I know the met is forecast as wintery for this week, but it was pretty warm when I pedalled in this morning, I even heard Blackbirds singing along the cut for the first time this winter. Is it a sign I wonder? I never saw a soul along the canal and I have no Jobys* to report for the road part of the commute.
Coaching went well yesterday, and I even found myself running around reffing a practice game with not too many ill effects which was a pleasant surprise. The weather was bright and not too cold either which was a bonus. Our training ground is pretty much the nearest thing to the Siberian Steppe when it’s on form, but yesterday it was behaving itself.
I have to talk about the England game yesterday. No doubt the press will be shouting hysterically about “Robot England”, who played badly against an Italian side bereft of ideas themselves etc etc. But if I may, I’d like to point out one or two things. The Italians are absolutely no mugs, most if not all of their players play in the English Premiership or the French equivalent and their Forward Pack is a match for anyone’s. Indeed Sergio Parrise their injured back rower could arguably be called the best back row forward in the world. Although the Kiwis would be screaming Ritchie McCaw at you. The thing people forget about the Italians is that they don’t come to play themselves, they have not got the midfield backs for that, instead they come to stop you playing, they spoil fast ball, they happily give penalties away so the game is slowed right down and they defend like their lives depend on it. All of which makes it very hard to build up a rythymn and put any pace in the game. The bottom line is England came away with a win and should be happy with that. But, and it’s a big but, I was very disappointed with our kicking game. Wilkinson in particular has had lately a very bad run of kicking out of hand. And he is not playing flat enough. If the coaches can get him to step a meter or two nearer the gain line he’d be a bit more threatening to the opposition. Also England would benefit getting Dave Aldred back in to address the poor kicking out of hand, he is a world class kicking coach and needs to be asked back into the fold. John Callard just isn’t cutting the mustard as a kicking coach.
Sorry about the Rugby stuff, not everyone’s cup of tea I know, but it’s my blog and you don’t have to read the rugby stuff!
* Joby – a life threatening bike related incident.