It’s the World Cup, it’s the first game, It’s England

what else where you expecting?

Doesn’t matter what game is being played, football, cricket or rugby, England are pretty much a guarantee to suck in the opening game, in fact you can widen that to games.

Back in 1966 Sir Alf’s eventual were unimpressive in the tournament opener, through a group phase that didn’t set the world alight. It’s been the same for pretty much every tournament the football side have been in since, except the 3-1, Robson goal after seconds, stuffing of the French in Spain in ’82.

So last time out in the Rugby World Cup, 2007, England got to the final but it was like pulling teeth getting through the group stage. Unimpressive win over the Yanks, followed by an annihilation by South Africa where they were blanked 36-0, followed by struggles to get over Tonga and Samoa. Even in the ’03 winning campaign they handed out some stuffings but it was not totally convincing.

So England’s struggles against the side that finished one below them in the last tournament, Argentina third to England’s second place, in their opener yesterday should come as no surprise. Especially with the way some of the warm up games went.

Usual old story for England. Lack of support, lack of guile, lack of brain, lack of discipline. Lack of everything.

All that could be expected from what has gone before the lack of a goal kicker couldn’t. Jonny had to start, he’s just the far better player than Flood. Something just went very wrong with his kicking. Very wrong. Though some of the attempts maybe shouldn’t have been attempted, kick for touch, go for the lineout being better options, especially after the first couple of misses. But five straight penalty misses, that tells you it’s just a one off.

No doubt those calling for Flood to replace Wilkinson during the game will want the jug eared one to start, completely forgetting when the big occasion arrived during the Six Nations he crumbled with ease.

Taking the points might have helped things, getting the scoreboard ticking over does, but bar Youngs’ late incursion into the Argentinian in-goal area, England never looked like crossing the try line. Far too many of the XV just disappeared over the 80 minutes.

Crouch…(long pause)…Touch…(long pause)…Pause…(long pause)…Engage.

Refs are ruining the game.

As soon as I saw who was holding the whistle for the England game I knew what was to come and it panned out exactly. England being pinged and pinged and pinged and at least one yellow card.

Now, yes, they did bring a number of things on themselves but again as has been seen far too many times before to be pure coincidence, England got the shitty end of decisions. An English foot is slightly over the offside line. Whistle, talk of cards. An Argie dives onto a ruck from the side, playing ball or man, while off his feet. Nothing. England get pinged for truck & trailer in a rolling maul, other teams get away with far more obvious separation of ball carrier and blockers in front of him.

But away from just another bias against England whinge – though it would be very interesting to see New born offside Zealand reffed the way England are.

This whole malarkey at scrums is making things worse.

There really is no need for the call of pause if it’s taking an age to say everything else with a long pause in between. Either say Crouch..touch..pause..engage in a oner or spread it out without the call of pause. Lengthening out the whole thing causes more trouble than there ever was before this was introduced. Personally I think refs just drag it out hoping one side goes early and he can give a decision, penalty or free kick, that means the scrum doesn’t have to take place because we see time and time again they just haven’t got a clue once the two front rows have engaged.

Some, actually a lot of refs out there want their moment on the big screen, at some point in rugby – and indeed football – these individuals will need to be told nobody has paid to watch them.

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