Sunday, October 21, 2007

So near, yet so far

After catching up on last nights game (I missed it due to dinner with the parents) I have to say that the best team won. Forget any idea of anti-English spite from a Welshman, when it comes down to such a matchup we separate neatly out into Northern v Southern Hemisphere.

I cannot abide the French, yet I positively crowed when they dumped New Zealand out of the tournament. When it comes to rugby, Europe must stick together. England's problem was quite simply, that they played a tight game against one of the most physically impressive races ever to walk the planet. The Afrikaaners in particular appear almost as an embodiment of the way a team should be, strong across all 15 players...unlike England.

From the sheer, joyous strength and savagery of Sheridan to the total professionalism and frightening skill of Wilkinson, England have some truly world class talent. However, they will run with players who would not get a look in to many other top international teams. The embarrassment of England running out tired old dogs like Catt (great in his day, but struggled in this tournament), and mediocre semi-speed merchants like Robinson and Sackey who lack game sense, and in Robinson's case...any top end pace. Until England strip out this kind of dead wood, they will struggle to regain the top spot...which (although is pains me to say it) they quite frankly deserve.

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