Open Thread: Weekend Internationals

I'm up against it a bit this week, so I am taking the lazy way out and getting you to provide the content.  Well, that is what Web 2.0 is all about they tell me!

Australia are due to hammer play England again; Wales will be attempting to prevent their dignity being defouled on live TV gain a decent result against the All Blacks; Scotland, the only side that won last week remember, will be hoping to do it again in Argentina; and the Saffers will, like a cat with a shrew, toy with Italy until they get bored and kill them before going for a nice lie down.

Ireland have already taken a beating, 31-28, against NZ Moari, so you may just want to do the text equivalent of pointing and laughing at them for a little while.

For what it's worth, my predictions are: Aus by 10, NZ by 20, Pumas by 5, Saffers by 25.

Over to you; let's have your previews, live views, post views and any other kind of views that you can think of.


I am actually scared by the aussies 9, 10, 12……still however badly England do, it won’t be as bad as Wales or Italy – no disrespect to them at all but SA and NZ look pretty impressive all round!

That is until England have to play NZ or SA and get a whuping (sic)! However enough of the misery and dejection – I genuinely can’t wait to see how Laws and Youngs get on – finally some young players get a shot at it! Shame JW isn’t at 10, I know he’s not what he was but if you then shift Flood to 12 and Hape to 13 then you have some creation & bulk – I reckon Flood will push JW flatter and we may be able to score……a try (I know can’t believe I said either)

Meat. That’s the plan. We’re going to outmeat the Aussies and, just when they’re stuffed to the gunnels – with meat – we’re going to bring on impact subs Shaw and Haskell, and give them some more meat.

Far be it from me to suggest that anyone on the pages of Blood and Mud has a better view of what England can and cannot put on a pitch in order to win a match against a relatively young and inexperienced side, but Johnson, Wells and Ford went with the meat option – again – last week, and it had holes blasted in it. I just don’t think that Nick Easter is a player who should be selected against southern hemisphere sides, he seems to have that “bullet time” Matrix quality where time slows down as soon as he gets the ball – and not in a good way.

Only plus points: Louis Deacon is not playing, and Ben Kay has retired. Oh, and Ben Youngs. I want to see some piston hand-offs on Will Genia and a lot of attitude around the fringes.

Fully expect a roasting again tomorrow, despite the lack of an Aussie front five. Australia by 10.

Oh yeah forgot about Easter – he is poo against SH sides! As effective as a chocolate teapot… you get it? see what I’ve done there…..oh nevermind

If England win tomorrow and against the NZ Overseas imports mid week it will be a very successful tour!

Bit off topic, but it’s not been mentioned yet…

Andy Ripley RIP

Great player, great bloke, too young.

My biggest concern is not whether the 6 nations teams will win (which they won’t – except for Scotland who I think are growing in confidence with each match and I think will beat the Pumas (& may even score a TRY!!!!!!)) – but what they will learn from this tour – & in the case of England I don’t think it will be much!

Johnson will talk about learning about which players are up to playing the Tri Nations teams (who can make the step up etc blah blah blah) but at no point will he ask himself if the England coaches or the rugby attitude of the EMO is up to playing the Tri Nations teams – WHICH IT IS CLEARLY NOT!!!

My biggest concern is not whether the 6 nations teams will win (which they won’t – except for Scotland who I think are growing in confidence with each match and I think will beat the Pumas (& may even score a TRY!!!!!!)) – but what they will learn from this tour – & in the case of England I don’t think it will be much!

Johnson will talk about learning about which players are up to playing the Tri Nations teams (who can make the step up etc blah blah blah) but at no point will he ask himself if the England coaches or the rugby attitude of the EMO is up to playing the Tri Nations teams – WHICH IT IS CLEARLY NOT!!!

OK, so Easter is flavor of the week for the bashing contest?

Here my 2 cents: he plays like Dean Richards in reverse.

– Dean Richards was able to slow down a game at ruck / maul time to make it fit to a tempo that England was comfortable with. Painful to watch but highly effective (you can take that from a Frog who had to suffer from 1990 to 1995 seeing the French get stuffed by this very tactic)

– Easter slows down the tempo of his own team while a capable opposition like Australia keeps increasing theirs. Ugly to watch and totally self-defeating. He might have been a great player back in the 80’s or 90’s, but his lack of speed and athleticism are a true liability in today’s game

What’s the alternative? Haskell is fast and athetic alright but has as much of a rugby brain as a pudding. Between the two of them, Easter and Haskell would make a half decent international number 8, I reckon.

Haskell is asking us to get behind the team. Is that to help Easter go forwards do you think?

Fair play to the Irish, nearly got the draw in the end, huge effort against a strong maori side! Obviously would have preferred a win but anything is better than last weeks match! Sexton had a great game and now surely is in contention for next weeks match in oz. Ruddock and Henry both stepped up to plate with very good performances! Ruddock has a bright future ahead of him! There was also some great work at times from both Murphy and Wallace. Bring on the Oz……..Or not.

All the “mainstream” Meeja focus is again on a player who isn’t starting – the late great JW (and yes, I know I’m adding to it).

Last weeks Grauniad reported “Martin Johnson tells Australia to get over Jonny Wilkinson obsession”

Ok, furry muff. But it seems that it’s actually the ENGLISH meeja who have an obsession with TPFKAJW.

“England leave out Jonny Wilkinson for second Test in Australia”

Eh, he wasn’t dropped, he just wasn’t picked…


“Tim Horan blasts Martin Johnson’s decision to leave out Jonny Wilkinson”

Eh (again), Horan didn’t “blast” anyone, he said the decision was “confusing”

Note to Grauniad Rugby Writers (and I use the term in it’s very loosest sense) – build a bridge and get over it, he’s gone, the relationship has lost it’s edge, move on etc (and other trite post-relationship break-up clichés)

To change the topic from bagging Nick Easter, did anyone notice that ROFG even fell off the tackle that he was booked for. He can’t even tackle a man without the ball.

England to lose by 15 at least, with gitau back I think they will be even more dangerous although Barnes isnt exactly a bad player to have as backup.

Am looking forward to the game though to see how Lawes and Youngs do as I think they upped the tempo last week, will also be interesting to see how many times moody can get knocked out only to get up and carry on playing! Gotta love lewis moody.

Spotters badge – Rob Andrew and MJ on the phone to steve borthwick to see what positives can be taken out of another drubbing “im dead proud of the boys effort” etc.

Gotta Love Lewis Moody????
Since when has the ability to knock yourself out by throwing your head against someone’s size 12s become credentials for international captaincy? Yes his trick of running after kick-offs is cute but there’s not a lot else to this pony.
Just as people have been laying into Easter, correctly, Moody is similarly horrendously exposed when it comes to SH backrows.

Just trying to think a bit outside of the box when it comes to England’s back row.

OK, Easter has to go and be replaced probably by Dowson to inject some dynamism at 8.

But openside remains an issue as I think that Moody no longer has the speed for that position. And then there is one guy who has speed, talent and a good rugby brain, but that England fail to consistently find a role for: Tom Croft. Why don’t they give it a go trying to turn him into an openside? Granted, he’s 6’5 so he does not fit the traditional 7 profile. But is this an issue with the new interpretation at the breakdown, where you can’t tackle, hold the player on the ground, get back on your feet to contest the ball, a la Heinrich Brussow?

His transition into the position might not happen overnight, but if properly coached, I don’t see why he could not be a success there.

Then, there remain the issue at blindside where, short of a brain transplant, it’s going to be hard to transform Haskell in a world class player.

Alan duly noted – Ripley was a class act, I hadnt heard the news so now feel a little sad, he was a properly hard fella and a lovely one to boot.

Boris the only way they will find a role, let alone convert Croft is if England get a new coaching staff.

shamelessly lifted off bbc

Ripley recovered enough that in 2007 he wrote a book and became an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Charity.

In the foreword to his book he wrote: “Dare we hope? We dare. Can we hope? We can. Should we hope? We must.

“We must, because to do otherwise is to waste the most precious of gifts, given so freely by God to all of us. So when we do die, it will be with hope and it will be easy and our hearts will not be broken.”

If England fail to beat what is a poor Ausie side, Johnson simply must do the honourable thing and resign. He was a legend as a player but an utter imbecile as a manager.

Dissapointing end to first half. All Blacks get their obligatory freebie from the ref and they’re now 15 to Wales 6. Oh look, he knows he’s cocked up so now gives us a magic penalty. What a surprise. Tosser.

Overall Wales defence has been good, good attacking defence slowing down the blacks. A game low on excitement though really. 5 mins of first half left.

That’s it. All over with 30 mins left. Starts off with yet another freebie from the ref, giving them a penalty from a scrum when we’ve won every other scrum in this game. But now Wales are dropping off tackles and ABs score with a move from their own line. Cheats 27 Wales 9. Goodbye.

Oh yes, and can I add that Ryan Jones has excelled himself in the “how shit am I
?” stakes this week. We’d be better off playing with 14 men.

That’s disgusting. Wales should be ashamed of themselves now. Losers have given up. Tossers.

8 mn to go and AB have destroyed Wales in the 2nd half. They seem to be able to up the tempo a couple of gears at will. Wales can’t live at that pace.

Carter is a bloody genius.

However this game turns out, this performance by England had been encouraging to say the least

Un-fucking-believeable! EMO please accept my sincere apologies for ever having doubted you!

Can 1 game make a difference? Perhaps yes……………..

You see Rugby is a simple game, this week we play like the Aussies did last week and we win. In the first half the mighty ‘gland kept ball in hand, stopped the crap kicks down field with zero chasing and look what happens, you stretch the defense and holes open up. I particularly liked Ashton’s try for that. Youngs try was pure individual class, a scrum half with time to look up, see the defense and the ability to pick it apart.
Once Flood and Youngs went off we reverted a little more to type. You got the impression that Wilkinson was always looking to kick first, pass second and run himself never. Whereas Flood was pass first and get the backs moving. We need to play with a quicker game with backs at pace whilst maintaining our forward dominance.
Will the ‘gland do it again next week? I doubt it. EMO will choose a completely different team for no reason. If we could just keep it going we might finally start stringing together a series of wins.

Easter was still SHIT, caught a few decent balls, but he is a lumbering buffoon. Don’t care what anyone says.

We finally got some quick ball, it’s amazing how much easier it is to play on the front foot. We still looked pretty clueless with possession though, consider how many phases the Aussies needed to score their tries, then the mostly side to side nonsense we got ourselves caught up in again. Youngs made a huge difference though, and I’ve no idea why he was taken off.

Unforunately I missed the game so I can’t comment but just wondering what people make of this comment on greenandgold – ‘The terrible refereeing being the main talking point with the Poms seemingly able to do anything they like and be immune to cards and even penalties at time’

I’m not going to trust him first ’cause he’s an aussie and secondly if you look at the bottom he’s given Easter MoM.

Just back from the game, and thinking back noe, I’ve been to four ‘live” England/Australia games and I’ve never seen england lose to Australia!!!!

A few observations from row 5 at ANZ stadium:

– Youngs was class – another league to that twat Care.
– Easter as per general consensus on here is still very much shite
– Hape still looked out of sorts and is not an international 12… his positioning is still all over the place and Giteau made him look like a twat
– Dan Cole is a very very very hard man for 23
– Thompson was doing his best to get sent off and wind all the Aussies up. Made himself look like a twat at times but was good value and the Aussie crowd hated him – nice work
– The Aussie number 3 is really fat. No muscle, just a big fat lump of lard – their scrum got a massive cheer after the first scrum for not going backwards quicker than Rory Underwood as he tries to tackle Jonah Lomu
– Foden looked like a man who had ben given a new lease of life
– Flood – man of the match in my book (didnt see who got it), ran flat at all times, never looked to kick and marshalled the game very well.
– Ashton – again, pure class… should be in an England jersey for a long time.
– Despite all of the above, the EMO still tried to lose us the game by bringing on Care, Schuter and Wilkinson. Why oh why with 20 mins to go do you bring off two of England’s best players?

As someone else said, it’s amazing how, if you play with your head and your eyes how easy rugby is. England looked like a completely different team.

The Aussies always complain about NH refs, because of the difference in the way NH and SH refs referee games. In the SH, they tend to let a lot more things go, whereas we tend to be sticklers for the rules i.e. Aussies dont like some of the rules of rugby. A lot of the crowd around me complained about simple things such as the inability of the Aussie number 3 to actually stand up in a scrum. To them, it doesnt matter, which is why they have a free flowing game in the Super 14’s, and when it comes to World Cups they tend to screw up a little on some of the basic rules. It’s always been a sore point for the Aussies i.e. the fact that rugby has some rules, which is why they keep on trying to change them.

It’s just the Aussies whinging because they can’t quite believe that they lost to a heap of shite like England 🙂 Rocky Elsoms face at the end was a picture…

I dont think Easter played badly at all, he was crap last week though. Danny care was the only sub i took particular exception to being bought on, thought Wilkinson was pretty good, and Chuter played very well. His cross kicks were a clever way to negate the good positioning of Australias back 3 and it worked nicely. Martin Johnsons not really an emo tho is he? Hapes offloading game was pretty good to be fair. Though i dont particularly rate him

England improved 100% compared to last week. Number 9 and 15 were the best for me. Lawes was pretty handy too. At least they tried to play some rugby.

That being said, Australia was utter shite except for the 2 moments of sheer brilliance leading to their try. Their error rate was frightening and their defense totally out of sorts. Scrum the usual crap.

i’m with brighty, EMO still shite one swallow etc , Easter’s still slow and Care still shite, however fantastic win (even before 2003 we struggled int eh SH), a nice reminder to Jonno to pick players not robots,

if we could just find a centre pair and not keep changing (does anyone think Hape and Tindall will eb there at the next world cup?!!!!), a balanced backrow, a proper openside and a no.8 that goes forward at a pace

as for wales don’t think they ever believed they could win, shame thought in the first half they were in with a shout

Fortunately I missed Wales’s second half but they were definitely in with a shout at half time. That soft Jane try and some knock-ons in good positions really messed them up. Similar to the game in Cardiff a couple years ago – really good first half and then just blitzed in the second

England played to win, not to avoid losing.

I still can’t quite grasp how Giteu missed that pen

If we beat the Maori, this will be a very successful tour all in, fingers crossed consistency can be applied from today!

I think some of you are being overly harsh. The reason Australia were shite was because the England defense shut them down. From minute 1, Cooper was not given any time on the ball, and compared to last week, England shut down the 10-12 channel to much greater effect.

England actually played a game that was worthy of what this team can finally start to achieve. It’s not as if these players are crap, they’re individually pretty good, they just havent been playing the together well, or as part of a structured game plan that shows attacking endeavour.

To be honest, if we’re still saying that England are playing very well, but are managing to beat the Aussies, then perhaps that’s not a bad thing 🙂 Room for improvement then!

I too was at Olympic Stadium last night and it was pretty exciting. My fellow English were louder than the Aussies, despite being out-numbered about 30 to 1. My comments:

– Youngs was awesome. Did from the start what he did when he came on last week. Dangerous round the fringes, quick pass and quick ruck ball. Gave Flood time to do things, which he does not ahve with Care’s slow, slow “service”. He did exactly what he has been doing for Tigers all year. It seems the Aussies didn’t know what to expect. His try was class. Only complaint was that too many of his box kicks went too far and were chased poorly.
– Lawes looked great. Lots of work round the park.
– Flood can’t play a whole game. Looked good for the first half then started kicking the ball away for no obvious reason. This was compounded by the fact the ball was kicked aimlessly down the park. Also poor kick chase.
– I didn’t see Easter do anything, except turn the ball over. Was official man of the match. Perhaps his contribution could be more fully appreciated on telly.
– Hape looked okay – off-loaded a few times, but offered little else.
– England were their own worst enemies. Gave away far too many silly, kickable penalties. If Giteau hadn’t had a ‘mare with the boot, we’d have given the game away.
– I’m trying to work out which was worse, Giteau’s miss from in front or Tindall’s behind the back pass.
– watching the game live means no Aussie commentators. They are, without exception, idiots who appear to not understand the laws and who have no knowledge of non-SH rugby.

I actually just watched the game on a re-run on Fox Sports having been there and my God the Aussie commentators have to be some of the most one-eyed uneducated idiots ever to grace a TV screen. Not only do they consistently get the names of the English players wrong, there was so much contempt for England it’s untrue. They literally thought they were going to walk it by 20 points, which makes it that much sweeter.

Rod Kafer thinks Easter is the best player on the park and also said at the start of the game that Dan Cole was not the best prop in England, but does a good make shift job. Hmmm, the same Dan Cole that continually destroys most ofthe Aussie props. Their lack of knowledge about anything other than Australian rugby makes Brian Moore look like a rugby commentator genius.

As Phil says, they have a complete disgard for any of the actual rules of rugby, and blatent forward passes are judged unfair, because a SH ref would normally just let those kind of things go. One of the comments at the start was utter genius with Kaf as he’s known saying that seeing the French ref makes them appreciate just how good the SH refs are… man alive, these guys believe their own hype so much its untrue… Still only one question needed to be asked at the end of the game… what’s the score Kaf? The good news is the Aussies absolutely hated the fact that they lost last night… Rocky Elsom’s arrogance in his post match comments coonfounded it even more… saying that England were a desperate team… muppet.

Bam bam

“Gotta Love Lewis Moody????” etc….

okay I am a massive tigers fan so maybe a little biased however he is fearless which can raise a team and he has had more big performances than bad ones during his england career. Granted at times can give silly penalties away but I would rather have him on my team than against me.

re england yesterday, really hope we can build on that performance and agree with a lot of what has been said i.e why have we not played with that attacking intent, vision etc previously. What changed this week to make the EMO play that game plan?

Youngs, ashton, foden, lawes, alex goode (when he steps up) are the future for england. Hape is not, he had a couple of nice offloads however a good example of shitness was when we decided to run it from our 22, he gets the ball takes it over the 22 and gets turned over. He didnt have an overlap and ran away from the inside support, thanks very much have 3 points mr gitau….

I watched the game streamed over the net from Fox Aus and I actually thought the Aussie match commentators (didn’t catch who they were) were pretty good. Sure there was a bias towards Aus as there is when watching England on Sky/BBC but they often tempered their bias post-replay. They’d dispute England being awarded a pen and then see it from the other angle and reply “fair enough mate, can’t argue with that”. They were pretty worked up about Thompson and again in the name of balance I think he was lucky to avoid a yellow with the number of infringements. Only negative I saw was their attacks on Poite (sp) the ref, claiming they couldn;t understand a word he said, although by the second half that bacame a joke, they thought at the scrum he was saying “Crutch, Touch, Pause, Engage” which met with the comment, “Crutch, Touch? There’d be some happy people in Queensland with that”.

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