Nikki Gradual wrote:Quiet on this thread today...
As an England supporter, I am delighted that they put in a proper performance, though Scotland were just absent so it is hard to tell how good it really was. Very clinical regardless, so credit for that though I expect Eddie will be having guts for garters over them conceding three converted tries.
I suspect this England team might be becoming the rugby equivalent of the flat-track bully – scintillating when it is easy, but all at sea as soon as it isn't – but only time will tell. It was a shame for Scotland that pretty much everything that could go wrong did, but I agreed with the yellow even if it was the clash of heads after the fall rather than the dumping itself that did for Daley.
And now I await our sample-catching friend to come and have a go at me being too hard on the English!
Considering they have beaten every first rate team in the world in the last year apart from the ABs, and have beaten most of them twice and Australia 4 times, I think that is a little harsh.
Unless they only team you can't flat track bully is new Zealand, and what does that say about the state of international rugby?
I don't think Scotland didn't turn up I think they turned up and were steam rollered by a side playing to their full potential for perhaps the first time under Jones.
This was a Scotland side where up to half the team were being touted for the Lions, including the back 5 of the scrum, and they were simply destroyed.
The Gray brothers and the back row may as well have not been there, Finn Russell played himself out of contention from the Lions 23, Dunbar played himself out of the Lions squad and Hogg was a bewildered passenger until he was bulldozed off the field as well.
I don't think any team on Earth would have lived with England yesterday including the All Blacks.
England's 9,10,12 play making axis were superlative, Joseph had a field day based on the confusion thew sowed in the Scottish midfield, he showed a full set of skills and restablished himself as probably the finest 13 in the world.
That was a side playing rugby at a different level of speed, power and skill than a fairly decent Scottish side.
Players like Courtney Lawes would waltz into just about any other side on the planet and he isn't an automatic starter, he has been incredible these last few weeks.
They will blow Ireland away next week as well if they play like that, thankfully I don't think any side can string 2 of those together, but Ireland bust be worried at what is waiting for them especially after the monumental battering Wales gave them.
The score line flattered Wales a bit and Ireland would surely have won if Henshaw hadn't been such an idiot.
But he was and Wales clung on.
3 tries vs 3 penalties sounds emphatic but it was anything but, but Ireland's attempts to bore and batter their way to victory will not work against the better sides all the time, they really have to be on it and Wales simply knocked them off their game by physicality and by taking every chance they got.
You could see they were playing with hurt pride, they were all hurling themselves into the game and into the Irish, George North more than anyone, he simply drove through the Irish defence for his first try.
I was a very happy man at the end of that game, but it doesn't change the fact that we will not trouble the best teams until we can play with that intensity every week not once in a blue moon when we have hurt pride.
But, apart from Italy and England, this has been a 6N of home wins which means the quality is evening out, and at an higher level than before, in my view, that is heartening.
Who will beat England? I think only Ireland or Australia at home have it in them at the moment, other than the ABs who they will not meet for over a year, until they have a really bad day at the office away from home like they nearly did against Wales.