England v Australia – Verdict

By Paul Morgan, Editor of Rugby World Magazine

Forget the 19-9 scoreline this was a much, much bigger victory for Australia than it suggests, but with the heart ripped out of the England squad by injuries (just five left from the side that started the last Six Nations game against Scotland!) nothing else was ever going to happen. England are 7th in the world for a reason (8th now) so when you take that many quality players out of the 7th best team they are going to lose to Australia.

Australia basically butchered four try-scoring opportunities and I’m sorry to say England failed to create a genuine try-scoring chance themselves in the whole of the second half. As Rocky Elsom admitted after the game Australia were never stretched or put under pressure at Twickenham.

The reality though is that the cupboard is bare. 

Of the new faces I thought David Wilson was one of the few who showed that he could have an international future. It’s such a shame he got injured, but I can see exactly why the England management think so much of him. He scrummaged well, was hard-working around the field, although he does need to get his hands on the ball more.

Typically Jonny Wilkinson was England’s stand out performer and got England ahead, a lead they kept until the second half. He also tackled himself to a standstill. Remarkable performance from a bloke who was dropped for Danny Cipriani in the 2008 Six Nations.

But putting those injuries aside as none of them are going to be fit for next Saturday Martin Johnson needs to give youth its head, so he can at least learn something about players. If they pick the same team and lose again they’ll learn nothing.

Courtney Lawes must start against Argentina.

James Haskell must start against Argentina

Ben Foden must start against Argentina, with Ugo Monye moved back to wing.

Dylan Hartley must start against Argentina

All those players will give the squad a lift and will feed off the impressive players like Wilkinson, Moody and Monye, who portray the spirit that England need.

If England play like they did against Australia they will lose to Argentina, so they need to be sure about where they are going. If they go into their shells next week and opt for safety first they will lose.

On the plus side against Australia today:

Jonny Wilkinson: Simply the best and has no equal in the world game, even behind a pack that got him such slow ball

Lewis Moody: The turnover king against Australia, he is back to his best and aren’t England lucky to have him.

But what do you think? Who would you have in the team to play Argentina?


One Response to England v Australia – Verdict

  1. Steve says:

    Firstly, I like Johnsons philosophy of continuity. I might not agree with his selection but, this marks him above the last two coaches. Secondly, I agree with your changes. Finally, this was not such a bad performance. Commitment, which you would expect, good defence to a certain extent, and a better than expected base.The lineout went well, the captain had a good game and I think Crofts physicality has been kept up since the Lions. The attack was the most disappointing thing. But certainly an improvement on last Autumns game.

    I think that we have caught up with the Souths physicality but lost ground in fitness. This is probably due to last years law differences between the hemispheres.

    Stephen Jones keeps on about wins bar all, and Stuart Barnes likes performance which will lead to wins. i think Johnson is trying to achieve both and we should give the man time. After all, it took Sir Clive 3 years to catch up, and he’d been coaching for a while before taaking on England. Some team dowm south, Newbury and bath for a bit.

    Finally, an analysis of Englands best teams leads me to believe that we will get to the semi finals of the next World Cup and Win 2015. Lets not sack the best man for the job to lead us to that destination………. unless of course Cockerill proves to be the Messias!!!

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