Extraordinary. The Rugby World Cup. I don’t know how this all started, or where it will all finish.
Do I have to write something? Maybe I shouldn’t. Just close down the computer and walk away. Let someone else try and put that into words. Wales have beaten England at Twickenham. And I am not sure how.
Now, I am a Wales supporter. I feel I need to put that out there. Give people a chance to press that little cross up in the corner, read no further, in case there is some bragging to be done. Still with me? Good. I’ll be gentle with you. There’ll be no gloating. Because, quite frankly, I feel you’ve been through enough.
How do you begin to file that one? After all, sporting disappointment is all about compartmentalising. And that, from an English point of view, was disappointing. That’s going to have live in its own tower block. With the windows and doors sealed. Preferably on the outskirts of town. Where no one goes. Ever.
When I think over that 80 minutes, I feel like someone recounting their involvement in a police incident. “There was a lot of kicking, and people were getting hurt, then some running and shouting, and everyone was shoving and pushing and I can’t really remember a lot else officer, I’m sorry. Can I have a cup of tea with two sugars please?”
What about the body count on the Wales side? A pitch invader entered the fray in the game involving South Africa and Samoa and caused much disdain and shaking of the head; Gatland would have welcomed him with open arms. “Get on the pitch, anyone, everyone, this is not a drill!” Shaun Edwards was tasked with taking down the details of everyone leaving Twickenham in red.
“Played in t’ centre before?”
“Only at school…”
“You busy next few weeks?”
“Well, funny you should say that, I am actually getting marri… (his eyes meet Edwards’ stare) Um, no, not really.”
England played it all so well though, didn’t they? The plan worked, didn’t it? Scrums, lineouts, defensive line speed. It was there wasn’t it? Three points after three points, the scoreboard rattled through. At arm’s length, Wales were kept. But an arm is not far enough. Garces’ pointed skyward for most of the match and decidedly in England’s favour in the first half. But as the match wore on, the penalty count began to balance itself. The white shirts infringed at the breakdown and Dan Biggar, a man with a pre-kick routine akin to that of a habitual coke user, kept snorting them through. “How are Wales still in this?” ricocheted off sitting room walls the land over; “I do not know,” came the Principality’s reply.
Gareth Davies’ try had the scoreboard level and more eyebrows raised than a Roger Moore lookalike convention. Biggar found his biggest kick from half way and yet there was still a twist of the knife to come. Way over on the far side. A penalty, for England, to draw level. Robshaw rallied his troops in his best Japanese. But they had no idea what he was going on about and completely botched up the line out. Harakiri, we whispered, harakiri.
And I cannot help but think of Australia, waking up on Sunday morning to watch all this unfold; England beaten and Wales mortally wounded; the Poms having their hearts ripped out and the Welsh, their backline decimated; pouring a collective orange juice and musing, ‘We’ve just won a game we weren’t playing in.’
The Rugby World Cup. I don’t know how this all started, or where it will all finish. Extraordinary.
Sam Roberts © 2015. (Text only). All Rights Reserved.
Could not agree more mate, great blog, great game and I’m an AB supporter… and a dog…
Well put. Stunned. Not angry. Just completely shell-shocked. What’s that Kipling poem? “…and you’ll be a man my son…” Wales somehow had 23 of them last night! I’ll be at Twickenham next Saturday hoping for some kind of an English miracle, but for now… We…well…well d…well done Wales. There, I said it!
The Eng/Wal encounter stone the crows,Eng were cruising and choked. Wal got back in to early there was always going to be a late rally. I thought
Dan Biggar was the difference.
This looks a lot like bonus points will Eng beat Aus not sure Wal will
Aus will be conscious of a desparate Eng next week
Biggest factor? Fitness.
Tired brains attempting to operate at 100% make poor decisions. Emotional decisions, not logical decisions. Tired bodies take that instant longer to react, to release, to roll away.
In the last 15mins Wales were increasingly winning collisions, finding gaps and out-muscling England, in a way they had not done up until that point.
The invisible factor – Wales were fitter.
Exactly what Owen said, except I’d say that it was starting to show that England were fading around the 50 min mark. You could see Wales sense it too – they started driving up the middle more. England didn’t choke, they ran out of steam.
How could England players not be fitter than the Welsh sure isnt the Premiership the best league in the World!