Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

No wonder we blanked (well done Wales)

The fact that Mark and I blanked on Sunday morning I blame entirely on the fact that we lost the rugby the night before. How about the east winds, calm seas and gin clear water? Nothing to do with it!! Nope, the bass had a little think about 10pm on Saturday evening and thought sod this for a laugh, we ain’t hanging around in the waters of a country who has such an important Rugby World Cup game for the taking but then comes out in the second half as if we’ve lost our collective minds somewhere in the bowels of Twickenham. So where did the bass go? To Wales of course. As loathe as I am to admit it, Wales played like heroes and they deserved the win…………

It ain’t easy being an England rugby supporter. I don’t watch football and I have no idea or interest in what goes on with that national team, but if you love rugby and you are English, holy cow it’s not straightforward. Deep down we accept that we simply aren’t going to play the way the All Blacks do, yet we dream about expansive creative play and throw our arms up in horror when our coach selects a team that so obviously has only one real option - Route 1. But do we really mind that? Not if we’re winning. I believe that we have all the talent in the rugby world within our shores, but for some reason we haven’t had a national coach/setup which has managed to bring the right players together and allow them to play with a collective freedom since Clive Woodward and his team of mighty warriors. Sorry, can’t help it, I’m harking back to November 2003 again. Hell, I have to. I can’t take much more of the modern England.

Where’s the venom? Where’s the nastiness? Where are the grizzled veterans who can make proper decisions on the pitch and change what needs to be changed? I happen to think that Lancaster and Robshaw are most likely thoroughly decent people who are doing their absolute best in what must be a pressure cooker environment, but are they just too nice? Can you imagine a referee shrugging off Martin Johnson in his eyebrow-staring prime? Giving away that many penalties to me smacks more of not working out very quickly how the referee was playing the breakdown rather than just indiscipline, and again you have to look at how the so-called leaders are thinking clearly under pressure (Clive Woodward’s TCUP mantra) when the heat of battle is on. It’s Test match rugby. It’s meant to be bloody hard, and it’s a searing test of character that in my opinion has found us wanting on too many occasions over the last who knows how many years.

Sod’s law says we come out firing and thrash Australia this weekend, but I would like to thank the current England rugby team for giving me another week where I feel slightly sick all the time because I am so nervous about the next game. The host nation is without doubt facing the humiliating prospect of going out of their own tournament without even clawing their way from the pool stages. Holy frigging cow, it ain’t acceptable. Sure, there’s always been the argument that we are going to have a team of experienced players come the 2019 World Cup, but then I would argue that with the right coaching and management structure in place, then surely we should have the right team right now? Christ alive we haven’t even got a settled midfield partnership right in the middle of a World Cup.

So that’s why we blanked, together with the fact that I for one was fishing like a complete numpty due to my rage at what took place on Saturday evening. I thank whoever that there weren’t a mass of 10lb plus bass wanting to eat anything in sight, because with how depressed and angry I was feeling, I think I’d have caught sod all anyway on Sunday morning. Still, at least I got to build a decent barbie on the beach with my wife and girls and have a good few hours without thinking about rugby too much. Roll on another week of waiting, hoping and dreaming…...