Sunday Mar 15, 2015 England part of three-horse race for the title after victory over Scotland

England part of three-horse race for the title after victory over Scotland
25
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Scotland led at halftime in the Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham but a late try and ten points from the boot of George Ford gave England a 25-13 victory, taking them top of the Six Nations table going into a final weekend that will go right down to the wire.

England’s win at home didn’t come about as easily as they would have liked, with Scotland making them work had for a victory that included two disallowed tries.

Jonathan Joseph scored early on with some neat footwork but that good start was cancelled out when Scotland’s Mark Bennett scored for the visitors. Geore Ford also crossed, before Jack Nowell’s late effort proved enough for victory, and sets things up nicely for next week.

With Wales’ win over Ireland, any one of the three sides can still win it in the final weekend of play. England’s advantage at the top is due to having a points difference of +37 over Ireland’s +33 and Wales’ +12. All three sides are on six points, so it’s all to play for in a week’s time.

Wales take on Italy in Rome first up, then Ireland against Scotland at Murrayfield, with England hosting France in the third game of the weekend, knowing exactly what they need to achieve for overall victory. If they can do that, it will be their first Championship title since 2011.

If Ireland beat Scotland and Wales notch up a big total against Italy, England will need to come up with a strong performance against a French side that will be plaing for pride, and would love nothing more than upsetting the English at Twickenham.



25 Comments

  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    100% agree with that.

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    I've had boots tackled off a few times and scored at least once with one boot on. I like to think myself as the same as the lizard the leaves behind its tail when it get grabbed by a predator

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    Brian Moore was going to give Lawes MoM, but Ben Youngs was put on the screen so he improvised!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I like to think Hogg and Brown had a friendly chuckle in that embrace... Brown comes across as a right git (during game time at least) so I hope this was a bit of friendliness rather than those faces coming after a sniping little jab...

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    And I think "a little longer and they'll have it nailed" is an accurate summary.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Hence the italics. :)

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Thought Mr Lawes played extremely well, I'm glad to see the analysis that you linked, he is certainly a hard worker in the bowels of the game as well as on the surface. I noticed the clip where he catches Russell over the dead ball line that the 9 delayed the pass due to a stray Scot, I can't imagine that helped matters... However it's disappointing that a back was unable to step the big man, or impressive that the big man isn't going to fall for a step?

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Don't get me wrong Stroudos, I don't think it should take anything away from England, but it seems to me that the excuses (wrong word?) are flowing, where simply 'a little longer and they'll have it nailed' is really what needs to be said... Loved your comment about boots.. onto the Browns tackled by Hogg moment, I'm not quite sure that can be simply put down to "if his boot didn't come off he'd have scored"... but that's by the by.. Anyway, I can see minds are made up in all camps, I just personally am in a different mind set I guess. I think calling Englands moments 'butchered' or 'lost' are harsh at this stage - again going to my comment above regarding the Italians which have many Mike Brown try no try moments in tournaments due to forward passes...

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    Actually it was not the only boot that slipped of during the match. One of the forwards also lost a shoe, I believe. I think there might be a designflaw here.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Here is a brilliant analysis of Courtney Lawes's contribution to this game: http://www.rugbyworld.com/countries/rest-of-the-world/six-nations-player-analysis-courtney-lawes-england-43854 With all due respect to Attwood/Kruis/Parling, it was fantastic to see this beast back in an England shirt and smashing everything that moved, especially the poor bar steward in the 10 shirt. Some people don't seem to like his flyhalf-hunting, but it's a fantastic weapon to have - if the 10 knows that he is going to have his ribs rearranged if he dithers for a split second, it puts him under enormous pressure. Looking forward to seeing the "'Kin 'ell" boys (Lawes & Launchbury) back together - they really have the potential to be a formidable partnership for a while to come.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    DrG - you love to over-complicate things don't you! These missed opportunities / butchered tries / scores prevented by good defence can all be grouped into one fault, which is the failure to execute what Sir Clive Woodward called TCUP - Thinking Calmly Under Pressure. I don't think it's a major issue - this particular skill comes mostly with experience. With a few more test matches under their belts, I'd expect Nowell to notice the players outside him, Burrell to look for support, Brown to hold his run just enough to allow Haskell to turn like an oil tanker and still be able to make his pass backwards, Tom Youngs to have at least a quick glance over his shoulder before throwing a pass. It's coming.....

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    In all my time playing rugby, I have never had a boot randomly slip off during a game. When the laces are done up I think it's physically impossible to remove any boot I've ever worn. But I have seen it happen quite a few times in professional rugby. In this case, it might be argued that it cost England a try. When there is so much time, effort and money spent on the minutiae of preparation, ie nutrition, training, rest, GPS-tracking etc, is "Boots that don't randomly slip off" not part of the kit audit?

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    EDIT: I hadn't seen WingingIT's comment before posting about Brown's boot. Didn't mean to point out that which had already been pointed out

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    I wouldn't go as far as to say that every forward pass that leads to a line break as a 'butchered try scoring opportunity'. The only reason I feel Haskell's incident was an opportunity missed is because he saw and knew that Brown was going to hit that gap and a few seconds later Brown was over the line. If it went through several pairs of hands or phases after then I wouldn't call it a 'butchered chance'. But that's just my opinion. Agreed about the Hogg tackle on Brown though, that wasn't wasted. Although while I don't want to take anything away from Hogg's searing pace, did anyone else notice Brown actually had a missing boot on that run?

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I'm going to take care not to turn this into an argument, but I don't believe it's a fine line enough to be called semantics... Regardless of the word, I don't believe the opportunities were there enough to label the try as butchered or w/e you wish to call it... How many times have we seen the likes of Parisse rushing through only to be call back due to a forward pass leaving the poor bloke gesticulating madly... Is that butchered or was it a forward pass? I personally think if we start labelling every line break that gets called back due to a forward pass a 'butchered try scoring opportunity' then every teams going to have at least 1 butchered try a game. 'Forward passes when there was no need'? Well, there sort of was a need, otherwise you're passing to a guy who isn't there.... If you're talking about the catcher being the 'butcher' then you're suggesting he stuffed it up due to his field position, which means he had to be in a different position, which makes it different altogether... I think lots of promise can be taken from England's performance, I think it's disappointing that Burrell more than once showed a lack of awareness... When the commentators labelled Browns first break where he was tackled by Hogg, I was amazed that they could call that wasted.. Like I said before, he was outpaced, nothing he could have done different - except learn to run faster... Maybe it was wasted and he should have trained harder to run faster :S

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    Arguing over semantics! Butchered, bombed, c***ed up. They left too many points on the field. They made 12 linebreaks, threw forward passes when there was no need to, Tom Youngs threw a pass the perfectly bisected his support. They've had 4 tries disallowed in the last two games, they need to stop making errors when the pressure is on

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    I think Brown offers a good option with his left boot. Plus New Zealand, Wales, South Africa and France have not regularly played with kicking option in the centres and Ireland rarely did before Payne was gaelicised. I haven't seen much of Slade to be honest, so it's hard to comment on him.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I actually agree with Krip on this one... There was the one opportunity where BoooReLL (or Bur-rell) thought he could go it alone which was a butchered moment.... The break by Brown that was stopped by Hogg was not a butchered opportunity - you wouldn't call something butchered if a prop steamed up the field only to be dragged down by a galloping big winger.. because the prop would be out paced... in that moment, Brown was outpaced, it was brilliant defence on Hoggs part. Then the forward passes - butchered? again, not my choice of word, of course they were opportunities and however slight, they were forward passes... If I lob a ball forward and it's caught by a guy at the other end of the pitch, you wouldn't call it butchered.. so yes, they were GOOD creative opportunities nearly capitalised by a young team, but butchered/squandered? I don't think so.. Butchered tries often tend to be the sorts of tries where the guy drops it over the line, or where he had a clear break but stepped into touch by accident or something.

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    Granted Hogg's defence was great and did pull off some great tackles, but I can think of at least 3 wasted opportunities that were due to England mistakes. 1. Within the first minute Burrell not giving the ball to Watson and deciding to go himself. 2. A bit later when Nowell made a break (as you can see in the video) had about 4-5 players lined up to his right and he didn't pass. Granted it looks like a hard angle but if he had gotten it away successfully you would have thought that judging by the amount of English to Scottish players they would have scored. 3. Haskell's forward pass, it was a final pass that should have led to a try. Haskell saw that Brown was going to hit the gap and he botched it. That is a wasted opportunity. So that's at least 15 points by my books that were left out there. Doing one of those you can forgive, two is bad, three is unacceptable really. I say again, teams like NZ would have probably nailed them all.

    Reply
  •  hellraiser_rob
    hellraiser_rob

    Yes would like to see Manu & Joseph combination for sure. I do worry about the lack of kicking options at 12/13 though, as Clive Woodward pointed out in the post match red button forum. I wonder if Slade might be given a run there at some stage

    Reply
  •  hellraiser_rob
    hellraiser_rob

    i respect your opinion, but don't agree at all. Nobody is claiming they weren't forward passes, just badly executed passes that butchered tries. How that isn't a wasted chance only you know.

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    Burrell is a funny one. He's physically big, but player much more like a rapier than a bludgeon as he relies on speed and good angles rather than physically imposing himself. I would love to see Manu at 12 to give defences a real worry!

    Reply
  •  bunn
    bunn

    I'm not sure how a win when England cut the Scots to ribbons can feel like a disappointment, but it does. They left so much out on the field, but at least they created. There needs to be more composure, but they are so young. I'd love to see Manu at 12 in this team, would just add some raw power the we lack a little. Hopefully France as as devoid of ideas as they were today when they get to Twickers!

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    ^Agreed, it was incredibly frustrating to watch. With all respect to Scotland, because they did do some good stuff and are playing much better rugby these days, but with the amount of territory, possession and chances we had we should have put a lot more points than that on the board. There were about 3 or 4 tries we managed to botch up ourselves. It'll be very annoying if we win next week but miss out on the championship due to points difference. If it had been NZ creating that many opportunities you feel 9 time out of 10 it would have resulted in points. I guess the positives were that we at least managed to create that many chances throughout the game, as opposed to looking like we were out of ideas 10 mins in. And I guess in some respect our game management was good seeing as we managed to be camped in their half most of the second period. Ford, Nowell, Lawes and Billy V were all immense.

    Reply
  •  hellraiser_rob
    hellraiser_rob

    From an England point of view, what a frustrating game, how much will we regret the wasted chances if we beat France and it comes down to points difference. I thought Hogg was brilliant, and always looked a real threat. I thought Attwood has regressed (to wondering around looking at rucks) and should be back on the bench, parling to start. Would like to see youngs start at hooker, shows much more around the park and Harley's darts have been poor anyway. I'd also drop Burrell, as he cant seem to pass, and has a worrying habit of missing tackles, how does he punch so far below his weight. If Murray is too holy to play on a Sunday why does he act like such a chump?

    Reply

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England part of three-horse race for the title after victory over Scotland | RugbyDump