Yes i know i didn’t get a blog out last week, so i’m practically a week or maybe more behind. I apologize, but in my defence i have good reason for not getting one out there…first off i was all flued up and i had been doing too many hours, as it got to the point that i was getting home, spending five minutes with the kids and after just collapsing onto the settee, and not moving until the morning when i started all over again. So what did i miss…oh yes England won the 6 Nations (with no grand slam), Leicester Tigers appointed Matt O’Connor as head coach replacing the outgoing well now gone Aaron Mauger, which being a Tigers fan i find disappointing, the Aviva Premiership got back underway as main rugby priority and of course Lions talk and debate continued.
I’m not going to dwell on the Dublin defeat too much. So the England game in Dublin did not go as they would of liked, but you’ve got to hand it to Ireland they turned up and were up for it. England were just outplayed and out passioned in my view. I just got the feeling from the start that it wasn’t going to be England’s night for making history. But thinking about it, maybe, just maybe was this a blessing in disguise for England. They will learn a lot more from defeat than they would of had they won again, in a 6 Nations where they have only reached top gear in one game. The defeat and the 6 Nations as a whole to a certain extant shows that England need a bit of a freshen up, and that maybe some players are here but are they here to stay? The tour of Argentina is a perfect chance to forget Dublin and another perfect chance to give some new fresh faces a run. This will help in the long run even if these new players just provide backup to the ones currently with the shirt in possession. Imagining that all English players who have been mentioned for the Lions went to New Zealand, these are three players who i feel deserve a chance on the Argentina tour this summer.
ZACH MERCER: Captain of the Grand Slam U20 winning side in this years U20 6 Nations. I sat and watched their highlights every week and he was nothing short of immense in every game. His speed for a back rower was just what England needed as ours felt sluggish at times. Some of the offloads as well my god, all of this you would of thought he was one of the back three. I remember the one try in which he eventually scored started from him sprinting down the touchline like Usain Bolt. He is also powerful and has a great rugby brain. It is only a matter of time before he gets picked.
HENRY SLADE: An amazing talent, with a sumptuous left boot. He just makes everything look simple and i cannot for the life of me understand why he hasn’t been picked more for England, i mean he only got i think about 20mins against Italy as a sub. I would like to have seen a 10 12 combination of Farrell at 10 and Slade at 12. He is just a lovely, talented and graceful player maker who i love to watch.
SAM UNDERHILL: Not much seen of him as i would of liked, but i hear great things of him. A genuine openside is just what we need, a jackal of our own and i’m hoping he can be just that. For Eddie Jones to name drop him and to ask about him whilst at Ospreys, shows what people think of his talents and potential. He was under the strict over-seas rule to have been picked for England but now after joining Bath, it’s his time. By the way he hasn’t had a bad mentor…Justin Tipuric.
We also need to sort out tight-head and Kyle Sinckler would be my pick but i would love to see him go on the Lions tour. We need an experienced back up to Dan Cole. Eddie Jones said a few days after the Dublin debacle that we are now going into the next stage of his four year project building towards the 2019 World Cup. I hope we now see some fresh faces to give the team a little kick up the backside and get ready for autumn 2018 and facing the best team in the world the All-Blacks. Seeing as it’s not going to happen this year. Having that game over a year away is maybe a blessing in disguise, it gives them more time to build perfection and build more hunger to beat the All-Black with it being so long since they have been able to have a crack at them. Imagine the confidence boost that beating the All-Blacks at the end of 2018 would provide going into a World Cup year.
So back to the 6 Nations to finish off i just want to look back and give my view overall of how it went etc. I felt it was an entertaining tournament, with so many different talking points coming from it. For example Italy’s ruckless tactics to the revival of Scotland. Breakthrough players like Zander Fagerson and Baptiste Serin. Also as we’ve talked about, England playing poorly and still winning the title and of course the main subject of every game barring the Italy v France game…THE LIONS. Lions talk of squads and captains have and will continue to be argued and discussed until they are announced. Which i find great as it just add to the excitement and i really, really can’t wait.