There is one big question and a major learning from yesterday’s final two 6 Nations games –
- How come if you give away 8 successive penalties on your line for collapsed scrums, pulling down a maul and being off side, you don’t concede a penalty try?
- If you’re on an unbeaten run of 18 games, for fuck’s sake try not to play Ireland in number 19
Another bit of info for England – if you’re starved of possession, don’t kick it away aimlessly when you do finally manage to get your mitts on the bastard!
England were second best to Ireland in almost every aspect of the game and the Irish fully deserved to win.
They were smarter too – at the break Jonny Wilkinson pointed out (with video examples) of how Ireland were holding England down in the rucks – preventing them from getting back to defend or join the attack. I hadn’t noticed (no big surprise there) but I watched in the second half – a clever ploy that had Owen Farrell pulled down and Itoje, Lawes and Launchbury held back. It ranks alongside the choke tackle that was also used to great effect by the Irish yesterday.
Shame the ref didn’t tune into BBC when he had his tea and pasty at halftime. A clever move by Joe Schmidt that probably helped to disrupt England at the rucks, but wasn’t the main reason that we lost.
However before we all get too comfortable in our hair shirts let’s put a little perspective into this.
If back in November 2015 someone had offered us the prospect of winning 17 of the next 18 games (we’d already beaten Uruguay), winning a series 3-0 in Australia for the first time, a Grand Slam, a 6 Nations title and equalling the All Blacks world record unbeaten run I think I might just have taken his hands off. At the same time I would have referred him to a trick cyclist for immediate assessment.
Did yesterday harm the chances of some England players being on the plane to New Zealand? Possibly – but I console myself in the knowledge that those missing out will be available for the two games against the Pumas.
June 10 Argentina vs England, (Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan)
June 17 Argentina vs England, (Estadio Brigadier Estanislao López, Santa Fé)
There is also a suggestion that the tour may be extended to play Uruguay in Montevideo.