Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Well, I must admit, England's game against the Exiles didn't quite go off with the bang I was hoping for. Perhaps the powder was somewhat moistened by the down pour that greeted kick off.
The Exiles, with the wind and rain in their faces gave away some cheap possession and territory early on and, subsequently, a lead they could never re-gather.
Whilst it was a very wet night, the rain did abate at periods through the game but I'm afraid that it didn't have the intensity that you expect from a test match. Whilst it can be debated about how emotionally stirring an appearance for the Exiles can be, that should not be said about winning an England cap and I'm sorry to say that there was not the speed and pressure applied in defence that your expect from a side filled with a sense of occasion. The forwards trucked the ball up well enough although without the sense of venom that I was looking for.
I mentioned before, what I really wanted to see was our pack rip in to the opposition mercilessly, mate vs mate - state vs state style. They didn't manage that, but they did control the majority of the game. Unfortunately, we did very little to capitalise on this, scoring all our tries from kicks. The link between Chase and Sinfield and therefore through to our main danger man Tomkins was rough and stuttering.
The Exiles played a bit more expansive rugby, grabbing a try on the wing for Francis Meli who's out of contract at Saints and rumour has it leaving at the end of the season. He's vilified by some sections of the Saints support for some big game gaffs over the years, but he certainly seems a handful; when I see him. If only his forwards on Saturday had the same motivation to smash someone, then we may have had a few more firework to entertain us.
So for me, a verdict of "Could to better" for the England team and "Must try harder" for the Exiles. I reckon the next fixture may go up a gear, though.
We get the usual poignant debrief from McNamara, which he seems to have built his reputation on, but they tend leave me somewhat uninspired.
Meanwhile, Ellery's been in the press stating how gloomy things are regarding the standard of the English league and national team. I'm pretty sure you'll find good old Gary Schofield complaining about something as well.
Whilst I appreciate the opinion of guys who've been there and done that, it does grate on me that there always seems a queue of guys to tell us how rubbish we are without much sensible comment to help rectify said situations. If you fancy helping Ellery, why don't you coach England - or is that your plan all along? Hanley for England?