England will move on with relief to the next challenge after a match which left everyone here underwhelmed, but we have seen mediocrity before from this team. They look over processed in my mind and it took some class from Youngs to show a few people that good skills cant be replicated on a sheet of paper or from a Leicester coaching manual.
Georgia and Romania packs are being built up to be superhuman here in the UK, Courtney Lawes citing is a concern as he is an important enforcer for the English.
I have been consistent on my view on JW – his best skill is not launching a back line and he isn’t being asked to anyway! Ashton and Foden will be wasted if they don’t get some room to move in and the absence of pace in the back row is hurting us. Frankly with the team make up we have, a big physical approach is the only way.
UK Press isn’t too critical yet, as we still expect to play France in the quarters and win… Then anything can happen and we think we know how to beat Australia (hmm). As a centre, I am saddened by our midfield play and still think JW should play 12.
Elsewhere, some genuine sympathy for Wales and the tournament needs them to do well as they have more skill than any other team bar Australia. I stand by my pre-tournament view that France look a shadow of their previous teams and don’t even have the traditional elan we have come to associate with them. Australia look to have all the class, but its still the All Blacks who are the ones to beat, glad to see Tonga was a proper match.
p.s. I assume there were some hot calls to Nike as the England numbers fell off the backs of their black shirts, ouch can you believe it!
p.p.s. Why on earth have they changed the ball? It swerves around all over the place. Lots of chat about that, but perhaps we will get more games decided by tries!
p.p.p.s. Will this be the most physical and brutal RWC ever? No doubt about it…