SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round One

The flashy and the flushy, as judged by the worst computer in history.


This blog post – Evidence, if more were needed that I know sod all.

Phillipe Saint-Andre – Anyone who has any idea of what he's done to his squad over Christmas please send them to Cestquoicemerdier?

Sam Warburton – It gives no pleasure to have his name in here, but he is truly poor at the minute.  Tipuric is easily the best seven in Wales at the moment, and Sam is probably the 3rd best six, so that should leave him dropped.  It can't be a coincidence that his form has gone south ever since he started wearing the hat, it must be impregnated with SHITness.

James Haskell – Because he will always be in this section until he retires.


The Six Nations – There is always trepidation when a new tournament rolls around, what if it doesn't live up to the weeks of waiting, nervous excitement and that you're looking for this to basically make late winter worth living through?  Well, this weekend proved that we need not fear, and we will all live to see mid-March at least.  Unless you're Welsh.

Billy Twelvetrees – A magnificent selection that showed exactly what England have been missing at 12 for so very long.  Mystified as to why he was taken off in a winning debut performance, but the number and types of replacements used is Scourge of SHIT all over the game at the minute.

Simon Zebo – Not for the Ossie Ardiles style flick-kick, which was more lucky than anything; but for the soft hands that followed it, and for his solid, classy performance in the face of much bigger, more experienced opposite number.

Sergio Parisse – Every time you make jokes about how everyone gushes about him too much, he goes and puts in a performance that makes you want to gush about him too much.

Remember that the SHIT/GOOD Ratings are not a definitive list but a starting point so get stuck in in the comments.



Shit – Charlie Hodgeson, try aside, & I have to show a bit of respect for that, he was his normal gutless self

Shit- being at work and missing Fra v Ita & Ire v Wal but watching Sco v Eng

with you on all of these, would have added Brad Barritt to the GOOD, just for the number and ferocity of his tackles. maybe not a line breaker in the Guscott mould, but not bad for a début?

Good – Mike Phillips. Nothing spectacular but controlled well at the base. Kept the Irish fringe defence honest and just gave a good display at scrum half
Good – Rob Kearney. Did you see how well he played?
Good – heaslip, poc, gill, r Jones, j davies, in fact almost all from that game.

Except – uber shit – brad Davies. What a plonker.

Good – Strettle, corbisero, max Evans,

SHIT – Declan Kidney. Call those fecking tactics? Randomly picking moves with a Magic 8 ball would have been better

SHIT – Ireland playing without a No 7. Even if its S O’B (& he is having that difficult second album) it doesn’t work. Ask England

SHIT – England defense. All that talk of defensive heroics is bollix. If it wasn’t Scotland they were playing they would have lost by 20 points plus.

SHIT – England ball carriers. Absolutely no penetration until Morgan came on. Lucky bastards that he didn’t opt for Wales or you would be properly shagged having to rely on Dowson.

GOOD – Jamie Heaslip – back to his best
GOOD – Jonathan Davies – best centre of the 1st round
GOOD – Donnacha Ryan – thought he added much needed intensity when he came on. And he threw himself on his head to get Davies yellow carded:-)
GOOD – Gatland saying Davies should have been red carded. I know its in the main post but I felt it warranted an encore.

I’m a bit relieved, as I thought I was entirely alone in thinking Murray had a good game. His service looked crisp and I kept noticing him. By contrast, I’m faintly surprised to learn that O’Brien played.

It’s all very well me – and everyone else outside England – pointing out that that England side would have been well beaten by Cork Constitution, or Llandovery. The fact is, they’re above Wales in the table. Factor in the standard Italian implosion when faced with white shirts, and they might very well still be there this time next week; and they’ll be 160 minutes less inexperienced, too.

SHIT – Stuart Barnes – consistent all right but in a bad way! Davies should have stayed off, to keep in sync with previous decisions….


Dan Parks, woeful kicking out of hand, still cant see how this man is a pro???

Wayne Barnes – Brad Davies should have been a straight red, Ferris one for me was just a good hit from the side going low to high. Harsh way to lose the game.

IRB – For turning our game in to something for pussies.. Soon it will be illegal for big hits. In defence of referees the IRB rulings on tip tackles are shit, Ferris tackle was a good old fashioned bosh, Davies tackle quite rightly should be eradicated from our game.


Welsh spirit and back play – in full flow the welsh backs are a joy to watch. Good lines run hard and fast buy huge players.

George North – Epic smash and offload, good finish too.

England guts – yes there were missed tackles but 16 our of 143 is not that bad and another clean sheet (regardless of opposition). Thought Robshaw looked good as did Barrit who tackles seriously hard. Farrell also didnt look out of place which is pleasing for one so young.

France – Scored some cracking tries, will be difficult to beat (particularly at home).

SHIT: Daft wee lassies with microphones asking big, sweaty men banal questions. Get rid of them. Please.

SHIT: George North’s defence against Tommy Bowe. OK, George had a fabulous game and he’s great. But, on Bowe’s try he could have positioned himself wider, there was cover inside. He was ball watching and left himself too much work to get across and then made a poor attempt at tackling. Josh Lewsey wouldn’t have conceded a try there would he? (Albeit he’s retired and not Welsh)

SHIT: The press and anyone else hailing England’s spirit and possible resurgence. They seem to forget they were lucky enough to come up against the only team in the 6N more inept than they were.

SHIT: The stupid Rock Anthems they blast out at Murrayfield during every possible hiatus. Serious injury on the field? Let’s play “We Will Rock You”! Morons.

GOOD – David Denton for the yardage gained, immense tackling, etc, etc. There are some excellent back row forwards in the 6N at the moment, and it is a joy to behold (England not withstanding).

SHIT – David Denton, for bearing more than a passing resemblance to Patrick Swayze circa 1987.

Is there any chance of a bad haircut wall of fame on this hallowed site Lee-Editor? I seem to remember Shane Williams had a couple of shockers during the ’09 Lions tour. And Andy Powell is always fair game for mockery, right?

Oh, one more. Courtesy of WilliamCatchpole , a Torygraph contributor:

SHIT: Owen Farrell.


At Saracens they kick the ball almost all the bloody time. They kick more than any other premier side. They kick more than 25 times a game.

But don’t worry lied Lancaster before the game, he said ‘just because they play like that for their club………… does not mean they will play like that for England’

Well Farrell moved to 10 on the 62nd minute. He received his 1st pass on 69:17 where upon he ‘kicked the ball in the air’
We had a penalty advantage when he got the ball and still he ‘kicked it in the air’

On min 71:42 he received his next pass.Now the key about this ball was it was a turnover. Now, as you know I that is me,
“know nothing about rugby and have obviously never been near the game’
So you must excuse my ignorance. Because if I were a coach I would ALWAYS tell players ‘ that YOU NEVER kick away turn over ball’ it is pure gold.
Because Scotland had turned over the ball they had in their back line numbers, 7,4,18,2 and 16, all forwards.
So when Farrell received this a pass what did Farrell do? He kicked it in the air.

On min 74:53 he got the ball and can you guess what he did?
He kicked it in the air!

Min 78:06? Kicked it in the air

and finally on 79:20 kicked it in that air.

In fact the only time he did not kick the ball in the air was on min 75:58 where he knocked on.

Enough said.

Buzz, is that some sort of sarcasm about North, taking the obvious star of the weekend and putting him in the SHIT column for one mistake when he arguably won the game for Wales?

I agree with your England thing though, bored of reading about a valiant defensive effort … they’re only defending for 70mins cos they’re too shit to go forward with the ball.

SHIT: Lionising England for being so ineffectual in the back row, so shit at kicking and so lateral in attack that they had no go forward ball and no posession … sorry, forgot, this is known as “defending your heart out”. Bollux. I say this with a lot of experience having watched Wales for 30 years – hanging on in there with a heroic defensive effort and sneaking a win is not quality play, it’s what happens when you put a shit team up against a good one but the shit one can at least tackle – a basic of rugby, and the good one forget how to cross the line. Wales were masters at avoiding the whitewash in the 90s using the same tactic – take one game, tackle like monsters, win by one flukey score – Twickenham in 99 comes to mind as the best example. It’s great to win, and England should be chuffed to win, but that’s all they should take from that game, let’s calm down awarding kudos for being speed bumps for 80mins.

SHIT: Brad Barrit and Phil Dowson. I don’t watch the Aviva but I’ve read page after page about how these guys need to get into the England team, so now they’re on the BBC I finally get a chance to see them. Dowson makes 1 metre in the entire game. Seriously, that’s his yard gained stat. Good god that is crap. Barrit is like Mike Tindall without the silky handling skills.

SHIT: “new team”, “developing team”, etc. 4 of the back 5 play week in week out with each other at club level and they still couldn’t muster a single attack worth of Trebanos third XVs.

UBERSHITTEST PERSON OF THE WHOLE WEEKEND: Dan Parks. Played worse than anyone could imagine, gets some plaudits for “taking the kicks” by others, I just see a man who turns 7 point chanes into 3 point ones.

TWAT: Bradley Davies. Stupid boy. If we’d lost that he’d have been strung up in Wales. And let’s stop calling it a tip tackle and agonising over the rules – it was a move in a fight, not a tackle in play. He wasn’t tackling him, he was deliberately hurting him. Bloody idiot.

GOOD: Charlie Hodgson. The brickbats that man has taken, how he wasn’t a gibbering mess is beyond me. Showed real steel and composure. Well taken charge down.

BRILLIANT: George North. Incredible player.

That confused me, did RTE perhaps want to blank George North from their mind? The image of him swatting Irish players out of the way like they were little rag dolls too much for them?

Not at all.

I only listed his defence for the try was poor. which it was.

He was terrific. Just highlighting that he’s not quite the second coming………….yet.

No, he’s not due to turn the water into wine until next week. I’m letting myself go on this one … Wales havn’t had a debutant like North for a long time so I’m enjoying this despite agreeing with you that it’s early days yet, etc. As far as I am concerned he isn’t the 2nd coming, he’s better than that.

Well 5 of the back 6 (or 4 of the back 5) are signed to Sarries so you were close enough.

As of next season Ashton will also learn how to watch the ball being kicked up in the air and run after it.

The backs coach at Saracens is Andy Farrell and the attack/backs coach for England is…err… Andy Farrell.

Still, at least he brings great knowledge of attacking Union style back play. Oh no, wait, he was a forward in RL who was wrongly converted to a one-paced ineffective inside centre by the RFU, unwilling to admit their mistake in offering him large bags of money. Oh dear.

Ha ha!

Have you had a visit from the optimism gnome?

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of Welsh Rugby. A proper rugby nation who play the game the right way.

I was delighted to see the overrated, under-achieving Irish getting beaten in their rubbish stadium. Hopefully Wales will spark the 6N into life and keep playing the same way. Win or lose.

That stadium makes me laugh. The camera pans around a magnificent stadium, until it comes to the small beer garden at the one end where they’ve put in those plastic white garden chairs you get in B&Q. Hilarious half a job.

If I didn’t permanently live with the optimism gnome I’d have killed myself in the 90s. Makes me laugh all this “Ireland are out of it now if they lose next week” talk from the young uns. In my day we didn’t view it as a competition to win, we viewed it as a series of seperate games with a chance for us to win at least one…

But surely you’re not allowed to diss the Farell clan like that in England? Won’t the internet police be onto you? I saw the BBC hagiography before the Scotland game and I now truly see the light that young Farrell is Jesus’ better looking and more skillful younger brother.

As I’ve heard all week, his composure as a professional rugby player to kick a penalty right in front of the posts during a rugby match when he’s only 20 and has only had a couple of seasons as a full time professional rugby player was just incredible. Where do they get these players who can do such impossible things? If only Wales had young players we could put in the team and they could play well and… oh ….

Well I live (far) north of the border where they hate the whole English Team and the whole of England, come to think of it. So I won’t stand out.

I’m not sure whether being a great RL player and a decent Northern bloke should automatically qualify you to play/coach union at the highest level.

It works with some: Jason Robinson/Sean Edwards but not others Andy Farrell/Andy Farrell.

Can I please nominate Matt Stevens for the SHIT category for not only missing a couple of tackles but for being so obviously out of shape?

Brighty and Buzz – idiotic media hype aside, let’s judge England at the end of the 6 Nations shall we? This was a new team with very few caps playing together for the first time at an extremely inhospitable away venue.

A win was a good result for them no matter how it came about.

It may be that they don’t improve from here, it may be that they do but let’s see shall we?

Hang about, we’re judging everyone else in this column after 1 game, that’s the point of this column. Right now England look shit – please see my other comments with respect to “new team” and yes, I agree a win is a great thing to have.

i think its nice to see a proper bromance on these pages! i feel all warm inside

and i too have not seen much of Dowson and he was in fact SHITE.

and I would have to Add Mr Robsinson for GOOD in the fact he clearly understands he is underperforming and doesn’t shirk, but SHITE for clearly not doing anything about it and continually picking parks

He won’t be picking Parks any more.
Don’t try and deny that this won’t be a massive loss for the SHIT column.
When will we see the likes of Mr Parks pointy sideburns again on the international stage? The Thistles should wear stick on burns during the anthems next week as a mark of respect for the man.

After this weeks 6N, I’ve come up with a masterplan. England’s best two players, brought up on SA rugby, our best replacement has been plying his trade in Wales for years, the best player of the weekend was George North who was born in England (I’m knowingly clutching at straws here) made good in Wales. Moral of this story? Send all our potential players to live in Wales, South Africa, NZ, fuck it, anywhere but our academies and brain wash em weekly to remain English.

Boom,flawless team.

SHIT – Kidneys Tactics to kick and have a passive defensive line all day against a backline that was man for man 9kg heavier.

GOOD – Heaslip and O’ Brien; the reason O Brien couldnt carry is beacuse he made 20 fucking tackles; 20; thats not shit; thats a work horse being drowned by shitty tactics from the coach.

Heaslip made 19 tackles and O’ Connell made 17 tackles

You should swap O’ Briens name for Kidneys name on the SHIT meter.
He has been excellent all season again as well as last season in all club comps. I game does not make him SHIT.


These ratings are based on the weekend's matches, so one game can make
someone SHIT for the purposes of this discussion. How O'Brien has
been playing for his club is irrelevent to both the ratings and his
performance on Sunday.

20 tackles is impressive, but that does not justify his non-existent
carrying. This is not an either/or thing surely? A modern back row
should be able to make 20 tackles and carry all game as well.

“20 tackles is impressive, but that does not justify his non-existent

How can he carry if hes tackling everything in sight!!!

Kidney decided the best way to battle Wales was to Kick the ball to a mean backline and trust our defence. How can he carry if he is either tackling/chasing a kick to nowhere/tackling after Wales have turned the ball over.

Can you see now??

If he doesnt have the ball he cant fucking well carry it now can he??

SHIT – Eng v Scotland – Neither side deserved to win – to steal a quote from Dodgeball “it was like watching a bunch of retards trying to fuck a doorknob”

GOOD – my mindless optimism – because I keep on reminding myself that 1/3 of the England match day 22 were uncapped (or to put it another way; 1/2 of the match day 22 had less than 10 caps each) – therefore I can delude myself that they can improve in the next year and become a decent team.

nice try brighty now back under your bridge and start counting the number of locks left to face Grey and Hamlton this weekend.

Wow, calm down there Kenny. Let’s keep the abuse out of it can we?

My point is that I agree with B&M that O’Brien was poor, it seemed odd to me that you were happy to blame Ferris and the coach but unable to see that O’Brien was poor. He did have chances to carry, that carrying was poor. Yes, Ireland had little ball but as the incumbent 7 (regardless of whether he is a 7 or not for now) he did sod all about getting the ball and often lost it when trying one of his carries, his “If there isn’t a gap there, I’ll make one” hubristic carries which resulted in turnover ball. He is definitely suffering from his gameplan being 1 dimensional and seems unable to come up with much else other than crash ball attempts.

Wow, calm down there Kenny. Let’s keep the abuse out of it can we?

My point is that I agree with B&M that O’Brien was poor, it seemed odd to me that you were happy to blame Ferris and the coach but unable to see that O’Brien was poor. He did have chances to carry, that carrying was poor. Yes, Ireland had little ball but as the incumbent 7 (regardless of whether he is a 7 or not for now) he did sod all about getting the ball and often lost it when trying one of his carries, his “If there isn’t a gap there, I’ll make one” hubristic carries which resulted in turnover ball. He is definitely suffering from his gameplan being 1 dimensional and seems unable to come up with much else other than crash ball attempts.

Whoops … there I go giving Kenny more ammunition by showing my moronic inability to add comments properly. I’ve been called worse by better.

“That stadium makes me laugh. The camera pans around a magnificent stadium, until it comes to the small beer garden at the one end where they’ve put in those plastic white garden chairs you get in B&Q. Hilarious half a job.”

Guess which end’s residents can afford to hassle the powers that be!

Think we need to nip this Brad Barritt stuff in the bud, the only time Scotland did make line breaks it was through the middle.

England were as bad as I’ve ever seen them at the weekend.

Well done Wales, fantastic game, think it’s time Ireland got a proper coach, not to take from Wales but that’s the second time only one side has had a gameplan.

Can we have Joe Schmidt asap?

to be fair to o’brien, he’s also suffering, here and on the pitch, from people being conscious of the massive hype he had in such an amazing break-out season.

Brighty i have to apologise for typing that your a moron which you most definitely are not; sorry about that;

Re O Brien he hasnt lived up to last season but in fairness no human really could; it doesnt help that he has been tatooed with 7 on his back instead of the freedom of 6; Throw in the insanity that is Declan Kidneys tactics and what do you know.

And im blaming the Coaching ticket not the players; they tried there best with a broke tactical system and once Gatland had Deccies ticket. Ah well roll on this weekend and let the games begin all over again; good luck chaps enjoy

Good – Lancaster, the quiet and effective revolution.

Shit – Woodward, seeking to undermine Lancaster and extol his own virtues at every opportunity. Go away Sir Clive, you did some things very well indeed but you had a team Marc Lievremont would have struggled to organise badly.

Ode to Brighty

There was an old man called Brighty,
Who was mean, contrary and fighty,
The worst of his bile,
For the Irish he did stockpile,
But now he’s sick because Wales are so shite-y.

The famous Welsh Lions of 09,
Were unbeatable, infallible and divine,
But Rees, Jenkins and Jones
Folded like muscles without bones,
When faced with the Irish front line.

“Set” the referee said,
Down went the front men in Red,
More miners than players
They confounded the soothsayers,
And left the Irish scratching their heads

And so the story will be told,
Of how Ireland stuffed Cymru’s hole,
With pure hearted drive,
No cheaty balls from the side,
And for all else left us suitably consoled.

Should France roll us over by sixty
And Italy kill us with fifty,
Should we be taken from behind
By the English – how unrefined!
But beating Wales was worth more than whiskey.

To Brighty – you inspire greatness in us all.

Shit – Rob Howley. He deliberately teased everyone with “might have beens” by showing us exactly how the should-have-been-first-XV could have performed by bringing them on with 30 mins to go. Then has either the audacity or the pig-shit-thickness to rue our “poor start” – this is either self reflective irony that would impress even the French or the utterance of the dumbest rugby coach since Andy Robinson.

Shit – the lack of awareness that Wales lost by 2 pens and a conv. Yes, “foot off the pedal” etc from Ireland when 30 points up but still, losing by 8 points is not the “drubbing”, or “humiliation” the media is screaming about. Are Wales now the new England, is everyone praying for them to lose? (Rhetorical question obviously, the answer is yes).

Good – Italy, I love you. Not only did you beat France you did it with style and with an outside half having the day of his life. I hope he bought half a dozen lottery tickets as well.

Good – the face on Maitland at about 60mins in when he realised he really did have to play with this shower for the next ten years…. (yes, Wales lost so I’m having a pop at Scotland – they lost by 20 points yet it’s Wales who were “humiliated” apparently; I’m trying to feel better by pointing out who else is as shit as us. It’s not working.).

Wales, who yet again prove the maxim that winning a Grand Slam guarantees poor performance the next year.

Alex Goode’s defending. Because we have to find something bad to say about England.

The fact that with that performance in the bag, England can bring back Manu.

Castro, breaking the world record for international tries by a prop.

I found out I’m blocked on Twitter by Austin Healey this weekend. In much the same way as I felt then I am so chuffed that little old me can actually inspire people to bother to block me or to even write poetry about me. Mission accomplished.

Well done on cheating for the win on Sat as well. Two yellow cards to keep the Welsh out.*

*This is that “irreverent and informed” banter that the this blog talks about. If you’re feeling like getting screamy and all CAPS LOCKED to reply to me about this quip then please don’t as it would mean you missed the point of my quip.

Good – Brian O’Driscoll. Always.

Bad – France seeming not bothered at all – the commentators kept hightlighting their slow amble back for defence or line-outs. Serious lack of passion.


Jiffy did NOT say numbers … once.


Sergio Parisse got an entire segment dedicated to his magnificence. Bleary eyed by tthe time the match kicked off.

Are you sure? I distinctly remember raising a glass after a “numbers on the left if he goes now! NOW! awww … to slow…”.

I agree nice to be reminded how a centre should make tries.

Shit: Scotland’s pack, normally I worry that the pack will make up for their backs deficiencies, but they just didn’t seem up for it.

Added shit was the media pretending that dean Ryan would turn them into the very image of himself after one full session. Well the mediocre bit worked.

Also have to agree with brightly, Wales’ emergence in the second half was GOOD why did he wait so long for tipuric and Williams at scrum half ??? ( notice the positive comment rather than the SHIT that they didn’t start..whoops)

The media are black or white – therefore, apparently, Wales are either Wizards or W*nkers – do you really care what they think anymore?

SHIT – Andy Nicol & Jerry Guscott – One talks utter b*llocks and the other is the most miserable sh*t outside of an All Blacks coaching role

SHIT – Howley – wonderful player, woeful head coach

SHIT – Woodward – just go away will you. Please. Now

GOOD – This last weekend of sport – 3 great 6N matches followed by an awesome Superbowl. Just wonderful

SHIT – Pundits/blogs/articles asking what you do with the option of selecting 36 or Tuilagi. It’s so very simple; 36 at 12, Tuilagi at 13, ditch Barrit.

Über SHIT – The opposite winger/back row player scoring tries instead of the one I picked in my ESPN fantasy team. Still, better than Howley.

SHIT – Ben Young running sideways from rucks, good game otherwise, but spin the bugger away, please god just spin the thing away.

GOOD – Parrise, the starting Italian 9’s commitment to quick ball and passing without running, Italy’s offloading, 36, England’s 2nd Row, Irish 11 & 13-15,

SHIT – Goode at fullback (a bit harsh but not by much)

SHIT – Ireland deciding to make a game of it in the 2nd half. Not taking away from Wales but we have a habit of easing off. A full 80 mins of intensity if you don’t mind

SHIT – Wales not using Justin Toothpick from the get go, although I am very thankful for that oversight

SHIT – per Lil Chris. No brainer to drop Barritt, solid citizen but you build centre partnerships and SL needs to invest in 36 and Tuilagi as his choices – after next week if you don’t mind

GOOD – BOD – may the stars spell his name in the heavens, Stuart Hogg – holy shit he’s fast, Lee 1/2p – looks like a hobbit but plays like a giant, Owen Farrell – shit hair, great performance, Luciano Orquera – bout time they found a 10

GOOD – Various back rowers – Sean OB, Robshaw, Kelly Brown, Parisse and whisper it, even The Hask

GOOD – Overall weekend of rugby. Outstanding first round. All the teams and officials played their part.


Number 8s – Morgan, Parisse, Beatie, Faletau, Picamoles (aka King Louis, not enough people noticing him strole through Parisse for the try).

Exciting rugby in big games.


Wales thinking they are now a team who can play conservatively and edge games out – look at us vs Aus, it doesn’t work! Difference between Wales in first and second half was that they backed themselves to score more points than the opposition. If we go out wit that attitude every week we will start winning games.

England looking genuinely creative and dangerous: I can no longer begrudge them their success by scorning their boring rugby. For once, they actually deserve the praise.

Actually, from my bitter taffy perspective the two above points can be summarized as “Wales trying to play like England, England playing like Wales”.

Yeah Godders, it appears that after ten years of hilarity England have now decided to pick their football players. No more Banahan’s or Monye’s for the rest of us to snigger at anymore. Damn that twelve trees looked good. Bastard.

i feel the opportunity for some selectorial mishaps still exist!!

whilst i am delighted we are trying to play rugby, it wasn’t so long ago we got our arses handed to us by the aussies.

i did read an article (was it brian moore?) that said one thing that people forget about lancaster was that 1) he is a professional coach and 2) he coached all these guys in the saxons, (ooops i meant the seconds). and that selection was key. (may sound trite but there seem to be no end of coaches who struggle johnson, robinson, howley….)

I am hoping that the only reason for 12Ts SHIT substitution was to keep him uninjured for the Ireland match

Because now England seem to have found an inside centre who may provide most of what’s been lacking since Greenwood retired, they’re definitely going to pick him aren’t they?

There’s no way they’ll pick someone at centre just ‘cos he’s good at tackling. Is there?

“selection was key” – I would say that selection is king. Priority 1,2,3. You don’t have the players all year so who you pick is going to have more impact than what you squeeze into the week long training sessions. Gatland got this right when he started, Howley is showing the worst traits of ex-player Welsh coaches – picking all of the usual names, ignoring the evidence of his eyes.

well they’ve been picking brad for a while now, and i can only remember the conrad smith break. have there been any others?

and it was Billy’s first cap, so lets not get too carried away.

would you bet on him being in the starting XV in dublin?

I think this selection could define Lancaster for some time – is he genuinely forward thinking and can adapt to what is happening? Or is he really an old fashioned English coach in disguise in just wants a big, hard and defensive midfield.

Overall I cannot wait to see the team sheets this week as who Howley picks will also be a defining moment. One more team of Jenkins, Rees, Warbs, Roberts, Phillips and it’s proof that he doesn’t have the confidence to go with the less capped players.

What will France do? Will Michalak keep his place? Will we have an excellent knee jerk French selection? Will Fofana and Bast start in the centres?


I agree that we shouldn’t get too carried away. For me, I’m more excited that we have found and have selected the right kind of player. I don’t expect him to be a world beater, but his selection is indicative of how I hope Lancaster sees us playing rugby. And it’s not just how he plays himself, it’s the effect it could have on Farrell at 10 as well.

As you say, though, the true test will be this weekend when his first choice midfield will be revealed. I really hope it’s 36 at 12 and Manu at 13. That would be something to work on most definitely.

you have to believe that they, 36 and Manu, feel like a centre pair that 1) could be with us for a while 2) complement each other (and farrell). its been a long time since we could say that

its harsh on Brad but as brighty says above it will tell us alot when the team sheet comes out.

I would be a bit disappointed not to see 36 and Manu, but lets not forget that it was 36s first test and that the Barritt-Manu partnership was there for the win against NZ. Also whilst it is thinking conservatively I’d feel more comfortable with Barritt in defence against a BO’D firing all cylinders than 36. Nothing against 36 in defence, it’s just Barritt is better.

Also, I have to say I think the Hask is a much improved player since his time in NZ. Thought his game in the 3rd test in the summer against SA was his best performance for England and have been impressed with his contributions when he’s come on as a sub.

SHIT: Sam Warburton…..Sorry but what does he actually offer at the moment? Doesnt turn ball over, not a beast with ball in hand…..Does Howley have the balls to drop him for Toothpick?

SHIT: Robert Howley, as if we needed no more proof that having been a great player doesnt make you a great coach/manager, things have only gone downhill since he’s been at the helm. Those than can….do, those that cant….teach.

SHIT J Davies passing, threw 2 crowd passes. Should probably stick to running lines.

SHIT: France, just so typically French, how can you not look up for it when you are one score down against Italy. Watch them wipe the floor with Wales this week.

Good: Best opening round of 6N I can remember, each game was a cracker with good Rugby. Good come back by Wales in the end, England continue to play with confidence with someone who has hands at 12. Even Italy scored a crackerjack of a try. Can this week be even better?

Good: 36, deserves a mention by himself. Made several half breaks which a proper 13 would be able to pick a line and take an offload from him, he looks the part.

*Wales doing their party-piece of old, taking the piss out of their fans by becoming unstoppable once they’d safely lost the match.
*The Scottish habit of somehow looking entirely equal to the opposition, yet inexorably leaking points.
*Jonathan Davies. Ah, so THAT’S why he never passes…

*I had “36”, ½p, Castro, Cuthbert, Zebo and Parling in my fantasy side.
*Ireland stayed focused and didn’t panic when they realized Wales were shit. They DID panic a bit when they realized Wales weren’t THAT shit, but by then they were safe.
*Italy’s handling; especially that one phase where the forwards seemed to exchange four offloads in about two seconds. This is a fifteen-man team now, and they’re going to beat someone else before they’re done. In fact, if they were any other team, Parisse would be fielding the usual “Grand Slam?” bollocks from the hacks already.
*England look like a team. It was “only Scotland”, but by the end there was only England.

Wales, who yet again prove the maxim that winning a Grand Slam guarantees poor performance the next year.” – I agreed with you at the time you wrote this but now … who saw that coming?

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