Totally agree. It largely comes down to the mental weakness though for me. The top 2% is what has made Wales more physical. Wales were always mentally soft and still far from perfect there but Gats has started to correct this. They have had plenty of big guys for a while but pushing beyond their normal physical boundaries has always been a problem. England have had it off and on but not currently. It allows teams to step up that extra level and a level which I think NZ have always set.
Spala is a red herring really, the key for Wales was self discipline and that showed itself in the fitness levels. Also think Warburton is a rare and special talent in that aside from the physical capabilities he has the mental strength and presence that is very unusual. Hope he enjoys a bit of luck with fitness which is as important as anything in modern rugby. Shame he won't be taking on the Zimbabwean tomorrow as that would have been a battle royal.All we need then is a bloody big mobile Polish fridge then? Toughened them up nicely.
Actually think it's down to having the squad together for an extended period of fitness training. Also if 10 of them were really off the grog, that certainly helped
Spala is a red herring really, the key for Wales was self discipline and that showed itself in the fitness levels. Also think Warburton is a rare and special talent in that aside from the physical capabilities he has the mental strength and presence that is very unusual. Hope he enjoys a bit of luck with fitness which is as important as anything in modern rugby. Shame he won't be taking on the Zimbabwean tomorrow as that would have been a battle royal.
Ireland went to Spala pre 2007 RWC and that was cited as part of the reason why Ireland were worse than shite in that tournament. Personally I thought it was a red herring/ scapegoat on that occasion as well. Wales have obviously had a cracking tournament, for me the second best team. Ireland had a very good tournament as well and were beaten by the better/ fresher team on the day. We got the result we needed to get against Aus but not taking the bonus point against US gave Italy something to work with and put added pressure on that final group game but as I say, we were beaten fair and square by Wales. Not going to begin talking about France as I am not a pyschiatrist and I am certainly not a pyschiatrist in french. Scotland should have beaten Argentina and it could be said that they were 'soft' to have not converted that win but offensively they are considerably worse than Gaffney coached Ireland and that is saying plenty. England, aah England. They have been an absolute shambles from very top to very bottom, and at the bottom of the heap is 'the brand' Haskell. The RFU is in complete disarray and the cancer has spread down to the shambles of a team. Many English friends of mine consider them to be a complete disgrace to their country. The terrible discipline on and off the field can be traced back to Ashton and his stupid dive; he was specifically told by the manager not to do it and he completely ignored that order. From that moment, Johnson's authority was no greater than a teacher and his rebellious teenage charges. He should have dropped Ashton there and then but he couldn't and this goes to the heart of England's problems, the 'English' players are quite simply not very good. Foden is a world class player but not as good as he was a year ago. Ashton is the Graeme Hick of rugby, the only try he has scored against good opposition was the one against an exhausted Aus team in november 2010, he is a complete flat track bully but he cannot be dropped because the locker of talent is empty. Tuilagi is playing for England at the moment but will be off to league to play as a prop fairly soon; he might be big and strong but he is absurdly slow for a 13, witness the spring chicken Geordan Murphy catching him so easily in august, Tindall, Wilkinson who is years past his best as a player and can't kick anymore. Young's form has dropped off a cliff the well taken try against Argentina not withstanding. And then onto the Pack, Sheridan sadly looks to be finished and as I suspected they missed him more than they ever imagined they would. The decision to start a TH specialist who can play LH( Stevens) very nearly backfired against Scotland who would have won if they had not had to surmount the 8 point margin to go through. Lawes seems to think he is in an Audition for a Guy Richie Gangster movie and should have been on the plane home after his disgraceful challenge on Ledesma in the first game, which England were very lucky to win. The Irish BR, without David Wallace, is not massively balanced but England only have blind side flankers, couple of good ones in Croft and Wood but they can't play together, Moody is a headless chicken and Haskell is just a self centred c*nt. A lot of English friends of mine have come to realise that if your next best no 8 is 'fatty' Waldron then there is something pretty rotten in the game. Johnson will be the scapegoat, of that there can be little doubt; completely unfair as to promote a man to coach the national side when he has not even coached under 12s is crazy. I am delighted England are so shite but to say it is down to them being soft is completely missing the point for me.I partly agree with Paddy on the Spala red herring bit. The way they go on is as if Wales were the first to do it but Byrne the ex-Irish hooker said he was there several years ago with the Irish. I think Wales were mentally weaker than the English and Irish to begin with which is why perhaps it had a sizeable effect. It seems a bit like the old fashioned army recruit scenario where they break them down mentally before rebuilding them. Wales needed it more than the others. Spala won't be a "cure all" scenario for every team.
Warburton was an added bonus and suited becoming leader with this new found attitude.
Sore fingers after that?
England is a complicated situation. Ben Cohen said recently their to busy wanting to be rock stars or whatever. I do think there is a bit in that where they believe they are a far bigger deal than what they really are. If some of the top players kept their nose to the grind stone for a bit longer instead of clubbing in the place to be seen then that would give them a bit more resolve. I do think they are short on some class players in quite a few positions as well. Tuilagi has a lot to learn..... like looking for support when making a break for starters. The number of times I have seen him go dead after making a decent break, without any intention of trying to move the ball is criminal. England seem to expect to be good just because they are England. Total overhaul is required. I've got a lot of respect for Martin Johnson and I think he's been shit on from all around him.
Compare Wales with Priestland to Wales with Hook or Jones (take you pick).
I cannot believe there is not a better 2nd5 backup in Wales right now. For all their experience these guys were dismal. They make the team look hesitant. Yes they were playing with 14 but neither Hook nor Jones had a plan and that has often been the case when the heat is on.
Wales is on the up. Fabulous new players.
They didn't get that far up my nose because as I predicted a French team being coached by the no 8 and the no 9 beat them out of site playing shite. Don't like to see any rugby players behaving like the English did; call me a snob but rugby is a better game than fecking kick fighting partly because the players know how to behave themselves and that translates into the stands and indeed the internet where we are all friends!!!???!!!??? Thought your boys looked tired today, but can hold their heads high for a great RWC campaign. Hopefully the scarlets players will be properly fucked so we can beat them home and away with the try bonus point in the HEC!?! Hope Chavin doesn't come in and disrupt the Cardiff lads, think having him around is a major risk team morale wise but there you go.Not struck on the orcs either but they got up your nose Paddy!
I like Johnson but he's been pulled in all directions by whole series of loyalties.
the problem is that this lot really see themselve as equivalent to the footballers. Been happening since the days of Carling et al with their 'loads of money' attitude and I really think they believed tha tthe 10 man percentage game they developed to win RWC is still the way to win. world has thankfully moved on and even the French, who are trying the same thing, will get crucified on Sunday
Hope Chavin doesn't come in and disrupt the Cardiff lads, think having him around is a major risk team morale wise but there you go.
I dont really agree with the artice. I think there's not much gap between Australia and South Africa and the likes of Wales, Ireland and England (might begrudgingly incljude the French).
Between the All Blacks and the rest is the really where the big gap is. I suppose Australia and South Africa are lifted slightly from being forced to play the All Blacks regularly.