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Now i love a nice bit of rugger action, and there nothing better than seeing England giving someone a good stuffing. Sports wise us English probably have more success in rugby (well recently). We are the main contenders for the six nations all the time, and we certainly are with out a doubt the best Northern Hemisphere team out there. We can beat France, Italy, Scotland (always a tough match), Ireland you name it, we can beat it on our good day. But then you get the three side who England can only beat on a really good day (New Zealand, Australia and South Africa). This doesn't mean to say that they are all better sides than England, oh no certainly not, its just that the statistics are favoured more towards those three teams when it comes to playing England. But lately things are starting to change. If you have seen any of the Lions Tour you will knoe the lions lost the series in Australia 2-1, which so a northern hamisphere can beat a southern hemisphere side, and considering that the majority of the lions squad was mainly English I think that the current Engliand side could beat any team in the world when they are on form. The main reason why i think the Lions lost was the fact that they beat Australia in a way which is un for-seeable that it went to there heads and they though it would have been easy, but you can never go easy on any international side. Austraila are also a side that will punish you if you punish tem, they were wounded from the first test and bounced back to save themselves, never underestimate a wounded animal.
With players like Balshaw, Robinson (star of the lions tour for me), Johnson, Healey, Wilkinson (one of the best if not the best Fly half in the world), Matt Dawson (one of the best scrum halfs in the world). There are alot more talented players within the Engalnd squad, i could churn out a huge long list of amazing talent that is available to Clive Woodward for selection.
Right i have been asked to add a bit about Key players, you know the players who could win the games for England. Well i must say Engalnd have alot of key players, they do have some players who have to be there and who provide a stagle all round balance to the team. The majoer key players in my view are the following:
Martin Johson, Lock Forward and Captain, being the captain and a senior member of the teams he provides a boost that the team need. He is a great player with knowledge of the game, very experienced and level headed.
Lawrence Dallaghlio (i hope thats splet right), No 8 (can play flanker), Lawrence is an exceptional player, he used to be captain, but has his captains position take away from him because of a scandel (which i won't talk about as he deserves respect). He is an exceptional player who is a figure head of the team. He has great ability on the field as a rugby player and an athlete.
Matt Dawson, a great scrum half you is quick with the ball and who likes to tap and go when Englan get a penalty. He will punish slow defenses who don't get back quickly and has great awareness for spotting opertunities and ways through defense.
Jhonny Wilkinson, Fly half, this boy is good, he can kicj for goal all day, and he's got an amazing record. For how long he has been playing and for his age, he has one of the best points totals in the world. This boy is not far behind Andrew Mhertans of New Zealand, and i very capable of going all the way and becoming the best fly half in the world. Excellent fly half with great hands, feet and all round rugby skill.
Ian Balshaw, wing/fullback, Balshaw plays fullback reguarly for England but i feel he would be alot better on the wing, although Englan have planty of great wingers to choose from Balshaw is exceptionally fast, nearly as fast as Jason Robinson if not faster. He does make a good full back, I suppose why he plays full back is his ability to run the ball back if you give this boy an inch of room he will score.
Jason Robinson, wing, now what can i say about this boy, scored about 10 tries on the Lions Tour, top scorer of the Lions tour, and he's only been in union for a few months. Being from Rugby Leaugue Robinson has a great ability of being able to run at people and get arouns them well. By the way he plays you can tell he came from League, but this makes him great. Union players aren't used to the League approach to rugby and Robinsons style and flare are so unique and amazing that not many players stand a chance. It you give him a few yards to run at you, you will be eating his dust and watching him score an amzzing try in no time. He's my favorurite England player and along with Jona Lomu i think is one of the best wingers in the world.
Austin Healey, Austin is what i would call a utility player, he can play nearly anywhere in the backs, his main positions are wing, and scrum half (he plays scrim half for his club). He has the ability to play just about anywhere if needed, he has a great knowlegde for the game and knows when the opertunities are available. He has great kicking skills, catching skills and he is a very fast player indeed. He doesn't have the speed of Robinson, or Balshaw, but he can still move some, and he has great tackling skills and he certainly knows where the try line is.
There are a few more key players, and the rest of the squad don;t get me wrong are all great but those are the main players for the England team in my eyes.
What Clive needs to do is mix and match, swap and change to see who plays best here and there and who works well together. One team may works well against a northern hemisphere team but may not work so well against a southern hemisphere team, it's a different ball game all over the wrold each team has there own strategies and tactics.
With England currently Six nations champions the have a great confidence boost, and hopefull the players who were in the lions squad will have been able to take in misatkes and learn from them, and hopefully work out each players/teams strenghts and weakness'.
One great aspect that worked well against the Austalions on the Lions tour was the driving mauls from the line out. The catch and drive as it is commonly refaired to. This worked well and is a tatics which is used alot by England, if they work on this and pla with solid heads, and do the basic and get them right they will be able to punish any side out there. I am looking forward to Englands next match against a southern hemisphere team.
SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT coming forth to carry me home, well its certainly carrying rugby home. Football has been said to have been coming home but it never has, well let me tell you RUGBY IS COMING HOME and its coming fast.
not rely a big rugby fan, more of a footie fan.good op though! cu around
Simoncook1 04.10.2001 18:32
A very good opinion - however I have rated H, mainly because there are many spelling errors - this put me off reading the opinion. Try putting your opinions through a Spell Check - Wordperfect, Word - or even an online Spell Check - let me know if you correct the spelling in this and I will rerate!
Also I did not just give the H for the spelling. I would like to know a little about the current playing style- 15 man rugby? Forward Oriented? Who are the flare players? Whose the captain etc?