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Saturday, February 02, 2013

England power past Scotland to retain Calcutta Cup at Twickenham

It was a good day for England fans as they beat Scotland 38-18 at Twickenham to claim the Calcutta Cup for the fourth successive year. The Women’s team also kicked things off with a win over Scotland, 76-0, and the Sevens team won in Wellington.

Owen Farrell continued his good form as he kicked 18 points and picked up Man of the Match, while tries were scored by Chris Ashton, Geoff Parling, Danny Care and debutant Billy Twelvetrees.

"I'm really pleased with the start. I think we’ve got a lot of confidence, and we’ll try to build on that" said England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

Scotland new cap Kiwi Sean Maitland scored the opening try of the game, while Stuart Hogg crossed for a well taken try but England stepped things up in the second half and came away with a big win.

They travel to Dublin next weekend to take on an impressive looking Ireland team, who earlier today beat Wales 30-22 in Cardiff.

"Across the board and with Manu (Tuilagi) coming back into consideration there will be some selection decisions to make. We need to knuckle down to what will be a massive game against Ireland," said Lancaster.

"The last two weeks have been invaluable in going over the lessons we learned in the autumn. We felt prepared going into the game and while we are not satisfied with everything I thought our cohesion was excellent and it has given us a foundation to go into Dublin.

"Ireland are an outstanding side. They have quality players across the board so it is a big step up. We need to make sure we are ready mentally physically and mentally and technically."

Posted at 9:14 pm | 42 comments

Ireland hold off Welsh comeback to claim Six Nations opener

England win Wellington Sevens after dramatic Cup Final

Posted in Six Nations 2013

Viewing 42 comments

Tc February 03, 2013 10:48 am

Could anyone tell me why launchberry's try was disallowed? I was at the game so didn't have the benefit of a replay. The screen said high tackle, but was odd with England in possession. Irrelevant as it led to parlings try, but no one could figure out why it wasn't given. Thanks

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big88 February 03, 2013 11:41 am

Tom Youngs had cleared some Scot out of a ruck by the neck (I think) and the touchey flagged it. No replay was shown of the incident though on BBC

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browner February 04, 2013 12:30 am

Aren't 80% of rucks cleared out by the neck nowadays?

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UpTheLowEnd February 04, 2013 7:21 pm

Yeah that was the case, shows a bit of an inconsistency, if you look at Ashton's try, at the ruck with Launchbury at the bottom, Farrell clearly clears Gray out by the neck.

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Colombes February 03, 2013 11:54 am

Impressed by england application and precision

This team will be always dangerous by respecting their basic forces: breakdown, fixations and pick&go, to settle a platform for youngs and farrell.
As soon as england tried to improvise, they wasted 1 or 2 tries. Maybe not the most genius team, but Lancaster has achieved to install a good gameplan respected by his players

On Scotland, i'm quite astonished by the lack of platform in the forwards, and paradoxally, the fire of their back3. Don't know where this team is going, but guys like maitland, hoggs and visser clearly save the show

to Tc, try was disallowed because of one Tom Youngs brutality in the action

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jeppy89 February 03, 2013 11:56 am

All the pundits seemed to have missed something obvious here, all the talk of 33 playing fantastic in his debut, and I happen to agree, coupled with the desire everyone has to see Manu back in an England shirt as soon as possible, creating a selection dilemma......

......barrit swapped to 13 to accommodate billy and replace Manu, so if you want both of them, drop barrit who while I quite like in his solidity and defensive prowess is not the attacking threat of the other two.

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Reality February 03, 2013 1:00 pm

Eh, shouldn't that be 36? You are talking about Twelvetrees, right?

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jeppy89 February 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Haha yeah my bad thats an in joke that I typed out of habit. Owing to the fact that my mate once whilst trying to explain the 36 reference got the maths wrong, it kind of stuck round our club.....an has now come round to bite me in the ass!

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browner February 04, 2013 12:33 am

wouldn't 'thicket' be more apt

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browner February 04, 2013 12:33 am

wouldn't 'thicket' be more apt

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UpTheLowEnd February 03, 2013 4:02 pm

I have to agree! They were all talking about the dilemma of choosing between Manu and 36, and im sat there thinking Barrett is worth the sacrifice, sure he brings a good defence but the attacking prowess of 36 and Manu would be ridiculous... at the very least bring 36 on as an impact sub if alls going well. I guess the logic is that we're not going to be playing mickey mouse teams and a solid defence is going to be necessary but 36 has a solid tackle and manu can batter with the best of em.

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big88 February 03, 2013 12:10 pm

It has to be Twelvetrees and Manu at centres for Ireland, perfect combination

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FatProp February 03, 2013 12:22 pm

Brilliant from England but why do they have to waste try opportunity after opportunity against Ireland we might find we are not clinical enough. But a great kicker and a good pack might be good enough until France

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Dave1970 February 03, 2013 12:36 pm

I'm surprised how positive people are being about this England performance. I thought it was oddly lacking in direction from both sides, as did others watching it with me. England came out on top because in most cases they are man for man better than the Scots but the same game plan (or rather lack of game plan) won't work against better sides.

I'd normally be looking for the 10 to provide some structure and given this I'm amazed that Farrell got m.o.m. Lots of positives for certain, good debut from Twelvetrees, lots of good ball carrying from the back row especially Morgan. Overall though a lot for England to do before next week, allowing Scotland to score 18 points away from home isn't great.

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AJ Capote February 03, 2013 2:22 pm

On the contrary Dave, lot of the comments I've seen (mainly on BBC Sport) have been very negative about this performance. The way I see it is it was 80% very good, 20% very dim. There were some fairly stupid moments - lack of defence for Hogg's counter giving him an easy 70m run for Maitland's try, some tries butchered - and it looked like 1-15 weren't quite on the same wavelength. Quite a few times guys looked like they expected one move and suddenly had a pass fired at them when they didn't expect it.

But this is natural. England always start slowly in the 6N. They usually hit the straps by matchday 3 or 4. Forwards were powerful and the backs when they clicked looked excellent. Sure the 2 Scotland tries were soft, but it's what happens when the game gets loose near the end. I didn't approve of SL emptying the bench in the final quarter, there was no need - 12Ts was having a great game and replacing him with Flood broke the rhythm. Felt odd to me as no players were down on their haunches by that stage. All top-level players now can last 80 minutes no problem so changes should be tactical rather than for the sake of energy.

Farrell got MOTM because he nailed every kick, his tactical kicking was good, and his distribution was excellent at times - THAT pass to Parling is worthy of Dan Carter. People still hype Cipriani, but he can do that every so often - Farrell is doing it more and more. Note his quick thinking and kick to Ashton for a try in the HC few weeks back too.

I think Alex Goode had a poor game yesterday though, and Brown defensively wasn't great. Both of them were guilty of running kicks back and getting turned over/conceding silly penalties when they should've just banged it back up the park. Good enterprise, just wrong time. Foden is a better bet as he is good under high ball, good defensively, and knows when to counter attack.

As for Scotland? They just can't get a strong 15. Beattie was excellent, good to see him back after so long out.

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McMurphy February 05, 2013 12:13 pm

The pace that England played at showed at least a developing style, and that was the most pleasing thing for me. Yes, there were sloppy mistakes, but the players seem to be largely on the same page. You can begin to see Catt's influence.

For me the thing which stood out was how the gameplan worked well (with the dummy runners and the cut out passes behind them) by creating little creases in the defence, and on at least 2 occasions that I can think of Brad Barritt was put in behind the Scottish defence. On one occassion he went down too easily and gave away a penalty, but it was significant - if an average carrier like Barritt can be damaging, what might Tuilagi do?

The structure and understanding seems to be coming together. I suspect England may well lose to Ireland, but I'm still pleased with the squad development.

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AJ Capote February 05, 2013 12:22 pm

I agree. The mistakes were rustiness that always occurs when England reconvene for international windows. They were a bit sloppy against Fiji too back in the autumn, but bucked up more for the games afterwards finally coming good on matchday 4. I agree with Catt and I'm so glad he's involved and getting his message across - I honestly rate Catt as one of the most intelligent and visionary players England have ever had, so it's fantastic to see his creative vision that he brought as a player coming through - remember Clive Woodward's England played nearly all their best rugby with Catt in the team at 12.

I liked that too, there was willingness to find and create space. Many times England were one offload out of the tackle away from scoring. 12Ts seemed to constantly find half-gaps every single time, and all it needed was someone on the shoulder to offload to and it's try-time. 12Ts finding half-gaps and offloading to Tuilagi who blasts through the remaining defence? Sounds promising!

I'm not sure. England seem to be developing a strong mentality which serves them well away from home, they took a great win in France last year and drew in South Africa over summer. So I think this weekend's game will be too close to call. If England get the same forward supremacy they did in this fixture last year it's all over, but I doubt Ireland will let that happen again especially on home turf.

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McMurphy February 05, 2013 3:18 pm

Yeah, I agree with the strong mentality - the autumn showed that. Could've beaten Australia ... Should've beaten SA ... then rallying to beat NZ. But but but... at the moment, for all their promise, we have to remember that England haven't won in Ireland for a decade, and the last 2 times have been ugly. Ireland have experience and control in their team in a way that only comes with years of seasoning.

Another reason I suspect Ireland will shade it is that without Morgan and Corbisiero the pack is definitely weaker. Morgan is developing fast into a really dangerous player, and I rate Corbisiero highly - he and Cole were dominant against NZ and Ireland last year. Marler is promising but he isn't dominant yet, and without Morgan the ballcarrying isn't as effective.

But injuries happen, and the replacements have a shot. I'd like to see Vunipola junior get a run off the bench.

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Facepalm February 03, 2013 4:54 pm

Good win by England. Good debut for twelvetrees, although I doubt he'll be keeping tuilagi on the bench next week. I think our scrum sorely missed corbisiero but I don't think it's too much too worry about. Well need to perform better to get a win in Dublin, hopefully foden will be back in the mix. Plenty to be happy about.

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NotAWelshDavies February 03, 2013 5:20 pm

England played well, witha strong offloading game, although I still stuggle to see why Robshaw is consistently started, let alone as captain, which consists mainly of two reasons.

1) His desicion making has been proven to be poor; picking the wrong penalty option in the dying stages of two separate occasions. We can't afford a captain who will lose points in a game. Despite this not being a problem against Scotland, I think this could cope back to bite England in the future, where a desicion like that could potentially cost the match.

2) Chris Robshaw isn't a born number 7. If you look at the top sides from the world cup, the Kiwis, the Wallabies and The Welsh, they all have a thoroughbred openside. In which case, if Lancaster doesn't see that as a necessity, why not start Haskell in his place? Haskell is much stronger ball carrier, a harder tackler, gets around the pitch and shows great continuity and desire to move the ball from his year playing Super Rugby.

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FatProp February 03, 2013 7:42 pm

Because he is getting better and better with every game.
He may not be a natural number 7 but he does turnover the ball a couple of times a game, I am actually a fan of Haskell and against ireland i would take out wood and play him to counter the back row of Ireland but in the loose Robshaw can link up play haskell just can not do that.

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Rich_W February 04, 2013 12:56 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/20678729

Scroll down to the stats comparing all the home nations opensides. That's why SL is England coach and not you.

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stroudos February 04, 2013 4:07 pm

*Boom*

Rich_W, awesome retort and thanks so much for posting those stats, which will come in very handy for the next pub-based debate on this subject.

That's his openside credentials nailed to the mast.

On the Captaincy, I would add that Robshaw is devilishly handsome and far less of a yobbo than many of the other options - the kind of bloke you feel comfortable going up to receive the Calcutta Cup from Princess Anne, (even when Tindall had become family it still looked a bit embarrassing when he did that).

But seriously, NotaWelshDavies mentions two decisions that are "so last year", and which were followed immediately by a brilliant captain's performance in a victory against the best side of the world.

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rugby08 February 05, 2013 8:40 am

Top sides in the world and Welsh in the same sentence?

BWAHAHAHAHA

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McMurphy February 05, 2013 12:03 pm

In the autumn, Robshaw went up against the 3 southern hemisphere teams, including McCaw, and in playing terms gave very little away, and was part of a unit that bossed McCaw at the breakdown.

I'll give you that Robshaw doesn't 'seem' to be a thoroughbred 7, in that he doesn't seem to be the best in the world at anything, but if you actually look at the game, he plays a huge role in the team, racking up the tackles, turning ball over, slowing ball down, carrying time and time again - the physicality, fitness and ability to be in the game all day long is impressing me more and more.

I was a Robshaw sceptic last season as a player but he's coming into his own. Then again, for his first 2 seasons in international rugby I didn't see the point of Dan Cole, so what do I know!

As far as captaining goes, yes, he made a couple of poor decisions in the autumn, but he appears to be a good leader in that the attitude in the team seems good at the moment, and he also seems to be a quick study. Decision making as a captain is different, and it's a learnt skill, not an inate one, so I am pretty confident that with experience he will get better.

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DrG February 03, 2013 8:23 pm

Ok... So November becomes Movember and everyone grows tache's...

...But has the English team tried to change February into Beebruary? Where everyone has Bieber haircuts?

I noticed England were using the All Black rucking technique; Diving in, staying off their feet etc lol.

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dave February 04, 2013 12:00 am

so Billy Twelvetrees had a very good debut at 12 and played better than Barrit, the England camp says Tuilagi will be back for Ireland which makes it hard to play Twelvetrees, to me this doesn't make any sense, england have a real inside center with twelvetrees and tuilagi operates best at 13, why aren't they talking about Barrit being expendable?

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browner February 04, 2013 12:35 am

There are some days I really regret not having more french friends to take the piss out of ...... LOL

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browner February 04, 2013 12:41 am

19mins in......Tom Youngs .....PK side entry ....EH? where?

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stroudos February 04, 2013 4:16 pm

Astonishing decision. The mind boggles, really. He did Tom Wood for side entry at another point too, which was also a bit harsh, but this one just took the piss.

Bit worrying for Tom Youngs, who I think had another cracking game, but might find himself in Lancaster's bad books for indiscipline - here and also when Launchbury's try was disallowed, and I still haven't seen what he's supposed to have done on that occasion - the only person who seems to have seen anything is that touch judge.

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Jeroo February 04, 2013 3:52 pm

Ome of Morgans runs we immense! Are we still waiting to hear if he'll be fit for the weekend? If he cant play then who steps in? Haskell (already on the bench), Crane (8 for the saxons) maybe even Easter?.....

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stroudos February 04, 2013 4:11 pm

Morgan was awesome, devastating with ball in hand and did you see him tidying up a load of high ball too? Looked like a very competent full-back (albeit a massive one). Hope he's fit for this weekend. If not, I wouldn't hesitate to throw Haskell in. Easter has been playing some cracking rugby, but his attitude is all wrong and is getting worse - admittedly I'm judging that from his body language and comments attributed to him in the press. Crane can take Hask's place on the bench.

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Russell February 04, 2013 7:59 pm

Is Billy vunipola not fit? I would prefer him on the bench rather than crane/waldrom. He looks like a good player who could do well with some development.

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Facepalm February 05, 2013 12:04 am

He's probably been Wasps' best player this season. He can't be ignored for too much longer.

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rugby08 February 05, 2013 8:42 am

From what Lancaster's said Jeroo Morgan is most likely out for this weekend.

There's a high probability Wood will start at 8 and Haskell will be brought into 6, or Vunipola come straight into 8 and Wood left at 6.

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Jeroo February 05, 2013 11:38 am

Yep - looks that way. The question now is who will come in as back row cover... I think Vunipola offer a real threat off the bench.

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DrG February 05, 2013 12:35 am

I found this game so sluggish and dull, perhaps it was because I recorded it and watched it AFTER I knew the score!?!?!? I dunno, maybe that was the reason, or maybe it was just sluggish and dull..

ANYWAY...

Scotland, my my my... They don't help themselves do they? A handful of brilliant players, chucked in with a bunch of "could be brilliant players" and what do they spend the game doing? Giving away penalties. I'd love to see the penalty count for that game..

As I said before, England appear to have adopted an All Black rucking technique, one which requires going off their feet, diving into rucks (again off their feet), in at the side...

I think Scotland are getting better?? England definitely had a buzz about them, haircuts? no, not entirely, but definitely confidence off the famous AB win.

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stroudos February 05, 2013 2:42 pm

DrG: I'd love to see the penalty count for that game..

Et voila:
http://www.espnscrum.com/statsguru/rugby/match/133783.html
England 7; Scotland 12

Felt like Scotland conceded more than that, didn't it? Probably because they conceded them in kickable range and Farrell made them pay for each one.

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stroudos February 05, 2013 2:44 pm

Oops. Didn't mean to put that all in mental formatting. Shame there's no Edit button.

RD, are you able to sort that out?

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Nivek February 05, 2013 11:34 pm

You're a bold boy.

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DanKnapp February 07, 2013 12:40 pm

And he leans ever so slightly to the right.

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