England vs Wales is poetry in motion

Andrew Roar Pro

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    The historical enmity between Wales and England has been shaped by centuries of cultural, political, economic, and most importantly, rugby union-based mistrust and conflict, rendering the Australia versus New Zealand rivalry a primary school sandpit fight in comparison.

    Perhaps the most famous and oft-mythologized quote in Welsh sporting, if not overall history, was uttered by fly-half Phil Bennett prior to the clash with England at Cardiff Arms Park in 1977.

    “Look what these bastards have done to Wales. They’ve taken our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our homes and live in them for a fortnight every year.

    “What have they given us? Absolutely nothing. We’ve been exploited, raped, controlled and punished by the English – and that’s who you are playing this afternoon.”

    Clearly not one for a pre-match laugh, this was pretty stirring, heady, serious and loquacious stuff, especially as he was speaking from a position of relative strength due to the famous Welsh teams of the 70s and 80s absolutely battering England, who managed just four victories over Cymru during those two decades. You can only imagine what he might have said about the English if Wales were underdogs!

    English dominance was quickly re-established at the onset of the 90s, and with Wales shambolic transition to professionalism it looked like this would be par for the course in perpetuity. Cue the 1999 Five Nations clash at Wembley Stadium, which has now entered rugby folklore due to Scott Gibbs’ dramatic late try denying England the title and handing it to Scotland, arguably kicking off the modern incarnation of the rivalry, whereby classic games between the two are almost the rule, not the exception.

    Since ’99, we’ve seen the 2003 World Cup quarter-final in Brisbane (attended by yours truly, with the main image seared in to my brain being a fat English geezer plonking his rod and tackle in the sink right next to me to relieve himself), the out-of-nowhere 2005 Welsh win which kick-started their shock grand slam that year (and mercilessly inflicted the flawed genius, brylcreemed, fake-tanned prototype of Cipriani, Cooper and O’Connor – Mr Gavin Henson on the world), Wales’ first win at Twickenham for 20 years in 2008 and the 2013 title-deciding stunner under the roof.

    The 2015 World Cup group game between the two at Twickenham might well be seen as one of the most defining and important junctures in English rugby history, as Gareth Davies’ late Welsh try and Robshaw’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t penalty decision sealed a truly epic encounter, and the recriminations, fallout and changes from that fixture have led England to the lofty perch they currently occupy (Sir Alex Ferguson’s quote about Liverpool and perch’s springs to mind).

    Watching the game in an Irish pub full of Welsh fans in Munich (due to my extremely important commitments at Oktoberfest) is something that won’t be forgotten soon.

    And so to last year’s instant classic, this time viewed on a ridiculously high-quality YouTube stream in an Airbnb in Prague, Wales looking certain to win as they dominated England in most facets of the game. On came Eddie Jones’ ‘closers’, out went the ball to Elliott Daly and he turned on the afterburners to seal victory for England and break Welsh hearts. Equal with the Third Lions Test and the Dunedin Bledisloe for the best match of 2017.

    I am once again expecting a pulsating, gripping encounter this Saturday, and the hyperbole and expectation has been ratcheted up a notch since Wales’ pasting of Scotland last weekend.

    It’s the El Clasico of Northern Hemisphere rugby, Dylan Thomas vs William Blake, Tom Jones vs Rod Stewart, Catherine Zeta-Jones vs Emily Blunt, Gareth Bale vs Harry Kane and Joe Calzaghe vs Lennox Lewis. Get in.

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    The Crowd Says (181)

    • Roar Pro

      February 9th 2018 @ 3:07am
      Andrew said | February 9th 2018 @ 3:07am | ! Report

      FYI hoping this one might be re-posted, as it has been altered quite a bit from what I submitted.

    • Roar Guru

      February 9th 2018 @ 3:42am
      Harry Jones said | February 9th 2018 @ 3:42am | ! Report

      Juicy stuff!

      What would a pre-match English rant sound like?

      Do they talk filthy about Prince William?

      Dylan Thomas 6 William Blake 8
      Tom Jones 5 Rod Stewart 0 (Scottish)
      Catherine Zeta-Jones 5 Emily Blunt 8
      Gareth Bale 8 Harry Kane 0
      Joe Calzaghe 6 Lennox Lewis 9

      • February 9th 2018 @ 7:52am
        Highlander said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

        Gee Harry, have to strongly suggest a change Catherine ZJ (Darling Buds of May era) 10.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2018 @ 8:47am
          Harry Jones said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          Depends on the era!

          • Roar Pro

            February 9th 2018 @ 9:01am
            Andrew said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

            Harry Kane a 0 – tough crowd!

            • Roar Guru

              February 9th 2018 @ 9:25pm
              Harry Jones said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:25pm | ! Report


              I’m a Liverpool man


          • February 11th 2018 @ 4:31pm
            cuw said | February 11th 2018 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

            dude ,

            u cannot put CZJ and Blunt in the same sentence. has to be someone from the same era ( or age group) – at least Miranda Richardson 🙂

            and i concurr – Harry Kane is just hype 😛

    • February 9th 2018 @ 4:02am
      Taylorman said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:02am | ! Report

      Well let’s hope it’s got better because to this day the most boring test I have seen was this matchup in 87 WCup quarter final, when everyone else was getting into the spirit of the tournament these two plodders didn’t get the memo and limped to a result.

      This round looks promising after the Wales win and the way England finished at Italy but the Twickers factor seems to intimidate some sides enough that England will probably get through this comfortably enough.

      So far the best two sides in the comp. that may change next round for one of them.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 5:02am
        Derm McCrum said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:02am | ! Report

        You hope it’s got better because of a match you watched 30 years ago??

        Your references are a bit of whack there, Tman.

        Have you not watched any matches between them since then?

        • February 9th 2018 @ 6:13am
          Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:13am | ! Report

          Poth, we should just be grateful that he didn’t slip in a refence to the All Blacks when he popped by.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 8:47am
            Jerry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            Says the guy who dredges up ancient emnity with NZ every time he posts…..

      • February 9th 2018 @ 5:22am
        FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:22am | ! Report

        ‘Well let’s hope it’s got better because to this day the most boring test I have seen was this matchup in 87 WCup quarter final, when everyone else was getting into the spirit of the tournament these two plodders didn’t get the memo and limped to a result.’

        By all accounts, the Wales and England players arrived drunk in 1987 and stayed that way. No-one knew what the RWC was going to become so many treated the first one as a holiday away from the missus.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 6:57am
          richard said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:57am | ! Report

          You might be onto something here.My memory of England in the 1987 RWC was just how mediocre they were.The only English player anyone noticed was Dean Richards.As for the Welsh,they were only marginally better

          .The Eng-Wales game was easily the worst in the whole tournament.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 8:09am
          MH said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

          Yeah that really seems a highly credible story

          serious question – do you feel comfortable besmirching the names of players who were chosen to respresent their country

          • February 9th 2018 @ 10:01am
            FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            What a pompous post. The ‘story’ comes mostly from players own accounts.

            • February 9th 2018 @ 10:22am
              MH said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              Pompous, maybe – but definitely not as gullible as some

            • February 9th 2018 @ 11:24am
              Jak said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              Pretty gullible to believe that.
              Just an excuse in an attempt to justify how poor they were.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 1:41pm
                taylorman said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                With Wales at 52-3 and 54-9 the next year in 1988 it seems the binge was still going.

                I see why they called the AB’s semi professional back then compared to others then, because being professional actually meant not being tanked up with beer before during and after International matches. Makes sense now.

                Can also see why the 80’s and 90’s 6N matches were slow dour, they were all leaning on each other all around the park recovering from hangovers or looking for their next drink.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 4:24pm
                Rugby Fan said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                There were plenty of New Zealand players on the booze too, so it wasn’t the drink which made a difference. It wasn’t something which disappeared with the advent of professionalism, either. Among the tributes to Jerry Collins when he died, were stories of marathon drinking sessions, which never stopped him turning up for training.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 8:25am
                Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

                So the northern teams lost because they couldn’t handle their booze as well as the southern? This just gets better every post. FB used it as an excuse but if they’re all doing it, we’re right back to where we started…they were just hopelss. ??

              • February 10th 2018 @ 10:54am
                FunBus said | February 10th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

                Are you really so thin-skinned that you’re desperate to convince that a team 31 years ago weren’t any good? I didn’t say England were a good team in 1987, I made the fairly obvious point that in the first RWC it was seen by a number of teams as an experimental competition and wasn’t taken particularly seriously.
                Kiwis sometimes seem to flirt with mental illness when they discuss rugby. Here you go T-Man, here’s the nourishment you desperately crave… wait for it…wait for it…NZ were the best side in the world in 1987.
                Hope you haven’t soiled yourself with excitement.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 11:14am
                Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                Well know I don’t think it’s limited to that. Since 1981, a randomly selected year, home unions sides have played here 53 times for three wins, two by the Lions by a mere three points and one by England in 2003 by two points.

                So no, I don’t buy that in 1987 teams took it lightly, because they’re always hopeless when they come here. You make it sound like an exception when it was very typical of the norm. EVERY home union side in history is poor here with the best ever showing a narrow win.

                The average win over them all is 35-13, four tries to one. Wales lost 49-6 in the semi and faced bigger losses a year later.

                So tell me, which team…ever…didn’t come here drunk and actually got the memo?

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 12:48pm
            Rugby Fan said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            The players said so themselves.

            Only last week, Jason Leonard said the 1993 Lions tour was almost constant drinking. He wan’t boasting about it, just remarking on how differently rugby players used to behave. He was in the starting XV

            • February 10th 2018 @ 5:41am
              MH said | February 10th 2018 @ 5:41am | ! Report

              All that displays is a trend or how things were back then – to write off the ’87 W-cup because of behaviour which was the norm is just excuse making or trolling

              • February 10th 2018 @ 8:27am
                Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

                I guess they all knew the day would come when southern players would play their matches for them so they could carry on drinking.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 3:34pm
                Mmmmm..k said | February 10th 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                “southern players”.

                There you go again.
                They are not “southern” players. They are players from 1 country playing for another.
                Like Naholo, who went “home” to Fiji to heal his broken leg.

                As a NZer, I know Fijians, Samoans and Tongans play for NZ so for you to keep preaching about “southern” players as if they’re part of your tribe..it is getting difficult to keep reading.

                It’s NOT about hemispheres. Why the obsession?

                There is no us and them as far as hemispheres go.

                There is no hemisphere comps, or origin games.

                There IS nations.
                Nations like Tonga, Fiji and Samoa.
                Nations who’s players play and have played for NZ.
                So next time you get start to preach about how they use “southern” players as if we are OK exploiting the poorest major rugby nations but others are not OK because of the hemisphere they’re in?
                Pffft, give me a break.

                NZ are certainly not clean and NZ and Australia actively poach players and encourage them to join our teams, including our nation teams.

                But that’s OK because they’re in our hemisphere.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 9:51pm
                FunBus said | February 10th 2018 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

                Didn’t you know, Mmmmm..k? If you’ve picked a rugby ball up at any point south of an imaginary line around the centre of the globe you belong to the same family. Similarly, 100 yards north of this line, you share a rugby identity devoted to doing Kiwis down. You see this every day with the incredibly close relationship and totally shared interests between France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England, for example. I’m sure Welsh rugby fans won’t know who to cheer for today so deep is their affection for English rugby.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 7:28pm
                Taylormam said | February 10th 2018 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                Mm, do you actually think you can presume to know what I should think. There is north and south, so get over it, by a new record or something. And leave the Islands out of it. It’s nothing to do with them.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 10:34am
          Taylorman said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          Yes fb, the excuse summarised eternally by the missing memo.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 11:17am
            FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report


            • February 9th 2018 @ 1:35pm
              taylorman said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

              ” …these two plodders didn’t get the memo and limped to a result.” because I knew you would post the above.

              Try to keep up please…

              • February 9th 2018 @ 4:32pm
                FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                Sorry mate, you have to slow down so those not possessed of such a towering intellect can keep up.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2018 @ 12:43pm
          Derm McCrum said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

          FunBus – I’ve always enjoyed the players stories of the RWC in 1987.

          The players were largely on the lash, and playing matches as normal. One of my favorite storytellers is Neil Francis who penned an enjoyable article in 2015 about the first WC. https://m.independent.ie/sport/rugby/world-cup/neil-francis-if-the-1987-team-were-prepared-in-todays-conditions-we-would-have-given-the-current-lot-a-good-match-31522442.html

          It gives a good glimpse into how shambolic the whole preparation was – from initial selection to training, nutrition, exercise, etc. Only one or two teams seemed to take it seriously and the score lines reflected that.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 3:24pm
            rebel said | February 9th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            Just like Chicago, a win is a win.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 4:22pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

            Thanks for the link Poth. A great read.

            Another thing that is weirdly overlooked many times is that SA was not involved in the first two World Cups. Even if I support the reasons why they were not allowed to compete, it is tricky to value those tournaments considering how good the Springboks was back then.

            • Roar Guru

              February 9th 2018 @ 4:38pm
              Rugby Fan said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

              Well, as we found out, they weren’t that good. They took a while to find their feet again at international level. First year back saw losses to NZ, Australia, France and England.(also one win over France).

              Next year, France went to South Africa and earned a draw and a win. Australia also got a 2-1 series win in South Africa. England got a 1-1 result when they toured.

              If there had been rankings, South Africa would have been behind NZ, Australia, France and England but ahead of the rest. The film “Invictus” massively overplayed how weak the team was but it’s fair to say South Africa didn’t make the case that they would have been likely winners in the tournaments they missed.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 4:52pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                We can never know how those tournaments would have played out if the Boks had been involved. And that the results were not fantastic when they came back has a lot to do that they had not played Test rugby for almost ten years.

                But I think everyone can agree that they were good enough to beat anyone – on their day – both 1987 and 1991.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 8:31pm
                Jacko said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

              • February 10th 2018 @ 8:21am
                Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

                No, not 87, ABs were the best side in history up to that point. No one has got near winning every single match by 20 points in the tournament, or the year. Untouchable that year.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 10:41am
                richard said | February 10th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                Agree there.No one was beating that 1987 side.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 8:07pm
          Worlds Biggest said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

          Well the boozing helped the Welsh somewhat as they finished 3rd in the 87 World Cup, thus far there best finish !

          • February 10th 2018 @ 7:33pm
            Taylormam said | February 10th 2018 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

            Yes, by fortune of drawing a drunk English side in the quarters it seems. The match at Rotorua though vs Oz was one of the best World Cup matches I’ve seen, it had everything and Paul Thorburns sideline conversion made for a very exciting finish for a match that no one really wants to play. Oz certainly didn’t, wanting to go home after an equally exciting semi vs France.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 8:26am
        Neil Back said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        1987. Now that’s much better. Finally warming up.

        You’re right, one team will walk away deflated after Saturday – but only one will likely feel particularly inflated after a win, and if the Welsh were to pull it off, they’d be back to their unbearable selves. A juicy fixture just got juicier after their win against the Scots.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 8:43am
          FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

          ‘Back to their unbearable selves.’

          They’re not waiting for the match, Neil. The Welsh have been insufferable on every British rugby blog since the final whistle against Scotland, explaining in great detail the fate that is to befall England next Saturday. You’d think they’d just beaten the ABs by 60 points at Eden Park. If the English had come out with half the stuff they’ve been spewing we’d have a dozen ‘English arrogance’ stories in the rugby world press.
          It’s been a while since I wanted to win a game so badly.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 8:49am
            Fionn said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

            Has the game against New Zealand this year taken up any extra importance after your discussions with a certain few Kiwis on here?

            • February 9th 2018 @ 9:06am
              FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

              Not really. It won’t be a shock to you, Fionn that I’ve never been a huge fan of how NZ rugby has gone about its business, but I’m a great admirer of the quality of the team. Of course, it would be great to win in November, but there’s something tribal about Saturday’s match that’s been amplified by the Welsh attitude since last Saturday. The last time I felt a real ‘stick it up ‘em lads’ like this was the last England tour to Oz. Not because of a particular dislike of the WBs or Aussie rugby fans, but because of the Fox Promo which really got up my nose.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 10:39am
                Taylorman said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Yes that was due to the devastating effect that the World Cup had on certain bird species I’m sure. How it resurrected as a bus must be worth an article surely? Perhaps they’re more macho?????

              • February 9th 2018 @ 11:22am
                FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                You seem weirdly obsessed with my whereabouts T-Man. As I think I mentioned to you before I moved abroad and had rather a lot on my plate, though why you should be remotely interested, God knows.
                It really wasn’t fear of the ‘razor sharp wit’ and ‘cutting jibes’ of a bunch of thin-skinned Kiwis on an Aussie rugby blog.?

              • February 9th 2018 @ 11:51am
                aussikiwi said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

                TM, when you say Bus is more macho, I assume you had Priscilla Queen of the Desert in mind? Good Aussie movie that.

                As for the rebranded Funless one, calling others thin skinned could only be self parody. Oh so outraged by a few “insufferable” Welsh fans “spewing” stuff. Maybe he has a well disguised sense of humour after all.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 11:58am
                FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                Hi AK, always a tremendous pleasure to read your hilarious contributions. Like most of the Kiwis on here you continually remind me of Oscar Wilde at the peak of his literary powers.
                I’m fairly glad there’s 12000 miles between us, though, as you’ve got a number of the classic traits of a potential stalker.???

              • February 9th 2018 @ 12:20pm
                aussikiwi said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                Flattering yourself as usual Funless. Its just that your ubiquitous rants are unavoidable.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 2:10pm
                Taylorman said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                Ha ha yes great movie. The biggest and brightest funbus of all!

              • February 9th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                Jacko said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                ‘razor sharp wit’ and ‘cutting jibes’ of a bunch of thin-skinned Kiwis on an Aussie rugby blog.

                Yes we certainly never get Razor sharp wit from you funbus. Generally far dimmer than Razor sharp….

              • February 9th 2018 @ 5:22pm
                FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

                You have a natural gift for comedy, Jacko. Don’t know if there are any decent Kiwi comedians, but unless you’re a script-writer for one of them, you’re wasting your talent mate.

                The old ‘you are but what am I?’ is classic comedic genius passed down through the ages.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 2:05pm
                rebel said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                The man taking offence to a review of a match in 87 is calling others thin skinned.
                The king of the “you are’ arguement.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 4:34pm
                FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                You think I’m ‘taking offence’ to a review of a 1987 match? – wow.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 7:17pm
                rebel said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

                I know, I was shocked that you were as also. Well not really, you’ve been offended by a person talking about his trip to Twickers. We can’t all be Irish poets.

            • February 9th 2018 @ 8:44pm
              Jacko said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

              Fionn its lovely that you give us Kiwi posters the credit for Funbus desperately wanting an English win V the ABs but I think the fact that England have beaten NZ once since 2004 and have beaten NZ 7 from 40 overall (17.5% win record) should be enough desperation all on its own…..dont you? After all doesnt every team want to beat no 1?

              I want every team I support to win every game they play…I dont need funbus or Neutral or yourself to make it have any extra importance

              And when my teams lose, and the sun still comes up the next day, then i look forward to them winning the next match they play

              • February 9th 2018 @ 8:47pm
                Fionn said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

                Jacko, I get what you mean but wins by the Brumbies over the Crusaders or Waratahs still mean more than any others.

                Likewise, wins by the Wallabies over England, New Zealand or South Africa at altitude are those I value the highest.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 8:55pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

                And when my teams lose, and the sun still comes up the next day, then i look forward to them winning the next match they play

                Are you sure about that Jacko, hence I can’t recall any other poster here at the Roar that cries more after a loss than you do. Even Taylorman and Jokerman took the Lions drawn series on the chin, but I am sure you will go on till your last breath about the French refs.

                And what about them penalties Spurs got a few days ago at Anfield, are you over them yet? 😉

          • February 9th 2018 @ 9:26am
            Neil Back said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            To be honest I always really want to beat the Welsh – and take their coal, water, and steel. Must be genetic. Not keen on living there though, even for a couple of weeks. Now that really was hyperbole from Phil.

            Know what you mean though.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 4:29pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

            Anyone who is up for some serious banter – and read some marvelous over the top comments – should go to WalesOnline.

            Even serious comments, with lots of fair points, causes a storm of malice if there is just a hint of some criticism against Wales.

            • February 9th 2018 @ 7:04pm
              Fionn said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

              More thin skinned than the comments you get here?

              Cheers, will Cheik it out!

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 7:29pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

                Oh yeah, Fionn, we Roar-tragics comes through as shy bald Buddhist monks in comparison.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 9:04pm
                Fionn said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

                I see you ignored my pun, Neutral 😛 .

                I think I need to check out Wales Online given the number of comments made by the Eggchasers lads.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 9:25pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

                Not ignoring Fionn, just stating the obvious 😉

            • February 10th 2018 @ 8:33am
              Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

              Yes I read that now and then, it’s pretty good.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 9:54am
          Goatee said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          @ Neil

          ‘One team will walk away deflated after Saturday – but only one will likely feel particularly inflated after a win…’ ?


    • February 9th 2018 @ 4:44am
      English twizz said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:44am | ! Report

      Been a england fan all the others country’s bar Italy hate us in the six nations wait till we play Scotland up north

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 5:04am
        Derm McCrum said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:04am | ! Report

        Hate England? Nope – best fans of the lot.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 7:34pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

        I would not call it hate really, they just love to beat the English (a big brother little brother thingy).

        • February 9th 2018 @ 7:48pm
          rebel said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

          Sometimes big brother doesn’t like losing to little brother.
          The banned 6 nation ad from a few years back was a classic. Everyone wanting England to lose. Was quite well done.
          I should expect a ‘You are’ reply soon.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 9:34pm
        MH01 said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

    • February 9th 2018 @ 4:56am
      P2R2 said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:56am | ! Report

      Rod Stewart is Scots…..

      • February 9th 2018 @ 8:27am
        Neil Back said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        Thank the Lord

      • February 9th 2018 @ 8:52am
        Uncle Eric said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        Born and raised in London though and by all accounts still lives there.

        • Roar Pro

          February 9th 2018 @ 8:56am
          Andrew said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          Yeah his parents were Scottish and I know he’s obsessed with Celtic Football Club but definitely thought he was London born and bred.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 7:38pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

            I read somewhere that Rod has said his connection to Scotland is spiritual.

            On the other hand, one early memory from my childhood was watching a Rod Stewart concert on TV with my parents and Rod sported a tank top with the words “God created the Scottish, and I am the number one Scott”.

            • February 9th 2018 @ 7:49pm
              Fionn said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

              I love Rod. I don’t care what anyone says.

              And U2…

              … The U2 from the 80s and 90s…

              • Roar Rookie

                February 9th 2018 @ 8:00pm
                piru said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                “and with that one comment Fionn had destroyed all his credibility and was run out of the Roar”

                Jokes – I grew up listening to Rod, my mum was his biggest fan, Young Turks is still on my rotation for that matter.

                And the U2 from the 80s and early 90s was a beast millenials can’t understand – Sunday Bloody Sunday is still a great song

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 8:33pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

                Achtung Baby is one of the best albums ever.
                The following ZOO TV Tour is the best show I have ever seen.
                ANd U2’s performance on Live Aid and their monster version of Bad is one the greatest moments in music history.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 9:06pm
                Fionn said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

                Piru, I think every woman who is over 30 was a huge fan of Rod.

                I can’t say I blame them.

                Sunday Bloody Sunday is great, as is Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree too. I love both in different ways, but The Joshua Tree is probably the one closer to my heart.

                I even thought All That You Can’t Leave Behind was a good album.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 4:36pm
                cuw said | February 11th 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                His father is Scottish and Mother English , so eligible to play for both countries 🙂

                he is a Celtic fan thru n thru but also supports ManU – perhaps becoz sir Alec is also a Scott

                not forgetting that he is also sir Rod :D:)

            • February 11th 2018 @ 6:10pm
              moaman said | February 11th 2018 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

              A The Neutral. That was Scott Stewart…his brother that said that.

    • February 9th 2018 @ 6:18am
      Dan54 said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      As someone who doesn’t really understand all the England hate (or get into it, I actually like most Englishmen I have met) etc, I really looking forward to this test, have to think English would be favourites just with home ground, but be geez have a look at the Welsh backline , it looks pretty reasonable, and with the likes of Alun Wynn Jones etc in the forward pack, i think we have a test well worth getting up for!!

      • Roar Pro

        February 9th 2018 @ 9:03am
        Andrew said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        Nick Bishop posted yesterday what a full-strength Welsh backline would look like including subs – scary stuff!

        • February 9th 2018 @ 12:35pm
          Jacko said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

          The back line was scary or Nick was scary?

          • February 9th 2018 @ 5:24pm
            FunBus said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report


            Jacko, stop it mate – have mercy, how many zingers can one man produce?

          • February 9th 2018 @ 8:03pm
            Jacko said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

            They do pay me a lot to be funny funbus……Just doing my job

          • February 10th 2018 @ 8:37am
            Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

            The current English backline is pretty scary but honestly, I wouldn’t have Farrell in it. I think he stunts the ability to get good momentum from the outset. They finished well vs Italy but took ages to get going. From 12 out they’re pretty lethal, have never liked Young’s either.

            • February 10th 2018 @ 11:02am
              FunBus said | February 10th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

              Yes, T-Man, took ages to get going. The first three minutes of the match before they ran in their first try was terribly stodgy.

              Regarding Farrell, it’s an indictment of all these 6 Nations and Lions coaches that have him as first name on the team sheet that they don’t have your grasp of the game.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 11:29am
                Taylorman said | February 10th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                It was seven points by half time, so Italy were still well in it, so as far as I’m concerned they took a while to get started in terms of dominating the match, because that’s how we refer to getting started, appreciate you’re probably unfamiliar with the concept…sometimes your teams never get started. But I defer to your simplistic view.

                Having Farrell first on the team list in northern teams doesn’t actually say much for me. It’s typical of the style, but if they want to get the backline moving more freely at the start as they did in the end I wouldn’t have Farrell there clogging it up, admittedly he’s getting better but he’s probably not the type we would choose in that position to get a backline flowing. Some might, given our current options but he’s no Nonu or Smith. Not even close.

                Appreciate you probably don’t get that either.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 10:04pm
                FunBus said | February 10th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                No, he’s not 105kg, well spotted. He’s as influential as Smith, however, although they’re different types of players. Your child-like belief that any player in the world must be judged by the exact same aspects of two Kiwis you conjure up is so lacking in understanding of qualities players bring to their teams as to be laughable.
                Regarding your point that you give no credence to the huge respect Lions and 6 Nations coaches all, without exception, have for Farrell, I thought the ‘North’ is dominated by the SH brain trust. Surely, these Demi-Gods know their stuff?
                Kiwis are so blinded by parochialism they tend to have no sense of judgement regarding any player outside NZ. I remember all the England players in the 2003 team being labeled, plodding, ‘Dad’s Army’ ‘orcs on steroids’ despite the fact that if they hadn’t sent a 2nd team down to Marseilles to play the French 1st team in a pre-RWC warm-up game, they would have had by far the longest unbeaten run in the history of the game and one unlikely ever to be beaten.
                It displays an unhealthy, narrow-minded obsession, rather than a love of rugby. This is a nation that still claims Brian O’Driscoll was a useless rugby player because he was spear-tackled by two ABs.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 2:17pm
                aussikiwi said | February 11th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                Another bitter little rant from Funless…….the one who calls others thin skinned. But still cares desperately about what kiwis allegedly thought in 2003, and makes stuff up re what the whole nation allegedly thinks of Brian O’Driscoll Oh dear.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 11:39am
                Neil Back said | February 10th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

                The Farrell-Ford axis is absolutely key to England’s rise and Farrell-Sexton was absolutely key to turning around Lions fortunes when they took over.

                You’re right. He isn’t a Nonu or Smith. He’s a different player and offers different things. Better different.

              • February 10th 2018 @ 10:54pm
                Taylormam said | February 10th 2018 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

                Yes all I’m saying is I don’t like the style. He just doesn’t do enough for me. His non kicking numbers are usually poor. Look at the match vs Oz where they won 30-6. You’d think with that scoreline Farrell would have had a busy match and would likely have outplayed his opposite.

                The stats?
                Meters ran…8
                Clean breaks…0
                Defenders beaten…0
                3 missed tackles, the most of anyone in the test.

                His opposite Kerevi..

                Meters ran…64
                Clean breaks…2
                Defenders beaten…5
                Missed tackles…0

                Time and time again his numbers are poor. He’s obviously doing something right but his non kicking role numbers consistently prove that he could be doing a lot more.

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 5:24pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

                Farrell’s form in November was so-so, most likely a little burn-out from the Lions tour.

                I think you are a bit unfair to use his numbers from a Test three months ago (and only that Test). Either present the stats from yesterday or look at his average stats for one or several seasons.

                I think this is a great subject to discuss, hence Farrell is very highly rated by rugby people in the NH (including Kiwi players and coaches in Europe) but has very few fans in the SH.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 12:34pm
                Neil Back said | February 11th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

                You’d like him to ‘do more’ at 12 in a game?

                You mean create a couple of tries showing great vision; one out of the hand and one from the boot? Or organise a defence that didn’t concede a try. Or jackal the ball on the ground. Or knock guys back in the tackle creating a turnover. Or handling the kicking duties at the posts. Or present the coach with stand-in captaincy options as vice-captain. Or interchanging with his 10 to offer clever tactical kicking options. Or giving a coach the option to put him at 10 to close a game out.

                You mean like he did yesterday?

                Like I said. Better different.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 12:50pm
                Taylormam said | February 11th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                I’d like him to get his backline moving more freely. I said he played well, I’m just not convinced he’s good for continuity purposes for the backline. Of course I’d be wrong if he played that well every match, but he doesn’t. Anyway, no point trying to make the point after that performance, your gushing will run away with itself. Understandably so. ??

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 5:32pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

                Do you think Farrell is hindered a little bit by playing as a flyhalf for Saracens and on the midfield for England?

                Personally, I would like to see him play in the number 12 jersey for Sarries also.

                Farrell is next in line for the captaincy also for both England and Sarries, and I am no fan of half-backs being captains.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 5:53pm
                Taylormam said | February 11th 2018 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

                No if anything I think it’s been the making of him, this was the best test I’ve seen him in from a non kicking point of view and he’s fast changing my view.

                England have some talented outside backs and I haven’t seen a lot of putting players into space nor take the line on too many times himself. With the second try he identified the threat perfectly so nothing wrong there.

                But overall, the Welsh made far more play, had several more real opportunities, they just didn’t take them. That’s the interesting part of the NZ match later this year.

                They still need to win this but I think they’ll beat Ireland at Twickers but now could lose to France…or at a pinch, Scotland, who have yet to press their mark on this tourney, away. The 6N often throws up a wild upset and they look the best candidates.

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 6:30pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

                Maybe I misunderstand what you wrote, but it is correct that you think that Farrell playing fly-half for Sarries helps him when he plays on the midfield for England?

                One thing I notice a lot when I watch England and compare them with the AB’s is that the English players don’t have the same instincts how to give their teammates that extra second or meter when they pass the ball. Too many passes are thrown too early me think. And too many English players lack deception skills, even among their backs.

                How Wales can be so poor inside the 22 and so good outside it is a mystery. I saw a stat that if Wales has more than three phases they almost never score.

                Agree that this is far from over. England can lose against all teams they are yet to play.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 6:20pm
                Fionn said | February 11th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

                I’ve never understood why people care about backs being captains. 10s and 12s often play 80 minutes, know their kicking abilities and have to read the play. I think that they make fine captains. In fact, I don’t think position matters when it comes to captains. Just pick the best guy, and hope they play as many minutes as possible.

                Farrell (and Ford) really showed the absolute importance of kicking in rugby. Even if someone is limited in their running and playmaking game, kicking alone can win matches. The try Farrell set up in the first 5 mins or whatever it was beautiful. Cheika take note, we need a kicker at 10, ideally 12 also and ideally at 15 too.

                Also, Neutral, did you see Launchbury’s pass for the second try 😉 ? I’m telling you, he’s up there with Brodie and Nakarawa as the best lock in the world.

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 6:51pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                Hello Fionn

                I wrote that I don’t like half-backs being captains. They are already “leaders”, no need to add extra pressure on them.

                Scrumhalf’s are very vocal during the games and refs might be a bit tired hearing more than they do already. Flyhalf’s (if they are the goal-kicker) are separated from the team when they kick for goal, and that minute is a perfect time to talk with the team.

                Agree that Ford-Farrel showed masterclass kicking yesterday. If the Wallabies had a kicking game like that, things would look very different.

                And yes, Launchbury’s assist was pure class. Right now I probably rate him a tad above Itoje (who is far from top form).

              • February 11th 2018 @ 6:24pm
                Taylormam said | February 11th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

                Swede re his numbers the third Lions test wasn’t great either. Low numbers there and with five missed tackles easily the worst defender on the day, and could have cost them the series. However, kicked the goal that mattered.

                The real strength of the 10 or 12 is when he brings others into the game, not wins it on their own. Yesterday he did a bit of both but a flowing England backline where they threatened multiple times we didn’t see.

                We did see it late against Italy and it’s something NZ always do.

                In a way he’s similar to Barrett in that respect, have a bad one by wasting all the best ball through bad decisions or mistakes and the team suffers.

                That’s where the Ford/ Farrell show can fall down, close them down and the jobs half done.

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 7:02pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                Swede re his numbers the third Lions test wasn’t great either. Low numbers there and with five missed tackles easily the worst defender on the day, and could have cost them the series.
                Very true. He also bombed the Lions two best try-opportunities with two really poor passes (and one of them almost gave the AB’s a try, Jonathan Davies saved Farrell’s bacon with the best defensive play of the series).

                In a way he’s similar to Barrett in that respect, have a bad one by wasting all the best ball through bad decisions or mistakes and the team suffers.
                Agree again. Neither of them is magicians with soft hands.

                That’s where the Ford/ Farrell show can fall down, close them down and the jobs half done.
                Are not all teams busted if their halves-combo is shut down?

              • February 11th 2018 @ 7:52pm
                Taylormam said | February 11th 2018 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

                Yes they are but if they don’t have more variation to start with a good side can shut them down easier. The Ford Farrell combo could develop into something quite special, it worked in Oz and Farrell seems to be getting stronger in terms of variation with every outing.

                They just can’t make the mistake of initiating all the big plays from the two, and need to involve the outsides more develop guys like Te’o, Watson and Joseph more. That didn’t happen this test bar the two tries.

                Anyway, it’ll be a watch this space thing for Hansen and co because when Billy V comes back they’re going to take a lot of stopping.

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 8:23pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

                Farrell and Ford have been good friends since Kindergarten and have played together in all English youth teams (combined with thousands of hours backyard/street-rugby). I guess it is the closest England has to the Barrett-brothers, whom we are yet to what they really can bring to the table together at Test-level. Jordie at 12 might be the magic tonic? With Rieko at 13.

                But as you say, the English backline needs to gel a lot more, but at least they have the talent now to potentially do something special.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 8:25pm
                Fionn said | February 11th 2018 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

                Still think that 12. Crotty with 13. ALB or Goodhue will be the midfield that will solve a lot of the All Blacks’ “problems”.

              • Roar Guru

                February 11th 2018 @ 8:33pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 11th 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

                Crotty too injury-prone, so it is hard to build around him. ALB is mysteriously not rated as a starter by the AB’s selectors anymore.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 8:44pm
                Fionn said | February 11th 2018 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

                I think outside centre is usually the bigger issue for a team. If they can settle on an outside centre then I think they have a number of guys who can step into 12 and do well if Crotty become injured (SBW, Laumape, maybe Barrett if necessary).

                I even think 12. ALB, 13. Goodhue would work at a pinch. I like how versatile ALB is.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 9:17pm
                cuw said | February 11th 2018 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

                barring injuries and bans one shud look at what the England side will be like on paper.

                who are the first choice XV and then the bench? and at this time.

                I for one think Brown may find it hard to be a first choice – given the strength they will get from May Watson and Daly – very quick and comfortable under bombs.

                Hartley on the other hand will still be the captain – as long as he doesnot find a way to kill himself.

                Haskell and Robshaw – again Eddie likes their experience but then both are slower and less effective than fully fit Nathan Hughes .

                In the 2 Sams – Underhill and Symmonds he has very good 7s.

                and in centers there is the guile of Slade and the power of Tuilagi – maybe they will get a chance again.

                its not easy guess who England will put out , given the number of players Eddie as looked at.

                only a few like Hartley Ford Farrell Itoje and Watson look like guaranteed starters.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 9:26pm
                cuw said | February 11th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                @ Fionn

                more often than not NZ have gone with the big center – small center combo.

                Umanga and Mauger , Nonu and Conrad , SBW and Crotty …. even in the days gone by they had Bunce and Little ( tho smaller by today’s standards).

                So there is a very good chance Laumape and SBW will be preferred at 12 .

                only different prospect is little Barret who is big in a different sense – as he is as tall as a blindside flanker ( or a 2nd rower in some countries )

                i doubt Reiko will come into the centers just yet ( not by 2019 unless he loses pace like by a few yards) .

                If Goodhue can stay injury free , he may be the longterm 13. dont forget he did not play one full year and lost a yard of pace due to a leg injury.

                what i will wait to see is the DMAC experiment. if anything showed at least to Wales last night – is that a 15 shud play at 15 and a 10 shud play at 10.

                in fact the commentary were talking of it that Rhys plays 15 in club and Gareth plays 10. but the roles are reversed in test – showing versatility.

                also showed a differnt side of attack when GA came to 10 in the last 25.

                simple question is – can DMAC be a better 10 than Mounga , in one super season??

              • February 11th 2018 @ 9:38pm
                Fionn said | February 11th 2018 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

                Cuw, I don’t think that DMac will ever be a better 10 than Mounga personally, as I really rate Mounga, but I guess only time will tell.

                Was the big 12 and smaller 13 preferred as they think that is the best centre combo, or were they just the best available players?

                Is Goodhue really that much slower already do you think? I thought he was very good in the finals even if he had lost pace. He and Crotty work super well as a centre combo at the Crusaders, and them bringing their combination to international level also could be invaluable. Especially since I think Barrett would work better with a safe-as-houses 12 like Crotty outside him as opposed to another “x-factor” player like SBW.

                I would have thought the best starting 15 for England would be somewhat along the lines of…

                1. Vunipola
                2. George
                3. Cole
                4. Launchbury
                5. Itoje
                6. I would have thought Armand…
                7. Underhill
                8. Vunipola
                9. Youngs
                10. Ford
                11. May
                12. Farrell
                13. Joseph/Teo/Tuilagi
                14. Watson
                15. Daly

                I’m totally prepared to be totally wrong on this.

              • February 11th 2018 @ 9:58pm
                cuw said | February 11th 2018 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

                @ Fionn

                Goodhue had pace to play on the wing at under 20 world cup. I think he has lost pace, like anyone.

                if u saw Ngatai in his prime , he was very quick for Chiefs – but then he kept on injuring legs and lost pace.

                same with Jone macilai of Crusaders – he was fat and slow in miter 10.

                same with NMS – it was clearly documented how slow he had become in a test match 😀

                Leg injuries – very hard to hit the same pace – even for the great man Usain Bolt.

                on the other hand u have a look at the current blue eyed boy of Crusaders – Braydon Ennor. he was the 13 at under 20 word cup , but was running rings around teams in the miter 10 from 11.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 1:02pm
        Council said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        I agree with you bro, I’ve yet to really meet an English man, or woman that I dislike.

        The Irish on the other hand I’ve only met four girls who have been tops. The Irish blokes here in Perth all seem to become a bit…. Full of themselves after a few beers.

        That may be a Perth-Irish thing though.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 9th 2018 @ 1:07pm
          piru said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          Council I’ve found the same thing, possibly a result of all the attention the Perth ladies give them due to that brogue

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