Date: Feb 10th, 2019
Video Credits: Guinness Six Nations
Saturday 2nd February 2019 proved to be a historic night for England rugby fans, a new look England stepped out onto the field to take on a very well oiled machine in Ireland. A large part of the fans and media around the world didn’t give England any hope, let alone a slim one! Ireland started the match as firm favourites, not only to win the game, but the Six Nations Championship altogether.
In only a few minutes England had registered their first of four tries and had seven points on the board, generally looking in control. Having spent much of the match on the front foot, the only real mishap came in the form of a yellow card to Tom Curry for a late challenge on Keith Earls. England were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes but Ireland could inflict little damage.
As it was, England emphatically burst the Irish bubble and ended any hope of Ireland repeating last years feat of completing the grand slam. England left Ireland with a comprehensive 32-20 away win. In twenty tests Ireland have only tasted defeat twice, the only other team to walk away with a (W) against their name while facing Ireland is 2019 World Cup Favourites New Zealand.
How significant will this prove to be with the 2019 World Cup just around the corner? Who knows? What we do know is a game like this, away from home will give England the confidence they need to push on and stake their own claim at winning not only this tournament but the biggie that awaits us this September.
There must of been two very different post match dressing room talks from the teams respective managers. The Welsh would have been high fives and pats on the back between the players and management, conversely I expect there would have been some foul mouthed expletives mixed with a few clips around the ear from the manager and coaches!
France raced into a first half 16-0 lead with tries from Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget only to catastrophically crumble in the second half eventually losing the match 19-24. Wales produced an error strewn first half only to come out in the second looking like a team possessed. As France made error after error it was fitting that the Wales triumph should come from their ability to seize on French mistakes.
England and France have met on 104 occasions the first being back in 1906, the rivalry know as ‘Le Crunch’ will be re-ignited this Sunday at Twickenham. During the Eddie Jones era the two teams have met on three occasions with England registering two wins and a loss onto Eddie’s record.
The loss came at the Stade de France in this reverse fixture last year. After twenty minutes of battle England found themselves with a 6-0 lead although this was eradicated by the time both teams stepped off the field for their half-time oranges. The match was finely poised at nine a piece. It seems England’s Anthony Watson may of had a little too much citrus during the break as eight minutes into the second half Watson conceded a penalty try, this signalled the beginning of the end for England as France rarely looked threatened from there on in. France ran out winning by a margin of 22-16, to rub salt into the wounds, England ended up finishing the competition in a dismal fifth place. 2018 Was a tournament to forget for the English fans, they just might of found that much needed spring in their step for 2019's competition!
Lets see how this exciting fixture plays out, on one hand we have a new look England facing their first home match of the Six Nations and on the other we have a wounded France in desperate need of a win.
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