An English Sporting Rant

2 06 2010

Prepare yourself for more spin than ever before in the next few weeks. Prepare yourself for a team, that has not lived up to expectations for quite some time, having its chances of winning being talked up by captain, coaches and managers. Prepare yourself for that team to be supported with much love but, ultimately, hopelessly from the public. Prepare for this same team to be ripped apart by the media when they fail for the umpteenth time.

Prepare yourself, in short, for Martin Johnson’s England rugby team and their tour of Australia. You may have thought that we were writing a piece about England’s world cup football chances, but let us reassure you, by comparison to the English rugby team, we are hugely positive on the likelihood of them having a successful tournament.

What has brought on this mini-tirade is a Daily Telegraph headline which reads as the following ‘Simon Shaw: summer tour could propel Martin Johnson’s  England to greatness’. As you can imagine, this immediately caused our blood to boil, as England are about as far from greatness as it is possible to get (and certainly more than one tour away!). To do justice to Simon Shaw, a modern leviathan of the scrum and one of the few straight talkers in the England team, reading on, this isn’t exactly what he said. The gist of his words being (to paraphrase) ‘this is an important tour and everyone is looking to lay down a marker etc, etc’. Usual England PR rubbish in short given an ounce of credibility due to it being imparted by Shaw rather than the usual culprits.

The world cup is now approximately 15 months away. In this time Johnson has to take England from being no-hopers to challengers, and quite frankly, anything less than a semi-final place should be regarded as a failure. In the past 2 years since he took over, the level of progress achieved by England could be best illustrated by a flat line graph or, even on occasions, one that has dipped. There have of course been the odd high, England vs France in 2009 for example, but this was nothing more than a fluke it seems and business as usual was soon resumed.

This tour should be all about winning. Nothing else. The fact that after two years of ‘building’ and ‘trying out combinations’ etc, no progress has been made and, quite honestly, as an England fan it hurts.

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2 responses

2 06 2010
Will Buck

Whilst I understand the frustrations with English rugby at present, I think it is time to be positive before this tour. Johnson’s selections prior to Australia were abysmal and bafflling in many cases, but I believe that a corner has been turned and there is finally a willingness to pick young players and form players. There was a significant surge of quality in the second half of the guiness premiership season, highlighted by a maginificent final. Althought the second half was disappointing, the Barbarians game was uplifting as we played with real attacking intent and some of the offloading was highly encouraging. Attwood looks a real find and Palmer and him looked like a potential second-row pair of real quality – finally!! Apart from a few players who I would like to see the back of (Care, Hape, Worsley) I actually think the selection is good for the tour. (Having said that, Alex Goode is so good that I cannot believe he is not going!!!) My starting line up would be:
Foden, Cueto, Tindall, Barkley, Ashton, Flood, Youngs, Easter, Moody, Croft, Attwood, Palmer, Golding, Thompson, Cole.
Bring on the Aussie filth!!!!

2 06 2010
Bradders

I agree that there are many good young players coming through and it is good that Johnson is willing to pick them. The problem before every tournament/tour is that we as fans are positive and then nothing comes of it. To my eyes, Johnson appears to be the issue as even if he is picking the right players – he is not letting them play. It seems the best way to stifle a young english player is to bring them into the national set up currently.

Can’t dispute your team though – more or less exactly what i would pick! Cheers Will.

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