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Wallabies devour undercooked England

Tom Fordyce | 21:15 GMT, Saturday, 15 November 2008

There's nothing an Australian likes more than making an Englishman eat humble pie, and in west London on Saturday there were some pretty big slices being handed out.

All the talk in the build-up was about what Andrew Sheridan might do to his opposite number Al Baxter, about the nightmares the Wallabies pack must be having after the mashing in Marseille last October and the toasting at Twickenham in 2005.

Around the burger bars and picnic-hampers at lunchtime, the dank November air was thick with giddy chat of England's expansive, new-look back line.

What Australia had cooking, however, caught everyone by surprise. This was a deserved victory, the ingredients the exact ones England had been planning to throw into the mix.

Three little moments summed it all up.

First Baxter, humiliated here three years ago, shoved Sheridan into shipping a penalty from which Australia re-took the lead at 15-14.


Then Sheridan, who in that match had famously seen off both Baxter and his replacement Matt Dunning, limped from the field, unable to carry on.

Finally, with eight minutes left, Danny Cipriani also trudged off, his chin on his chest, having been given an old-school lesson in fly-half play by the ruthless Matt Giteau.

It wasn't the recipe England manager Martin Johnson had wanted his team to follow. But as he said afterwards: "We wanted to stick it to them - but if you don't have the ball, you can't do that.

This Wallaby pack has been transformed by forwards coach Michael Foley. England complained afterwards that the constant re-sets called for by referee Marius Jonker upset their rhythm and made the set-piece too messy, but one team dealt with that and the other didn't.

It's not often that hookers win the man-of-the-match award, but Stephen Moore bagged it for a reason.

For Cipriani, two wonderful ghosting breaks could not disguise the gap that still exists between him and the very best in the world.

In some ways that's to be expected. This was only his fifth England appearance; Giteau made his debut at this ground in the corresponding fixture six years ago and has 58 more internationals under his belt.

What will hurt the tyro is that a few of his mistakes were of the relatively basic nature. His kicking was ragged throughout, a missed conversion and horribly mis-hit drop-goal attempt the most glaring. Giteau, by contrast, nailed six of his seven penalty pots.


Afterwards the normal Cipriani ebullience was noticeably absent, replaced by a sombre summation of his own shortcomings.

"I did some good things but I did some things that were inconsistent," he said. "The losing factor wasn't something I enjoyed, but I learned a lot today. Hopefully next time I won't make the same mistakes."

He wasn't alone. England went off-menu far too many times, ignoring Johnson's instructions to keep their discipline, conceding needless penalties from the third minute to the last.

"We didn't make them play hard enough to score 28 points," said Johnson, his glower enough to peel paint at 20 feet.

"Sometimes you're under pressure and you give penalties away. But they had slow ball and we still gave penalties away. We lost a game by 14 points that we should have been in till the end."

Where Australia made the most of every opportunity they had, England's solitary try was meagre reward for the minutes camped close to the visitors' line.

At times it was like Marseille in reverse - a blanket Aussie defence soaking up almost anything thrown at them, an English team undone by the dead-eye kicking of a fly-half unhurried and unflustered by the weight of the occasion.

Of the much-vaunted back three, Delon Armitage deserves the best reviews - rock-solid under the high ball, resolute in defence (witness the try-saving tackle on Ryan Cross after Stirling Mortlock had smashed past Riki Flutey) and confident enough to wobble a skimmer of a drop-goal between the posts from distance.

But too often England failed to bring their fliers into play. Sniping off the fringes can serve you well sometimes, but when George Smith is this hungry, he'll munch that sort of thing up all day long.

"Sometimes we needed to pull the trigger earlier," admitted Johnson. "There were opportunities out there for us to create pressure and try-scoring chances, and we either didn't see them or didn't exploit them."

The last word, fittingly, was dished out by Baxter.

He has relished the spotlight all week, admitting quite cheerfully that he's never had this kind of attention before.

"It's great to play in a country that looks at the set-piece and talks about it and analyses it," he said, with only a hint of a smile on his face.

"We're always going to be very disappointed about our loss in Marseille, and that's never going to change.

"You can never compensate for a game in the past because it's gone, but a win at Twickenham is always high on your list.

"Robbie (Deans, Wallabies coach) is very big on focusing on what's ahead of you rather than what's in the past. We're a new side, and we're looking to the future."


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  • 1. At 11:03pm on 15 Nov 2008, TheOnlyDangerMan wrote:

    This is the first comment? Where are all the bleary-eyed Aussies who must surely be celebrating this awesome achievement by Deano's boys in gold? Still celebrating, no doubt, and probably in no condition to blog!

    Congratulations to the Wallabies who, according to the English press pundits, were going to be given another helping of "Marseilles Mash", whose pack was going to be taught another lesson by the likes of Vickery and Sheridan. Didn't quite work out like that, did it, guys?

    Thanks and well done, Robbie Deans and Stirling Mortlock - keep the boys up to it for the rest of the tour! And especially to Al Baxter - goodonyamate - yer did real good!

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  • 2. At 11:40pm on 15 Nov 2008, boils wrote:

    Yup beaten by the better team. Very professional, disciplined and clincial.

    England have time to develop. Armitage played well. The backline in general were stilted (where have I seen that before!!) and the pack were over-powered.

    Same for all the teams in Europe except maybe France. the basic inability to convert position and possession into tries.

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  • 3. At 00:17am on 16 Nov 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    Well done Australia.

    Sorry, England had no cutting edge. Flutey is OK but the combo with Noon is pedestrian.

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  • 4. At 01:10am on 16 Nov 2008, Prop323 wrote:

    Considering the bashing that was handed out to the Australian scrum before the game, I was hoping for a bit more from the BBC.

    What about the scrum where Richard Brown stole the ball from Easter's feet? Or the one where the English pack crumbled under pressure from Ben Robinson?

    The fact that the only aspect of scrum dominence talked about by the website was the penalty won is denying the truth that the English pack was as systematically demolished as the rest of the English team.

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  • 5. At 01:24am on 16 Nov 2008, MrPBsays wrote:

    I was at the game today. A fairly predictable affair. The guys did OK, and maybe they deserved to lose by a few less, but the better team won.

    A team in development was beaten by a more battle hardened team, further along its development curve. England's day will come again, though possibly not this month.

    The tight five was out-thought by the Aussies(!). The back row was too eager, transgressing too often and making a host of small errors under test pressure. Care drifts too much off the base against a tight, quick defence and Cipriani, individually talented as he is, cannot yet control a top flight game - I hope he has it in him to learn, because we need a 10 who can. But nonetheless, the essence of the team is building nicely.

    And yes, it's clear that we need a 12 who can do more than just tackle his heart out. I guess that Johnno is leaving him there whilst he builds stability and toughness elsewhere. It's hard to fault Noon's commitment and courage, but if we are to progress as a team I think we need to evolve beyond his one-dimensional approach and replace him during 6N. But I'd probably leave him to tackle for the next couple of weeks.

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  • 6. At 03:00am on 16 Nov 2008, swisstaffy wrote:

    oh dear....oh dear......oh dear. You boyos have a long long way to go. Australia have upped their front row game whereas England appear to have stagnated....the difference between qualty and hype. Martin Johnson's coaching skills (?) will be sorely tested during the the autumn internationals and the 6-nations.

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  • 7. At 05:56am on 16 Nov 2008, notachucker wrote:

    Good to see some humility. 606 is full of excuses including, the ref, Oz cheating and of course the famous Mr O'neill and the ELVs. I thought England played quite well although ill-discipline cost you in the end. I must admit, it was very satisfying indeed to watch us dominate the scrum, particually after the ridiclous amount of hype around it. I'm also glad that refs are waking up to the fact that it ISN'T Oz collasping the scrum everytime the ball is fed.

    At times the English back-line looked quite dangerous and it almost seemed to be a role-reversal from both teams usual playing tactics. A very interesting and enjoyable game to watch.

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  • 8. At 06:50am on 16 Nov 2008, glibido1 wrote:

    Yes the best team won but let’s look at next week.
    We have a good attack, a good defence and are now quick in loose, we had the territory and the possession so lets hope a week of scrummaging six hours a day and reading the rule book will get the things that let us down corrected - and they are correctable but.........even so we need some changes:
    Surely Noon has had his day and Tate must step in
    Bothwick was Johnson’s first mistake- he is not the player he was and he makes a lot of errors - always has always will, no diubt Johnno will keep for this series but I doubt he will last until the six nations. I also doubt he will make it the next world cup.
    Vickery is not match fit and he gives away penalties so Stevens is should continue to be first pick or put Hartley in on his other side.

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  • 9. At 08:52am on 16 Nov 2008, carrie wrote:

    I was at the game too and although I agree England are definitely not there yet, I felt Cipriani was playing at this level about six months too soon following his injury. Having said that, maybe he needed a wake-up call about playing against the big boys and the only way to provide that is to chuck him in. We'll see next week if he plays - he looked as if he was a bit nervous about his ankle. The rest of the England team struggled for cohesion in their set pieces. Noon is now almost past it and I agree, Borthwick is a strange choice for Johnson for captain and team.

    The game was ruined totally by the referee. There is talk of all the penalties England gave away, but where we were sitting the concensus was that the ref was a teeny bit blinkered about the cynical way the Australians were playing.

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  • 10. At 09:12am on 16 Nov 2008, dingo wrote:

    Good win for the Wallabies, but a bad loss for England. The pack needs a big wake-up for the remaining matches. To me, this line-up does not feel like the finished article.

    I can't pin the loss entirely on Cipriani, although a more accomplished player would have kept the scores closer. The occasional nice run doesn't make up for a poorly played and managed match. Mabe it is too early for him.

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  • 11. At 09:13am on 16 Nov 2008, willylhg wrote:

    I didn't watch the game, however, people saying that Johnson's coaching is going to be tested now....and that we should get rid of cipriani, noon, danny care, etc...could we please give them a chance? We cannot expect individual talent to become a talented team in the space of 3 weeks and and two matches.

    The team needs order for the team to work at it's best it needs time! We need to get behind our players and allow them to play their style of game, instead of being typically over critical.

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  • 12. At 10:01am on 16 Nov 2008, ScribberfromSussex wrote:

    Well I guess a lot of the discussions will be around discipline and Danny Cipriani, one of the most talented players we have produced for a few decades, all the skills and pace I just think that he needs to be slightly less emotional when either he makes a mistake or is not creating he should still keep his chin up and believe the next time he will make a difference. He is young and inexperienced at Test level, interested to see who will wear the 10 Jersey against SA............Given Martin J comes from the Woodward school I think he will stick with him assuming his ankle holds up and demonstrate faith in his ability and long term prospects.

    Well done you Aussies, you came you saw you conquered, must have been all that experience Matt picked up when he played for Southend, back in the day.

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  • 13. At 10:01am on 16 Nov 2008, ATINKER wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 14. At 10:02am on 16 Nov 2008, drc007 wrote:

    You can't gift a side 18 points in penalties and hope to remain competitive. I heard the ref telling the England players not to play the ball or stay onside but they ignored him and got penalised. They need to play smarter and the captain has to impose some discipline on the field.
    It is pointless complaining about the referee the players have to adapt and maintain discipline or they should be dropped.
    Dropping Stevens to the bench certainly seems to have fired him up, perhaps one or two others could do with similar treatment.
    I still can't understand why Noon is in the team surely his time has now gone?

    Can't help but feel this team is only a couple of players away from a very useful side.

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  • 15. At 10:05am on 16 Nov 2008, Swisschoir wrote:

    Australia played the smarter rubgy but England did enough to suggest there may be better times to come.

    What they don't need to do is panic and the management must give the team time to gel.

    The main areas of concern have to be Borthwick as second row and captain - is he up to it? Johnson has to give him a chance but the jury's out on this one. I don't think Flutey and Noon are ideal partners but who else is available to replace them who will make a difference?

    Overall disappointing that England lost a game they could have potentially won, but I'm still excited about the future of the England team. Don't panic!

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  • 16. At 11:02am on 16 Nov 2008, Oddjob-Arthur wrote:

    Firstly congratulations to the Aussies for their well earned and deserved win. (Crikey typing that hurt.) At no time did England look like winning and I think if England had scored more points I think Australia would have answered them.

    Right, enough smoke blown up Aussie backside. What happened to England's disciplne? We used to be able to set up camp in our own 22 for 15 minutes, defending like lunatics and not give away 1 penalty. I can't even blame the Ref, he could be seen and heard giving England players plenty of warning. Quite obviously it was this indiscipline that cost us the game.

    I now looks like England that need to sort out their front row! Who saw that coming after a match against Australia.

    I think Mears had a great game in the loose, I guess that comes from having Hartley snapping at his heels. I thought our back row weren't up for it, Easter just does not cut the mustard at this level and Rees disappeared. Croft was OK. In general I thought our pack were fairly pedestian with no real dynamism. Care and Cipriani were OK but Australia highlighted their inexperience. We need to sort out this centre business ASAP, when we can get quick ball out to the back three we will be a team that scores points. I think Armitage was very good and Monye and Sackey done well. If the ball could have reguarly made it past midfield I think all 3 would have had a great game and run riot against their rather average opposite numbers.

    All in all I agree with most posts saying England played some good rugby but they also played some very poor rugby. Combine that with constant offsides in our own half under the Ref's nose and it's easy to see where it went wrong.

    Do I think it can be turned around before next weekend? Damn right I do! Come on England, do the job on SA and NZ!

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  • 17. At 12:11pm on 16 Nov 2008, HealeysHairPiece wrote:

    The final score flattered Australia. It was more a case of England losing the game than Australia winning it.

    England gave away too many silly penalties that kept Australia in the game when England were on top and eventually pushed them ahead when English legs tired and heads started to drop.

    The Aussie front row has improved significantly and Matt Giteau is a class 10/12 up there with the likes of Dan Carter.

    Cipriani, by comparison, has yet to develop into the real deal. His kicking from hand, and off the deck is patchy and there seemed to be quite a large defensive hole between 10 and 12. Definitely not one of his better performances.

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  • 18. At 12:28pm on 16 Nov 2008, JerseyWestAus wrote:

    England were kicked off the park and it took until comment 17 for anyone to mention the kicking.
    Had the Poms kicked straight it would have been different.
    Fair go too, we have had a few touches from the boot of "Johnny!!"

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  • 19. At 1:37pm on 16 Nov 2008, jassajones wrote:

    First of all, a 10 who misses kicks is a painfull sight. Getting into position and expecting an easy 3 has become so normalised in the English rugby psyche that the gaps in the side's game become more glaringly obvious without it.

    The forwards; poor lineout generally, a beaten scrum and out competed often in the loose. The lineout was a question of descision making - who to throw to - and technique - why throw right to the back 10m from your own line and then make the poor jumper stretch as far as he can and fumble? he wasn't even opposed often and yet the ball was two foot over his head, not speared at his face. The scrum is tricky area, English failure or Aussie triumph? it would be a disservice to the australian front row to lay blame across the tight five of England without giving mounds of credit to the fired up aussie big men. Everyone saw the response that came when moore, baxter et al. shoved england off it; they were loving it, and in for some revenge. to underestimate how eager they would have been to bloody the noses of vickery and especially sheridan is daft.

    The loose is a problem that can drag the backs into the pot - no dynamism. too many times a forward was taking the ball standing still. i can remember the first time i ever played rugby, back in the minis, the three things i had impressed on me were tackle low, don't argue with the ref and run from deep. Coming onto the ball at pace, as Mortlock showed when he bashed flutey and cipriani about, is key and gives the momentum that quick ball is built on and tries are scored from. it's easy to ruck the crap out of an oponent when they're already going backwards from having to make a two or three man tackle on a big second row or 8 galloping through them. similarly, crab like movements of the ball across field just for noon to plough into the australian centres is silly too. however, flutey showed signs of life and there is promise there, a strange thing to say about english 3/4s, they show promise(!)

    All in all, well done australia, a well deserved, clinical victory. It became more and more apparent as the last 20 minutes ticked by that in every wallaby players head there was a clear objective - defence. A white wave broke again and again across the solid line of gold shirts, getting ever more ragged and dejected. Every wallaby knew and understood exactly what to do, in stark comparison to england. England were the boisterous, exhuberant puppy to the steady hound of australia. By the end of this series we will see how this england team has developed and have a better idea where we are on the road to re construction - the six nations are the goal now and a testing fortnight of SA and NZ will bash some more sense, dicipline and needed experience into this young and exciting, optimistic and flawed team.

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  • 20. At 1:40pm on 16 Nov 2008, Oddjob-Arthur wrote:

    It wasn't just that England were kicked off the park, Australia rarely gave England the oppotunity to kick for goal in the Aussie half. Albeit Cipriani missed a couple of those but face facts, he was only trying to drop goals because the England attack seemed to be lacking anything else.

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  • 21. At 2:57pm on 16 Nov 2008, DixieBean wrote:

    It seems to me that alot of people are forgetting Danny Cipriani is still coming back from a huge injury. Yes he is playing OK but after the time out he has had and the recovery he is still undergoing can we really expect him to be at the top of his game.

    He is not in peak condition or form yet since he has come back and is still in my opinion a couple of months off his best.

    I think he is best judged in the 6 nations rather than this autumn series and maybe they have just pushed him along too quickly with Wilkinson injured and Flood again in my opinion not up to test level at 10.

    Flutey I thought made some good breaks and some decent tackles. He lacked a bit of support where if he had someone on his shoulder it could have been try time. He is avery talented but Noon isn't the foil for him. Lewsey might actually be the 13 answer!

    Care is a talented lad too but is too lateral and puts pressure on Cipriani by drawing opposition back rows across to him.

    I would like to see Kennedy back next week, Stevens starting at prop, Lipman, Haskell and maybe Croft has another chance as a back row with Haskell and Croft interchanging 8 and 6.

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  • 22. At 3:31pm on 16 Nov 2008, Ozsportnut wrote:

    Why is it that whenever England lose, the ref gets the blame? Isn't it about time to wake up to the fact that for years the England forwards have got away with deliberately collapsing scrums?

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  • 23. At 3:40pm on 16 Nov 2008, andrian007 wrote:

    The result was never in doubt. It was just a matter of how much England were going to lose by. I was hoping that England would lose by less than 10 points and at least make the game look exciting, but it didn't turn out that way.

    The team now have a lot to think about, the normally cocky and arrogant Cipriani wil now appreciate what it takes to get to the top. He will now know that it will be a long way before he will achieve anything near what his predecessor has done. Johnno can experiment for the next few games, but from next year's Six Nations onwards, he must start producing results or else there could be trouble.

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  • 24. At 3:55pm on 16 Nov 2008, n9wo83 wrote:

    I agree with the comments about Cipriani, that judgement shouldn't be passed after one bad game and that after such a long time out, he's going to take a while to get back to an international level of fitness. However, surely Johnno's best chance to find out as much about the team as possible is during these autumn internationals when the game's don't really matter (unlike the World Cup eh Oz!). For this reason, I don't think there'd be any harm in changing Cipriani and Care (who was also average at best for this game), with Flood and Ellis for when the Bok's visit Twicker's.

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  • 25. At 4:13pm on 16 Nov 2008, Slater582 wrote:

    'but if you don't have the ball, you can't do that'

    Err didn't we have about 61% of the possesion?

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  • 26. At 4:31pm on 16 Nov 2008, stevieeng34 wrote:

    It's good that Australia continue to win all these friendlies but when it counts, in the world cup, we'll knock them out again as we did in 2007, 2003 and 1995.

    It must be so frustrating being Australian that all they can do is win these pointless Tests that most people don't care about onl to bottle it in the big matches.

    This match and the daft Lions tour (who on earth gives a damn about Britain and Ireland teaming up??) are irrelevant.

    2011 World Cup, we'll be there or thereabouts again.

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  • 27. At 4:38pm on 16 Nov 2008, glosglosglos wrote:

    i think its a bit ridiculous of Australian fans and this joker fordyce to start talking about humble pie being dished out at twickenham. Its idiots like him that say the wallaby scrum will be destroyed, not the England team themselves, they are the people that stir up any controversy before games, so just remember that the people leaving comments about England being too cocky. They have a very young team, most of who didnt play at the world cup last year, that says alot that nearly the entire team has changed. in the backline only noon and sackey are left, and noons only a short term filler anyway. Giteau is young but has alot of caps, as does mortlock, mitchell and ashley cooper have played quite a few over the past years. only burgess is a real debutante, as hynes as had a few games to settle in. If Australia didnt win this game it would have been crazy, everyone knows the SH teams are far better at this time, something which the media have been talking about non stop. I think its time maybe the SH media have a slice of humble pie, NZ play an unstructured and weak game and win unconvincingly, the world champs SA nearly lose to the worst six nations side and England, who have been a shambles for quite some time, manage to hold it together although Australia deserved the win. Its time the SH media stopped being so arrogant, because at some time they will fall, and they wonder why people love winding NZ up about World Cups!

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  • 28. At 5:24pm on 16 Nov 2008, DroylsdenFC wrote:

    I can't complain at the end result as I thing the Wallabies professional display gave them the platform to put in a clinical display so well done to them.

    I do however have a problem with the cynical scrummaging by the Wallabies. It was obvious that the only place the Wallabies could tactically get an upper hand on us was in the scrums and the only way was to be as cynical as possible, ably assisted by a South African (southern hempishere?) referee which I felt allowed their scrum to consistenly negate the obvious ability of the England pack.

    This added to by what appeared to be an inability by the England props to grip/ grab/ bind on to their opposite numbers jerseys, three penalties awarded as a result of this.

    Nevermind the old Wallaby trait of lying on the wrong side of the mauls and rucks...

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  • 29. At 5:41pm on 16 Nov 2008, Tom Fordyce wrote:

    Nice summary, jassajones.

    steviehullyyy - "daft Lions tour"? Wash your mouth out and hand your head in shame...

    Sorry for offending you, glosglosglos. Agree about the inexperience of this England team, but what's a concern is that a lot of the mistakes were made by the older hands - Vickery, Borthwick, Sheri.

    Reckon Martin Johnson will be relieved it's the Springboks up next rather than the All Blacks. Matfield and Botha will be a nightmare combo as always, but if England are a team in transition, SA are a team with some weird, weird old stuff going on behind the scenes...

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  • 30. At 5:43pm on 16 Nov 2008, scottish_joe wrote:

    RE: 26,steviehullyyy

    'It must be so frustrating being Australian that all they can do is win these pointless Tests that most people don't care about onl to bottle it in the big matches.

    This match and the daft Lions tour (who on earth gives a damn about Britain and Ireland teaming up??) are irrelevant.

    2011 World Cup, we'll be there or thereabouts again.'

    steviehullyyy you watched this match I take it (as you're taking the time to comment on it) and you state that these Autumn tests are 'pointless'. Give me a break - if you were a rugby player (you may be - I doubt you're any good if so...) you would know that every match is important and you play to win regardless.

    And the Lions!??!!!! have been playing for 109 or 120 years (depending on who's counting), their tour is usually sold out well in advance and they are supported ardently by every British Rugby fan I have ever met.

    You appear to be some sort of a*s. Stick to football and reading the sun chap.

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  • 31. At 5:50pm on 16 Nov 2008, superkernow wrote:

    Fair play to the Ozzies, as an Englishman we have been able to give them plenty of stick in Rugby Union recently and now its our turn to take some back. Whining and moaning about cynical scrums, SH refs and an inexperianced England side is a pure waste of time.
    The game was there to be won for England, we needed to be a lttle more street wise and adapt more quickly to any cynical play. We never punished their mistakes as harshly as they punished us and as a result we were far less clinical. All the SH sides this weekend seemed hungrier and wanted to get their hands on the ball quicker than their opposition. We need to be far more aggressive.
    Learn from this and use it to win next time and defeat does not taste half as bitter. Crying into your beer just ruins the taste.

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  • 32. At 5:59pm on 16 Nov 2008, scottish_joe wrote:

    RE: 27 glosglosglos

    What, you mean the 'worst team' (Italy, actually) in the 6 nations, who beat England in the last 6 nations? SA are no chumps, see how you do when you play them.

    Since England were the underdogs against Australia last time and pulled a convincing win out of the bag, of course the Media will hype the return fixture!!!! You should stop trying to make excuses for a team (you don't personally play for) and wake up - Australia played a very good game against what was put in front of them.

    England will get better but you should really grow up and stop whining about it!

    And the comment 'If Australia didnt win this game it would have been crazy' is absolute rubbish - I would wager good money on you buying all the hype pre-match and watching the game with only an England win in mind...

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  • 33. At 6:04pm on 16 Nov 2008, galliano2001 wrote:

    Well its good to see a nice balanced article on the game?! Were you actually there or are you writing this based upon the final score?

    England had most of the running, had the better of the breakdowns and once again had a saffa ref who would not know how to ref a scrum if his life depended upon it.

    Baxter, turns in, drops a hand to the ground and collapses, England penalised was the script.

    What the young (very young actually) England team need to do is learn some discipline and stop giving away needless penalties when Australia never really looked like scoring a try.

    For a second run out new team all they were really missing was better discipline and a more cutting centre partnership, they can be worked on easily.

    Australias aimless kicking game whilst waiting for a penalty does not spell future success to me.

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  • 34. At 6:19pm on 16 Nov 2008, churchofpunk wrote:

    Reading through the comments here you'd have thought that England lost by at least 40 points, having apparently been destroyed at the scrum, lineout and breakdown, with a scrum half who can't pass a fly half who cant kick and backs who lack any penetration.

    Funny then that they actually dominated possession. Dominated the scrums in the 1st half (although the ref refused to ping the Ozzies... again...) and generally played pretty well for a team of young inexperienced players in their second match together. They didn't play the ref well at all, but that will come with experience.

    If you honestly believe England were stuffed all over the park and only lost by 14 points having led at one point in the second half, I can only presume that you expect England to win an even game by 20 points...

    England have two problems at the moment, both of which have been there for a while. At 2nd row they are playing with 2 no. 5's. A good 2nd row has an enforcer and a lineout specialist (think Johnston/Kay, Botha and Matfield etc etc). Playing two no.5's mean's that the 2nd row is underpowered, both at the scrum and at the breakdown. This was a problem on the summer tour and it has not been addressed.

    The second problem is Jamie Noon. Quite how anyone who consistently plays so poorly can win so many caps is beyond me. Balshaw at least mixed some very good stuff with the very bad. Noon is just plain old poor

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  • 35. At 7:06pm on 16 Nov 2008, luckynumberthree wrote:

    Hahaha! This all cracks me up! Can i ask how many people here have actually played prop at any decent level since pro rugby came into effect?

    Why would the australians be cheating at the scrum when they were dominant? I think the england fans are too used to being a power scrumming outfir that once theyre not its the refs fault! South Africa is a scrummaging nation, do you think their refs have no idea about whats going on?

    All the collapsed scrums in the first half were because the 2 teams were trying to get on top of each other, its not like when the scrums stayed up the english were destroying the australian scrum so why is it onnly the aussies taking it down, the penalties against sheridan for not binding is fair enough, watch the game again, his head is below his hips, hence always going to go down. The pens were valid against both scrums, whoever was winning the 'hit' was exerting the early pressure and forcing the opposition scrum to buckle, hence collapse.

    As for stevens taking over from vickery, it was when stevens was on that the english scrum got completely obliterated, if croft hadnt put his hands in the scrum it was one against the head! Stevens is a great open field player but his scrummaging still has questions. Not all the scrum is about the front row, alot of it comes from the seconds, question marks have to be around borthwick and co about the fact that they are not generating enough power.

    If the english keep scumming like this then they are going to be destroyed by the kiwis and the saffas. Please stop complaining about the ref and the cheating, rubbish scrummaging aussies, its so last year!

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  • 36. At 7:35pm on 16 Nov 2008, glosglosglos wrote:

    yes scottish joe i mean the worst team by far, havent scored for 6 hours at home up until yesterday, without a doubt the most boring team ever to take to international rugby. Italy basically tied you for wooden spoon last year so it wasnt like you were head and shoulders above you, they beat you anyway! SA are no chumps, never called them that, but the SH media are sometimes unrealistic about the gulf in class between the NH and SH. as for being childish and defending my home country, are you not doing the same for scotland? guessing hypocracy is a word you never heard of then. I at no stage went into saturdays game thinking England would win, Aus are the second best team in the world and when they function right can beat NZ, so anyone confident of an England win would be naive. I went into the game hoping for a performance that wasnt forwards orientated and actually allowed for some fluidity between forwards and backs. i hoped for an England win, but it would be quite silly to expect it, this is why this article annoyed me. The media figures like Barnes and co were probably talking up Englands chances, but if you listen to them your in real trouble. thats why the humble pie has annoyed me, the majority of England fans didnt expect a win, only a few have been bitter about it, yet Aus and the likes of fordyce are being WUMS. and you wonder why these blogs descend into what is essentially xenophobic slanging matches, always trying to get one over on each other

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  • 37. At 8:04pm on 16 Nov 2008, G_K___ wrote:

    Since the time Martin Johnson first trundled into the England hot-seat, we've been told how 'intelligent" and "thoughtful" he now is - a testimony which clearly strains credulity (see picture).

    Conversely, however, England are really... well... Bad At Rugby - so how are we to determine what portion of the blame should rest on Marty's ruminant shoulders?

    On thing seems clear however, the debate about who did what in the scrum is largely irrelevant. Doesn't matter how well or how badly you scrummage if you can't play rugby.

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  • 38. At 9:18pm on 16 Nov 2008, Ozsportnut wrote:

    Rugby, Rugby League, Lions tours, Cricket, 20-Twenty cricket, tennis, football....
    Everywhere you look it's lose, lose, lose!
    And everywhere you read, it's bad refs, bad umpires or bad decisions.
    Oh how it must hurt to be English or British. The whole world is against you....... ;-)

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  • 39. At 9:35pm on 16 Nov 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    A thiing that I note is that when England appear on terrestrial TV for their fans...they win. When the RFU take Sky's shilling they lose! The other home unions play to let their fans watch. England play for money!

    You deserve to lose that way.

    Of course...if only rugby was an Olympic sport. Oz would get within touching distance of the medals ;-)

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  • 40. At 9:44pm on 16 Nov 2008, Nick wrote:

    I don't think this has anything to do with broadcasting rights, but if the RFU start broadcasting on Setanta I'll happily start supporting Australia

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  • 41. At 10:56pm on 16 Nov 2008, 17eIvIoN wrote:

    Well England have a few major problems,

    FAST BALL, stop slowing it down.

    Care and Cips, might be talented but they need to stay focused on the team game rather than them showing off they both are trying too hard to achieve individual glory and not doing the important things.

    Stop being ill disciplined. Cost us far too many points.

    But on the brightside Lee Mears played well and ran confidently and attempted to win the game.

    Armitage could be the full back answer, however i would still be picking Josh Lewsey but now i think armitage is worth keeping.

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  • 42. At 11:39pm on 16 Nov 2008, Friendly_Fire wrote:

    Not being a big fan of the old kick and clap my nightmare was seeing the rugger lot win after we (England RL) had lost our semi final to New Zealand.

    We were rubbish and the union lot are just as bad....

    At we all stuffed the aussies in the olympics!

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  • 43. At 00:13am on 17 Nov 2008, steviegen wrote:

    What a let down England were. Last week's EMPHATIC victory against the scratch PIs was very misleading. No scrum to speak of, a trumped up 10, a 12 with no heart in the tackle but a 15 who is playing as if he is on the plane tgo S Africa next year. When will English fams learn? Five years ago you had a world class coach, no matter what that snake in the grass Rob Andrew likes to say to protect his own position, a team on top of their game and a captain who ranks witrh the best ever. And how long did it take to get there? Nearly 7 years. The subsequent training regimes have set the "Best team in the Northern Hemisphere" back by 2 or four years, by picking favourites not the form/best players and having no real direction. ENgland can be a force to be reckoned with but I am sure it will take a few more years yet!!!!

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  • 44. At 00:37am on 17 Nov 2008, Sammy2209 wrote:

    Oh well the Blog was going so well then the olympics came up......:) On consideration that this is England v Australia you will find the Olympic score was 14 13 to Aus as you can't count Wales Scotland NI plus islands just to make you feel better!!

    As an ex pom now Aussie and frontrower as well I loved the game. Yes they were all playing games...look at the first scrum where Sheri arches his back there is only one direction that scrum was going. A couple of comments above were on the money when Aussie scrums were munched in the pass especially 05 apart from how good England were at the time the second rowers were key. England had some we didn't they went missing in action (check the videoof that game when dunning was carried off).
    Both teams are in development and this will great to watch over the next 3 years

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  • 45. At 01:58am on 17 Nov 2008, paulfcarr wrote:

    A point about the ELVs. This test turned into a kicking competition and not a try scoring competition.

    Under the S14 and Tri Nations ELV many of the penalties would have been free kicks, encouraging attacking play.

    Rugby is about scoring tries and not kicking penalty goals.

    I hope the IRM looks at the current series of tests and compares them to the Tri Nations.

    I hope now the English rugby establishment and the press now stop the rubbish about the ELVs being an Australian plot to avoid scrums

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  • 46. At 02:10am on 17 Nov 2008, t_kimbo5 wrote:

    As a wallabies supporter I was happy with the result because our backline did not click too well plus we had less position and still managed to put on a good score.

    It is not common that the wallabies win by the boot (we usually score a few tries in a win), a la matt giteau, and I found it was the wallabies giving the english a taste of their own medicine by winning by penalty shots.

    The battering the aussies were getting from the english media pre-game was funny, because most aussies knew that this wasn't going to be the case because our form in the tri-nations against the world champs and awesome all-blacks was good.

    I thought the english were exciting in attack during some periods and Cipriani's breaks were pretty decent...he's defiantly a project player.

    It was good to see the wallabies win without regulars Horwill, Tuquri & Barnes- all world class players. Robbie Deans has only just got the wallabies warming up and they're defiantly on the rise...with our scrum on the up and our back line that defiantly rivals the all-blacks...the wallabies have an exciting few years ahead.

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  • 47. At 05:17am on 17 Nov 2008, notachucker wrote:


    All tests matter, a real rugby fan knows this. You're just a 4 year fan and everything that is wrong with rugby. Also, if you want to talk up the RWC please win another one... then you'll be EQUAL with Australia, until then, keep sulking.


    You didn't dominate the scrums in the 1st half at all. In fact, you got wheeled off your own feed twice.

    I cannot believe that some people still have the hide to say that Oz were scrummaging illegally. England were pulling down the scrum to begin with, as was evident with the penalties. To all the people who suggested the SA ref couldn't ref scrums, you have no idea. As someone else mentioned, SA are a scrummaging nation! Wake up to yourselves. England were done over in the scrum, admit it. Also, notice that when England got the scrum 5 after a disallowed try, I thought he was over by the way, the scrum stayed up. England thought they had a chance to push these weak Wallabies over the line and in fact got wheeled themselves and were very lucky to get your own ball back. In all the fair scrum contests, Oz well and truly dominated England.

    No one has mentioned the Oz back-line yet. The fact is, apart from our forwards, who had a great game, Oz played quite badly and still came up with the win. The backs didn't click at all and England were doing most of the attacking play. If the wallabies can keep up their performance in the forwards and get the back-line firing also, I think they'll make a very tough opposition for anyone.

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  • 48. At 08:13am on 17 Nov 2008, John1948 wrote:

    Same old problem. A belief that the pack can power their way through by sheer mindless strength. The problem is slow ball. How many times have we seen in club and international matches the ball, having been secured in a ruck, just lying there waiting for some magic moment when someone decides to do something with it. By that time the oppostion defence is in position, but more importantly they have had additional time to assess the situation and see who is doing what. Defences are so quick now that they will get into position quickly, but giving them time to think is suicidal.

    Even members of the opposing pack have time to regroup and anticipate where the next mindless shove will come. Maybe the tactic is sound 5m from the line, but it is moronic 40m from the line. Players don't get sucked in any more.

    I think MJ understands this, but the hulks in the scrum don't understand it. The game of rugby is simple; the scrum wins the ball and the backs score the tries. We have some talented backs, but if they don't get the ball often enough in real matches they will never develop.

    How do you solve it? Have a few practice matches in which the scrum are out in the threequarters and then they will understand the advantage of quick ball.

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  • 49. At 09:40am on 17 Nov 2008, cs15hammer wrote:

    ""Rugby, Rugby League, Lions tours, Cricket, 20-Twenty cricket, tennis, football....
    Everywhere you look it's lose, lose, lose!
    And everywhere you read, it's bad refs, bad umpires or bad decisions.
    Oh how it must hurt to be English or British. The whole world is against you....... ;-)""

    You dumb Aussie muppet carry on with your silly tired baiting and beliefs. We are fine thanks.

    Rugby Union WIN = England are the World Cup team of this decade with one win and one 2nd, INCLUDING 2 wins over Australia in the games that really count. So that's a lose lose for you simple man. Wales are 6 nations champions (yes over non British nations).
    Cricket, we have been no 2 test team for a decent period and 2005 Ashes WIN. You've just lost in India by the way Mr Smug. 20/20 cricket well I didnt see you win that either. Another lose lose Aussie. I think on balance the Ashes could be England's next summer, especially if you dont bring back old man Warne.
    Tennis WIN erm for most of this decade we had Henman in the top 10 and now we have Murray who is top 4, and could be grand slam winner soon, much more likely to be than your tired faded washed out Leyton Hewitt.
    Boxing WIN , Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton, David Haye and more - you???
    Motor Racing WIN World Champion Hamilton.
    Olympics WIN , more medals more golds than Oz, finished 4th in the table. Zip it Aussie. Next olympics are here (another win for us) so it will only get worse for you.
    Only woman to ever be world road race champion cyclist WIN and Olympic in the same year.
    World Sailor of the year WIN.
    Football (in a sport where you are guarenteed to lose) WINner of the Champions League, 2 finalists, 3 in semis, by common opinion the best league in the world, national team 1/4 finalists in 3 out of 4 major tournaments, one of only 2 teams currently 100% record in qualifying in Europe, won 4-1 in Croatia a team that never lose at home. You do not seem to do too much.

    We are fine thanks. We'll let you crow with your token win in this game whilst the England team are in a transtitional phase and we will beat you in the next world cup again. Bye bye. Lose lose aussies.

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  • 50. At 09:40am on 17 Nov 2008, BrumbiesFan wrote:

    Reinforcing paulfcarr's comment, one thing that I noticed in all the criticisms of the full ELVs is no one appreciated that under these rules, teams could opt for scrums instead of free kicks. It appeared to me that most critics were simply parroting a few ill-thought out comments in Britain's newspapers.

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  • 51. At 10:12am on 17 Nov 2008, Steve S wrote:

    Dear BBC: can we keep your rugby official comment to experienced former rugby players. It seems to be the course these days at the BBC, chosen girls and boys become the face presenting or blogging Rugby who know little of the game. They latch on to a thread (the front row in this case), big it up, then talk of the after-game shock that their fiction wasn’t reality. Dull.
    As for the game - the rejuvenated Aussies (battle-hardened from a good series against NZ & SA) where always favourites against a young rebuilding England side and credit due, the Aussies took the gifted points very well and expertly shut up shop. England’s discipline, kicking (fairness to the lad - DC was rushed back in), scrum and line out (esp lack of challenge to Aussies throw) were disappointing, but that can be resolved on the training ground whereas the hard to acquire natural flair and creativity, so lacking in recent years, is now there …at last! England suddenly look and exciting team with ball in hand.
    I’d rather lose like that and have something to shout about and the hope of great things than lose closer/scrape win by being dull and predictable and be devoid of aspirations.

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  • 52. At 10:15am on 17 Nov 2008, BrumbiesFan wrote:

    Well, well, well cs15hammer. Something certainly touched a raw nerve there. So let's have think.

    2-1 Ashes win in 2005 but a 5-0 drubbing last year. Worst performance for 80 years or so. Thinking, "on balance" that the Ashes "could" be England's doesn't really constitute anything, does it. I could argue that the Brumbies are "on balance" shoe-ins for the Super14 next year if Giteau decides to return but my wishful thinking is just that.

    Tennis - I don't think Henman ever won a Grand Slam whilst Hewitt, washed up he may be now, did at least win the US Open and Wimbledon. Prior to that and in not the too distant memory Pat Cash won Wimbledon, whilst Pat Rafter won two US Open titles defeating Greg Rusedski in one of the finals. So let's wait until Murray actual wins a Grand Slam event.

    Olympics: a good performance by the UK after many years of poor performances but, aside from cycling I'm not sure there's much to crow about. As far winning the right to host the 2012 Games, I'm not sure that means much. As I'm sure you know, Australia hosted the Games in 200 but did that say anything about Australia's sporting prowess?

    Football: great performances by English clubs (mostly with foreign players) but how long ago did a British team do well in an international tournament. Or how about telling us how well England did in the last WC?

    Or how about Rugby League. How many "World" Cups (a ridiculous concept in my view but..) have England/GB won. Who's won the last 7 and will line up against NZ next Sat. What about netball. Care to advise us what the relative rankings are for GB versus Australia (out of the 12 world cup tournaments, Australia have won 9). Or Water Polo, or Softball, or Basketball or Swimming.

    But boxing: that's a sport where I would expect Britain would always excel. Not sure what it says about the relative societies but something certainly worth thinking about.

    However, one champion that truly deserves recognition is Lewis Hamilton. An outstanding performance kept up over over many months and a true champion. Pity one of Britain's recent olympic gold medal winners can't recognise this.

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  • 53. At 10:21am on 17 Nov 2008, DroylsdenFC wrote:

    Ozsportnut, no one as far as I am aware has accused the Wallabies of cheating they were however cynical in the way they chose to negate the strength of the England pack!

    As for the referee, I have no doubt if a northern hemisphere referee had been in place (the only decent saffer ref was Freek Burger!) the outcome might have been different.

    The ELV's are an unnecessary blight on the game and are more trouble than they're worth! A ridiculous SANZAR invention...

    I was not unhappy at the England performance as apart from a poor kicking display by Danny who has time to work on his game, and individual ill discipline the outcome would have been different.

    As posted earlier a professional Wallaby display won them the day...

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  • 54. At 10:23am on 17 Nov 2008, notachucker wrote:


    Rugby Union World Cup: Oz-2 Eng-1. Thanks

    Rugby Leauge World Cup: Oz-9(6 in a row) Eng-3

    Cricket World Cup: Oz-4(3 in a row) Eng-0

    Test Cricket: Oz- won 16 tests in a row, twice and have been ranked number 1 for the past 15 years.

    Soccer World Cup: Oz-0 Eng-1 (although last time we played your WC team against our WC team for 2006 we beat you 3-1)

    Olympics: Oz-14 Eng-13

    Tennis: Oz- Rod Laver only tennis player to have twice won all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same year. Also, Britian, not England have never had a player in the top 3, Oz have had 3. Also, the best ever mens double team, the woodies, were you guessed it, Australian.

    Feeling stupid yet?

    You were throughly dominated by a half-baked Australian performance. Now accept it.

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  • 55. At 11:01am on 17 Nov 2008, fearthemoose wrote:

    Just one point

    Fine player that he is at club level i dont believe Borthwick has done anything to justify himself at international level

    It is different. some thrive on it others do not

    Alas i believe Borthwick falls into the latter

    Repalcing Palmer as opposed to Borthwick was only justifiable if you hold that the captain must play the full 80

    I am a Borthwick fan at club level but really struggle with him whenever i see him doing his bit with england

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  • 56. At 11:17am on 17 Nov 2008, bodhazaffa wrote:

    I dont think Borthwick should remain skipper after this series. There were a number of timed that the team needed someone to grab them 'round and sort it out and he failed to do that. dont know, given the current starting team, who would though. Haskell could be a shout but he doesn't start ...any ideas?

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  • 57. At 11:27am on 17 Nov 2008, t_kimbo5 wrote:


    As I recall, Andy Murray is Scottish? And "tired faded washed out Leyton Hewitt" at least made #1 and ACTUALLY won a Wimbeldon title, more than old Timmy Henman.

    I'd also like to know how many gold medals at the recent Olympics were won by home-grown Englishman? And not made up from the other nations that make Great Britain? The UK also has a population of about Sixty million, which to me, is a pretty ordinary sporting record compared to Australia- as the UK has about four times the population than Australia! So per capita the Aussies have a great record. The Aussies who won gold medals were Aussies and not made up of four nations.

    Yes, the EPL is a great competition, but how many Englishman can you name in the starting side for Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester United- would hardly make up a full side! They are all foreign. With all the money the English pay their soccer stars and with all their resources, they only have one soccer world cup to show for it. Yes, Australia are not a soccer powerhouse, but it took the eventual world champions in Italy to knock them out through a dive in the 90th minute..remember the English only went one round further than Australia. Oh yeah, as I recall, the Aussies beat england in soccer the last time they played!

    The Aussies are awesome at the sports the English invented. They have won more Rugby World cups than the English, dominated cricket for decades and are unstoppable in international Rugby League. Yes, you guys won the ashes in a CLOSE contest in 2005 after years of trying to win it back..but remember, the next summer the English gave it back up in a whitewash of a series. I think it took the English about 17-18 years to regain the ashes, but about 16 months to cough it back up again.

    I do reckon the English rugby team of 2003 was a great team and deserved to win...although, when it comes to sport and performing on a CONSISTENT basis, the Aussies are a great example of this. Over many years the Aussies have consistently performed at the top level, rather than resting their laurels on one or two acheivements i.e. 1966 and 2003.

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  • 58. At 11:34am on 17 Nov 2008, scrphil wrote:

    I've never played rugby so I'm probably talking rubbish, but I don't understand why England never seem to pass the ball along the three-quarter line. Surely the best way of breaking through a good defence is to run at them at pace comitting them to the tackle and then passing short.

    Yet England continually slow their attacks by throwing long passes, missing out players, or running into a pack of players and forming a ruck where it takes precious seconds for the ball to emerge. When it does, the defence has re-formed.

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  • 59. At 11:36am on 17 Nov 2008, FRU1973 wrote:

    Firstly, fair play to the Aussies. They outplayed and out-street smarted the English. They deserved to win. Their back line was quality and they took the opportunities that came their way. But I don't think that the result was quite as clear cut as some of the posters on this page are making out. I'm not an England supporter in any way, shape or form but to say they were given a pasting is not a true reflection of what happened. In many ways England beat themselves. If you give any SH team 10 penalties of which 7 were emminently kickable you are always going to be on a hiding to nothing. Can anyone imagine the England team of 2003 giving away that many?

    England's declared game plan was to take the Aussies on up front. This was always going be a hard ask as having watched the Tri-nations its obvious that Robbie Deans and Michael Foley have given the Aussie scrum a bit of back bone and to say that the hooker Stephen Moore is a find is an understatement. He thoroughly deserved his man of the match award.

    However, England didn't necessarily pick the best team to achieve the game plan. Lee Mears is too small to allow the English front row to have a real go at competing in the scrum - he is a big weak spot as he is so small in comparison to his props. Johnson should have gone with Hartley - a human wrecking ball. Vickery at tight head - a debatable selection on form, fitness and the number of penalties he gives away in the Premiership. Borthwick and Palmer - who is the enforcer, who is the lineout expert? Borthwick looks out of his depth at captain.

    Re. Baxter and his propping issues, well I don't think the match completely laid those to rest. Granted he didn't get d*cked on but he didn't dominate either. He held his own by playing a lot smarter and was obviously helped a lot by having Moore next to him. He forced Sheridan to scrummage a lot lower than he was comfortable with, getting Sheridan's head lower than his hips on several occasions. But he did drop the scrum on more than one occasion, he didn't go in straight and he didn't bind properly for the majority of the game. How, Marius Jonker and his assistants didn't call him up for this is beyond me. It has been illegal for the tighthead to bind on the arm/elbow for more than a few years now. But give Baxter his due, he stood his ground and bearing in mind the pastings he has taken in the past, it takes a brave man to keep returning to the coal face so good on him.

    All in all the best team won on the day. Johnson will iron out the faults and the English will be back. We haven't seen enough yet to know whether they will be back as potential cup winners or not though.

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  • 60. At 11:43am on 17 Nov 2008, confiseur wrote:

    ...quite agree, the ockers are a great sporting nation...

    However as always when they bring up statistics to back up their case they do seem to be 'forgetfull' when they get (occasionally) well tonked by us.

    English world boxing champions...48

    'Australian' ..(look at the names...kostya tszyu etc)....16

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  • 61. At 11:59am on 17 Nov 2008, SavvyBoy wrote:

    Like many on this site I was there also. England had enough opportunities to be out of sight in this game - silly, silly penalties (especially Sackey) gifting away advantage time and again.

    The Oz scrum was marvellous - mashed us although too many rests for my liking.

    The backs made quite a few line breaks but again the cutting edge and ruthless execution were missing. I felt sorry for Noon, he tackled his heart out and whenever he tried to be an attacking force Cipriani took one pace too many and took away his space and pace through Flutey (who in the main was pretty anonymous). Danny needs to pass a ball early and stop crabbing (Care had a habit of doing this also) if we are going to see any effective attack from the centre.

    Awful lineout - bring back Kennedy!

    Gotta laugh at that drop goal attempt from DC - either that or cry! - embarrassing or what?

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  • 62. At 12:15pm on 17 Nov 2008, NewburyBill wrote:

    Martin Johnson has clearly made a fundemental mistake in appointing Steve Bothwick as captain. I have long respected him as a player but in the two games so far this autumn (and in the summer tests) he has failed to show any leadership qualities. Furthermoe, he is currently, not worhy of his place on playing abilities. Nick Kennedy should not have been left out.

    I agree with all the comments about Noon. How he can be considered as an international player is beyond me. However, the real problem on Saturday (both) was the speed of getting the ball into midfield. Care is both unpredictictable and laborious and distribution has never been a strong point in Cipriani's game. Johnson should have another look at Paul Hodgson who has the best scrum half pass in the game combined with great defensive qualities.

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  • 63. At 12:24pm on 17 Nov 2008, EasternVikingRugby wrote:

    Why is it when England lose they explain it by saying they are a 'young developing team'. What sort of excuse is that? You have the biggest pool of players to choose from in the world. The Saxons is for development, not the full England team. Yes you have changed manager and some Senior players have retired, but why pick a fly half who has only just returned from injury and then make excuses for him when he plays badly. He should not have played until he has regained full fitness with Wasps.

    There are problems with the England management/coaching structure, the teams performance should not dip so dramatically when the management is changed. New Zealand never suffer so badly when they change management, they pick the best players for the positions. When a new player/s come in they look as if they have been there for years. I am sure England can also do this if the structure was right.

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  • 64. At 12:27pm on 17 Nov 2008, FRU1973 wrote:

    I don't understand why the English repeatedly get into this jingoistic cr*p everytime they lose, be it at rugby, cricket, football or whatever. Its unnecessary. Once upon a time it would have been a case of losing with honour and winning with pride. These days there seems to be a distinct inability to do either. It was a loss, take it on the chin and come back stronger, you have all the ingredients to do it. It takes a much braver man to hold his head up high and say we weren't good enough on the day.

    England lost because they were naive and gave away too many penalties in their own half. They did not get beaten as much as they beat themselves. They have a quality scrum half, an outstanding fly half in the making. What looks like a good solid number 12, an over-rated and frankly too slow number 13 (although good defensively a poor man's Tom Shanklin) and the makings of a quality back 3 of which Sackey is potentially the weak link now. On the down side Mears isn't big enough, Vickery is either short of match fitness or past it, Sheridan isn't match fit and needs to work on his technique as he can't always rely on his size/strength, Borthwick is over-rated, Palmer never got going, Croft is a bit light-weight going forward, Rees needs to get smarter and Easter is better than he looks although possibly not the best man available.

    Despite all this England had the majority of possession, the better of territory, made more yardage, more line breaks and more carries. It was a joy to watch the English take the game to the Aussies. Not a sight that rugby fans see often!! If England cut out the errors, retain the ball better (they got turned over 17 times) and take their opportunities they will be a joy to watch and will win games like this weekend's.

    Be happy, it looks like the future could be bright.

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  • 65. At 12:30pm on 17 Nov 2008, bonnier8 wrote:

    Well thank you 'glosglosglos', someone needed to write what you have. Absolutely spot on. Please all read post 27 - enough said

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  • 66. At 1:16pm on 17 Nov 2008, Mark B wrote:

    Care and Cipriani both did good things, but did not do the basics correctly, which is unforgiveable against top class opposition. Too many penalties were conceded for stupid reasons (Sackey springs to mind with a ridiculous offisde).

    Finally, there was no variation in the game plan until Cipriani and Care were replaced by Flood and Ellis. Flood tried to turn the defence which Cipriani hadn't tried once, with little chip and chases. A little bit of variety would have maybe sewed seeds of doubt;

    We have to say though that the Southern hemisphere sides have all played a lot more rugby under these new rules than we have, and as such we are still learning.

    Let's take one positive though from this, Armitage looks like he's been playing at 15 for England for years. Confident under the high ball, some great tackles and a decent turn of pace. If only his kicking were a tad better....

    The autumn will be long, but I am full of anticipation for the 6 Nations.

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  • 67. At 1:17pm on 17 Nov 2008, james gurd wrote:

    It was a hard day as an England fan at Twickers sat amongst the Aussie fans! I don't think the better team necessarily won, it was the more clinical and structured team that triumphed.

    I think the scrum control by the ref was shocking. However, Australia reacted and England, yet again, ploughed on regardless and were penalised. Baxter didn't destroy Sheridan, he simply turned the breakdown to his advantage by playing the ref. Shrewd rather than sporting prowess.

    For me the match winners were Giteau, Mortlock and Smith. Giteau is the best fly half in the world (Dan Carter shines when his pack shines) and showed it. Cipriani has the potential but not the experience and needs to put his head up when things are tough and make better decisions.

    My biggest frustration is with Vickery, a shadow of his former best. He gives away needless penalties, repeats the same errors and his scrummaging skills have deserted him. Johnson needs to put Matt Stevens, arguably one of the best props in world rugby, back in his rightful place and bring a more dynamic approach to our forwards.

    My stand out performance for England has to be Delon Armitage. Faultless under the high ball, resolute under pressure and looked very sharp each time he attacked. We have a gifted 15 for the future.

    Overall, signs of promise from England but Australia took away a hard fought but in the end deserved victory.

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  • 68. At 1:25pm on 17 Nov 2008, wheelybad wrote:

    Well done to the Wallabies - as much as it hurts me to say it. They played as a well organised team and capatilised on England's mistakes. I was expecting a bit of a pounding from them though. Obviously they are not at their best at the moment, but a good test for the new players in the England team. I hope Johnson sticks with the same team to give them a chance. I think Cipriani is an exciting young talent, but he's no where as good as Wilkinson. Sheridan, one of my favourite players is just too tall for the front row. His strength is keeping him in the side and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does against NZ.

    Come On England!

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  • 69. At 1:52pm on 17 Nov 2008, exflyhalf wrote:

    From where I was sitting it looked like the Australian front three were going to ground at first contact and the ref just opted out. The only scrum I saw that the Wallabies kept up was when they were attacking near the England line .I don't think Borthwick had enough clout with the ref - it looked as though the streetwise Aussies had got his wavelength early on and were more adaptable. The game was a lot closer than the papers say - the stupid penalties made the difference including at least one that the ref seemed to reverse. A better test will be next week when we get a decent ref - I would keep the team intact.

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  • 70. At 2:05pm on 17 Nov 2008, bigginge91 wrote:

    i was dissapointed with englands performance but there was one ommission which i was disapointed and surprised with and that was kennedy. he had a great debut and england seriously needed him in the lineouts to gain a platform for the match. i would expect johnno to bring him back next week and would be very dissapointed if he didn't.

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  • 71. At 2:17pm on 17 Nov 2008, Reflect_on_sport wrote:

    England were poor, their thinking and execution of a plan was shambolic. I feel MJ should go with the new blood and give them a chance.

    England rugby are suffering from the same issues the footballers are - they read the press who claim all sorts of rubbish about performance etc and they start to belive the hype.

    Australia followed the golden rules.
    1. Rugby is a simple game when executed correctly, tackle, catch, kick, pass etc.
    2. Ausssies were faster to the breakdown.
    3. The Aussie team were playing to the same plan and they all knew the plan.
    4. They applied the KISS philosphy - Keep It Simple Stupid.

    The AB and BOKS do the same - watch out England.

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  • 72. At 3:08pm on 17 Nov 2008, westbouy wrote:

    I actually thought the Aussies were very good and dealt with the negative English press in the very best way possible by playing well and showing their mettle on the field.

    There's a lot of baiting on here which gets mis-interpreted as confrontational by a few poor souls.

    When Oz wins they stick it to the English and vice versa... Sport would be a lot more boing without this rivalry I think... Think Eng v Germany in the football.

    I'm English by the way which means, subject to the ref being any good, we'll beat you whinging Aussies next time... geddit....

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  • 73. At 5:02pm on 17 Nov 2008, stellarjp wrote:

    In reference to No. 54, I would like to point out that when British teams inevitably lose against a nation with so little else going on that it has to concentrate solely on sport, we go back to being a world leader in other, much, much, much more important matters.
    Know your place, sunshine. Sport is just another thing we've got on our plate. Love ya. xxxxxx

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  • 74. At 10:26pm on 17 Nov 2008, akaeyenstien wrote:

    I think England failed to respect the Wallabies in the lead up to the match. Martin Johnson said that he was more worried by the pacific islander game than the Australian game. Now, either that was reverse psychology or Johnson has been in too many rucks and mauls down the years.
    If England had done their research they would have noted that the Wallabies took two tightheads off the French pack in Australia earlier this year and then matched the All Blacks later on. The big difference has been Benn Robinson at loose head. He, more then any, has slipped under the radar. With all due respect to Johnson, I think England need an older and wiser head leading them. Perhaps Johnson could be an understudy to the main coach for a while and then step up later. He is too close to the players in age, currently. Coaching takes a lot of learning too. Johnson could be a good coach, but is he ready yet?
    In terms of the game, I was surprised that England didn't use the rolling maul more often. That has been one of their strengths in the past. They seemed to be giving the ball to the backs at every opportunity and this played into the Wallabies' hands, really. They need to plan better and analyse their opponents more thoroughly.

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  • 75. At 03:48am on 18 Nov 2008, notachucker wrote:


    I know my place, and yes it is in the sunshine. As much as I would love to debate you on the small matters of minimum wage, literacy ratings, standard of living ect, all of which are much higher in Australia, this is a sport forum.

    I have been to your country, with a comment like yours, I doubt you have been to mine. Take some time off, come visit, and see for yourself, and if you ever leave again remember how nice is was in the sunshine.

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  • 76. At 09:02am on 18 Nov 2008, akaeyenstien wrote:

    To: "Stellarjp"

    I seem to recall some estimate of approximately 15 million people in England being glued to their TV sets during the 2003 World Cup of Rugby final in Sydney. Sport, it seems, was just about the only thing on people's minds in England on that occasion. Winning seems to be the key issue, don't you think, especially when you have that expectation?
    That warm feeling of victory is fairly universal to human nature everywhere.

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  • 77. At 10:34am on 18 Nov 2008, sakattack wrote:

    paulfcarr, dont start this nonsense about rugby being a try scoring game. The whole point of rugby is that you have more than one way of scoring points. If you don't like it, please don't try and change it. What you should do instead is watch another sport because people should not be trying to change rugby union too much otherwise it will be ruined. ELV's so far have just led to a kicking farce with fullbacks kicking it to fullbacks because they can't kick it out on the full...rubbish. It hasn't allowed more running rugby, it just means people kick more.

    ozsportnut, go comment with your jubilant Australian friends (if you have any) instead of just taking the mick. You could also follow your own sports more closely and watch the Australian football team lose to China again in the 2010 world cup qualifiers. I also haven't seen a decent Aussie tennis player since hewitt...don't start this please.

    Lets be honest as well, can anyone really tell exactly what's going on in the scrum? I bet if you asked 10 experienced front rowers from different countries you would get dramatic differences in opinion.

    On a slightly more relevant note, why do the papers say that Danny Cipriani is an 'England star'? It's ridiculous that the media are hyping this guy up so much. He's awesome at club level great, but the fact is he has done nothing to prove he has this 'star' potential at international test level. I only hope this and his ability to tackle will come with experience because as JG said in his column it's going to be scary having Nonu running at him.

    I also don't understand why Nick Easter is so underrated?! I don't think I've ever seen him get flattened in test rugby, he always manages to stay on his feet and was solid against Australia at the weekend. Flutey showed a glimpse of what he is capable of doing (standing any player up) with that awesome sidestep until he met Mortlock. That was an awesome tackle! I agree with most people when it comes to Noon though, he lacks any kind of dynamism that is needed in this day and age. Where has Hipkiss gone?

    All in all Australia did deserve to win on Saturday and i don't think any intelligent English rugby supporter really believed deep down that a victory was possible.

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  • 78. At 12:32pm on 18 Nov 2008, RedofRugby wrote:

    Well, well, well...

    I actually recorded the game and watched it lastnight, after having seen the result and press coverage etc. (Mate of mine had tickets for Murrayfield, so was up there on Saturday!)

    What I was expecting - from the press reports, and from most blogs / forums etc, was to see England crumbling and clueless, and totally outplayed! Now I'm not going to profess that England were "good" on Saturday, BUT (and it's a big but) - look at the bigger picture people?! In the last 9 months, England have gone from no-hopers in the 6-nations, thrashings in NZ and to SA at the RWC, to (somehow!) dragging themselves to the final, changing coach, and now losing to Oz by four penalties! There were a lot of mistakes on Saturday, yes. The scrum was creaky to say the least, yes. Cips is way off his best and should be given more club games to get his confidence back, yes. But there are glimpses. Small ones, but glimpses all the same...

    Armitage looks to be a revelation at 15 - which would solve a long-standing issue for the set-up. Croft had a good game on Saturday, and his defence is good - mainly cos he's one of the quickest on the park! The centres still aren't right, but Flutey shows promise - maybe with someone like Tait lined up alongside him, we'd see much more flair and creativity? (Forgive the following comments - I'm NOT a forward...) Mears was good. Has carried well, and combines well with Stevens when he's on! Let the boy play! Vickery is not the force he used to be in International rugby. Sheridan - again - shows inconsistency. Borthwick is a lump and also perhaps past his best? HOW do we solve the back-row imbalance?!

    All in all I think the signs are promising for Johnno. Don't forget he's a novice coach, so will also be learning all the time. I think we will know an awful lot more once the Saffers and AB's have been to HQ - those who have performed well already must carry that form through these games, and those who need to improve - must improve.

    Might not be such a bad idea to (dare I say this?) - judge them on the next RWC?!?!

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  • 79. At 4:51pm on 18 Nov 2008, OzbornBritbased wrote:


    My surname is Dunbar but I was born in Australia of British (English) parents ... does this mean that I am not Australian??

    I can assure you that I am a proud aussie and even though I have dual nationality, I class myself always as an Australian.

    BTW, where was the current England Cricket Captain born?!? Hmmmm

    As for the debate about this last match, comments have been made about the match not meaning a lot and that the real test is at the upcoming WC. Nonsense. I was always brought up with the ethos that you should win everything. A win is a win and it builds momentum (self belief/confidence) - which is important to any sportsperson.

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