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Armchair Halfback

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Joined December 2019

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Armchair Halfback is the musings of a long time rugby tragic - a devotee and thinker about all things pertaining to the running game.

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Thanks CUW. Yes Lawrence was a boater, Worcester aren’t exactly a glamour side! I think you’re right Itoje may be a future England captain, lots of young tyros too. 😊

Autumn Nations Cup review

Thanks Rhys, yes, France and England do have the money but also population size and overall player numbers compared with Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Eddie Jones found some humour in Ireland having 5 residency qualified players in the squad, but the residency rule has been helped improve player rosters and ultimately compete with France & England.

Autumn Nations Cup review

Indeed, of the serious contenders, only Josh Adams is under 28….

Autumn Nations Cup review

Thanks NVFS. Yes England’s strength are very much in the tight with an excellent set piece and a powerful rolling maul. I guess they take care of the try scoring! England have a new outside centre called Ollie Lawrence, but we haven’t seen anything from him so far. I rate Henry Slade highly and Jonny May has been excellent.

Autumn Nations Cup review

Hi MZ, so as you may know Rugbypass have ceased showing any rugby in Australia. My fix has been to subscribe to Espn+ watching via a VPN. It’s about AU$10 per month. Re decline in standards: couple of years ago Glasgow and Scarlets where competition leaders, but Warriors have lost a host of players (Russell, Hogg J Gray etc) and they aren’t the team they were. Scarlets have lost players (Parkes, Barclay, Scott Williams etc) and aren’t the gun outfit they were a while ago, with little to write home about at the Dragons or the Ospreys. A very green Leinster side put 40 points past Cardiff, on Sunday night – and Cardiff have been the best Welsh team this season so far. Other Irish teams seem to be doing well. As if to contradict myself Munster are a team on the rise, playing a better brand of rugby (under Bernie Larkham) and with several excellent young players. Watch out for Gavin Coombes, he’s a 6″6 110kg No8, big and powerful, just what Ireland need alongside Caelan Doris. They have a great little scrum half in Craig Casey as well. Ulster are playing well if not world beaters. Diminutive full back Michael Lowry can unlock defences and scored a wonderful try away to Cardiff. I think Ulster are overly dependent on Marcell Coetzee, so they could do with another big No8 too! (You might have mentioned David McCann in the past?) Yes I read The42 as well, but I don’t comment as the tone is often sarcastic and derogatory and I’m not interested in name calling or mud slinging.

Autumn Nations Cup review

Thanks Tooly, in fairness Eddie Jones has a far wider talent pool to pick from, an entire professional league with a dozen clubs to be precise. Exeter are the best side in Europe, yet Eddie had just two Exeter players in his most recent matchday squad, such are the rugby riches at his disposal….

Autumn Nations Cup review

Yes that’s the challenge, two fabulous passes put Zebo away for two tries and one wild pass on his 22 gets intercepted and the rest, as they say is history 😂 Yes I admit I have a soft spot for Finn, he’s the kind of player who makes me excited to watch the game. 😊

Who should wear the No. 10 for the Lions?

Yes good point about the kicking % 😊

Who should wear the No. 10 for the Lions?

I think you’re being a bit harsh? Gatland is more test coach that provincial coach. You don’t win 2 Grand Slams and coach at test level for 12 years if you’re crap…

Are the All Blacks staring into the abyss?

Thanks JD. The England style reminds me a bit of the Boks about 10/15 years ago – aggressive defence and you rely on your speed merchants (Habana or May) to pounce and score long range tries. Former Wales flyhalf Jonathan Davies has commented that the NH has game has stagnated with matches skewed to favour defending sides and he’s absolutely right. Only France are really flying the flag for creative play. If you watch the English Premiership, the best side to watch is Bristol. Who’s the coach? Pat Lam.

Autumn Nations Cup review

Thanks MZ, you haven’t missed much! I think speed watched the Wales v Georgia game in about 45 minutes by skipping through the scrum re-sets and other down time! I agree, Ireland are struggling. Keenan has only played 15 senior games at full back in the Pro14 and just one solitary appearance in the European cup. At least Stockdale is a seasoned professional. The best full backs around are Will Addison & Jordan Larmour, but are both injured. Some of the issue is that the standard of play/teams in the Pro14 has declined so teams like Leinster can field a team of 20 year olds and win by 40 points….

Autumn Nations Cup review

I genuinely hope so!

Autumn Nations Cup review

Thanks Harry, Itoje is a fabulous athlete. May has been brilliant too. On current form there could a dozen Poms in the starting XV. Randomly I’m annoyed that Kayo didn’t show the England game, so I had to watch it on Youtube instead.

Autumn Nations Cup review

The last round of ANC was particularly turgid – I just posted an article about it and I struggled for positives….

The Wrap: Why Test rugby and Newcastle just don’t go together

Good work Pundit. Have you spotted Jacques Vermeulen at Exeter?

My Springboks starting XV for the 2021 Lions series

Sexton will be 36 next birthday, so getting very long in the tooth – but they missed him against England, rookie Irish out half Ross Byrne was very gun shy, standing well behind the gainline and static when passing…

Who should wear the No. 10 for the Lions?

Finn Russell would be my #1 choice brilliant passer and good game management. His moment of genius in the European Cup SF won the game for Racing (v Saracens). Farrell is consistently excellent and should travel as well, as should Ainscombe of fit. A dark horse could be someone like Marcus Smith (Quins & England) or Callum Sheedy (Bristol & Wales).

Who should wear the No. 10 for the Lions?

Thanks Corne. It will be good to see what Georgia can manage on a dry track. Full back Lasha
Khmaladze ran well against Wales.

Autumn Nations Cup review

Yes Paul, I suspect that you’re completely right!

The mystery of the missing Waratahs locks

Penney’s let go of a fair few, not afraid to dispense with multiple players in the one position

The mystery of the missing Waratahs locks

Yes Tafa and McCauley.

The mystery of the missing Waratahs locks

All the love from last week has evaporated, mate what did we do wrong? Btw some of our greatest have even played for other nations, Pato Noriega and Topo Rodriguez spring to mind! 😂

Wallabies record second draw of the year as Argentina clash ends all square

Thanks Harry, good to see Simmons do so well and exhibiting a little bit of mongrel. Matt Philip gives everything and that’s all you can ask. Though Paisami did well I wondered if the Wallabies could have benefited from Irae Simone’s deft little grubber kicks in behind the defence when in the 22? Particularly with Hodge not being a natural 10.

Wasteful Wallabies draw a game they should have won

Hey JD totally agree. Just watched Wales “thump” Georgia 18-0 with a massive haul of 2 whole tries! The richness of NH rugby really lies in role of the crowd, the singing, the camaraderie and the atmosphere – take all that out and and it’s all very dull. An desertered Twickers is a desolate place in the pouring rain….

Wasteful Wallabies draw a game they should have won

Hey guys, can we keep it friendly? If you want to hate each other go comment on the soccer… 😂

Wallabies record second draw of the year as Argentina clash ends all square