From the Rugby World Cup, Scotland failed to finish off a game that they dominated, again. England found a way to win despite a terrible first half and Jonny Wilkinson failing to create past magic with his boot most of the time. It doesn’t matter. England, despite not looking very impressive, like South Africa, do just about enough to win. Unlike South Africa, they save their best for last, while the Springboks usually do their damage early and then defend well enough to win.
Chris Paterson and Dan Parks are wonderful kickers, but Scotland, as in recent years, don’t have enough quality or try scoring abilities to compliment them. Both don’t have very much left in their tanks anyhow. Don’t expect them to kick in another World Cup.
And Euan Murray is a beast, simply a beast. Too bad Scotland have only one of him.
England? Have to worry, but maybe, looking at France, not that much. Another huge Northern hemisphere rivalry, the quarterfinal between the last two winners of the Six Nations comes with England finishing their group stage with a perfect record, although unimpressive in the matches against Argentina and Scotland. For France? Bad timing – Something is just not working for Lievremont’s side, who have lost to both the All-Blacks (expected, after all) and shockingly, Tonga (14-19). The media wants his head, and if rumors are true, the players in the squad aren’t that happy with him as well. Glory fades fast when wins stop coming.
For England, a few decision will have to be made. Jonny Wilkinson’s form calls for a change. Still, there’s something in the confidence he offers, his drop goal kicking ability and his defense, still fantastic for a fly-half, that’s keeping Toby Flood on the bench. Ben Youngs has had better games himself. Chris Ashton? This guy is eyeing record books. England don’t play to his win enough. They don’t play a passing game enough. My advice? Less penalty attempts, more kicking into touch. Both of their tight wins came from that kind of play. Go with what works, it’s that simple.