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Monday, 27 February 2017

A game of two halves

England suggest Italy’s no-ruck innovation could kill rugby union
Image result for england 35 Italy 13 26 feb 2017

Swing low sweet Chariot.

England 36 pts Italy 15 pts.

A game of two halves where for the first 40 minutes the Italians stood off most of the loose play, the referee ran around shouting "Tackle only...tackle only", in his French accent, (but I freely admit that his English is far superior to my non existent French) the English 15 wandered around scratching their heads in puzzled bewilderment asking referee, Romain Poite what was going on, only to be told "I am referee not coach".

Image result for referee Romain Poite England Italy 26 feb 2017

Leading by 10 pts to 5 pts at half time, the Italians must have been feeling very pleased with themselves as they trotted of for a cup of tea and an orange.
The fly on the wall of the England dressing room however, must have been very embarrassed as the air probably turned blue as Eddie Jones, England head coach treated his players to his frank opinion of what he thought was going on and what they should be doing about it.
The second half was different and within a few minutes England were leading 17pts to 10pts as they learned to pick up the uncontested ball (the Italians were sticking to their game plan) and drive through the yawning gaps in the Italian defence line. On a few occasions, even perplexing the visitors as the English pack stood off the loose play to hear the "Tackle only...tackle only".

Image result for referee Romain Poite England Italy 26 feb 2017

After that it was almost one way traffic as England shredded the Italian defence, scoring more tries to run out worthy winners.
The next game is the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland in two weeks followed by a trip to Dublin for the last match of this 6 Nations tournament against Ireland. From the way Scotland beat Wales by 29 pts to 13 pts and Ireland beat France by 19 pts to 9 pts, on Saturday, England will have to improve a number of areas of their game and sharpen up on their thought processes to have any prospect of winning the 6 Nations trophy let alone the possibility of a back to back Grand Slam's a feat not achieved since 1997 and 1998 when France took the title.