Friday 25 October 2019

Kicking Off, Kicking On: RWC and Other ...

Apologies for my dereliction of blogging duties recently - have been abroad.  Sort of hoping, faintly, for a Brexit result whilst I was away.  Hopeless, of course; though something mildly amusing awaited at Gatwick upon returning.  In the big poster telling you which queue to join at the 'border', they've relegated the EU to just one among many flags of nations (etc) that don't require visas.  Nothing special, just one flag among many.  Made me smile, anyway (a touch of Gove?)

More of a result in the RWC last week, for the English and Welsh at any rate. We had a look at this a few weeks ago after the first round of matches, and things have panned out pretty much as they seemed at that point.  England going nicely; Wales OK too, provided injury doesn't strike;  Ireland confirmed as having peaked too early, as had been pretty evident for several months; and Scotland, well, ...

But now injury has struck for Wales, and with it their serious prospects of advancing against South Africa, IMHO.  The latter are really playing hardball now.

For England, drawing Australia in the Quarters was (a) predictable and (b) exactly what suited Jones and his boys.  A well-understood opponent presenting no fear-factor.  And on Saturday England showed every sign of just enjoying themselves thoroughly.  A great way to move forward to the big'un.

Ah yes, the ABs.  And because this fixture, too, was entirely predictable, we may be sure Jones has something in mind for the occasion.  Something he's been hatching for months, if not years - as he does.  Something special.

What made facing the Aussies in the Quarters ideal, was that Jones had no need to show his hand.  They were eminently beatable using basic means: solid defence, good territorial play.  (In the event, the defence wasn't even tested as much as in that epic Second Test against the same opponents, away from home, in 2016.)

The ABs know they will be facing something extra this weekend.  Will it be enough?  Can't guess.  But the whole 2019 RWC has been as favourable to England as could reasonably have been hoped for.


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