- Mar 20, 2015
- Country Flag
- Club or Nation
I didn't write this. I did, however, laugh very loudly at it.
OPINION: An open letter to the RFU: Dear gentlemen,
Terribly bad luck on your early exit from your own World Cup, old beans. It's a shame. You brought something a bit different to the party with your 1980s style of play and that intoxicating mix of over-confidence and under-performance.
I thought you might like to know where you went wrong and how you can avoid a repeat in Japan in 2019. Indeed, how you can be one of the ***le favourites. It's quite simple, really.
1. Sack Stuart Lancaster. Immediately. If he hasn't fallen on his sword after a mighty win against the Uruguay Amateur XV overnight, throw him on it. Then jump up and down on him. He has done a sterling job in turning 2011's dwarf-tossers (you can actually delete the "dwarf" part) into polite, well-behaved young men. But they're still ordinary at rugby. And blaming his "inexperienced squad" is ridiculous. He picked the bloody squad! That's like me blaming the smooth road for my speeding ticket (which doesn't work, by the way). Sack Andy Farrell while you're at it. Nepotistic twerp. And Mike Catt. Just for the hell of it.
2. Find a No 7. Any No 7. Find the third-best opensider in New Zealand or Australia, pay him Â£100,000 a year (which is about $NZ45 million) to play in the UK for the next three years and then select him on residency. Job done. Or change the rules and select overseas-based players such as Steffon Armitage, who can get to at least one ruck before the fulltime whistle. Michael Cheika changed the rules to get Matt Giteau back in, and that's not exactly backfiring on him.
3. Sack your back row. Australia ripped you a new one last weekend because they had two No 7s out there. You had none. Tom Wood, Ben Morgan and Chris Robshaw looked like three arthritic sloths jogging through a knee-deep field of peanut butter. Robshaw made NO turnovers. My mother made as many turnovers as he did against the Wallabies, and she wasn't even in the country. And she's, like, 70-something. Robshaw was as much use as Anne Frank's big-band record collection.
4. Take the captaincy off Robshaw. It makes it so much easier to not select him.
5. Sack anyone who had anything to do with Brad Barritt's selection. A coach putting Barritt in the midfield is not trying to win the game. He's simply trying not to lose it. Which pretty much sums up English rugby at all levels. Ditto Owen Farrell. He kills a game faster than Rob Andrew.
6. Send Sam Burgess back to Bath to learn how to play union. Selecting him in the squad may have sold a few tickets early on but it's not going to help sales in the knockout stages. Because he's watching it on the telly.
7. Stop selecting players with the surname Youngs. It's not working.
9. Get rid of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. It's embarrassing. The world is laughing at you. And fans only know the words to the first two lines.
10. Slap Mike Brown. Hard.
11. Get Dylan Hartley and Manu Tuilagi back in ASAP. They've got the discipline and intelligence of a three-year-old with ADHD (or whatever naughty children are being "diagnosed" with these days), but at least they can play rugby at the highest level.
12. Ignore Clive Woodward. On everything. His coaching credentials were emasculated in 2005 when his 500-strong Lions team were smashed by an All Blacks side who didn't have to get out of second gear.
Lastly, hire a foreign coach. Someone who can do the above without getting all emotional and British about it.
Someone who followed John Hart's All Blacks in 1999 and – until last weekend – didn't think anyone could cock up a World Cup campaign quite so spectacularly.
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