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Stuart Barnes looks at what England need to do to make sure their win over the All Blacks is not a one-off.Back to story
i have always enjoyed your commentaries, especially england v all blacks, as i am an all blacks supporter, you are always very fair, giving credit to where its due, regardless of the teams involved. hope you keep up the good work, the global rugby family will flourish with commentators like you, fair and precise thanks and god bless
Posted 18:26 8th January 2013
Stuart, While I would not wish to denigrate England's outstanding achievement last weekend (I was fortunate enough to be at Twickenham), I would point out one rather salutary fact. Despite being comprehensively outplayed in all key areas of the game for most of the match, the All Blacks stll matched England's try count and also butchered two clear cut chances late in the game that you would normally put your shirt on them converting. If they have a weakness, it seems to be maintaining their composure under score-board pressure late in the game (as France have proved in successive world cups). The equal try count is testament to just how superior they are at the basic skills of running the right lines and passing with precision. Conrad Smith's defensive error that led to Brad Barritt's try may have proved the turning point of the game and he undoubtedly had a poor afternoon by his standards (as obviously did Dan Carter) but his take and give for the third (Savea) try was about as fine an example of the skill executed at top speed as you could wish to see. Although England did convert all their clear-cut, try-scoring chances on Saturday (I'm not convinced Ashton would have scored in the first half even if the final pass had been perfect), they now need to add that level of finishing skill to the forward power they have at last rediscovered if they are to be true World Cup contenders in 2015.
Posted 20:22 5th December 2012
The lions team should be halfpenny bowe tulagi j davies north wilkinson phillips healy best adam j gray awjones ferris warburton (capt) heaslip bench cole gethin j hartley parling lydiate murray kearney farrell
Posted 11:43 5th December 2012
Has anyone else noticed that if a Northern hemisphere team wins in the Southern hemisphere it's because the Southern hemisphere team is 'undercooked' (Scotland's victory over Australia) yet if a Northern Hemisphere side beats a Southern hemisphere team in the Northern hemisphere it's because the Southern hemisphere is 'jaded' (some comments after Saturday's game!). Can't have it both ways.
Posted 20:15 4th December 2012
Stuart Interesting to see your Lions 15 which is a long way from your old mate Stephen Jones choice in the Times. He chose 14 welshmen in a squad of 35.On current form I can only see 5 at most. Mind you he did predict that Sale would fininsh in the top 4 of the premiership. I dont disagree with you to much on your choice although O'Connell & O'Driscoll are both getting a bit long in the tooth,perhaps Lawes would be a better bet in the 2nd row
Posted 16:29 4th December 2012
I am taking a little exception with the majhoirty of criticism aimed at Sam Warburton after the Autumn series. If you look at tackle stats he is right up there. If the blindside was doing his job correctly (like Lydiate would have) then Warburton could get back to just focusing on being in the right place at the right time and snaffling/slowing down ball. During this series he has had to change his game to fill the (large) boots of Lydiate AND perform his usual openside duties.
Posted 14:11 4th December 2012
David, as Daniel says, I don't think anyone is getting carried away, least of the team and the management group. But what they and we are saying is this was an excellent victory and one that should be rightly celebrated. In England we are really are very good at finding negatives when we have done something well. Celebrating something good does not make us arrogant or ignorant, just pleased and proud. There is a big difference. Regarding Ashton throwing his finger in the air, you really choose to moan about that? If he's got over the line, pulled his shorts down and moonied at the oncoming defenders then I'd be right with you, but really, in the great scheme of things, what he did was irrelevant. Get some perspective man!!
Posted 13:10 4th December 2012
Hi Stuart, following the world cup draw, I have yet to see a valid reason why the draw is made so far in advance. I cannot think of any positives to the draw being made based on the form of teams 3 years prior to the actual event.
Posted 10:23 4th December 2012
As a 60 year old English git having the privilege to be working in the Twickenham "locale" area all day for the All Blacks game, can I just say how wonderful Saturday was. The atmosphere, the long awaited performance and its unbelievable result, the crowd's behaviour outside the stadium near my position, and all the great humour and politeness. The day flew by and I came home on such a high. Thank you everyone.
Posted 09:34 4th December 2012
um David no one has said they are world beaters, they have simply said that this could be the platform to put England back into the top tier. Everyone knows New Zealand will come back even stronger don't get your knickers in a twist mate.
Posted 23:25 3rd December 2012
Will England be unbeaten in another 19 test matches and 12 months. Will England be 6 nations grand slam champions or will it be could have , should have but didn't yet again. That is all a long way away .
Posted 21:19 3rd December 2012
I'm not sure of the legal intricacies behind the TV rights for the Autumn Internationals, but I would suggest to Sky that if it were to release a DVD of the England v. NZ game, and preferably prior to Christmas, it would sell. I think it¿s the best game I've seen as an England fan and I would buy it to watch on cold rainy nights and keep in pride of place next to the World Cup 2003 and Lions DVDs.
Posted 18:59 3rd December 2012
Stuart are you like me and think Chris Ashton's tackling game is well below par I am convinced he has gone off the boil and has a lot of work to do?
Posted 16:26 3rd December 2012
Come on guys do not get ahead of yourselves, a win against an ill All Blacks team does not make you world beaters. Oh and a hand in the air before scoring is NOT ON!!!! Kick it Out !!! baaaad sportsmanship, no place in RUGBY.
Posted 13:25 3rd December 2012