Thirteen years


England finally won their first Grand Slam since their World Cup triumph, thirteen whole years ago, with a victory in Paris over the French.

How did it take so long to go a championship unbeaten? Hell it was longer between this and the last Grand Slam than it was between Bill Beaumont’s and Will Carling’s.

One championship and a whole load of blown chances in the last thirteen years.

Thought Eddie Jones was going to blow it as well, much in the manner of Stuart Lancaster. Bringing on a Youngs when you are winning is a dangerous thing to do. Jones just about got away with it, Lancaster didn’t.

Starting someone else other than Ben Youngs at 9 was one of Jones’ best decisions so far, bringing Youngs on a couple of minutes after the break when Care was playing a blinder, was one of his bizarrest.

Yes I know Youngs put the kick through for the third and final try but the way Care was playing it’s not like he couldn’t have done that. His presence slowed things down and put situations where England had been dominant more in doubt.

He is just so slow to get there, so slow to do anything when he gets there and when he does something, well his passing is awful and awful lot of the time. Care’s passing was fast, crisp and accurate. Youngs, slow and momentum stopping. Head high or behind the runner.

What always makes an England victory the more sweeter is the moaning and whinging for your Celtic types.

Of course when England win it’s because the championship was rubbish and they’re not really worthy of winning a Grand Slam. Bitter much? No mention of a number of championships Ireland and Wales have won recently – we can for the most part discount Scotland in this – that England lost, rather than them winning it.

And when I hear they got help from a ref. Dear god, it’s quite unbelievable. No when the player has his eyes on one player and goes to tackle that player it’s not because that player is blocking, or crossing. Funnily that England were pinged for crossing, when seconds later France did exactly the same thing and play was waved on.

But if they criticise the officiating doesn’t that mean they’re slagging of St Nigel? Is that allowed?

Anyway, it doesn’t matter England deservedly won, Jones probably gave them that edge to finally see it through, it basically was Lancaster’s team which previously couldn’t see it through. That bite and steel to see out that Wales game and outscore the French in that first half while being outplayed.

Also the new coaching staff. While I wouldn’t have been too disappointed if Lancaster had stayed on, was glad to see the back of that coaching team he had. Had plenty to say about Borthwick as England captain, believe I didn’t think he was up to the job, just a bit of a dullard.

But those line-outs that Kruis and Itoje nicked during the game show he was the right man for Jones to bring with him. As the team holding out when Wales were putting them under pressure should have been a demoraliser for the Taffs – if Youngs and Ford hadn’t buggered it up – so those stolen line-outs saw the French heads drop.

Now England can kick for touch, instead of aimless kicks into opposition hands, if you have a good chance of stealing the ball from the other side’s throw.

So Jones is almost there, almost got the best team out a few times, just has to get over his use of Youngs and see that England are better going forward faster, not dithering…

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