England v Argentina Verdict


By Paul Morgan, Editor of Rugby World

I thought England had hit rock bottom a year ago when they were hammered on consecutive Saturdays at Twickenham by the Tri-Nations superpowers, but the performance against Argentina was far worse.
England are now ranked 8th in the world, and although Martin Johnson has no time for the rankings it shows exactly where England are.
I watched Wales on Friday night and then England on Saturday and it was like the matches were played in two different sports.
I’ll concede that Wales played in a stadium where the roof was closed and England played in poor conditions, but this is a poor excuse for an abject England performance.

In comparison Wales were glorious. Which England players would get in the Wales team?
The ridiculous thing is the players play completely differently for England than they do for their clubs. Ugo Monye, Matt Banahan and Shane Geraghty run it back for their clubs, but they kick it for England!
I know England have been hammered by injuries, but there is no excuse for that performance when almost all the players are senior figures in their clubs.
They can do some way towards redeeming themselves by having a go against New Zealand next week, or else they will get smashed.
When England face New Zealand in 1997 they were left with a similar dilemma. And then skipper Lawrence Dallaglio told the team they’d have to score three tries to beat the All Blacks. They did and drew!
Next Saturday they must also set out to score three tries or they will perish.
How do they do that? Well start by not kicking the ball high in the air when they get it 30, 40 or 50 metres from their own line. This will give them a much positive outlook and lead to a better performance.
Spread it wide. Let’s get the ball in the hands of Cueto and Banahan as quickly as possible.
At least do down having a go and give the 82,000 people who have paid £71 something for their money.
Against Aregentina:

Dylan Hartley: Much maligned by the England coaches (well, they didn’t pick him up to now!) at least Hartley wore his heart on his sleeve and he was passionate in the face of the Pumas.

James Haskell: Gave England some go-forward. Needs to be the focus of England’s attack like Dallaglio was.

Mark Cueto: The most dangerous runner in the team. Give him the ball!

Dan Hipkiss: The biggest condemnation of England was that Hipkiss never saw the ball in the first half. Spread it wide and give him a chance to excel.

But what you think? Who was good and who was bad?
Who should play against New Zealand?

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