It's been difficult thinking of a suitable first blog post, being a sport lover in particular Aston Villa and Warwickshire CC I could have picked either of those to write about. However after seeing England's incredible performance against New Zealand yesterday it stirred up something which I had to write about.
I only watch international rugby. Like most sports it's the pinnacle of the game and amongst family, work, cricket and football viewing, league rugby is way down the list of things to do. As a result I am probably not the best for in depth game analysis but like to think I can give an informed opinion on yesterday's game at a basic level.
England started brightly and were disciplined in their approach to New Zealand's attack. That's the reason I think the score was 0-0 after 15 minutes and it took that long before Dan Carter got a chance to kick at the posts. Certainly surprised to see the record points scorer miss his first two kicks, the first was as easy as he would have liked, other than the distance but even that wasn't the problem.
England got their rewards I think from discipline, they knew cheap points wouldn't even give them a chance against the best New Zealand side I've seen to which we saw elements of in a 7 minute rampage in the second half.
All the England players did well, turning the ball over, driving New Zealand back and for the most part making slick passes out wide. I think Ashton had an off day, regardless of the try I don't think he tackled very well and being ultra critical he should have handled the ball better out wide.
Farrell... What can you say? He needed to justify his place and ultimately won us the game alongside Manu who setup one with a great one handed side pass, and scored the other after a brilliant interception which he seems to have done a couple of times this autumn.
People will say that New Zealand didn't turn up or had an off day, but you cannot really say that because they had great periods of the game where they scored and dominated possession. It was England who upped their game and battered New Zealand into submission.
They have is a scare by making the game 15-14 after two good tries in the second half but ultimately England, through team discipline in defence and individual performances in attack gave us our biggest win over New Zealand ever.
England's problem from what i saw from the autumn internationals was they've improved on their discipline and not giving cheap points away. It's how any sports team should be optimising their performances... Don't give the opposition easy runs, goals, points.
With the six nations coming up there will be a real chance they can get the slam once more. If England can produce 5 performances like the New Zealand game they'd do it at a canter.