Catastrophically short of mediocrity
I don’t often agree with Stephen Jones, rugby writer on the Sunday Times, but I have to admit his description of last week’s England performance as “catastrophically short of mediocrity” was completely accurate. This is especially as the All Blacks were by no means at full strength. With eight players now playing in the UK and two of the starting 15 injured in the first half, including captain Richie McCaw, that’s a full 10 players different from the team that started, and lost, the World Cup quarterfinal.
I’m getting a little tired of England sending weakened teams to the Southern Hemisphere every New Zealand autumn and complaining about how long and hard their season is. Every Northern autumn, at the end of our season we send a team north. Imagine the reaction if we sent a weak team to Twickenham.
And just to prove it is possible to play a long season involving Super 14; tri-nations; the Air New Zealand provincial championship AND send an All Black team north at the end of the season, look at the following comparison of England’s result in the Southern Hemisphere since 2004 (thanks Sunday Times and allblacks.com) and the All Blacks.
England have played nine games and lost all nine; scoring 103 points for with 394 against. If you include the Lions tour it’s played 12; lost 12. The All Blacks have played 11 and won all 11; scoring 448 points for with 104 against. (RWC excluded). It can be done.
England 2004: v Australia lost 15-5; v New Zealand lost 3-36; v New Zealand lost 12-36
England 2006: v Australia lost 3-34; v Australia lost 18-43
England 2007: v South Africa lost 10-58; v South Africa lost 22-55
England 2008: v New Zealand lost 20-37; v New Zealand lost 12-44
The Lions Tour was in 2005.
All Blacks 2004: v Italy won 59-10; v Wales won 26-25; v France won 45-6; v Barbarians won 47-19
All Blacks 2005: v Wales won 41-3; v Ireland won 45-7; v Scotland won 29-10; v England won 41-20
All Blacks 2006: v France won 47-3; v France won 23-11; v Wales won 45-10