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England and France's Twickenham thriller not enough in dramatic title chase

What an amazing game. Best result possible for England. Proved to themselves that they can score tries when they back themselves to do so. Sneaking a big enough win to secure the championship would, I think, have given them too high an opinion of how far they had progressed. Missing out like this will help keep their feet on the ground and keep the hunger alive. The gaps in their game are also laid bare so they'll know what to work on - ie maintaining defensive discipline without so promising that attacking threat.

I would really like to know what was going through James Haskells mind when he did that trip! On France's own 22! It was as unnecessary as it was retarded. A pity too as he'd been having another good game until that point, in my opinion.

England should be quietly satisfied. The Ford-Youngs axis looks very impressive and they're really starting to work well as a combo. 3 or 4 examples in his match of having that instinctive awareness of each other's position in and movement. Youngs had his best match for England in a while. They have a decent set of backs who again are starting to gel together very nicely. Burrell deserves more credit than he gets in my opinion; having said that I can't see him keeping his place if a fit Tuilagi were available. They MUST keep Joseph trough - he personifies everything that is most exciting about England's attacking play.

Moments of the match for me:
Debaty- what?? How did he get to be in support for his try? Amazing speed for a prop. Maybe he knew he was about to be replaced so didn't need to worry about conserving energy?

Similarly, Dan Cole trying to catch Tillous-Borde! Looked like some shopkeeper chasing a young thief.

1 Month, 2 Days ago

Courtney Lawes lays into another unsuspecting flyhalf, this time Jules Plisson

Legal pressure on the flyhalf. Sans doute.

In slow motion the ball has already gone away. In real time he is smashed during the movement of passing the ball.

1 Month, 2 Days ago

Courtney Lawes lays into another unsuspecting flyhalf, this time Jules Plisson

Best Twitter reaction I saw was David Flatman's:

@davidflatman: F**k wearing one of those from Lawes! Retirement never felt so good.

1 Month, 2 Days ago

Courtney Lawes lays into another unsuspecting flyhalf, this time Jules Plisson

I'm delighted this has its own RD post, to add to the "fly halves smashed by Courtney Lawes" archive. Annoyed though that some commenters see it as a point of debate rather than simply admiring one of the most aesthetically pleasing aspects of this game. His line speed and athleticism are phenomenal.

In every game I think I've ever played, there has always been a concerted effort to "put pressure on the 10". Anything you can do to limit his options, force him into passing predictably or stand deep or be afraid to attack the line.

If you're the flyhalf and you feel like you're going to be snapped in half by a human Exocet if you don't get the ball away quickly or too deep, you're going to have your team playing too deep and on the back foot.

So it is tactically effective. And as Mr Owens clearly stated (and confirmed after he'd seen the replays), the execution was perfect. Watch any rugby tackle in slow-motion and it will look brutal.

1 Month, 2 Days ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views


Go down to any athletics track Mr Content, and let me know how many white people you see winning races. DrG's not stereotyping, just acknowledging a reasonably observed trend. Black guys tend to be faster sprinters and show more powerful acceleration, partly due to a higher density of fast-twitch muscle fibres.

They also *tend* to mature physically at an earlier age, which is why you see mis-matches in size like the example here. In New Zealand they play weight categories instead of age groups, in recognition of the fact that the boys of Polynesian extraction have a tendency to be twice the size of other kids of the same age. Is this racist? No. Is it a sensible approach to a situation based on observations of people's race and the physical attributes associated with that race? Yes.

Call me parochial using mostly English examples of fine black athletes (and please let's not get into hair-splitting over who's black, mixed race etc), but I submit Messrs Wade, Yarde, Watson, Eastmond, Robinson, (D) Armitage, Varndell, Habana and Isles as a small sample for your consideration. You might notice that not all of these are big blokes, so should we also object to DrG's use of the word "big" in that sweeping statement of his?

To refuse to acknowledge this type of ability in a group of people is to deny people the due credit. I'm afraid your petty objection to DrG's comment represents all that is wrong with political correctness.

1 Month, 5 Days ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views

Well that's the England centre partnership for RWC2019 sorted then: Tuilagi & Johnson-Fisher. Might not be very subtle but I wouldn't like to play against that combo...

1 Month, 6 Days ago

Highlights video of U15 flyer Tyrese Johnson-Fisher hits 1 Million viral views

That is the most brutal "don't argue" I think I've seen at any level! Poor kid seemed to hang in the air!

Nice turn of phrase from the commentator too - pushed him over like a cardboard cutout!!

1 Month, 6 Days ago

England part of three-horse race for the title after victory over Scotland

100% agree with that.

1 Month, 6 Days ago

Midweek Madness - Moldovan prop's drop goal attempt doesn't reach the tryline

Clearly that was a beautifully-executed grubber, not a butchered drop goal. If you look closely you can see him mouth the words "get after that Danny".

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Inspirational leader Sergio Parisse on the Art of Number Eight

Here's an idea.

Bearing in mind how woeful Italy's place kicking is - and has been for a very long time - why doesn't the all-round total footballer and artist (and Captain) have a crack at it?

We've seen his kicking from hand ( and I think you can see from this video that he's clearly got "tekkers".

Apart from John Eales I can't think of another forward who's regularly taken place kicks. My question is why not? It's not as if being small or faster at running immediately qualifies you as a good goal-kicker. And it's nearly always the flyhalf too - OK so he might be more in the zone for it as he's kicking the ball out of hand more than most other players during the game, but that's actually quite a different skill.

If, for example in the case of Haimona, your flyhalf looks like he's kicking three pounds of haggis (RIP Bill), then why not get someone with all-round footballing skill and insane ability to have a go.

That someone is Sergio Parisse and I demand he is given goal-kicking responsibility immediately. (I assume Jacques Brunel does come here for his team selection tactics?)

1 Month, 1 Week ago