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Re: Rugby...for those who like odd shaped balls
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2013, 23:11 »
Wales and Ireland looked good for a half each and pretty awful for a half each so it's hard to know where they are. Ireland don't seem to have the depth in all positions that they'll need to win the whole comp. As soon as there's an injury or someone gets tired , the team goes backwards fast. Wales don't seem to have anyone who can spark them at the moment as Shane Williams used to do.

Scotland looked better today than for some time. They clearly carry a threat in the back three and the set pieces are good enough too. Trouble is 9-13 can't hurt anyone at this level - what happened to that scrum-half they unearthed in the Autumn? Back row could cause some damage down the line but lack a true 7.

England encouraged me hugely. Forward power as a means to provide the backs opportunities rather than an end in itself. No evidence of forwards battering up the middle 5 times in a row then getting turned over on the 6th. Likewise, the penalty count was low. Lots of handling errors but that can be easily fixed; playing a brain dead, aimless forward driving game has been harder to erase from the tactical handbook. Ben Youngs looks like a world beater again after going through a long mediocre patch, Ashton looked sharper than for a while too. Farrell has nailed the 10 spot and Morgan the 8. Front row looks solid and locks are a real strength - all except Cole with good ball handling skills. Back row didn't have to content with a decent 7 so looked OK and the centres showed a lot more guile with Twelvetrees in.

The negatives for England: I thought Brown was too indecisive in running back kicked ball although he did well in the line; Goode didn't convince me either. But the biggest problem was the substitutions which disrupted the rhythm and introduced Danny Care whose hair is as annoying as his inability to pass the ball quickly.
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