England v Wales!

A long Rugby related post, so click away if it ain’t your bag!

This is the day of the 6 Nations I love and hate the most. I am a bear with a sore head if we lose and my joy knows no bounds if we win!

England Rose

England v Wales.

I’m sat here at home, last night’s Harlequins v Bath match playing on the TV and all I can think of is how the men in white will fare across the road from the Harlequins Stoop at HQ this afternoon.

England v Wales.

I’m of an age where my formative Rugby years were spent watching the men in Red hammer my beloved England regularly. A Welsh team made up of seemingly God like initials and just first names. JPR, JJ, Merv the Swerve, Barry John, The Pontypool Front row and most frighteningly of all Gareth.

All Rugby fans know Gareth is Gareth Edwards, quite possibly the finest player ever to play my game. Oh yes, the 70s and 80s were lean years for England against their tiny neighbour. And oh boy, didn’t the Welsh let us know about it! And it still burns, the banter was off the scale and sometimes went too far, they really do hate the English!

WRFU

England v Wales.

After the 80s there was a tiny amount of redress for England, the Welsh statistical blip of such a small place producing so many world class players finally finished and England started to win a few.

This lasted until Sir Clive Woodward’s all conquering squad started to disband in 2004 and the Welsh started to produce the goods again and England totally failed to kick on from a World Cup win and went into a bit of a decline.

This brings us nicely to today’s game.

England v Wales.

The Welsh team have been in the press this week saying Twickenham holds no fear and they know how to win there. That is a statement hard to argue with. They are now a contented, highly experienced side with game changers where ever you look. Their half backs are arguably the best in the Championship, with fly half Dan Bigger one of the stand out performers and his centre partner Jamie Roberts back to his line breaking best. Allied to a settled pack containing Lions Alun-Wyn, Faletau and Warburton and you can see the magnitude of England’s task today.

So what of England?

After the Rugby World Cup debacle and the installation of a new coaching team, England are 3 from 3. Admittedly against in my opinion, 2 of the weakest sides and an Ireland side ravaged by retirements and injuries.

I have always been a fan of Australian Eddie Jones the new England coach. The first non Englishman to lead our National side. He tells it like it is, plays exceptional mind games with the press and opposition, plus he wants England to stop being nice! That may sound a bit daft, but as much as I liked the last coaching regime’s values, England in my opinion concentrated too much on values and not being baby eating psychopaths on the field. I am now starting to see a bit of dog about them.

Professional players always say that revenge doesn’t count in the modern game, they need a clear head to concentrate on doing the right thing at the right time and playing the plan. Yeah right. Wales effectively knocked England out of their own World Cup at Twickenham last year. Ok it was England that imploded and the Welsh never once gave up and deserved the win, but I can imagine how it is still an open suppurating wound to those players who were part it. It still is for me and I wasn’t playing!

I’ll be watching in the pub this afternoon with my best mate Ski and my good buddies from the pub.

All I can hope for is that an England who are still hurting from last year and starting to improve with their attacking shape, (which I actually think will test the usually water tight Welsh defensive system of Sean Edwards) will provide the hardest test for a very good Welsh side who hopefully will be suffering from a sub conscious complacency! A close game, too close to call, but one which will determine what kind of week I have next week.

Me and Dan

Me and Dan supporting our beloved England!

englandrugbykit14a

England v Wales. CARRY THEM HOME!

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