Wales vss France:
The first half was the finest exhibition of running rugby in a
competitive international game I have seen. Jenkins had his finest
game in a Welsh No 10 shirt while his kicking game deserted him a
little. The Quinnells were fabulous but Charvis and Howley were sublime.
The Welsh won quick ruck ball, stabilized their scrum and finally
realized that if your best and only option is Wyatt in the line-out, you
should keep using it.
Casteignede was brilliant but the French wingers were vulnerable and the
Welsh streched them and deserved their win. There were magnificent
tries; it was a great game. It had everything.
The Ireland/England match was another world. England totally dominated
Ireland in a match that must have bored the arse off most neutral
observers. The score fails to relect their superiority. The English
back-five was fabulous and overwhelmed us; they won clean, quick ball
with Bracken marshalling an outstanding display of structured,
dominating rugby. Technically, it was masterful. It isn't pretty but it
is tough to counter. Ireland could not get the ball and when we did we
England's game reminds me more and more of RL with their back-row and
even their backs so quick to secure possion and recycle/restart quickly
while constantly probing the same side again and again. Their defense
which is superbly organized will give them a good shot at the big
tournament later this year. England will be tough to beat.
The game against Wales gave me some concerns about our ability to get to
the breakdown quickly and in numbers. Ireland were laboured, pedantic,
predictable in everything they did. We never looked like breaking the
English cover to score a try. There were no mistakes to feed off and
Humphrey aside, we lack the creativity to penetrate a defence of
Costello was atrocious at the base of the scrum. What was the tactic
holding the ball at the base of the scrum supposed to accomplish? Why
were England permitted to poach unsecured ball time and again. England
was technically way ahead of us up front at ruck time.
Conor McGuinness is simply too slow for this level. He is gutsy but
Humphreys, who played as well as could be expected except for his
pathetic restarts (why is this so ***ing difficult for him???), and
Ireland need better service.
Ward hasn't got the pace for a modern open-side but he also played
poorly. O'Cuinnegain has a fine game and I would favor switching
positions with Ward.
Early in the second half, a stat flashed on the screen shoing that we
had only won 50% of our own line-out ball. Wood and his jumpers were out
Congratulations England -- you stuffed us.
When England scored, Humphrey's pathetic restarts gave Irish forwards no
chance to secure possesion.