I remember the day vividly my face after the game was a picture – September 26th 2015, Rugby World Cup 2015, Pool A – Wales deservedly take the spoils at Twickenham 🙁 there is even a blog to remind everyone:-
Well there will be more reminders this coming week as Wales come to ‘Headquarters’ again with the plan this time being to stop England winning the Triple Crown and a potential Grand Slam. To be fair to the Welsh as much as they love to wreck any chance of a Red Rose trophy lifting, their main thought will be that victory at TW2 means (barring the miracle of Italy beating them in Cardiff) they will be Six Nations Champions again, their first title since 2013.
An Eye for an Eye
Revenge will be in the air at Twickers. In the World Cup, the Welsh were under some pressure as defeat may well have knocked them out of the tournament, but even with so many injuries from before and during that game, they held their nerve and came out on top and don’t we English just know it (and I’m sure they will be reminding us come Saturday – very loudly). This coming weekend I personally feel ALL the pressure is on England, Wales have absolutely nothing to lose in my opinion which makes them even more dangerous, especially under serial winner Warren Gatland and led by Sam ‘The Man’ Warburton, a gentleman and scholar, unless he is on a rugby pitch, where he becomes a not very nice person – if you are opposition that is – a proper leader of men. Behind against Ireland they stormed back and were disappointed with a draw, Scotland gave them a fright but two second half tries sealed victory and yes a not great quality game against the French, but a professional performance sealed victory 19-10.
New Era but still a bit Old School
New Head Coach, Eddie Jones, has come into England and whilst I don’t think he has changed too much on the pitch (a few debutants, but teams mainly packed with the usual faces and similar forward orientated tactics) off the park apparently he has relaxed the rules, the mood is lighter and this has apparently led to a happier camp. Three matches, three wins so you cannot complain too much, however the real tests are to come. Previous coach, Stuart Lancaster, also won those kind of games, it was the crunch matches, WHEN IT REALLY MATTERED, he struggled in and even if they do beat a highly motivated Welsh Team, France in Paris follows. DiscIpline under the new coach has not improved either and a repeat of the indiscipline that has been shown against Italy and Ireland will very likely cost England against the Welsh.
Roll on Saturday 12th March – 4pm KO
So its England v Wales, where an Australian sets up against a New Zealander – yowsers – whilst I don’t think it will be as epic as that awful / momentous (dependent on who you support) – it will be a must watch game which will more than likely go to the wire. Whose going to take the spoils? Well I’m fence sitting this time. I obviously want England to win, but feel it is too close to call. Small margins will be the difference – may the best team win.
So the bubble has burst and we will be back to the LVG excuses show. An insipid performance at The Hawthorns saw Manchester United lose 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion. Yes they were not helped by the stupidity of Juan Mata, but even before his sending off they failed to impose themselves on the game and the hosts were well in the ascendancy and it could be argued that this contributed to at least one of the yellow cards the Spaniard picked up. Giddy fans have been sent right back to reality, though it surprises me anyone was thinking like this – as beating a League One team fighting relegation, a Danish side that would struggle in the English Championship, an Arsenal team that lets be honest bottled it again and a lucky win at home over a newly promoted side – is hardly the run of a champion team.
Lets be honest, LVG is extremely lucky to still be in a job and don’t let clueless football man Edward Woodward fool you into thinking Manchester United were standing by him during this shambles of a season. Basically Ed did not know whether to stick or twist, because if he had he would have publically backed the manager instead of keeping tight lipped, hence one very bad result would have ahem ‘allowed’ him to axe the Dutchman, who lets be honest doesn’t even talk a good game nowadays.
10 days – 4 matches
There are still many hurdles to overcome for it to be seen as anywhere near a succesful season (four in the immediate future)
Thurs 10th March – Liverpool (a) – Europa League 1st leg
Sunday 13th March – West Ham (h) – FA Cup
Thurs 17th March – Liverpool (h) – Europa League 2nd leg
Sunday 20th March – Manchester City (a) – Premier League
Yes they are in better form in regards of results, even with the West Brom defeat and some credit has to be given to the manager, no matter how poor the opposition may have been in this run. However nobody this season would be surprised to see a defeat at Anfield maybe 2-0 then loss to an in form (and above in the League Table) West Ham in the FA Cup maybe 0-1, followed by a dour (and I mean dour) 0-0 in the return leg against their Northwest rivals meaning an exit from the Europa League. So heading into the Manchester Derby on the 20th March their chances of any real ( I don’t count the 4th place trophy) silverware this season may well be done and dusted and they will have a baying and very motivated City rival ready and willing to stick the boot in even more at the Etihad. Imagine a heavy defeat – that would give ‘Our Eddie’ a lot of thinking time over the international break period. TEN DAYS Louis – your chance to ram the taunts and stick you have got this season down the throats of your detractors, well till April anyways – YOUR MOVE.
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