It's Not The Despair....................

Three days after The Match and I've just about recovered from the hangover resulting from the long match inquest I went through with an old chum while enjoying a rib of beef at a long lunch on Sunday. 

I had thought that leaving it for a few days might give some comments a perspective they would otherwise have missed but I don't think that's going to happen. It was a devastating loss which has probably left the players as bewildered as it did the crowd and the millions at home who spent the last ten minutes choking on their beer, shouting at the television and reaching for their old boots willing to pop down to Twickenham to give the lads a hand. 

I'm one of the few who thought the call to go for a line out rather than a penalty was ballsy but justified. Why, having stepped up and made that call they then failed to have the courage of their convictions and then threw a short line out ball is however, mystifying. If you are taking the fight to the opposition you have to follow it through with single minded determination and aggression. If it had worked, of course the team would be feted as heroes. It didn't and their judgement is in question. We had though, lost the game well before then during a quite incredible Welsh second half fight back. Having suffered multiple casualties, (I think that Polish cryotherapy nonsense has made their bodies brittle),  they threw away the spreadsheets and playbooks and played the kind of rugby that is hard coded in their DNA. It was a wonder to behold for anyone except the  English fans left open mouthed with incredulity. 

England were shocking in the second half. I've often thought that Stuart Lancaster should be nailed to his seat at half time and not allowed anywhere near the team dressing room. This is far from the first time that England have trotted out looking shapeless and unfocused compared to their first half performance. The World Cup was always going to be a mountain to climb for England given team selection has never really settled in a way that previously successful teams have enjoyed. Playing Burgess, who up until Saturday had played less than 120 minutes of Test rugby, and never looks quite comfortable, is questionable but I guess its a gamble that had England won would have been fully justified with fans up and down the country saying,'I always knew the lad would come good.' I hope he still will. England can of course still progress and all is very far from lost. As an Aussie friend said to me afterward, 'the thing about England is one win and you're on the march but one loss and the worlds coming to an end.' 

It's only a game love..................

For the Welsh, it was an epic win and one that we'll reminded of for the rest of our lives. That is an uncomfortable prospect but  only the most small minded would deny them their moment of joy; they earned it.

Saturday has become the sort of day that World Cups are all about. We'll be expecting to dominate with pragmatic forward play and the Aussies will chuck the ball around with all the abandon usually seen at a prep school sevens tournament. Or will they? It's a mouthwatering prospect and I absolutely can not wait.

As for Stuart Lancaster, if I were him I'd forget about all the Agincourt / St George stuff and start my pre-match talk with, 'right lads, we've got them right where we want them...............'

(Thanks Tim)