|Englands Chris Ashton|
Wales put up a good fight and made it tight until the end, although they wern't clinical when it mattered. England however were. We made the most of the opportunities we got and in the end that is all that matters. Chris Ashton showed more signs of promise with two tries to his name and Toby Flood was solid with the boot.
Next was Italy. Now, I'm a big fan of Italy. They have a lot of promise and have steadily improved over the years. The problem is, they don't have strength in depth. There team is dotted with star players but as we know a few stars can't win you the game. Sergio Parisse the Italian No.8 & captain could earn a place in any side in the world, and as England piled on the points you could see his frustration...I felt for him.
|Sergio Parisse being tackled by Ben Foden|
Italy should not have scored their try either! We essentially gifted them. We looked week as the Italians pushed us over our own try line after they formed a maul from a line-out. Fabio Ongaro the replacement hooker went over for an easy try. This is surprising because for so long the maul was the strongpoint of the England game & we could match any team in the world for strength.
Negatives over. I was very pleased with our work in attack. Ashton & Cueto really stuck out in my opinion. It was encouraging seeing them come off their wings and taking the ball on the inside shoulder of flood. In open play as well, whenever a break was made Ashton was right there ready to take the pass and go in under the posts. Support play is what we need, and this is something that Ashton has learnt from his days at Wigan in Rugby League.
I was impressed at seeing glimpses of the team we had in 2003. We have a long way to go if we want to challenge for the World cup but there again when Clive Woodward took over he went through a period of struggle and was nearly fired and then went on to build arguably the best team the world has ever seen.
|2003 world cup winning squad on their tour of London.|
If we can beat France at Twickenham on Saturday then we will be in with a great chance of winning the Grand Slam for the first time since 2003. We have the potential, lets just hope we don't choke under the pressure.