Lions were Lucky to beat New Zealand

As the Full-time whistle was blown in Wellington last Saturday morning (UK Time) history was made. The All Blacks’ 47 game, 8 year unbeaten run at home was brought to an end by the British and Irish Lions, the score 24-21.

The Lions’ corner was assisted early in the first half as Sonny Bill Williams was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Anthony Watson. This is what makes the Lions’ win less impressive, a three point victory against a team with 14 men is poor, though, it does exemplify the All Blacks’ class.

What made it worse was Mako Vunipola’s Yellow card in the second half for yet another Dangerous tackle. The All Blacks’ can feel hard done by with this.

When reviewing a dangerous tackle in a game the Referee and TMO will look at the following criteria:

  • Where is the initial contact?
  • Is contact made with force?
  • Is the player in control?

In Mako’s case the initial contact was with the head, it was at force and was not in control. The referee overruled the TMO’s recommendation of a red card and gave Mako a Yellow card- a big let off for the lions.

On Saturday the Third and Final test match is played. The only previous time that New Zealand have lost a test series was to South Africa in 1937. So it is fair to say that New Zealand will go into Saturday’s decider as firm favourites and are likely to send the Lions packing licking their wounds.

 

 

 

My England squad to tour Argentina

Loosehead: Genge, A Waller, E Waller

Hooker: Thacker, Youngs, Hartley

Tighthead: Hill, Collier, D Wilson

Locks: Kitchener, Barrow, Parling, Attwood, Day

Loose forwards: M.Williams, Robshaw, W.Evans, Waldrom, Hughes, Harrison

Scrum Half: Robson, Wigglesworth, Care

Fly Half: F.Burns, Slade

Wingers: Rokoduguni, Woodburn, Haley, May, Solomona

Centres: Mallinder, Teo, Burrell, Purdy, Devoto

Full Back: Brown, Goode, Foden

 

My 37 man Lions squad

Loosehead: Marler, M.Vunipola, McGrath

Hooker: Best, George, Owens

Tighthead: Cole, Furlong, Sinkler

Locks: J Gray, Launchbury, Kruis, Lawes, AW Jones

Loose forwards: Falatau, Haskell, Stander, B.Vunipola, Itoje, Warburton, Barclay

Scrum Half: Youngs, Murray, Webb

Fly Half: Ford, Sexton

Wingers:  Daly, North, Seymour, Nowell, Watson

Centres: Joseph, Farrell, Henshaw, Davies

Full Back: L.Williams, Hogg
Reserves: O Mahony, Visser, Teo, Roberts

Disappointing performance from England as Ireland have last laugh

England’s dreams of a second consecutive Grand Slam were slammed by Ireland along with the RFU’s hopes of a Grand Slam of Grand Slams as England Women and U20’s both won the Grand Slam in their tournaments.

England always seemed second-best to Ireland and found no answer to the incredible pressure placed on them by the Irish on St Patrick’s weekend in a sell-out Aviva stadium in Dublin.

Ireland opened the scoring through a Jonny Sexton penalty followed by an Iain Henderson try, which Sexton converted, followed by another Sexton penalty lead to a 13-3 lead at half-time as Farrell got England off the mark early on.

England got the first points of the half but intense pressure from Ireland and the ever reliable boot of Sexton gave Ireland a famous victory.

Despite this disappointment England have defended their title and equalled New Zealand’s record of 18 consecutive wins. They have been rejuviniated under Eddie Jones and are a force to be reckoned with going into their Summer Tour and will play a huge role in the Lions tour.

Final score Ireland 13-9 England

Ireland- Tries: Henderson  Cons: Sexton Penalties: Sexton (2)

England- Penalties: Farrell (3)

England vs Ireland Match preview

Venue: Aviva Stadium Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 17:00 GMT

England make two changes as they aim to achieve consecutive Grand Slams, the first in Six Nations history. Billy Vunipola is preferred to Nathan Hughes, who has been superb throughout the tournament and Anthony Watson replaces Jack Nowell on the wing.

Ireland have been forced into two changes from the side that overcame Wales last week. Conor Murray is out with a shoulder injury so Kieran Marmion will wear the number 9 shirt. Injured Rob Kearney is replaced by Jared Payne. The other Ireland change made by Schmidt is tactical, Iain Henderson comes in for Devin Toner.

This showdown on St Patrick’s weekend in Dublin is going to be the highlight of the Rugby weekend. Ireland will be out to rain on England’s parade whilst England will be going for their second consecutive Grand Slam and the chance to beat New Zealand’s record of 18 wins on the trot which they equalled last weekend when they mauled Scotland.

Ireland: Payne; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Zebo; Sexton, Marmion; McGrath, Best (captain), Furlong; Ryan, Henderson; Stander, O’Brien, Heaslip,

Replacements: Scannell, Healy, Ryan, Toner, O’Mahony, McGrath, Jackson, Conway.

England: Brown; Watson, Joseph, Farrell, Daly; Ford, Youngs; Marler, Hartley (captain), Cole; Launchbury, Lawes; Itoje, Haskell, B Vunipola.

Replacements: George, M Vunipola, Sinckler, Wood, Hughes, Care, Te’o, Nowell.

Referee: Jerome Garces (France)

Touch judges: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Marius Mitrea (Italy)

TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Prediction- England Win

Are England as good as New Zealand?

With their win over Scotland at the weekend, England equalled New Zealand’s record of 18 consecutive victories with 17 of those under Eddie Jones. There is a chance that record will be beaten at the weekend when England play Ireland having already secured the Championship surely the hunger for the Grand Slam and beating New Zealand’s record will inspire a confident England side.

Though despite this record can England claim they really are the World number 1? Well the answer based on rankings is No. In World Rugby’s rankings as of 13th March 2017 New Zealand are top with 94.78 points whilst England are comfortably second on 91.02 points. So the rankings suggest England still have a way to go before beating New Zealand.

New Zealand surrendered their winning run of 18 matches to Ireland back in November 2016 so on that basis if England extend their winning run to 19 matches, surely they would be the best? However don’t expect Ireland to go down without a fight this weekend. they would love nothing more than preventing England breaking that record and from their second consecutive Grand Slam. Ireland also have their World Ranking to worry about as they will want a top 4 spot when the World Cup seeding’s are released.

Then we move onto the other answer which is an inconclusive one. We will never know until England play the All Blacks. With no fixture currently planned with the All Blacks it looks almost as if England are running from the prospect so we may not know until the World Cup where it still isn’t certain they will meet.

Fraser Brown cited for Tip-Tackle on Elliot Daly

Scotland’s Fraser Brown has been cited for his dangerous tackle on Elliot Daly in the Six Nations defeat by England.

Brown was given a yellow card for the Tip-tackle in the 61-21 loss on Saturday but now faces a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday to review the incident.

If the disciplinary panel deem the tackle to be worthy of a red-card Brown will miss Scotland’s Six nations finale against Italy.

The law specifies that if Daly lands on his head it is a red card offence.

You can view the tackle here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3nuMHKtzvE

Post your opinion in the comments below.