Rugby Union Fans talk Calcutta Cup

Scotland reclaimed the Calcutta Cup with win over England at BT Murrayfield
Scotland reclaimed the Calcutta Cup with win over England at BT Murrayfield

There was plenty to celebrate for the Scottish team and their fans over the weekend. The celebrations lasted long into the night and there was plenty of analysis waiting for the fans when they woke on Sunday. Surprisingly there was plenty of questions pointed towards referee Nigel Owens.

Looking at Twitter and Facebook, Rugby Union Fans put their thoughts forward on what had happened on the pitch, the numbers of players in England and Scotland, the influence of JK Rowling and Owen Farrell's tunnel dash.

The performances of Huw Jones, Finn Russell and John Barclay were outstanding for Scotland. The other 20 putting in huge shifts. The coaching team led by Gregor Townsend must have wondered what happened to their detailed planning after defeat to Wales; they adapted and developed a new plan to derail England's rugby juggernaut. The England coach, Eddie Jones, fronted up to the cameras straight after the game and acknowledged the Scottish team's performance.

England talk the talk about on-field leadership, yet when the opposition put in place a different or challenging game plan, this seems to disappear. Remember England's lack of response to Italy's tactics last year?

The breakdown of 2018 requires adaption, to the referee and the opposition. It seems to be where games are won and lost. England's coaches played 3 second rows, a number 8 not fully match fit and a 6 1/2. The breakdown became Scotland's domain. Underhill's introduction did help but the trend for getting acknowledgement for 'the biggest hit' got in the way. The Scot's relied on timing, speed, used their eyes to follow the ball and deployed breakdown specialists.

Dan Cole has for long been an asset at the breakdown for England but on Saturday he seemed off the pace. His fellow prop Maku Vunipola also found it difficult to get his ball carrying game to its normal high standard - was the scrummaging session against Georgia what was needed in the build up to the Calcutta Cup?

Dylan Hartley looked in better form than Jamie George, his presence on the fringe of the breakdown very important. However, he no longer can act as the team's enforcer and his stand him seems to be playmaker Owen Farrell. Teams are now targeting Farrell, getting under his skin and winding him up. Back to Hartley and George - neither seems on top of their game this season; many have commented on Hartley but increasingly attention is being given to George's contributions since his ground breaking Lions tour. Unfashionable but Northampton's Mike Haywood is the form hooker in England.

Launchbury and Robshaw did well throughout however they need their x-factor team mates to show up.

The back line lacked direction and the centre pairings deployed did not seem to gel at any point. There can be no doubting that Farrell remains the key contributor but is his best position first receiver? Joseph doesn’t seem his normal self, looking lost in defence and short of ideas in attack. What might Eddie Jones have in store, Daly and Slade or Trinder and Tualangi?

The back three found it tough and none of them will want to see their highlights reel. Many in the clubhouse felt the wings were “confused”, not sure what was required.

England have the depth in players, they have a very positive win ratio since RWC2015, there is no reason they cannot win their remaining two games in this years 6 Nations


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