RWC 2019: Day 7 Update

Tom Curry

Italy 48-7 Canada
Canada were easily second-best in this fixture, making Italy look like a clinical attacking team. Jake Polledri was impressive for Conor O’Shea’s side, in a formidable back row partnership alongside Braam Steyn showing that life after Sergio Parisse might not be so bad after all.

I think it’s difficult to read too much into the performance of either side, but South Africa will clearly need to take the Azzurri seriously as they can’t afford any further slip-ups. It feels a stretch to say that Italy could trouble the All Blacks, and that probably means they won’t trouble the Springboks either, but 3rd place should be guaranteed.

England 45-7 USA
This was another one-sided affair, with England so dominant in the set-piece that they rarely had to emerge from second gear. Which is handy, because whenever they did, there were usually more handling errors and mistakes that might just prove more costly against stronger opposition.

Piers Francis had a reasonable first-half with several notable carries from inside centre, but he could well be cited for a hit to the head early on. His tackle was needlessly high, and with anything above the waist now being looked at with increased scrutiny, England shouldn’t be risking tackling above waist height.

Indeed this game saw the first red card of the tournament, with John Quill sent off for a high tackle on Owen Farrell. In light of Reece Hodge’s ban, and some other dubious challenges, I suspect we’re going to see several more red cards over the coming weeks, and it’s the sort of thing that can turn a game.

England’s defence was again outstanding, keeping the USA to nil until the final play of the match, and you don’t need a dazzling attacking game to take you deep into the World Cup. To be real contenders, England will need to cut out the errors and find more sharpness in their attack, but England played what was in front of them, dominated up front and won the match at a canter.

This is the end of England’s warm-up, with Argentina and then France to come in the final group stages, and whilst there is some optimism, there is certainly room for improvement.

What did you think of the match? Who stood out for you? What did you make of Tom Curry at 6 and Lewis Ludlam at 7? And how about Elliot Daly at full-back?

38 thoughts on “RWC 2019: Day 7 Update

  1. If there was a rate the camera an option i would give him 1/10
    Repeatedly zoomed in too far to follow play effectively.
    Lost sight of the ball regularly
    Still showing a spidercam view of the scrum 3 seconds after the ball has gone
    Completely missed what happened to Hooley at the end. Hope it wasn’t a high tackle.

    Absolute shocker

  2. Also if Francis is cited then i’m not sure he would particularly be missed other than reducing us to a 30 man squad. He looked very ordinary today with the attack regularly dying with him as he failed to draw and pass

    1. I thought he looked ok in the 1st half, but I wouldn’t have him near the starting team so it’s no great loss – and a ban might stop Eddie being tempted to pick him.

      A high tackle and red card is going to decide a close game soon…

  3. I think it was a much better performance and we starved the USA of any attacks, being an Englishman I will complain about the dicking around at the end rather than killing in ball and making it 3 games on the bounce without conceding a try but to look on the bright side its only 8 points in 2 so great defensive work.

  4. Eventhough Canada lost convincingly in the end I think they showed up and were competitive, for me all teams have played fairly well so far apart from the Scots and the USA.

    1. Canada made plenty of opportunities to score but dropped the ball on the final pass 2-3 times. Really wanted DTH to score and keep his consecutive games records going

          1. Doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t turn up. Could be good defence…

            Obviously that is a judgement call, so opinions may differ.

  5. Good game with some nice phases of attack. Watson and JJ both looking very dangerous off the bench.
    I’m not convinced with Daly’s form, I don’t know whats going on but he isn’t playing his best stuff. Again cutting inside instead of running to the wing or feeding the winger. It’s infuriating. McConnochie did it too which was a surprise – he should have backed himself.
    Based on the first 2 performances, its Watson and May on the wings with Slade at FB :P. When will we see Nowell???

    1. Thought Daly was poor. His decision making was well off and at the end he should have just booted the ball out rather than keeping it alive. Not sure what he thought he was trying to prove. Job done, finish the game, take the points – don’t mess around with pointless play that could end up with someone getting injured for no gain at all.
      Also thought Youngs was a step down from Heinz. Inaccurate, slow passing.
      Watson, Ludlow, Curry, Genge all good

      1. Agreed – he is supposed to be there for his nous but I don’t think we have seen much of that yet. He doesn’t seem to be distributing it that well either.
        Ludlow was very good today, I’m happy with England’s backrow competition. Genge’s run from the back of the maul was also very impressive. I wouldn’t want to be the one having to defend that.

      2. Totally agree Pablito. The omission of Brown is looking increasingly like one huge dropped bollock. Yes, MB has a reluctance to pass the ball but he can tackle, kick, read what’s happening in front of him and certainly would not have arsed about in the last couple of minutes of that game. The ball would have been sent up field or put into touch.
        The raving about Daly’s sheer outrageous talent means nothing. He’s contributed bugger all to this tournament so far and the further England go, the more his paucity of common sense and game management skills will be exposed.

        1. Yep Daly seems to be getting worse in every game not better. Poor kicking, bad positioning, falling off tackles, he used to have a good eye for space but that’s gone awol. I wouldn’t have him anywhere near the team at all now hes been terrible.

        2. I wouldn’t go that far re Brown – England still have Watson to fall back on and I think this could be the case in harder games.
          I do think Daly is probably trying to do too much and just needs to play his natural game. His kicking from hand is clearly valuable compared to Watson/May etc. I would like to see more from him in attack – he has pace to burn and players outside him who are faster…he needs to utilise that more.

  6. Decent run out for the lads, not sure can take too much from the game. All looked pretty hungry to score. Still a lot of handling errors, possibly down to the humid conditions? JJ looked like he was having fun! Without trying to be picky the one thing that often happened was when the likes of JJ, Watson went on one of their wiley runs it would have been nice to have a couple of our backs on their shoulder to receive….this isn’t ness a coaching issue but more just that wishful thinking we had that more natural anticipation within our backs ratehr than them seeming a little surpised when Watson/JJ goes on a run!

    1. Didn’t look like any of the US defenders wanted to be there either!
      Also McConnachie – like Francis, I’m really not seeing why he was selected over other options – eg. Ashton

  7. Agreed both looked average in attack in a game where everyone else (even props) were running attack lines for fun! Mchonnachie bottled it when could have stepped on the afterburners and went for the corner….given all the talk about his pace! Launchbury seemed a bit off colour IMO and didn’t do much to stake a claim being one of the first choice locks. Seemed a bit upright in contact and didn’t really feature much in any breakdowns. Just seemed subdued

  8. Yes he poped the ball out a few times in contact. On a side subject what are peoples thoughts on Launchbury’s England career? I have always admired him as a player but I cannot shake the feeling he may be one of those ‘what if’ or ‘could have been’ players at international level. Considering he has been a main stay in the squad since 2012, I do feel he has plateaud the past couple of years. I know I can only comment from the ‘stands’ but I often feel (for England) he should/could be more agressive and commanding. I know he is a calm head BUT with his size and build I’d like to see him throwing his weight around a bit more and more of an enforcer attitude. He seems to do a little more of this at club level.

    Any other views that can reinstate my belief in him becoming a legend??

  9. Thought the referee did nothing to police the offside line today. USA offside nearly every phase and not one penalty. Really poor and has been similar in other games too.

    1. Tin foil hat time: I read somewhere that World Rugby were taking the opportunity of this World Cup to promote the game in Asia. The breakdown, the offside line, and high tackles all appear to be areas that are being given an easier ride in terms of officiating. They are also areas which slow the game down when over policed. Is it possible this is an intentional directive from World Rugby to referees to make the game appear more exciting/appealing in Asia?

  10. Can only really respond to the 1st ? Workman like. Was anyone totally outstanding? I mean JJ, Watto made some good dabs. Genge Lomu-ed a few Septics. Ford looked composed & so on. Srry to piddle on yr chips chaps, but it was only the US! America had NO scrum or maul defence & could fluke only 1 Keystone Cops try. England are still fumbling, butchering opportunities. The back line, even when moderately stressed, still ran across & didn’t step in before passing wide. It’s all v well Eddie, SCW, Dallaglio talking England up with jobs done, bonus pt victories, 2 wins out if 2. The real ? should be about whether the 2 performances are going to strike fear into potential 1/4 final opponents. Shouldn’t England be putting nr 90 points on teams like Tonga, US?

    1. Who knows Don?I agree with your comments and nothing so far has minimised my doubts after 4 years preparation and they need to go up at least 2 gears against tier 1 opposition.Maybe they will maybe they won’t.Assuming 1/4 final v Wales we will be very pushed to win based on form to date.Eddie’s complete confidence is misplaced in my view

  11. Two good run-out”s for EJ”s boys.Now for the serious stuff,though I think that the selection for the French match will be harder due to the fact that we saw in the first match that France were brilliant in the first half but a complete shambles in the second-That says to me that EJ should have the explosive forwards on the bench for that game,wheras Argentina tend to be very consistent but lack top end quality.
    As for selection EJ has decide whether he wants to start fast or finish fast so the selection of the finishers is going to be paramount.I would be extremely wary about starting Slade considering his lack of match sharpness,though in many ways JJ is a better partner for Manu,as he has got the faster feet and much better defensively.
    Curry has shown that he can do a job line-out wise so back row selection is a matter of approach.The possibility of Genge ,Sinkler and Lawes appearing from the bench is enough for the opposition to be reaching for the hard hats and if space can be found for Big Joe on the bench so much the better.AS always it”s down to the boys up front,if England get go forward ball Ford is much better than Farrell when it comes to carving up the opposition,the evidence at present is that EJ is leaning towards the twin play-maker approach.

    1. With France you need a fast start as if they get a sniff they run rampant but if you get ahead on the scoreboard heads go down and they revert to type

    1. If the French pack get parity/dominate the set piece I’d rather have Farrell at 10 as a better operator on the back foot, but Ford is undoubtedly the more creative FH on the front foot.

  12. How about England begin fast AND finish fast?! Bit radical I know, but a full 80? Not a bad idea for me. And isn’t this what the ‘finishers’ (hate that word) are for? England have been routine, adequate so far v moderate oppo. But, they must cut their error rate out. Not just for the Fr game, but for harder games to come. Surprised how sanguine some here are about what should be a concern over their frequent fumbling. Can’t keep blaming humidity. It’s neutral. Anyway, England ought to at have least parity at set piece & an edge in the loose. I expect more however. France are generally less experienced than England, so as the match wears on, they should consequently wear France down. Don’t understand JJ mentioned as playing in the centres. Maybe the bench? Especially as Jones will likely pick his usual backline.. & pack. Probably start latter with 2 7’s, although Wilson at 6 wouldn’t go amiss IMO. More heft, grunt in the tackle? 2 F’s inside, Tui outside? May, Watto.. & Daly, despite TRB’s general punter disapproval of the incumbent 15? I would also take a punt on Heinz’s quicker service to start, but I expect Ed won’t. A note of caution; wouldn’t underestimate France to the extent that their heads will go down if England jump out in front. NZ found this out a couple of times previously & almost again reaktively more recently. Prejudging a team can be a dangerous game. Also, I think France won’t seek to come 2nd best to England. Having stated that, I think it’ll still be England.. by 15-20?

    1. Good point about handling. I haven’t seen other matches sadly – how are other teams fairing with the humidity and sweaty conditions?


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