We haven’t been invited to Martin Johnson’s selection meeting (yet), but we’ve been wondering what they talk about, based on the conclusions they clearly come to. Does it go like this do you think?
MJ: So, let’s start with the forwards. Wellsy, how do you think the pack did against Australia?
John Wells: Brilliant! A great effort by the whole eight, I’d say. They did everything I asked of them and in the case of Lewis Moody, much more. The set piece was solid all afternoon and we had more possession than the opposition, so all in all, a good day I’d say. It was Smithy’s lot that couldn’t do anything with it.
MJ: Yeah, Smithy. What the hell was going on in attack?
Brian Smith: Well, credit where credit is due. It was an outstanding Australia side, they are one of the best teams in the world, they’ve been together throughout the Tri-Nations and we only lost by 9 points.
MJ: Look, we aren’t in a press conference now. Tell it how it is.
BS: Well the lads were disappointed not to score a try, but there was definite improvement. One of the little chip-and-chase moves we called came off when Jonny caught it, but we didn’t get the rub of the green with the other ones unfortunately.
MJ: International rugby is not about relying on the rub of the green. What are we going to do about it?
BS: Well, Jonny was brilliant, so it’s great that he’s still fit. Danny was strong and direct, just what we like, Banners was a rock on the wing, and Cueto was his usual self. Ugo had a long afternoon at full-back, but he’s learning. Geraghty let me down a bit, but mentioned something about a lack of quick ball – does anyone know what he’s talking about by the way?
Mike Ford: Oh yeah, that’s what we always talk about in my defensive sessions. Stopping the opposition getting quick ball is the key, even if it means giving away the odd penalty, if you know what I mean. And we did that for most of the match without getting sin-binned, so I was happy. There were a couple of weak tackles, but I’ve slammed Ugo into the wall and he said he wouldn’t do it again.
MJ: Hang on, if we are concentrating on stopping quick ball for the opposition, is this something we should be looking for ourselves?
BS: It might help actually. We executed the gameplan perfectly, but giving it to Jonny doesn’t always work when the defence has had time to line up in front of him.
JW: OK, I think I know where this is going. You want quick ball eh? My boys secure the ball, and then you want it out. You might want to change Care then, because it must be his fault that the ball isn’t getting to Jonny quickly enough.
MJ: OK, we’ll start Hodgson next week. We need to wrap this up then fellas. Are there any injuries to worry about?
JW: Yes, Dave Wilson has a shoulder injury and is a doubt, so I’ve called up Paul Doran-Jones.
MJ, MF, BS: Who?
JW: Plays for Gloucester, apparently. So my starting pack will be unchanged, unless Wilson is ruled out.
MJ: Are you happy with Deacon and Borthwick?
JW: Who wouldn’t be?
BS: OK, I’ll start with Hodgson and then the rest of the back line will be unchanged.
MJ: Great! Consistency of selection in important. Well done lads, let’s go and have a pint and talk about this quick ball thing.