RWC 2019: Day 3 Update

Manu Tuilagi

Italy 47-22 Namibia
Italy recorded the highest score of the World Cup so far, in damp conditions with torrential rain for a time. It wasn’t terribly pretty to watch, with handling errors and scrums galore, but Italy looked reasonable once they took control of the game after 25 minutes or so.

It seems to be a theme of the tournament so far, with Tier 2 Nations causing a few problems early on before the gulf in class finally tells later in the match. Although to be fair, that’s probably a theme in International Rugby generally.

A last-minute try for Namibia ensured my Namibia +31 bet came in!

Ireland 27-3 Scotland
It was supposed to be a little closer than this, but Ireland won comfortably and should now win Pool A, avoiding New Zealand in the quarter-finals. The Scots were incredibly disappointed after the game, not even to make a game of it, and Gregor Townsend lamented the lack of energy and aggression – odd given the huge build-up to the World Cup, and the fact that they were starting with their most important fixture.

I was on kids’ tag rugby duty in Cheltenham so I didn’t see the whole game, so let me know if I missed anything exciting.

England Tonga
England eventually won fairly comfortably, but it wasn’t terribly pretty. Tonga forced a number of errors and the penalty count could have been a disaster against more able opposition.

Tonga frustrated England for 60 minutes, but they never really looked like scoring and it was England’s ineptitude that preventing them pulling clear. The 4th try bonus point looked in doubt with 5 minutes to go, but Luke Cowan-Dickie crossed late on to avoid any calamity.

There were lots of basic errors from England, with several dropped passes early on in England’s attacking plays, and there were a few shots of Eddie Jones looking particularly displeased in the stands. This wasn’t exactly a performance that would make the rest of the teams sit up and take notice, and they never looked like reaching the 43-point margin to cover the handicap! It was only my second lost bet of the tournament so far though, so overall it’s going pretty well on that front.

We’ll have some player ratings and more reaction coming up, but let us know what you thought of the game and the rest of the day’s action.

Day 4 Preview

Wales v Georgia, 11.15
There’s only one fixture on Monday as Wales become the last major nation to take their bow in the tournament. The Georgians often become crowd favourites at World Cups, and with Mamuka Gorgodze coming out of retirement, they’ll have plenty of support once again. They are a big, passionate team that will give everything to the cause, and whilst I don’t think they’ll trouble Wales, they’ll be eyeing up 3rd place in this pool and automatic qualification for the next World Cup.

It’s likely to be a similar story as the other matches so far, with Wales held by Georgia for a while before pulling away for the win.

I’ve picked Wales by 28 on Superbru, and that’s exactly what the bookie handicap is too, so I’m not going to bet on this one.

27 thoughts on “RWC 2019: Day 3 Update

  1. Re England, it can only (hopefully) get better.
    I really thought we’d put the hammer down in the second half but we were desperate at times.
    i only hope we have the right attitude against the USA as complacency could really cost us.

  2. Thought England were poor actually; a disjointed and rusty performance. Hopefully we will improve before we face our first real test. Individually a few good performances, Itoje, Underhill, Watson and Tuilagi in particular. Hopefully May will be OK. A slight concern for me was the bench composition, I just don’t see Cole and Kruis as being players to come on and speed up a game.

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    1. Good point about the bench Stu. I think Ed got caught between playing a quick, fluid game from the off while needing some bulk to match the Tongans. As it was , we were neither quick nor fluid and as you say, the bench didn’t really inject any jet fuel.

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  3. Not a pretty match. England were simply their own worst enemy with a mammoth amount of handling errors, and such a contrast to what we saw in terms of slick handling in the warm up game against Ireland. Strange! Lets just hope was a bit of a one off. Watson and Manu looked really sharp. Not really much more to say on this one.

  4. Really disappointing from England. Poor choices, poor handling, ill discipline. On that performance they wouldn’t beat France or Argentina. Ireland looked very strong but Scotland were useless. How far backwards they’ve gone since Vern Cottor left is frightening.

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  5. V frustrating with the handling errors which often killed good momentum (a lot of the time while forcing things when the pressure wasn’t really on)… besides that a bonus point win without any major injuries (Slade?). Context also key as being the first game of the RWC and I don’t believe it is necessarily a bad thing that this performance will have burst a bit of the expectation surrounding the team…

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  6. Listening to Ed after the game, I got the impression that he wants to keep momentum building from game to game but that is a dodgy plan imo. We need to state our intent from the next game onwards not try and slowly go up through the gears as though a place in the final is already guaranteed.
    Also, why did we look so nervous at times?

    1. Not surprising if we were nervous given what happened at the last world cup! But that was pretty painful to watch. We were pretty fortunate to get the bonus point at the end.
      Still don’t know why Cole is there instead of Williams!

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      1. Firstly, limiting squads to 51 players is ridiculous and secondly, ed should have taken 6 props. McConnochie won’t get any game time in this comp and Ludlam is a tyro. We could have had another 6/8 and Williams instead.

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  7. Mixed emotions on England. Bonus point win achieved and no tries against. But disjointed performance with too many penalties. However we will get better, so at this stage not unduly disappointed.

  8. After 4 years build up and literally millions spent that would be an unacceptable return on investment in business.France and Argentina will have real belief they can do us.You can’t go into rwc believing you can win it and then perform like that.Worrying

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  9. One thing to lift the spirits a bit is that they left several tries out there with handling errors. The players who were making them- think of the drop by Curry with Watson on the outside- don’t normally make them so there really is no reason to think that will continue. How sharp did Watson look?!
    I didn’t see the Ireland Scotland match but watching the highlights Scotland’s defence looked a lot worse than Tonga’s! Did Scotland play any better than Tonga? Because it didn’t look like it.

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  10. Only saw highlights. Only 1st game. Ugo Monye reckoned England got result. Got bonus point. Workman like? Rusty? Too many unforced errors? Like Slade’s pass into touch with Daly wide open? Tonga unable to score. Spectacularly stopped Billy in his tracks on 1 occasion though. A couple of decent England breaks with Watson, Tui featuring? Could Watson have looked right on his notably long break? Arguably missed offload, try chance? Job done. Improvement required? Frighten the big boys? Maybe Eddie’s holding back, keeping powder dry, playing cards close to his chest? Maybe.

  11. Ireland, OTOH, got their win. Also workman like. Efficient, grinding rugby. Early days, but have they expunged those last 3 losses yet? Another maybe. Can they expand their game? Will they need to? Held up front, will they struggle?’ Will their game, style get them beyond 1/4ers? Hard to say. More ?’s than answers?

  12. Italy too got it done, but conceded too many. Like a leaky boat. Need to keep bailing. Namib however, looked lively, running in a few. Aren’t they meant to be a ‘minnow’?!

  13. Englands performance could have been better but one has to recognise that Tonga are fully paid-up members of the awkward squad and as such were always going to make things difficult,I seem to remember two very scratchy performances in 2003,namely against Samoa and Wales before triumphing !.
    On the plus side Manu looks good and JJ is sharp.The downside is obviously the rust that needs to be eliminated and I query whether Slade is fit enough.

    1. I like your comment that Tonga are FPUM of the awkward squad. first time I’ve seen them play, impressed by their “go forward” approach, not pretty, not really skilful but good rugby. I would like to see the South Sea Islanders playing international rugby, the Kiwis and Aussies would loose big time.

      1. How so PM? If the SSI’s played Int’al rugby? Presumably you mean regularly, as part of a comp? In which case & they joined the RC, why wouldn’t SA also ‘lose big time’? Trouble is, most play abroad in the NH, where the money lures them.. along with a fair few Saffas.

  14. England should have been able to run the steam out of this Tongan team after about fifty minutes, but played with a disturbing lack of energy, discipline and accuracy. I still think that your scrum half dictates the speed that you play at, and Youngs never seems in much of a hurry. Billy V still isn´t back to his best and Curry was anonymous. He and Underhill are both 7´s and a proper 6 like Wilson might bring a bit more dog and a bit less adventure. Hope Launchbury gets a run on Thursday. This pack would benefit from his cool head and organisational skills. Thought Ford looked confident, and Watson looks back to full fitness at last. Still waiting to see what happens to Daly when it´s blowing hard, raining, and the bombs are falling from the sky.

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  15. Another worry was the obvious weakening of the scrum when Genge replaced Marler. The Tongan 3 constantly got the better of him and he offered no impact in the loose, which is supposedly his USP.
    We desperately need a fully fit Mako but I fear that he may not play in the comp. Once again, the make up of the squad raises questions.

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    1. That was no fault of Genge-That was due to spineless refereeing-The laws are specific with regard to props having shoulders above hips,,and the requirement to push straight.I would have pinged the replacement TH on every scrum for one or both these offences.

  16. Still doesn’t make up for the lack of impact though, not just Genge but most replacements. Don’t see what having Kruis and Cole on the bench brings, they are not players that will change a game? Ludlam and jJ did make a difference and should start vs USA. Worried Slade, Mako and Nowell will not be fit enough to impact the tournament and if they are not then questions must be asked as to why they are there. Maybe the tactic worked but I really disliked the way we played against Tonga, it was obvious when we sped up play that we could blow them away but there seemed a constant refusal to do so and we let them in the game with the aimless kicking.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more Stu. I’ve read that going “balls out” may have resulted in bashed up players and injuries so Ed told them to do just enough to win. If so that simply raises the same questions about the three players you mention and the overall make up of the squad.
      I don’t get it. The post game press conference had a strange atmosphere too. Some of the comments nearly implied that England are on some sort of UN goodwill mission rather than a quest to win the Cup. Strange days indeed, most peculiar!

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