Wales tour to South Africa: 5 things we learned


1. The future’s bright (and, in Samson Lee’s case, orange)

Whilst it’s important to field a consistent XV to ensure familiarity within the team, Wales are often criticised for the lack of variety in their players and tactics. If they can take no victory from the last two weeks in South Africa, then there’s solace in the quality of talent coming through the ranks. Adam Jones has faced criticism this season under the new scum laws, yet his failure to adapt to them means that Scarlets prop Samson Lee has raised his hand for selection. Despite injuries in key areas the players available are still enviable (particularly around the backrow where Josh Turnbull was impressive) and the buzz around players such as Gareth Davies and Matthew Morgan is astonishing considering their relative anonymity internationally. Before the last World Cup, Warren Gatland made some big calls and brought in many fresh faces to rejuvenate Wales’ hopes in the tournament. He may well want to make some similar changes before next year, and it’s exciting to see that he has these options.

2. Dan’s the man

Wales have never failed to churn out a vast array of talented, skilful fly-halves over the years, and with the abundance that’s currently available it’s crazy that the no. 10 shirt is still such an issue. Against South Africa, Dan Biggar was selected, and whilst he was fairly average in both games (receiving a yellow card in the second test – more on that later), Wales need to stick with him for next year. James Hook has proved that he is a capable player at centre, fullback or fly-half, but it’s probably this versatility that saw him start on the bench rather than on the pitch against the Springboks. Elsewhere, Rhys Priestland plays a more attacking game in line with Wales’ general plan, hence Gatland’s loyalty and faith in him. If Dan Biggar can use next season to add this to his skillset, then, combined with his confidence, his ability to slot drop goals, and his positioning, Wales can be a formidable force.

3. The man in charge

As he proved against Australia in the third Lions Test last summer, Alun Wyn Jones is a capable and accomplished captain, almost forged to be a warrior and leader on the field. Gatland’s decision to select him as skipper was totally justified, and he demonstrated this again against the Springboks. Jones displayed immense inspiration, passion and control throughout both tests, but perhaps his finest hour came whilst Steve Walsh ruled a penalty try in the closing moments in Nelspruit. Keeping his cool and composure where others would possibly not, Jones rallied the team into a fierce, but ultimately fruitless, battle over the next few minutes and was graceful in defeat come the final whistle. Sam Warburton is no doubt the right man to lead Wales, but it’s a comforting thought that behind him is the towering figure of Alun-Wyn Jones, ready and waiting if necessary.

4. Discipline is key

In the two games against South Africa, Wales had three men sent to the sin bin, contributing to a seven minute period in Nelspruit where they had 13 men on the pitch. Against a team as clinical and unforgiving as the Springboks, this is simply not acceptable, and Wales were duly punished whilst handicapped; 14 points in both games. In the second Test, the sending offs stemmed from Wales’ inability to control a rolling maul, a weakness that was exploited by Ireland in the Six Nations too, and more work is needed ahead of the Autumn Series later this year. It may be unfair to point fingers, but the reality is Liam Williams’ shoulder barge came at a heavy cost of not only the game, but what would have been an historic win on South African soil. In the dying embers of such a massive game, being disciplined is vital.

5. It’s all about the win

Injured captain Sam Warburton summed his feelings up after the Second Test by mentioning how it’s not enough to lose gloriously anymore; the players are hungry for a Southern Hemisphere scalp. Whilst they were well and truly beaten in the first test, the second adds to a long list of tantalising results where Wales have been devastated in the last stages of a game. Wales have now not registered a win against a side from the ‘Big Three’ since their 21-18 victory over Australia back in 2008. There’s that old cliché often thrown around that “the gap is closing” between Northern and Southern Hemisphere sides, but until Wales can frequently record wins, the gap will remain as wide as ever. South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will all visit Cardiff in the Autumn for the last time before the World Cup begins, and you can guarantee that victory against at least one of these sides will be the minimum for Warburton and Gatland.

By Jack Hoare (@jackhoare)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

44 thoughts on “Wales tour to South Africa: 5 things we learned

  1. I don’t think Biggar is an international ten, I really don’t. I think Gatland needs to look at Owen Williams at Leciester for the Autumn Internationals as he has played really well in the AP for the Tigers.

  2. Great article, lots to be optimistic about. Thank the lord we played like that in the last test and not the first (I mean, assuming we had to pick one or the other). Finishing the season with a performance helps us go forward. It’s only about 1/10th as good as a win would have been though.

    Yes, our big3 record since 2008 is appalling, 0 wins. Out of interest here are some other NH sides records against big 3 in that time

    England – 3 wins from > 15 matches.
    Ireland – 2 wins from a few less matches

    I’d love to win one, and if Ire/Eng were consistently beating the SH sides and we were not then I would be worried about the 6nations gap that might open up – but they’re not and there isn’t one. The big3 are still on top by a significant gap. NH rugby lags behind again.

    1. I don’t think losing to SH sides is an exclusively Welsh issue, nor is losing games in the last few minutes (Ireland have done that to NZ twice, and England once this summer).

      I’d be keen to get your opinion on Warburton Brighty, I know stats don’t tell the whole story but his record when captain of Wales doesn’t seem very good. I don’t doubt that when on form he is a great player, but he seems very hit and miss to me (and seems to get injured quite a lot). From what I’ve seen from him in interviews and the Lions DVD etc, he doesn’t seem like a particularly inspiring character.

      As a Blues man, perhaps you could show me the error of my ways?

      1. Warburton – a model professional rugby player. For passion/drive I’d say perhaps AWJ is our best captain but for a cool head and, crucially, the ability to get the ref on side, Warburton is the man. He’s one of those “inspire by example” types to me. Always hitting everything hard, thinking straight, for the full length of the match.

        When on form one of the best 7s around but his form has been all over the place for last 2 years. Even being one of the best though I would like to see him moved to 6 for Wales to accommodate Tipuric, even if that means losing Lydiate, as a Tips/Warbs/Fale backrow would be dynamic, snaffling and could carry.

        1. Oh, and of course, I mention the Wales SH record because whenever we were having all of that 6 nations success in the last few years I’d always hear “yes, but you can’t beat the SH teams, can you?” to which I’d think, but mostly not bother replying “no, and neither can you most of the time either”. This article mentioned it, we still have a duck, I just like to have some perspective on our duck – there is always an implication that, for example to compare to Ireland, 2 wins in over a dozen matches is so, so much better than 0 wins in over a dozen matches. One is def better than the rest but not enough to negate any quality assessments from winning trophies.

    2. Scotland – 3 wins from 11 matches

      and to be fair to England, they have 4 wins (in 21 matches) over Big 3 since Autumn 2008.

      1. Thanks Niall, I was doing it by hand so wasn’t counting precisely and skipped Scotland cos I ran out of time. Interesting though? Scotland have the best record then against the big3 since 2008…

  3. I cannot see Wales beating a SH side this autumn. They simply bottle it ever single time even they get themselves into a winning position.

    Losing a game when 17-0 up away from home is just criminal. And in 2012 in Oz it was exactly the same in the last 2 tests with seconds remaining and a series there for the taking.

    The Welsh simply have a mental block when it comes to winning down under and even at home in front of their own fans when facing SH teams.

    With Eng and Aus to play in the pool stage of RWC2015 I predict a very early exit.

    The difference with England is that they have beaten these ABs and Aus at Twickenham and that is where the important games will be played at RWC 2015.

    Wales..sorry no chance..look at Ireland and England in this year’s 6n-absolutely nowhere in the games that really mattered.

    Remember by the Autumn Priestland will be back at No10-now that is a frightening thought!!!

    1. What a load of tosh Andy. Yes, let’s just take this years 6ns as the benchmarks, not the last few years. Yes, losing a game when 17-0 up against the 2nd best team in the world, away from home, is criminal and nobody ever, ever does that. Yes, it’s a mental block that stops us from winning. We literally pass the ball to the opposition out of fear of winning – the quality of them to win these games has nothing to do with it. Ireland, same thing, criminal to let the ABs beat them in the last minute like that. Eng 15-15 with a few mins left against the ABs and they let it go and then compound it by being utterly useless the week after. Useless mentally weak team obviously. You keep sitting there content in the knowledge that qualifying is a sure thing. We like it when you expect to win.

      1. Brighty-ask yourself when did Wales last win a game against a top 3 SH team in Cardiff?

        Then look at England’s home record against the same teams.

        Aus England beat them Nov 2013 ABs destroyed by England in Nov 2012.

        Just remind me when did Wales last beat the ABs-1953 wasn’tit

        How many defeats is that on the trot?

        SA-one win in the all the games they ever played Wales?

        Have Wales ever managed to keep the margin of these defeats against the ABs below 20 points-hardly ever.

        How many times is it now that Aus have beaten Wales on the trot 8-9 times?

        How on earth do you expect to beat Aus in RWC 2015 when you keep losing to them all the time in Cardiff.
        This year at Twickenham was grim grim watching for Welsh fans.

        Look at Wales’s record in the RWC 2011 beaten by SA, Aus, France.

        Oh yeah Wales did beat Ireland and actually beat Samoa in a RWC for a change.

        Get ready for an early exit ala England football team 2014.
        Anything else is just a pipe dream Brighty

  4. As I mentioned in a previous thread, it would be criminal to write off Wales for the World Cup, but yes getting out the group, especially with a resurgent Australia who look like they can scrummage, will be particularly hard. If the games were being played in Aus then I would say it’d be tough for England and Wales, but I can’t see England not going through. Not saying they’ definitely beat Wales at Twikkers, but with the closeness of the teams home advantage will be a crucial factor. i think England will beat Aus too. and i can’t see Wales beating Aus either.

    1. Now this sort of appraisal I can get my head around. Tough, tough to qualify. I see it as Aus winning and runner up slot between eng and Wales. We’ve beaten eng quite a few times over the last few years. Their backline defence is fragile. Twickenham holds no fear anymore. I would back Wales to win but would not be in any way confident that it will definitely happen. Not as confident as Andy obviously is, but then every time we play England most English expect them to beat us so there is no change there. It’s good to expect your team to win, natural even, even when their recent track record suggest the alternative is more likely.

      1. Twickenham holds no fears Brighty? Two very tight and not entirely streaky wins in 20 years both in the years following a world cup when England were rebuilding. Not saying you guys won’t do it but the confidence seems a little misplaced.

        Also bear in mind that the RFU have fixed the scheduling beautifully so Wales have a 6 day turnaround ahead of the England match!

        1. It wasn’t meant to be confidence of a win in Twickenham Benjit, more that going there seems no more daunting that any away trip now. That 20 year record really stuck in the mind, now it’s just like going anywhere else.

        2. Well, personally I’m hoping for England and Wales to beat Australia and both teams to go through

          That would be ideal

  5. Where does Matthew Morgan come into the equation ? If he’s at. Bristol next year can’t see him getting in, but if he a goes to Blues and plays well early doors , he may get Fiji game at 10 ?
    Worth a punt ?
    Do you think Warrenball is evolving ?

  6. If the world cup was in a few months I would be betting on Wales going out in the group stages but I wouldn’t be that confident on it. Wales seem to be wobbling a bit at the moment but when they click they look bloody good. In the 6 nations if one or 2 passes had been slightly better then the game against England would have been totally different.

    If I was a Wales fan by biggest concern though would be the lack of strength in depth. Gatland doesn’t seem to have done much at all with any new talent until he has been forced to by injuries. He might have to throw a lot of inexperienced players in next year as some of the old guard seem to be dropping off the pace a bit and some seem a bit too complacent with their positions.

    I also think Warburton should never be a captain. The majority of the better performances recently have been when he isn’t. Even more so since the contract fiasco. Pure speculation but is he that popular within the squad?

    If old results are anything to go buy I suspect that come the world cup we will end up with Wales beating England but losing to Australia, while England will beat Australia so the pool ends up being decided on some points v tries calculation. Will give the games against Fiji and the playoff winner a lot more meaning.

    1. If Wales can remain injury free then they have as good a chance as any team of making it out of the group. However, if one of their key players can’t play, I’m not sure they have the depth to cope.

      Interesting that North, in his first season playing outside the Rabo, tailed off hugely in the Summer tours. If I were Welsh I’d be keeping a very close eye on Halfpenny and Davies, as they will likely be playing even more games than North did this season, and Wales look significantly less threatening without them, or playing them in poor form.

      1. Yes, depth is our perennial problem – small population, small playing base, less top quality players than other teams. We need our best 22 to be fit and firing. This is a weakness for us.

        1. Samoa-smaller population, best players plundered as kids by AB/Aus and a country
          much less wealthy than Wales so don’t try the ‘we have a small population line’ when
          other nations have even smaller playing pools/fewer resources.

          NZ= same size population as Wales.

          SA=most of the population of the entire country follows football not rugby.

    1. Yep. He’s like a cocker spaniel.. too excitable, and with all the self control of a 5yr old in a sweet shop.

      I hope the management can tame him, and Lee for that matter in the wake of his 5 week ban, as there is some ability there. They managed it, to a degree, with Phillips.

  7. Interesting discussion – and by the by Brighty, you say 0 wins against SH since 2008 – in fact it’s 1! Plus a draw, if I remember correctly, both against Oz.
    It’s all very theoretical though; the honest truth is that, as far as these tours go, England have taken a bit of a backward step – that midfield problem persists – Wales a small but significant step forward – that was a huge performance in the 2nd test, despite the galling result. And Ireland were marking time, really, trying out some new faces on what amounted to a development tour. The less said about France the better.
    Brighty and the others are correct; strength in depth is always an issue for Wales, and kind of the reverse of England, who have so many players to choose from, but getting the best combination in all areas is always difficult. But I can see Gatland warming up to the situation he was in at the last WC – some excellent new blood poised to come in. No-one’ mentioned Jake Ball who is terrific, and I believe should have been on for Luke Charteris for the last 10 mins of 2nd test. And Turnbull was also excellent – he’s promised much for a couple of seasons, and now appears to have matured into quite a player.

    1. Was the Wales game really a step forward? Somehow managing to throw away a 17 point lead and then a 13 point lead?

      It seems very much the same problem they’ve had for a long while – flattering to deceive against the SH.

      I don’t see any real progress there

      1. Yep Pablito-Wales can raise their game for the 6n but when it comes to the SH they just fade away and always have done.

        Hell they could not beat the ABs in the 1970s in Cardiff in that ‘Golden Decade’ whereas England who were awful at the time won a test in Auckland in 1973.

        When have Wales ever done that?

  8. Ah brighty

    Shouldn’t you remind this Andy guy that England only beat an AB side with the N” virus! Fallen over since. Or would that mean YOU are whining?

    Also does he need reminding that it was Wales who thumped the mighty England by the cricket score (oops!) of 30 to nearly zip in the not that distant?

  9. And as 4 you Andy

    All this Samoa plunder bizzo is so old hat. And you don’t even name a single player! I could, but that’s not the pt. What rules are being broken? None. And before you get on yr hi horse, 140 have played for England who weren’t born here (acc to the S Times!) Starting with Price someone who now runs a pub @ M. Hill?

    Surely with gd ol’ Anglo names like Tui & Maro Polo in yr current team, isn’t this wot they calls pot calling the kettle…?

    Moral of story; ‘When you live in a glass house… shuddup’!

    1. No I am just pointing out the very clear case that Wales (who have enjoyed success in the 6n since 2005 that no other 6n side has even got close to achieving) always always come up so so short against SH sides.

      Scotland won in Aus in 2012 when Wales lost 3 consecutive tests to them.

      Ireland and England have secured wins at home v SH top 3.

      Wales simply can never achieve anything v the SH top 3.

      Wales have not beaten NZ in my lifetime and in the history of games v the Boks have only won once in Cardiff.

      Given that Wales face Eng in Twickenham (where they were pretty clueless and have only won twice since 1988) and Aus (who they have lost almost 10 consecutive matches against) in RWC 2015.

      It does not take a nuclear physicist like Dr Lyn Evans (Head of CERN) to figure out that Wales have little chance of progressing at RWC 2015 beyond the pool stage.

      Even at RWC 2011 when people raved about their style of play they only beat Ireland, Samoa and Fiji.

      They lost to SA, France and Aus.

      These are the facts-plain and simple and any group of players that loses when leading 17-0 in the first half and is 30-17 up with 10 mins and still goes on to lose must take a long hard look at themselves and admit that they just don’t make the cut when it comes to playing against the better teams in the sport.

      Last week Wales managed to lose the game not once but twice. And it just keeps happening over and over again when playing the top.

      Before long we’ll have Warren Gatland using Graham Henry’s line that

      ‘We are on a steep learning curve’ because he will have run out of excuses.

  10. Some interesting thoughts…don yes England do enjoy playing people from other countries (and vice versa) but I don’t think any country has been so habitually exploited by another as Nz exploits The pacific islands! the only reason it’s old hat is because it keeps on bloody happening!

    Gwynn parry, that’s an interesting thought about Wales…yep huge performance in the 2nd test until you threw away a 17 point lead. Again as Iv said before I’m not sure there’s much to compare England’s third test against Wales second test. Wales had a weeks break prior and we’re obviously far fresher.

  11. Many of these comments are tainted by the desire to ‘spin’. I don’t want to do that, simply point out that Wales have a very specific problem in the closing stages of games, which I believe they can address – they have the ability and personnel to win these games, which anyone who saw that 2nd test would probably agree. There’s the problem for Gatland and co. to attempt to solve. Fitness hasn’t been an issue for Welsh sides recently, but I believe it was in those final minutes – the pack looked to me as if they’d run out of gas and hadn’t got the sheer energy to keep moving forward – hence my feeling that someone like Ball should have been on the field. Hindsight’s easy.
    England have different focus; get the best midfield out there and they could be really good – I believe they have to play their best two centres, Tuilagi and Burrell, even though the ‘balance’ may not look good on paper. They’re both threatening, dangerous players, and both can defend.
    Please don’t get bogged down in this dancing on the head of a pin – Wales and England have startlingly equal records against each other, and it’s a hair’s breadth! Next 6N in Cardiff is going to be huge – can’t wait!!

  12. Andy

    A rhetorical ?, but the oldest brickbats r the most original & best aren’t they?

    More to the point, do you recall the recent 3 zip series?

    Go on admit it, you know you want to, you just want the ABs to lose don’t you?


  13. Banastre

    You never prod any evidence tho do you? As if it’s needed. I, nor any NZer, need defend the ABs for sticking to the RULES.

    You seem to have a chip & double stds for the reason I’ve aforementioned i.e. there is a swathe of ‘England’ players who weren’t born here (i.e. Stuart Abbott, Matt Stephens, Ricky Flutey, Henry Paul, Mark Van Gisbergen, Perry Freshwater, Hendrie Fourie, Brad Barritt, Botha, Michael Patterson, Mike Catt, Les Vainacolo, Tuialangi x2, Vainapola x2, etc, etc). And that’s just off the top of my head. Get the pic yet?

    NZ innovate & interp RULES quicker than most. Yr lot are slow in catching up that’s all.

    But if u’r really that concerned, why not write to the IRB & complain, but u r actually carping about an irrelevancy.

    And BTW way if u look @ the current AB 1st choice team, it’s mostly Euro descent based apart from Kaino or Messam @ 6, A. Smith @ 1/2, Nonu @ centre & Savea on the wing. Not that it matters.

    Is your real ‘complaint’ that of a racial nature?

  14. Gwyn Parry-Jones

    The ABs had a not dissimilar ‘problem’ about WCs in the recent past, which a particular Oirish TV d/glazing salesman keep going on like a nun’s knickers about, insinuating that they were ‘cholkers’. Stopped for some reason after the last WC & A 60 zip drubbing of Ireland a yr or so back.

    My pt is that Wales will break their duck at some time. It’s just 1 of those inexplicable things. I mean not many have put England to the sword 30 – 3 have they?

    They had a particular issue with SA too until they DID turn them over eventually (under the maligned Henry BTW) & a Kiwi ref apart, ought to have done again a wk ago.

    Keep the faith methinks.

  15. Pablito

    Well their was progress from the 1st game to the 2nd & please don’t tell me that 2 pen tries & 2 yellows didn’t alter the result of the last match.

    A 2 game series is relatively scanty evidence on which to base an truly objective opinion, but there was a dramatic turnaround nevertheless.

    Conversely, do you rate England as having progressed on the back of a 3 zip series loss, esp in view of their last game dismemberment & remaining @ 4 in the ranking?

    1. Penalty tries and yellow cards are not given in isolation, are they Don? The Welsh weren’t penalised for no reason. The cards and penalty tries were a direct result of the pressure SA put them under.

      Yes, there was improvement from the first game to the second, but as you are so keen to point out with England, a loss is still a loss.

      And yes, I do think England have progressed. The average score over the 5 matches that England have played vs NZ in the Lancaster era is 27 – 23 to the All Blacks

      The previous 5 games (inc 3 games played in Twickenham) saw an average score of 32 – 12 to the ABs

      That is most definitely progression – even if England are evidently not playing to the level of the ABs

  16. I don’t really think Wales or England can be that happy. Neither side expected to win a test match away in the NH – although certainly the English had more hope.

    England lost 3-0. They are the facts. BUT, we all know NZ are miles ahead of everyone else, even SA IMO.

    Any team in the world could have played those three tests and in all likelihood they’d have lost 3-0.

    Luckily for the rest of the world, whilst NZ are consistently the best team, they can be beaten in a one off game, and that is the beauty of a WC.

    England (particularly in the the first one and a half tests, far less so in the second half of the second test and first half of the third), showed that they can go toe-to-toe with the ABs. That was not enough to win away; but it could well be at home.

    Wales were dreadful in the first, just as bad, if not worse than England in the last. Really felt for them in the final test though, but they should have closed it out.

    England still have major issues (if not more so now than before the tour) in the centres. Everywhere else I am happy with, and is relatively settled. Yarde looks good, and I’m hoping Wade comes in and secures the other wing spot. If not, Nowell would be my prefered option. Whilst not lightning, very reliable.

    I keep changing my mind as to what the 10/12 axis should be – and I’m assuming SL is in the same position. I’d like to see Cipriani/Farrell or Farrell/Burrell. Obviously with Tuilagi at 13. The first one in particular I’d be keen to see.

    1. Jacob,
      Yes I would go along with a lot of that, particularly the Farrell – Burrell – Tuilagi axis at 10 12 13. I’d bet we’ll see that in the Autumn internationals!

  17. Banastre

    Out of interest I made some time to check out yr OPINION on;

    ‘… but I don’t think any country has been so habitually exploited by another as Nz exploits The pacific islands! the only reason it’s old hat is because it keeps on bloody happening!’.

    This tired ol’ myth arises over & over like a broken record, but if you too had taken some time to drill down just a little, you’d find that 3 of the current AB squad are born outside NZ; Kaino, Kerr-Barlow & Fekitoa.

    How does this compare with England?

    Kinda makes yr contention look like an, er…, contention doesn’t it?

    And as prev asked, what rules are being broken? You seem to be either a wind up merchant (ho, hum) or you’re ill informed & the words, ‘I don’t think ‘, unlike René Descartes, do seem to sum you up?

    So please, shape up!

  18. Pablito

    Or OFTEN ref’s opinion. C’mon, they see some things, but they miss a lot too. When was the last time you saw 2 PTs & 2 YELLOWS?!

    Was Billy V under pressure when he hi tackled the AB 1/2back for his yellow? Should it have been a yellow for a 1st (not that there is any rule stating that there has to be more than 1 infringement as some commentators imply)?

    Also it could have been argued @ the end that the Welsh tackler actually knocked the ball out of the Saffa ‘try’ scorer’s hand fractionally before his shoulder made contact with his opponent. Watch it again in replay if you can.

    Like I say, refs’ calls can change a game. And they can & do get it wrong @ times.

    For me Wales were unlucky, but then luck can also make or break a tight game.

    Regards England I think it can be to straw clutch to look in isolation at score diffs too closely. As I’ve mentioned prev, can stats tell part of a story, but to overly rely on them can be misleading.

    The 2nd test was closest on the score board & yet, according to gen concencus (media, here?), the 1st test was actually harder for the ABs. And in the 2nd, as in last test, the games were effectively over a bit after & before 1/2 time respectively.

    Also, for me, in the 1st test, the ABs set out to up their game & SCORE @ the death which they duly did – eventually. Whether it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ likely depended on their scoring or not. However, that set a marker of their intention for the series IMO, rather than to kick the goal to win the game.

    Stats don’t always reflect such things. So maybe, like the IRB rankings as I’ve been told, stats should be taken with a pinch of salt?

    On the other hand, have England improved? Well they’re usually competative up front & Lancaster had the backs running the ball more (which surprised me somewhat) & with a that bit o’ luck (or awareness?) thing, Yarde & Tui could (should?) have scored… if they’d had fends. But, how do you ‘measure’ true improvement? You quoted stats. Prehaps to a degree. Or, if the last test was any yardstick (as per the last Irish tour’s results. Where HAVE I seen this before?), then stats may be questionable.

    Diff one & maybe the AI’s will tell more? England play the SH each yr & if they defeat them this time, then it will be measureable that they will have improved by dint of their moving up the rankings.

    I also think that sometimes we call all pick out facts that suit our beliefs, conversely ignoring those that don’t.

    Any clearer? Prob not.

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