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Saturday Feb 7, 2015

England come from behind to beat Wales in opening Six Nations clash

England come from behind to beat Wales in opening Six Nations clash
65
Comments

England trailed 16-8 at the break but came back to beat Wales 21-16 in a fascinating Six Nations opener at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night. The visitors had a few opportunities to score more points late in the game, but couldn’t convert.

Wales got first blood thanks to a neat bit of play by number eight Toby Faletau, despite his pack retreating at the hands of the England power up front. A perfectly timed pass sent Rhys Webb in for a lovely try, and things were looking good for the hosts.

England bounced back with a well taken try by Anthony Watson, and early in the second half Jonathan Joseph evaded three tacklers to trot over the tryline, before George Ford gave them the lead on the hour mark.

England had their chances, perhaps most notably with James Haskell, who was powerful throughout, but on that occasion stormed into the upright. Welsh winger Alex Cuthbert was yellow carded for his effort in preventing the try, before England were denied another try for crossing.

Flyhalf Ford sealed victory with a late penalty, and was named Man of the Match for his performance, which included a conversion and three penalties. He said post match that he wasjust doing it for his teammates. “I just wanted to knock it over for the lads,” said Ford.

Try scorer Joseph said that they have great self belief following the commanding performance.

“It’s incredible. No greater feeling to come here to Wales and win, probably one of our greatest rivals,” he told the BBC. “But the boys dug deep and got the win we deserved. There’s a lot of confidence in the side and we’ve got the belief we can attack and penetrate.”

View an official highlights report below. More clips from the match are on page two, including a post match interview with Geord Ford and a look at some fans’ reactions. You can also explore our new VideoHub for more on the Six Nations



65 Comments

  • drg
    12:01 PM 13/02/2015

    Personally think the game needs to step back and re-assess itself. How many times have we seen players step out of the defensive line (or the attacking line) to roll an unconscious opposition player into the recovery position? Players want the wins, but whether you're a Dan Carter, J. Wilkinson, Bakkies, or just us, we all stem from grass roots rugby, we've all finished a game and had a beer (I think even teetotaller JW must have had a pint or two in his early days), we all chat with the opposition have a laugh and have a mutual respect. So the management should do the same. I'm trying to think of a clever 'I'd rather' situation, but I can't... honestly though, the game needs to say "it's a game" at some point..

    Reply
  • danknapp
    9:39 AM 12/02/2015

    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him... maybe you can hire...

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    9:31 PM 10/02/2015

    Some call me 10stone, some call me Messi, all I know is that after all the injuries I get my kicks by driving very fast cars to their absolute limit. I suppose you could call me a 'boy racer', except none of them are hatchbacks, under 3 litres, or less than 200bhp, and the only time I have found myself upside down flying towards the scenery was on a mate's pushbike. Previously the fastest delivery driver in the West. Keichi Tsuchiya/Takumi Fujiwara's Euro cousin haha

    Reply
  • drg
    4:05 PM 10/02/2015

    In that case I'd say it's outrageous. Too many people with fingers in pies is going to create problems.. An independent doctor who couldn't really care less whether he upset the Welsh, English or Mongolian RFU by pulling a player from the pitch is who is needed. I still believe in my last point above, about players playing through injuries in order to maintain a pitch presence.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:02 PM 10/02/2015

    I'd like to think the violence was a relatively solo affair, some boozed up pleb headbutting another less boozed up pleb's fist... As far as I know, 'stabbings' haven't made a big appearance after rugby...

    Reply
  • drg
    3:59 PM 10/02/2015

    ...that's all well and good 10stone10... but some more detail could help... e.g. boot size. Boxers or y fronts? etc.. who are you??

    Reply
  • drg
    3:54 PM 10/02/2015

    For once I agree with everything you've written.. :)

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    12:08 PM 10/02/2015

    I can assure you I am nowhere near as awesome as either of them. I do occasionally wear a bandana, and rarely can I remember the week's events, so maybe i'm not actually all that far off...

    Reply
  • reality
    11:38 AM 10/02/2015

    Wow. Your story makes me think of a cross between Jason Bourne and Rambo.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:58 AM 10/02/2015

    If you can call Bristol West Country... it's only an hour from Brum. And for one more James Bond Villain qualification... the hospital I was born in no longer exists on any map. Max Zorin, eat yer heart out!

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:41 AM 10/02/2015

    Foreign parents, formative years brought up in Paris, and lived all over the South-East of England for school/uni. Been in the West Country for a few years now trying to find work. A man without an accent, hometown, or definable single nationality. If I was any good at this game I would be eligible for 4 of the 6 Nations. I don't speak Italian, it wasn't too popular after the second world war, like many others around that time, the family lost the language deliberately. I back my heritage nations, but having lived in the UK for 20+ of my 25 years, especially when the world cup win was 1st year of my Hogwarts style Secondary School, you get swept along with the red rose tide.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:41 AM 10/02/2015

    They're too slick and corporate now. When they first started doing them they had the feel of something raw and natural. It felt like the players really bought into it and they led it as much as the producers. Recent ones make more obvious the fact that they're just fulfilling their sponsorship obligations, (which of course they are)

    Reply
  • reality
    11:01 PM 09/02/2015

    10stonenumber10, who are you? What I mean is, you declare yourself a naturalised England supporter, you've said before that you support Italy, yet you speak English with native fluency and without even the slightest hint of it being a second language for you, so you can't possibly be Italian, or at least not 100% so. So...what's your deal?

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    8:27 PM 09/02/2015

    His agreement was always to return to Wasps and maybe England if he had improved. Whether you try to or not, you learn a hell of a lot by playing against completely fresh player bases. You can bet the Highlanders had a few books full of plays to nullify the Super15 galacticos too. There is only so much you can learn in one league. As a naturalised England supporter, this can only be a good thing long term.

    Reply
  • browner
    8:26 PM 09/02/2015

    The purpose of a dummy runner is to hold/fix/commit players to a potential tackle, in this case the move did exactly that, there is no way that (having committed himself to tackling Easter) the defender (Biggar?) Was going to be able to readjust his position to make a tackle on Vunipola. As such, he'd bought the dummy, and the ball was moved away from a position that he could ever have successfully defended. What did not happen, was Biggars attempt to tackle Vunipola actually being blocked off. Dummy lines are run all the time in pro rugby, and 'might've'... or 'possiblys' .... Are mostly replaced with "would've" thinkings when assessing these 'committing the defenders' run line incidents. To compound in the fact that several phases/tackles then occurred prior to Attwoods try and its a poor retrospective cancellation decision IMO.

    Reply
  • 6:26 PM 09/02/2015

    I think they're getting shitter. They. Could show more behind the scenes and more footage of trainings...etc :) I agree Stroudos

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:34 PM 09/02/2015

    In the NFL, I think for the first time this season, independent assessors are used to do concussion tests. And to my eye, very few players who go for a concussion test come back onto the field. They simply err on the side of caution every time. I think pressure is more telling the head coach you are pulling an important player out of a big game - no-one really wants to be the guy who does that. And it is always, in some sense, a judgment call; plus no player can self-diagnose a concussion, in fact they always say they are fine. But teams need to get these decisions right, and I don't think many people who watched the game thought they did re. North.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:22 PM 09/02/2015

    A lot of the chat pre-game was how important this match was given the world cup later this year. If so, that was a gut-punch to Wales. They were completely dominated in the forwards; even at 16-8 down at half-time, England had such a large upper hand in the tight-five that they looked good for the win. Haskell and Youngs put in the eye-catching performances, but it was the starting tight-five, and the subs, who set up the win. Be interesting to see how the other 6N teams fare against England, but that was a statement win for the opening game of the tournament.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    2:48 PM 09/02/2015

    George Smith cheated the knock test against the Lions. Concussion is like depression, "I'm fine" is all it takes to make them leave you alone.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    2:17 PM 09/02/2015

    Have a like. The atmosphere was exceptional. Rugby can and should be turned into a spectacle. It is gladiatorial combat for the modern age. There's nothing wrong with a bit of that before the game. I didn't think anything of the lights during the anthems at the time. The true mark of respect will always be whether or not there anthems are respected (which I felt they were) and if the opposition kickers can kick in relative peace. I didn't see anything xenophobic on Friday. Loving your country's Rugby team and wanting them to win, especially in a 'derby' like this where there is a local rivalry, completely understandable. I bet the English fans there thought it was brilliant.

    Reply
  • timh
    2:15 PM 09/02/2015

    My understanding is that it is a team doctor, not an independent.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:28 PM 09/02/2015

    On the concussion head trauma front, can someone clarify if the checks are done by an independent doctor? I heard something contrary being batted about the other day, something to do with it being 'Team doctors' that do the checks... I think there is a huge amount of pressure for everyone involved... imagine telling a character like Bakkies Botha etc, that he's concussed and cannot play the rest of the game when he is super hyped up... I'm not talking about fear of aggression from the players, but I am talking about them being the least bit entertained by the prospect of sitting on the bench watching the rest of the game, especially the more 'hard' playersa that are convinced it's not a big deal... I think there needs to be a huge drive with the clear backing of players, coaches, fans, medical teams and everyone involved somewhere along the lines to say "it's ok" for players to sit out after a head injury. Perhaps there is also a large problem when it comes to competitiveness within a team for a certain position. In my opinion George Ford should be starting ahead of Farrell, however there is a fine line, I think Ford is trying to seize the opportunity and if he; for instance, was told 10 mins into a match that he needs to be checked for a knock to the head, would he be willing to give up his place in that game to his 'team mate/position contender'? and potentially risk never getting a good look in again, until Farrell gets injured/makes a mistake, by which point he might also be injured or out of form, i.e. all the planets might not aligned quite right again...

    Reply
  • drg
    12:19 PM 09/02/2015

    Stroudos has a very good point here... I wear a cap whenever I'm playing 4,5 or 8...don't bother when playing 7 or 6, but I've got to admit it doesn't tend to do a lot except from protect my ears from become cauliflowered and provide a sort of cushion against studs and the like... The problem with concussions and KO's is the fact that the head moves and the brains stays in the same place, so padding of scrum cap thickness isn't going to do an awful lot in some respects.

    Reply
  • timh
    10:05 AM 09/02/2015

    As stroudos says, it is the risk of taking more hits that you would otherwise tolerate without one. Much of the concern in contact sports is the repetitive, low level knocks that build up and cause problems later in life. (p.s. I am "Guest" above :-) )

    Reply
  • timh
    10:02 AM 09/02/2015

    You can kick from inside your own 22, the ball just has to bounce inside the field of play before going into touch. It takes a bit more finesse from the kicker but it is still an acceptable exit strategy.

    Reply
  • timh
    9:56 AM 09/02/2015

    The concussion protocol is followed in some places but as the Top14 example above reveals, it is not consistent. I was watching the game on TV and couldn't believe that the player had passed his PCT. It was a shocking example to be set. England players in the past have not been selected because they are on their 3-week concussion period, Johnny Sexton did not start for Ireland at the weekend due to a previous concussion injury. The guidance from the RFU to coaches is quite clear on the need for a 3-week break.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    9:49 AM 09/02/2015

    Well (and again, perhaps a bit of biased here), if I remember correctly it was the final pass in that movement for the Saracens try that was forward. Arguably that's a bit more significant than the obstruction in regards to this try. However, as happy as I was at the time that they did rule it out, it probably should have stood as the ref had already called it. It's an interesting thing to debate I guess, do you allow these errors to happen as they are part in the game and ultimately these things swings in roundabouts? Or do you try and rectify/clarify every decision and stamp out errors?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:03 AM 09/02/2015

    Just to clarify on point 5, Haskell & Ford, (not Youngs), I think had Faletau covered; just needed May to be aware of the offload outside.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:53 AM 09/02/2015

    1. Agree on North. Not convinced everyone in scrum caps is the answer though (see below) 2. Brilliant to see that strength in depth. Couple of names you didn't mention - Farrell and Barritt. I take no pleasure in their injuries, but I think Ford-Burrell-Joseph (and 36 coming off the bench) is a much better option than could have been possible with the inclusion of Farrell and Barritt. 3. Very good. Their blitz defence was a massive pain in the arse too, especially in the first half. Which makes it all the more satisfying that England found ways to deal with those Welsh strengths. 4. The players you mention would be far more deserving of a MoM award, but I do believe Ford is the 10 for the world cup and I don't buy this "too small" business. 5. May was at fault for the Welsh try, leaving his wing to help with the tackle inside. Now, I would have expected Haskell to do better at stopping Faletau but by the time May got involved I think Hask & Youngs had him covered. May made the offload to Webb inevitable. Always a dilemma isn't it, but I think he made it a lot easier for the Welsh there. I'm probably over-sensitive about that one particular play though, because I had cash on Watson for first try-scorer, which very nearly came off!! 6. Very impressive contribution. I wouldn't start him ahead of Burrell/Joseph though. Impact replacement could be a good role for him.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:29 AM 09/02/2015

    "But maybe scrum caps would help, take the edge of. What harm can it do?" Well, potentially it could allow players to tolerate a higher volume of impacts to the head, which without the clear visual signal of being knocked out, would be allowed to continue without any action taken to prevent them. There is a theory that this continual series of impacts can cause as much long-term damage as a few knockout impacts. Cf. boxing headguards, the effectiveness of which is uncertain.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:12 AM 09/02/2015

    Well I think he went to New Zealand for a rugby education and it worked a treat. I also felt (based on some fly-on-the-wall stuff made at the time) that the Japan trip was more about getting a different perspective and widening his knowledge than it was about the cash. Either way, he came back a significantly better player and seems to be continuing to improve.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:07 AM 09/02/2015

    Although I do completely agree with your first paragraph, I do think the O2 Inside Line videos would be much improved by a return of Hask Cam...

    Reply
  • thefrenchrugbyfan
    10:48 PM 08/02/2015

    Hi, I play rugby as a centre and have had a concussion ten days ago. I was hit quite hard on the head by a knee and although I didn't go completely out (unlike North), I still got a pretty good concussion with many post-concussion symptoms that I still feel today. However, I am not supposed to play for THREE WEEKS!!This is appliable to all, and you can't muscle your head. Has anyone here actually heard of this being applied to a concussed player? Is World Rugby tolerating all this, even letting players go back one after having been knocked out twice? THREE WEEKS!! I know how much post-concussion symptoms are tough (dizziness, vomiting, tiredness, lack of focus, blurry vision etc.), so how do we let the players play on the next week, or even come back on the field?? What do you think? Are there any doctors that have an answer to this?

    Reply
  • larry
    10:31 PM 08/02/2015

    I don't know that scrum caps, which have more rubber protecting the head and ears as years before, do much at all. To have less concussions overall there'd have to be some law changes to bring back more kicking and less running. Rarely are there concussions in lineouts or set scrums unless there's been foul play. There's more running in the game than previous eras, and players are getting bigger physically. Case in point is the somewhat recent law change regarding kicking into touch behind the 22. There's less kicks to touch just from that law, less lineouts as a result with obviously less play stoppages, and those handling the ball behind the 22 are then forced to take a counter-attacking run or run from a lineout or scrum taken just outside the 22 that can't be passed back and kicked directly into touch from behind the 22. Refereeing as I do, in California, usually lower division university, or what we call college, games, it is amazing that clearing to touch seems to be a lost art, as fly-halves try to start moves behind the 22 no matter what the situation! I've seen plenty of centers get caught, not release, and give up an easy three points near the goal posts.

    Reply
  • larry
    10:16 PM 08/02/2015

    I paid $20 to see the match on the Internet. Yesterday I got a call from a friend of mine who also played rugby with me in college many years ago. He gets the games on his cable TV subscription down in the Los Angeles area (I don't, near the San Francisco area). He saw both games and thought the Scotland-France match was the better of the two. He suggested I should have spent my $20 on that match instead.

    Reply
  • larry
    10:10 PM 08/02/2015

    I totally agree. Unfortunately it might take a serious incident to take the steam out of the game's importance, like an England fan beaten up outside Millenium Stadium. A San Francisco Giants fan was beaten up at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles four years ago after a game in the parking lot. Now security is very tight whenever both teams play each other, and that baseball rivalry goes back to when both teams were still in New York many decades ago. Saying something pejorative to a fan in the seats could mean a warning from an usher, and a second time removal from the stadium. What's the old saying? Soccer fans get violent while rugby fans get drunk? I remember Willie John McBride saying that the Irish were good winners and good losers, in that they'd celebrate whatever the outcome of the match.

    Reply
  • larry
    10:00 PM 08/02/2015

    Yes, flat lines are very much in vogue it seems. One issue I have with it is that if a player runs ahead as a dummy, whether or not the dummy runner interferes or obstructs, it is one less player running in support of the ball carrier. Even a skip pass backline movement could have players who get skipped immediately looping behind when the ball goes passed them, instead of running ahead. Creating overlaps seems to almost be a lost art, as well as chip kicking ahead to break defensive walls spread across the pitch. I guess I'm old school. Yes, it does seem that despite the laws and how they are written, some tactics used, especially in first class rugby on the TV with millions watching, don't get penalized like they should or as often as they should. Is it entertaining the masses instead of playing by the laws?

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  • larry
    9:47 PM 08/02/2015

    Well, I guess at first class level the touch judges and video officials can intervene and suggest that a call be made, such as denying a try. Video replay is certainly having its role in any sport at the highest level. My question is how did the ref miss the obstruction in the first place. Another issue with me is how often this sort of obstruction goes on with no punitive action taken by a referee. I can understand a referee missing a call now and then, and I certainly have myself. Some twenty or more years back a touch judge could have held out his flag to get the refs attention, in first class rugby. Remember that? Before that time touch judges didn't intervene at all at any level of rugby.

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  • 8:24 PM 08/02/2015

    Good point. Most ko come from hits to the chin aswell. But maybe scrum caps would help, take the edge of. What harm can it do? Halfpenny and Davies, Giteau...etc prove that backs can play with scrum caps

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  • 8:22 PM 08/02/2015

    If I could, I would buy you a pint!

    Reply
  • reality
    8:10 PM 08/02/2015

    I'd say for points 1, 2 and 4 you're spot on. I think point three is pretty off though. I don't remember them being particularly bad in counterrucking, but I don't remember them being good either. Regarding May, you are sooooo right. He was just terrible. Crap in defence, always sidewards in attack, couldn't catch the ball. If it wasn't for the try against New Zealand nobody would rate him at all.

    Reply
  • 6:20 PM 08/02/2015

    Joseph*

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  • 6:18 PM 08/02/2015

    Yo :) First important thing about this match: Norths concussion: shouldn't have played on. End of. No way. And I agree, unfortunetly rugby does look like it's going down this road, did anyone read the bbc article on Hape and Lipman (who were both in the england 2011 squad) have both been forced to stop because of head injuries which have led to problemes such as recurring migrains and depression!!!!! I think in 5-10 years time rugby players should all have to wear scrum hats. (WHY NOT?) Second... England played with some major key players out (lawes, launchbry, parling, morgan, Tuilagi) and beat Wales at home. Fair play, you can't say england aren't heading down the right track. Third key point: Wales were outstanding in their counterrucking. World class counterrucking. For the first 40mins at least. I thought... Shit... We've lost. So fair play and good luck to the welsh for the rest of the tournament (and RWC). Forth: how the fu...dge did George fudging Ford get man of the match???!!! Mike Brown, Robshaw, Haskell, Youngs, Burrell, Josh, Watson were immense. Ford is not the ten for the world cup. He is "too small" (as said about Wilko but wilko put in massive hits). Finally.... Please please someone else tell me they thought May was shite!!? wales aimed for him with their up and unders, he can't catch the ball, EVERY SINGLE TIME patted the ball, which is shite!! Should be dropped for Nowell, who is on form and had a great 6 nations last year. Also fair play to 36 who stepped up and played his nuts of. Made a big difference and put his body on the line.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:13 AM 08/02/2015

    I must have watched different matches to everyone else this weekend... Especially Mr 'OKTHX' up there.... This match bored the hell out of me... Wales played ok in the first half and England played less ok. Wales still cocked up a huge amount... Then England played ok I'm the second half and Wales played less than ok, with England still cocking up... I think England played 'better' but it was not 'edge of seat' rugby... It was dull... Ire - Italy match was exciting to see how long the Italians held on, and to see their new play maker in action... But the result was somewhat inevitable. Sco - FRA, was extremely enjoyable, good running rugby, mistakes of course but there didn't seem to be the same level of balls ups as the Eng Wales match...

    Reply
  • 45678
    10:38 PM 07/02/2015

    Nothing wrong with noise (a lot of which is pumped in via the speaker system at the millennium) it's the complete lack of respect shown by the crowd (booing) the wru (anthems) and some of the players (biggar and Webb giving verbals to touch judges) even the coaching staff sunk to new levels There are plenty of tools at twickenham these days but the Welsh take the England fixture to a different level.

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  • welshosprey
    10:20 PM 07/02/2015

    Were the big mean welsh fans too loud?

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  • 45678
    10:09 PM 07/02/2015

    To add, the rivalry is spilling over into downright xenophobia and a football mentality. i know the Welsh have always taken this fixture with an extra level of spice, but it's getting a little sad to see how important has become to some. Rugby should not be allowed to descend to this level. The wru are adding fuel to the fire by building 'entertainment' with such a xenophobic feel to it

    Reply
  • 45678
    9:55 PM 07/02/2015

    The over the top build up and entrance of players has been building for a few years. All stadiums are guilty, but yesterday was a shambles The worst part was that God save the queen was played in virtual darkness, followed by bright lights and fireworks for the Welsh. I think this took tackiness and disrespect to a new level. Twickenham is hardly devoid of crowd nonsense and tat, but showing respect to each national anthem is essential to the integrity of the game. The wru should be ashamed

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  • smilingjim
    8:24 PM 07/02/2015

    Like many I though Haskell was amazing, he'd been pretty dam good for wasps for most of the season.But I thought once he went to play in New Zealand and Japan, he'd given up on international rugby and was basically traveling the world, while playing some rugby on the way. But he really has stepped it up to a new level. Even came across well on the post match interview, laughing at himself for running into the post and convincingly claiming to revel in the pre-match atmosphere.

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  • 10stonenumber10
    8:12 PM 07/02/2015

    Haskell shut up and let his rugby do the talking. Much more of that please. One of his best performances yet. Shame Shaun Edwards didn't do the same. Whinging about the roof and marginal plays picked out of hundreds... why should Wales be able to eliminate the elements that every other ground faces when they play at home? Bit of an unfair advantage... turns out they can't do it on a wet windy night in Cardiff... Great opening match though

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  • jimmy23
    7:51 PM 07/02/2015

    It's more to do with the fact that they ruled out the try because of it. Maybe I have a bit of biased here because I'm English, but I don't think that it had a big enough impact on the play overall to have determined that the try resulted because of it. I don't deny the block happened but he should have either called it there and then. And, as a ref, if he called the try, which he did, should the decision not have stood anyway?

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  • reality
    7:36 PM 07/02/2015

    It's funny, because one thing that Wales always do but are never penalised for is forward passes in midfield, and low and behold, yesterday it happened again. Two differences though: the English coach didn't cry about it before the match and try to influence the referee; and England got penalised whereas Wales didn't.

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  • larry
    6:59 PM 07/02/2015

    Hearing the game on the Internet, Eddie Butler's voice was not to be heard because of the crowd noise, though the touch judges and/or video officials telling the referee about that disallowed-try obstruction late in the game was clearly heard!

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  • larry
    6:57 PM 07/02/2015

    With five minutes left and Wales on the attack, spreading the ball vertically and being stopped by tackles, I was wondering why their fly half didn't kick the ball down into space deep into the England end. Instead Wales gave up a penalty when their tackled player didn't release the ball just inside their own end.

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  • larry
    5:59 PM 07/02/2015

    The way the game is played now there is going to be more concussions. Sure, there always have been concussions, but there's just more in the way of contact with multiple phase play, more running of the ball and less kicking overall. Just the fact that a player can't kick directly into touch from behind the 22 anymore after receiving a pass from a teammate outside the 22 has had the effect of more running, and therefore more tackling, as before that law change there'd more than likely be a kick into touch in that situation and a lineout with little chance of a concussion except through foul play in the lineout.

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  • larry
    5:51 PM 07/02/2015

    Don't understand? What's there not to understand when a ball carrier dummies a pass to a teammate who then runs into a potential tackler? It's obstruction or sheparding, plain and simple. The referee was nearby and should have blown his whistle right away. "Law 10.1.b: Running in front of a ball carrier. A player must not move or stand in front of a teammate carrying the ball thereby preventing opponents from tackling the current ball carrier or potential ball carriers when they gain possession." That's exactly what happened on that play when white 19 ran ahead and blocked a potential tackler. By the way, I'm a referee.

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  • larry
    5:44 PM 07/02/2015

    Oh, and when I saw that play yesterday, watching from my lap top (thank you Premium Sport of San Francisco for making the game available for $20), I yelled out "That's obstruction!" And again, shame on BBC America for not carrying these games as you did two years ago! Watching Top Gear, Dr. Who, and old 80's-90's Star Trek reruns doesn't cut it!

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  • larry
    5:39 PM 07/02/2015

    How could the referee miss the obvious obstruction? So it took the touch judges or TV referees to tell the referee to disallow the try? Amazing! The infringement happened in clear view of his position it seems. The irony is that I read on the BBC site Friday that England would be penalized for using rugby league tactics. They got penalized for just that.

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  • danknapp
    4:23 PM 07/02/2015

    Sadly true. Wales on form should have beaten us, but credit to the England team, they played the team in front of them. Fantastic spectacle at the Millenium Stadium. I don't think there can be a better opener to the 6 Nations than that. The atmosphere before the teams entered the pitch was fantastic.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    4:21 PM 07/02/2015

    Unfortunately, we don't have cameras around the ground to capture every tackl- Oh wait, no, we do. Yep, can't think of a good reason for Wales to keep North on the pitch. I was watching the game with a mate and we could see, clear as day, his eyes rolling back and him being out cold even before he hit the ground after a second head knock. Wouldn't THIS be a decent thing for the TMO to be looking out for when they're not otherwise involved in the game?

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  • welshosprey
    2:51 PM 07/02/2015

    Pretty pathetic performance from us, couldn't even beat England's 2nd team at home. Gatland really needs to stop picking his favourites and drop players not in form. Tipuric and Liam Williams need to start against Italy.

    Reply
  • thecliffhanger
    2:03 PM 07/02/2015

    The George North debate is going to be debated and at great length, but the pictures don't lie. He's out cold as he goes to ground and he is unable to break his fall. The fact this happened in open play, and not in a ruck where he would've been unable to avoid potential further injury, is sheer luck. You also have to wonder whether or not Wales' lack of an identifiable 'Plan B' beyond the physical, crash ball orientated game they employ played a part. Liam Williams, North's probable replacement had he come off, is a hell of a player, yet one less suitable physically for their plan A. Keeping him on, and then bringing on more bulk in players like Mike Phillips in place of Webb, showed the modern Welsh mantra that when in doubt, run through a team rather than around them. Wales should have won this, and on their day they can beat anyone (except perhaps NZ), but it has to be on their day, anything else and they lose.

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  • canuckrugger39
    1:29 PM 07/02/2015

    I agree with the two commenters before me. The North incident very much reminded me of an another incident involving Florian Fritz where he was basically knocked cold, had to be helped from the pitch but miraculously returned minutes later. Either these concussion protocols are taken seriously or not, and unfortunately it seems right now only some teams are complying. I don't think teams or players should be able to make that call once the blokes had a nasty head knock. He should be carted off for an impartial concussion test and if he fails he's riding the bench simple as that. I know that supposed to be what happens now but judging by the above incident and the one I mentioned from the Top 14, the rules don't seem to be set in stone. With the damage repeated concussions can cause long term and short term, I believe it's within everybody's best interest to err on the side of caution at all times.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    1:19 PM 07/02/2015

    Although it wasn't won by a huge amount that was a hugely encouraging performance when you consider all the injuries, the experience of the Welsh and being in Wales. It was a poor start but we managed to work our way back into the lead and most crucially, not capitulate at any point. Although this won't mean anything if we don't replicate it for the rest of the tournament. Good to see Ben Youngs back to his best, Haskell was immense, Ford has cemented his place as the 1st choice 10 (needs to improve his placekicking though) and we've finally managed to find a centre combination that can do something useful. On a side note. Although ultimately it didn't matter in terms of the final result, I don't understand that call about the Dave Attwood try. It didn't directly result in a try or a big line break and Jamie Roberts clearly had Vunipola covered? Plus the ref already awarded the try so surely you can't decide, "oh, wait a sec, cancel that".

    Reply
  • sug4rfree
    12:37 PM 07/02/2015

    I really question the Welsh medical team for allowing George North to continue playing. If a player loses consciousness, they have a concussion and in my opinion should not be allowed to finish the match. North did nothing in the second half and I have a hard time believing a fresh substitute wouldn't have been better for the team and for North's health.

    Reply


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