Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


Prop lays into fullback with big shot


Ben Funnell slamming tackle on Hawkins


Why you should always tackle low


Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps


Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees


Just how fast is Carlin Isles?


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper


Southland sensational try after big bump

Monday, February 24, 2014

England hold on after tense battle with Ireland at Twickenham

There is a four-way tie at the top of the Six Nations table following England's tight 13-10 victory over Ireland on Twickenham on Saturday. England, Ireland, France and Wales are all on four points with two rounds left to play.

England came back from being 10-3 down after a well taken Rob Kearney try from Ireland. Mike Brown's break in the second half led to scrum-half Danny Care sprinting away, before the home side held on for a tense win.

Attention now turns to Wales, who England play next in two week's time.

"The Six Nations is open for everyone given the way the results have gone. It's been a fantastic championship this year," said coach Stuart Lancaster.

"We'll enjoy this win but we know that there's a big, big challenge coming in two weeks' time."

"We respect Wales because of what they've achieved over the last couple of years and their performance against France has given them confidence, so it will be a great game," he added.

An England win over Wales will give them the Triple Crown, but no team in the tournament can win a Grand Slam. Ireland are in the best position for an overall victory, with a points difference of +42, compared with England's +21, Wales' +6 and France's +1.

So despite the loss, Ireland are looking good and face Italy at home next, in what will be then Test cap record holder Brian O'Driscoll's final test at home. All four sides are still very much in it though, so the final two rounds of play will be fascinating to watch.

Posted at 7:00 am | 121 comments

Posted in Six Nations 2014

Viewing 121 comments

Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 9:09 am

SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT

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FatProp February 24, 2014 12:11 pm

Attwood must have seen your claims of being lazy !! He was immense, definitely his best England game

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 6:31 pm

Yep I was shocked an impressed, hands down, he played well, and I would even say he was an impact player. Put in some big hits, and helped Thomas in the scrum.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 6:32 pm

He must of seen my many comments on him ;-)

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DanKnapp February 24, 2014 9:49 am

What a game. The drinking game was almost as much fun.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1/1779791_574800969268592_1919459437_n.jpg

Brian Moore was definitely aware of it. He quoted Shakespeare a few times during the game. Good lad. He normally pisses me off, but he's a good sport at the same time.

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DanKnapp February 24, 2014 9:51 am

The game utterly came alive in the last 20 minutes. I mean, it was a good game throughout, but I haven't felt so tense at the end of a game for so long. Either team could have won that. I have a lot of time for the Irish players, they're absolutely immense.

Both full backs were outstanding and put on a proper display of international quality.

The work rate in the English defence was unbelieveable. There will be some sore bodies after this!

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Beziers1970 February 24, 2014 9:53 am

swing low sweet Joubert, the good referee for any home team ! (a sour graping frenchman who didn't forget the last WC final? not even...). Thus being said, what a match, a milestone.

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dave February 24, 2014 6:58 pm

he's a saffa you dunce

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DrG February 24, 2014 10:21 pm

...Guy didn't say he wasn't..

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dave February 25, 2014 7:55 pm

you're not... fool!

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Full Back February 25, 2014 8:33 pm

Dave are you ok? Do you need a hug or something?

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DrG February 25, 2014 10:13 pm

Beziers stated 'a sour graping frenchman who didn't forget the last WC final' ...that basically means that Beziers is French and the comment he is making is not as a result of being a Frenchman. He did not mention Jouberts nationality in that comment.

You followed with a comment saying Joubert is a saffa. That is correct, however take note of my comment which stated that Beziers did not make reference to Jouberts nationality, therefore your insult towards him was entirely unnecessary.

You then reply to me saying - let me get this right - 'You are not....fool!'

To match your insulting level, how about this for an answer: 'Do you need a fucking dictionary, or do you just want me to arrange for you to go back to night classes in English?'

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dave February 26, 2014 1:14 am

ha....I pity the foo !

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Full Back February 26, 2014 5:05 pm

yes, foo's are indeed to be pitied...well said Dave, we're all with you when it comes to them foo's

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DanKnapp February 27, 2014 9:27 pm

I don't like to give pity to foo's. They only spend it on drugs.

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Tara February 24, 2014 10:15 am

A great game ..for both teams. Sadly Ireland didn't get the Triple Crown as that is their first loss.

Your Incorrect above in saying , "An England win over Wales will give them the Triple Crown," as England had lost against France.

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FatProp February 24, 2014 10:24 am

I think the triple crown is between the British teams so if England beats wales they would have beaten Wales Ireland and Scotland

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Full Back February 24, 2014 11:10 am

British and Irish ;)
The Triple Crown is the old version of the Grand Slam from the days when the 6 nations was called the home nations, France have nothing to do with it.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 6:39 pm

The triple crown will soon be between the British, Irish and Scottish. ;-)

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wobbla1802 February 25, 2014 8:46 am

Since when does Britain have a Rugby Team ?

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sportsfan1 February 25, 2014 10:29 am

Quite a while actually, they are called the British & Irish Lions!

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stroudos February 25, 2014 11:01 am

I think he's referring to Scottish independence..

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wobbla1802 February 25, 2014 8:41 am

France do not play for the Triple Crown it is only Ireland Wales Scotland and England

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FatProp February 24, 2014 10:59 am

Great game both tries are just amazing and the whole game was gargantuan. Launchbury should have been man of the match IMO I remember him getting three turnovers on his own the tap tackle on the winger, he then moved to the blindside for the last ten minutes. Attwood off the bench was amazing the HITS THE HITS he put in I could feel from this side of the tv. I think the backline was very good apart from Farrell he should have been yellowed and his passing wasn't very good, as well as twelvetrees his passing is not very good its for too powerful when players are so close and he does it every game !! what we need is Eastmond but we probably wont see him against wales. Anyway so happy with the win I was so on the edge of the seat I fell of nearly when may booted the ball away at the end !

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Full Back February 24, 2014 11:08 am

I'm gutted as an Irishman for the loss but it was a great match by both sides. Launchbury was immense in defence but that "save" that Brown made from O'Driscolls kick on the fly along with his excellent line break to set up Care was possibly the difference between the sides. BoD's skill in kicking the ball on the fly would normally have been enough and there was nobody home behind, how Brown got down in time, held the ball and regained his feet is beyond me!
I agree Farrell should have been carded but as a rugby fan I can't say I'm sorry the result didn't come down to a refereeing decision, even if we did lose.
I'd England with clinch the Triple crown but Ireland's points difference should carry them through if they can manage France in Paris!

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matt February 24, 2014 5:13 pm

If Brown had missed the kick then BoD still had to outpace Johnny May from 60m out, and he's still a great player, but his top speed isn't his greatest asset anymore. So I am tempted to say Brown's save was important. But it wasn't a try saver necessarily.

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Canadian content February 25, 2014 12:49 am

Judging by how may was dealing with balls going backwards I'd disagree. He'd have been under severe pressure which he was dealing poorly with

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Full Back February 25, 2014 8:35 pm

you're forgetting that although the kick was attempted by BoD he wasn't the only one following it up!

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Guest March 02, 2014 2:57 pm

Correct Matt, but the way to look at it imo is Brown cut out a 50% chance of a try and made it 0% chance of a try. One of the players of this six nations so far.

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ConnachtMan February 24, 2014 11:15 am

A solid game, bother teams gave it hammer and tongs, Conor Murray annoys me in his kicking and he is slow to clear out the ball from rucks, Isaac boss should have been put in at 60minutes....well played England, some real class. Both sides will hopefully peak for the World Cup. I think Wales will give England a real lesson in 3 weeks.....should be interesting!

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Reality February 24, 2014 5:31 pm

If pace is what you're looking for Isaac Boss is not the man to have. You could make a good argument for Reddan even if he's not very reliable in the other parts of the game, but Boss isn't exactly renowned for adding pace to a game. And I don't really trust him to make good decisions. At the end of the match against Wales Ireland had gone about 80 metres in the space of a minute and then it ended when he threw a ridiculous forward pass. They were well capable of getting a try or penalty there and he just ruined it with that stupid decision. Considering that it might come down to points difference those things count.

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DrG February 26, 2014 12:09 pm

Just bring back Stringer...

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Reality February 26, 2014 5:17 pm

I suppose if you're going to pick someone inferior to Murray, why stop at Boss?

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DrG February 26, 2014 10:18 pm

Actually aside from size and power, Stringer in his heyday offered fast accurate ball, and was not afraid to dig it out. His defence was as good as many of todays players but considering he is 5ft 7in I'd say it's a fantastic effort!

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Reality February 27, 2014 11:00 am

His defence was as good? I'm guessing you forgot to write the 'not' in that sentence because it's really just not true. Maybe he was as good as Ronan O'Gara in defence but that's about it. The fact that he was famous for tap-tackles is a sign that he wasn't able to do normal tackles.

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DrG February 28, 2014 12:37 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRlEOaCrcko

Did what about 2 or 3 Englishman including Mike Catt couldn't do... I wouldn't say he was particularly bad...

I'd like to see Ronan O'Gara tackle like that..

Heres the video for your viewing...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLnyyQbgnHM

View Videos

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jimmy23 February 24, 2014 11:32 am

Sorry but I don't think Farrell should have been carded, a penalty was sufficient.
I don't understand how it was deemed late as he hit Murray about second after he had kicked the ball, how was he supposed to pull out of that one? I do agree that there could have been more arms involved. Hence why I think a penalty was fine, still, doesn't excuse him for doing it though! On another day that could cost us dearly.

Otherwise, bloody good game! Much more exciting than the scoreline would suggest, although I'm sure some SH fans will think otherwise ;)

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FatProp February 24, 2014 12:08 pm

yeah I don't think it was late It just looked like a shoulder charge, look I'm not complaining we managed to win the game and being down to 14 men for 10 minutes would have probably just shifted it to Ireland that's how close it was !

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Full Back February 24, 2014 1:04 pm

well looking at it you'd be forgiven for thinking that he could have pulled out but opted to dig the shoulder in. Let's say a card wouldn't have been surprising and given the stakes involved it wasn't exactly a clever option.

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DanKnapp February 24, 2014 9:06 pm

I was more annoyed with Farrell because it could easily have earned him a yellow card. He hasn't quite found the balance between aggression and common sense.

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dave February 26, 2014 2:14 am

I think the reality is that he's a centre playing flyhalf, that behavior is more typical in the midfield

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dave February 26, 2014 2:19 am

not that I don't think that move is reckless *

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45678 February 25, 2014 10:27 am

did anyone notice Healy come charging in after Farrell had dropped his shoulder - it looked like he stamped on his back. It was half mentioned by eddie butler in the commentary and then not shown again.

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DanKnapp February 25, 2014 12:12 pm

He didn't do anything. They were saying that 2 years ago he might have done, but he was cool.

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Guy February 24, 2014 12:05 pm

Have not seen it yet but based on the huge mutual respect from fans of both teams, it must have been a cracker.

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DrG February 24, 2014 12:50 pm

Write more later great game, Ireland looked a bit too loose with random kicking at times. As for the Farrell card/no card thing. I personally think that given what the referee said, it should have been a card, the referee stated it was late and a shoulder charge, two offences.

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Full Back February 24, 2014 1:09 pm

not so sure at how random it was, that English back 3 are a tough group to kick to and they cover the pitch expertly, what would normally be a decent clearing kick can quickly become a counter attack.
Ireland had more possession and territory over the game but englands metres gained with the ball in hand was quite impressive.
Would have liked to see Redden in there for the last 20minutes all the same, he's tidier with the ball in hand and can generally get the momentum going.

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Facepalm February 24, 2014 2:08 pm

I honestly think Sexton's kicking contributed more than anything to the end result. Cian Healy and Devin Toner haven't really been given enough laudits as perhaps they should've done. They were giving Sexton great ball but more often than not he seemed to feed it back to the England back three.

As you suggested it could well be that the English back three were just much better at covering the pitch than the Welsh were last fortnight. But that would surprise me given the inexperience of Nowell and May, and the quality of Halfpenny and Big George.

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FatProp February 25, 2014 11:38 am

it was actually Liam Williams for wales because Scott Williams injury north went into centre and Liam Williams just got found out of position and sexton punished him everytime.

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hellraiser_rob February 24, 2014 1:18 pm

Really fantastic game by both teams, total commitment and such intensity for 80 minutes is a real feat.

I have read interesting views on the England wingers, many English fans are giving them criticism, but I noted the pundits on scrum five see them as a real threat. I think they have done pretty well, Nowell can really bust a tackle and Mays pace and step are superb.

One last thing on Mays try that never was (tackled in the grounding) - Surely it would have been grounded easily before the tackles came in if he hadn't been tackled around the head first? Nobody has mentioned this, and he has copped a lot of stick, so i thought I would :)

I'm not blaming the Irish defender by the way, but maybe it should have been a penalty at least.

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DanKnapp February 24, 2014 9:13 pm

I thought the wingers were more exciting than any England have graced a field with for some time, but looked inexperienced. The good news is that they ARE inexperienced and are getting a lot of experience, fast. I have been really impressed with the way that Nowell responded to a shocking first five minutes on debut, and has hit the ground running. May's decision making is questionable at the moment, but that's just learning to deal with the lack of time available on the ball at international level. Both will learn.

Kudos to Lancaster for sticking with them so far. Give them plenty of time to get bedded in. Both could be class in the future.

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TotesMcGoates February 24, 2014 10:52 pm

I agree. I was expecting a penalty for a high tackle on that one.

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matt February 24, 2014 5:16 pm

Does anyone else think that there is a strong claim for a penalty, maybe even a penalty try, for the tackle on May before the one that knocked the ball loose? The defender clearly has a hold on May's head, and in my mind had that not happened May would have been over the line before the cover got to him

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hellraiser_rob February 24, 2014 5:18 pm

That's what I saw also, see my comment above yours

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stroudos February 24, 2014 7:36 pm

Yes. Call me old-fashioned but I've always considered tackling someone by the hair to be a high tackle.

And I may need to check I haven't left my white-tinted glasses on here but I'm fairly confident that if May hadn't lost that little bit of forward momentum due tote hair tackle he had the pace and power to bust through and ground that.

To my reading of the laws that makes it a penalty try. However, you could argue that not awarding a try did keep the game more tense and exciting.

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matt February 24, 2014 8:06 pm

Sorry Rob, I thought I'd read them all, didn't mean to steal your plan

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DrG February 24, 2014 10:41 pm

Interesting point, the days gone by it used to be there was discretion against the tackle 'slipping upwards' after starting lower, but I believe that is long extinct and it matters precious little if you start at the studs and end up at the guys neck.

I don't recall how the tackle started, whether there is a case for any leniency due to ducking for the try line or something. But that was one thing that had me wondering at the time if Ireland were about to be dealt a nasty blow. I was very surprised that no one seemed to question it in the commentary team.

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stroudos February 25, 2014 7:24 am

No "slipping upwards" here, started high and finished higher. The mitigating factor is that May was ducking to start his drive to the line. However, I don't think "he ducked" is a suitable defence. Of course a player diving for the tryline is going to set a low body position and the onus is on the tackler to adjust to that.

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DrG February 25, 2014 12:57 pm

Agree entirely Stroudos, I think I miswrote my comment up there. I know that the onus is always on the tackler regardless of what the ball carrier is doing, I think I meant to use the word leniency from just a viewers point of view rather than an official, i.e. could we say, 'yeup, high penalty, no doubt about that, but by looking at it, he didn't mean to go high...but still penalty etc'

But if you say he started high ended higher then I guess not..

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 6:55 pm

May is alright in defence, and has got great pace, but I think if he has to go into someone (which he had to do on a couple of occasions) he just gets s
Ashed and pushed back. He isn't strong enough. And maybe with his try/non try if it would have been (not a good defender but stronger than may) Marland Yarde he would have forced his way down. I know Yarde has just come back from injury but I'm just saying maybe May isn't the wonger for the future. I would like to see Foden in on the left wing, or even Watson (don't have a clue what he's like but can't be any weeker than May) during the six nations. Maybe against Italy. Does anyone agree? Or does everyone think this is the final product/ the best XV we've got?

Can't wait to Tuilagi gets back!

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stroudos February 24, 2014 7:44 pm

I thought May had an excellent game all round.
Mate I was watching with kept complaining about his lateral running but he was always probing for a gap and as far as I recall he found one every single time and straightened up, gaining a bit if ground each time.
Same mate groaned when he kicked at the end, but what a kick - fantastic clearing kick, relieving the pressure and pinning Ireland back to a position whence they never threatened again. Stuart Lancaster's reaction (he only time I saw him smile all game) I think vindicates my view.
He also tackled effectively and did some good tidying up of Sexton's kicks.
I do rate Yarde also and Watson looks a right handful from what I've seen. But I don't think May and Nowell have done much wrong, definitely not May.
We're looking ok for depth at wing currently.

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stroudos February 24, 2014 7:48 pm

And Wade.

And, not to deliberately disagree with everything you've said, I also look forward to Tuilagi coming back but have Ben very impressed by Burrell, who I might argue is actually a more competent all-round footballer. Probably 12T who would need to make way with Burrell moving in one space.

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DanKnapp February 24, 2014 9:23 pm

Harsh on 36. He's been pretty decent so far this championship. Not sure I'd rate Burrell more highly.

I do however agree with your comments on the wingers. May could probably have tried to skin a few more players on the outside, but he obviously didn't feel there was enough space for that. I think teams will start to close him down a bit more in the future and he probably needs to look to go around the outside a little more. I don't remember many runs down the line compared to when he stepped inside, but I suppose that is a more sensible tactic and keeps the ball alive, whereas I just want to a searing run followed by a wonder try.

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rugby08 February 28, 2014 3:46 am

I think Twelvetrees has been pretty shite to be honest.

For a playmaking/distributing 12 his passing and decision making has been atrocious.

He's straightened the line on some occasions to be fair but his vision isn't as good as i thought it would be.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 10:08 pm

I'm a big fan of Burrell! I would try him 12 and Tuiliagi 13 (in the future) but 36 hasnt done too badly (missed a couple pf tackles against Ireland but also got the most tackles out of the backs) so you can't drop 36. But I do think we need Manu in the team, he is a real game changer and impact player, takes 2-3 to bring him down, and with Burrell and Nowell running good lines that could work out nicely

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matt February 25, 2014 11:06 am

Personally I'd leave Tuilagi on the bench when he's back. I can't imagine anything worse at the 60 minute mark than looking up to see the giant Burrell trotting off, only to be replaced by a fresh, and even larger, Tuilagi.

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FatProp February 25, 2014 11:50 am

We have some excellent wingers now !!
At one point we had Ashton and strettle now we have
1.May
2.Yarde
3.Nowell
4.Watson
5.Wade

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hellraiser_rob February 24, 2014 9:20 pm

If we beat Wales (Big if i know), then we don't really want to change the wingers for no reason against Italy when the championship will come down to points difference.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 10:51 pm

But then at what stage do you test players at an Internationnal level if you don't want to change the team? I believe France should start Fickou but people have been saying "You can't start him against ENG or WAL, so Hen do you start him then? And ENG have only got two matches left, if they beat Wales (with an unchanged XV) why not try out someone like Watson against Italy? At meast give him 20mins. Same as Ford. These young players I think have got to have at least 2 games under their belts before the world cup. Gusgott said "If you're not confident with the players in your squad you should not pick them". I think May has proved what he is capable of, so lets give someone else a go. Same with 36 even. If Tuilagi or Eastmond are on form I wouldnt mind seeing one of them with Burrell.

I think May and Twelvetrees have been ok these 6nations so far but not great they have both missed tackles, both made bad decisions.

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DrG February 24, 2014 10:38 pm

Rather random but I'm always left wondering why Burrell is called Burr-ell when Farrell is just Farrell...

Kind of a Joe Dirt, Joe Dirte thing...

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DrG February 24, 2014 11:02 pm

Have to add a comment about Mike Brown, I believe it was the previous match when Brian Moore made a comment regarding how Mike Brown is a bit of a unrecognised player (for other teams) but he is not sure why, and how MB is deceptively good.

I have to hold my hand up and say, "yeup, that is exactly how I viewed him!" I held my tongue over the past few weeks when everyone was harping on about how amazing Mike Brown is as I felt that I hadn't seen what you were all on about, but to be totally honest, he was incredible in this match and it's totally opened my eyes as to what you were all on about. Brilliant all rounder (that goal keeper save was incredible), great runner, and great attacker.

Now for the negative, perhaps I should hold my tongue here too.. but.. He seems a bit like a miserable shit.. I mean that might be incredibly harsh, I'm not asking him to flaunt his stuff - certainly didn't work for Ashton, but geez, after a victory like that against Ireland he needs to at least look like he's awake. I hear talk about him stating he won't be happy until he lifts the RWC trophy? REALLY? Then that little shoving stuff with BOD? What was all that about? I get that the England team might have been tired of that BOD's final Twickenham match stuff (also don't know if BOD had a quick word in his ear) but he just seems miserable?

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 11:30 pm

Who cares he's a great player. He can be as miserable as he wants as long as he plays well

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DrG February 25, 2014 3:56 am

Not suggesting he needs to be someone he is not, I'm just saying it's a shame he can't be what appears to be a likeable person as well as a good player - Doesn't have to be one or the other.

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stroudos February 25, 2014 8:02 am

I did not enjoy his "acting very immature" moment with Huget - very footballery.
Quite intrigued by the BOD thing - would be interesting to find out if O'Driscoll was sledging him to try and get under his skin, which would be quite cool because it seemed to work and I love a good wind-up merchant. Or was it more a statement from Brown that he didn't give a fuck who O'Driscoll was and was just using a bit of niggle to assert himself and psych himself up.

This might change your view of the bloke a little bit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwNI2Owb23A

I don't think he's miserable at all, but a dedicated and focused professional.


View Video

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:10 pm

Great video Stroudos, it's nice to see a different side to him, I've only seen him involved in the 6N, (hence why I was one of those who didn't recognise his talents) so perhaps England on a whole are not pleased with the campaign so far and are trying to remain cool and calm. I actually forgot Brown was the one involved with Huget.

45678 mentioned below that it was a late swinging arm, I don't actually recall the 'tackle' that sparked it, but that would indeed be in line with why Brown would get his back up.

I think BOD is a wind up merchant, although I have no proof of this. But I also think it's a fair point about a player not caring about another players 'day' - Perhaps he had a chat after the game - 'what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch' ?

I hope for his sake (and Englands) he stays fit for the World Cup he'll be a massive asset for them.

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45678 February 25, 2014 10:31 am

o'driscoll came in with a marginally late swinging arm tackle after brown had passed the ball. brown was just making a point and fair play for him to standing up to o'driscoll. a cheap shot is a cheap shot regardless of reputation

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:14 pm

I said above in reply to Stroudos that I don't recall the 'tackle' so if you're right then I agree fair play to standing up. Hopefully there'll be a video come up somewhere.

'a cheap shot is a cheap shot regardless of reputation' - That statement is fair enough, but I didn't say anything contrary to it. If I were an official I wouldn't give BOD free reign to play as he wishes just because it was his final match at Twickenham.. I doubt very much anyone would..

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Reality February 26, 2014 5:21 pm

I'd like to see a replay of that as well but my understanding of it was that just as O'Driscoll was going to tackle Brown the whistle went, so he sort of hit him but held onto him and stayed upright rather than following through and smashing him to the ground. Brown then gentlemanly shoved O'Driscoll and then shoved him again after BOD didn't react. I would like to see a replay though because I'm not sure.

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DrG February 26, 2014 10:20 pm

See, I was sort of under the same impression. I have to admit I don't completely recall the incident, but I was under the impression BOD actually didn't do anything 'physically' wrong.. of course words could have been exchanged.

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Mastersa February 24, 2014 11:32 pm

What a tight game. With defenses like that, it's easy to see both Ireland and England do well in the World Cup. In Lancaster and Schmitt each country has super tacticians.
Critism has been put on Warrenball. Big bish bash bosh backs, but this is the direction the game is going. Mention of Burrell and Tualagi combo in previous posts outline the lust for this type of back line. But think of the poor wee 5'11" 14 Stone Age +34 centre combo of Darcy and O'Driscol still breaking the line more times than not and still taking monster men down. When are we ever going to see a centre partnership like that again. Unfortunately, for Ireland probably not for a while. Calling all giant unnaturally fast uncapped Tongans with Irish grandfathers for job vacancy Autum 2014. What the hell, everybody else is doing it!

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stroudos February 25, 2014 7:41 am

Manu Tuilagi has lived in England since age 13 and played junior club rugby in Leicestershire from U14s.

Mako & Billy Vunipola were born in New Zealand and have lived in either Wales or England since age 7 and 6 respectively. Their cousin Toby Faletau has lived in Wales since a similar age.

It would hardly be fair to ask these guys to bugger off to the other side of the world to play their rugby, would it?

I'll give you Lesley Vainikolo and, moving continents, Hendre Fourie and to a lesser extent Matt Stevens, but in the current England set-up the only "dubious Englishman" is Brad Barritt. All our "islanders" are legit!

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:23 pm

To drag up an old comment someone once left me when talking about Faletau and Manu some people probably would think it's very fair:

'LOL, you're not serious DrG are you .... neither of them are a product of schooling .... they are a product of "Gene Pool migration facilitated by £'s"

Tuilagi had way below average skill sets as a teenager, but way way way above average physical attributes!'

To which I replied:

'...right because 7 year old Faletau was handed a Welsh rugby shirt when he stepped off the plane...'

Shame about Billy Vunipola injury, although with Morgan(?) was it, who replaced him, I think England still have a rather strong pack..

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perfectthirteen February 25, 2014 12:46 am

said from the start..this championship is beetween ireland and england...how much will england rue that late fickou try...could of been a grandslam

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stroudos February 25, 2014 7:42 am

Whooooooaaa, steady on mate. Got Wales and Italy yet...

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perfectthirteen February 25, 2014 12:48 pm

ah stroudos hav a bit of confidence...there clearly the best teams,england arent better than ireland or vice versa but their the best sides in NH....ye will beat wales and ireland will beat france...im geniunely suprised at the amount of respect and humility shown by english fans..you guys are brilliant well done...im irish by the way

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Full Back February 25, 2014 8:43 pm

Have to agree, I'd say the amount of respect can only increase with games like the one on Sunday...as gutted as I am.
Nice to see the old niggly shite is quietly dying out.

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Phil mc avity February 25, 2014 8:25 am

Did you miss last years six nations?!

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wobbla1802 February 25, 2014 8:53 am

The stupid error by Sexton at the start of the 2nd half was the main reason Ireland lost the game. He is getting paid approximately €700,000 pa to kick a ball up the field and he kicks it straight into touch giving England a scrum on the halfway line. You would not see that from an out half involved in schools rugby.

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45678 February 25, 2014 10:35 am

you listen too much to the below average BBC commentary. Ireland lost the game because England scored more points than them over 80 minutes, not because of one restart

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rugby08 February 28, 2014 3:48 am

45678

Finally!!!! someone says it. The BBC commentary is crap and way too many people form their opinions based on it.

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perfectthirteen February 25, 2014 12:51 pm

ive seen it done countless times at all levels of the game...thats a silly comment sexton is the best flyhalf in NH he had an off day...keep your hair on

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Question February 25, 2014 9:09 am

has Ireland ever won with this referee? It's just curiosity. This kind of refereeing killed Irish style, don't leave fight the rucks, people coming from sides. Typical HS, make advantage to the attacking team. Make game faster, but if one of your weapons in that...

Anyway deserve win for England.

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45678 February 25, 2014 10:38 am

I watched the game again last night and have to say I thought joubert was giving away penalties to Ireland in the second half - for example 4 in a row, soon after the Kearney try for minor offences at the ruck which otherwise went on throughout the game un-penalised. anyway that's how I saw it out of my one eye!

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FatProp February 25, 2014 11:47 am

I thought he was the ref in the wales Ireland game ? or am I wrong ?(genuine question)

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perfectthirteen February 25, 2014 12:53 pm

no that was wayne barnes....joubert reffed the ire sco game

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FatProp February 25, 2014 1:59 pm

Is that so *jumps out of the window*

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benji February 25, 2014 10:55 am

A lot of talk about the wingers, but isn't it great for England to be in a position with so many options?? May and Nowell both just look like they need to grown into the international game, but very promising I think.
It's a shame Ford didn't make it on but then with such a tight game it's understandable.
Surprised no one's even mentioned Danny Care yet, I thought he had a good game and finished a great try just by seeing the space, although it seemed at one point, pretty sure it was the build up to may's non try, that the half backs were trying too much to pick there own gaps and over complicating a basic overlap. They missed another clear overlap in the second half when they decided to take it left instead of using the overlap. Poor communication some where in the middle.

Another fantastic performance from Mike Brown, he does seem to get a little irate which seems a bit teenagerish but sir clive seems to think its good to have players with a bit of "edge", anyway he seemed fairly happy at the end!!

Definitely a penalty for that high tackle, amazed the TMO didn't pick it up as it was in the shot for try confirmation, or even just a side comment from the commentators.

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:31 pm

Just on your first sentence, I couldn't agree more. I enjoy watching all the international matches I can, for all the teams, but one thing that I have been noticing is take an out and out different team like NZ - Bit of an extreme example but you'll see - They lose their fly half, Dan Carter (arguably the best FH in international rugby at the moment) and they replace him with another one who also gets injured, so they replace him, and they STILL have a brilliant fly half. Look at the rest of the world in that position they would be scratching around fielding props in 10 shirts or something, and NZ appear to be able to do that with EVERY position. They always seem to have someone who in all honesty DESERVES a starting position in a world class team to fill in a position, whereas everyone else 'makes do' with others.

So all that being said, it's great to see England creating some depth. I'm sure it's not as deep as they'd like and there are a few players they'd dread losing, but they are doing very well.

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benji February 25, 2014 2:30 pm

It seems Lancasters trying to experiment within his limits as much as he can to get experience before RWC, which I think is brilliant and apart from anything, makes some great discussion! Wouldn't it be good to have a real fight for 10? Sometime's it seems Farrell can do some silly little things, like a pretty pointless shoulder barge. New Zealand have it right because they literally eat rugby for breakfast lunch and dinner and any snacks in between. If we could just outlaw football...

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DrG February 25, 2014 10:18 pm

'If we could just outlaw football...'

If only... wouldn't get fellas like Shrek getting paid 300,000 a week...

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Tom February 25, 2014 1:14 pm

I can't believe how little has been made of the blatant obstruction by POC on Launchbury.

Clearly planned as part of a training ground move.

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hellraiser_rob February 25, 2014 2:08 pm

Actually something else you have jogged my mind on. I think during the 1st half POC made a point of saying to the ref "they are holding us in at the rucks". After this I was watching out for this bit of gamesmanship from England, but instead it was Ireland doing it every time. haha, good double bluff from POC

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dave February 25, 2014 7:59 pm

on that care/harlequins try you can say a certain irish man "cough o shea" had a huge hand in his countries defeat, funny how that works out

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Full Back February 25, 2014 8:45 pm

ah lads! That's a bit far fetched in fairness!

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josef February 26, 2014 2:43 am

imagine they made 10. twelvetrees 12 burrell 13 tuilagi,
farrell is a center and a flyhalf, same as twelvetrees except 36 leans more to 12, and with the right playing he might even be better if gets a chance to used to 10, he's bigger, can tackle, he's more of a running threat, can pass, shoot at goal and can do clearance kicks under pressure (biggest reason I think he is playing 12 and keeping barritt, tuilagi and burell out of the squad and out of position), that would have to be the most powerful 10,12 and 13 I can think of, there's probably some reason it wouldn't work but it's interesting to think about

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DrG February 26, 2014 12:15 pm

I don't know about all the in depth stuff regarding whether or not 36 could play 10 or whether it is a good idea for someone like him to play 10, but he certainly looks like a very exciting player, seems to take off from a standstill and looks deceptively small...

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DrG February 26, 2014 12:16 pm

Just to add as well, it would be good to see Farrell get some strong competition too... I don't like the idea of him behaving like a twit each game knowing that there are few consequences and he's not going to lose the 10 shirt...

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Facepalm February 26, 2014 12:54 pm

It's interesting that Burns has been completely left out of the England picture because of club form. Morgan has been pretty awful for Gloucester all season but he's been awesome for England and I don't think there's anyone who would say he should be dropped. I often get the feeling people read too much into club form. This is why I can't understand why Dickson is being played ahead of Youngs. If they're good enough, they will shine on the international stage. That's the way I see things anyway.

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DrG February 26, 2014 10:22 pm

Have to refresh my memory, Burns? Does England have a proper back up 10 in the squad?

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stroudos February 27, 2014 9:43 am

Freddie Burns came on for the last ten minutes against New Zealand in December 2012 - aka the one when England handed the All Blacks their collective arse.

I think that was his only England cap so far. He looked pretty good, very confident and unaffected by the size of the game - however, it was in the bag at that point and you can't ask for an easier introduction to international rugby.

Apparently his club form since then has fallen off a cliff - i haven't seen enough to comment. But either way, young George Ford seems to have moved ahead him in the pecking order for England. Ford was on the bench against Ireland, but clearly that wasn't the right environment to send a youngster on for his debut in a key position...

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hellraiser_rob February 27, 2014 3:01 pm

Yes Burns has been poor for Gloucester and also for England Saxons, George Ford has been looking very good at Bath. Ford has played England age group stuff with Farrell since they were 14 or so I think, with Ford at 10 and Farrell 12.

George Fords Dad is Mike Ford, former England Coach and now Bath head coach I think

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dave February 26, 2014 5:35 pm

anybody else here think that mike brown is the english equivalent of george st pierre?

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dave February 26, 2014 5:39 pm

physique wise*

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benji February 26, 2014 9:08 pm

Why does he have a small nose?

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dave February 27, 2014 5:45 am

they're both averaged sized dudes with incredibly deceptive power
did you see Brown manhandle Best out of a ruck?

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dave February 27, 2014 5:47 am

though to answer your question I think St Pierre has the bigger nose

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George February 27, 2014 7:58 pm

Maybe England should start Atwood at 4, move launchbury to 6 and keep the rest of the pack for the Wales game, it might help bolster Marler in the scrum having those 2 pushing with him, and I think Atwood's abrasiveness will help harden England compared to last year,
then you can sub Tom Wood in at 8 and Tom Johnson at 6 to pick up the pace for the last 3rd of the game. See if we can run down a welsh/lions team that has played a lot of rugby this year

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Phil mc avity February 28, 2014 7:49 am

Tuilagi is back! :D (for leicester)

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