Friday, 2 March 2007


It has taken me this long to calm done about the Ireland v England match. First of all I would like to congratulate the crowd on the respect of the National Anthem. There is a lot of history to be set aside and in the week that a group of people chained similarly to the African American slaves are walking from Hull to London to ask for an apology for the slave trade shows just how long collective memory can be. I was thinking of asking the Norwegians to say sorry for Viking raids!!

Secondly - while the Irish players had a smooth build up to the match all the England players had to play for their clubs on Sat and Sun. The clubs have to understand that a strong national team is the best way to get people going to club rugby.

Thirdly Fitness and conditioning. The Irish team seem to play the same lineup match after match where the English are consistently playing second or third choice players in each position. In the autumn internationals Andy Robinson was consistently being criticised but at No10, the most crucial position, he did not have Wilkinson, Hodgson, Goode and Catt. I do not see any other teams playing their fifth choice fly halves and being successful. I see Ollie Morgan is now out for the season with a seperated shoulder.

Fourthly - sinbinning of players should end after 7 points have been scored by the opposition. Ireland would have won the England match but 17 points were scored with Grewcock in the sinbin and it ruined the game as a spectacle to watch. England had to force the game, O'Gara could kick any possession not in the opposition 25, mistakes happen and Ireland can then pile up the score. Most offences are not clear cut as shown on TV. The position of the back foot and whether the ball is out are often subjective calls make by the ref and from the edge of a ruck it is hard to tell.

Fifthy Rucks. If there is two players from one team and one from another a ruck is formed and you cannot use your hands. 95% of holding on penalties seem to be rucks where players are using their hands and refs ignore it consistently.

Well that rant is over. Hope you find all is well with the world. Come on England. Cricket World Cup soon!

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