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Stuart Barnes says England have taken an important step towards 2015 after outwitting Ireland.Back to story
England played well against Ireland but you are sugar coating how they did it. First of all besides the players who went off injured, Zebo and Sexton, a further 4 or 5 players were carrying knocks for the majority of the match, O'Driscol, Darcy, O'Brian, McCarthy etc. Also Ireland had the poorest game in terms of simple handling for a long time. England won through playing simple rugby, bad Irish hands and the Irish team being hugely depleted. Well done England but don't build up the victory to the heights that its definitely not at.
Posted 13:58 21st February 2013
Stuart, in light of another disappointing performance and in the context of the last three, trophyless, seasons, do you think it is time Leicester "parted company" with Richard Cockerill? Leicester just seem to be consistently declining, I appreciate Leicester are in the Quarters of the HC and third in the Premiership but I do feel that Tigers are being increasingly left behind by Quins and are being caught up Gloucester and Wasps, While in Europe Leicester are so far off the best it's painful, the salary cap etc. excuses some of that gulf but not all of it. Things can always be worse and Cockers is doing an "ok" job but I look at Saints and can't help but feel that could be Leicester next year. Leicester certainly have little chance of winning any silverware this year.
Posted 08:19 17th February 2013
Michael, what England proved was that they vary their game. Conditions dictated that style of rugby, but the two previous games (Scotland and nz) proved that they can play rugby. This side isn't ready to win a World Cup now but who know in a couple of years. Who knows what conditions our teams will face then? And give credit to england for forcing mistakes rather than just being lucky, although all teams need sometime.
Posted 21:05 15th February 2013
The comments of R Hawdon make me laugh. Rugby doesn't want or need to be compared to poofball! Its a gladitorial sport, far more exciting, interesting and technical than a bunch of wendies running around, falling over at the slightest touch, crying to the referree etc etc etc! R Hawdon, get outta hear!
Posted 11:54 14th February 2013
Re Dave B, I agree absolutely with your comment, despite Irelands large amount of possession they didn't look like scoring a try and Englands defence was incredably disciplined giving virtually no penalties away. While England played defencably magnificantly considering the situation, normally the team with the most possession wins and not having the ball is nothing to triumph. While there are many ways to win, I will never agree that giving away possession is one of them. Not wanting the ball is anti rugby and I do not believe that that was Englands intension. Sunday was a very disciplined and brave performance from a young England team under tough conditions but I would argue they had some luck with Irish fumbling and indiscipline. They will not win a world cup conceding that much possesion.
Posted 12:59 13th February 2013
Re. Michael Dwyer. Sunday's match was a match when it was better not to have the ball, play territory and force the opposition to make mistake with pressure; and that is exactly what England did far better than Ireland. At what stage did Ireland look like crossing the try line, how many penalties did they force in England's half. For a side with about half the caps of the opposition, England did extremely well and fully deserved their victory. A point about the pitches: the problem is they are always getting relaid so when its wet there are problems - the pitches weren't just churning up, it was sliding.
Posted 09:29 13th February 2013
Hi Stuart i am currently a referee in the ospreys region in wales and its got to the point where the tackle area is an absolute mess.,as is other parts of the game.Do you think the IRB should step in and simplify the game and its laws.You have most probably seen a law book and its like an encyclopedia.Most amateur players i speak too dont know what they can and cant do.Another thing is that i find if there is any law changes its usually directed from the southern hemisphere, and its too suit them.Do you think this is right.???
Posted 22:35 12th February 2013
It was an illegal action, Cole wasn't obstructing the ball but you believe he (Healey) shouldn't be punished because "the intent was to cause pain" (as opposed to breaking the ankle? You believe Healey factored in the airborne position of Cole's ankle into his stamp?). That may be the most ridiculous comment I've seen on the topic - while I don't believe in some of the extreme reaction in the English media, I sincerely hope you're wrong about this going unpunished...
Posted 21:58 12th February 2013
Dear Stuart, while I agree with your comments with respect to putting the ball into the scrum and feeding the second row, in my opinion if the front rows would stop taking the scrum down and do what they are supposed to do,keep it up, then the referee would be able to concentrate on offences such as feeding! When I played the game I would have been strung up by the proverbials if I had deliberately collapsed the scrum!!
Posted 11:29 12th February 2013
While I agree England played safe, clever rugby and defended magnifincently, I would argue that normally if you conceed so much possession and the opposition don't make so many basic handling errors at crucial moments you will loose. England were very brave but not much more than that I felt. Other than the grubber for Tuilagi, they didn't have a single line break and created nothing. If Ireland had not dropped everything England would have lost and I wonder what the comments would have been then.
Posted 08:11 12th February 2013
Stamping and rucking are entirely different things. What Healy did was not in the spirit of Rugby. You surprise me Stuart.
Posted 23:49 11th February 2013
Sorry but cannot agree with you regarding Cian Healy. Wayne Barnes showed real courage in removing the Racing Metro forward for reckless intent in the game against Munster. The referee should have likewise sent him off - You cannot justify his actions and what about his forearm around Owen Farrell's throat! At least he has been cited and I hope the 6 Nations disciplinary panel throw the book at him- needless to say good behaviour etc and the fact that there is a distinct Irish bias will mean a very low level ban.
Posted 17:38 11th February 2013
Hi Stuart I agree entirely with Graham Noble about straight scrums and with you about a xix point try, although i would leave the drop at three. Howabout trying to bring in the backs more. Don't allow a scrum option for a penalty or free kick offence unless the infringement was at a scrum. Give a free kick instead of a scrum for a knock on or forward pass without a scrum or kick to touch option. Finally, stop the clock at all reset scrums until the ball finally comes back into play legally.
Posted 16:14 11th February 2013
Stuart, good comments in general but cannot agree on Healey's stamp on Dan Cole. Whilst Cole was indeed on the wrong side (he had just pulled down a maul I believe), he was nowhere near the ball or preventing it from being released, which at the time of the stamp was already being moved on by the scrum half. Healey clearly took aim at a stray leg/ankle and stamped it to the ground, which could easily have resulted in a break. I'm all for old fashioned rucking, and indeed if Healy had rucked Cole on the body to clear him out then that would have been fair (on the wrong side, you deserve some pain). Taking aim at a stray limb and stamping it to the ground is not rucking however, whether under the old or modern interpretations of the ruck law.
Posted 14:22 11th February 2013
Halfpenny is a cert for the lions test side be it at full back or wing , Tupric has to be the lions 7 and young and farrell the half backs. Ryan Jones will be the mid week skipper, watch out the rest wales are back
Posted 13:51 11th February 2013