I WAS sat behind the posts at Murrayfield last Saturday and I have to say I have a completely different view from the general consensus over England’s 20-0 against Scotland.
I was frustrated on many levels.
There was no doubt the pitch was a disgrace but it is what it is.
From the gameplan England went with it was quite clear there was a hang-up from the defeat against France the previous week.
The plan was simply to get a result, which is fair enough in one sense but you’ve got to remember this group of players are two years in and probably have more than 20 caps apiece now.
I felt the mentality was wrong. After five minutes it was quite clear that Scotland were a woeful side, but nothing changed from England in the second half.
They kicked a lot of ball away and, when they had pressure, needed to show a bit more patience.
England have beaten New Zealand in the last two years and run them close again and those are the levels they should be judged against.
Any of the southern hemisphere ‘big three’ would have run up 40 or 50 points on Saturday – not withstanding the pitch.
If a side are there for the taking, you must finish them off. For me, I thought England were poor against a poor side.
A lot of people thought that, after Ireland’s near-miss against New Zealand last November, they were shot.
But they were magnificent against Wales last Saturday.
They touched upon the intensity Wales had when they beat England in the Six Nations last year and their physicality was fantastic because Wales are not a bad side.
It makes for a fabulous game at Twickenham next weekend.
England have home advantage of course but, while Ireland are a bit longer in the tooth, they are able to play with fantastic intensity and my head says they could do the job there.