MJ - happier than usual
So, England have sent out a warning to the rest of the world. Just in time for a world cup tournament too. Bugger.
I was a busy woman this weekend so I had to prioritise what rugby I was going to watch. The first cull was the Scotland V Ireland test (Scotland were so abysmal when they played Wales two weeks ago I just could stomach wasting another 80 minutes of my life watching them). Ditto Italy V Wales. This just left the ‘mouth watering’ test of France and England to behold (if I had a grain of sand for every time a commentator/journalist/blogger said the words ‘mouth watering’ regarding this match, I’d have my own private beach by now).
As much as I hate to say it, England has become a shining light in this six nations. In a game ridden with handling errors on Saturday, they deserved to be the victors against an unimaginative France. Le Roast beefs were beefy. Their forwards were committed and the English backs looked more dynamic than les Bleus (although excuse me for a minute as I fall off my chair. I can’t quite believe I have typed ‘england backs’ and ‘dynamic’ in the same sentence). Also, big kudos to the English defence as the French just didn’t look at all close to scoring a try. (Based on this French team's performance, I don’t think the All Blacks have much to worry about concerning their Achilles heel team of world cup tournaments past).
This was a different test match for England after the glories of Italy meaning they had to win ugly. Toby Flood did not have the chance to shine as brightly as he had done against some school boy Italian defence. And as predicted, Chris Ashton’s swan diving came back to bite him on the bum. I did have a schadenfraude like chuckle when his try was disallowed after Flood’s forward pass. But I hope the new star doesn’t stop the showboating. It gives the rest of us something to moan about with this English team and for all the arrogance, I think he injects a bit of personality in rugby’s often muted emotional environment. A note on France. Thierry Dusautoir was awesome. Chabal not so much - his rugby skills no longer appear to match his looks and legend.
A slight warning sign for both teams. If their passes can’t stick on a drizzly London afternoon, how are they going to cope with the creeping dew nine o’clock at night during the New Zealand spring?
Favourite quote of the game was when Andrew Sheridan came off: ‘His legs just can’t support his upper body’ muttered one commentator. Oh dear. Poor Andrew, what an unfortunate predicament.
The minute silence at Twickenham on Saturday was a very beautiful and respectful moment paid from the rugby supporters in England to the people of Christchurch. As New Zealand continues to come to terms with a rising death toll and the fact that our safe and idyllic country has been shattered, these marks of respect and support from people across the world are a small consolation.
And thank god for Martin Snedden shutting up some rather insensitive people who started rumours online that the RWC should/would be moved to Australia. Christchurch hadn’t stopped shaking and rumours were swirling that it was the end of the Rugby World Cup 2011 for NZ. As Snedds said – it is a time to mourn our people. Rugby takes a back seat as we get on with rebuilding.