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Six Nations: Six of the Best - England v Wales

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Bryn Palmer | 08:45 UK time, Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Welcome to the third in our 'Six of the Best' series, a reminder of some of the most memorable matches associated with a particular Six Nations fixture.

With apologies to Ireland v Italy and Scotland v France, we couldn't look past England v Wales, a rivalry stretching back 131 years, for the pick of this weekend's clashes.

England have the slight edge with 56 wins to 54 in their 122 contests over that period, with 12 draws. Boiling it down to just six of the best was pretty challenging given that this fixture has produced so many memorable moments down the years.

But here is a montage of the half-dozen we eventually plumped for, and you can also watch extended highlights of the 1992 and 1999 matches on the BBC Sport website and Red Button service.

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1979 - Wales 27-3 England

Wales won a fourth consecutive Triple Crown with a record post-war win over England to round off a glorious decade for Welsh rugby. But it wasn't all plain sailing.

JPR Williams - in what he said would be his last game (he actually played three more Tests, including an 11th win out of the 11 matches he played against England) - had to limp off injured after an hour with Wales only leading 7-3.

But his replacement Clive Griffiths - who went on to become Wales' defence coach during their 2005 Slam - played a crucial role in his one and only cap as they scored three more tries, including one for popular lock Mike Roberts, recalled in an emergency at the age of 33, four years after his last cap.

Griffiths' memorable break created the final try for wing Elgan Rees.

1988 - England 3-11 Wales

For Wales, fresh from a third-place finish at the inaugural World Cup, this proved to be a last victory at Twickenham for 20 years until they launched Warren Gatland's reign with victory in 2008.

It was a triumph for Welsh artistry over a yeoman England side, with Jonathan Davies and Mark Ring to the fore.

Wing Adrian Hadley scored two tries including one brilliant score after full-back Tony Clement took a high ball and launched a stunning counter-attack which saw Ring involved twice before Hadley took the maverick centre's return pass to score.

Wales went on to win the Triple Crown and the last shared title, but lost by a point in their Grand Slam bid against France.

1992 - England 24-0 Wales

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Having ended a 28-year run without victory in Cardiff the previous year to launch a Grand Slam, England - pipped in the 1991 World Cup final in the interim - confirmed their dominance of the European game by sealing back-to-back Slams (the first since the 1920s) with a ritual dismantling of the Welsh at Twickenham.

Captain Will Carling scored England's first try with barely a minute gone after Tony Clement had made a hash of Rob Andrew's high ball, flanker Mickey Skinner was on the end of a driving maul and lock Wade Dooley charged onto Andrew's pass to score his first England try on his 50th cap.

Jon Webb converted all three and added two penalties before the likes of Martin Bayfield, Dewi Morris and Brian Moore were carried off Twickenham shoulder-high.

1998 - England 60-26 Wales

England's record points tally in a Championship match against the Welsh, and the first big statement of where the red rose army were heading under Clive Woodward.

And yet it started off so well for the visitors; Allan Bateman's brilliant second try after Gareth Thomas's stunning break from under his own posts put Wales 12-6 up after the first quarter.

But once the English pack - led by an inspired Lawrence Dallaglio - had grabbed their opposite numbers by the short and curlies, what followed was a blizzard of white jerseys crossing the Welsh tryline: seven different players, with wing David Rees grabbing two. Will Greenwood launched his reputation as a thorn in Welsh flesh (seven tries in six games, all wins) by collecting the try of the match late on.

1999 Wales 32-31 England

One of the all-time great finishes to a Championship match, and fitting climax to the last Five Nations.

England had their first try within two minutes through Dan Luger, and a debut score from wing Steve Hanley and one from Richard Hill saw them lead 25-18 at half-time, all Wales' points coming from Neil Jenkins penalties.

Shane Howarth's try levelled it before Jonny Wilkinson's boot put England six points clear.

But they refused further kicks at goal and paid the price when Scott Gibbs charged onto a Scott Quinnell pass and sidestepped his way through the red rose defence at a sunlit Wembley, leaving Jenkins with a conversion for victory.

The "Ginger Monster" never looked like missing, denying England a Grand Slam, and handing the title to Scotland instead.

2001 Wales 15-44 England

England embarked on the biggest try-scoring spree in a Six Nations campaign by putting Wales to the sword with their record victory in Cardiff.

A peroxide blond Will Greenwood finished off England's first two attacks before completing his hat-trick early in the second half, by which time Matt Dawson had grabbed a couple of his own, including a superb solo effort from halfway that left Stephen Jones befuddled.

Wales did manage a couple of tries via Rob Howley and Scott Quinnell, but Ben Cohen underlined England's dominance by scoring their sixth try before the hour.

Ten more against Italy and six more against both Scotland and France followed, before "Foot and Mouth" disease delayed the finale and England came a cropper in Dublin... in late October.

From a Welsh perspective, this list doesn't even include Ieuan Evans picking Rory Underwood's pocket for a memorable winning try in 1993, Gavin Henson's winning kick in 2005 that launched a first Grand Slam in 27 years, or the final-quarter comeback at Twickenham four years ago that set Wales on their way to another clean sweep in Warren Gatland's first game in charge.

You can always wallow in those last two in this highlights package of Wales v England Six Nations clashes from 2000 to 2010 (plenty to make red rose supporters smile there too, particularly the first half).

As well as your memories of these classic matches, let's hear your thoughts on what you expect from Saturday's latest instalment in this compelling Championship rivalry.

You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/BBCBrynPalmer

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    There's something wrong here...3 of these are English victories!!! Surely 2005's got to be in there for the Henson boot alone and 2008 for the comeback value!!! Looking forward to the weekend. Confidence has dissipated a bit with the mind games from Croft and brian Moore, but I just feel Wales are in a good place mentally and physically at the moment and will be too strong for England this week. That's not a slight at England btw I know they've got some dangerous players and also think that Lancaster's doing the right blooding young guys, but surely the most hardheaded Englishman is realistic enough to realise it will be a season or two before England can bring down Wales. Yes England can win, but only in the same way Stevanage can get over Spurs!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Looking forward to seeing the views of LastKing, Anglophone and the rest of the Celtbaiting English Yeomanary opinions on this one!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Mt opinion for this game keeps changing completely from day to day. I think it'll be close but after the first two England games (promising in some aspects) I just can't see us winning. We offered very little going forward and can't see Wales being kept out for 80 minutes. Quotes about things going well in training make me have a little hope but we've heard it before so I think Wales by about 7 and for the game not to make the top 6 for next year!

  • Comment number 4.

    My head is saying that Wales will win. They look the better team on paper and have been playing better on the pitch. However my heart is hoping that Wales will continue their recent trend of bottling it when up against one of the bigger nations, especially adding in the Twickenham factor.

    Not sure how #1 can say a 3-3 split is wrong bearing in mind the number of overall victories for each team. Perhaps he's baiting the Celt baiting yeomanry

  • Comment number 5.

    2 CymruLondoner

    You sound a bit needy actually inviting people personally to have a pop at you! Still...always glad to oblige your obsessions!

    Given the nature of the Beeb's rugby coverage at the moment I was mildly surprised that they even included the news that England have actually beaten Wales at rugby...quite a lot! That's despite their appalling arrogance, unimaginative style, shameless off-pitch debauchery etc etc.

    I noticed a few notable absences from the English point of view (which isn't important according to the article). First was the gritty 9-8 victory in 1980 that broke the Welsh stranglehold and, to me, demonstrated the very "sweaty" Welsh attitude to defeat (I shared a flat with several Welshmen at the time and I was still young enough to believe that it was a game!).

    Secondly the game in 1988 I think when England put 50 points past a truly hapless Welsh team, including a brilliant solo-try by Richard Hill (the scrum-half one). It sticks in the mind because I went out in the morning with my fiance to buy an engagement ring. I ended up buying something much more expensive than I had bargained for just so that I could get home in time to see the match. That's life...and we are still married ;-)

    The thing I love most though is the highly fluid definition of the "Welsh Way" that we're all supposed to admire uncritically. Once it was beautiful mercurial running. Then it was feisty forward play. Then it was "Shane" (hushed, respectful tones) scoring tries after the match was finished. But now, the "brilliance" is gigantic crash-ball merchants playing rugby league...who are the bestest and most creative players that ever lived.

    Wales are hot favourites to win on Saturday and I doubt that any serious minded England fan expects to win. Still...supporting another team against Wales isn't illegal quite yet and the gods of rugby have a way of dealing out surprises to the presumptuous. If Wales are forced to play with just 15 men, they could be in trouble ;-)

  • Comment number 6.

    The 2001 game brings back painful memories,I just remember thinking towards the end of the game that we were light years behind England,and how will we ever compete with them again.Thankfully,just over ten years later,the Welsh will march into fortress Twickenham as favourites,and while I think it will be a brutal encounter,and tighter than a lot of people think (even though everyone seems to think it will be tighter than 'people' think!),I would love for us to put England to the sword,and not because I dislike England,but as revenge for days like in 2001! C'MON WALES!!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Anglo Classic :) Didn't take much to bring you out! 88 (we actually won that one!). Must have been some engagement party if your memories that befuddled!! ;)

    You've obviously got a short memory on the RFU's and aviva's sellouts to Sky. Personally I'd love to see some more English Rugby coverage, given that I live in England...

  • Comment number 8.

    Anyone any idea why Palmer has been dropped? Didnt think he had played too bad.

    Could be an interesting battle in the centres if Tuilagi n Barritt are picked.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have a boot in both camps as I live and breathe England but work in Wales with some very intelligent rugby minds.
    For me this is always my favourite game of the 6N's as all the bile and drivel comes to the fore.
    For me, if Wales dont win then they really wont have kicked on from what should've been their RWC.
    All pressure is on Wales to deliver so england should be allowed the free rein to throw the ball about a bit and if we come a cropper we can put it down to inexperience.

  • Comment number 10.

    7 CymruLondoner

    Well I've been living a lie and can't quite work that one out! Looking at the results though I must be thinking of the 1990 Twickenham game which was a bit of a humping. That means that in 1988 I must have spent too much money then rushed home to see England lose...a double whammy.

    False memories, conflated events, selective recollection! I could be Welsh! Are there any vacancies?

  • Comment number 11.

    Is this the first truly professional Welsh side?
    They certainly now look the part: no evidence of pot bellies and able to go flat out for the full 80. Even the bench looks quality at long last. If they keep their discipline (Gatland's threat of fines might ensure that) then it should be a win. I could not go so far as to say that it will be comfortable, for after all they are playing against other true professionals who are probably equally as fit. It's the extra power and panache in the backline where I would expect to see the difference. Wales should be at least a try better, and if the constant pummeling really takes its toll, then that could extend to two or more tries to the better. However, above all, I hope the game is played in a good spirit and a good advert: no cheap shots, crazy spear tackles, etc.......

  • Comment number 12.

    I think the 3/3 split is fair, but I'd have had one of the 2005/2008 games for Wales (though I can't comment fully- I can't remember the 2 early ones)!

    I think it'll be close, as this kind of game always is, but I'd like to see Wales really go for it if we get the ascendency- I'm sick of us winning games we've dominated vs traditional 'Big Teams' by less than a score, when had the positions been reversed, we'd have lost by 15+ points. Of course I'd take the win by 1 point right now (I'm not saying I'd expect us to win comfortably), but if we do get on top, I don't want to be sitting biting my nails for the last 5 minutes because we're only a couple of points ahead come the end!

  • Comment number 13.

    anglo phone
    gigantic crash ball merchants etc
    I suggest you look again.
    Of the six tries scored by the gigantic backs check out the handling and offloading skills of priestland, north,and davies. Then have a look at about 20 or so of the line breaks where the handling skills would make Mr Lancaster green with envy.
    Whatever happens know this. Win or lose the welsh will attempt to play entertaining rugby, even tho at the mo we are well capable of matching England in the boring grunt we often see in the premiership.
    I respect Englands results but wouldn't want to watch them play.

  • Comment number 14.

    A lot is being made of the Wales backs at present with few people giving the English backs a sniff.

    I do believe we have not yet seen the capabilities of Ashton, Strettle etc, partly due to Young's and poor playing conditions. Did any Wales fans watch the second half when Dickson arived. Much faster at the breakdown and the backs started moving.

    Another fortnight has been spent together and I expect a much better performance from the whole team, especially if the weather is kind.

    I firmly believe this game will be closer than people think and English backs may just shock their Welsh counterparts. And comparing Tottenham/Stevenage to England v Wales is just a tad silly.

  • Comment number 15.

    Who cares?

    #DullAsDishwater

  • Comment number 16.

    Also forgot to say........... The Twickenham crowd may play a part. And.............England have not looked too shabby in the front row, new Wales hooker and prop carrying a toe injury.... could be interesting in that area too.

    Struggling line out, front row looking dodgy = no ball to the backs from set pieces, hostile Twickenham crowd, Morgan with point to prove smashing into the wales backs= very interesting afternoon and far from a certainty for Wales.

  • Comment number 17.

    AP, maybe your bodyclocks 2 years out, in which case February 2014 could be a tough one! On being Welsh we're always pleased to consider vacancies, but it helps if you a 6ft 6 inch sub 10 second polynesian sprinter!! Whereas I can appreciate you would like to see more 90's games included, it strikes me that Englands glory period is far better represented than the 70's in the above list!

    Smackeyes you're right Spurs/stevanage was a sillly comparison, they do belong in the same league...so maybe Man Utd/Wolves or Barcelona/Getalfe! Looking forward to the weekend hope I'm not clearing the egg off my face on Sunday morning, in which case a profile name change maybe required!! 11-19 to Wales I predict...

  • Comment number 18.

    @15 - More people than care about Rugby League, that's for sure.

    I am now getting excited and smackeyes I am pretty sure the Welsh squad will not have underestimated those English backs at all. They've seen the back or Ashton, Strettle and Foden steaming off under the posts enough times to know this is a backline that will pose a threat in better conditions, and with more time together as a team.

    I think LeeBJames is right though in that Wales have to win this if they want to move forward as a team, and that's meant without any disrespect to England. Talk of becoming a great team and looking to challenge the SH teams in the autumn must be preceded by winning tough games you're expected to win.

    Off to London for the weekend to watch it with a whole host of Welsh and English friends, love the in pub banter and hoping for a top game. If the Welsh backs get good ball I can't see past a win for us, but if England can dominate the pack and unsettle the Welsh lineout it's going to be very close.

  • Comment number 19.

    yeah ok looks like a bad day for us then

  • Comment number 20.

    i'm already feeling sick thinking about this game. By the time kickoff comes I will be a bag of nerves watching this match.My fear for wales is the lineout and handling the favorites tag.
    I hope it's a classic and some revenge for the fat score lines england have put on us in the past would be nice.I'm not to sure you can physically intimidate english premiership players.I watch enough of it to know they will not fear any contact.

    Although the contrasting philosophies cannot be ignored.I watched the premiership highlight the other night.It was just penalties at breakdowns,mauls and scrums.lol.The only thing exciting was watching tuliangi.He's not only a lump and a half but a quality footballer to.

  • Comment number 21.

    Watching this for some reason just reminded me of what seemed like decades of Wales strangled by England - death of a thousand cuts as Johnny signalled for the tee yet again. And went into that crouch. Horrid.

    Come saturday, hoping for Wales to get into that relentless rhythm they've been achieving on and off of late - but hey, we've been here before...plenny of times. A quick early charge-down, Adam Jones limping off, a random red-card and England metronomically kicking for touch as our line-out disintegrates and it'll be back behind the sofa with a bottle of beer for the second half, followed by a stony-faced tea. Oh Lordy, please no.

  • Comment number 22.

    #14 Smackeyes

    Yes, Dickson and Morgan definitely made a difference.
    Lancaster knows a lot more than I ever will, but I certainly don't understand why it is, if the rumours are correct, that he is leaving Tuilagi and Lawes on the bench. Both have proven international pedigree and should be brought straight back into action if they are 100% fit. Gatland didn't hesitate to push AWJ straight back at the expense of Ryan Jones who so happens to playing very well at the moment. I suppose that says more about their respective characters of the coaches than anything else OR is it that Wales are so desperately short of cover in the 2nd. row that he felt he had no other choice?

    PS: Looking at the spell checker correcter I'm wondering if I am in the United States or the UK!

  • Comment number 23.

    Dont worry boys, it wont be long before Wales start believing their own hype......


    England to win on Saturday.

  • Comment number 24.

    what hype examples please

  • Comment number 25.

    mcfwinn examples please?

  • Comment number 26.

    See - I'm a tad confused here (not hard, I know).

    I'm told by the media and the Welsh and a few ex England players with an agenda that Wales will win on Saturday by a mile. I'm also told that Wales are a fabulous rugby team and that England are way behind them.

    Yet, and this is where my confusion lies, I just haven't seen it. I saw a pretty luck Wales win in Dublin in a game which could have gone either way and I saw a limited Scotland team take the game to Wales before running out of steam.

    I also saw a disciplined England side play reasonably well to win two away matches with no credit given to them at all by the aforementioned media and ex England players.

    Does this add up to a walkover? Especially as Wales aren't all that hot at the line out and are struggling with the scrum. Their great supposed glory of wonderful back play and, er, big guys in there seems a little more based on hope than any sense of achievement. Add to that one win in 24 years at Twickers and I think we might be in for a slightly different game than some are predicting.

    My heart always says England. My head at present says Wales...just...but I am really not clear why.

  • Comment number 27.

    Many Welsh friends of mine seem to think North is the first name on the teamsheet? What part of the Valley's was he born in?? ;0P

  • Comment number 28.

    #Sowton

    The King's Lynn part!

  • Comment number 29.

    Some very good games in that selection. I think you move on from England and Wales for the other weeks though. So far it's been England twice and Wales twice in the space of three weeks.

    BucksWelsh I'd say that Gatland has put AWJ straight back in as an attempt to shore up the shakey Welsh line out, one of the few areas they've looked very vulnerable.

    In terms of Tualagi and Lawes not going straight back in I'd say it's a sensible move not to put them straight in. A full six nations international is not the ideal game to come back in when you're still coming back from an injury so when you've got decent enough cover there anyway it would be a big risk to drop them back in. Maybe you're right though and Lancaster isn't as much of a risk taker as Gatland.

    Anyway for the game on Saturday I'd say England are still building confidence but 2 drawn out wins on the road may well help with this. When it comes to Wales I think they've been overhyped a bit. OK they're looking decent enough but if you read some of the press you'd think they'd taken apart Ireland rather than winning with a last minute penalty and that they'd walked all over Scotland when it was only when Scotland started dropping players that Wales could really impose themselves completely on the game.

    I'd say Wales should try and come out all guns blazing and a few early scores could see them with their tails up and potentially running away with it. However I expect it to be far closer and for England to sneak it by a few points. This is partly based on optimism but also on the strength of England's defence. OK we conceded two tries to Italy but the first was a pinball bit of luck for the Italians and the second from an interception. Other than that it's been solid and something we can hopefulyly build on.

    Final money where my mouth is prediction then is that if this was in Cardiff I'd back Wales by 10 however it's in Twickenham and I'll say England by less than 5.

  • Comment number 30.

    The most pertinent question on these occasions is: how many Welsh palyers would you swap out for English? Not many, if none at all, I suspect

  • Comment number 31.

    the bookies say 3 pts. sensible welsh posts are cautiously optimistic. imo only brian moore has said 'by a mile'. now correct me if not but i believe he is one of yours. so the same question as before tony examples please?

  • Comment number 32.

    24 Pontypriddian

    I'm not even sure that it's hype by Welsh fans...at least not that much more than usual. The media however are in a total swoon over Welsh rugby at the moment. Just count up the number of articles on a per country basis on this website alone.

    They are playing well and are the most fancied team in the 6N at the moment, but the coverage since coming 4th in the RWC has been a love-fest. So far in this competition they have managed a creditable win...just...against Ireland and even then a refereeing blunder seems to have handed them the win at the death. Against Scotland they were the better team but ultimately only came good off the back of another refereeing overreaction...the team playing against 13 men indoors is lauded while the team playing outdoors in the snow is pilloried for its inability to spread the ball. Same old, same old I suppose.

    Past history would suggest that when it comes to the day, England won't be as poor as they're constantly made out to be and Wales won't be the World Cup heir-apparent that they're cracked up to be at the moment. Wales by 7 points I expect but a close nervy game rather than festival of running rugby.

    Has anyone noticed in the old films, dear old Wade Dooley. He was one of the "man mountains" of his day but looks quite skinny compared to the current muscle-bound players. Half the Welsh back-line are bigger then Wade ever was! Still, as was noted at the time, Wade's try grew from a flop over the line at 4.30pm to a 30m sprint with two sidesteps by 8.00pm!!! He's probably be a centre these days!

  • Comment number 33.

    On George North, his mother's welsh, he moved to Anglesey when he was two years of age, is a fluent welsh speaker and has played all of his amateur and professional rugby in wales.

    Can't really claim him as one of yours can you really...

  • Comment number 34.

    #31.

    Ponty,

    Good one here from your side of the Bridge...I particularly enjoyed "continue the momentum of its glory days..." - wow, imagine if you actually won the WC instead of finishing 4th!

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/02/03/rugby-bosses-hope-world-cup-boost-will-keep-loyal-fans-right-behind-wales-91466-30257024/

    Tony

  • Comment number 35.

    #33

    Plopery,

    Why not? South Africans always saying that Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior etc aren't English!

    Tony

  • Comment number 36.

    Pontypriddian in fairness to Smackeyes Jonathan Davies did say 'Absolutely smashed' on ScrumV which I can understand was a redrag to a bull for many.

    I'm bemused towards the bitterness displayed by the current Welsh teams professionalism. I mean surely its better to for this young England teams rugby development to get games of the intensity they're going to be given on Saturday, which I would wager is better preparation for the AI's than playing some of the pubteams we put out in the late 80's??

    Looking at the bigger picture i.e next Lions tour, surely we want all the 6 nations teams playing top tier rugby to put our mates down south back in their place...

  • Comment number 37.

    No 26 Tony Greeeg - "Especially as Wales aren't all that hot at the line out and are struggling with the scrum."

    I'll give you the line out, but struggling with the scrum? When was this? Until someone stubs their toe, all the planets are in alignment in that both Adam and Gethin are playing... And there's a truly horrible back-row lurking. No, the scrum's fine.

  • Comment number 38.

    #36

    Who is bitter about professionalism?

    What a lot of England fans find hard to stomach is how the Welsh can talk about winning and it be ok and how the English can do the same and be called arrogant? Now it seems when we acknowledge the strength of Wales, we are called bitter!

    Answers on a postcard please....

  • Comment number 39.

    dragonsbreath AWJ's back so hopefully a lot of the problems hitherto with he linout will dissipate...

  • Comment number 40.

    24. Pontypridden I'd say 2 things to your query


    1. You mention sensible Welsh posts are cautiously optimistic. True enough. However there are a fair few not so sensible Welsh posts on here as well.

    2. I'd have to agree with Anglophone in that I've seen so many love in articles on Welsh rugby recently. How they've got it so right, how Wales are eyeing a grand slam already, how Gatland is a shoe in for the next Lions coach (despite him winning nothing for 4 years and Wales having the odd long winless streak under his charge), how Wales World cup was a revelation (actually winning the same number of games as England despite playing more), how they showed Scotland a real lesson (3-3 at half time, scoring 17 points against less than 15 men and then only winning by 14) etc. etc.

    I'm probably coming down to harsh on it and some of the praise is deserved but the hype is definitely there. Not that I'm saying the press is adverse to doing it for England at times. 4 tries against Italy last year turned Chris Ashton, momentarily, into the player that would bring the World Cup back for England and asked what could we learn from Rugby League....all of which obviously proved to be 100% true

  • Comment number 41.

    Agreed CymruLondoner... Just in the nick of time! Couple of clean catches early on and we'll be fine.

    Just trying to keep optimism in check...!

  • Comment number 42.

    'I'll give you the line out, but struggling with the scrum?'

    dragonsbreath Id say that agaisnt Scotland there were times that Scotland's pack was certainly dominant, then again Scotland have a very good pack, and even against the Irish there was the odd time it looked a bit creaky. Though I'd agree with you that to call it struggling would seem a bit much. I'd say it's just not Wales strong point, which for me really is their backline, and a possible area where England can look to capatilise.

  • Comment number 43.

    My guess is England will set out their damage-limitation, save-face stall on Saturday.

  • Comment number 44.

    The return of Warburton will be key, our back line is most dangerous from turnover ball something we missed in the Scotland game without a recognised 7 on the field.

  • Comment number 45.

    "What a lot of England fans find hard to stomach is how the Welsh can talk about winning and it be ok and how the English can do the same and be called arrogant? "

    Tony Greeeg - it must be genuinely puzzling, because it's not just the Welsh fans who call England rugby arrogant. Not even just the home nations. It's a kind of world-wide thing. It's strange.

  • Comment number 46.

    KING
    i shall be unashamedly honest. i am one of those having a 'love fest' with wales performances lately, and if you watch as much rugby as i do you'll understand why.
    get the point?

  • Comment number 47.

    #45

    Dragons,

    It is odd and puzzling, as I find most of the major nations in rugby union arrogant about themselves. NZ feel they are God-given; Wales ditto; Oz ditto; France ditto etc etc

    I think there is a lot of anti-English feeling in the game and - in this day and age - it is frankly pathetic.

  • Comment number 48.

    LK well yes Wales had half a pack out against Scotland and despite comments to the contrary any serious rugby commentator is under no illusions that Scotland were put away in that second half by a ruthless and dominant performace from a superior team. Yes Scotland played well in parts, but the result was never in doubt. The Welsh pack this weekend is going to be an entirely different proposition from the pack the Scots faced.

    TonyGreeeg I never though England were arrogant at the start of the millenium, just a very professional team that had set a new and much needed standard for NH rugby. As a nation we've (Wales) learnt the lesson of humility from that period and have got on with utilising our resources better and are now reaping the results of long-term planning in youth development. Now stop complaining just because Wales have upped the standards of British rugby another notch and given England something to aim for....!!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    #48

    When have I complained about professionalism, CL?

    Be very, very careful what you say now as these comments could come back to haunt you! You talk as though you are the greatest team ever...you've won nothing yet.

  • Comment number 50.

    "It is odd and puzzling, as I find most of the major nations in rugby union arrogant about themselves. NZ feel they are God-given; Wales ditto; Oz ditto; France ditto etc etc"

    Hoho - that's true. I bet Scotland would like to be arrogant...but... no, let's leave it there. That was unnecessary...

  • Comment number 51.

    #50

    Dragons - well, there are limits to anything!

  • Comment number 52.

    @ Tony "I think there is a lot of anti-English feeling in the game and - in this day and age - it is frankly pathetic."

    And your anti-Welsh sentiment is different how?

  • Comment number 53.

    Think I do get your point ponty.

    Going back to your original point in #31 as you say most sensible Welsh fans are cautiously optimistic which is understandable and fair. There's a lot there going for them at the moment. They've got a good shot at beating England on Saturday and hopefully it should be a good game.

  • Comment number 54.

    I think I understand the anti-English comments. I think other countries perceive the English as arrogant. It's difficult to ignore some of those representing England when there is an air of 'expectancy', whether justified or not. I can't remember when I first heard or read the term 'England expects' and it may be unfairly attributed in this context but:-
    for a country with such a massive player base and corporate support they ought to be successful.
    It is annoying when they get some success because you know you will NEVER hear the last of it, 1966 ring any bells.

  • Comment number 55.

    Interested to see the pic on the main sport page appearing to be the 1980 England grand slam game which isn't mentioned. Having watched games through most of the 70's ("...then JPR scored again..."etc), it was a memorable day. Forget politics, just love the game.

  • Comment number 56.

    I love how England v Wales always turns into a game of 'who's more arrogant than who'! I don't see it either way. Both nations are proud when winning and disillusioned when losing. Nothing to be ashamed of, we're all just passionate!
    On current form Wales will be favourites. They did play very well in beating Ireland and Scotland even if people are determined to write them off as 'lucky' wins. England didn't play that well in Scotland or Italy, but you can't argue with two away wins, no matter how ugly.
    I'd love to see Wales winning by miles, but I would be very happy with a one point nail biter as it is certainly not a gimme and there is enough reason to believe England can win. I don't think I'm the only Wales fan with that attitude!

  • Comment number 57.

    Good thing for Wales is that they are winning the close games. Yea they beat Ireland though a last minute penalty but they looked a real match in that game and the kick from Halfpenny was a good one. Also the mistake from the restart is what really got Wales going and they had scored before Scotland got a man sent in the bin. England are a new team and at the end of the day even if Wales were lucky to win the last two there still better than England. Also I'm an England fan so no insults about me being biased please.

    Should b a cracking game, especially if England give it a real go. They can't stop Wales from scoring for 80 minutes

  • Comment number 58.

    SuperHa83 exactly. Arrogance, hatred, bitterness has got absolutely nothing to do with it, we just get excited when Wales win and especially against our nearest and dearest rugby rivals aka England. Its just good old-fashioned sporting rivalry nothing more sinister like some would have you believe.

    I've got no problem supporting England in the World Cup (football) or the England and Wales Cricket Team (usually abbreviated to England!). I just love it when Wales beat England at rugby, absolutely love it and i've got a great feeling its going to happen in some considerable style this weekend. Thats it end of story...

  • Comment number 59.

    pontypriddian

    As an England rugby fan, I try to come on these blogs with an open mind and try and be reasonably sensible. However at times it is difficult and it appears you suffer the same issues. Not many England fans I know talk about the WC win, however yes the press do. Not the true England union fans.

    I have enjoyed this sport since the days of Wade Dooley/ Mickey Skinner et all and will continue to however bad/good England are. Swings and roundabouts me thinks enjoy while you are winning because as we all know other teams will improve. And please stop with this arrogance stuff, its old hat mate.

    p.s cymrulondoner

    Am still trying to figure out what puerile means :)

  • Comment number 60.

    54. At 17:30 22nd Feb 2012, pontypriddian wrote:
    It is annoying when they get some success because you know you will NEVER hear the last of it, 1966 ring any bells.

    Of course, and we never hear Welsh Rugby fans waxing lyrical about the glory days in the 70s when Wales were bating everybody in sight (apart from South Africa and New Zealand obviously).

    We are still hearing about the great World Cup Wales had, despite them failing to make the final, and judging by the number of facebook posts I see, it appears Wales have already won a slam this season.

  • Comment number 61.

    Pontypriddian

    Having travelled a fair bit I'm always surprised by anti-Englishness...in that I haven't really come across any, outside the British Isles or from anyone whose sober that is!

    So much of the drivel routinely spouted in these knockabouts has only existed in recent times when media interests have had a commercial interest in upping the ante in whatever they're charging you royally to see. So it pays News International to exacerbate tiny national differences to get a bit more money out of whatever they're selling...and folk lap it up!

    England has been a very successful nation in the great scheme of things and sometimes we haven't been that sensitive or modest. However, success breeds resentment and it is incredibly seductive to believe that someone else is responsible for all your problems. So Welsh people will get heated over the English "stealing" their coal???? Scottish people will rail against a vague notion that London has somehow cheated them of their rightful place as an economic and cultural superpower. Even an Australian told me off once, as an Englishman, for abuse of aboriginals...until I pointed out that it was probably his ancestors who did the bad things while mine were agricultural labourers in Sussex.

    The strangest thing of all is that, all these countries pointing the finger at one another couldn't get a fag-paper between one another culturally so it seems weird that folk work so hard to prove that they're so very different and, by definition, better than one another.

  • Comment number 62.

    #54 - 'England expects' is a shortening of "England expects every man to do his duty' from the battle of Trafalgar, nothing to do with expecting to win.

    I certainly don't expect an England win this Saturday. I think Wales are comfortably the better side and will win by more than 10 points. I have a suspicion that a lot of those predicting it will be tight are doing so out of fear of appearing cocky, or out of hope!

    I will be happy if England show more in attack in the last two games without dropping the defensive work. The way Wales have been playing the game recently, I hope there will be opportunities for this.

    I do expect it to be tight next time they come to Twickenham, though...

  • Comment number 63.

    Okay, neutral here (neither predominantly pro-Welsh, altho' I'm enjoying Rabo12, nor anti-English).
    After a quick analysis of the tilts the respective camps are having at each other it seems to boil down to Wales having "lucky" wins and England having "ugly" wins.

    Open question: Which would you rather be, "lucky" or "ugly"?

    Hope it's a good game. I have a lot of respect for this England team and winning this match is within their scope but my current guess is Wales by about 7 points.

  • Comment number 64.

    I have lived in wales for the past 30 years my kids speak welsh, my wife is welsh, and i have loved living here, but over the past couple of years the good humored banter between rivel rugby fans has turned into tribal hatred,if only for the duration of the six nations. IMO as an English fan the welsh went to the world cup beat Ireland and came home, they have beaten a poor Irish team who fought well, with a debatable pen,they beat 13 man Scotland, and they come to twickenham as favorites !! in contrast the English have beaten a fired up Scotland in Scotland, and a up and coming Italy who will beat a top team this year!!HOWS THAT FOR ARROGANCE!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Looking forward to Saturday, but with some trepidation. Not used to Wales being favourites and expected to win.

    Still worst case if we do lose I'll get very little stick as they don't know what the hell rugby is in Sheffield.

  • Comment number 66.

    Well, there's a fair smidgen of the usual anti-English bile in this blog from various quarters. How is it that it always comes from our Celtic cousins and generally few else. Insecurity perhaps? A feeling of inferiority? Who knows.

    Anyway, just for the record I think the blog is a fair one, 3 wins apiece. What is wrong with that? Incidentally, since 1990, England and Wales have played each other on 27 occasions and England have won on 20 of those and Wales only 7!! England also lead the overall results as Bryn has pointed out.

    In addtion, there have been some pretty thumping wins in that collection for the All Whites. Take the following for example, any one of which Bryn could have used instead of the ones listed.

    1990 England 34 Wales 6
    1991 Wales 6 England 25
    1997 Wales 13 England 34
    2000 England 46 Wales 12
    2002 England 50 Wales 10
    2003 Wales 9 England 43
    2006 England 47 Wales 13
    2007 England 62 Wales 5
    2010 England 30 Wales 17

    There are some pretty heavy beatings in that lot which ever way you look at it. As for Wales win's in the same period 3 of them were by the sum total of just 4 points (1993, 1999 & 2005). England could quite easily have won all of them if they had been a bit more fortunate on the day. 2 were won/lost right at the death.

    I admit that Wales have an exciting side and play some good rugby, but despite coming 4th in the World Cup last year, they had an average year overall. Won 3 out of 5 in the 6N's, shared a win apiece pre-World Cup with Engalnd and only won 4 out of 7 at the World Cup. That's a success rate of only 57% and they beat such 'big' teams as Namibia, Fiji and Samoa!! If anyone cares to remember Samoa had had only a 4 day turnaround since their previous game. I'm not sure Wales would have performed as well as they did if they had only played 4 days earlier. Some felt Samoa had been robbed!! That compares with England's success rate of 4 out of 5, an 80% win/loss rate despite the fact they played horribly and went out in the Quarters.

    At the end of the day, Wales should reach a World Cup Final first, let alone win it before they begin 'crowing' about how good they are. In addition, they need to beat the All Blacks again, something they have singularly failed to do since 1953, the year after the Queen's Coronation and the Springboks for that matter, who they've only managed to beat once in 26 attempts!! Then, they might be taken a bit more seriously on the World Stage.

    Winning the 6N's with or without a Triple Crown and Grand Slam is only the first stage. Just a staging post, nothing more, nothing less.

    Let the games begin....

    The Scribe

  • Comment number 67.

    The Scribe65 clearly your posting was pre-written in your head before you even read this blog. Your posting is lazy, surly and unquantified. If you had bothered to read the other posts on this blog (which you haven't) you would realise most of it is good natured and lighthearted, but characters like you are not really interested in the opinions of anyone else.

    Reading that lot the insecurity and inferiority complex is entirely yours my spiteful little friend. What comes through loud and clear is the chip is entirely within the remit of characters like you...

  • Comment number 68.

    I remember the days that Rugby was the game where the rough and tumble, insults and all that happened on the pitch. It seems nowadays that all the cheap shots happen in blogs lol

    As far as the game goes on Saturday, as a proud Welshman, in my heart I hope that Wales step up to the mark and win the game. Although if England perform and win the game, so be it.

    Forget about how Wales performed in the World Cup, or How England won the World Cup in 2003, that all is irrelevant, how they perform on the pitch on Saturday is all that counts. And after the match fans of both sides can mingle together and have a few beers talking about the game

  • Comment number 69.

    #67 Is that so... I beg to differ. I am pretty open to whoever wins on Saturday.. I have no problem with the result whatsoever..I refer to your comments in very first blog. Why shouldn't England have 3 wins in there? How dare you suggest otherwise. How do you know what blogs I have or haven't written.. You have no idea whatsoever, suffice to say I've read yours.

    I agree with #68's comments totally, as this is how it should be and I will certainly be cheering everyone on under the banner of the Lions in Australia next year.

    I am merely putting some perspective in there before everyone starts getting ahead of themselves. If you can't understand that, that's not my problem. By the way, I'm no friend of yours so don't bother referring to me in that way.

    Good luck on Saturday and may the best team, England or Wales...

  • Comment number 70.

    I am getting incredibly nervous about Saturday and as I wont be off to the pub to watch I'm wondering if my heart can take watching the game at home.

    Form says Wales should win quite comfortably but England have won 2 from 2. Not a mean feat at all with a young team getting to know each other but then again Wales went to the world cup full of newbies so....

    I'm finding it quite flattering that people think Wales have won 'by luck', just goes to show we are doing something right. You could argue that winning 2 games with a charge down try in each is more down to luck but hey.

  • Comment number 71.

    #70

    Some fair points in there - remember it was only a year ago that England were beating Wales fairly comfortably in Cardiff. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that Wales are 'good' and England 'bad'.

    We'll see!

  • Comment number 72.

    rhisgalad absolutely. When looking back at old results in the 90s and early 2000s theres a whole host in there, which frankly say more about the shambles Welsh rugby had become than about the opposition. Wales were being badly let down by the jokers and politics at the WRU and the woeful club system, which frankly made the old farts look competent.

    Funnily enough of all those needless beltings received the result that most sickened me was the 62-5 pre 2007 RWC warm up. It was obvious to me and anyone with any semblance of rugby knowledge before that bizarre selection of non-international standard players that Wales were going to get drubbed. I remember saying to my English mate before the game in a bar in Richmond that this is going to be horrible and I didn't feel I could bring myself to watch. The clulessness of Gareth Jenkins was plain and clear to see and far from feeling shame I remember just feeling angry at how pure incompetence and amateurism had sulllied and besmirched the redshirt to the point of a nonsense and that international caps should not be handed about without being earned like candysticks. Never again...

  • Comment number 73.

    #72

    So, England only won the games they won against Wales over the past 30 odd years due to Wales being rubbish eh?

    You know, you have to accept at some point that England have been a decent team at times over that period. I'd argue that England have been just as held back by the poor structure of the game domestically as Wales have.

    I recall my mate - London Welsh like you - saying that he "would not have wanted Wales to win the World Cup in 2003 like England did".

    There's no answer to such stupidity.

  • Comment number 74.

    #72 CymruLondoner I agree with much of what you have just said.. To be honest, I think there is too much International Rugby these days. Caps are being thrown around like confetti. Why so many 'practice' matches before a World Cup. Ireland for instance played 4 last year and lost all four, and unfortunately, they all go down in the record books, win, lose or draw.. If you're winning obviously it's great, if not it's the opposite.

    In the Autumn International Series, why can't they limit them to just 3 games, and not 4..? At the end of the day, the root of everything is money and the various RFU's need the all the revenue they can get their hands on to support the club/region game in the B. Isles. Why did Wales and Australia have to have an addtional game so soon after the World Cup. Can only be one reason, cash. I would not be at all surprised in a few years time if some of these clubs revert to being semi-pro or dare I say it amateur again. I have read only today that the Welsh regions have some financial problems within the game there and that England also have a salary cap which is causing some, difficulty.

    Rarely, will Rugby draw the sort of crowds that Football clubs draw week in, week out.

    Rugby must be careful not to sell it's soul to the devil, unless it has already done so..

  • Comment number 75.

    Tony no I dont think England were rubbish eraly 2000's and I would draw you to my comments at second para of 48. Scribe yes absolutely The AI's are an annual feeding frenzy and as you say the Wales Australia game just after the RWC was bizzare and purely financial. As much as I enjoy them, they were more special when they were every few years. Apologies for my comments earlier btw, they were a bit harsh. No hard feelings eh...

  • Comment number 76.

    It's all good fun reading these blogs. I've toured Wales as an English player on a few occasions, and most recently as a Coach of a mini's team. Always good fun, and always competitive. I've also been to internationals both in England and Wales. It has always been good natured, and fans / teams rub shoulders without issues. I hope England win on Saturday - I think Wales may win on Saturday (though I confess I will be gutted if they do). However - it's a game, and at the end if it we all go back to work on Monday, and start the hope process again for the following weekend.

  • Comment number 77.

    # 76 Fullback1984 dead right, it's only a game. I must confess to getting worked up about it more when I was younger, but these days I am far more indifferent about the result. Probably because there is too much international rugby around and we all tend to mellow with age. At least I hope so. As for me, dare I say it, I find modern day RU just a tad dull, Rugby League with 15 instead of 13. The recent Ireland v Wales game the exception. A terrific spectacle, but few and far between. Anyone agree?

    It doesn't feel special anymore, more run of the mill. Why can't we go back to the days when the SH Teams toured every 3/4 years and played all 4 Home Unions with a few other tour games thrown in? We could have one of them touring every single year. All of the B Isles teams could then also play the smaller nations every Autumn and give them increased exposure. Sadly, I don't think it will happen for financial reasons.

    #75 Cymru Londoner, don't worry about it. Whilst I want England to win every time, hopefully with a bit of elan if possible, I am not blind to other countries qualities and success, Wales ala 2005 & 2008 and Ireland several Triple Crowns and the Grand Slam in 2009. All I hasten to add more recent than England winning either of them, ie: 2003. Somewhere along the line since, England have gone awol, last year being the exception, though no grand finale.

    For me, I get more enjoyment from a Lions tour, probably because of their rarity value and the fact that it shows what can be done when we all pull together despite everyone's different playing styles Plus, it's great to pull one over the SH. Roll on, 1971, 1974, 1989 & 1997 in 2013!!

    The Scribe

  • Comment number 78.

    IMO those trying to relate a historical perspective to the game are missing the point. What has happened in the past will have little bearing on what is about to happen.

    Here are the starters from 2010:

    England XV: D Armitage (London Irish); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tait (Sale Sharks), T Flood (Leicester), U Monye (Harlequins); J Wilkinson (Toulon), D Care (Harlequins); T Payne (Wasps), D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), J Haskell (Stade Francais), L Moody (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins).

    Wales XV: L Byrne (Ospreys); T James (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Ospreys), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Cardiff Blues); P James (Ospreys), G Williams (Cardiff Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Cardiff Blues), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).

    Only Hartley will play for England on Saturday. Jamie Roberts, AWJ and Adam Jones for Wales.

    Despite many of the above posts (English) stating that Wales had a mediocre WC: I reply that it was better than England's. Post WC, Wales look to be the form team at present. It's a question of momentum gentleman! Wales are on the up and playing with confidence while we really don't know what England will do come Saturday?

  • Comment number 79.

    I have to say, i am looking forward to this game. as a welsh man, its been a longtime coming and i am one of the ones that truely believe Wales will stuff the old enemy this weekend. After the last two games, Wales have been strong against one of the best back rows (all the rugby world call them that) Ireland and for the second time we came out on top, and then Scotland, Who ripped England apart but did everything to win the game. now couple that with the two line breaks England have had this 6ns to Wales 33 Line Breaks.

    Lets face it England, your team is Building but really you should have done that after you won a world cup.

  • Comment number 80.

    The thing My little Brothers over the Seven Bribge, its time to stop living on past results, Yes YOU WERE a good team and yes you DID win a world cup, but that WAS a long time ago and like all NH rugby has been struggling. how ever there is a new team that plays an awesome brand of rugby that will fly the flag for NH rugby. also with Gats as head coach of the lions, he will pick foam players not the has beens of an old team

  • Comment number 81.

    A Question to all the Welsh Supoorters on this blog.

    What is your ambition for this Welsh team? If you have genuinly noteworthy ambitions beyond just a few 6N titles and maybe a Grand Slam and Triple Crown thrown in somewhere along the way there will come a point where scraping past Ireland, even away isn't sufficient, where a 12 point home win against Scotland (Who by the way are very over-rated). Equally you need to get over the mentality where any win at Twickenham will do. At least when you are playing against a less than world class England side

    Granted for this season it will be a start but over the next 4 year cycle you need to look at What Woodwards England were doing, Sure there was the odd surprise defeat and setback along the way but generally they were handing out thumpings, game in game out. If your ambition is to extended to reaching the very top of world rugby they're the standards you, or rather your team, need to set.

  • Comment number 82.

    I dont fancy these Foam players of Gatlands against the Aussies

  • Comment number 83.

    Yet we will win yet another Grand Slam, when was tha last time England won a Grand Slam??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Oh. and having one of the Best Defence coach SHAUN EDWARDS who is now an Honery Welshman, so lets see how many line breaks you dont have!!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Taffcomm, are you pretending to be Welsh so someone can offer this up as an example of arrogance. New user I see.

  • Comment number 85.

    No i am Welsh, its just that i read all the comments on here and i have to say, that i have not seen anything in England to even worry us, the two tries that you scored were a charge down, so apart from that where is your attack, yet from the "6" tries we have scored all through line breaks off loads and Pure attacking rugby.


    I now Question who will score the tries from as C H is injured? oops no charge downs

    Even the most passionate English supporter cant believe that this current English tean is going in the right Direction. Take it from some one who knows (a Welsh Fan)

  • Comment number 86.

    How can the result of this game be in doubt. Surely an overwhelming win by Wales? I mean after all we have a very poor uncreative English side against a "brilliant" Welsh side who had the whole rugby world enthralled by their 4th place finish at the WC. Well ok they did lose to SA, France and Australia but they did win some cracking games! Throw in a handsome win over Ireland and Scotland and with the best backs on the planet I just can't see a hope for England. I will just have to console myself with the knowledge that England have achieved rugby successes that Wales can only ever dream of. Good luck to Wales, they may well win but they won't earn my respect as a rugby team until and if they get some notable Southern Hemisphere scalps which is something they haven't been able to do for a very very long time. A win against England may give the Welsh fans what they want and there is a part of me that thinks that is all they ever want, but big deal. Despite the nonsense force fed us by the media Wales are not a great side and haven't been for a very long time. A win over an ordinary developing England side will prove nothing but it may be a start to a golden era for Wales. Or maybe not.

  • Comment number 87.

    Fair enough then Taffcomm. There have been some very decent performances by the Welsh recently but there's still question marks over you to some extent. Who were your big scalps in the World Cup?

  • Comment number 88.

    Taffcom please keep posting. I haven't laughed so much in years!

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    "..against a "brilliant" Welsh side who had the whole rugby world enthralled by their 4th place finish at the WC. Well ok they did lose to SA, France and Australia but they did win some cracking games!"

    Thanks for that unexpectedly generous assessment Numbnuts! But this blog is no place for false modesty. The world were watching England, surely! Who, let's not forget, were able to imperiously sweep aside such teams as Romania and Georgia (yes, Chris Ashton earned the derision of the rugby world with his swallow diving here, but hey, it's the result that counts!), as well as caning Scotland 16-12 and smashing Argentina 13-9. Then they raced on to a superb loss to France. But that wasn't even the big story! No, it was the charming and sportsmanlike deportment of these heroes that captured the imagination of the world. People exactly like you must be very proud. And that's what makes you big enough to dole out such largesse to other teams, I'm guessing.

  • Comment number 91.

    Yes your all right Wales havent won anything Yet

    Please though do not winge about the refs or how you were robbed. We stand to win a Trophey the Triple Crown on saturday. as long as the ref let us play our open fast running 15 man rugby

  • Comment number 92.

    @ Jimmy

    Immeadiate ambition would be to win the Slam. If that happens, and it's quite a possibility if we win this weekend, then the BIG ambition is to carry on more than the last two slams. After 2005 we got hammered by NZ in the autumn, although we did beat the Aussies if I remember correctly. Then similarly in 2008, losses to NZ and SA, win over the Aussies.

    End of this year is a big deal as it's when the seedings for the next RWC are set, so a GS plus a couple of AI wins and Wales would probably be looking at top 4 and thus avoiding the SH teams at the next World Cup. That would be a good start.

    Now to say Wales should win the World Cup to be a great team is a little much in my opinion. It took New Zealand 24 years to get it back yet for most of the time in between most would have called them a great team.

    In conclusion, some wins against the SH teams (if we can do it away as per England pre-2003 RWC that's a massive plus) is a must if this team is to push on.

  • Comment number 93.

    Like the look of the England changes, will be the kick up the backside Youngs needs to get his game back on song.

    Only question is Palmer disappearing? Anyone know the reason for that, don't think he's played particularly badly so far.

  • Comment number 94.

    91: excuses in early then!

  • Comment number 95.

    94 lol

  • Comment number 96.

    as long as we play our game and the ref dont do what he normaly does against us then i see a good points margine, i like most pundits dont sit on the fence (except Jiffy). we are stroger in every position

    i dare you to differ

  • Comment number 97.

    Padds31 - I wouldnt say you need to win a world cup to be a great team because even the best teams will lose, if you are unlicky it'll be a WC knockout if you are lucky it'll be a match of lesser importance like a 6N game when the title is already sealed.

    But fair enough to you for actually having ambition, (Though if i was supporting Wales at the moment i'd have no qualms about going further and saying that i'd want to win the WC in 4 years). Though they wouldnt say it in so many words there are some (not all) Welsh supporters who give the impression that lording it over England is the most important thing and to be honest its hard to have any respect for that lack of ambition.

  • Comment number 98.

    I've already said Wales by 7 so I'm sticking with that. Think we may well better you in the scrum (just) and lineout though. I think the big difference could be in the centres and I'm still not sure who we'll go with. I'd be tempted to have Farrel at 10 and Tuilagi, Barrett. Also looking forward to seeing some more of Morgan. If I was making a Wales/England combined team I definately wouldn't have 15 Welsh players.

  • Comment number 99.

    no no i would go with an all welsh loins team, id have some irish players on the bench, just incase we get injured

  • Comment number 100.

    Whoever does win this weekend is going to be hot favourites for the championship. The Paris frozenpitch debacle has proved massively disadvantageous to both Ireland and France who will have to play over 3 consectuive weekends. Wales and England both get a 2-week break after Saturdaty and I would imagine we will see some squad rotation from Wales for the Italy game with players like Hook, Lloyd Williams, Scott Williams, Byrne, Powell and Shingler in with a shout of starting that one. Perhaps even room for Henson on the bench! In terms of England winning 3 games this year (which personally I think would be a solid opening account for this young team and secure Lancaster's position), you have to say Ireland at Twickenham is the most likely...

 

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