After all they repeatedly do their best to make the Jocks look good on a rugby pitch and they were at it again on Sunday as they struggled to keep the Grand Slam dream alive.
It’s funny hearing and reading the ex-Jock players and Jock pundits talking this game up, specifically their sides performance. Oh the national pride was back big time baby.
You only had a sniff because England were inept as they yet again seemed to approach a game against the marauding tartan hoards as if they only had to step on the pitch to win. Though I suppose with the way England played that is pretty much how it panned out.
But straight from the off you knew it was going to be one of those games, England lollygagging with passes and to the breakdown, letting them get on the front foot, just giving them a lift. So much that it was always going to be tight, even with the Jocks doing bugger all themselves bar the usual spoiling tactics. Don’t know how many times a blue shirt was in the middle or coming out the back of a ruck and “innocently getting in the way”. Well it’s about the only way they’ll ever match up with the masters of such “skills” the All Blacks.
Yes the Jocks did provide one piece of real skill for their try but everything else was handed to them with England’s inability to hang onto a ball when contacted. Knock on after knock on.
Some said about the Jocks that you “don’t become a bad side overnight”. Well maybe not but that suggests they were a good side the day before and that plainly isn’t so, no matter who they beat in the autumn. Andy Robinson’s default look is still befuddled and that’s the way it will always be.
England were kept in it by Shontayne Hape’s tackling in the first half and James Haskell taking the initiative in the second.
I haven’t posted about the 6 Nations yet, basically I didn’t know what to make of England. Beating a piss poor Wales in the opening match I felt there was a bit of overboard talk about certain players. Same thing with an Italian side that just didn’t turn up. When a true test came against France – well it looked a true test before the Lievremont buggered about with his side and then the French trip to Italy – they struggled. And I think it all revolves around one area and maybe one or two players.
Now I’ve never really rated Toby Flood – was he called Toby because of the jug ears? – always thought he was a bit weak, physically and mentally. Now he got all the plaudits from the first two games but the latter two and the performance of the team and his replacement when he was substituted says to me that Wilkinson should start against the Irish. There’s no way Flood deserved the 7/10 rating I saw in one paper this morning.
Now certainly Flood wasn’t helped by his number nines passing. How many balls were far to high and too far back, meaning the receiver had to either jump or stop or both to catch the ball. But from that Flood was flat footed and indecisive and that carrying the ball like in outstretched armed way like it’s a baby that has just crapped itself does my head in.
The other deciding factor is that awful piss weak way in which Flood tries to tackle. Chest high, kind of slappy, slappy flounce would be a better description than the word tackle.
Jonny has come on in all the games and provided a spark, his misspass lead to England’s try against the Jocks, his tackling has saved the day, well it saved a try against Italy, which had no bearing on the eventual outcome but it was still a hell of a tackle.
Well maybe this scrape was for the best, even with Ireland having lost two games England don’t think as little of them as a rugby side as they do the Jocks, they shouldn’t be taken as lightly.
And after all the Slam is still on…