I think that Italy’s coaching team need a huge pat on the back. For a full 40 minutes of the game England had absolutely no idea how to combat the simple, yet massively effective, use of the tackle/ruck laws. The only other time that I have seen this used is on the 7’s circuit where it is fairly common.
The interesting fact is that not one of the England players were confident enough in their knowledge of the laws to be able to get the team together and give them the solution – which, let’s face it was fairly simple.
In addition Italy scored two tries, one an absolute gem to stay in the game until the 65th minute.
The shame was that the Azzuri did not have a plan B and even once England had sorted the rucks out they continued to leave the contact area well alone. England, as a consequence, just tucked the ball under their jumper and trucked it up the middle.
Ultimately England, as has been the way of late, found a way. This match though, should never have been a case of ‘finding a way’. There is still a gulf in quality players from 1-23 between the two countries.
I wrote an article last week coming out in favour of relegation from the 6 Nations. Italy seem to have been the focus of this thinking and have been vociferous in stating that it should not happen. Surely Italy should now relish the prospect as there should be no way that they (or any of the other 5 teams) should lose a potential play-off match against a Georgia or any other second tier team.
Quote of the day goes to Mr Poite “I am the referee, not a coach” – Priceless