1. Execution: England to be completely honest dominated Ireland in the first half with over 60 percent possession and 72 percent territory. When Eddie Jones says they were not clinical enough in the first half and left “10 to 15 points out there” he was not wrong. Against better sides with that amount of ball you should be punishing them far more, nearly 3/4 of the first half was played inside Ireland’s 22… England entered half time with only 6-3 lead when they should of be winning by ay least 8 points at the end of the first half. Hartley’s so called double movement for England’s maybe try does not matter even though if may of been the wrong decision.
What does matter is the butchered chance out wide after 25 minutes of constant pressure, yes Hartley come in on a heroic crash ball which ultimately ends up in a Ireland penalty, But out wide there was Cole, Robshaw, Ford, Watson with acres of green Twickenham turf in front, one pass there would of been a certain try as this picture demonstrates. Kudos to England in the second half though, they went 10-6 down with Haskell getting his fifth yellow card in an England shirt and could of collapsed. They showed good character with Farrell slotting a kick while England were down to 14 men to make the score 10-9. From that with England back to 15 men they pushed on to win against a battling Ireland side.
Ireland in the second half had 71 percent possession along with 73 percent territory, England were actually very clinical in that 2nd half with little ball or field position. The overriding point is, against Wales will that get a second chance to get points onto the board? i don’t think they will with Wales having a superior defence under the guidance of Sean Edwards. Players need to be more self aware of overlap opportunities, as i can assure you the All Blacks would of recognised the Hartley disallowed try was the wrong option and would of nailed the 4 on 2 overlap.
Yes even though a tighhead prop (Cole) and Robshaw the blindside were part of the overlap, I think Owen Franks and Jerome Kaino would of been perfectly happy to makes the passes to Ford which would of put Watson in for a try 25 minutes in. Improved execution will make England’s life a lot easier at winning these test matches. More penetration in midfield is good food for though as well with Tuilagi building match fitness up week by week, another area which is in the same bag as execution was the lack of penetration England had near the Irish line.
Tuilagi at 12 would combat this plus keep Jamie Roberts quiet you would think, with his 6 ft 1 near 18 stone physique more than able to handle Roberts on a crash ball. England must improve on finishing opportunities and getting points on the board.
2. Discipline: England may have won reasonably comfortably on the scoreboard with the final score ending in a 11 point win but improved discipline might of doubled that score. This is another reason why i think Eddie Jones said there were around “10 to 15 points still out there”, yes he said about how they “didn’t convert their attacking pressure” which follows my first point on execution but playing the match without two yellow cards would of definitely made the task easier.
Haskell’s fifth yellow card for England came at a terrible time, Ireland were starting to build phases and put real pressure on England, Haskell’s no arm shoulder to the face of Conor Murray made the task of defending a lot more difficult for the rest of the England team. No longer than a minute later Murray went over for the first try of the game, the same man who consequently received the shoulder to the face from Haskell. Danny Care received the second yellow card for not rolling away when Ireland were in a great position on England’s line, sometimes in big test matches those yellow’s have to be done.
England held out for the rest of the game to win by an 11 point margin. England’s defence has been great so far with one try conceded the whole tournament, showing Paul Gustard’s ‘Wolf Pack’ method of defending is more than working. Discipline not so much with 12 penalties conceded to Ireland’s 10, plus with the form of Dan Biggar from the kicking tee at the moment England would of conceded more than just 10 points against Ireland.
Ill discipline is the only reason England are conceding any sort of points at the moment, Murray’s try came from Haskell’s Yellow… If England can wipe this area up of their game they will be even harder to get points against, Wales got an opportunist try from North against France Friday night and have not looked like creating much else. If England defend well man to man they should be put in good stead for that match, even if Wales do have Biggar’s kicking from the tee on air to air missile lock of England’s posts.
By Cameron Petrie