Shot to Nothing

Saturday, February 24, 2007

England will miss their speed-men against Ireland

Got speed?English rugby has always had a knack for producing super fast wingers. Unfortunately none of them will be playing this weekend in the biggest game of the 2007 Six Nations.

Thats not to say that Josh Lewsey isn't a brilliant winger or that David Strettle doesn't deserve a shot in an England jersey, but neither of them have the sheer olympic speed that top flight International Rugby demands. Ok, you can get away with only having one ultra fast man on the wing, (in fact it works quite well if you're slower winger has a high workrate), but you cannot expect to compete with no outright speed freaks in the team.  Especially if you're playing a team like Ireland.

The Irish tactical set up is a good one; kick to the corners, play the territory game and force the opposition to playthe ball from their own half. Unfortunately for England, the best way to counteract this tactic is to get the ball to your speed guys and have them pelting it at full speed through the broken down Irish line (broken because of the chase down after the kick). Jason Robinson is a master of plays like this but, of-course, is injured and out of this weeks fixture.

Obviously Ireland are hurting badly from their unlucky last minute defeat to France last fortnight, but they have Brian O'Driscoll (easily the second best player in the world right now behind New Zealand's Daniel Carter) back from injury and they are still looking better then ever. I just can't see Engalnd winning this one.



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