At 11 hours ago, Markface wrote:
Well Wales deserved that one. They're really coming along as a far more dominant rugby nation, it was a great match to watch.
No, they really didn't. They should have slaughtered us and to have to rely on poor refereeing to win by a converted try means that England punched well above their weight to win that.
Sure, Wales are the better team, I'll admit that, but for all of our youth and inexperience, England played like a team that belongs at the sharp end of Rugby Union and I'm immensely proud.
I'll detail the four decisions that cost England the game yesterday:
1) Knock on by Wales - the ball was passed through the England line and it squirts away. This was a knock on from Wales, which was missed. Play continues and the ref is heard saying "I think I missed a knock on there, sorry." Wales get a penalty and pull back to within 3 points.
2) Hands in the ruck, by England. The referee awards a penalty against Matt Stevens, who is clearly seen with both feet planted on the floor, rooting around in the ruck to get the ball back for England. This is perfectly legal, but the ref thought otherwise. Leigh Halfpenny levels the scores at 12 all.
3) George North Defence. Toby Flood kicks the ball to the corner, over the head of North, who, while racing back against an onrushing English attack palms the ball into play, without an attempt to catch it. Dubious play at best, but still technically illegal. This is the issues I have least with the refereeing.
4) Dave Strettle's disallowed try. The ref asked the wrong question here, but that's down to the linesman, who should have said that he thought it was a try. The Ref should have asked the TMO "Is there any reason I cannot award the try?", to which the answer would have been "no". That cost England a 17-19 deficit and Toby Flood a shy at the posts for the tie. If that was to be the end of the match, we should have come back for the penalty, as we were playing advantage and a penalty, while still showing the loss for England, would have brought us that much closer.
My pontificating will not bring us any more points, change the result in any way, or even make the sting of defeat any less, but I will still be proud of these guys, with what they did on the field yesterday.