Speedy lineout was a big plus of England win
IF France played any of the English Premiership sides and arrived with such a woefully inadequate defence strategy, they would in all probability lose.
They faced an outstanding England team and performance, but they asked no questions of England at all.
It is a sad indictment of what the French were offering when England realised that a simple kick behind the first line of defence was going to be met by – well, nobody…
Coaches of age-group teams will have some semblance of organisation on who does what when the opposition kick, but France seem not to have thought of that one.
Yet this is pretty much the run-up to Rugby World Cup and a once-proud force were clueless. But this is not to take anything away from England.
They had team selection spot on and very quickly worked out that the simplest of kicking strategies was going to deliver in spades.
Why waste energy and potential errors in handling when a whack into space would almost certainly lead to points?
Amazingly, France seemed unable to think on the hoof to effect any change or alteration in what was a disaster looming.
If you are sailing towards a big collision at sea and you spot the potential disaster, it might be a good idea to change course.
Yet nobody appeared to be in charge for France.
Surely the writing was on the wall and obvious – that has always been the time for an ‘injury’ and a quick rethink to get you to half time.
But not a lot happened and England were never really troubled. One positive aspect of the match, apart from plus points for England, was the lineout.
It has become a sad area for the game and we have seen too many time-wasting discussions before just about every put-in. But England and France got on with the job in hand and it speeded the game up no end.
Let’s hope that this can be the blueprint for the game in the future.
It seems that players on the putting-in team need reassurance with a committee meeting at each and every line.
But all they are doing is making it easier for the defence to have more time to get organised then disrupt proceedings.
The main man has to be the 10. He has to take control with a signal, probably to the nine, to say what he wants.
There are then a limited variety of options available and the signal for the choice can be given on the way in to the lineout.
The throw can coincide with arrival and the defenders will have little time to react and disrupt. Or is that too simple?
The referee has to be part of such a strategy and the game should be overjoyed to see teams getting on with the lineout.
So the ref must be an integral part of letting it happen as long as it is legitimate.
Too often we hear the poor old referee almost pleading with the players to curtail discussions and get to the next part of the game.
Yet all that is needed is for there to be positive encouragement for the team putting the ball in to get there and act immediately.
It will need practice, of course, and the hooker will need to be confident in the sequences being performed on cue.
But it could add an extra ingredient to the dynamics of rugby as the current trend is to take forever and a day for each lineout.
As the game becomes more athletic and faster with more ball-in-play time, we allow a set-piece to bite into the clock and the supporters are being short-changed.
Exeter are next up and it will be good to taste Premiership rugby again.
The visitors are easy to beat on paper, but you have to have the grunt to take their forwards on and keep them away from driving-maul range.
So simple, really, but every team in the league knows that much already yet few manage to produce and turn theory into the actuality.
Gloucester’s pack can manage this when at their best so it should be an absorbing contest where home advantage may just be the difference.
But if form is anything to go by, it will be no place for the faint-hearted.
Jonny May touches down for his hat-trick try against France
»Former Gloucester and England A coach Keith Richardson