Sunday, 14 August 2011

Wales 19 - England 9

Millennium Stadium
13 August 2011

Three weeks to go before the RWC 2011 and Martin Johnson has some serious questions to ponder. No doubt a great player, his coaching nous is not looking to match those playing days.  He is a shadow of the tactician when compared to the likes of Father Ted or Robbie Deans.

Although their forwards contributed a solid platform winning from most set piece ball, England were absolutely clueless on attack (as per usual).  Dominating territory and possession by up to 70% in the first half, they had absolutely no answers when it came to crossing the try line.  Why can't English backs score tries? 

This is not to discredit Wales who gave an  incredible defensive display, particularly in the first half.  They pushed England behind the gain line again and again. And then, when it counted, they trusted themselves to grasp the opportunity and score a try (hat tip James Hook), which was the decisive moment in the game.

Three weeks out and Warren Gatland will be feeling a little more pleased with his progress. Martin Johnson, not so. In his post match interview the England coach angled towards blaming a ref that by all accounts, kept England in the game by sending off two Welsh players.  I think MJ has to face the facts and start looking at other ways to win rugby, rather than out-hulking the other team.

It's all very well to say they were missing Chris Ashton (who I rate as a very good winger) and Tuialagi (who I don't rate just yet, one test match does not a rugby legend at the age of 20 make). 

So back to the drawing boards/laptops for England once again.  For Wales, a night of well deserved celebration.

Here's what Stephen Jones of the Sunday Times had to say.

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