Guest Writer Ryan Worley has a few thoughts on England Rugby 2016
Saturday March 12th 2016, has been etched of the mind of every English player, fan and pundit, since the day England were effectively knocked out of their own World Cup on Saturday 26th September 2015.
Twenty four weeks they have waited to try and avenge the mishap of “Cornergate” as I like to call it!!!
Would today be the day for it all to happen…….could Eddie Jones copy Warren Gatland by winning a triple crown and set up a potential Grand Slam in his first tournament next week?
We all know the result of today’s game now……..but how did England get there? Is it all luck? Is it great coaching? Are the players selected better than those at the World Cup? Is it something else?
Personally as a Welshman living in England, I think it’s a mixture of lots of things.
Style – the way England are playing now has massive flaws in my opinion but by jeeeeeeez are they hard to exploit!!
Playing two fly halves, means that although attacking wise you have great control and direction, there should be HUGE holes in defence (there isn’t).
Starting with no natural 7 (as England have continued) should mean it’s harder to win your ball / steal opposition ball (they do this with no problems). Other positions make up for this.
Players – A hot headed skipper who has been as cool as a cucumber.
Two young (ish) 2nd rows who have claimed that position as theirs now and nobody will move them for years to come. Not only due to their work in the engine room, but their work around the breakdown and ball carrying too.
A centre and fly half who know each other’s game as much as they know their own.
A full back who annoys the life out of opposition fans (especially if you’re Welsh) but in my opinion who is currently the best in the world.
A number 8 who on this form…….will be a Lions starter next year.
A guy who messed up his nations hopes in RWC2015, has lost the captaincy but in my opinion has responded by playing the rugby of his life.
Coaches – Eddie Jones came into England with an expectation of NEEDING to be successful due to last years outcome. His first job was to get a coaching staff in place that understands his methods and philosophy. Who better than people who have been successful in their own right.
Gustard the designer of Saracens Wolf Pack and Borthwick have risen to the challenge and provided a much needed freshness but focus to their work and they are reaping the rewards.
Team – The only international team I have ever seen that appears to play like a club side is this current Wales squad under Gatland. They are with each other all the time and appear to know what the other will do from instinct. However today, I saw an England team showing signs of this too.
The front row have played together many times and are a fearsome outfit.
The second row players are clubmates. Have an understanding of each other’s games and cause havoc for opposition at the line out.
A back row made up of 3 individual players, ALL in the form of their lives.
Two possible scrum halves both equally as good as each other.
A 10-12 axis that could tell you what the other is thinking just by a look.
An outside centre who if given space will run riot against any defence.
Two young, hungry, fast, skilful, brave wingers who always attack with intent.
Finally a full back who is the best in the world at the moment………and even as a proud Welshman who took joy in his misfortune in September, you have to wonder at his ability.
How things have changed in those twenty four weeks for me too……back then, I was the only Welshman in a 40th birthday party in Essex. I kept checking the score on my phone and gloated the whole evening after the final whistle…….got home at 2am
and watched the match as if it was live.
Fast forward to today and I watched the game while sitting on my bed trying to educate my half Welsh / half English six year old (with a Welsh name) on why “red is best”.
All credit goes to England they 100% deserved the victory today, but it grates me MASSIVELY why us men in red only turned up with 10 minutes to go!!!!
Oh well there is always next year hey 🙂
Roll on my trip home to the motherland next week. Hopefully Gats makes a few changes, the boys play with the confidence they showed in the final 10mins today and put a performance on that really sends the nation home happy and content with what they have seen.
Here’s to a great weekend of rugby………
You can find Ryan on @RyanWorley86