With 2 wins from 2 games all is in pretty good shape in camp and the boys are delighted to have beaten a resolute and dogged Scottish side, although we’re a little disappointed with leaking 3 tries.
We always expected the Scots to be abrasive and physical, but we conspired to really gift them 3 scores which is hugely frustrating, and we’ll examine what went wrong in that area and try to eradicate it moving forward. They gave us problems at the breakdown which we expected but in fairness, at times, failed to deal with. By saying that we scored 4 great tries and the backline went well, so we must also take the positives as well as the negatives.
I was rested and benched for this game, although sneaked on to play 30 mins. The management had always said they’d mix it up a little for this game and select for the biggest game- South Africa on Saturday night.
I get the feeling both Owen Farrell and myself could start; Owen is comfortable in the 12 channel and that gives us a lot more options in terms of kicks, particularly the openside cross kick, a tactic that works well on the big hard grounds of Northern Italy.
We know South Africa will be tough. With one the stand out players of the tournament number 8 Arno Botha giving pace and power to their forwards, the are a big, powerful side, and they love going Route 1 before going Route 1 again! Joking aside, they do relish the physical contact, looking to bully their way forward and we’re expecting a tough match up front. However, it’s our intention to try and play the space, offload and keep contact fast and minimal. Tempo is the absolute key here and we want to run their large forwards around the park a little.
Socially, we’ve loved the area where we’re staying. We were treated to a day out in Venice yesterday and had a great time wandering around this unique and beautiful city., However, no social trip would be complete without one of the forwards making an utter fool of himself and this week’s culprit was our sizable openside Matt Everard, who conspired to almost fall into the river off the Gondolas. Personally I would have let him fall in, but he was dragged to safety amongst much mirth, inspiring the usual debate and banter- mainly focused around how far the Venetian seas would have risen if the big lad had have fallen in!
Anyway, wish us luck for Saturday and we’ll speak soon,