Monday, March 19, 2012

England power past Ireland at Twickenham

England finished second in the Six Nations championship following a powerful performance against Ireland at Twickenham. The English forwards dominated up front, resulting in a 30-9 victory against the Irish, on St Patrick's Day.

The home side were awarded a penalty try by referee Nigel Owens after the Irish pack disintegrated under the persistant pressure. A similar situation occured later in the game, resulting in just a penalty, but a quick tap from Ben Youngs. Owen Farrell kept up his good form by kicking six penalties and a conversion.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney blamed the loss on their scrum weaknesses. "I wasn't surprised by what happened at the scrum because Mike Ross got a crick on his neck at the first scrum and managed to play for half an hour after that,'' he said.

"Tom Court came on and went valiantly, but our balance was off. That was always on the cards because we have guys who don't have huge tighthead experience playing for Ireland at the moment. It's something we'll have to work on and bring more Irish guys through.''

Interim England coach Stuart Lancaster, who took over from Martin Johnson following the Rugby World Cup, looks to have secured his position as being in charge fulltime. His assistant, Graham Rowntree, has backed him fully, as have many of the players.

"We're reborn as a new team under Stuart. It's hard to think about the World Cup because it's such a long time ago. We're still not the finished article and there's loads more to come. I've never worked with such an energetic group of young players who just want to do well," he said.

It's since been reported that Nick Mallett is still the frontrunner for the job though, with his international experience and credentials outweighing that of Lancaster's. The RFU have said they won't be swayed by public sentiment, and will reportedly interview both candidates this week.

Posted at 1:40 pm | 24 comments

Viewing 24 comments

brawnybalboa March 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Congratulations to England for what was a dominating (if at times monotonous and boring) performance. They dominated the scrum and had the sense to keep returning and turning the screw by gaining penalty after penalty.

What we do have to say is fair do's to the Irish for not collapsing the scrums. We are all sick of these endlesss resets due to scrums going down. The Irish manned up and kept the scrums up, even if they did get massacred.

Interestingly England remain above Wales in the irb world rankings. Ironic seeing that Wales made the RWC Semi Finals and won the Grand Slam. Still that being said, if Wales can pull off some SH victories over the next few months, they will deserve to leap frog England.

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nathan March 19, 2012 7:07 pm

England beat Australia last year so they would of got a few good points for that. If Wales can beat a SH team above them, they'll easily go above england.

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Murina March 19, 2012 6:45 pm

Nothing miraculous, but encouraging signs of cohesion and purpose under Lancaster. I was a sceptic of him early on, but getting a team to unite and is half the job and something Johnson just couldn't do. The performances got markedly better (though not top bracket) and they seem to have balance, depth and the ability to run, counter-attack and...dare I say it....play some attractive rugby. Glad to see Dickson getting quick ball out of the ruck.

So, cautious optimism. Wales deserved the slam but England have got to be happy with that tournament given where they were at the beginning.

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 7:31 pm

I think Mallet would do a good job with Lancaster working along side (or underneath). Not sure if it would be too many opinions though (??)

I thought the game got boring towards the end, but then what can you expect, England were hardly going to do something different and allow the Irish a look back in. They went for scrum after scrum as any team would.

Not sure where Ireland can go from here. They offered very little throughout the game. The scrum wasn't exactly solid when Mike Ross was on the pitch...

I'm surprised one of the Irish front row players didn't get "injured" and cause there to be uncontested scrums...

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flanker2712 March 19, 2012 9:31 pm

I'm not sure Dickson managed to get quick ball out of the ruck at any time in the match, and indeed was hauled off shortly after half-time for that very reason!

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 9:45 pm

Lol, I just noticed, look at the picture. It looks like Corbisiero is getting something sensitive squeezed.

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Bill March 19, 2012 9:54 pm

Any footage of the alleged biting incident, Hartley on Ferris?

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 10:39 pm

I didn't see anything at the time, I thought (along with the commentators) that it was gouging actually.

I notice the BBC had a habit of filming the crowd every time some pushing or shoving occurred this year.

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BuzzKillington March 19, 2012 11:28 pm

Don't you hate that Pretzel? That's why all manly sports are dying, bloody TV networks and advertisers put too much pressure on the governing bodies. The BBC should have no right to influence the direction of the IRB.

They paid for the rights, either show the game in all its glory or let someone who will show all facets of the game have the rights.

Tired of PC tv networks switching the crowd shot whenever there's a stink

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 2:34 am

Drives me insane actually, especially when the commentators start talking about the incident as if we just watched it and so does the ref...

I suppose this is so that mummy's and daddy's will not get too scared to send their little babies off to play with the big boys..

Remove big tackles? Check
Encourage drastic use of cards? Check
Remove rucking? Check
Stop showing the big boys being rough? Check

Cancelling the game altogether to avoid any boo boos and owies: 2015?

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DAS March 20, 2012 12:21 am

Any video of the [alleged] Hartley bite? Considering his history as an unapologetic cheap shot artist, I hope he gets a lengthy ban.

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DBRowan March 20, 2012 12:34 am

I want to see footage of the alleged biting incident before I pass judgement. I think DAS, you're being rather short sighted and childish in your reasoning "I don't like him so I hope it is him and I hope he did something". Besides, what history does he have? I think there was a fore arm to the back of Mealamu's head last year, but that was right after Mealamu headbutted Hartley's captain... I dunno bout you but way worse happens on the field in the games when I'm playing.
The only other instance related, in regards to biting and Hartley, is I think a Saints vs Cardiff match in last years H-Cup. A Cardiff player was rubbing his elbow into Hartley's face and so Hartley gave the player a nip then. I'm not condoning biting, but if you're at the bottom of a ruck, and someone is doing something to your face, how else are you meant to defend yourself?

If however the context is Ferris lying on the ground, Hartley grabs his hand and bites his finger; no kidding, ban him for as long as possible, but until I see footage showing what happens then I'm not going to pass judgement. Innocent until proven guilty, it is the logic behind most of our nations code of law, some folk should bear that in mind before hoping for a player to get banned without even knowing if they did anything!

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LDN March 20, 2012 10:11 am

Gouging! Hartley is a gouger. He has been banned for it. Enough said.

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P March 20, 2012 1:03 am

Whats the story with the photo above, it seems there was some below the belt action between maybe Heaslip and one of the England's Chubby heroes??!!!

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DAS March 20, 2012 5:31 am

Hartley? He's a second rate New Zealand castoff not worth defending. History of eye gouging and cheap, off the ball play. And btw it wasn't Mealamu, it was an elbow drop to McCaw's neck, while he was laying on the ground. Biting would be just another accomplished piece of work in his portfolio. I have no problem with playing the game hard and physical. It's just that a history of cheap shots shouldn't be tolerated.

I really, really like where this England team is going. It's just time Hartley cleaned up his act. He's not worth the trouble.

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 12:10 pm

I'm not an England or a Hartley fan (in fact the guy seemed to come across as a tool in the past) but I never understand people like you who have to exaggerate an incident. It was a forearm to the face/head of McCaw, not an "elbow drop to McCaw's neck"..and it was more of a "push his head in to the ground" rather than a "drop".... so why exaggerate?

I also read an article BY a NZ writer who believes it was Hartley after some sort of retribution due to Mealamu's headbutt on Moody. This isn't how the game is played so we don't condone it, but it cannot be overlooked that it was one cheap shot for another.

I'd like to see anyone had up for this type of foul play as much as the next person, but exaggerating incidents to make them seem worse than they were, when they clearly did not happen like that is ridiculous....

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Morgs March 20, 2012 11:13 am

What I find so encouraging about this England side is that even being a long way off their full potential, they have achieved relative parity with all the other teams in the 6 nations. They have destroyed a world class Irish pack, they have won against work cup final finalists and the game they did loose against Wales could quite easily have gone the other way.
I think every Englsih supporter should be confident that as the caps keeping totting up, so will the incrimental improvements in performance. It may be a couple of seasons away but we are witnessing the arrival of a very, very good rugby team.

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Dazza March 20, 2012 1:03 pm

Interesting that the RFU "won't be swayed by public sentiment". The general public sentiment when they appointed Johnson was " why oh why oh why". And it would seem the public got that right!

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stroudos March 20, 2012 4:06 pm

Typical RFU contempt for the people who support the game. Like a behaviourally-challenged child they'll probably go for someone other than Lancaster purely out of spite.

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kaibishin March 20, 2012 2:40 pm

YES ENGLAND!!! Great game, great six nations considering the low expectations you got before the tournament because of low capped players and the low chemistry of the team as a whole! Fantastic!

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m March 20, 2012 5:12 pm

It occurs at around 0.42, personally I don't find it malicious at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sNtcnwe0qA

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 10:16 pm

Looks like Ferris (?) had him round the head, maybe it was more of a bite to get him off...

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The Claw March 20, 2012 8:06 pm

Well done England. A workshop in scrummaging. Forwards win matches.. No backs required with this victory!

Brian Moore said, "You cannot win games under this pressure... not possible" I remember Munster's scrum being destroyed a couple of weeks ago in the Heineken Cup, but going on to win 51 -36 against Northampton... Maybe possible, if your Munster..

And speaking of which, now that that bothersome 6N is over, us Irish fans can get back to winning rugby action, because its clear that the IRFU have placed all its eggs in the Heineken Cup basket... A Munster - Leinster European Cup Final, anyone?

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