hell more than one at times.
Will Carling’s lot did it in 1990, then Clive Woodward’s all conquering heroes of ’03 had gone through the final years of the last century and into the new one butchering the last game of the championship for the Grand Slam.
So it should come as no surprise that Martin Johnson’s lot would do the same against Ireland on Saturday. After all the current side are nowhere near the class of the side who should have obliterated the Jocks at Murrayfield in 1990 or the sides that should have racked up a fine collection of titles before winning the one that really mattered.
Though it started so brightly on Saturday, they actually won a kick-off, from an Irish, but it’s still a surprise. Floods kick-offs doesn’t give them much chance usually. Through the phases, across the park, looking quite good. Then stopped, held up, Ireland’s scrum. And once the green pack destroyed England in that first set piece it was pretty much game over.
At that point I completely relaxed, I just knew that was it, one team was up for it the other wasn’t. It was going to be much like the Jock game except the Irish would punish us for everything. Which they surely did.
I couldn’t even whinge about the ref at the time, so I will now. Both their tries came via pretty obvious forward passes and before the O’Driscoll try – I think – Foden is high tackled, should be a penalty but Irish line-out given from which comes the score. An early scrum where England were under a bit of pressure but keeping it together a bit the Irish scrum-half is behind Nick Easter at number 8, so behind the ball or in front depending which way you look at but either way it’s offside. Nowt given and Ireland snaffle possession. The yellow card, well if you’re going to be that stupid in many ways you deserve the punishment but no quick line-out was going to happen and O’Gara did a similar bit of slowing down play later on and nothing happened.
All those whinges and whines aside it really didn’t make much difference to the way the result was going to end up. After all the ref didn’t make England drop the ball seemingly every time they went into contact.
He didn’t make Toby Flood useless. Oh wow Flood is flat for receiving the ball. Great, he’s flat and static and flat-footed and flouncy and aimless. No way he should have come out after the break after that pathetic display but then I don’t think he should have started either. I can’t quite believe some of the scores out of 10 I’ve seen him being given for the Championship. Two performances against teams that didn’t turn up doesn’t count for much when you fold under the pressure in the next three games.
Added to that Youngs at scrum-half, talked up before the tournament started he was pretty damn poor throughout. Doesn’t seem to be able to pass the ball under head height or in such a manner that the receiver doesn’t have to stop to catch it.
Just don’t believe this is the half back combination to take us anywhere, especially not the World Cup.
Strange to think, last few seasons and after the Autumn batterings who wouldn’t be happy to be Six Nations champions?