RWC 2011 Post-Match Reaction: England 12 France 19

England are out. When it mattered against a fired up French outfit, they simply couldn’t get their game together. For 55 minutes they seemed in a daze; passes dropped, tackles missed, and lacking any real cutting edge in attack apart from Manu Tuilagi. France will now face Wales in a thrilling semi-final next week.

Give us your thoughts. Who should retire? Who should not have been selected? Vent it all here.

78 thoughts on “RWC 2011 Post-Match Reaction: England 12 France 19

  1. Brave comeback from England. Heads up gents, you’re a nation of great competitors and showed a lot of heart. Lots of potential to build strongly for 2015.

    I still maintain that France cheated by playing Wolverine at fullback. Firstly, he’s Canadian. Secondly, how do you tackle someone with an adamantium skeleton?

    1. Brave!! Whot sort of bravery is that !!!
      Lot of heart, english players were absolutely almost non-existant!! No passion in the game!!
      come on, after being loosy players, now you are bad looser.
      Stop blame it on French, and about the “frenchness” and the “englishness” look how many “english” won olympic medals for England !!

      France won not because they were good, because the english were rubbish!!


  2. Manu Tuilagi was not just the best English player today, he is the only breath of fresh air to come out of this whole pathetic primary school crusade!

    For some of the younger players, the loss will be scarring and in the long run, beneficial. But Wilkinson needs to seriously look at his game, and although I hate to say it, he may be on the verge of International exclusion/retirement.

    If anybody knows any props with an ounce of sense or brains, please send them our way? Corbisiero was the only decent one out there. Stevens may as well have been wearing blue for the last two games. And Cole is little better.

    Why he didnt start with Lawes I have no idea.

    P.S. The lack of Welsh coverage/analysis is shockingly embarassing, I feel for any Welsh fans out there. More talk about the pathetic antics off the pitch by England, then the Welsh wins in their Pool games.

  3. Wilkinson has already hit international exclusion, as has Haskell and Palmer. They all play outside England and so are no longer eligible for selection.

  4. Cheers Cramps, that seems a nice way to look at a pretty disappointing world cup campaign. There is potential here, lots of young players who are now scarred but better for it. Not a great way for Wilko, Thompson, Shaw, Moody, Tinds, Easter to end their international careers.

    Absolutely gutted, Come on Wales!!

  5. Could’ve won the game in the second half but didn’t, and wouldn’t have deserved it. An ignominious end to a shameful world cup campaign. Johnson has run his squad like a touring social club, and tried to play a ten-man game. But England don’t have the pack fir that anymore and nobody wants to see that style of play anyway.

    The whole RFU needs a Stalinist purge to build toward 2015. Heads must roll.

  6. Feel sorry for Matt Stevens, scrum was dominant as soon as he was on the tighthead side, so I think he’s an unfortunate villian for his loosehead performance. Debateable selections elsewhere but I think this is the one that hurt the most.

    Go the Welsh, you were fantastic and I’m off to buy a red jersey for next weekend.

  7. France turned up for their usual one game per tournament (well half of one ) and that was enough against an England side which appeared to be stifled from game one by a lack of ambition .

    The game has moved on since 2007 from the outside you have to wonder whether MJ is the man to recognise this .

    Will Taylor I think they will have little choice but to talk about Wales next week !

  8. RFU and Premiership need to look how the English game is. Certain clubs get away with alot with the officials. Bring them out of that then Rugby in England will progress. 10 man game isnt an option. Coaches have to look to bring on the skill level that other countries have achieved.

  9. Au revoir to England.

    After winning last week against an uninspiring poor Scotland losing this week to a poor
    France was at least a fair result.

    Hope we all get behind Wales now as they have been the surprise of the tournament
    for attacking flair.

    Good luck to Wales.

  10. Paul, there’s a reason why, when you stick your finger through toilet paper, it’s called ‘shaking hands with a frenchman’

  11. As an England fan I was disappointed, although, am I alone in believing we were lucky to beat Scotland and thus this result was not totally unexpected?
    I found Mick Mullins commentary really good. Phil Vickery was and has been so bad that watching England lose was compounded by his dreadful commentary. He is cliche ridden. Never comments on the opposition but his bias is beyond unacceptable. He is just a cheerleader for England. Surely itv must realise his myopic bias spoils their global product?

    1. I agree about Vickery – very poor commentary. A mate of mine defended him and said he brought a down to earth feel to it. Sorry, I don’t want down to earth – I can do that, I want insightful.

  12. I am gutted by the result. I can’t help feeling these guys don’t know what it means to wear an england shirt and the pride that should come with it.
    Most of us would give our right arm to wear that shirt just once, but these guys have started to behave like the footie players and think they can party and then turn up on the day and and win a game.
    People will ask questions about Johnson’s management and perhaps rightly so, but I think there are a few players who need to look in the mirror and ask some tough questions of themselves. These are professionals who should know how to manage themselves, not rely on the manager to remind them of how they should behave.
    When we won the world cup, we not only had great players, but the will and the discipline to do whatever it took to win. It seems to be missing from a few players in this team.
    A sad way to end the world cup. Come on the welsh!

    1. They are probably very proud to wear the shirt but just not good enough. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

  13. The grinding bores have been found out and are thankfully out of the world cup.
    Now we can watch the good teams that are left playing the game as it should be played.

  14. We got what we deserved. Under Johnson we are not a top 4 team and never will be. At least we have the full context now. All that crap about we’ve won all our pool games, what else do you need….we were bad in every game. We would have been well beaten by the Welsh or Irish, and if my some miracle we’d made it to the final it would have been an embarrassment.

    Johnson has to go. For the crop of English talent at his disposal, we are under-performing. He has no vision, has too narrow and outdated view of what it takes to be successful, cannot motivate and empower players, has poor judgement when it comes to selections and coaching staff and doesn’t have an ounce of tactical nous. Saints fans should be most worried today, because if the RFU has the balls to do the right thing (which is questionable) Malinder will be coach soon.

    1. I argee. Johnson picked a team in his own image – brute force with plan a and if that didn’t work there was always plan a. There are much more creative players available for selection but as long as Johnson is in charge it will be biff and bash. I love creative rugby but what england played in the world cup was a grotesque apology for the game.

  15. I am hugely disappointed, but I had a feeling the French were going to turn up and they did.

    First congratulations to the French team, and especially their gallant captain who must have had a torrid week to try and focus his team.

    The one thing we were all worried about was speed, England cannot play at pace, that’s why they give away so many penalties and do everything they can to slow the game down. The first half was fast aggressive rugby and it showed that most of the England team didn’t have the technique to play the game at that speed; therefore we had a lot of knocked on ball and woeful passes. The French on the other hand had guys whose hands were like glue and could offload a ball.

    This lack of technique is worrying, especially in the backrow and the midfield, but let’s be honest; a few quibbles aside we don’t have a wealth of talent at home watching TV. It is obvious that we are lacking talent in those positions because it is there we have resorted to Kiwis, South Africans and Samoans to fill the space (Tuilagi is different as he learnt a lot of his rugby in England). Johnson should go but he is not entirely to blame. He played the game possible with the players at his disposal, he should have worked on a more varied game a long time ago and that is his fault.

    We should seriously look at how we teach rugby in England at grassroots level and put more focus on technique instead of brawn and fitness. I use to have a coach that made us play 7’s on a small pitch, the lack of space forced us to develop passing skills under pressure (unlike in real sevens, where space is abundant) the lack of players made sure there was little distinction between forwards and backs so everybody developed a more all round game, you were also forced to choose when to commit people to the ruck, decision making skills which are lacking in the current England team. I am no super coach but something has to change.

    Gone are the Woodward days where perfection was a prerequisite, and I don’t mean physical fitness. To be fair to Woodward if you listen to players like Back and Hill talking about the Lions tour and how that changed them as players, add to that the Wasps players involved in the 2003 team and Ian Mcgeechan helped quite a lot. I would like to see him involved in the England set up, even if he is from Scotland, judging by our breakdown issues and Neil Back’s recent coaching experience and general “there are no excuses attitude” it would be nice to bring him in as a forwards coach.

    In conclusion there should be a change in coaching staff in the short term, a vision of how we want to play the game drawn up and the English determination, which we have loads of, should be applied to making that vision a reality.
    In the long term we need to look at the way we teach kids rugby, are scrums and lineouts so important for 14 year old children? ect ect
    I’m really looking forward to Wales France although as in 87, 99 and 2007 we know France have a tendency to not play well after a big game. We shall see.

    1. “I’m really looking forward to Wales France although as in 87, 99 and 2007 we know France have a tendency to not play well after a big game. We shall see.”

      That’s right. The big switch in support for Wales over to support for France can now take place. If France win, it makes England look good. But ‘looks’ is the only operative word there.

  16. Finally. The pretenders have been shown up, brutally exposed by a fired-up and passionate French outfit with a point to prove. The smug idiots who have been banging on about England’s supposed prowess at “world cup rugby” are now choking on humble pie (or should that be eclair). England’s brand of negative anti-rugby has allowed them to negate, cheat and bluff their way past better opponents too many times, but not today. England have been an ordinary team for years (since 2003, to be exact), and have been belted from pillar to post by various Six Nations champions in the years since – France, Wales & Ireland have all enjoyed far greater success. That truth was largely brushed under the carpet after the 2007 world cup when a very poor England side elbowed its way into the final. A perception took root that England somehow had what it takes to win tournament rugby – lack of quality personnel, management and creativity notwithstanding. Today marks a welcome reality check, a re-balancing of the scales that was long overdue. Yes, the emperor really is wearing no clothes. A victory for true rugby, the way it should be played.

    1. Not sure you can really accuse us of cheating our way past teams. We’ve been pinged more than anyone (rightly so before you say anything)!

    2. Which smug idiots? Most people on here have been realistic about England’s chances all along, and the press have been pretty negative. Of course the media puts both points of view to maintain an element of excitement.

      Cheating and getting away with it? Clearly not. Blatantly Infringing on the rules is not cheating, it’s incompetence, a much better description of England.

  17. Hi guys

    I’m a frenchie and of course very happy.
    But I wouldn’t have bet 1 € on France before the game. Our guys have been playing so badly until today that I thought the WRC was over for France.
    So hope they’ll do the same vs Wales.;)
    Don’t be sad, the 6 nations tournament will start within 3 months.


  18. Some good old england bashing going on here. There is plenty of room for improvement and plenty of talent to dip into. I think the coaching staff need to be ousted and some real vision brought in. An out and out english 7 needs to be found as well. The french played incredibly well in the first half, the pace of their game was exciting to watch and parra is a genius. Now its time for england to follow in the footsteps of the welsh and get rid of the old war horses. We need to get guys like kitchener, short, twelvetrees, marler involved. Look at how well wales are doing and warburton is outstanding as a captain and is up there with the best 7’s in the world, he is simply tremendous. If no one brings the youth in and relies on the old guys I can only see wales and aus brushing through opposition in 2015. Johnson should take a look at harlequins, they’re playing some excellently fluent rugby at the moment. I’m afraid this has to be the last time we see stevens, shaw, moody, easter, cueto and even though he is my hero and inspired me to keep playing wilko. The guys CV is phenomenal and I think due to injuries and age ect we’ve seen the end of one of the greatest players of a generation. Time to start getting the likes of farrell and george ford involved in the full england setup. Come on wales, they’re playing exciting, attractive rugby, priestland and warburton are a pleasure to watch and I can’t wait to see them in the final (fingers crossed).

  19. sorry but playing Steve Thompson and Matt Stevens was a mistake from the beginning as we all know Stevens is a tight head prop and Thompson has not done anything, when i played hooker u were in the rucks and malls and defending not standing off like a flanker should do and his line out throw ins, well ive sen better in club rugby on a saturday afternoon and why Johnson did u replace the 2 second rows when they were not at fault ,

  20. This was probably the best result we could have possibly have hoped for, short of failing to reach the knock out stage at all. If England had edged through to the semis then I am sure some would have claimed that their that their style of play and selection calls were right all along. The thought makes me shudder! This result today surely means that England rugby must now move on. Mustn’t it?!

  21. I didn’t see one English player challenge for a high ball in the air. Can anyone jump and catch the ball at the same time ? An awful lot of mised passes and, of the passes that went ” to hand”, there were many above head level. A scrum half should not have to take one or more steps before he passes the ball. A line out thrower should never miss his target. On the first French try there were four missed tackes in succession. On the second French try two English players were having a conversation with the corner flag. The French drop was the result of an English loose ” throw away” pass at the other end of the field. I’m glad these players are professionals because God knows what would have hapened if we’d had amateurs out there.

  22. English rugby must look at itself in the mirror. First get rid of Martin Johnson then bring back (at any cost) Woodward to run the RFU. Job sorted.

    1. No no no, we in the provinces don’t want intelligent management of england rugby. We LIKE the fact that they (the players) are these rich, overrated pretend rock stars strutting about like that king with the invisible clothes thinking that they are the dogs gonads, when they are clearly just about average. then manage them with the village bully who doesn’t think too clearly and we then take great pleasure in seeing you lose.
      Please don’t change a thing.
      (By the way, in case you’re wondering, i’m from a country that plays like sporting gentlemen and we are in the semi’s.)

    2. No no no, we in the provinces don’t want intelligent management of england rugby. We LIKE the fact that they (the players) are these rich, overrated pretend rock stars strutting about like that king with the invisible clothes thinking that they are the dogs gonads, when they are clearly just about average. then manage them with the village bully who doesn’t think too clearly and we then take great pleasure in seeing you lose.
      Please don’t change a thing.
      (By the way, in case you’re wondering, i’m from a country that plays like sporting gentlemen and we are in the semi’s.)

  23. Ours “Les Bleus” may have been the best team today, but i don’t think you should be too hard on your boys. After all it’s only one game and all of us who love rugby know jolly well that everything can happen on only one game… England is a great rugby nation with a great spirit and a great sense of fair play. You just had a bad day, and we were lucky enough for it to happen when you were playing against us… but cheer up! Great Britain still can make us pay back with their welsh red devils whose rugby is actually magnificent. See you in semi finals!

  24. For those that care to read and take note, this is not a wild rant.

    Until England identify that its school boy rugby is run with biased corrupt selection entwined from top to bottom with people from fee-paying schools. Which always selects players from fee-paying schools at U16 & U18 level. Only very rarely does a state school lad get selected.

    Which results in ignoring and norturing natural raw talent playing in grassroot club rugby. (Some do get identified by clubs and come through at Premiership acadamies at U20 level). But most are left dejected and leave the game witnessing the biaise.

    England rotten at its core, will never stand a real chance to compete on a level playing field. Today, the tri-nations and even other nations do not have a slanted system that loses our potential gifted atheletes

    We try as always, to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear!

    I guess the RFU will again close ranks and go into denial and not seriously address its origins and foundations.

  25. Where do we start – pretty decent back 4, not that they got the ball much.

    We need to find a playmaker at inside centre.

    I have defended Wilko all tournament and now have to admit that its all over for him.

    What’s happened to Youngs? He was the future and now he’s taking two steps on every pass. The back line need quick ball.

    We need a thinking back row. Moody is not a 7, never has been – this is a position of priority in any team. Easter played OK but there must be better out there surely. We can at least develop 6’s – too many of them queueing up.

    We’ve got reasonable players in the 2nd row, but goodness only knows what happened to our lineout.

    Said before the game – no Stevens as he gives away penalties. What did he do! And that helped give the French belief after we started OK. We need a hooker from somewhere – I do think we are probably OK at prop – some of the boys are young and have some of their trade to learn.

    Coaching – where do you start. Sorry Johnno – I’d probably marry you if I could for what you did on the pitch, but your player selection and tactics, which have always been a bit iffy, were not good for this world cup. I don’t think you were helped by your coaches. I’m sorry – what ever happened to passing practice – woeful today, and what about running onto a pass so you actually have forward momentum to get you over the gain line?

    In general terms, the game and the laws of the game have passed England by – we are trying to play a game that has been surpassed. What a joy it was to watch the Welsh! Not very often I’ve said that!!

    Rant over and an apology for putting the mockers on England and Ireland for predicting they’d win. If the Aussies and Argentina win tomorrow, I will give up predicting games for ever more!

    1. If the Aussies and Argies win tomorrow, it will be even more fun to watch the following games, as I’d be happy to see any of them win.

      As it is though, time to put our support behind Wales.

  26. Martin Johnson summed it up this morning here in Auckland. Quote- Every team that doesn’t win, goes home a loser.Unquote. Sadly, we get the point, he didn’t. ‘Performance’. The team didnt even have the decency to come back onto the pitch and bid a sad farewell to all the supporters that took out a second mortgage to get here and buy tickets.

    I don’t blame any of them. He picked the best we had to offer as a nation. But our best was of limited potential, especially passion. It was like watching painting by numbers. Plus a very poor defense.

    But to sum it up in a nutshell, poor platform. But when Youngs did have any ball, he cant shift it from the base. He has to pick the ball up, look, move and offload. Someone coach him to look first and shift it straight fromm the base and buy our attack some two or three seconds. ie like Mike Phillips did yesterday.

    We will look forward to the travelling army of international supporters converting to black today. In hope to see some ambitious rugby. But hey-ho, we might get another upset.

    From the sunny shores of Auckland…..the atmosphere is better then the rugby! Maybe, thats why we are here!

  27. These problems with England’s performance and selections have existed since I was playing in the 80’s when Tony Underwood would be selected over many better wingers because he was ‘connected’ and played for the ‘right club’. Until we get away from the Oxbridge boys at the top running the game we will invariably fall away like this.
    Johnson should go and actually prove himself somewhere as a coach…and what does Rob Andrew actually do other than say ‘we will have a ‘robust’ investigation’?…or in other words we’ll have a good look at it and appoint another mate who won’t make too many ripples.
    Quite frankly after watching this I was staggered at inept many England players were, many
    can’t actually give and take a pass even when not under that much pressure; Johnny was out of sorts all tournament and our only success on the outside came from giving the ball to Tuilangi to bust up the middle. Once the french realised that they simply had to tackle him around the legs and the second man in go for the ball our game was over.
    England have been the most boring team in the tournament by a long margin and it is good that they are out but I doubt any real changes will come from any robust investigation.
    I was speaking to a mate who actually works for the RFU and he said that for years England have focussed on size and speed and they are now only realising that many of their players actually have no skill. Brilliant planning eh!

  28. Great news guys – just read the RFU tweet about Rob Andrew having promised a PowerPoint analysis in only a matter of 4-6 weeks. To be fair, it must take a few weeks to come up with the sort of creative bull**** he will no doubt emerge with. Can’t wait to see the back of this guy. Give us SCW and Malinder and put your money on a home RWC win for 2015.

  29. In all the 30+ years I have watched and supported England , I don’t think I’ve seen as an abject and lacklustre display as today. The French had nothing to throw at us at all and yet we laid down and let them run all over us. Every English player from 1 to 15 should be ashamed of themselves. Both French tries came from schoolboy level defensive errors. We had premiership players demonstrating the ball handling skills of the level normally seen in your local 3rd XV. Three English players clinging on to the French winger leaving the guy inside free to flop over the line untouched for a try? He couldn’t believe his luck…. What a joke! The whole England set up should creep back into the country by the back door…..we didn’t deserve to go any further forward in the competition. If the likes of Tindell go out on the tiles and go on the piss, and then you follow it with a display like that, you deserve all the stick you get. Maybe if we had the same focus as New Zealand and some of the other teams, we might have gone further. Although Martin Johnson is putting a brave face on it for the public, I bet in private he’s tearing his hair out. What a massive missed opportunity. We should be in the final against New Zealand! The players have let him down badly and it could cost him his job! I for one won’t be getting up early to be at the airport to welcome the team home! Pathetic!

  30. There was absolutely no reason why England should have lost on paper. Even with one or two eye-brow raising selections. They have played enough as a unit. What is most interesting to read today was Ben Foden’s article in The Telegraph. He said ‘there weren’t many nerves in the changing room’. This has to be the most telling reason why England performed so badly in the first half. Nerves provide adrenaline for heightened awareness and performance – essential in top level sport. Despite all the comments about expecting the French to come out fighting (which they did), the England players were clearly complacent and probably expected the French to fold. This will be a key reason for the handling errors.

    Coaches can only do so much to prepare athletes but ultimately it is down to athletes on a playing field, in boat, in a pool, whatever their sport. In this instance, historical stats have probably ignited the French and subdued England. They are irrelevant – every game or race is different. Looking at Dusautoir’s eyes during the anthem said it all – he showed steely determination. When the captain is in that frame of mind, you know the French are on game. Good for them – they deserved to win.

    As a general on-looker/supporter, the so-called leaders are far too casual in their manner both on and off the field. This has been England’s problem this entire campaign. They need to take a leaf out of Wales’s book. I only hope that England use this loss to move on despite the debacle at RFU’s headquarters.

    Personally I think MJ should stay on but he should review his approach and possibly his coaching input. What are the alternatives? I just hope the players learn from this experience and for many of them, they need to grow up and act like men rather than school-boys.

    1. there is no reason on earth as to why johnson and his team of great coaches should still be employed by the rfu,ten man rugby does not work unless you have exeptional forwards and talented half backs! but they are a dying breed in the overated premiership as overated imports are seen as a safer option. the magners league is far superior and actually developes home grown talent. we have wasted the years since 2003 we should have expanded our game but we have regressed. lets employ a kiwi or an aussie to look at the young talent we have and develope us going forward, do not hold your breath we still think we are the worlds best?

    2. yes its happening
      English rugby is going the way of englands football !!!!
      too many foreign imports in the premiership and as a consequence the national team goes down hill.
      this was a lack lustre world cup .
      No flare in the backs little aggression in the forwards and few ideas in the coaching .
      They got what they deserved in the end after scrapping through to the quarters.
      then even worse we get the off the field headlines of the over paid spoilt brats which we have come to suspect of the football team .
      Sorry for MJ who looked totally dejected and let down by some of his players who obviously have little regard for either him or national pride and their supporters.

      As for the future , no doubt the RFU will repeat their support for MJ and then sack him !!!!

      then where do they go ? perhaps they will follow Wales and look for inspiration overseas.

      Quite frankly I would rather be a French supporter who never knows which french team is going to turn up !!!!
      At least they get an inspirational performance every other game whilst England gets the same old stodge.

  31. Anyone got any ideas for a welcome-home reception for MJ and the boys? Sticking with the French theme, I’m thinking a guillotine set up in Trafalgar Square could work well. Would certainly get the crowds in!

  32. Clare get Robbie Deans…proven coach at super rugby and has made a very ordinary Australian side difficult to beat. I live in Australia and he is by no means liked so he’s there for the taking if we want him I believe!

    1. I wish we could take Robbie Deans! He made the Crusaders, McCaw, Carter et al. NZ should have taken him when they had the chance instead of opting for Henry. I nearly put a bet on Australia winning the world cup after the Tri-nations last year because of what he was getting out of the team back then (I can’t believe I’m admitting this on a blog!!). I think that NZ may live to regret that decision in a week’s time (I’m not telling the husband this….he’s a Kiwi). Just remember Yossarian, the Australian press is just as bad as our own – they don’t like Deans because he’s not great communicating with the media and they just don’t understand him. Fools!!

    2. Who says Robbie Deans isn’t like, they just extended his contract and he has taken a bunch of youngsters and turned them into the best defensive team in the world

  33. So who should retire?
    1. Shaw
    2. Tindall
    3. Wilkinson
    4. Easter
    5. Thompson
    6. Mears
    7. Cueto
    8. Hape
    9. Moody

      1. shaw, tindall, wilko, moody, thompson – great servants, all part of the 2003 party, but too far for them, and below their best (except, perhaps, ironically shaw – is he aiming for 2013 lions?!) but definitely time for them to either call it a day or be retired.

        easter is just 33, mears 33 in jan, cueto 32 at xmas, and hape 31 in jan, so i agree they are not the future…

        i’d add sheridan to the list (32 in november, injury prone and rarely delivers on the big stage) and say that louis deacon (just 31) was borderline…

        i would say johnno, on balance, should go. yes, they say sir clive got another go, but one sensed that he had another level to go to. it’s hard to prove this, and there are many closer to the epicentre than moi (too close perhaps?), but i don’t think johnno does…

        get sir clive in, sharing him with BOA for 6 months if necessary…

  34. Quite simply disgraceful both on and off the field! Too complacent, no discipline!. We’re a rugby family – but just glad we didn’t (couldn’t afford!) to go to N.Z. Time new blood brought in. Jonny W has served his country well, but time to make way. As for Tindall, he should not play for England again let alone captain the side. What a bad example to younger players!

  35. Captaincy has been a problem. Moody isn’t one and neither is Tins – but who? No-one particularly springs to mind – suggestions anyone?

  36. Tom Wood? Seems to knuckle down and get the job done and should have been given more of a go in this world cup.

    1. Amen to that one Spike. I cant believe our best player of the 6N wasnt really used.

      Also am gutted that Lawes didnt start v Frogs. Deacon was really exposed, Lawes is our most athletic dynamic fwd who can actually pass.

      Irelands win against Aus aside, and Wales (cant believe i said that) its been a disappointing RWC for me. Samoa looked class and should really have been in these QFs and i know EFS comments were badly relayed, but he has a point.

      Ive always thought rugby was fair and decent but the schedule really hammered the smaller nations. And dont tell me they cant schedule for that….

      1. Jimmymc – Have thrown the lobster back into the sea and drowned my sorrows with the Guinness. Let’s look on the bright side – the lobster will be much bigger in four years time!

        Your gutted friend

        Ding Dong

  37. Well if Easter is going to go, maybe Dowson or Narraway or Robshaw will be brought in and all are good captains. There’s no doubt that lots of players need to go, but I think some of the coaches need to be looked at as well. I think for now MJ should stay, but he should certainly bring in new attack and defence coaches. We need a more dynamic back line as well. Apart from Tuilagi, Ashton, Foden and Armitage what we had on display was poor. Youngs was not at his best, and on Saturday Flood looked desperate when he had the ball and was about to get tackled. This is where good coaching is essential.

  38. Tom no-one in particular having a go about Robbie Deans…only Mark Ella criticising him, Bob Dwyer was scathing of his tactics earlier this year, many commentators have been desperate about his handling of higginbotham. I live in Oz and I can tell you that after the loss to Somoa he copped it big time…one paper describing the loss as the most embarrassing ever suffered by tne Aussies. Obviously this is the media, the same as in the UK but the theory was that John O’neil did the deal earlier this year with Deans simply because they thought there was no-one else they could get and if they didn’t do a deal with Deans they would be up the spout. Actually before the world cup his record with Australia isn’t that great (about 55% win rate).
    However I agree I think he has done an incredible job taking a very average Aussie team to wins over SA and NZ this year is some achievement…. with the biggest over rated player in the world right now in Quade Cooper…often looking like a chicken with it’s head cut off (as an ex-player if someone told me that one of my team mates needed someone else to tackle for him I’d wonder what the hell was gong on!).
    Too late for Deans now but there are others out there…Ewan Mackenzie anyone?…he’s lined up to replace Deans in a few years time…England get in there now.

  39. Robbie Deans is the cool calm and collected kind of coach we have needed for years, he’s rebuilding the team, after it was turned to shit under Connolly and Jones. He has a vision beyond politics and the players respect him. I like the way he tells it like it is, he obviously got those players to focus on that game, one of the best games the wallabies have ever played. Who gives a stuff about losing to Samoa? it was a warm up. Ella is always sniping about something. I live in Australia as well, played a lot of rugby under some great coaches, played with some guys who went onto play for OZ and Queensland. If its one thing I know, it takes time to build a team and in that time you lose.. QC isn’t overrated, he’s a good player and needs a few runs on the board and a little more confidence, in that game he was trying to play relaxed..wrong approach, that was a game that you just hold on and hope you come out the other side with a win. I think he’ll have a blinder in the semi..he’s isn’t phased by the kiwi’s one bit, i think he thrives off that kind of pressure…that game will suit him. i have seen QC play with real talent..he’s obviously got something that Deans respects..he just needs to find it..sooner rather than later. Mckenzie too political? No thanks..Deans is the man for the job, he’s got a young team on the improve and he knows how to build them to major wins.

    1. Totally agree with your comments about Robbie Deans and QC. For the latter, he lacks consistency and that’s due to a lack of confidence. You can see it in his goal-kicking (or rather the fact he doesn’t regularly kick for his country) and his flakey tackling – unfortunately the opposition know this and target him….rightly so. He is definitely talented but to be a ‘great’ it’s about performing under pressure and stress; from the opposition, from the media, from the crowd….particularly a hostile crowd. If QC performs at the weekend and succeeds, he will deserve the credits. He has the opportunity, but I’m sure you’ll agree, the pressure of expectation from a highly competitive nation is enough, but can he cope with the pressure he will undoubtedly pile on himself? His performance last weekend was well below par and this is the problem; he is just not consistent enough. I am sure that Deans is all too aware of this however it’s a gamble he’s prepared to make – the reward is that when QC is confident, he can turn a game on its head…along with Genia. I think that Australia and QC can upset NZ’s dreams; he has something to prove.

      However I actually feel that the ABs are now underdogs after all these injuries (and I will be totally behind them). We’re in for one of the biggest scraps in RWC history and do not expect pretty rugby! The AB’s are facing a whole new adverse scenario that they have never faced before – winning based on clinical set pieces, defence and kicking penalties achieved through pressure. Something that the Wallabies will find hard to match…..particularly as their goal-kicking is so hit and miss (mainly the latter).

      As for England, I can’t be bothered thinking about it too much. Until there is a complete change and restructuring within the RFU, it is impossible for them to make objective decisions about strategy, coaches, etc. Perhaps they need to look at what England (and Welsh) cricket have achieved as a result of their review after the awful 2005 Australian white-wash. Let’s hope a similar model can be achieved.

  40. Now that I have regained a degree of composure after Saturday’s debacle I would like to add my sixpennyworth to the discussion. Bluntly, I can only recall one decent England performance under the current coaching/management set-up and that was last autumn against Australia. Regardless of whether they won or lost, every other game, to a varying degree, has been a disappointing demonstration of how to bring together talented individuals and create a shambles. That being the case, the first thing that has to go is the current management and coaching entourage, in its entirety. However that will only happen if the RFU is populated with strong, intelligent people with a clear strategy for England’s national team. Currently it is most definitely not.

    On the field a lack of basic skills, positional awarness and strong leadership have blighted every game. Constructive back play has been non-existent and totally reliant on acts of individual flair. However the management team seems to have now coached that out of Chris Ashton so poor Manu Tuilagi cant be far behind. Another issue has been playing people out of position, a common feature of forward selection and substitution policy.

    All of the above contributed to England’s lack of attacking edge (was there ever a Plan A in evidence let-alone a Plan B?), high adverse penalty count and weak support play. No wonder we lost to a below-average French side! Let us hope that this acts as the catalyst for a level of change that is overdue. The time has come to bid farewell and thanks to yesterday’s heroes, both on and off the pitch, and move into a new era. It can’t happen quickly enough for me.

  41. Well said Ian C – think you summed up all thoughts I had. It’s amazing how much those performances against the aussies in autumn have given all us England supporters this false hope. Bottom line is that those games actually masked so much that was wrong. The basics are clearly missing and the best teams always do the basics really well. 2003 was when England kept it simple and beat teams with a structured mixture of play between forwards getting clean and fast ball and the backs hitting the line at pace and guile. Doh isn’t that exactly what the Welsh are doing so well? Not sure how we bring that back. My fears tell me that the “hierarchy” and cliques in rfu need to go but who can ensure this happens? Seriously, mj relied on trusted past-it players that were not up for it, but no one was there to offer differing views? Come on, was wilko, tindall etc ever able to win it?

  42. Tom I think you are misreading what I am saying. I think Robbie Deans is the best coach out there at the moment and would like England to set him up to be their next coach….the RFU have more money than just about any other national organisation and should break the bank to get him….don’t care that he’s just signed a new two year deal. Still think the Aussies aren’t as good as their media portrays….genuinely laughable that the have Quade Cooper as the best outside half in this world cup (Courier Mail) since Carter’s injury.
    I agree Cooper can be good on his day, but great fly halfs control games even when their forwards aren’t dominating. In the tri-nations game this year in NZ he was given a lesson by Carter and so far in this world cup he has actually been poor. His decision making is dodgy, kicking sporadic at best and his passing at times actually reckless. I too played rugby, internationally and against the great Queensland sides of Gould, McBain, Slack et al so think I can spot a good one when I see it and I can tell you playing outside him would have been a nightmare because not only would you never know what he was going to do, nor would the opposition but more importantly neither would he. For me Barnes would be a better choice with him somewhere else on the pitch, but his defence is so dodgy etc etc. NZ to beat Australia in a tight one because I agree that the Aussies have the best defence at the WC.
    Finally Ian C I’ll give you a prediction….within two years Tuilagi won’t be playing international rugby…..can’t pass and is unaware of the players around him and where the touchline is (and awareness cannot be taught). Limited player with one asset in that he can be used a s a battering ram but for me not good enough for international rugby.

    1. Yep well said, I agree with Tuilagi..I mean really..a sad attempt by England to get themselves a battering ram. A one dimensional player who France shut down. Can’t see a future for him, he’s not a thinker. QC has a perspective problem..he’s trying to play the game he wants to play rather than playing the game in front of him. Good 5/8’s are always assessing the game in front of them. Copper seemed rattled by the big game, he needs to trust his instincts within simple ABC rugby, if he can do that, his sometimes flashy moments of brilliance will come into play..and I have seen those moments…I’d just like to see him keep it simple and build on that.

  43. Tom couldn’t agree more…QC great potential but not there yet…as Clare said could be a great fly half but doesn’t need the pressure the aussie media put on him. Also at the moment his ongoing war with Richie needs to be put to the back of his mind….it is the open side’s duty to try and put the opposing play maker off, not the play maker’s duty to stuff it to the open side. If he can get his head clear and relax a bit with Barnes and Ashley Cooper taking the pressure off his kicking it could be a very interesting night.
    After all my knocking of him I’d still take him in the english side!!

    1. I think one of the biggest threats in the Australian team is Adam Ashley Cooper, he can score tries and he’s a good defender, even if we lose Beale, Cooper at Fullback is a great attack and defender. As long as Australia can remain disciplined in defence like they did against SA and get a good counter attack going, New Zealand might let the enormity of the game get to them. The AB’s are under sooo much pressure, the weight of the nation is riding on them. I think thats what really spooks them and has in the past. the idea of failure, its not a loss, its a nation failing. If Australia, lose, its disappointing, but I was very happy to see that gutsy display against SA, everything else is gravy. If AB god..thats armageddon..the unthinkable. That could force AB to play conservative rugby, if they do that, they walk right into Australia’s trap..we get that expansive game going..put pressure at the breakdown which we do very well..that could really rattle the AB’s. They will throw everything at Australia in the first 20 minutes. We need to stick with them if they decide to try and stack on the points, which they can do, but I doubt they will. The weird thing is there is a % of me that would like to see AB’s win..its been a hard year for NZ..they deserve a break. I’m so nervous I have to remind myself I’m not playing.

  44. Gents, let me be clear on this. I’m not suggesting that Tuilagi is yet (or maybe ever will be) a genuine, international-standard player. My point was that any individualism he shows will soon be coached out of him in the same way that Ashton’s flair has disappeared.

    Anyway, looking towards the semis, I think that Wales have an excellent chance of beating France. However, as is always the case, it depends which French team turns up. I guess we’ll know by the end of the first ten minutes. In the other game I will be fervently hoping that the weight of expectation gets to New Zealand and they blow it.

  45. To those who think Tuilagi will never make it as he is too “one-dimensional, etc, etc” , you remind me of all the pundits who used to descibe Ma’a Nonu in exactly the same way

    Look how Nonu has come on in the last couple of years

    And for the commenter who said France shut him down, rubbish.

    France continually struggled with him, often needing a few players to take him down, and if England’s support play had been even a fraction of what it should be, he would have been even more effective. Its difficult to pass if there’s no-one to pass too

    As Ian points out though, all the good will soon be coached out of him – just as happened with Danny Care, Ben Youngs, Chris Ashton, Ben Foden, Tom Croft, etc, etc. the list just goes on

    What the hell do the England coaches do to these players???

    1. Paolo – good points.

      Just ask the bath players in the England set up, currently coached by Lord Mcgeechan.

      geech turned Croft into a world class 6.

      England do not play a game that suits him.

      When was the last time you saw england run a back move of ANY complexity? just doesn happen. croft is so quick going forward, he supports runners well but as you point out, so rarely doesnt england do anything of first phase ball to create breaks, he aint needed.

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