch to use it?

    Goode was terrible for me. He was periphial as an extra playmaker and seemed so indecisive before running back i thought he was starting a new dance craze. How can anyone support his running lines when he is like that.

    England now seem to have clearly missed the opportunity to blood new players against Italy and i for one have no idea why Wood is playing at 8 when we have had the chance to use form 8’s in the EPS? The balance in the back row has been debated for a while and it was clearly exposed by Wales.

    There are no excuses and Wales fully deserved the win, regardless of ref, but hopefully England will learn from this championship and put round pegs in round holes!!

  47. Wales were fantastic,for the whole 80m, as a Lions fan that warms the heart as Waless will make up the core of the team, rightly so.

    From an England perspective one mustn’t forget all the steps forward made and that this is a young team.

    SL has to take some responsibilty, he didn’t blood players against Italy and then couldn’t risk doing it against Wales, He has created the core of a good team, which is more than we have had for a while. However he seems to have stopped trying to solve the problem areas.

    We all know them:
    We need an 8, Morgan spends a lot of time injured so Vunipolo must be played a bit.
    Backline; it is a disaster in attack, Tuilagi has his talents and I think he must continue to play, hopefully develop. The only game our line looked threatening was when 12t’s played, we must play him. Barrit and Tuilagi can compete for 13, attak contra defense.

    Burns must be given a closer look, Farrell has looked suspect in several matches and has a lot of qualities but he will never ignite the line.

    The back three needs a reboot, they look slow, unsure just not there.
    Brown and Foden competing for 15. Some new wingers must be brought into the squad.

    1. Ronbraz – I agree than Ben Morgan was a huge loss (a shame for us that we couldn’t turn his head towards playing for us, but he’s a proud Englishman, a it was never going to happen). Also Corbisiero.

      Agree that SL is a large part of the problem – given the English back three players who even I, as someone who doesn’t watch English club rugby much, can name it’s a travesty that Ashton had an England shirt on yesterday. The man owes his entire career to Ben Foden.

  48. Put the score and result to one side, what a game of rugby, passion, comment, Huge tackles, never say die defences, certain scores stoped by tap tackles, moments of pure magic, What a game.

    1. I agree with your David. I think that English heads may have dropped a bit faster due to Walsh, but regardless, Wales were too good for England.

      I think if the right England had managed to turn up, and they had been able to keep their heads up, then we would have been in for one hell of a contest. I still think that that welsh team would have come out on top because they were just too fast, too strong and too passionate for England to handle.

  49. Fantastic game. Performance of the tournament by Wales. They gave it everything and deserved to win the tournament on that. I felt Wales improved through the tournament, whereas England probably played their best game against Scotland, but struggled against Italy and got a proper doing in Cardiff.

  50. Great game. Performance of the tournament by Wales. They gave it everything and deserved to win the tournament on that. I felt Wales improved through the tournament, whereas England probably played their best game against Scotland, but struggled against Italy and got a proper doing in Cardiff.

  51. At least Lewis Moody will be happy. Eng in a much better place now. I can almost taste that 2015 GS and World Cup!!

  52. Haven’t been able to read any reports, or even the comments on here – it’s all just too painful. So apologies if I’m repeating what has been said.

    Firstly well done Wales, a magnificent performance.

    I said before the game that I hoped we wouldn’t mention Walsh. All I will say is that he shouldn’t referee another international, and certainly not one involving England. However changing the ref wouldn’t have changed the result, but might have changed how many points were scored.

    I said before the game that I wondered if we’d flattered to deceive and I think I was right. I also thought Wales would win. However I was completely wrong with my analysis of Tipuric – he can play international rugby from the start of a game, and have now totally revised my Lions team – many more Welsh players in the starting 15 and on tour.

    Maybe this is a good thing in the long run as we know how much further we’ve got to go before competing at the top level, and in Lancaster I no longer trust unless he learns from his mistakes. We do at least have a core of young capped players for the future, which is more than can be said of Ireland! Wales may have a tricky transition in a few years as well. However for the time being, they look in rude health!

    Would also say that I thought Adam Jones deserved MOTM.

    1. Have to agree MOTM, he was awesome. Shame he has never been given the captaincy as he has to be No.1 choice for the Lions

  53. Now feeling a bit better for having got things off my chest and have now read the other comments. I see I’m not ploughing a lone furrow!

    What I would reiterate is that Walsh was rubbish. That’s not an excuse that’s fact, whether you were English or Welsh. So don’t have a go at the English for pointing this out. Much of our team were also rubbish, and you haven’t minded us pointing that out!

    Anyway the good news is that we can now look forward to the Lions!

  54. As a Welshman having lived in England most of my life, I think I see things in a very balanced way. And I take far less satisfaction from a win against England for that reason.

    At this level, games are won and lost according to incredibly fine margins.

    Firstly, the tone of the game was set from the first scrum, and although commentators here are right that England didn’t respond well to the referee’s interpretation (which I am led to understand was very different from the one he had explained to the England team in the dressing room beforehand – bit of inside information there!), my point is why should England be put in the position unfairly where they have to respond at all. Don’t bother citing the Warburton example because it was singular.

    Secondly, Wales with some justification should delight in this victory, but should also know according to the theory of fine margins that – for example – had Tuilagi taken that ball in the first ten minutes, the result could well have been the reversal of what we saw. I know the Wales players know this. I know the England players know this in relation to their win against NZ. France certainly know this, otherwise they’d have given up entirely by now.

    That’s rugby!

  55. Lewy, being a Welshman living abroad doesn’t make you any more able to discuss some things objectively than the rest of us. In fact, it’s not even worth mentioning.

    Disagree with everything else you’ve said in this comment – the Warburton example you dismiss as “singular” is important because its singularity is the point. Warburton only needed to be told once. Twice would have been dumb or cheating.

    Fine margins? 27 points is not a fine margin. Dominating the possession and territory is not a fine margin. Even if Tuilagi had caught that ball (which he didn’t as Wales were pressuring), then he’d gone through the cover tackle, then he’d passed and the supporting runners were in the right place to catch, etc. Tuilagi’s “chance” wasn’t some fumble from two yards with the try line beckoning – it’s only being talked about so much as it was pretty much the last point in the match when England were coming towards the Welsh near the 22.

    Normally I’d agree that tiny margins can decide matches but not in this one. It was a comprehensive hammering which means that no Welsh player will be thinking “we could have lost that….” and no English player will be thinking “Oooh, that was close, we could have taken it if…”. Everyone knows who was top by a distance yesterday.

    1. No.

      Because even minor events can change the whole dynamic of a game, who’s on the front foot, who’s on the back foot, silencing of the crowd, etc., etc. It’s why lesser rugby nations sometimes can beat greater rugby nations (Samoa vs. Wales); it’s why in rugby, on any given day, any team can win against any other team. I’m sure you don’t need examples. What we don’t need is the dynamic of the game being influenced by the referee, one way or the other.

      If you look at the replay you’ll see Tuilagi was clear. But that’s not my point, it was an example.

      Warburton’s ‘singular’ correction didn’t change the dynamic of the game, indeed because of its singular, arbitrary nature, whereas England’s penalties were for a set piece repeated numerously: England’s 9 scrum penalties against one in the first ten minutes, contrary to Walsh’s stated interpretation, did change the dynamic of the game.

      No, but no Welshman will go into the next game against England thinking ‘we’ve got this in the bag’ and no Englishman will be thinking ‘we’re done for’. Cause and effect.

      It’s well worth mentioning, perhaps not for your benefit, even though your objectivity is from your comments far from evident, because it substantiates a lack of allegiance.

      1. England’s scrum penalties were there because they couldn’t cope with the Welsh scrum.

        I don’t believe you when you say you are mentioning it to display your complete objectivity. First because I do not see such objectivity in your comments – you believe Walsh was an issue so read the game one way, as with the scrum penalties. Second because we all know its just a slightly smug way of trying to tell us you must be right because you’re a Welshman who has lived in England for so long that this therefore gives you, unlike us rather backwards folk who still live where we were born, an unnaturally brilliant perception of the facts completely devoid of the bias that the rest of us cannot rise above.

        1. I’m sorry Brighty. I didn’t mean to bring out in you a complex that now is quite self-evident.

          I don’t mean either to play psychology games; you’re clearly too ‘brighty’ for that. Mine though is based on reason and logic, and I do mean to point out that it is not tainted by partiality, one way or the other.

          1. No ned to apologise. I know you know you’ve lost the argument when you get into the personal attacks. Thanks for conceding.

            Strange and clunky dig at my surname though.

            Your self delusion is impressive though. You are not being impartial. You do subjectively have an issue with the referee and want to dress it up as a flimsy logical argument. It’s not working.

        2. I’m sorry Brighty, I didn’t mean to bring out in you the complex that now appears self-evident.

          I don’t mean either to play psychology games; you’re far too ‘Brighty’ for that.

          Mine, however, is based on logic and reason, and I do mean to demonstrate that this is not in any way influenced by partiality.

  56. Brighty. Both agree and disagree with you. Firstly Lewy to my mind is being fairly objective, which is something we all struggle with on ocassions. I watched the game sat next to a friend who is indeed the only welshman in our village. He is very passionate about Wales, but I do believe he is also very objective as he has to live with the other point of view most of the time rather than being in a national bubble. However you are correct in that doesn’t mean he is the only objective commentator.

    Disagree with you on the fine margins point. Lots of little things affect games and lead to pressure. Pressure builds and affects both teams. The team on top relaxes slightly mentally meaning they are able to play a better game, while the team under pressure starts to make bad choices, leading to more pressure. You see this in all sports. Therefore to my mind Walsh played his part in this game when he shouldn’t have as a better ref would have been able to properly communicate to the teams. You saw the looks of absolute bemusement on the faces of some of the England players when Walsh was talking. That doesn’t happen when Owens talks!

    However I do agree with you on the Tuilagi “chance”. Firstly he didn’t catch it. Simple as that. Secondly, there was cover, and so to my mind it wasn’t exactly a chance. However the point stands that if England had scored then the dynamics of the game might have changed. However as stated they didn’t.

    I also think that England couldn’t cope with the Welsh scrummage. Hence my praise for Jones. That was the platform that set Wales on the way.

    However as far as the margin goes, some of the scoring happened when England were trying to chase the game, and if the points margin had been closer, they wouldn’t have been doing this.

    However as I have said before after both England wins and losses. The proof is at the end of the day the scoreline. What might have happened is irrelevant as it didn’t. Therefore the reality is that Wales trounced England on this ocassion. However if the game was played 10 times, I do not beleive that Wales would trounce England all ten times, and in fact do not believe that Wales would win all ten times. The sides are closer than that.

    1. Staggy, I understand the point about fine margins – I tried to take solace from it after our games against Aus. I agree it does often have a bearing in games but my point is that it didn’t in this one. Wales went out and consistently wore down the English from start to finish, building wave after wave of pressure that eventually strangled the life out of England. So this wasn’t one of those fine margin sort of games.

      By the way I spend most go my week in England so if having to spend most of your time discussing and watching rugby with English people makes you impartial then count me in. I don’t think Lewy is being impartial here though.

      The England players being bemused doesn’t mean it was Walsh’s fault – pressure, noise, intensity. These overwhelmed the English, not the man with the whistle. At the end of the match it was something like 17 pens against 9.

      I do agree with you on the ten games point. Yesterday Wales played a perfect game with almost a first choice XV. England had 2 key players missing and in Ashton they had a guy there on reputation only. That won’t happen again. It’s this fact that makes yesterday all the more enjoyable – we hammered em. It doesn’t happen and is unlikely to happen again anytime soon. That’s why we love it and if the boot was on the other foot you’d have to agree it would be tiresome to read so many “I don’t want to mention the ref but…” comments when your team put in one of the best performances I have ever seen from them.

      As a comparator I didn’t like all of the “NZ had food poisoning…” stuff either. I don’t recall there being a massive outcry when England were gifted a non-try against the French either? That’s because to do so would have been churlish.

      1. Brighty, you make things too easy.

        I agree with all you say re. making personal attacks and losing the argument. You must agree with me though that once one makes it personal it is reasonable that the other will reciprocate.

        ‘I don’t believe you when you say … ‘

        ‘… we all know its just a slightly smug …’

        Quote – brighty / March 17 2013

        A liar, and smug … rather personal I’d say!

        My comments to that point were objective and impersonal.


        Thanks for conceding!

      2. Brighty, seems like your looking at the Welsh performance through rose tinted windows. Wales were indeed the better team on the day, but that had a lot to do with Walsh in the first half. Indeed it seemed like England were edging it at points around the field,but Walshes persistant penalizing noticeably sapped England’s morale and in the end it just seemed like they had given up 10 minutes into the second half.

        Of course in your eyes there’s conveniently no such thing as small margins when it comes to England. Naturally this doesn’t matter anyway because clearly Wales are the best team in the world and how on earth could they have lost at the weekend?

        1. Liam, you are the only person on planet earth who thinks Walsh swung that game Wales way.

          I don’t need rose tinted specs to see the team that scored the most tries in this championship, conceded the least and finished with their biggest ever win over one of the best teams in world rugby. I’m quite happy reflecting on all of those facts.

          We are not the best team in the world. Just Europe – European champions two years on the trot.

          I’ve also agreed with Staggy that there are often small margins in games, not “never” and I definitely didn’t exclude England from that. I merely said that this particular game wasn’t about small margins, as the emphatic score line and single score from England shows.

  57. I do remember a comment about the NZ food poisoning from Friday!

    Actually I generally regard you as fairly impartial although with a hint of Welsh patriotism – it must be those trips over the Severn Bridge – so maybe Lewy is correct about that!

    Agree that on Saturday Wales played a blinder, and as stated above I don’t think Walsh affected the outcome on the day but I do think that he affected the scoreline, and that stinks of bad referreeing. I also think that Walsh contributed to England’s woes at the scrum with some very odd interpretation of the laws. However as predicted before the game, Wales definitely had a better scrum than England. Back to Jones. I remember you praying for a fit Adam Jones for Xmas. You definitely got your wish on Saturday!

    As to fine margins, the first half was full of them, but once the dam broke there was only one team in it. The point is though that if the fine margins had gone the other way in the first half, the game could have been much closer as the pressure would have been more evenly distributed affecting both teams rather than just England. Ultimately that led to only one team being in it and a pretty thorough rout.

    1. I’m watching the match now. 22 mins in there has been 1 scrum penalty yet England have still made 3 times more tackles than Wales and missed a few as well. Nearly all the game has been down the English end. 25mins in and the penalty count is even yet Wales are still six points up with nearly all the ball and territory. I think the game was going Wales way before Walsh had an influence – Wales were winning the collisions and winning the kicking game. Building a win out of the early small margins but crucially I feel that they made those margins go their way, they were not gifted them. I’ll agree that this is a subjective opinion though as its all about how you feel it was going. I see an England team hanging in there, others will see an England team repelling an early Welsh surge.

      I always think that the 9 point gap is the key point in a match. That’s what good teams do – get over one score ahead. Then the other team stops trying to simply prevent scores and realises it needs to go forward and score – this is when it opens up and it’s key who scores next – open up the margin further or close it down. Wales scored next in this case, leading to more chasing from England, leading to more Welsh scores. I honestly think this is what led to the score difference, not Steve Walsh; but to repeat myself I can see that this is an opinion, a feeling, so other opinions will differ.

      I may watch it again tomorrow and twice on Tuesday :-)

    2. I think the food poisoning item was me… When someone mentioned feeding the England team something special it was just too glaringly open for me to resist!

  58. I did say to my mate that the game was done when Wales went 12-3 ahead so agree on that.

    Forgive me if I don’t watch the game again – probably would give me some fresh insight in the cold light of day and indeed maybe you are right but it’s just too painful!

  59. I, as an England fan, am ashamed at that shambolic, farcical excuse of a performance. If that’s a performance from an international rugby team then I should be playing. Compared to that I can “perform”. Stuart Lancaster needs to pull something out of the bag. Our attack is woeful and his policy of playing two fullbacks has been exposed on numerous occasions this tournament. Brown at full back. Two wingers, wade and may or varndell would be champion. And throw Kyle eastmond into the inside centre slot. I’ve had enough of all this defence bull that Lancaster has repeatedly peddled since he took over. England looked like a team trying to win via defence than attack. Sorry, you have to try to put five pointers on the board all day long. Shift robbo to six and bring in kvesic. Morgan back as a ball carrier and it starts too look a lot more dangerous than those lost souls in white shirts on Saturday. Totally disgusted with that performance. Couldn’t even keep Wales in touch points wise. England have ended the tournament the most boring, least clinical and least creative/ attacking side in the whole championship. I’m sick of hearing excuses about why these young players who are setting the premiership on fire with attacking flair, aren’t being blooded. Every country seems too except us. England picks consistency and every other country picks on form. Someone tell me why Barritt, Ashton, goode and anyone else who are ever so lacklustre in a white shirt are being selected. If drop the lot. Not scoring points or making space and putting people into it? Sorry, we don’t need you. Freddie burns desperately needs to be selected ahead of flood. Farrell is incredibly ineffective when the pack isn’t dominant. Well not being dominant was an understatement. The pack might as well have rolled over and died after the first fifteen. They were barely giving the welsh any competition. England didn’t compete at the breakdown and stood off. They didn’t come up in defence giving Roberts and co plenty of time to work up a thundering head of steam which did plenty of damage. Again back to Barritt. If you’re not bringing anything more than a good tackle stat to the team (which is expected of an international centre anyway), then you shouldn’t be in it. Rugby is about scoring points and winning games. Not making tireless tackles. I heard one pundit claiming pre match that the England team were built around Barritt. What a load of balls, when the going gets tough he disappears and falls back on his physicality. Which at international level and especially against the welsh monsters isn’t that physical. He’s looking distinctly average every game. Don’t have much to say about Ashton. I forgot he was playing he had such little impact or presence throughout the match. Gone is his swagger and the fear he used to instil in defences. Everyone just sees a frustrated, sometimes immature professional with a bad attitude. What a transformation.

    My team for 1st test v Argentina this summer. (Not allowing for possible lions absences)

    1. Corbisiero
    2. Youngs
    3. Cole
    4. Launchbury
    5. Parling
    6. Robshaw(c)
    7. Kvesic
    8. Morgan

    9. Youngs
    10. Burns
    11. May
    12. Eastmond
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Wade
    15. Brown

    Replacements of marler, Hartley, any young tight head as long as he’s better than the wasteful lump that is Davey wilson (the young sale prop?), lawes, care, Farrell and twelvetrees or Tomkins.

    There, that looks a team to score some points and ask some questions. The midfield looks a lot more dangerous than the ambling brick wall formed by the Barritt, tuilagi partnership. Eastmond and kvesic grow with every game. Wade and may have gas to burn. id put money on wade turning most international wingers inside out with less than 5m of space. Look at how good brown is defemsively and he got distinctively served by wade in a split second. May is apparently the fastest player in the premiership and the words kick the points musnt exist in his vocab. He tries to score from eevrywhere. Eastmond is so exciting. Brings a different flavour of x-factor to the england midfield. Quick feet, decision making, good hands and as competative as BOD or warburton. throw the kid in, give him some ball and see if he can unleash a bit of chaos. A bit of chaos this england team desperately needs. Ive never seen a team go from looking fresh ad exciting to tired and clueless in such a short space of time. Anyone else got thoughts?

    I apologise about how angry this post is. I’m a passionate fan that’s been totally let down. I’ve seen too many false dawns and I’ve heard too many excuses from coaches about why a team is playing a certain way. Simply had enough of conservatism and logical sensibility. I’m all for innovation and taking a leap of faith now. The tried and tested means aren’t working for England. We need to take a leaf from the welsh/French play book and try to play with flair, abandon and have some fun.

    Hats off to Wales, biggar finally staked a claim and found a way to bring in that humongous backline. Even Roberts looked closer to his ’09 vintage. Only thing that needs to be done now is to find a way to get halfpenny running with the ball in space more. He’s so wonderful in broken play and space.
    Oh, lastly, one word for Warburton/Tipuric… Immense.

    1. Hi James, England impressed me in one area, they gave 100% played their hearts out for 80 minutes. I am still finding it difficult to find one English pundit who has criticised the ref, everyone has said that Wales had the complete game plan and deserved their win with no excuses. England needed to have leaders and unfortunately Robshaw did not do this. England will be back and learn from this SL is a great coach and will choose his 15 in position. I am a very proud and happy Welshman and i hope i would not make feeble excuses and blame the ref if we had lost – England would have lost yesterday regardless of the ref and lost badly, Wales had the passion, pride and tougher then their counterparts from 1 – 15 on the day – any other day would have been different game and maybe a different result. Tipuric had a awsome game, so did all 15 welshman. Not going to gloat because England will be back stronger then ever.

      1. I agree. Walsh wasn’t that bad. Was pretty consistent. The whole scrum interpretation is irrelevant because pros should play to the way the ref is calling during the game, despite what he says pre-match. I’m just craving something exciting rather than the whole, we know he won’t leak points scenario. I just thought the pack would have fronted up more when wales took it to another level about half an hour in. Why didn’t wales do that in the semi! Then again if this young welsh team were world champions I don’t think there’s be anyone stopping them any time soon

      2. Dont home teams always get the rub of the green with refs? Was anyone expecting anything different?

  60. I find these pathetic personal attacks puerile. Why don’t you two grow up and talk about a great game. If you want to keep abusing referees and opposition supporters join the soccer community!
    Wales won because they were the better team on the day. Some of the English team were magnificent in defeat, Robshaw in particular. Count your blessings that you now have a coach who can coach and not a former good player picking his old cronies. Lancaster will turn these youngsters in to a team to be feared. Maybe Farrell will grow up and become a leader of the back line. Walsh could easily have carded him for that cheap shot on Halfpenny off the ball (not the only mistake by either of them). Maybe more of the England players will begin to realise they need to show the same sort of courage as their captain. Roll on the Lions, the majority of the squad has to come from this match. Everyone who played in it will have learned from the experience.
    I’d pick all the centres who turned out yesterday before O’Driscoll, his day is done. DISCUSS>>>>

    1. Can’t possibly agree BOD is done. The only thing we learned about BOD from Ireland’s last few games is that he struggles in a team ravaged by injury. He had no front foot ball and in the end tried to do too much on his own. His frustrations were rewarded with a yellow card in Rome. There’s life in the old talisman yet. He still showed his class in parts throughout this tournament. There isn’t another 13 playing for the home nations that can use the players around him better than BOD.

    2. That booting was nasty, I’d expect a decent ban. Out to cause injury in my opinion. Daft as had one the penalty already. Let his team down, but finished…. I’m not so sure!

  61. Well as a long term England fan I woke up on Saturday with high hopes and ended the day with hopes down the pan, again.
    Fair play Wales you played a blinder and even as an Englishman you have my respect for a gutsy performance fuelled by pride and passion.
    Pity our boys don’t have any of that to speak of. I saw them off at the St Davids Hotel and even then the had a hang dog heads down attitude, didn’t smile or wave to any of us supporters
    Perhaps the story of partying in the bar the night before and buying young ladies drinks are true
    The English game was a shambles with the guys from England we placed our faith in and spent our money and time following letting us down. No more excuses, you were crap and you should apologise to the nation and especially all those youngsters who train and work and aspire to wear the England Shirt.
    Must go my England Shirt isn’t burning as well as my disgust

  62. I might have to stop reading the comments but im getting a little frustrated with them now. I’m welsh and proud of the welsh win.

    We went into the six nations on the back of some extremely bad results, scratch that, the better part of a years worth of bad results. England have had 1 loss, granted a fairly critical one for a GS but it’s not the end of the world.

    If we skip over to the team selections there was a glimmer of hope amongst england fans to get this Grandslam, saying yes it would be a tough game but maybe they had it in them.

    Now you lost, and took a fair bit of a beating. But seriously wake up, it happens to everyone. NZ aren’t an unbeaten team, the Aussies take there beatings same as South Africa. It happens.

    If this is how you “Support” your country by slamming them the moment they lose a game its a disgrace and perhaps you shouldn’t waste your time & money following the team on there travels or even buying a few tin’s in to watch the game. Supporting a club or a country is about through the good & the bad.

    Wales have just experienced this, we had a great WC up until Warburton got his red, still fought tooth & nail but lost out. They had a GS, then went on and Lost game after game after game with no sign on turning it around. They started this six nations by taking a 40minute beating from the Irish. They turned it around and took the tournament in the last 40minutes!

    The path to a world class team isn’t short, it isn’t won & lost in a single game. But there one thing I feel every Welsh fan should be proud of, we show up with the team every game, Regardless of the opponent. It’s about time a few of the English “fans” on this board took the same attitude, you lost yes – now shake it off and gear up cos there’s plenty more to come!

    1. Michael, In reply to your reply to Fearless, its not about that one game (one sided though it surely was). The fact is that England have got progressively worse as the 6Ns has progressed. Against Scotland they played OK, Ireland could have gone either way, France had us by the scrff and then committed suicide, Italy matched us all the way and you know the rest. Fearless knows, as do all England supporters that our scrum has been under pressure all tournament, the line out has mis fired, the penetrative play has been noteable by its absense. In the last 4 games they created next to nothing and butchered even that. I dont wish to take anything from Wales in what must go down as one of their greatest days ever but England (we hoped) were looking to build towards the next world cup but for now, from 1 – 15 they simpley don’t look good enough.

    2. Michael
      Believe me as a 60 year old who has played and watched rugby for a very longtime I have had my share of ups and downs with England
      Loyal to the last drop of my blood even in the days of failure but only because I felt our boys played to their best of their ability
      I can not and will not take anything away from Wales. They came to win
      However our boys were capable of better and just didn’t put their heat into it. I have felt this way for the last few games even though we got results.
      The pride and passion of players of old just doesn’t seem to shine through. I could name players who hd hardly any money for playing and less support and coaching like Fran Cotton, Mike Teague, Mickey Skinner, David Duckham Alistair Higgnal and many more who you knew that when they pulled on the national jersey were pumped to play out of their skins. I just do get that feeling about these guys. Yes they worked but lacked the bite of patriotism
      SL is a great coach but its the men on the pitch that have to do the deed. They are highly paid professional athletes and I don’t expect a win every game but I would expect more zip than I saw on Saturday. Saw the same in Dublin and was worried. Scotland in the last 20 minutes scared them and they list shape and form
      Take the line out and scrum, there were times when focus and commitment just weren’t there
      I can assure you it would be easy to blame a ref or an off game and it hurts to criticise your national team but as this is the first time I have ever written like this and stood by them for over 45 years I think it’s time to be honest
      Focus, be passionate, put your chips down and play for your country England

  63. Impossible for England to win when it comes to Welsh fans. If we don’t call them on their failings we’re arrogant, if we do we’re poor fans.

    I don’t see any England fans failing to recognise the superiority of the Wales team yesterday. Suggesting that we’re attacking the referee to try and avoid recognising England’s failings or Wales’ successes is nothing more than Welsh bias against England and its fans. I will happily put my hand up and say that England were outplayed, and I don’t believe it was Walsh’s fault for that. However, in a scenario where every scrum is awful with no obvious culprits, the fact that he penalised England without failure is simply inexcusable. Doubtless brighty and the dragons crew will jump on me for posting this, but the catch 22 (some) Wales fans apply to England is nothing short of childish.

  64. Just watched Vickery on Scrum V. Full of plaudits for the Welsh scrum and not a mention of refereeing. Penalties at scrum time often mean you’re dominant, not that the ref is clueless. Eng have benefited from this themselves loads in the past, just ask the Aussies.

    Amazing stats for the game flashing past – England missed 17 tackles, Wales 5. I can’t fault the English players for effort and attitude though. No doubt they put their bodies on the line (well, apart from one winger), they just came up against a powerful team, at home, playing their best game. Amazing.

    1. The fact that Ashton seems to not even be putting effort in is awful. I know what you mean, in that there are situations when he looks like he doesn’t want to be there.

      He is missing a hard running 15, and I think that the time has passed that he should be changed, even more so of England are going to persist with Goode at 15. Apart from 9, 11 and 13, that was a sarries backline running out for England. But what makes it worse, is it is members of the sarries backline who are not the creative ones.

      Time to look to some younger/more exciting players in Argentina.

      I think that 12Ts has to he the England 12 moving forward. After all, he is the passing 12 that SL said he wanted at the beginning of his time in charge. If 12Ts isn’t available, then Eastmond needs to be the next option.

    2. Brighty it’s about time you came clean and admitted you were completely and totally wrong….I remember you distinctly saying Farrell would kick ten out of ten to halfpenny’s nine out of ten. Eat your words with a humble welsh cake or forever have your credibility truly ruined!

      1. Lukov, it’s a fair cop. In fact I was wrong about nearly everything. I thought it would be a tight game, probably a Wales win but an English title. I thought our backs wouldn’t see much ball, that the scrum would be parity at best and Tuilagi might be a handful. Nobody, nobody anywhere, expected what we saw yesterday.

  65. England what was coming. We have decent players with a decent leader in Lancaster. We are full of determination effort and humbleness. This style of ply will win 3 or 4 6 nations games every year, them will get to the rwc quarter finals then with a bit of luck ( like 2007) we could stumble our way until we meet a world class team.


    We could an 8 with presence who can ball carry

    Pick at least one centre who can and will pass. Barritt ( can’t pass) is solid but will never unlock a decent defense. Tuilagi ( won’t pass) needs to get dropped every time he wastes a huge overlap, then he might learn that he plays with wings too

    Then can we please…please, pick a back 3 with pace! Again, brown is solid, humble high effort (see above) but anyone here seriously think he would worry a world class team. Goode is okay, will be better with 2 quick wings alongside.

    In the second half Wales knew that could kick in long as we had no one who could score from 50 yards.

    As or Ashton….actually I’m on his side, pass him the ball 3 times in space in a game, if he doesn’t score complain, never pass to him, what do you expect?

    Steady, reliablem tenacious, hard working….all good words to make up a winning team, but it also needs flair, ambition, inspiration….anyone see quins play recently?

    1. Just for a fantasy moment, imagine this backline, purely for gas…

      9. Youngs/care (both quick off the mark)
      10. Cipriani (only because he’s the fastest 10 in the premiership)
      11. Varndell
      12. Eastmond
      13. JJ
      14. Wade
      15. Jonny May

      That would be some fast rugby right there.

      1. Burns is pretty speedy, and I would be more comfortable with him at 10 than Danny.

        With the likes of Daly to come on as subs too. Oh and monye used to be a sprinter. He was absolutely electric. I think his PB was something like a 10.5 or somewhere around that

  66. I despair at some of the scrummaging ‘experts’ on here. I’ve not found one pundit in all the tabloid press that thought England lost the scrum because of Walsh. It’s never been fashionable to acknowledge that Wales have a pretty powerful scrum, and rarely get domintated by any team.

    As for the breakdown, it was clear that Walsh wanted the tackler out of the way immediately. Why not take heed and get out of the way? Tom Youngs held on, and Goode laid there on the wrong side, in front of phillips with his arms held up. Why not move instead?

    I do not accept, as Little Lewy seems to state as ‘fact’ that Walsh would’ve marched England back 10 yards if they had seeked clarification. You must adapt to the conditions. It’s all to do with experience and England will learn from it and be the better for it.

    When all said and done the most telling stat was 17 missed tackles. You cannot miss so many at international level and expect to win.

    Congrats to both teams for leaving it all on the field and producing the best game of the tournament by far.

    1. @Anarky: you may not have found any tabloid pundits saying it, but you might want to listen to Shane Williams and Eddie Butler, both of whom criticised Walsh’s refereeing particularly at the scrum, and are of course both Welsh. Perhaps you might pay attention to what one of Wales’ greatest all-time try scorers has to say for himself?

      1. Chuckles, what did Eddie and Shane say? Shane was on Scrum V last night and the subject of the ref didn’t come up much (there was one comment about the penalties against Wales awarded at the breakdown). The noise on Sat was too loud for me to hear much punditry during the match. What did they say?

        I would ask one thing though – can we all stop trying to state our credentials as some sort of badge of authenticity when complaining about the ref? (Chuckles, you’re not doing this, this is a general whinge). Being English, or Welsh, or Irish, or an Englishman living in Wales or vice versa, or from Mars doesn’t make you any more qualified to discuss the ref than anyone else. Everyone has their prejudices, either conscious or unconscious, either nationalistic or anti-Walsh or pro-scrum or whatever. Tell me clearly what Walsh did wrong rather than “he penalised England at the scrum more than Wales and he is known to hate England” and we can see what the meat of the problem was.

        As I’ve said before, penalising one team more than the other can be read many ways, bias is only one of them. If England were playing Aus and got a dozen scrum penalties there would be a lot of English fans claiming that as dominance in the scrum. In fact that is exactly what happened in RWC 2007.

        All of this whinging about the ref is a bit soccer though, isn’t it?

        1. And having said that, here’s my whinge about the ref! :-) It’s more of a question really – Why didn’t Ashton get binned for the stamping? He did it right in front of Walsh and when Walsh told him to stop he did it again. Not massively different to BODs card in Italy. Consistency fail?

          1. Brighty, I didn’t see Ashton’s stamp. I am not coming across all Arsene Wenger – I seriously diod not see it. When did this happen?

            If it was the same as BOD’s then he too, should have been Red-carded (as BOD should have been).

          2. Blub, I only noticed it when I rewatched the game yesterday. Sometime in the 2nd half, at a ruck. He eventually got penalised for coming in at the side but prior to that his feet were going up and down like crazy. The odd thing was that Walsh told him to stop it so must have seen it.

            It’s in a melee of bodies so you can’t see his feet on the replay but he is furiously ripping his feet up and down and Walsh is shouting at him to stop it.

            On balance though I’m glad he didn’t get sent off – I unfortunately have read a lot of the comments on here and far too many of them (but still thankfully in the minority) do suggest Walsh had a material impact on the game. If he’d sent Ashton off as well people would have had a field day blaming him for it all when we played a great game. Both teams did – both came to play, both played with massive pace, intensity and intent.

          3. Brightly, I recall the stamp, I saw it at the time.

            I could be wrong, but I remember at the time that Ashton was pushing his leg behind him. As opposed to bod, who went out in front. The point was made when bod was binned that the angle of the foot in relation to the knee is the key. If you are putting your foot forward, it is a stamp, if you are pushing it back, it is “raking”…

            It is a VERY grey area, and one that I have never been happy with. I think it is possible to cause more damage with flurries of raking than a single stamp.

            The same issue came to the fore when Healy was banned for his stamp. It was deemed that had his foot gone backwards, it would have been perfectly legal.

            So basically, although there was clearly intent, the reason Ashton was not punished was because he was deemed to be “raking” not “stamping”

          4. With regards to you saying that you are glad Ashton didn’t get sent off, because it would have been seen as Walsh doing the welsh a favour. I disagree, I think Walsh did the welsh a favour by letting Ashton stay on! England would have been better off without him. God knows his tackling is so poor that you might as well only defend with 14.

          5. Brighty, no doubt that Wales deserved the pens when they had England retreating, those times were clear dominance.

            And regarding your comment on marler and also giving the ref a reason not to like you. England were very naive here. Not only does Walsh seem to not like England, but they proceeded to argue with him!? That is only going to go one way! England need to be (pardon the pun) whiter than white, especially when Walsh is the ref!

        2. What about members on the blog who are qualified refs… Surely they are in a pretty decent place to comment on a referee?

          1. Simo, thanks for clarifying about the raking.

            As for commenting on the referee what I meant was I’d like to understand what he did wrong and if a ref can contribute to that then please do but I’d like to hear the technicals rather than just “I’m very objective so my opinion can be treated as fact…” nonsense.

            The majority of stuff has just been anti-Walsh or general “the ref hated us and pinged us out of the first half…” type rubbish.

            So far the decent comments I’ve heard are:

            – Adam Jones bound on the arm. I understand this is illegal. Having watched the match again I’ve seen Cole, Marler and Jenkins also do this and not get pinged. Ref was consistently bad on this illegality. Not an advantage to Wales.

            – Jenkins went down, penalty to Wales. That’s interpretation – how the heck do you know who’s gone down in a scrum? You tend to give the benefit to the team going forward in such a case, don’t you?

            What else?

          2. I totally agree that someone claiming to be objective cannot be deemed to be enough. And again, I totally agree that technical examples are required to explain a point. Seeing as I have been a qualified ref, I will have a go at some technical stuff in a moment…

            I have not watched the game again, A) I don’t have the time right now, and more importantly B) why would I want to relive such a painful drubbing?

            But from what I recall at the time, it seemed that a few of the calls going against Cole could have easily gone against A. Jones at the same time. I recall at least one scrum where Jenkins and Marler both failed to bind correctly, and so both ended up face first in the dirt, with the two tightheads laying flat on their bellies. Walsh just happened to be round the side with Cole on, and he pinged Cole.
            In this example, whatever Cole was deemed to have done wrong, clearly Jones had done the exact same thing? Similarly, the REAL penalties should have gone against the looseheads for not getting the bind, not the tighthead.

            Another issue I had with Walsh at the scrum. The very first scrum of the game, both packs went down, and all looked pretty fine. He then blew his whistle, took offence to something that Marler was doing/saying and went over to say something. I could not really make out what he had said, but I did hear the word “penalty”… to be threatening that at the very first scrum is a bit strange. And when the scrum was (eventually) “completed” i.e. he gave a free kick against Youngs for not getting the ball in quickly enough, he had initially signalled a full arm penalty… maybe I am clutching at straws here, but could that not be seen as a bit of a Freudian slip?

            My issues with Walsh are that he does not seem to understand the scrum. I do not think that he was particularly biased when it came to scrum time, although I do think that he is a bit oblivious to what is happening on the other side, and will only ping what he sees in front of him. I suppose in fact though that this is an issue among most refs in the world. Walsh however draws more criticism because he gives off the impression that the crowd is there to see him, not the 30 blokes around him…

            My other comment regarding Walsh is not to do with his performance on the weekend, but more him in general. Having looked him up and read his past, I do not understand how he is actually allowed to ref any games that have England, or indeed the Lions. He has received bans for incidents involving England and the B&I Lions… and yet the IRB still allow him (a man who has openly admitted to not liking England) to ref games that have English players involved…

            Also, and I know that you are not one of these brighty, but a few people have likened the welsh scrummaging from the weekend to an England team that demolished Australia’s scrum. There is a key difference in these two occasions. During this weekend’s game, the welsh were getting the penalties when the scrum was collapsing after the hit, because the ref interpreted England to have caused the collapse. When the England pack won so many penalties against the Wallabies back in ’07, it was because their had them matching backwards and their scrum was not handling the pressure of the English drive, wales were able to get this kind of dominance in the games against Scotland and Italy this year. Basically, it is two different types of winning a penalty at the scrum. Type 1 – is winning the penalty because the scrum collapses after the hit. The penalty usually results because a prop as incorrectly bound, or a prop has crumbled under the pressure of the hit, therefore collapsing the scrum.
            The second type – Type 2 – occurs because once the scrum is set and the ball goes in the contests begins. A scrum with dominance will begin to push the opponent back. This usually forces the opposition scrum to retreat and change shape under the pressure being exerted. You will then begin to see the retreating scrum change either props turning in on the angle, to put pressure on the dominant hooker, this often can result in a prop turning too far and the scrum will collapse. Another outcome is that the props changing their bind to try and manipulate the prop in front of them into a less powerful position, or the retreating front row popping up under pressure. Occasionally you may get penalties for the scrum breaking up and unbinding, but that is usually after the front row has popped up.

            Whether Walsh’s interpretation of who should have been penalised was right or wrong is not the point I am making here. The point I am making is that the dominance that the English had against the Wallabies in ’07 is a very different type of dominance to that which the Welsh had this weekend.

            Anyways! All in all, I will ONCE AGAIN say to all on here, that I think Walsh did NOT affect the result of the game. Sure, his influence probably had some bearing on the scoreboard, but Wales were always going to comfortably win that game. Also huge credit must go to the welsh, because they adapted their play (at scrum, rucks and mauls) to the ref. England on the other hand seemed to carry on regardless, and when calls began to go against them their heads dropped.

            It was 9-3 at half time. Going in there England still (technically) had the championship, but they didn’t change coming out for the second half, and that was when they lost it all.

            i do agree that all the props seem to bind on the arm. and also that it can be hard to get to know who has caused the scrum to go down. but then again these guys are PROFESSIONAL refs, they are the test players of the reffing world, so they should have a better knowledge of the scrum than most.

            i heard quite an interesting suggestion today. It was to have a “scrummaging” referee. Basically a former top flight front row forward comes on to the field of play at scrum times to officiate the scrum. he can then sit on the sideline until the next scrum occurs. Its an interesting idea. Then again changing the scrummage laws would be a lot simpler. i think two changes should be A) a specific are/handle for props to have to bind on. and B) pre-set the scrum, and allow pushing once the ball is in. The hit is the thing causing all the problems. both from a safety point of view, and a playing point of view.

            anyway, after that essay i shall call it a day!

          3. Simon, thanks for the comprehensive response which makes a lot of sense. I’ll try and be brief seeing as you must be knackered after writing that lot.

            Marler – Walsh was annoyed with him and hooker for standing in such a way as to pincer Adam Jones. Jones had no gap into which to hit. Walsh asked him to move, he wouldn’t, so that is when the penalty threat came in. To my mind anyone dumb enough to not do exactly what the ref asks at the first scrum is going to get a hiding from the whistle.

            Wales scrum dominance – a couple of our penalties did come from us marching straight through the English scrum but granted not all. I did see some of the dominance you talk about.

            Completely agree on both of your proposals for how to fix it.

            Agree that some calls were half and half – see my earlier point about not giving the ref a reason to dislike you.

      2. @Chuckles

        What on earth does Wales’ greatest ever try scorer know about reffing a scrum??

        Regardless, I’ve watched the match 3 times, and there was no such criticising of the reffing of the scrum from either of them. The closest we got was Brian Moore, quite rightly, being incensed at Walsh telling Youngs where to stand.

        If you feel that the reffing of the scrum was the deciding factor in England losing the game then so be it. I, along with many others don’t agree. I thought the Welsh front row were dominant over their counterparts.

        1. I don’t feel that the reffing was the deciding factor in England losing the game. I’ve never said that I think that. I don’t. And I’ve not read all the comments in this thread, but I’ve read most of them and I’ve not seen anybody else saying England would have won but for Steve Walsh. We were outplayed comprehensively by an excellent Wales side. England were undone and had their many weaknesses exposed and exploited. I make no bones about that. But I nevertheless think that claims that the Welsh forwards “dominated” England are exaggerated. Wales did well in the scrum, mostly, but they also made errors which Walsh failed to penalise, choosing instead to target England for penalties every time.

  67. Hmm, well with 180 comments in, I am not going to read through them all. However, there seems to be some comment about the Ref influencing the game (in a bad way).

    I am English, and I am certainly not a fan of Steve Walsh, but I thought he had a decent game. It would be useful to blame him for the result, but I don’t think that it stands up to scrutiny.

    I thought that Wales should have been penalised in the build up to the first try BUT, it was a 50/50 call and he went with the team in the ascendency and I have no issue with that. If Wales hadn’t scored then, then the first try would have come elsewhere. Walsh DID NOT affect the result.

    It would be useful to say how poor some of the English players were, how they didn’t turn up, how they made daft mistakes etc.

    The bottom line though is that Wales, to a man, played too well for England. Well deserved.

  68. Steve Walsh has a piece on refereeing on the IRB website, unfortunately i am in work and cannot access the audio – may be interesting

  69. 180 comments! Pretty much makes my say redundant, but I’m going to have it anyway.

    I complained before the game about the choice of Goode, Ashton, Croft and Wood at 8. i was proved right. Now if I, armchair pundit that I am, can see this, why the hell can’t the management?

    Goode was unbelievably poor. Field the kick, decide to run it back, do strange little stuttering dance that fools no-one, get isolated, lose ball. Repeat ad infinitum.

    I can’t even bring myself to talk about Ashton. Should have had a card for stamping is all I will say

    England reverted to the way they played under Johnson. Taking the ball whilst static, not hitting the rucks, forwards hanging around in mid-field, Youngs so slow and indecisive, inability to throw or catch simple passes.

    What gets my ire the most though is the breakdown. The NZ game showed that it is necessary to hit the breakdown hard and in numbers, smashing the opposition off your ball and slowing down or turning over theirs. Instead, we committed one or two men to the rucks, allowing the Welsh to drive us off or secure their own ball easily.

    The blame for this I place at the choice of Croft and Wood at 8. This not only forced Wood off his normal game but meant that Robshaw was back fielding kicks a lot of the time. Which meant that the only person left to hit the rucks, secure our ball and slow the Welsh was Croft – who not only didn’t seem match fit, but spent most of his time hanging around in mid-field. God it annoys me

    Still, one swallow does not a summer make. Wales had lost a load of games in a row at the MS before this yet showed that they were still a good team. Likewise, this loss does not make England a bad team. Just a young, inexperienced team with a few, essential, weaknesses

    PS – Wales were excellent

    PPS – whether or not Walsh affected the final outcome, he was dreadful. I find it hard to decide who was worst between him and Joubert the week before. Suffice to say that they were 2 of the worst refeering perfomances I have ever seen.

  70. I miss the days of Will Greenwood (A centre who could pass, and made everyone else around him look good) and Jason Robinson (The ultimate strike runner who made teams think twice before kicking it downfield)

    Is there anyone playing current who could add these qualities to the England team?

    1. Twelvetrees is a passing centre. Spent his youth playing 10, but is now 6ft3 and 100Kgs, which is always handy for a centre. He can kick, pass and reads the game exceptionally.

      Christian wade can beat a man in a phone box and is one of the fastest players out there. Very much in the Robinson mould.

      Both of these lads could add a lot to England.

      Oh and of course there is Kyle Eastmond. He is basically a mix of both 12Ts and wade…

      1. 12 trees is definately one for the future ( now actually ) i for one was pleased to see him on the bench and not playing being Welsh.

  71. England’s game plan should be built around three main things.
    1. We needs two big ball carriers in the pack to smash defences. Tuilagi can’t and shouldn’t have to do it all on his own. Morgan and a revitalised robbo at six should do the trick.
    2. The rest of the pack should be mobile enough for England to be able to play at a pace so fast the opposition can’t live with them. We’re just about there and a young open side such as Kvesic would speed things up that bit more.
    3. Build the backline around tuilagi. He’s big and dangerous and attracts defenders. He’s either going to suck in enough defenders to open up space elsewhere or he’s going through the line. Ideally a backline packed with strike runners that have pace to burn and a good distributor like Farrell or burns running the show. If there was three or four strike runners in the backline, tuilagi becomes infinitely more dangerous as a decoy. Defences aren’t top worried by a brown or a Goode working up a bit of steam. However, varndell, may, wade, daly, Eastmond. They all have pace to burn. Liking the idea of this backline more and more…

    11. May
    12. Eastmond
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Wade
    15. Foden

    Would cause trouble for any team.

  72. SL admits England did’nt turn up for the biggest game in the players lives!How can you possibly not turn up??It was a complete failure by coaches and players.If I performed like that in my job for a crucial business reason I would correctly be fired.A Farrell says it’s a blip.Rubbish not to turn up is criminal.the coaches and players need to get real.theybhave one hell of a mountain in Argentina let alone 3 tests in NZ next year

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