Gatland shouldn’t have called them boys, it made

men of them.

England’s defeat of a Welsh side containing 12 British Lions, taking the Triple Crown and keeping their title hopes alive was another big step in the making of many of Stuart Lancaster’s teams.

There was a number in Stuart Lancaster’s starting XV over the last two Six Nations games, against Ireland and Wales, that you wondered about. Would they really make the grade?

These last two games seem to have shown that they have.

Previously I’ve called for Danny Care to be the number 9. Then he went through a poor patch where he didn’t look much better than the others such as Ben Youngs. Slow and ponderous with the ball as his off-field stupidity seemed to be taking hold of his on-field abilities.

Those two quick tap penalties, the first that set up the try he scored with the second, along with his general speed of thought and deed during the game showed we are getting what we thought we would. It’s something, that sniping, England have been missing since Matt Dawson retired – saw him in an advert for a “super food” the other day, christ he doesn’t half look sickly, not a great endorsement for the product.

Billy Twelvetrees is another who came in looked a real find and then faded. The crash, bang, wallop, that it looked like all he was asked to do – what both centres were coached to do? – brought nothing creative out of him. He seemed to disappear in games, against Wales he made the odd wrong decision but he looked more decisive. Looked like he wanted to be in control of proceedings. Leading to his receiving the ball and putting in the nice little grubber for England’s second try.

Man of the match went to Courtney Lawes. Who have ever thunk that would be coming? Wasn’t the point of Lawes just to be a big galoot who gave away penalties?

Well he did that once, early on. Well not entirely true the ref gave the penalty but as the tackler had let Lawes goes he was free to continue so no penalty should have been awarded. After that he very much deserved his M-O-M award. Towering performance.

That Lawes non-penalty brought like at the beginning of the last game fears of England again getting the type of ref that’s ruined games for them. Now he did get a few of the penalties he handed to Wales wrong, penalties that kept them in a game they should have been well out of. But in general he officiated the match well and finally a ref stood up to the Taffs and penalised them for things others have let them get away with.

The shake of Jenkins’ head when he was rightly yellow carded showed that he thought he’d done nothing wrong because in the past he’d been allowed to do it.

There was a number of stupid penalties given away by England, as per usual just after they scored themselves. If they can cut them down as they did against Ireland then they’re really on their way.

On their way tow hat should have been a Grand Slam game against Italy but for stupidity against France. It wasn’t the first time substitutions for substitutions, by the numbers, sake has cost Lancaster. Notice he hasn’t done it so readily since.

So now he’s relying on France to either beat Ireland or keep the score down while hoping to rack a score up in Rome.

So a big thanks Warren, your pre-match prattle looks to have worked the oracle and made men out them thar boys.

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