Brian, I apologise

Andrew Sheridan destroys his Australian counterpart
Andrew Sheridan destroys his Australian counterpart Matt Dunning

I was wrong and you proved that on Saturday.

You have got a clue.

This performance left me thinking was the team selection and inept displays in the opening two games of the World Cup against the US and South Africa a cunning ploy. Did Brian know that Perry was useless and would have an adverse effect on the rest of the team, thinking they’d get through and lull everyone else into a false sense of security.

Well maybe not but that was the best game of rugby football England have put in since Jonny drop that goal four long years ago. Was it better than Sydney, fight and performance maybe, end result while the same in terms of a win over Australia but last time there was the added bonus of that sour puss Howard handing the trophy to Johnno. This time we just had the addition of pride restored to a battered rugby nation, just he says.

This was huge as was that forward pack, immense all over the park as they battered the Aussies into submission, Ashton got the team selection right as the front row destroyed their scrum, Regan, Vickery and especially Sheridan, quite rightly man-of-the-match and a 10 out of 10 in everyone’s rating of the team, obliterated their counterparts – that is when allowed to by the ref, I did think at the beginning he was going to have one of those days i.e. penalise England because Australia were crap – it was so one sided that when England made a mistake and dropped the ball people were not narked they were happy because it meant another scrum, even if they did have the put in.

A few hours later the stories of England’s triumph were already beginning to be told and embellished. “Did you hear what Regan told Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore after that first set of scrums had gone down?” an Australian colleague reported. “He told him that there were 75 more minutes of that and he better get used to having his nose rubbed in it,” the story went. Telegraph

They fun created by seeing that Aussie pack crumble before our eyes, as scrum half Gomarsall benefited and applied his own pressure to his counterpart Gregan who didn’t have a seconds rest all game, a joy to watch.

We hadn’t seen this since the Woodward days, when was the last time England so dominated a top side, when was the last time they were so comprehensively better at the breakdown, driving over opposition ball carriers and snaffling that egg back off them. All done with the likes of key or Moody giving away stupid, dull penalties as they are so prone to doing.

Don’t think I’ve ever settled down to watch an England v Australia World Cup game so relaxed, I didn’t expect much. It wasn’t like the ’91 final when I thought we should win if we played our game and didn’t let that Italian talk us out of it but he did and along with their cheating it cost us. It wasn’t like ’95 where again I thought we could nick it and it certainly wasn’t like the ’03 final where we were going to win no matter what but all that expectation creates an anxiety that was missing before and pretty much during Saturday’s 80 minutes, only when Mortlock lined up that final kick at the posts did some set in.

And to think, Jonny didn’t exactly have the best game with the boot, how many missed pens and drops? They also didn’t take their chances to cross the line and a few first up tackles were missed, so there’s still room for improvement but whatever happens next Saturday in the semi against France that one game will make this all worthwhile, sending smug Aussies back home.

Of the other games, well the Aussies are quite rightly pointing out they didn’t choke as badly as the much vaunted All Blacks. Yet again they showed that being the best team on the planet for 3 years, 355 days, 22 hours and 40 minutes counts for nothing. Ah all the bleating blaming the ref, what are they Aussies all of a sudden? The ref was excellent, he’d obviously done his homework, studied the previous games and pinpointed all the areas where they infringe.

And every time they did, he whistled and quite right too. The bleating at his decisions by the likes of David Kirk and Murray Mexted – yeah Murray it was an accident, McAlister running into Yannick Jauzion, he wasn’t watching him all the way and knew exactly what he was doing and shouldn’t have been binned 🙄

This isn’t one eyed bias by former Blacks, it’s this inbuilt belief that they are allowed to do all the things that they should get pinged for, thankfully a ref had the balls to do it on the big stage.

Sad that Fiji couldn’t hold on against the Boks, as for the Jocks, god I hate supporting Argentina at anything but that’s three times this tournament, well I don’t think a Lamont has had such a bad day since “Black Wednesday” and it was only one of them that day.

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