England Rugby Fluff Their Lines Against All Blacks After Fighting Display
Well everyone was waiting for England to be battered into humiliation by the All Blacks. But against all the bookmakers odds they produced a fighting display in a 15-16 thrilling match.
Out of the blocks quickly ambushing New Zealand once more they set up a 15-0 lead within 20 minutes with tries from a resurgent Chris Ashton and co-captain Dylan Hartley plus a penalty. We all knew that the AB's would come back but having the lead would always be a great place to be for strategy and pressure.
Sure enough a great move and constant pressure from New Zealand eventually told with a try from McKenzie who was a threat all day. But then with stupid lack of discipline Beauden Barret was allowed to make it 15-10 before half time. Bad game management no.1.
A second half brought a hard fought affair with England yet again getting on the wrong side of the referee and Barrett kicking 2 more penalties for New Zealand at last to take the lead. Therein lies the problem yet again. poor discipline and conceding penalties at the wrong time in the wrong areas of the pitch. You can't give the lead back to a team like the All Blacks. Bad Game Management No.2
Now we come the the critical moment of the game. No NOT the long debated and over analysed disallowed try. That is irrelevant. yes you heard right irrelevant. The referees decided it was offside and that is all that counts. Dry your tears and man up. It was the last minute of the game. England had the ball in the New Zealand half driving forward with energy. I for one was expecting a sense of calm and steely determination for them to drive down like England 2003 controlling the ball and put over the vital drop goal to win the match.
What did we get instead? Mis-management. A complete lack of leadership from Care, Ford and Farrell between them to realise this and do it. Those are the crucial 3 players in the right positions to marchall both the forwards and backs. Instead we slung the ball around eventually fluffing a pass to nowell. I held my head in my hands in despair! Bad Game Management 3.
England could have and should have won this game. It was in their own hands. It doesn't matter about the disallowed try or anything else the referee did or didn't miss or penalise throughout the game. This game came down to 30 seconds where England could have shown themselves to be a streetwise mature outfit with a ruthless edge for winning. They failed the test.
Do you think the All Blacks would have failed in the same position? Or Wales or Ireland? I think not.
Despite this I was hugely encouraged by the England performance I saw. Committed, fierce and fast paced at times. It needs to be consistent though.
SAM UNDERHILL - without doubt the standout player. Huge presence he was everywhere tackling running and offering him self up. The sidestep in the failed late try was brilliant!
COURTNEY LAWES - Despite the offside for the try he was back to his menacing self. A pain to NZ when he came on as a temporary replacement I think he needs to start instead of Itoje who is all over the place mentally by the looks of it.
The scrum was hugely improved despite all the warnings of doom from the media and New Zealand themselves.
But the line out was appalling. get it sorted.
So we almost abushed the All Blacks and performed way above what I was expecting. If only Eddie could keep his mouth shut sometimes now....