Second place is the first


Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie is right when he said a fourth consecutive second-placed finish for England in the Six Nations is “not acceptable”.

It doesn’t matter how far they’ve come, how close they got in that last game, they blew it and have done so repeatedly over the last four championships.

They blew it by not turning up against Ireland, blew it by butcher so many clear cut opportunities against the Jocks, blew it by letting the French put so many points on the board, with the help of some officials, when they knew that would kill them.

Both players and coaching staff at fault. After last years screw up when his substitutions by numbers cost England the game against France and therefore the title you’d have thought Lancaster would have learned his lesson but no.

Yet again when no changes are required he makes them just because the clock has ticked over to the trigger minute. Off goes Hartley, yes he hadn’t done much in the open but on comes Youngs and England blow two well placed line-outs – just like that previous game.

All those points left on the field against Scotland though were the real killer.

Ah yes the Jocks, have you ever seen a team that encapsulates the phrase “all mouth and no trousers” more than this lot. Week after week they talk themselves up and come the weekend and the game proves what everyone laughing at them during the week knows. Pathetic.

Oh poor old Stuart Hogg thinks England only think of themselves and don’t respect Scotland.

You have to earn respect and it’s not earned battling for the wooden spoon year in year out. It’s not earned when the only game you bother to turn up for is against England. It’s not earned when you just roll over against Ireland making it look like you’d rather lose than let your enemy win the title.

Hell, England fly-half, George Ford scored more points than Scotland this time around. They’ve finished in the bottom two in 8 of the last 9 competitions. Since it became the Six Nations they’ve never reached triple figures in points scored and never managed double figures in tries. Italy have done both, three times and once respectively.

They should be playing home and away against Georgia to see who plays in next years championship.

Of course if Hogg had been a better player then England would have won the title but he couldn’t score the try. Of course dropping the ball didn’t stop him claiming he’d done so. That kind of cheating is sure to earn you respect.

But then with the level of officiating I was surprised he didn’t get away with it. After all look at the first French try against England. He dropped it. Everyone saw it except two blokes, one who had the pictures right in front of him.

There’s a lot of call for video technology to be used in football, some may cite rugby as an example. It is, it’s an example in how refs are quite happing to relinquish all responsibility on the park now they have a safety net. How many refs do you see give a try these days without call to the TMO.

It’ll only take seconds for the fourth official to view it and we have the right decision. Yeah right, look at rugby and the TMO takes an age and if you’re lucky – i.e. not England – you may get the correct outcome.

So we are told Ireland are deserved winners, take away the points the Jocks let them rack up in that final game and they barely amassed more than the wooden spoon winners. It’s funny, when England were winning with a safety first, dullish, kicking game it was bad for rugby the tournament and the game in the Northern hemisphere, others do it and we should applaud.

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