England vs France - Minute-by-minute

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England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:05 pm

You've only yourselves to blame for encouraging me.

Minute 1: France kick off deep and Slade comes from deep to collect. No hint of a lifting pod and I feel there probably should be, but it's a positive early call and he takes it comfortably. We set up and box and it's not brilliant from Youngs - curling infield away from the chase and landing on the 15. Thankfully our line is good and as Huget takes it, he accelerates into both Vunipolae. The entire stadium goes "Oooooh" in unison, no matter the colour they're wearing. Billy rucks over, but no-one is with him and, as the ball comes out, Parra looks to pass it into him to buy a penalty. Billy does very well to weave out the way of it and that's something he would've blundered into in his youth.

France have three or four tight phases without going anywhere before attempting a switch outside Lopez. Guirado has his eyes on the English defensive line rather than the pass and he fumbles it forwards before getting absolutely munched by Curry. The ball spills out to Youngs, who picks the right option in passing further back to Daly. There's an amusing moment, which I thought was a block on first viewing, but appears to just be Bastareaud accepting that he's never going to catch Daly and grabbing Slade in an attempt to look like he's been taken out while really honestly and earnestly trying to run, honest guvnor.

Minute 2: Daly "rounds" Bastareaud, steps inside Lopez, draws Penaud and the cover, before kicking a lovely grubber through that stops just the other side of the line. May accelerates past people like they're standing still (he starts 2m behind Daly and ends up 5m ahead across the space of a 42m sprint) and makes a very fine job of touching down one-handed. He then ruins his cool factor by his celebration being waving to the crowd like a 5 year old in the school play who's just spotted his mum in the audience. Still, when he can do that, we'll forgive him for being a complete tit.

Minute 3: Replays of Guirado turning the ball over - he really was just staring at his doom in the form of Curry and Lawes chargin up on him, rather than looking at the pass. I suspect he was probably fearing getting hurt by Lawes, rather than the actual munching he got from Curry. Faz narrowly misses a tough kick. Fun statistic - England have now scored a try within the first 3 minutes of their last 5 tests: NZ, Japan, Australia, Ireland, and France.

Minute 4: If I have this much to write about every minute, this is going to take me ages. Thankfully, if I recall correctly, the last 20 minutes was Intentionally Left Blank by both teams.

We move our lifting pod further back this time, but the ball clears them again, and Slade takes it again with a positive call. We set up again, box kick, and this one's much better from Youngs. Huget screws up his positioning, overruns it and drops it, before receiving a Lawes special as he hits the floor, to add injury to insult. Reminding us all, once again, that full-back is a specialist position and you can't just shove a winger in there.

Minute 5: Youngs isn't remotely bothering with a straight feed, but Nige doesn't care, so play on. As with Ireland, it's quick hook and quick ball, rather than penalty lottery. Farrell make the right decision from three - dummies to Manu on the crash, ignores Slade on the pull-back, and instead passes wide to Daly. Bastareaud and Lopez are watching Manu, Doumayrou is watching Slade, and poor Penaud has just realised that Daly is about to pass to May in 25m of space. Sadly, May sees Huget coming up and goes for the grubber - I think there was the space for May to try and burn Huget on the outside and he would've made it all the way to the line.

Daly and May chase the grubber, but it rolls into Fickou's path and France clear up and box kick away.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:05 pm

Minute 6: England have a lineout just outside the 22 and it's well taken by Kruis. This time, Faz uses Manu and Bastareaud steps in to take him down. Over the gainline though, and the next phase sees quick hands from Faz to put Slade through a half-gap. Guirado deliberately kills the ball and we attemtp a cross-kick with the advantage, but Parra is well placed.

Minute 7: Faz slots a simple penalty. 8-0.

Minute 8: The kickoff lands on the 22 again, but again the lifting pod are nowhere near and Slade takes with ease. Youngs puts it up again, Huget catches this time, but gets Wilson smashing him the minute his foot brushes the grass. Really good timing of the run from Wilson. Lopez puts up the bomb and Ben Youngs does not look keen on that. Fickou taps back and France have quick ball on our 22.

Minute 9: Curry is up so fast that it looks offside, but a slo-mo replay shows he's onside and just blitzes when the ball is picked up. Lopez gets the ball away, but he's had no time and it's taken the momentum away from the French. Farrell is lucky not to get done for a high tackle on Lambet, but it is a very wet attempt at a tackle and so is ignored by all. Lawes covers for him and actually effects the tackle. A few futile phases and then Curry undoes his good work with a soft breakdown penalty.

Minute 10: Parra drills it. 8-3.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:06 pm

Minute 11: Faz restarts long and to the edge of touch. Picamoles picks up and heads straight at Ashton, who does a very good job of slowing him enough for George to bring him down. Parra box kicks and it's poor. Daly's positioning is much better this week and he's got this one line up before being blatantly taken out off the ball by Fickou. Penalty England.

Minute 12: Replays...

Minute 13: Faz slots it for 11-3. France kick off and Slade has actually swapped to the other side of the pitch, but still the ball comes to him! None of the forwards seem interested in getting a pod up, but France knock on and we get the scrum.

Minute 14: Wilson is packing down very, very wide on the blindside and the ball rolls through the gap between him and BillyV. Youngs does well to beat Parra to it and flip it up, and Farrell does well to get onto it and offload to Manu on the crash. Youngs boxes, Penaud catches and May doesn't so much smash him back as he does chop his knees like felling a tree. It brings him down, I guess.

Minute 15: Parra boxes to BillyV who rumbles through a few French tacklers and we have quick ball against a disarranged French defence. Sadly, Farrell has already decided to kick and a promising attacking opportunity isn't taken. It's a good kick, but just dribbles over the try line to be touched down for a 22.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:43 pm

Minute 16: England take the restart and carry well. However, after a good run from Mako, Poirot straddles the ruck and gyrates at Youngs - it's clearly interfering with him, but Nige seems happy and Parra splats Youngs as he tries to free the ball.

Minute 17: French scrum and attacking move and our midfield defence is a dog's dinner. Bastareaud comes on a hard dummy line off Lopez and Manu has no thoughts of anything but giving him a thump. His charge up puts off Farrell, who should have left Lopez to Youngs and gone for Bastareaud himself, but instead finds himself doing nothing of anything. The ball actually goes out the back to Penaud, who steps into the Manu-shaped hole to draw Slade and offloads to Doumayrou who is now through the gap between Slade and Ashton, who is now trying to mark 3 men.

Thankfully Ashton stays in the passing lane for Doumayrou to stop it going any wider and Tuilagi and Farrell cover across to shut it down about 10m behind the gain line.

It gets worse though - as France go round the corner, Farrell calls the blitz when we're short on numbers and BillyV is easily stepped on the inside. The cover gets him and only a little ground is made, but we need to calm the hell down and reorganise.

Minute 18: We do calm down and reorganise and some big forward tackles slow the French advance. Parra box kicks. Ashton takes and goes on an arcing run across the defence - the counter attack is on and it looks like he's going to round Bamba and set up a 3-on-2 with May on the outside, but for some inexplicable reason he decides to step back into Bamba and the result is very much as you would expect. We kick away into the French half, Parra makes an uninspiring high ball that Youngs takes and Farrell makes a nice kick behind Penaud for May to chase. Penaud gets away though and beats a few tacklers before smashing his forearm into Slade's jaw as he carries. This is apparently fine with the refereeing team and Peanud makes it up past the half-way.

Minute 19: Quick ball for France, we've all pulled in tight to cover the missed tackles on Penaud, and Lopez makes a nice cross-kick to Fickou that unfortunately doesn't let him take it on the run. Fickou chips Daly, but Manu is covering back and just about gets an awkwardly bouncing ball into touch. Thankfully, Guirado overthrows the lineout and Farrell does nicely to pick it up and carry forward to the 22. Youngs boxes to touch near the halfway.

Minute 20: People mocked Ben Kay's "bravery challenge" commentary on the match thread, but the replay shows he's actually spot on - the ball bounces towards Lopez, but Faz is running for it at full tilt and Camille just plain doesn't fancy it. Lineout to France and Lawes comes through to put Parra off the pass and turn him inside. France recycle and get knocked back, so Parra kicks. It's not contestible and Ashton takes well.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:44 pm

Minute 21: Sinckler takes the ball to the line and then offloads to Mako at pace - haven't seen as much of that from Sinckler as we did in the AIs, but that's a nice touch. Youngs box kicks and Ashton does well to nick the ball from Picamoles in the air. George gathers beautifully and carries it forward. We pass it out and Farrell turns Penaud again - May is after it and doesn't get the bounce, but he slips and lets Penaud get away from him. Our defensive line is disjointed and Penaud picks the gap between Sinckler and Curry, the latter just holding onto a bootlace. Lopez shows he can kick away nice ball too by just booting it to Farrell and Farrell returns the favour by kicking back to Lopez for a mark.

Minute 22: May prevents the free kick from going to touch and Daly has space to run. He decides against attacking a very raggedy French press though and belts it skyward. Very boring and you feel there were better returns to be had from a proper counter. England are following instructions too well here. It's not even a good kick, but thankfully France knock it on, so the tactic is vindicated.

This time from the scrum, we attack the French and shove them back. BillyV feeds Youngs standing right, who whips it back left to Daly. It's a little laboured and no-one bought it, so Daly kicks over the top for Penaud to chase back for. This time he can't get away from May who brings him down just in front of his tryline.

Minute 23: Guirado carries and Curry looks like he's won the turnover, but Nige isn't having any of it. Pressure on Parra sees a sliced box and England have a lineout 15m out. Kruis takes in the middle and we set as if for a drive, only for BillyV to pass it out to Youngs. The French buy it and Youngs send Manu into Bastareaud.

Minute 24: Quick ball and Kruis and Curry carry well off 9 in quick succession, taking us to the edge of the line. BillyV tries his luck, but is stopped on the line and the ball is slow. England are setting right and Youngs is eyeing up Lawes and George on the bosh, when Farrell suddenly darts to the left and screams for the ball. Youngs obliges, Farrell pumps and goes to the line to draw the defenders up before sending a lovely lob over the top to May. May has work to do, but space to do it and poor Damian Penaud gets turned inside out with some great footwork.

Minute 25: Replays. Penaud never stood a chance. Faked to go out, faked to go in, then quick feet to the outside and never being caught. Lovely pass by Farrell as well - the try wasn't being scored with anything lower quality than that. He's been very impressive in the first two games. Farrell bounces the conversion off the post.

Right, that'll do me for the evening. Gods alive, this game was dull. Tactically effective, but so dreary.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Renniks » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:03 pm

Thanks, yet again!
Some really interesting parts there (as you say, dreary tactically astute game, so actually this is more interesting that rewatching)

Slade gathering constantly?

The defensive line seemingly falling apart when our first kick-chaser is beaten

The minute 17 defence somehow not letting them score was quite amazing seeing how bad it was

I feel you glossed over how poor Youngs was in some moments of minute 24 too - but Farrell did wonders with what he was given, and some how, Youngs pondering made it even less likely that this was what would happen!

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:40 am

Renniks wrote:Thanks, yet again!
Some really interesting parts there (as you say, dreary tactically astute game, so actually this is more interesting that rewatching)

Slade gathering constantly?

The defensive line seemingly falling apart when our first kick-chaser is beaten

The minute 17 defence somehow not letting them score was quite amazing seeing how bad it was

I feel you glossed over how poor Youngs was in some moments of minute 24 too - but Farrell did wonders with what he was given, and some how, Youngs pondering made it even less likely that this was what would happen!


I wouldn't have said the 24th minute was actually poor. Youngs gets quick accurate service out twice before Curry gets buried at the foot of the posts and he has to dig it out. He then hits BillyV at the right time on his run, which unfortunately goes nowhere. He then delays for a long with the ball at the back and his thumb up his arse, but in his defence, the move has stopped dead with BillyV getting repelled and France are as organised as they'll ever be - he's just organising the forwards and making sure that they're going together. Then when Farrell calls, he doesn't telegraph it and put out a nice pass in front of his hands.

There's a lot more egregious stuff from him elsewhere in the game - I'd have said that bit was actually pretty good.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Renniks » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:34 am

Puja wrote:I wouldn't have said the 24th minute was actually poor. Youngs gets quick accurate service out twice before Curry gets buried at the foot of the posts and he has to dig it out. He then hits BillyV at the right time on his run, which unfortunately goes nowhere. He then delays for a long with the ball at the back and his thumb up his arse, but in his defence, the move has stopped dead with BillyV getting repelled and France are as organised as they'll ever be - he's just organising the forwards and making sure that they're going together. Then when Farrell calls, he doesn't telegraph it and put out a nice pass in front of his hands.

There's a lot more egregious stuff from him elsewhere in the game - I'd have said that bit was actually pretty good.

Puja


For me, his pass to Tuilagi is great - and the pop to Kruis is really nice
The couple of steps before he passes to Curry I'm not sure about, but I imagine it keeps the defence honest and it obviously works

To me, Billy isn't running full pace, and changes his line to get closer to the pass, I'm not sure who this is on, originally I thought it was Youngs delivery but maybe not. (I'm almost certainly looking for things that aren't there)

Agreed that Billy is stopped dead - but when you have George and Lawes both starting to run and then stopping, multiple times, because they don't know what Youngs will do - that's frustrating - the Forwards are organised and ready, he's just taking an age.

For a set French defence to be done over from a pass to our 10 is pretty amusing though

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:01 am

Renniks wrote:For a set French defence to be done over from a pass to our 10 is pretty amusing though


To be fair to the French, they're actually done by fear of the running threat from Faz (stop laughing at the back!). He's coming at pace, attacking the line, and no-one can leave him because they're worried he can slide in himself. That takes out two defenders, Penaud jumps to cover Slade, and May is left unmarked.

I have said this a worrying number of times in these minute by minutes, but if that had been done by Cipriani, we'd still be drowning in commentator ejaculate. The last two games, I think we've actually seen the Owen Farrell that the punditry are always saying we have, ie. one that's actually better than George Ford.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Digby » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:05 am

The minute 1 pass from Youngs to Daly seems to be a staple for us now. If any forward gets hands on turnover ball fling it at Youngs and then Youngs tries to find Daly not Farrell to give the ball to someone who can run and also a moment longer to consider if the counter is on.

Previous seasons have seen us move the ball to the 10 who's been closed down and rushed into a pass or kick

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Digby » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:08 am

Actually if anyone is considering watching the game back try and keep an eye on Daly, he's working with a great deal of concentration on what his 9 & 10 are doing just in case a chance comes his way. It's providing an odd sense of optimism, I might even smile

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:12 am

Minute 26: France kick off and a noticeable event happens - we finally get a lifting pod underneath the ball! I'm shocked my own self. Kruis catches with ease and we set a mini-maul to go forward a few metres. Wilson earns another merit by realising that Doumayrou has legally latched on to the England side as the first French player in and is going for the ball - he peremptorily removes him and we have quick, clean ball just outside our 22.

Of course, we kick it. It doesn't go down the tramlines, but it's high and contestible, and the chase is good. Farrell slaps back and we're away with some nice handling. Sadly, Mako decides to dummy and go rather than feed Curry, which is a shame, as I think we had a good attacking opportunity on the outside.

Minute 27: We rumble up to halfway and then it goes back to Farrell for the garryowen. In comparison to my comments about May last week, Ashton is definitely offside from this one and he's hauled back by a shout from Nige, which ruins the chase somewhat. Poor work. Still, while the French take it comfortably, they manage to dither and cock about with it enough that they're under real pressure. Fickou runs into Mako, Curry is straight in over the ball and latched on... only for Nige to shout "Lost now, hands away, lost lads!" Fair play to Curry, he releases on the shout even though that one must've hurt. Stone cold turnover there and he's not getting any luck this 6N. France kick to touch and we have a lineout 35m out.

A quick lineout drill sees Lawes take unchallenged and Youngs is running sideways looking for the pass. Unfortunately for some reason Nige is standing in the 9-10 channel and Youngs has to delay his pass to go round him, which slows BillyV's run. What would've been a monumental bosh had he taken it full speed is still pretty impressive and we recycle quickly with Wilson securing the ball. Interestingly enough, Ashton is one of the first clearers - I'd imagine he was hanging off Billy's shoulder in the hope of a bust through.

Youngs makes a poor decision off his next sideways run - there were options to pull the ball back and attack the weaker outside defence, but he sends Mako on the short ball to get crunched. The next phase, BillyV shows him how it's done - he takes the ball at first receiver, attracting three defenders, looks like he's passing to Manu who pulls in another, and then it's out the back to Farrell who runs hard and holds the ball just long enough to draw in yet another defender before putting Wilson through the gaping hole that's just been created. What a thing of beauty.

Minute 28: Wilson goes thundering through and sadly doesn't look to his right to see Daly coming up - it was 2-on-1 with Ashton going in at the corner if he'd given the pass. No matter - Daly and Manu clear well and Youngs has quick ball to Farrell at pace who beats two defenders and is only denied by a last ditch tackle. France attempt to kill the ball, but it's out quickly to Billy who again draws the defence and passes back to Ashton - we've got a 7 on 2 with half the pitch to work in and this must be a score.

Unfortunately, Ashton has to catch it first and a perfectly good pass somehow ends up going through his legs. Ashton then compounds the error by running back for the ball and flinging it at Daly, who does well not to be smashed man-and-ball. He recovers, but we're back on the 22 now. We make a few phases of hard runners off 9 to no real advantage. It's softened the defence up though, because Mako takes the ball (off his bootlaces, thanks Lenny) and the French have stopped expecting the offload and are surprised to have Farrell running onto it. A dummy to Manu draws half of France's attention and he's through a half-gap.

Minute 29: Faz is caught, but a nice offload to Manu keeps the momentum, and Kruis does very well to knock a jackalling Picamoles away and provide quick ball. We don't make brilliant use of it though, running more forwards off 9 to stay around the 22. Nice moment as Farrell draws the defence onto him before popping a late pass to Daly coming round, but he's covered and we recycle slowly. More phases, before Youngs decides to mix things up by passing a good 3ft in front of Farrell. Slade collects on the bounce, but we're now back 35m out again. Slade decides that a high ball is in order, possibly just to stop Youngs from having it again, as there appears to be no other rationale for it. It's a shocker as well, sliced and only going to the edge of the 22. Can't fault results though, as he chased it well, slaps it back to Ashton, who then quasi-redeems himself with a nice grubber for May to chase and score.

Minute 30: Two things to note from the replays. First, it is a very nice grubber from Ashton, although a less generous observer would point out that if he hadn't shat the bed two minutes earlier, we would've scored much more easily. Secondly, Jonny May's skill in regathering is superlative. The ball stops and turns abruptly just before the line, after he's started his slide. 9 out of 10 players would've tried to gather with one arm and ended up raking the ball forward to dot it down over the line, which an eagle-eyed TMO would pick up as a knock on before grounding. Hell, 2017 Jonny May would almost certainly have raked that ball forward. 2019 May adjusts mid-slide to go for the ball and picks it up one handed so that he carries it off the ground as he slides over the line. Incredible skill. He has become a truly superb finisher.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:13 am

Minute 31: Farrell kicks the conversion from the touchline and we're treated to the odd background of Nigel Owens's ref mike picking up him having a quiet word with himself - "C'mon, keep focussed. Don't slack off; keep working. Focus. Work rate. Come on."

France kick off, but the TV decides that we don't need to see it. It seems like a miskick, as England have possession only 7m from the halfway and Nige is saying, "Play on", so I'm assuming they went short and screwed it up, only for us to decide that we're happy to play it.

Minute 32: Ah, Dallaglio has just said that France tapped back and Curry was loitering to claim it. That may actually be the first ever occasion I have got useful information from a bit of Dallaglio commentary.

Kruis goes on an adventure on his own from the base to get another couple of metres and it's back for Farrell to kick. Again, May looks a mile offside, but slow-motion tells me he's timed it absolutely perfectly to cross the plane at full speed as the kick leaves the boot. It's worthwhile too - the kick is tremendous. Going from central midfield behind our 10m line to land 30m out, just landing inside the field of play, and with enough height so that the catcher is going to get May shortly after taking it. Parra does not fancy it much and lets it bounce, but it leaps back into his hands and he gets smacked by May. He rides it well, and I think he's in touch there, but he fights to get back up and gets both Vunipolae for his troubles. If he wasn't in touch before, he is now. Possibly embedded there.

Our lineout is pinpoint and clearly has been worked on since Ireland. Clean ball to Youngs, but this time he doesn't have Nige in the way to excuse his pass - he just stops Mako's run dead from his own skills. Poor. Mako still beats men and makes ground, but then Youngs does the same to Billy. The younger Vunipola doesn't try and bosh from a standing start, but instead draws the defence and offloads to Farrell on the loop. May comes round and goes for the grubber himself, but he's got a bit too much on that and it rolls out for a French lineout 6m out. Still not a bad result!

Minute 33: Lawes nicks the lineout by his fingertips and Youngs does well with the bouncing ball, just patting it on to Mako as the French come through on him. We take the ball up off 9 a few times and it's looking foreboding for France. A French defender attempts to remove Curry's head with his arm and then the tackler lays all over the ball to no interest from Nige. However there's a jackaller in and Manu makes an ostentatious and embarrassing failed effort to remove him, and the penalty is given for holding on on the floor.

Minute 34: Replays and assorted dithering. French kick to touch for a lineout 30m out, which they win.

Minute 35: We pin them back behind the gainline and Parra box kicks. This one is noticeable for what isn't happening - Daly isn't coming sprinting in from 20m away screaming MINE! like he did last week. Someone's been doing their video analysis! And learning. I didn't think English rugby players did that?

However, in the absence of a kamikaze full-back, no-one else really seems like taking command and a forest of English players appear to leave it to each other. BillyV decides late that it's his and then slips over, so the ball bobbles up to Guirado. Three simple passes see the ball spread wide and Slade thinks he might be on for another interception as the ball is floated to Huget. He realises too late that he's never getting there and attempts to turn it into rush defence - Huget slides outside him with ease. Poor work from Slade - if he stays back and holds the defensive line then May can come up, Manu can come across and they're numbered up. Rushing up and then neither taking the ball nor the man gives Huget a free run down the line with Penaud and Doumayrou in support.

Huget cuts inside and Manu attempts a chest tackle, which is spectacularly weak and actually worse than useless, as he swings around and knocks away Jonny May who had lined him up for a hip-high tackle. Huget accelerates out of the bundle of limbs, draws Daly across and then puts Penaud away in the corner, easy as you like. Fine skills from Huget.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:40 am

Minute 36: Parra misses the kick for 23-8.

Minute 37: Faz kicks deep and Picamoles is again taken by Ashton. Box kick away to the 10m line and England win another really good lineout.

Minute 38: England again look like they're going for a drive only for BillyV to pop and and pass the ball away. I was going to make a snarky comment about his service being better than Youngs's, but then Youngs fires a really snappy pass to pick out Manu at full speed and so I'll forgive him. We make some good ground through the forwards and then Tuilagi goes on a mazy sideways run. It looks aimless, but it's attracting a lot of French eyes and he looks to pop to Ashton on his shoulder in space. Unfortunately, his passing does not compare with Billys and a 1 metre pop hits the deck and bobbles into touch.

France take the quick lineout and Huget is nearly caught by a rushing Farrell. France reset just outside their 22 and it's box kick o'clock again... oh wait, Lambet picks and goes before offloading into Bamba's face. England regather and Youngs wangs it out to Farrell rushing up from the backfield. This is the perfect time for the dink over the top - there are acres of space and if Farrell kicks then this is May's fourth, guaranteed. However, the one time we do want him to kick is the time he runs and he offloads to Daly who gets cleaned out by Huget (who has presumably forgotten that he's supposed to be patrolling the acres of space).

Minute 39: Unfortunately we knock on in one of our forward drives and France are away. A few passes out to the width and we are very narrow. Huget decides to step inside though and finds Mako and Curry who knock him flat. France have a few nibbles round the corner and are repelled - Curry is putting in some big tackles this half. Parra box kicks, but it's easy for Daly who is under no pressure at all. He counter attacks up to the halfway and the French slow the ball with some judicious cheating. Youngs seagulls to no impression on Nige, and so we go back for a Fazlet bomb.

Minute 40: A less sympathetic viewer would say that May has made contact with the French player in the air there, but the ball is spilled with Nige not being moved and Lawes makes a magnificent pickup on the run to secure it for us. Youngs looks like he's going to box, but changes it to a lovely grubber through and Ashton is charging through only to be blatantly and definitively shoulder-checked by the French 7. He doesn't go down like a footballer though, but keeps running and is still first to the ball despite the block. However it's given time for Fickou to come across and he is dragged down just short of the line.

Farrell, George and Kruis are first on the scene and the French are roughly removed. It's quick ball, but no sign of Ben Youngs anywhere, so Sinckler plays 9. Curry calls right, Slade calls left and Sinckler goes with the back. To be honest, either of them probably would've scored, but Slade's got the better skillset to make the most of Sinckler's ropey pass - he drags it in from above his head, shows he's going outside and then steps inside Guirado to fall over the line.

Minute 41: Watching the replay, the French 7 needed a yellow card. He sees Ashton coming from a distance and steps right across him late to shoulder-check him. Plus he wasn't even effective - if you're going to cheat, do it properly!

Minute 42: The ball falls off the tee, but Nige doesn't appear bothered about enforcing the time limit. Farrell replaces it, restarts his routine, and then slots a very difficult conversion. 30-8 at half-time.

And that's good night from me.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Scrumhead » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:42 am

Excellent stuff Puja.

As much as Sinckler’s pass to Slade was great, but Ashton would almost certainly have been in under the posts but for Iturria’s body check. Definite yellow IMO.

Nige really is an odd ref.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Digby » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:49 am

Minute 33 with Lawes stealing their lineout, is that the one where France shortened the lineout gave England one man to mark and then tried to float it over Lawes rather than getting up in front of him? And all this virtually on their try line, there was a lot of weird stuff from France in this game and that one is in contention for the weirdest

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:04 pm

Digby wrote:Minute 33 with Lawes stealing their lineout, is that the one where France shortened the lineout gave England one man to mark and then tried to float it over Lawes rather than getting up in front of him? And all this virtually on their try line, there was a lot of weird stuff from France in this game and that one is in contention for the weirdest


It wasn't actually a bad call - they got Lawes to go up at the front and were in position to take uncontested ball at the back. It was a mixture of the throw not being quite high enough, combined with a superb jump and lift from England that got Lawes up high and quick.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Digby » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:10 pm

Puja wrote:
Digby wrote:Minute 33 with Lawes stealing their lineout, is that the one where France shortened the lineout gave England one man to mark and then tried to float it over Lawes rather than getting up in front of him? And all this virtually on their try line, there was a lot of weird stuff from France in this game and that one is in contention for the weirdest


It wasn't actually a bad call - they got Lawes to go up at the front and were in position to take uncontested ball at the back. It was a mixture of the throw not being quite high enough, combined with a superb jump and lift from England that got Lawes up high and quick.

Puja


About the only reason I can see to shorten a lineout that close to one's own line is to throw over the back. Seems a bloody stupid piece of thinking to me

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:38 pm

Digby wrote:
Puja wrote:
Digby wrote:Minute 33 with Lawes stealing their lineout, is that the one where France shortened the lineout gave England one man to mark and then tried to float it over Lawes rather than getting up in front of him? And all this virtually on their try line, there was a lot of weird stuff from France in this game and that one is in contention for the weirdest


It wasn't actually a bad call - they got Lawes to go up at the front and were in position to take uncontested ball at the back. It was a mixture of the throw not being quite high enough, combined with a superb jump and lift from England that got Lawes up high and quick.

Puja


About the only reason I can see to shorten a lineout that close to one's own line is to throw over the back. Seems a bloody stupid piece of thinking to me


It makes a lot of sense to me. The best ball is one that the opposition don't jump against you, and a short lineout allows a lot of movement to fake out the opposition. Added to that is that it's easier to form a solid and stable maul - if you've made them jump at the front, then the bulk of their players are there, and you only have to deal with one or two, and your reinforcements are only 5m away whereas the attackers have to be 10m back. It would've worked well if not for a sligt underthrow and a great jump.

What's your downside for shortening close to the line?

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Digby » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:17 pm

Puja wrote:
Digby wrote:
Puja wrote:
It wasn't actually a bad call - they got Lawes to go up at the front and were in position to take uncontested ball at the back. It was a mixture of the throw not being quite high enough, combined with a superb jump and lift from England that got Lawes up high and quick.

Puja


About the only reason I can see to shorten a lineout that close to one's own line is to throw over the back. Seems a bloody stupid piece of thinking to me


It makes a lot of sense to me. The best ball is one that the opposition don't jump against you, and a short lineout allows a lot of movement to fake out the opposition. Added to that is that it's easier to form a solid and stable maul - if you've made them jump at the front, then the bulk of their players are there, and you only have to deal with one or two, and your reinforcements are only 5m away whereas the attackers have to be 10m back. It would've worked well if not for a sligt underthrow and a great jump.

What's your downside for shortening close to the line?

Puja


On the off chance it goes wrong you have no set defence metres from your line, the full lineout protects you

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:34 pm

Digby wrote:
Puja wrote:
Digby wrote:
About the only reason I can see to shorten a lineout that close to one's own line is to throw over the back. Seems a bloody stupid piece of thinking to me


It makes a lot of sense to me. The best ball is one that the opposition don't jump against you, and a short lineout allows a lot of movement to fake out the opposition. Added to that is that it's easier to form a solid and stable maul - if you've made them jump at the front, then the bulk of their players are there, and you only have to deal with one or two, and your reinforcements are only 5m away whereas the attackers have to be 10m back. It would've worked well if not for a sligt underthrow and a great jump.

What's your downside for shortening close to the line?

Puja


On the off chance it goes wrong you have no set defence metres from your line, the full lineout protects you


Fair point, although I'd argue that it reduces the chance of things going wrong and, worst case, your reinforcements are still 5m closer than the attackers' are.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Digby » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:05 pm

It's a risk they simply don't need, and I don’t see having done so why you'd want Lawes up at the front looking to go over him, if you shorten either go right over the back or get your jumper up in front. As the elements of what they decided to do and how they execute it come together,well it's all weird, but the alchemy is weirder still

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:07 pm

Minute 41: England get ready to kick off and we have the message that Huget is not coming out for the second half. I'm not surprised - towards the end of the half he had completely abdicated covering full-back and was just playing up in the line like a wing. Not sure if that was due to the head injury that he failed the assessment for or not.

Faz kicks very deep and not too high, so there's no chance of challenging for that. France kick long and England run it back into the French half with first BillyV and then Sinckler sending defenders flying. It's good front-foot ball, so of course we box kick. It's a smidge too long and France gather comfortably. They then decide the odd strategy of a bomb from inside their own 22 and even odder of landing it on May, who does exactly what he did all last week and takes with ease. Both sides just giving each other the ball back there.

Minute 42: This time we actually run our front foot ball and Faz takes the ball to the line before picking the right option to send Sinckler through on a half-break. Farrell really has played well today. Quick ball is ruined by Youngs not passing in front of Farrell, so he pulls it back deep to Daly, giving away a full 10 metres in what looks like an odd play. Daly swings it wide to Slade to lose another 3m, but as France rush up, Slade kicks over the top and picks out the corner with a delicious nudge that bounces twice into touch.

I really can't tell if that was a planned move or just chaos that ended up working out really well in the end.

France go long to Picamoles and recycle, before attempting a little counter attack down the blind side with some nice hands from the forwards. We're caught a bit unawares and Sinckler has to stretch to haul back Penaud before he gets away. Penaud offloads, but Guirado can't gather and it lands in George's hangs on the edge of the 22.

Minute 43: Ben Youngs does his best to banjax the quick ball by firing it at Mako's face, but we recycle and he redeems himself a bit with a nice dart round the side that draws in the defence and frees Farrell. A pop inside and May is through a gap, but his offload is loose. Farrell can't reach it to catch, but instead slaps it one handed back to Tuilagi - nice skills!

Manu turns and shows a very nice turn of pace to beat Bastareaud. The French cover converges on him and he draws them in before basketball offloading over the head of the last man for Ashton to scor... jesus h christ, the silly beggar's dropped another one. Jesus - that's two tries he's butchered through inability to catch a rugby ball. I won't say it was a perfect pass, but it was eminently catchable and frankly it's unforgiveable that he's cocked that up.

France gather the loose ball and kick downfield. Farrell shows good work rate and pace to be first man back and we recycle around the halfway. Farrell then kicks high, but it's too long, the chase wasn't organised, and frankly I think everyone's still reeling a bit from the butchered try. Curry is the first man there and he does well to prevent Ramos from getting away.

Minute 44: France reset a bit and then box-kick to touch. It's not a good kick and England have a lineout 30 m out. Replays of the Ashton drop - it's actually a high quality offload from Manu and there's no way that should've been dropped. To say I'm not impressed would be understating it mildly.

TV decides that we don't need to see the lineout and we come back to see Manu crashing it up in midfield.

Minute 45: We have a few phases of nice positive attacking rugby, but it's not too dangerous, so Farrell loops round to the blind and kicks through. Ramos covers and does very well to avoid being taken into touch by May (with help from Parra blocking), but he's brought down 5m out in the corner. Parra box kicks to the 22.
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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:39 pm

Minute 46: This lineout looks confused, some very clumsy movement, and France don't buy it at all. Kruis goes up at 3 and the French just junmp at 2 to take the ball. Penaud takes it up and he leads with his forearm into Curry's chin - looked dangerous and it's not the first time I've seen him do that. Nige is unmoved, as is the TMO. Curry brings him down though and France kick loosely - it lands in Daly's hands 35 metres out. Sadly, he goes blind rather than open where the space was and is put down hard. George makes metres running a crash though and we're back on the front foot.

Minute 47: Farrell fires out a lovely flat miss-pass to get Sinckler through a half-gap and is then there for the offload, which he grubbers through for May to chase. Iturria is working towards his "ineffectively blocking English wings" Scouts badge and yanks May back on the way through - doesn't affect the result, but it's cheap.

Penaud is there first and kicks out. May gets to the ball in touch and throws one of the stupidest quick lineouts you'll ever see - Ashton gets absolutely blindsided and crunched by Picamoles the second his hands touch the ball and frankly does well to hold onto it. If I were a forward, I'd be furious about throwing away the 5m lineout. That was never, ever, ever on.

We keep the ball and attack for a bit before Youngs fires the ball just behind Tuilagi's left shoulder and he can't take it. Youngs is having a shocker. French scrum.

Curry has a veritable fountain of blood down his face from that Penaud challenge, but it was head-on head that caused the cut, not the blatant forearm to the chin. Launch is on for Kruis and Hughes on temporarily for Curry.

Minute 48: I can only assume that we switch off in that scrum, or putting Launch and Hughes in has destabilised us somehow, as Poirot drives right through Sinckler and our scrum splinters. France run the advantage and Dupont looks like a trade up on Parra in every aspect as he beats Farrell with a step and breaks away. Quick hands take France up to the halfway, where Farrell recovers to rip the ball from Iturria. Good work from Nige as he calls advantage over - there's a lot of refs who would've dutifully trudged all the way back to the penalty in the 22, despite them having attacked 30m.

Ball goes back to Daly who kicks long and poorly. It's just straight back to France and, while they can't make a huge amount from it, Wilson is caught offside from the kick as France counter and the penalty is kicked to England's 22.

Minute 49: France run a move from the lineout, but it's laboured and England's defence just wait for it to finish before tackling the right man. France then try to force the wide play and Slade fancies the interception again - this one is on. He sprints away, but doesn't have the pace to go 80 metres, so he grubbers through before Fickou can catch him. It's not a brilliant kick tbh and I think it's a mishit as it doesn't go very far or fast, but it is in the path of Ashton and he looks likely. The ball won't sit up or it down properly for him though and as he goes to kick through, Fickou decides he has to take him out. This time Ashton does go down like a footballer and Nige is immediately under the posts for a penalty try.

Minute 50: Nige changes his mind and goes to the TMO. I think he's right to doubt - the ball bounces awkwardly and stops dead as Ashton goes to kick forward and he's actually overrun it before Fickou even touches him. It's a definite yellow card, as Fickou clearly decides that Ashton needs to be taken out, but it's never a penalty try. Sadly for the French, Nigel was only looking to the TMO to see if there was cover and confirms his decision after one replay - the damning ones come after he's turned his back on the screen.

We gather France's restart and then engage in a game of aerial ping-pong.

And on that edifying note, we'll leave it for the evening.

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Re: England vs France - Minute-by-minute

Postby Puja » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:23 pm

Minute 51: The ping-pong continues until we catch just off the halfway line and decide to run. Nathan Hughes once again runs high and gets lifted up in the tackle - in fairness, he does do well to get to ground, but he never should've got into that position in the first place. That delay is enough for Youngs to consider that we're done with this whole passing nonsense and box-kick high. It's steepling but doesn't go very far. May misjudges it, but does enough to slap it back our side and then regather. The kick has moved us forward a literal 3 metres.

Minute 52: Youngs makes us ache for him to kick by passing the ball so far behind Farrell that he has to turn around to collect it. Farrell does well to offload to Hughes who finds space and then does well to find Sinckler running a good line. He's dragged down and we have front foot ball. Youngs picks up and goes himself, which is a crying shame, as if he passed to Slade we had a 3-on-1 outside. Instead, he gets hauled in and offloads to Moon who gives Farrell the first decent pass he's had in a while. A decent kick over the top bounces into touch 6 metres out.

Ashton and Hughes go off - the former looked more than a tad irked at the missed 3-on-1 as he was the man on the outside, but given his game today he'd probably just have dropped it.

France throw over the top and win the ball too easily. The box kick is poor and England will have a lineout just outside the 22.

Minute 53: The game is paused for a ridiculous amount of shoving and posturing. It turns out that Sinckler has slapped Iturria on the back of the head and grabbed his scrum-cap so he can have words with him. Looking back at the incident live, it does appear that Iturria does start it by slapping Sinckler on the back of the head, but the TV replays don't show that bit and so the penalty is given against Sinckler despite his complaining of, "He hit me first!" Regardless Kyle, either smile at him and wind him up further or absolutely deck him - that was pointless and made a mockery of his recent claims to be in control when on the wind up.

Farrell appears to have been replaced by an alien duplicate though - he is polite and civil with the referee, even keeping Sinckler in line during the coversation, and isn't actively antagonising Nige. Hell, they appear to be having a good rapport. If the aliens are reading this, you're fine to keep the original; we don't want him back.

France decide to continue with their disastrous afternoon by missing touch from the penalty and we spread it wide for May to have a run. Lopez actually does very well to bring him down. Sadly Sinckler comes on a hard line and spills the ball - the pass could've been better from Youngs, but it was definitely catchable and I think we have to blame Sinckler for that one.

Minute 54: France counter from the knock-on and make ground before we reset. France attempt to pass back to go outside the rush defence, but can't outflank Curry who brings them down 15m behind the gain line. He has been so impressive. France then find us short on numbers on the right wing, then reset and swing left to find us short on the other side too. Metres made and they're into our half.

Minute 55: Iturria goes for a miracle offload and it goes forward. Vahaamahina then tackles Lawes without the ball to stop him from regathering, but we get nothing from Nige except the knock-on advantage. We do regather and Manu then gets a good solid high tackle from Bamba which does draw a penalty. For the first time in forever, we get some vintage Ben Youngs action as he signals to Nige that we want the pen, and then taps and goes through the retreating French. He finds Farrell who is running a good supporting line and he kicks the ball forward with May chasing. May and Dupont scramble for the ball, it gets nudged over the line and Farrell is there to land on it.

A few things to note from watching the try in detail. 1) Farrell could and probably ought to have carried the ball further, but May was screaming for the kick and was in danger of overrunning - if Faz hadn't kicked, then he'd have lost his support runner. 2) Two of the French defenders show little to no interest in going for the ball. Ntmack and Ramos are sauntering and it's left to Dupont who is further back to absolutely sprint and deny May his 4th. If either of them had worked, then they definitely would've beaten Farrell to the loose ball. 3) May absolutely takes out Dupont. It's a penalty and an argument could be made for a yellow card (as it certainly would have been one the other way if Dupont had grabbed May's arm and hauled him back from grounding the ball).

Farrell deserves a score for an overall good game, for running a great supporting line off Youngs, and for keeping running, but it's definitely not a try and frankly all of the officials need shooting for not seeing that May has illegally stopped Dupont from grounding the ball, as you will not see a clearer foul. Still, on the bright side, I had money on Farrell to score a try, so I'm happy with it.
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