Into the Breach

The Canadian defences were seriously breached last night at Allianz Park when the Red Roses demolished the visitors by 79-5.

Rather appropriately, Harlequins wing and debutant Jessica Breach crossed for 6 tries!

As well as Jessica, there were seven uncapped players in England’s matchday squad, with Breach and Dow the two starters on each wing. Caity Mattinson, Kildunne, Zoe Harrison, Shaunagh Brown and Hannah Botterman came off the bench to make their international debuts at Saracens’ home ground.

England 79 (29)
Tries: Breach (6), Burford, Dow (2), Cokayne, Packer, Clark, Kildunne Cons: Reed (5), Harrison (2)
Canada 5 (0)
Try: Nelles

 

England looked in sparkling form and it seemed a shame that it wasn’t on TV (as far as I could tell anyway)

The whole game is here and is worth watching –

 

The series’ remaining games take place at Harlequins’ The Stoop (21 November) and Twickenham (25 November).

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A Brad Day for the All Blacks

When Jerome Kaino suffered a knee ligament injury, Steve Hansen called on Brad Shields, the Hurricane back row to join the All Blacks tour in France.

The offer was withdrawn however, when Brad confirmed that he will be playing in England next season and thus unavailable for the 2019 World Cup.

Actually that’s not entirely accurate – he would be available – but for England.

Shields qualifies on ancestry apparently.

It is understood that the 26-year-old Shields, who can play flanker and No.8, has been in talks with Eddie Jones’ England, who have long been aware that he is qualified to play for the Red Rose nation through his parents. At 6ft 4in and 17st 7lb, Shields is a versatile forward who can cover several positions, although it is understood that his most likely spot should be challenge for Test honours would be on the blindside berth currently occupied by 31-year-old Chris Robshaw.

The All Blacks are also aware of Shields’ aspiration to play Test rugby, and are not particularly pleased at the prospect of facing the former junior world champion in an England shirt. Shields was part of the New Zealand under-20s side which won the world championships in 2011 and which forms the basis of the current All Blacks team. Former teammates included Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau, Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick and Codie Taylor.

Whilst Hansen is pretty annoyed by this decision, it is fairly understandable from the player’s point of view – his route to a regular All Blacks 6 or 8 shirt is blocked by the likes of Kieran Read, Vaea Fifita, Jerome Kaino, Liam Messam, Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire, Akira Ioane and Elliot Dixon.

It looks like Brad Shields will be playing alongside Nathan Hughes next season – Wasps seemingly having beaten Saracens for his signature.

Fighting Talk

Although all English attention will be on the predicted titanic battle at Twickenham, there may actually be more fireworks in Paris.

France snatched the 2023 World Cup from under the South African snoz and the vitriol, both before and since the vote, promises a fierce battle without quarter (although there will in fact be 4 – or at least 2 halves)

Adding even more spice is the fact that match is being played in the stadium that is likely to host the 2023 final!.

I have France giving the Springboks a bloody nose (possibly literally) for the second time in three days – by 10 or more.

Until today Michael Chieka and Eddie Jones have been relatively complimentary about each other – that changed when Chieka talked about the England forwards’ bullying tactics and Eddie responded by saying it was nonsense.

Personally I’m all for a pack that can bully the opposition – I long for the return of the ‘white orcs on speed’ from 2003.

Chieka also stated publicly that he wasn’t going to talk to the referee about England cheating at scrum time  – er, I think by going to the media you just did mate – with all the subtlety and finesse of Boris.

Stephen Larkham weighed in by calling Eddie Jones ‘spoilt’

So – cheating, bullies and being spoiled? Isn’t it time for your nap? – the school bell just rang ffs!

I expect a full on battle, but I think the forwards and home advantage will give England the edge – I certainly hope so – England by 7

Georgia arrive in Cardiff trying to impress enough to get the attention of the 6 Nations committee. They face a much changed Welsh team and are likely to be a right handful. I hope that press their case for forcing an expansion to the & Nations.

However I think Wales are likely to claim victory by some 13 points.

Against Samoa, Scotland played at Jekyll and Hyde – looking a decent attacking outfit but leaking points almost as readily.

They will need to be a lot more resilient against a strong looking All Black team if they are going to break the record of 28 losses and just two draws (1964 and 1983) since the first match back in 1905.

I doubt it – All Blacks by 20

Joe Schmidt has made a lot of changes to the side that demolished the Springboks last week, but they still look a pretty useful team. Ireland will also be smarting from the 2023 loss and the fact that their Celtic cousins abandoned them.

They will take it out on Fiji and win by 15 or more points.

Finally – Italy notched up a good win over the Fijians last week, but will struggle to do the same to the Pumas.

Argentina by 10+

To be honest, as long as England come out ahead I don’t mind getting all the others wrong.

Enjoy Saturday guys!

Pocket Money

Earlier this week the RFU announced that it had been having a quick rummage down the back of the sofa and had come up with a few of the old pound coins.

Having previously pleaded poverty, this windfall has luckily afforded (sic) them with the funds to stump up a few bob to pay something to the Red Roses in the way of a match fee.

Apparently scavenging in the cupboards and their old blazer pockets has not resulted in enough to hand out full time contracts, but at least it is something I suppose.

I don’t expect equal pay or anything like it, anytime in the near or even distant future, but at least (and last) it is a step in the right direction.

Whilst they keep banging on about their massive investments in Women’s and grass roots rugby, it is extremely unlikely to leave them destitute or in need of a bit of universal credit.

The biggest danger to the Twickenham piggy bank is that it bursts from over gorging on revenue from internationals, sponsorship and hosting NFL games.

The Chump Hunts

I thought that I could no longer be surprised by anything that Donzo did. I was wrong!

Out of nowhere he has suddenly rescinded the Obama ban on importing trophies from elephants and lions hunted for sport in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Was it simply because he dislikes Obama?

Probably not – although he patently does.

The key questions are why and who.

Why is easy to understand when you learn that, for some bizarre reason, Trump’s sons enjoy slaughtering animals with massive weaponry.

The who is harder to explain – I mean who the fuck gets pleasure out of killing animals with military grade armoury from a safe distance.  Although the Chump clan obviously do – and just to enable them to have bits of the poor beasts hung on walls of the Trump family lounges, Don has made it okay!

Let’s get it straight this is not hunting and it’s certainly not any form of sport – its butchery.

These twats don’t kill for food – they simply want trophies to show off. In practice it simply demonstrates what ‘clowns’ they are. Obviously in this context clowns is a euphemism for another word (which happens to have one less letter but does start with a c).

Laughably Trump Jr said that “Elephants are overpopulated in the area and so need to be hunted to prevent them from further destroying their habitat.”

About conservation is it dickhead? So why cut the tail and tusks off and cart them back to the States – you fucking moron!

And why take photos with the trophies posing with an imbecilic grin on your face?

Just to underline how disgusting this is –

The President’s decision was applauded by Safari Club International, a hunting rights group, and the National Rifle Association.

I rest my case.