Roving Second Row on 606:
"Atrocious by England. Quite possibly the most dreadful, dreary effort of any NH team for some time. It was woeful, lacklustre and just plain embarrassing."
coasal on 606:
"The Lions manage to bring Croft to world class by bringing him into the game and using his pace. England manage to negate everything he offers by having no game plan whatsoever. Sorry MJ, but you now have some serious questions to answer about your coaching ability and selectorial judgement. The honeymoon is over."
Scuttle on 606:
"Absolute turgid drivel. As every other sport gets quicker, RU gets slower. The speed of play at the ruck is appalling. Where's the chaos in the game there used to be? Everything revolves now around the ruck and the set play. The game I played as a kid up to 18 is dead. Eulogise about everything else that surrounds the game as much as you want, but if international rugby at the top level continues like this who is going to watch it? International union used to be THE best spectacle in sport. Now it's a test of stamina to watch it."
David on 606:
"So many good players, and just a coach, who is no doubt a rugby legend, but doesn't have a clue about coaching! The England players just look as if they don't have a clue what they are doing! No direction, no game plan (apart from kicking the ball away), and totally lost! Only one good point, Lewis Moody! As always, gives his all!"
Michael Smith via text on 81111:
"I'm following via the website on my mobile. It sounds dreadful - and against a team of part-timers mixed with a handful of professionals. Playing people out of position (Monye), what do Johnson and co think they're doing? Heaven help us against the All Blacks."
Andy Robinson's reign gets off to a decent, yet unspectacular, start with a 23-10
win for Scotland against Fiji at Murrayfield. Meanwhile at Twickenham, Argentina's late drive comes to nil... or does it? Andy Goode gets some poor ball from the back of the scrum, and slices his clearance. More Argentine pressure... but England resist, and at least they have the win - 16-9
Apologies again, England's try-scorer was Banahan, not Cueto, but whoever it was, that was a dreadful game of rugby. Don't get me wrong, I like rugby union, but I bet you my camper van the rugby league will be about 100-times better later tonight.
Ledesma misses his man at the line-out and England nick it. But Monye misses an up and under, before the ball is shifted left and Tiesi has space. Good cover from England, before the visitors kick for position from the resulting penalty... Ledesma finds his man...
Scrum-half Lalanne creates some space and Monye has to be on his mettle to chop him down. Argentina cranking up the pressure, Toulouse lock Albacete shrugging off a couple of tacklers, but referee Nigel Owens decides the Pumas were holding on under the posts. Andy Goode on for Wilkinson, Danny Care on for Paul Hodgson.
Wilkinson shows some silky skills to burst down the right, but the move breaks down and Argentina very nearly burst clear on the counter, but Gonzalo Tiesi loses his footing.
71 mins: Scotland 23-10 Fiji
Chris Paterson is on and his first contribution is to drag a penalty across the face of the posts. Poor.
69 mins: TRY England 16-9 Argentina
Haskell steps through a couple of tackles, Borthwick pummels through two more, before the ball is slipped wide. Nice offload from Hipkiss to Moody, and the Leicester man times his pass just right for Banahan
to go over in the left-hand corner. The relief is etched into every crease on Martin Johnson's face. Wilkinson
clips over the extras.
England trying to work some space in midfield, and eventually the Pumas crumble and give away the penalty. Big carry from Haskell early in that piece. The only way England are going to win this is through Wilkinson's leather wedge, but that's his third miss in a row, and that was eminently gettable. Thompson on for Hartley at hooker, just thinking about tomorrow's newspaper headlines is making me cringe.
Just in case anyone was sitting at home polishing up their excuses for England, just remember this Argentina side haven't played for five months and have been together for a week. Banahan knocks on while under no pressure, before Geraghty shovels out a poor pass to Moody. The first strains of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, but it sounds like it's emanating from a sinking ship.
Silly from Ledesma, and Wilkinson has a good chance to regain the lead for England from the right touch-line... but he hooks it right. Worsley on for Croft, Doran-Jones on for Payne. Croft was pretty much anonymous, a shadow of the player we saw in South Africa for the Lions.
62 mins: PENALTY Scotland 23-10 Fiji
Al Strokosch is penalised for a high tackle on Seremaia Bai and Little
sends over the penalty.
A decent kick out of hand at last from England, Hipkiss eating up some territory, but when the ball goes right, there's no-one outside Hipkiss to finish the move off. Hartley and Roncero have got a beef with each other and get a talking to, this is dinosaur stuff from Martin Johnson's side. Jurassic Park.
That really was lovely from Borges, pirouetting out of a tackle from Banahan, a man twice his size. Geraghty with a bit of invention, swerving past one tackle, before the ball is slung left. Forward pass from Wilkinson, although I'm not sure it was, that looked flat to me.
Poor kick from Hodgson, but that's worse from Borges, who kicks straight into touch. Peachy from Borges, skipping a couple of tackles, and setting up an Argentine drive. They sense they can nick something here, but England win a penalty and Wilkinson boots clear.
52 mins: TRY Scotland 23-7 FijiGraeme Morrison
dives over from close range after a five metre scrum and quick hands from the backs finds the Scottish centre. Godman
sends over the conversion.
Clever from Cueto, collecting the high ball before stepping on the gas, stepping out of a couple of tackles and setting up some England pressure. But that's a fine tackle from Borges, coming into the line and chopping Cueto down below the knees. And that's an Argentina penalty.
This is worse than a pessimist's wildest dreams - Haskell with a lazy pass wide and Hartley - not sure what he was doing there anyway - knocks on. Borthwick gets a talking to from the referee for dragging the scrum down, the crowd goes silent, but Rodriguez misses the chance to suck the life out of the place, pushing his three-pointer wide.
Moody gets a touch on an attempted Agulla clearance, but the wily Roncero is wise to it and clears the mess. Wilkinson finds Monye with the long pass, but Monye kicks it away, before Wilkinson goes for the chip and chase, Argentina stray off-side. Wilkinson, from 40 metres out, pulls his penalty attempt wide.
43 mins: Scotland 16-7 Fiji
Scotland don't roll away at a ruck and are penalised by referee Chris White. But Little pushes his penalty wide and Scotland breathe a sigh of relief.
They're under way at both Murrayfield and Twickenham now. Cueto has switched with Monye by the looks of things, and not before time, the Quins man was drowning back there.
Tom Fordyce at Twickenham:
"Any suggestions for what the £65 price of a ticket could buy instead? An unmemorable night in the saloon bar, 65,000 Mojos..."
Stoney, Ware, via text on 81111:
"Can anyone tell me what England's game plan is? From where I'm sitting it consists of kicking it up in the air and hoping the Argentines foul up. It's clueless, and makes for very dull viewing. Johnson must go!"
HALF-TIME: England 9-9 Argentina, Scotland 16-7 Fiji 39 mins: PENALTY England 9-9 Argentina
An appalling first half of rugby by England, made only slightly better by a Jonny Wilkinson
penalty on the stroke of half-time.
39 mins: TRYScotland 16-7 Fiji
A rare foray into the Scotland 22 sees the hosts penalised at a scrum. But a quick tap and a neat pass and Fijian wing Vereniki Goneva
is over in the corner. Nicky Little
sends over the conversion.
37 mins: PENALTY England 6-9 Argentina
That's the sixth penalty England have conceded, this time for not binding at the scrum, and on this occasion Rodriguez
swings one over from the right touch-line. England behind...
35 mins:Scotland 16-0 Fiji PENALTY Godman
is striking the ball beautifully now and is finding his range with equal aplomb. The outside-half sends over a third penalty.
Wilkinson popping balls down the opposition's necks like coins into a piggy bank. It's windy, but it's not that windy. And Ugo's dismal day continues - the Quins man trundles across rather casually, goes for the ball with one hand and knocks on yet again. You've got to switch him Johnno, he's getting roasted out there.
England penalty and Jonny Wilkinson kicks for touch. This is dreadful, it really is. First Haskell knocks on in the tackle, before Monye pins his ears back, beats a few men... and spills the ball again.
England holding on again, England's forwards are being outfoxed at the breakdown. Argentina have the chance to take the lead, but Rodriguez's effort wavers in the wind before ducking left.
29 mins: PENALTY Scotland 13-0 Fiji
More Fiji indiscipline and it's another Godman penalty. It is very one-sided up in Edinburgh.
Fernandez with a very speculative drop-goal, he misses miles to the left, and Monye gets an ironic cheer as he fields. He needs that... England hadn't scored a try for 285 minutes before today, and they're not looking like scoring one today... Geraghty out on the full, this is a load of old rubbish... again, apologies, that was an Argentina penalty, not a try...
25 mins: PENALTY England 6-6 Argentina
Monye looking very shaky under the high ball - that's another one down, poor technique - and to compound the mistake, Haskell goes and dives on the ball. Rodriguez
makes them pay, it's all square again...
22 mins: TRY Scotland 10-0 Fiji Johnnie Beattie
bundles his way over from close range after Chris Cusiter's fine break from just outside the Fiji 22 released the big forward. Godman
sends over the conversion and Andy Robinson's reign is off to a decent enough start.
21 mins: PENALTY England 6-3 Argentina
England really not firing at the moment - Argentina aren't kicking well, England are kicking doubly bad. England penalty, Argentina flanker Tomas Leonardi holding onto the ball on the floor. Wilkinson slots the three-pointer to restore England's lead.
At Murrayfield, Fiji stray off-side and Godman is given another opportunity to put his side further ahead, but the outside-half hits the upright from in front of the posts. Shocker.
Geraghty gives it some air, and that's a fine take by full-back Agulla. Prop Scelzo on the drive, and that's stupid from Haskell, making the tackle before going off-side. Rodriguez misses with a lengthy, but pretty central, penalty attempt.
15 mins: PENALTY Scotland 3-0 Fiji
Scotland outside-half Phil Godman sends over the first points of the game with a massive 40 metre penalty after Fiji infringed at a ruck.
13 mins: PENALTY England 3-3 Argentina
Dylan Hartley looks fired-up as ever in the boiler room, but here's a penalty chance for Argentina, Tim Payne collapsing the scrum... easy prey for Martin Rodriguez
, and that all came from that mistake from Wilkinson.
Dylan Hartley looks fired-up as ever in the boiler room, but here's a penalty chance for Argentina, Tim Payne collapsing the scrum...
Promising from Argentina - apologies, that was a drop-goal from Wilkinson, not a try! - Fernandez with a drop-goal attempt, but it just shaves the left upright. Wilkinson straight out from the restart, not great so far from England.
Cueto has a sniff - Lobbe spills a kick under pressure from old crazy legs Moody again, the ball bobbles to the Sale man, but he's hauled down 10 metres short by full-back Agulla and he knocks forward. Monye knocks on from a deep pass from Cueto, schoolboy...
5 mins: DROP-GOAL England 3-0 Argentina
Moody with the charge-down, and Wilkinson pings over England's first points with a drop-goal.
It's one big kicking extravaganza at the moment, six successive kicks... make that seven, Wilkinson with an awful one... Hodgson puts up another from the back of the scrum, Moody follows it up, and that's an England scrum. I know it's been raining, but there's no real excuse for this to degenerate into a test of leather, it's still like a billiard table out there.
Fernandez with the up and under and that's a good catch from Cueto, but Wilkinson gives the ball back to the visitors. Fernandez with another Garryowen, and that's a good one, and Argentine win the scrum. Hooker Ledesma down, but he's hard as - bit of a sponge-down, and he's up again.
Argentina kick-off, Haskell claims and Hodgson finds touch...
Play is under way at Murrayfield, and we're about to get under way in London... stand by...
Players emerging now, England all in mauve, which will have the Twickers old-hands spluttering into their brandy.
Tom Fordyce at Twickenham:
"England players warming up on the Twickpitch. Some surprise that Martin Johnson hasn't made late team change and brought submarine in at 12."
As I've just pointed out rather forcefully on 606, the argument that England are decimated by injuries and therefore a loss wouldn't be that bad doesn't wash. Argentina have got four amateurs in their side, six in the squad and six caps at half-back. England should be beating them comfortably at home.
Dan via text on 81111:
"Can't see many fireworks at Twickenham this afternoon with these teams and this weather - 9-3 England, my shout, and a whole lot of grinding, attritional tedium to go with it."
Martin Johnson very defensive in the pre-match interview, but that's nothing to how defensive he'll be if they lose this one. How's about a bet on how many times Cueto or Banahan touch the ball out on the flanks? Something tells me this one's going to be won by the big fellas up front - it's rotten down here in London.
is down at Twickenham for us today. Here's what he's
on about: "Shouldn't have watched 2012 last night. Now I fear the apocalypse at Twickenham this afternoon. Gales, deluges, airborne branches. Gulp."
1402: Here's today's teams... England:
Monye, Cueto, Hipkiss, Geraghty, Banahan, Wilkinson, Hodgson, Payne, Hartley, Bell, Deacon, Borthwick, Croft, Moody, Haskell. Replacements: Thompson, Doran-Jones, Lawes, Worsley, Care, Goode, Erinle.Argentina:
Agulla, Borges, Tiesi, Rodriguez, Comuzzi, Fernandez, Lalanne, Roncero, Ledesma, Scelzo, Lozada, Albacete, Leonardi, Abadie, Fernandez Lobbe. Replacements: Basualdo, Ayerza, Carizza, Campos, Figuerola, Urdapilleta, Aramburu. Referee:
Nigel Owen (WRFU)
Scotland: R. Lamont, S. Lamont, Grove, Morrison, Danielli, Godman, Cusiter, Jacobsen, Ford, Low, Hines, Kellock, Strokosch, Barclay, Beattie. Replacements: Hall, Traynor, White, Vernon, Blair, Paterson, De Luca.
Fiji: Matavesi, Goneva, Lovobalavu, Bai, Nalaga, Little, Rauluni, Yalayalatabua, Veikoso, Manu, Lewaravu, Rawaqa, Domolailai, Qera, Boko. Replacements: Dewes, Ledua, Nakarawa, Bola, Vatuvoka, Ratu, Roko. Referee: Chris White (RFU)
Afternoon all. Big old day for Martin Johnson and his coaching staff today - England weren't much cop against Australia last week, if they get rumbled by Argentina, the knives are bound to be unsheathed in the press. At the same time, the Andy Robinson era kicks off against Fiji up at Murrayfield. It's a game the Scots will be expected to win, but that doesn't mean they'll win it... get involved on
or via text on 81111