Wednesday, September 19, 2007

England rugby

It was obvious, five minutes into their match against South Africa last Friday, that the only question was how much England would lose by. Even at that early stage, they were not chasing kicks, not harrying kickers, not going for the charge downs. In the end, as someone commented somewhere, they were lucky to come away with nil points.

There's no excuse at all for their lack of commitment. While fans of minor teams like Georgia can feel proud of losses, and Welsh supporters have enjoyed watching spirited performances, even if the opposition deservedly won on the night, We English can only wonder why the national disease has become so very obvious in this rugby tournament.

There's some good news about player availability ahead of the next game, but this isn't really the issue. If players don't put their bodies on the line, they won't win. The psychological problems that were temporarily hidden by the leadership of Martin Johnson have become all too obvious again.

This is a failure of management and leadership. It's modern England in microcosm.

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