» Old Richian Un­der­hill praised for Eng­land dis­play

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS -


ENG­LAND’S march to World Cup glory be­came an­other game closer with a com­fort­able vic­tory over Ar­gentina.

Of course their task was made all the eas­ier when Pu­mas lock To­mas Le­vanini was sent off the field af­ter a high shot on Eng­land cap­tain Owen Far­rell who must be think­ing he is a tar­geted man as this was the sec­ond time he has been on the end of a reck­less tackle tak­ing the full force square on the chin. If Far­rell ever wants to change his pro­fes­sion, he would make a great boxer with the chin he has. Un­be­liev­ably there are some pun­dit/ sup­port­ers who sug­gested that Le­vanini was hard done by. The South Amer­i­cans were pumped up for this game but ag­gres­sion and en­thu­si­asm must be con­trolled.

I am all for putting a shot on an op­pos­ing player, but it must be le­gal. It is no co­in­ci­dence that Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones first choice flankers, Tom Curry and Sam Un­der­hill, are chop tackle ex­perts, get­ting the op­po­nent to the ground quickly al­low­ing the in­com­ing de­fender to chal­lenge for the ball be­fore any­thing is set up. Sam Un­der­hill had a great game. The for­mer Lon­glevens prod­uct was a class at open­side, mak­ing mul­ti­ple tack­les and car­ry­ing well; he was a bun­dle of en­ergy putting pres­sure on the Ar­gen­tinian at­tack.

The best flanker I had the plea­sure of play­ing against is now Eng­land team man­ager Richard Hill, who men­tored Un­der­hill in his fledg­ling in­ter­na­tional years.

He must have been very pleased with his per­for­mance.

The re­sult has guar­an­teed Eng­land a quar­ter fi­nal place, with three wins and max­i­mum points, and it seemed very few play­ers go­ing in to the treat­ment room - so dif­fer­ent from their last World Cup cam­paign on Eng­lish soil in 2015. This the ex­act po­si­tion Jones must have dreamt about in be­ing ahead in the tour­na­ment Cru­cial de­ci­sions must now be made, start­ing with se­lec­tion for their fi­nal pool game against France.

The men from over the chan­nel have now flat­tered to de­ceive for far too long.

They are not a great side and do not have the abil­ity to con­trol a game, some­thing that does not al­low them to beat the top sides in in­ter­na­tional rugby.

Tonga should have beaten France but just lacked that com­po­sure at the vi­tal time.

No side who has gone on to win the World Cup has lost a group stage game, show­ing mo­men­tum is key in tour­na­ment rugby.

Jones will give starts to Jack Now­ell and Mako Vu­nipola. These two Bri­tish Lions will bring re­newed en­ergy to the team on the pitch, and at the same time gain valu­able game time which will be re­quired as Eng­land en­ters the knock­out stages of the tour­na­ment.

I am mas­sive fan of Now­ell - he is al­ways look­ing for work, quick, pow­er­ful, fast feet, and knows his way to the try line.

If he plays well in Satur­day’s game, he will heap mas­sive pres­sure onto Jonny May, and An­thony Wat­son.

Mako’s come back is per­fectly timed with Joe Mar­ler limp­ing off against Ar­gentina.

Vu­nipola brings a di­men­sion to the Eng­lish for­wards some­thing Mar­ler does not pos­sess.

He car­ries with great skill, with a won­der­ful off load, as does Eng­land’s tight head Kyle Sinck­ler.

Hav­ing props who can give that deft off load to open the tight­est de­fence can be game defin­ing when play­ing the south­ern hemi­sphere jug­ger­nauts.

I ex­pect Eng­land to beat the French by 20 points, en­ter­ing the knock stages with mo­men­tum, con­fi­dence and most of all be­lief.

Watch­ing the World Cup is a great ex­pe­ri­ence, from see­ing the Haka, the sec­ond tier na­tions play­ing the big boys, watch­ing the dif­fer­ent styles of play, the bull dog pack of the Eng­lish, the pace and skill of the blacks, the sheer phys­i­cal power of the South Africans, the un­pre­dictably of the south sea is­landers, the Ja­panese pub­lic sup­port­ing dif­fer­ent na­tions, the colour, and noise.

It all adds up to be a great spec­ta­cle. The one side I do love to watch is the host na­tion.

Ja­pan plays with such pace, skill, and the re­quired power.

Their winger Ko­taro Mat­sushima, the South African born flyer who qual­i­fies through a Ja­panese mother, has been in amaz­ing.

They have made it very un­com­fort­able for the men in tar­tan who have it all to do to reach the knock out stages, for a sec­ond tier na­tion and be­ing the hosts it will be an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment, and make this World Cup one of the best ever.

Jack Now­ell could put pres­sure on Jonny May and Antony Wat­son

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