Friday, November 30, 2012

O2 Inside Line: Episode 4, Season 3

England face their toughest challenge this weekend as the All Blacks look to end their unbeaten season on a high, while the hosts need to bounce back from two consecutive losses. Today's O2 Inside Line looks at things in the camp from their point of view.

The 16-15 loss to the Springboks was a bitter pill to swallow for many England fans, who along with the majority of the media, gave captain Chris Robshaw a hard time for his decision at the end.

England weren't guaranteed to score a try even if they had secured the restart, but one can understand the frustrations at having lost to another southern hemisphere superpower.

Unfortunately it's the best of the best that are in town now, as both sides play their final game of the season, with the hosts desperate for a win and the visitors aiming to continue their unbeaten run, and give skipper Richie McCaw a fitting send off before he takes six months out of the game.

While they've beaten all before them, the All Blacks reputation has been tarnished somewhat over the past few weeks, which is something they have admitted they're embarrassed about.

"We don't want to see that in the game and although we love Andrew, we didn't love what he did," Hansen said of the Andrew Hore incident that he picked up a five week ban for.

"The intent was to do something else but he got it drastically wrong. As a result of that he hit the man on the chin and knocked him out. He's made a poor decision and has paid for it. Our group has a zero-tolerance approach to foul play, we're not a dirty side."

Talent and reputations aside, when England face the All Blacks it's usually brutal up front, so while the home will look to impose themselves early on, you can be sure that any loose play will get punished by the most lethal attacking side on the planet.

Saturday, 1 December, Twickenham, Kick-off: 14:30 GMT

England team:
15, Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonathan Joseph.

New Zealand team:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumunia, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith. 

To get the inside scoop on the England squad every week of the QBE Internationals, as well as fun features and team chat, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:50 am | View Comments (11)

Viewing 11 comments

stroudos November 30, 2012 1:07 pm

I don't have any other evidence for this, but is it the case that Mike Brown is the thickest player in elite rugby? ;)

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Ian November 30, 2012 2:10 pm

England don't stand a chance. The NZ bench is better than the England starting players!
I think NZ are going to give it their all and want to humiliate England.
As for thickest player, that's a harsh thing to comment on but for me, Alex Cuthbert gets the title.
Looking forward an obliteration from New Zealand.

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stroudos November 30, 2012 6:19 pm

Is he thick? Didn't know that. Mind you, thinking of Welsh players now I suppose Andy Powell's got to be in contention...

While I don't share your excitement about it, I'd have to agree a humping is on the cards. Hopefully Suzy can get another round of All Black sickness bugs done between now and kick-off - I think it's our only hope!

Having said that, England v New Zealand games, especially at Twickers, have a tendency to be surprisingly closer than you'd expect. England never looked like scoring against the Boks but they can still do the dull, negative and cynical shit.

In fact, sod it, you know what - cock on the block time: England 12-21 New Zealand, that my prediction....

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Ian November 30, 2012 8:09 pm

Cuthbert is just picked because he is a monster. Give him the ball and make him run in a straight line and he is hard to stop but other than that he is useless. Can't tackle, can't catch and can't make decisions when on the move.

I agree with what you say about Eng vs NZ games, especially at TWickers however on this occasion I think England are going to crumble under the pressure and NZ are going to humilate them.

My prediction: 38 - 6.

I'll be back on Sunday to collect my winnings. ;-)


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stroudos December 01, 2012 1:15 pm

You won't be at all surprised to know I wouldn't dream of putting money on my prediction! Fortunately I'll be playing while the game's on so if it's a horror show I don't need to bother watching it!

Seems like fair criticism of Cuthbert. Brown, by the way, I think has a decent rugby brain, I just got the impression from this video that he struggled to put a sentence together. I'm going to retract that too now though, after watching it again - he's in a stupid contrived situation, supposed to look happy about receiving a stupid cuddly toy by way of a stupid contrived award and being asked silly questions that he probably doesn't want to answer. Come to think of it, he's the least stupid element of the whole set-up...

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stroudos December 01, 2012 9:20 pm

Well Ian, the number 38 was right, just the wrong side scoring it!

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gabhmobhod November 30, 2012 3:00 pm

when she's perched on that massage table... i forgot there was a game this weekend.

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Benny November 30, 2012 7:17 pm

If I hear the word lucky one more time! Suck it up and accept that you're more likely to concede tries when you do daft things on your own try line.

I still can't get over how they messed up that intercept. Not surprising Ashton is on the wing because he can't pass for sh*t. The AB prop threw a better, longer pass, to the right no less, in the build up to the Messam try on the weekend. Also have to credit the Bok defence for scrambling so well. Tuilagi was surrounded by green jerseys the moment he caught the ball

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Jimothy November 30, 2012 8:48 pm

I agree Benny. NZ do all the basics right and the rest comes with it. Mike Catt said that clubs in the Premiership need to coach basic skills more!!!!

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iamaj8 November 30, 2012 9:51 pm

Every week these videos are just awful; I think 'moment of the match' sums up just how desperate the production team are to fill in 6 minutes. Even Haskell's bit was below par! And I think Parling genuinely wanted to escape the interview it was so staged and awkward. More time for player cams please!

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Guest December 01, 2012 3:02 pm

@iamaj8 I have to agree with you, I the fact that the 'moment of the match' was a half break says boatloads about how England are as a side at the moment. Tuilagi's break should have resulted in a try, Ashton may be a great finisher but that pass was atrocious. If New Zealand turn the screw in any way today, England are going to get pumped.

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