Autumn Internationals: Only Two Victories?

25 10 2010

A quick thought: New England Chief Executive John Steele has set what he believes to be a ‘realistic’ target in the fast approaching Autumn Internationals. His stated aim for Martin Johnson is to win two of England’s four games against variously New Zealand, Samoa, Australia and South Africa.

A tough four games undoubtedly; but we do not believe that a fifty percent record is enough. In the Compulsive Hooker’s view we would like to see three out of the four games won as, anything less than that, would not be engendering the necessary winning habit. For a long time (indeed ever since 2004) England have been a side ‘in development’ with the ‘performance of the team’ being more important than the result – or so the various England coaching staff members and teams would have us believe. This though is, quite frankly, rubbish.

Like Robbie Deans and Pieter De Villiers have both said over the past few days; going into a world cup year – winning’ is everything’. By being ‘realistic’ Steele is not setting the bar high enough for Johnson and is in danger of letting this current malaise of mediocrity continue. England are (and should be) a powerful and wealthy rugby nation with a huge player base and, crucially for the tournament next year, have a potentially brilliant set of youthful stars coming through. This Autumn is as good a time as any to ask them, when combined with the more senior and experienced players, to start performing and start judging the players by results – not a more subjective ‘performance’ measure.

In theory one win is more or less assured with England likely to be too powerful and organised for Samoa. Equally in theory one loss is more or less assured as the All Blacks have been playing some quite breathtaking rugby. Australia and South Africa are the games England should target having beaten the Wallabies in their last meeting and with the Springboks in disarray and suffering injuries.

After all, you would never see even a poor Australian or South Africa side contemplate anything other than a victory when playing at home. Twickenham, whilst not being the fortress it was at the beginning of the decade, is still a difficult venue for opposing teams to come and play at and, with that in mind, nothing less than three victories will suffice in our eyes…

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3 responses

25 10 2010
Dingo

I’d actually go one step further, England should be targetting winning all matches, how can a team of Englands capabilities and resources, a world cup winning team, go into any match at home thinking, oh well, the all blacks are too good, we accept to lose. England definately have the abilty to stick to a game plan, and if every man plays to his best, can pull out a win. confidence is half the battle,

“If you haven’t confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started. ” Marcus Garvey.

Saying that, Let’s Go Wallabies!!!!

25 10 2010
Bradders

Well in an ideal world – absolutely agree with you. Sadly England’s rugby is far from ideal…

26 10 2010
Dingo

Still, I’d never count out the English, they seem to be a big game team, even if they were to lose four out of four this autumn, i’d still be wary of them come WC. But I think John Steele out to be inspiring a little more self belief in the boys.

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