14 Angry Men
England take much fro defeat whilst both Ireland and France head to the final weekend in contention for the title
Wales 9 v France 13
Italy 22 v Scotland 33
England 15 v Ireland 32
14 Angry men show character. Reduced to 14 men after just 2 minutes England put on a show of passion and determination seldom seen before. The crowd responded and a compelling contest followed. Cynics may say would England have shown such qualities if 15 remained on the field.
Ireland began the game playing a style we first saw in the defeat of the All Blacks. Basically, it is exciting to watch and must be to play. A rout looked possible when Ewells departed. But England responds when it’s back is against the wall, resolve and determination kicked in. Players grew in stature. Itoje was immense, the front row determined and devious, Randall the spark of confidence. After 25 minutes the score was 8-6 to Ireland, then Gibson-Parke who would surely be the All-Black half-back if he had stayed in New Zealand, showed why, and put Keenan over. 9-15 at half-time a reflection on England’s refusal to succumb.
At 15-18 the impossible looked possible then repeated attacks created a hole and Conan scored. Ireland were suddenly 10 ahead and searching for the bonus point.
Both coaches will ask questions.
Farrell on Irish discipline and their reaction to pressure. And if he has the courage ask some questions of the front row.
Eddie will wonder why we haven’t seen this side of England since the World cup semi-final and will we see it next week in Paris. Lack of tries remains a mystery, but if Randall continues to take quick taps, phase play tries will follow.
Over in Cardiff France, who kick the ball more than any team in the 6 Nations, outkicked Wales in at times, an aimless kicking contest. The only orgasmic piece of play a French try scored because the players refused to throw the cut-out pass; passed it through the hands and Jelonch ran in unopposed.
Wales or should I say Biggar ignored their DNA and kicked relentlessly. Why on earth with a back 3 of Williams, Adams and Cuthbert would you continually return kicks with kicks? I was in Auckland for a Lions test when Williams chose to run from his own 22. O’Brien scored at the other end of the field. One of the great Lions tries. That is Williams X factor. The assistant Welsh commentator’s post game comment that Wales had a brilliant kicking game forced me into a cold shower!