'Devastating' England expose 'bullyboy' Wales
March 10, 2014
Luther Burrell celebrates his try © Getty Images
The Monday-morning newspapers will make pleasant reading for Stuart Lancaster and his players following Sunday's 29-18 defeat of Wales
In the Times, Simon Barnes said: "England were devastating. I've been covering matches at Twickenham for this newspaper for something like 30 years and I've grown used to the hopeless cries of, "Spin it out for God's sake." Suddenly the team that Twickenham has been baying for has arrived -- sharp, witty, incisive, hands sprayed with superglue and, above all, daring to dare."
As for Wales? He wrote they had been rumbled. "Their power game - bullyboy rugby, nothing wrong with that until you get a side who stand up to you - was exposed. They looked limited, short of imagination, unsure where to go for their next point."
Sir Clive Woodward, writing in the Daily Mail, said "the scoreline flattered Wales … the visitors were so poor that as a final insult, Lancaster was able to take off his half-backs to a private ovation. Warren Gatland must feel so daft about all his rhetoric in the week because his team came second in almost every facet of the game. The No 1 rule after a performance like that is to look in the mirror as a coach before pillorying your team so he has to take the responsibility."
Oliver Brown in the Daily Telegraph pondered whether Wales' loss was "a heat-addled aberration or the beginning of a painful decline" and agreed that Gatland must take his share of the blame for his tactics which were "too straightforward … and have not evolved appreciably. After 125 games and 133 years of Test combat, the abacus now reads: England 57, Wales 56. Subtly but surely, the balance is shifting."
Eddie Butler in the Guardian agreed there was little variety. "For the whole of the first half Wales, through the half-backs Rhys Priestland and Rhys Webb, looked as if they just wanted to blast the ball downfield, with no attention given to the landing zone. The chase was ragged and not always rapid".
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