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Grand Slam glory

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posted Mar 15, 2008

He is brilliant,,and my man of the tournament.

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posted Mar 15, 2008

ok calm down a bit. Wales have done well, but its not as if you have won the world cup or anything.

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posted Mar 15, 2008

lol well athro10....'66 is a long time ago....and England have not come close since, so match for match I think Wales have the upper hand..btw I am English !! but had a Welsh g grandad...so that tiny bit of Welsh blood is coursing through my veins today....loud and proud !!!!!

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posted Mar 15, 2008

we are talking rugby not football. And what makes you think i was making any reference to England? our world cup win must be fresh in your memory. I was saying that one grand slam is hardly a reason to erect a statue etc etc. Wales fully deserved to grand slam, hopefully now they can go onto compete with the best nations, when they are at their best.

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posted Mar 15, 2008

athro10 - I'll take consistent Grand Slam wins over one world cup win any day . Because let's face it, England winning the world cup was a one-off and isn't going to become a habit -not with the bunch of idiots you've got in the team at the moment.

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posted Mar 15, 2008

yawn.......sorry forgot about the rugby......so used to everyone droning on about the footie world cup lol

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posted Mar 15, 2008

It'll be interesting to see how the Ospreys play from now on in the HC, EDF and the Magners. With so many of them having come under the influence of Gatland and Edwards will they revert to the Lyn Jones approach or will he have the sense to emulate - or try to emulate - what has been so successful in the Six Nations and what so many of his squad are now used to, and good at?

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posted Mar 15, 2008

what does elissade think about losing sorry being hammered by wales after all were not new zealand or australia are we

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posted Mar 16, 2008

When Tom Fordyce talks of Williams and Edwards I cannot resist harking back to the 1970s when their namesakes were household names ! Welsh rugby is sparkling again - this little appreciation from a Sri Lankan.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

message to athro 10. If England had won the grand Slam ,they would be looking to put a day off to celebrate in the calendar,and all the players would have been given knighthoods . Methinks athro 10 has the sour grapes about him.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

2 Grandslams in 4 years.. i'd say that is pretty good considering how bad we were inbetween them.

England however since 2003 have done what...?

Since 2005, Wales have beaten England 3 out of 4 competitive matches. We lost recently pre-world cup with a side of which only a handful of players made the world cup squad, but if you want that one, i'm willing to change it to Wales have beaten England 3 out of 5 matches.

I can see a consistency forming, and its not in Englands favour really

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posted Mar 16, 2008

The Ospreys are going to possibly become one of the best teams in europe...maybe the best... they are wales and are getting beter and beter with international experience and possibly the best defence in europe now along with europes best winger.....

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Great Welsh victory again...amazing the difference a coach can make to the same set of players!! Still so happy the Clown Jenkins was sacked. Da iawn Gatland, Edwards and Howley. Calm down a bit on Shane's try...good but surely a kick and chase is a better description than "genius"?

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Without sounding too nationalistic, is that being in Cardiff when Wales win the grand slam is just an amazing feeling, something that the english cannot recreate, because not 100% of the population is involved emotionally... where as in Cardiff your surrounded by happy people...

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Ease up rugbybabe11, Athro's got a point - don't be so prickly! (and although England's last GS seems a long time ago now, I don't remember a clamour for knighthoods at the time or anyone calling for National Holidays). I'm English and I love watching Shane Williams play. Squinty eyed parochialism aside, there is a lot to be said for the England development system seeming amply capable of churning out beefy blokes good at set plays and executing pre-planned skills, but not so much finding room for little guys who 'feel' the game and take risks. Englands game is very structured, risk averse and attritional, based on keeping the scoreboard ticking over whilst the forwards bully the opposition pack and then maybe start chucking the ball about when the scoreline is beyond reasonable doubt. Limited but effective if it's all going to plan and will usually keep a reverse respectable - if it's not though we're pretty well screwed. Oddly, the clubs sides can play quite openly. ANYWAY the Welsh team play differently, more open, quicker about the park, seeing broken play as an opportunity to attack not as a potential liabilty to be closed down. a team like that can't be written off even 15 points down, but then neither can they always be expected to be able to defend a 15 point lead. A Wales team in open play, with confidence, is a great sight to see and for me Shane Williams has been a one man answer to us not needing any new laws. A game in which he and Andrew Sheridan can share the same pitch and both do their thing is a great advert for the game.

Athro's point about not getting carried away is imo pretty crucial just now! There's been a lot of false dawns and the debacle of RWC07 isn't SO far away - good teams don't become bad overnight and bad don't become good. The truth is Gatland and Edwards have remarked on how surprisingly 'easy' it has been and mentioned the team has 'overachieved' this year. With France and England in (painful) transition,Ireland in need of some fresh direction also and the Italians and Scots really only capable of keeping everyone honest this year, it was a good year for the Welsh to win it. It would be more impressive still when Wales can pull off a GS against what is recognised as a strong field! This GS isn't devalued by the other teams being a relative shambles - it's a huge step in the right direction and bodes well for the future and is an achievement in itself, but it can't be ignored that the other teams cr@pness was a larger than normal factor. Unfortunately the RWC has become the Holy Grail for the Big Teams, not so much the yearly hemispherical(?) tournaments, hence teams are building towards that. This is a fantastic start for Wales to establishing possibly one of their really Great teams, and everyone would rather win it than not, but alas in light of the RWC the 6N and even the GS isn't the be all and end all that it once was, and even less so this year with the field in post RWC transition. I have every confidence that Gatland and Edwards will keep your boys feet on the ground, keep some perspective (which has been a problem in the past)and demand more from them next year - and hopefully after so many false dawns Wales can compete consistantly at the top, which can only be good for everyone.

As for PontyPandy - England have featured in half the World Cup Finals held mate, that's not so bad as a measure of consistancy either. We were only one of 2 teams who could have won the last one in the end with largely the same 'bunch of idiots'! Imagine what we might do when we sort ourselves out? ;)

Apologies for the somewhat all encompassing rambling nature. killing time whilst the bacon cooked hmmmmmm bacon.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

I was there, with my Dad, and it was the most glorious thing I have ever seen. From the power of the singing of the national anthem to the euphoria at the end of the match...it was incredible.

I hope Jeremy Guscott got a ribbing from Jonathan Davies, after saying that we would never win the grand slam this year!

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posted Mar 16, 2008

I don't think that's too Nationalistic at all PaulJose! You guys Feel your rugby more as a whole and for a small population investing a chunk of it's national identity through your rugby team you've every right to go nuts when you win big. I'm just surprised so many of you are on this morning ;) sore head?

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posted Mar 16, 2008

With France and England mixing and experimenting so much you have to ask yoursef if the 6 nations is becoming like the FA cup - secondary to the world cup.
The intencity of the sport produces more injuries than ever. An in depth squad for the WC of say 40 players is nessecery. Not 15 fell gelled stars.
Are we seeing a 4 yearly pattern developing?

Or are huge sums of money exchanging hands to throw results?

Well done Whales.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

RowlandC - I think that's a pretty good assessment. Wales certainly deserved the Grand Slam and I don't think anyone with a rugby brain could deny they were the best team in the tournament.
Gatland and Edwards have transformed the team... how did England ignore them, especially Edwards? Wales now seem to have a great defence to match their excellent attacking play.
But their opposition was pretty dire. France and England need to regroup and reshuffle their teams (and coaches?), as do Ireland. Italy are, well, Italy, and Scotland were rubbish. None of them were anywhere near the best, consisitently.
Wales took their chances, and how.

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comment by Jake (U204185)

posted Mar 16, 2008

Well I for one have a sore head, and think 2 grand slams in 4 years is every reason to celebrate, erect statues and party for a year. Overachievers? Hardly. Heroes. All of them.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Unfortunately Red, i think you're right about the RWC. I think it does overshadow everything now, at least for the teams who think they've a chance of winning it. The 6N is still important and a GS is still a fantastic achievement, but given the choice of a GS or a World Cup win I don't think you'd get many people taking the former over the latter. However, it was all that was on offer this year so hats off to the team that wanted it the most and played some good stuff along the way :) I think if this Wales team can build on this and still be beating the Big 2 a year or so before the next RWC when assuming we've found some proper direction and are back to fancying ourselves a bit again, a GS then will be an even greater achievement than this years, not least because it'll put down a marker that Wales are actually contenders for the Big One as well.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

South - i wish i knew how we let Edwards go! The chippy wigan orc is a genius i tells ya! I for one will be starting a 'Bring Him Home' campaign...

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comment by Licquor (U1691495)

posted Mar 16, 2008

If only Shaun Edwards had gone to the right school ;)

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posted Mar 16, 2008

There's a lot of people argueing that a grand slam isn't what it was, personally I beg to differ. Whenever one is won you can always point to other nations being in transition, having an off day or just being rubbish at that time. They still have to be won they are never given away. That the great English team of Johnson rarely won it shows how difficult it is. Could this Wales team compete with all the Southern Hemisphere teams? Unlikely, but then northern hemisphere teams rarely can (why else do the lions exist.) True England did in 2003 and won the world cup, but SA were terrible at the time and Oz and NZ were average. Funny how no-one remembers that just that England won the world cup as people will remember in2008Wales won the grand slam.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

what's with the '2 in 4'? If anything I reckon you should be daring to think bigger! '1 in a row!' why not? Apart from Englands last game against an Ireland that faded badly did anyone see anything for the Welsh to fear next season?!

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comment by Pete (U1618662)

posted Mar 16, 2008

Next time I have a place in which to stay dry and drink beer, I'm gonna stay there. The decision to decamp from Metros to Walkabout was not a good one.

Ended up back out of the city but cracking atmosphere. And finishing the night with Irish, English, Welsh and French fans in Dempseys was great craic.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Wales IS his finishing school isn't it? ;)

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posted Mar 16, 2008

This "a Grand Slam isn't what it used to be" line (spouted almost exclusively by Englishmen for some reason) is total horse manure. I 100% guarantee that if it had been England winning a Grand Slam you wouldn't have heard a single person saying it (however condescendingly they may protest otherwise). Tell you what, if it's so easy let's see you lot have a go at it next year. Further (and in any case) an attitude that internationals don't really matter so much unless they're in the world cup (apart from bearing no relation to the reality for the players who desperately want to win every game) is a really sad indictment on those fair-weather supporters who had never heard of the game before 2003.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Streisand, sure you expect a certain amount of natural churn in teams, but England since RWC03 and now it seems France are taking the time immediately after the world cup as era changing. Given these 2 countries have been the Teams To Beat in the 6N in the last 10 years or so, the fact they're now apparently working to a 4 year plan means this year, immediately after a world cup, is a good time to play them. They're not easy games and it's still a big deal, but you've got to be realistic about the fact that those 2 aren't looking to win the 6N at all costs year in year out anymore and have their sights fixed on a larger prize. Just as Johnson's team in '03 did.

Winning the GS was important that year because it had become a monkey on their back after being the dominant 6N team for years but not pulling off it off. Going into a cup competition where being the best 'on aggregate over 4 years' doesn't count, they wanted that unfinished business taken care of, but it was the final piece of the jigsaw of their 4 year World Cup preparation not the end goal itself.

Whether we like it or not, the rugby world has moved on and the RWC is now the top prize going. The GS is still a great achievement in itself, but it isn't the pinnacle it once was, even if we WOULD all love to have one ta very much! :)

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posted Mar 16, 2008

gatland and edwards were class at wasps and now have brought it to the international game. fair play to wales they thoroughly deserved the grand slam and its just reward for the coaching staff who, rarely, are getting more praise than the players!

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Oops, actually meant 'since RWC99' in that last post.

To further labour the point. Given the choice between a Grand Slam now or a World Cup Win in 2011, which would you choose?

How about '2 in 4' or a World Cup Win in 2011?

How about back to back Grand Slams or a World Cup Win in 2011??

Or even back to back GS's vs a place in the final?!

Personally I know which I'd want and realistic or not given their current form (certainly Englands in the 6N for the last few years) i think England and France are thinking along the same lines. We've seen already that in the last RWC and away vs France this comp that England CAN win if they play a certain way, but they're trying to get away from playing in such a predictable, rigid way hence the appointment of Ashton in the first place, Perry at FB, LV on the wing etc. Players for these 2 teams are now judged on a) whether they're going to be serious options for the next RWC b) if not, is their continued presence going to help or hinder the progression of players who WILL be options. If they flunk that, frankly, they're pretty much put out to pasture these days even if they could be used to win us a 6N or two before they're past their sell by date

Different mentalities. Arrogant? maybe... but there's nowt wrong with daring to dream of the biggest prize of all (if you're don't, what's wrong with you??). I'm one Englishman who hopes Wales kick on and establish themselves as serial contenders, whether that garners a 6N or a GS is a nice side issue, so there's 3N vs 3S in with a shout come the next World Cup! '2 in 4' is to ignore the Other 2 years and the debacle of the last world cup with largely the same group of players. The last GS was an opportunity to to kick on not fully made the most of I think, it would be a shame to see that happen again to such a talented generation of players.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

'they're trying to get away from playing in such a predictable, rigid way hence the appointment of Ashton in the first place, Perry at FB, LV on the wing etc'
1. Scotland
2. LV? English?
Let us enjoy it for a while while you read the english press who i'm sure mention only Danny Cipriati!

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Rowland C England post 2003 came to the end of their time as a team. They haven't used the time since to experiment because they are too obsessed with winning (after yesterday all is alright again according to the papers do you really think so?). France have experimented this year to a ridiculous extent imo, but their team Saturday was lauded as the strongest they currently have (minus Heymans imo.) Ireland have to rebuild I think and hopefully the Scots and Italians can find decent no,10s soon. All a team can do is play the opposition in front of them, ask one of the current England team if they're not taking the competition seriously see what their answer is. To win a championship is difficult (ask Ireland)a grand slam even more so. Almost every week in this one Wales were going to get stuffed (I thought so myself for the Ireland and England games )yet at the end of it when they had won everyone else was average, imploded or not really taking the competition seriously. I honestly believe the southern hemisphere is way ahead at present but even if only the best of a bad bunh Wales deserve immense credit. For individuals to come out stating it in some way devalues the grand slam that Wales won it or it's not really an achievement at all is just nonsense.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Dai:

TRYING to haha. Days were we knew what to do in wet weather, and it's embarrasing to hear England complaining about the weather in the same way the French did after our semi-final win in '03. The Scotland game was just plain embarrasing. To rub it in the Scottish out Englanded the English! 2 line breaks the entire game to nil... and we still lost. yuk. Ashton coached teams have customarily been good attacking sides and Perry is better going forward than he is in defence... but you wouldn't believe it would you?

As for LV... don't get me started. It's wrong wrong wrong. I'm sure he's a lovely fella but IMO he shouldn't be playing for us at all but as he is you'd think we'd try and make the most of him.

By all means enjoy it and more power to your drinking arm, that's the fans' perogative! What is interesting this time around is how the players and coaches are talking - already about the future and the odd mention of not doing things the way they were done before. Wales future couldn't be much brighter! (muttermuttermutter)

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posted Mar 16, 2008

One more thing(as Columbo would say) its ridiculous to say sides are building for the next world cup when the previous one has just finished. If players are good enough they still play (France had retirements the coach didn't discard his old guard.) If a coach doesn't care about winning he's unlikely to stay until the next WC anyway (O'Sullivan signed a four year contract you think he'll still be there?) As well as that injuries and loss of form will result in great changes of personnel. All a coach can do is develop systems and styles of play (which is why Ashton has been so disappointing no evidence of either yet.)The six nations before the WC will see the good sides come through and the desperate experiment. Lievremonts goal this year was not the WC but to get France playing rugby again after Laporte so he had no choice but to gamble.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

oh, dear, tom. this gives journalism a bad name. you will know what hyperbole is, but do not recognise it as you write it. can't we have a grown-up commentator, please?
cheers.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Streisand: hey now, i haven't said the players weren't taking the competition or the games seriously. I've not said it's easy to win a Grand Slam either. The RFU's long term goal has been to win the World Cup again though - i don't think the same can be said of the WRFU, and i think that leads to a slightly different plans being put in place.

England 97-99 were all about building for the RWC, by Woodward's admission. Judge me on the World Cup he kept saying. Well we got drop kicked to death there but he got another chance. 99-03 was again ALL about building for the 03 world cup.

Post '03 when it became clear CW's plan to retain it was too steep a price for the suits to pay (plus shenanigans with 'broken deals' with between the RFU and Prem clubs) he left and the less able or visionary Robinson was brought in. His brief was to build the side to retain the cup - that's fact. That he had his maintstays leave and got bogged down in needing to establish some momentum by winning at all costs doesn't detract from what his long term goal was supposed to be. Neil Back was one of those players left out in the cold by CW post 2003 who could have offered more to England - but he failed the Will He Be Playing In The Next World Cup criteria.

Robinson was ousted before the World Cup because he'd been given enough time to establish some progression and we were in danger of going down as the Worst Defending Champions Ever. We were mind numbingly plodding, hence Ashton being parachuted in for fresh impetus, resulting in a series of backs against the wall acts of Forward belligerance out and an unlikely Final appearance.

Now he's charged with building us back up and getting us playing well enough to challenge for 2011 - although it's not all going to plan just now.

The dull potted history is just to illuminate the multiples of 4 England are working to nowadays, as i believe are France. There is a bigger prize to be won and England think they can win it. How do you turn around a failing team? Look around anywhere, in any sport, and they'll start with 'making ourselves tough to beat', then 'learn to win ugly' and THEN push on to expressing themselves in the way they want too. Robinson IMO got bogged down in trying to win tight and ugly - THAT, it turned out, WAS his vision. Clearly his associations with Bath as a player didn't garner him the requisite appreciation of how best to unleash his Backs.

The fact that England have lost all the impetus the '03 win could have given them and have been bouncing between 'Hard to beat' and 'winning ugly' ever since doesn't detract from the fact the RFU's eyes are set on the Ultimate prize these days, not just in winning a grand slam - although god knows if you offered one at the moment they would bite your arm off. We've been so long in the relative wilderness now i expect there to be a shift of emphasis next year and for us to rein in our targets to winning the 6N again, hopefully with the Grand Slam. Possibly with Jake White in charge depending on what happens in the Autumn tests.

I don't know about Wales going to get stuffed every week - I didn't think that. The comeback to win against England was an excellent springboard to build up some great momentum which they took with aplomb. Winning is a great habit to get into after all, and one England have been without for some time.

But you really CANNOT ignore Gatland and Edwards own remarks of surprise at how it was easier than they expected, that the target had been 3rd and that the team overacheived. They were clearly expecting 2 of Eng/Ire/Fra to show more strongly than they did. It's not that those teams were entirely rubbish so Wales Grand Slam is worthless, just as it isn't that all those teams were brilliant so Wales were ULTRA brilliant. Wales got their act together and beat what was in front of them - can't say fairer than that. I don't see what's wrong with saying that England and France's World Cup plan reshuffling and possible underestimation of Wales didn't work in your favour. I'm sure there are far more Welshies today who said they always had faith your boys would come against England at half-time, than you could have found on the day haha

You got a bit of luck along the way, but there's nowt wrong with that. Not as much as some say, but also not as little as others might suggest either. You've still got to have the goods to capitalise and exploit which is what your boys did and did well. It doesn't detract, it's just one of those things - if England and France want to dck about firefighting whilst dreaming of the World Cup or randomly experiment till the vaches come home that's their look out. I really don't see how that denigrates the achievement lol

good lord i do go on

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posted Mar 16, 2008

last one :) Streisand again, sorry all: you've got to ask WHY those players retired when they did? Did they really not have 1 more year left in them? of course! but both England and France lost players, some jumped, some pushed, to make room. Some stuck around until viable alternatives were bedded in.

Eddy signed a 4 year contract sure, do i think he'll see it out? lol, no!, but look when he signed it? Another 4 years to take them to the next World Cup. It's just the way teams and more importantly the RFUs are going now.

Lievrement is trying to get some style back sure, trying to establish a team playing in a French way rather than the Laporte defence oriented way that fell short twice (judged on world cups, as they were in France). I'll bet you a pint he's on a 4 year contract with a mind to 2011? ;)

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posted Mar 16, 2008

I don't see why we need to choose between winning 6N championships and world cups. Surely the best way to build towards a world cup is to consistently play against the best opposition available, in meaningful competitions, and win. Winning is a habit. This "building for the future" mantra is being over-used and misused. It should be used simply to describe the need for a sane domestic and international structure which allows and encourages the development of excellent players on a rolling basis. More narrowly it could mean the development of a trust and respect between the national squad and the coaching team. What it doesn't mean (or certainly shouldn't mean) is that nothing really matters except one competition every four years. Thinking that way is a recipe for disaster. SCW's formula wasn't that: it was promoting excellence and a winning attitude all the time

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posted Mar 16, 2008

It's also quite unrealistic to expect a nation like Wales to be happy for long with a "wait 4 years and then let's see" mentality. We have had numerous coaches in recent years saying that, mainly to cover their own backs. We want to win every game, and rightly so: finally we seem to have a coaching team that has a similar attitude. You have to always remember that rugby is to Wales as football is to England: it isn't just a game

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Firstly I can't believe the RFU have a long term goal, kept that well hidden. Second I didn't say you said certain statements just that they're being said. Third, like I said it's styles of play that are important so that's what coaches develop and find their players along the way (look at some of the dross England used under Clive before finding the right combinations.) Personally though I think you have to do the two at the same time. You choose the best personnel to win games, not always possible to field them due to injuries and the like (Englands players club duties severely restrict the national side.) Sides will always have transitional periods that's the nature of sport but Woodward's England tried to win every game (won a high proportion of them too to be fair,)and certainly no mention was made of how poor sides were (Wales for one,)at that time so it seems a little one eyed that for many England supporters their championships were somehow more important or against more worthy opposition. England were better in 2003 than now because they had better players to choose from. People can say they're building toward the next world cup and the like but until you can discover players of that level of quality and leadership(and perhaps a better coach) they wont be able to challenge consistently for honours again.

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comment by w32e31 (U2806885)

posted Mar 16, 2008

Seems like the English writers are trying to make little of the 6N this year. Could it be because they were out of it by the end of the first week? <laugh>

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posted Mar 16, 2008

I'm currently working in Pretoria and so looking forward to seeing Wales here. I agree with previous comments about the WC. Ridiculous at this stage. Ironic after recent debate, that the 6N GS team will play the SH WC champs, not once, but twice in June. Hope we can field the full team (and if Mr S Edwards and WG tells them to, I expect they will will obey orders to tour).
Congratulations Wales. Looking at the table, we left the others standing. Lets show those lippy, moaning English who harp on about the WC that we can match SA in June.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

If england has a long term goal, why is Brain Ashton still the coach?? I think the argument is put to bed with that question.

Wales were the best team, with the best coaches and the best players.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

"oh, dear, tom. this gives journalism a bad name. you will know what hyperbole is, but do not recognise it as you write it. can't we have a grown-up commentator, please?
cheers."

Grown-up beeb forum writer? I doubt it - just look at "Robbo" and Graham Bell, embarrassing to think the license fee pays their wages

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posted Mar 16, 2008

I don't disagree Matt, getting into the habit of winning is a great groove to be in. The 'Building for the Future' thing is as overused as the 'we'll learn from this and build on it' one that gets trotted out. I also don't like that the RWC has become the be all and end all - never mind the 6N, do you remember when Summer tours and Autumn tests were MORE than just 'development' games? It's good to hear Wales saying their SA tour in the summer ISN'T going to be that and that they're going their to win. I know it means worlds to the fans, but you have to wonder if the players have always thought they could go to those places and do much more than 'show willing'. There's been times IMO when the appearance of giving it a go has been allowed to be seen as enough, which is a tragic waste of the talent you've got at the moment. For a small country, you've got a hell of a team, by anyone's standards, and it would be a real shame to not push them to seeing what they can really do. I think Gatland and Edwards can will get you awfully close to your potential, which to be fair even the players seem hungrier to do than they did in '05 (from a distance, although you'll know more about that than me)

And as for the football analogy, yup i can see that. But previous teams have been let off with the fallback that if they beat England, especially if you beat us well, then it doesn't matter quite so much if you lost to Ireland and France in the same season. The fact that's disappeared from the team somewhat in recent years, albeit still being the first fixture the fans look for i'm sure ;), is for me the surest sign that Wales are able to step up. Wales is a small country, but not a small people and it doesn't have to have small dreams. The mentality of 'as long as we beat England' is strictly small-time thinking, even if it is satisfying in the short-term. This team is better than that i think, and given that beating England is hardly a 'once in a blue moon' occurance just now I think you're entitled to demand more. A Grand Slam is a great start... but i don't think that's the ceiling of this team's capabilities or ambition, now Gatland and Edwards are in place.

What message would a summer tour win in SA send out?? It would be a big ask, your squad size might let you down for it, but consistant good showings in the 6N (Winning it or GS's aside), successful tours down under... and why NOT a serious contender for the World Cup? If you had a couple of losses in the 6N along the way to a World Cup final showing, you'd take it wouldn't you?? If you're the personnel to be crowned the World Cup Champions, why settle for anything less?

I guess I'm fudging around the old 'England Expects...' thing. We often get called Arrogant for that, but there's nowt wrong with it really. Why not 'Wales Expects...'?

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Last one (i promise!) to my mucker Streisand:

I didn't say we were getting it right :) there IS a disconnect between what we are capable of and our, imo, too lofty goals just now. We need to get back to winning and getting some momentum going again. Not that they weren't trying to win before, of course they were, but it appears this team only does well under a seige mentality, playing F U stuff it up your jumper stuff, dunkirk spirit backs to the wall stuff. As we are England we will get criticised whatever we do, so we may as well win. Our back division has arguably more potential than the 03 crew, but you wouldn't know it as you rarely see them playing. It takes an irreverant precocious 20yr old to spend 24 hours telling the forwards exactly what he wants before you start seeing a glimpse (in nice weather, obviously ;))

If we entertain 2011 aspirations we're going to have bring more than belligerant forward play at SOME point, but to get us back on track that might be just what we have to do if we can't get the left hand talking to the right. Although Ashton isnt' notably a forwards coach, wheras a certain Jake White knows all about having good but crimincally underutilised Backs, a game built on Forward domination and impossible expectations.

Ashton bought himself time by being at the helm to get us to the RWC final and saving some people at the RFU some serious eggy faces, winning away in France and beating Ireland - teams that have recently been strong. But in the con column is the nillng vs SA, the diabolical performance vs Scotland, the collapse against Wales from a superior if not dominant position, and generally making other teams look better than they are when you see them against anyone else! I reckon he's bought himself the Autumns but if it's more of the same i'd not be surprised to see him gone by the time the next 6N comes around.

that's more than enough from me, i'm sure you'll agree. Cheers all, well done Wales, onwards and upwards :)

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posted Mar 16, 2008

All good comment RowlandC. I've grown up during a period when Wales have rarely been anything other than second tier, even in Europe, and I think my generation has developed an underdog mentality. So it's a surprise when you look at the 6N stats in the papers today. Wales have won 10 GS to England's 12. When you consider that 4 of England's have been won in the last 18 years that means pre-1990 the record was actually 9 to 8 in Wales' favour. (Also that France have got 5 of their 8 slams in the last 20 years). Also, despite being pretty hopeless for nearly 30 years Wales are only one championship win behind England (25 to 24, way ahead of any other country). Not directly relevant today of course, but it demonstrates that the role of Wales as poor relation in Europe is a fairly recent phenomenon. We genuinely have been very good at this game, in particular during three "Golden Eras". So it wouldn't be a huge surprise for us to become winners again.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

Well researched Mattthedragon and a fair point about the value Wales has brought to the tournament since we won our first GS, 100 years ago. But the team had history thrust down our throats before Twickenham, Croke Park and even at home to France. Good job they took no notice ! But nice to see we are catching England on the GS and championship count.

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posted Mar 16, 2008

RowlandC (U11053149), If England are preparing for the next world cup, why give your coach a 1 year contract. You may think the the top target is the WC, but the 6 nations is every year and if players can't compete in this then they will not even be playing in the WC.

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