Sunday, September 23

RWC2007 so far

Well, if like me you're an Englishman with sufficient Irish ancestry that you could qualify to play for Ireland if you weren't utterly crap at rugby (I did once score a try at school, and for the team I was on, but it was by accident) then this year's tournament has been rather depressing. OK, I expected England to be poor - the draw that pretty much set us up to lose to Australia in the QFs is annoying, I'd have rather got the All-Blacks and been able to accept defeat without being gloated at - but Ireland's poor performance has just made things worse. At least England showed against Samoa that they do appear to have some inkling that there is a modern game out there. It's not enough to beat Australia, quite possibly not enough to beat Tonga, but it's a start.

Why won't they beat a good team? Because too often the ball is being passed to a stationary man, who then runs forwards. Or they kick the ball deep to a waiting opposition player who has all the time in the world to kick the ball into touch. Against a team that is actually good at lineouts (or merely adequate), then the middle half of England's play would see them lose.

A further improvement in their game by Friday might see England get past Tonga. They'd need an even further improvement to get past the Aussies, but that's asking for too much.

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