Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Its all to good to be true.

My rugby blog is like the old bus adage; nothing then 3 comes along at once. I had a great weekend, having a belated Christmas party and watching a bit of rugby; some in the flesh and some on the TV. England v Italy was a great game England looked so good, and had so much attacking flair backed up with a decent forward pack, they look really strong. I still have an irrational hatred for Toby Flood that has gone on for 4 years now; however I am willing to except he is pretty good. I am worried that Ashton is going to get analysed to death in the coming weeks and as a result shut out of a few games. For me though its players like Tom Palmer and Dylan Hartley that have done some great work along with the new boy Corbisero and Dan Cole, they give freedom to the back row to dominate the games. Palmer has been sublime the last two games with his ball skills and work rate. A tight five working that hard it gives so many opportunities to others, that everyone looks good. Like the Jonny Wilkinson drop goal against Australia, it only comes about as a result of a good line out, a good clear out, and some good driving play to put the players in the right place. Some may say I am biased about the importance of the tight five, I am, but that doesn’t mean I am wrong.

France were made to look very beatable by Ireland, which sets up an interesting battle in the forthcoming game against les Bleus. I am starting to get confident we can win it; now bear in mind my rugby knowledge currently sees me bottom of the fantasy league I created and about 100 points adrift of everyone, I think it’s important to take my opinions with a pinch of salt.

I did go and watch the England women play on Saturday against Italy and I have to say it was a really good game. The noticeable points were the lineout which looked really good, really dynamic and effective. Italy surprised me in that it wasn’t until late in the second half they started to struggle in the set piece they looked quite tough in the tight. The stand out player, and I have to say the standout player from all the rugby I watched at the weekend; was the Worcester flanker Heather Fisher. I actually think I developed an eighty minute crush on her as she totally dominated the game and appeared everywhere, tackling like a sledgehammer, running lines at pace and with such power she broke the line at will. I guess in the shadow of a personality and player like Maggie Alphonsi it is easy to blend into the background but Fisher certainly didn’t do that. I don’t want to sound like I going overboard because I knew she was good having seen her in action in the past. Seeing her perform up close was impressive, her aggression at the breakdown and work rate were just phenomenal. It’s hard to not go on and on about it and forget the other players on the pitch but it has been a long time since I saw one individual have such an impact on a game.

All that done, it was a cracking weekend. Next weekend gets tougher as I am away in Leicester to watch Wasps play up there; I think it may involve too much beer and a pretty tough game for Wasps.

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