Sunday, 11 March 2007

Six nations - No more waiting for Johnny Injured

After a great defeat over France by England at home in Twickenham, France lost a Grand Slam opportunity in the important year when they play host to the Rugby World Cup. After the English trouncing at Croke Park, Brian Ashton called all bets off and fielded a team today that included about 10 new players - what a risk taker. The gamble paid off in spades.

The quality of play was far from perfect - the French looked like they were digesting a large lunch and England were giving away penalties with stupid errors. But England began to flow a little, and then some more - and some of these new guys were electric. There's no more waiting for Johnny Injured, England has not one but two new number 10s who both played world class games today. Brian Ashton will have problems choosing which of these guys, Flood or Geraghty, to play. New winger, Strettle, made an impressive debut against Ireland at Croke Park - today he showed it wasn't flash in the pan - he's fast and furious and a natural. And all these new guys are young and blonde and handsome - maybe all is not lost for England and the world cup.

But tactically, England also made leaps today. Did the French lunch too large or did the English close them down? A bit of both, perhaps. The English blocked Chabal, shut him down. Known as Attila at home, Chabal proved to be the Achilles heel of France.

All of Ireland was shouting for England today. Yesterday we took the Triple Crown but today England gifted us a chance to avenge our last minute defeat by France, and steal the championship from them. England is also in with a chance, but it's a bit of a longshot. The outcome of the tournament will not be known until the last minute of the last match next weekend - what a nailbiter that will be.

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