Monday, 1 December 2008

A Different National Embarrassment

I rarely blog about sport. But the article speaks for itself. At this rate I will have to start supporting football at which England are not too bad. What is wrong with our RUFC national side? Mind you at least the Welsh were not disappointed. From the BBC:

Autumn Tests 2008
8-29 November 2008
Wales v Aus
Wales quotes
Eng v NZ
Eng quotes
As it happened
England (3) 6Pens: Flood, Armitage
New Zealand (12) 32Tries: Muliaina 2, Nonu Con: Carter Pens: Carter 5
By Mark Orlovac

Conrad Smith and Richie McCaw (right) celebrate one of Mils Muliaina's tries
England were made to pay for their indiscipline as New Zealand comfortably secured a 'grand slam' of the home nations on their autumn tour.
The home side gave away a host of penalties and had four players sin-binned as they slumped to their third straight defeat at Twickenham.
New Zealand battled to a 12-3 lead but they cut loose after the break.
Full-back Mils Muliaina crossed twice in the right-hand corner while Ma'a Nonu added another as England tired.
The defeat completes a chastening autumn series for new England manager Martin Johnson, who has seen his side lose to Australia, South Africa and now New Zealand in successive weeks.
For New Zealand, the result completes their third "grand slam" to add to their successes in 1978 and 2005, and incredibly they end their tour without conceding a single try in their Test victories over Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England this month.
Although England's display on Saturday was much improved from last week's record home defeat against South Africa, Johnson will be angry with the number of penalties his side conceded against the All Blacks - 15 in total.
The indiscipline negated any momentum England built as they took the game to New Zealand, while gifting the visitors easy points.
It also led to hooker Lee Mears, flanker James Haskell, fly-half Toby Flood and replacement open-side Tom Rees all being sin-binned.
New Zealand thoroughly deserved their win, but England can only have themselves to blame for their indiscipline yet again
And the margin of defeat could have been even greater had New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter not missed five kicks at goal.
After an incident-free All Blacks haka, the first half was a scrappy affair with England hassling their revered opponents while New Zealand struggled to find their rhythm.
And the early signs were good for the home side with recalled London Irish lock Nick Kennedy pressurising the All Blacks line-out while the English defensive line were keeping the dangerous New Zealand attack in check by denying them quick ball.
But it was the penalty count that cost England dear in the opening period, with Johnson's men conceding 10 penalties before the break.
Flood, who replaced Danny Cipriani in one of three changes to the starting line-up, had the first chance to put points on the board but his fifth-minute penalty drifted wide.
Carter put his side ahead in the 15th minute after scrum-half Danny Care cynically kicked the ball away from a ruck although England levelled the scores two minutes later through Flood when Tony Woodcock collapsed a scrum.
Mears was the first to be sin-binned after he was caught with his hands in the ruck to slow down a New Zealand attack, but Carter missed his attempt.

Flood saw yellow for this challenge on Cowan in the second halfCarter did make the score 6-3 when Care went over the top of a ruck but he was wasteful again after Haskell saw yellow for a swinging arm to the head of Rodney So'oialo on 32 minutes.
Two more penalties at the end of the half were slotted over by Carter but it did not seem to affect the home side as they made a superb start to the second period.
Full-back Delon Armitage caught the restart and released number eight Nick Easter but the Harlequins forward was tapped by Carter just metres from the line.
Flood was the next to be sin-binned after being harshly penalised for a high tackle on Jimmy Cowan as the scrum-half broke from deep.
Armitage was given the kicking duties and he reduced the deficit to six points with a well-taken penalty but that was the last moment of joy for the home side.
New Zealand took control of the game when England were pushed off a scrum deep in their own half, the ball was spread wide quickly and Muliaina dived over in the corner.
Carter added another penalty on 62 minutes before Muliaina scored in the same corner after collecting a cheeky kick from his fly-half.
England's battling forwards were tiring by the minute and the All Blacks took full advantage, Nonu running in from halfway after a break and neat offload from hooker Keven Mealamu.
The game ended with Rees yellow-carded for another breakdown infringement but it did not matter - the game was over - and it leaves Johnson with plenty to think about ahead of the Six Nations.
England: Armitage; Sackey, Noon, Flutey, Monye; Flood, Care; Payne, Mears, Vickery, Borthwick, Kennedy, Haskell, Lipman, Easter.Replacements: Hipkiss for Sackey (73), Cipriani for Noon (75), Ellis for Care (60), Hartley for Mears (67), Stevens for Vickery (53), Rees for Lipman (58), Croft for Easter (67).
Sin Bin: Mears (24), Haskell (32), Flood (43), Rees (76).
New Zealand: Muliaina; Rokocoko, Smith, Nonu, Sivivatu; Carter, Cowan; Woodcock, Mealamu, Tialata, Thorn, Williams, Kaino, McCaw, So'oialo.Replacements: Toeava for Smith (69), Weepu for Cowan (70), Afoa for Tialata (56), Reid for Kaino (56).
Not Used: Elliot, Boric, Donald.
Att: 81,180
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

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