Saturday, 25 September 2010

Nick Evans and Engerland

I'm not sure whether it went quietly under the radar or not in NZ.  Nick Evans has signed up with the bloodgate Harlequins for the next few years.  Which means he won't be coming home to have another crack at the holy grail. Which is a great shame.

 I always felt that Evans had the same qualities as Dan Carter. Quick on his feet and the magical ability to slice through a gap (something that Cruden promisingly does have). I'm not sure what the three wise men said to him before he left these shores, but I can't understand why they didn't fight to keep him, or fought to get him back.  He is a class player and I for one am disappointed. Unlike Carl Hayman who was courted heavily by the NZRU but still chose money over the jersey, Evans was always the undrstudy and treated like one. I understand why he's decided to do what he's done. This is our loss.

In England the newspapers (the Times mainly) are starting to hype up that great last bastion of free flowing rugby - the English.  One win against Australia this year  and Laurence Dallaglio and the like are full of the gumption and fighting talk that typically characterises the English rugby clubs and media. The world is in England's hands according to Lol and they should start walking with a 'swagger'.

"A lot of teams are at the pinnacle of their evolution," drones Sir Lawrence. "Can New Zealand get any better? This England team is still evolving. Imagine how good they could be in a year's time, and in four years."

According to the media, England's fresh blood are the new golden boys that are going to lead the white roses into the light of glory..."Our win in Australia (yawn) has told everyone we can beat the best teams." According to Dallaglio, we need to watch out for Courtenay Lawes, Ben Youngs, Dan Cole and Chris Aston who are leading the way to an England resurgence in the backline.  It's a matter of 'watch this space' or potentially 'more of the same hype but nothing different'.  You decide.

The sad thing is that he is probably right.  A world cup tournament is different to rugby tests played week in and week out.  We all know the All Blacks don't play well in tournament pressure cookers (baring South Africa 1995 when we did play very well indeed but got beaten on the day by a better team - and no - I'm not daring to mention Suzy).

England had a dismal world cup in 2007 losing 40 - 0 against South Africa in the heats.  How any team can lose 40 - 0 and then go on to play in the final of a world cup tournament says something for how well tournaments sort the wheat from the chaff (IMO not much at all) but also, something for England's spirit (and the very wonderful goal kicker Jonny Wilkinson).

I still don't think England deserve to walk with a swagger yet though. One win against an Australian side that has been beaten ten times in a row by the All Blacks? It reminds me a little of that old saying- one swallow does not a summer make.


slugso said...

Like the new black skin on the blog ... very fitting. And a pinstripe too.

From the bottom of the ruck said...

I reckon they should be giving Nick a get out of jail free card for the World Cup - it only comes around every 4 years, and to me he's by far the best back up for Carter.

Nursedude said...

I think compared to the other 6 Nations teams, England looked the best back in the june tests-grand slam winners France got DRUBBED by both the Boks and the Pumas, and looked just listless. Wales, Scotland and Ireland looked pedestrian, and Italy was, well, Italy. England maybe the most improved team in the North, but that is like saying you are the world's tallest midget. Right now, there is a huge gap between the Tri Nations and Europe. We will see more during the November internationals. The only English rugby team that can be competitive with the kiwis is the English WOMENS national team.