England Cricket World Cup Glory

 

It’s all Super Over Now

“It’s come to this. Here’s the last ball of the World Cup Final, Archer bowls it. It’s clipped away into the legside, they’re going to come back for the second, the throw comes into the wicket keeper’s end… He’s run out… is he? England think he’s run out. England are convinced he’s been run out…”

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GOT HIM! TV pictures confirm what the England players already knew. They had won the World Cup.

Just like that England won the World Cup in 2019. Jonathan Agnew had his Kenneth Wolstenholme & Ian Robertson moment. In the back of the commentary box all the English pundits dropped their façade of neutrality, à la Rob Andrew in 2003, and went wild as pandemonium broke out around Lord’s.
 
The noise was staggering. Especially if you are a regular at the old place. Often the only noise is a light snore while the collective catch up on a snooze post an overly beefy sandwich. How times have changed. To the fellow, who sat behind me requesting 300 people sit down so he could watch the Super Over, I am sorry but cricket, at that moment at least, just became a raucous celebration of life. Even at Lord’s. About time too some would say.
 
On the pitch the scenes were just as wild. Joffra Archer, in a fit of relief just ran and ran before diving onto the floor at the feet of nobody. The rest of the players sounded what could only be described as a carnal roar as the stumps were flattened by Joss Buttler. Nobody even cared who threw the ball in. Or that the batsman had yet to be officially given out.

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Joffra Archer celebrates

New Zealand Honour

Spare a thought for the Black Caps. From the moment, they went out to bat they were acutely aware of the number of runs they would need to defend if they were to win. They had the bowlers to do it, they really did. Some would argue they did enough. Jeremy Coney, the ex-NZ captain, even surmised in the TMS box that they ought really to share the World Cup. You couldn’t separate the teams after that.
 
Even taking into account the deflection off the bat and the sub section of the laws of the Super Over that signalled their defeat their remarkably composed captain, Kane Williamson, was able to stand tall and congratulate the opposition on not just a fine final but as well deserved winners following a standard bearing four years prior to the final. Such good sportsmanship is rare in professional sport and to summon up such magnanimity after the day he had had is rarer still.
 

England’s Cricketing Joy

What of England? Much has been spoken of the journey they had been on under Bayliss and Morgan. There is no need to rehash it here other than to say there is a genuine joy in the way that they play cricket. It is full of all the things we wish we could apply to real life. An unbridled happiness to go out and express yourself and do what you really, really love. To be able to entertain and give so many people such pleasure is a very rare thing. The team were given the mission to inspire and inspire they did. There’s a great clip of Jimmy Anderson on his Tailenders podcast discussing how he felt after the win. His response was that all he wanted to do was go out and have a bowl. 
 

The Bumpy Road of An England Fan

There were always going to be moments of difficulty. It was predicted on this blog as the tournament began. After all this is an England sporting team. We are a sporting nation battle hardened by disappointment and farce.
 
We know nothing is going to be easy or anything other than gut wrenchingly hard to watch at times. There were moments of implosion. Not least, the pre-tournament mess involving Alex Hales. Even that was dealt with brutal efficiency. The will they won’t they of Joffra Archer. Never ever any doubt. Certainly not in the mind of the softly spoken Trevor Bayliss.
 
Of course, we lost 3 times in the round robin format. We had to endure the nonsense between current player and ex-player in the press. Or two people from Yorkshire ‘just being Yorkies’. There was a genuinely poor performance against Sri Lanka. At that moment, it looked very much like England were going to do an England.
 
However, placed alongside 4 very, very good performances against the top 4 teams in the world and when only a win would do these incidents and defeats are inconsequential. Especially in the context of that annihilation of Australia in the semi-final. It was a consummate performance of outrageous skill and bravura rarely seen by a team from these isles. We don’t just do that. Except that we did.
 
Right up to that final ball of that final super over we were left hanging in a way that nobody could ever have predicted. Except as England fan we should have expected it. Previous English World Cup success has only been after extra time: 1966, 2003 and now add to that 2019. It was written in the stars that England would emerge victorious only after every finger nail had been devoured and most of the cushions in the country had been hidden behind.
 

Thank you!

Eoin Morgan, Johnny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joffra Archer, Mark Wood, James Vince & Moeen Ali. The squad players who ferried on drinks, spray, talcum powder, jokes and messages from the changing room. The sensible, unflappable Trevor Bayliss and his assistant coaches current and past. And to Andrew Strauss, the man who got all this going after that pitiful performance four years ago in the previous World Cup. We salute you! Do it again next time. Just without the stress.
 

The Ashes and Winter Tours

The small matter of the Ashes is up next. The Australians will of course be back for revenge. The first match is at Edgbaston and if they couldn’t cope with the noise from the Hollies Stand for 80 overs they’ll find it hard over a possible five days. Expect them to arrive at Lord’s 1-0 down.
 
As the Summer draws to close the joy of being an England Cricket fan will be found in the winter cricket tours ahead. England will travel to New Zealand to renew their battle of who plays the game in the best spirits. They’ll play 2 Test Matches and 5 T20s. There’ll be a brief respite before heading to South Africa for Christmas and New Year. After that it is onto Sri Lanka and India. The fun never stops.
 

And finally

“It’s come to this. Here’s the last ball of the World Cup Final, Archer bowls it. It’s clipped away into the legside, they’re going to come back for the second, the throw comes into the wicket keeper’s end… He’s run out… is he? England think he’s run out. England are convinced he’s been run out…”
 

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England’s captain Eoin Morgan lifts the World Cup trophy (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

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Cricket World Cup Catch Up

 

It’s going off!

The Cricket World Cup has settled into a bit of a rhythm now. Most teams have played twice. There has been some spectacular catching, whacking and some very good fast bouncy bowling. Patterns are starting to emerge and none that are much of a surprise when you look at past performances, reputations and expectations.
 
Pakistan have conspired, in a way only they can manage, to produce performances so diametrically opposed to one another it takes a squint to confirm they were the same side playing in both games. In their first match, they were demolished by a swashbuckling bumper fest from the West Indies. Jason Holder, Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas dismissing them for 105. Chris Gayle (The Universe Boss), who needs little invitation to avoid running at all costs, smited a boundary laden half-century to lead the Windies to a victory in just over 13 overs. The Windies are going to cause everyone trouble.
 
Their following game saw Pakistan approach England in a slightly different manner. Their opponents, fresh from an easy victory over an increasingly poor South African side, don’t seem to change much. Win the toss, elect to field on a pitch that looks ripe for a massive total and then wait and see. Pakistan, aided by some butter fingers, confused field placing and some dodgy bowling at times amassed a total over 300% larger than their previous effort a couple of days earlier. Only Pakistan…
 

Pressure? What pressure?

Nevertheless, England came out to bat with the express intention of knocking off the highest ever run chase in CWC history without breaking sweat. Well they reckoned without a new Pakistan attack and the additional pressures that come with batting second in a World Cup game, as opposed to a dead rubber on a sunny afternoon in Bristol. Maybe a rethink? Doubtful, one would imagine.
 
On the face of it England did ok. They got within 14 of the huge total and thus passed the record total – albeit in a losing cause – and two of their men, Buttler and Root scored centuries. It is a measure of how far England have come as a side when there are questions about form when they fall slightly short in pursuit of 348. Pakistan were excellent but England probably gave them 20-30 runs in the field. If you were very harsh both their centurions probably got out a little too easily.
 
Without getting all analytical about it the mistakes were obvious and everyone has an off day in the field. If this is the only hiccup England have on their way to the knockout stages then we have done well. In reality, we all know this is unlikely. England teams of all sports enjoy an implosion of form to keep their supporters on their toes.
 

The best (and the worst) of the rest

Meanwhile India are going about their business effectively and warming up nicely. Watch out the rest. Virat Kohli hasn’t scored a century yet. He will and everyone else will be hiding behind their sunglasses when he does. Even after one game, they’re a sure bet for the semis. New Zealand seem to be just about winning their games and sit neatly at the top of the table. They’ll be in the semis too.
 
Sri Lanka look like they’ll be taking on South Africa in the tier one competition of who can be the England (of the last CWC) of 2019. Afghanistan will surprise some for periods of their games but it is unlikely to be sustained for the full 100 overs. Their recent game against Sri Lanka may have been their best bet for a victory but they stumbled chasing a measly Sri Lankan total. Duckworth Lewis probably didn’t help either.
 
We mustn’t forget Bangladesh – like the opposition are prone to do – who are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. Somehow, they seem to slip slightly under the radar. It must be the misplaced belief they represent a challenge only at home. However, South Africa found that this is not the case anymore when they were set 331 to win and managed only to scrape by 300. They could quite easily have beaten New Zealand too.
 

The Baggy Greens

All of which brings us neatly onto to our friends in the green and the gold. They are up to something under Justin Langer. Whilst their chase in their first game against Afghanistan was glacially slow, David Warner is showing signs he means business. He came into the tournament in good form post IPL and he’ll be very keen to shove the boo boys and their noise where the sign don’t shine. Probably at Lord’s on 26th June.
 
The backbone of their side is not that different to the one who triumphed down under in 2015. Finch and Warner at the top, Smith at no. 4 with Glenn Maxwell waiting in the wings to do something ridiculous. Good or bad. Their fast bowling pair of Starc and Cummings is as good as any. If we were to be mean then it’s the other players that aren’t quite as good as those who have moved on. A semi-final perhaps beckons? Maybe. A tournament victory perhaps not. Err, please NOOOOOOOOOOO!!
 

Don’t Cry For Me

All participants of Aussie Sport Watch were dismayed to hear Justin Langer withdraw permission for opposing fans to boo their talismen, David Warner & Steve Smith. Dressing up in sandpaper and asking their players to sign rolls of the stuff on the boundary was absolutely off limits. There is to be no shrieks of ‘Cheat’ from the stands. No chorus of booing whenever Stevie touches his box. What to do for the average barmy army fan then?
 
Simply, if we are to believe that all great players – and like it or not both Warner and Smith are that – respond best to being abused then might it be suggested we do the opposite. A raucous cheer when they come out to bat, some soft Lord’s applause when they poke one up the hill for a quick single. Perhaps even a song entitled ‘Don’t Cry For Me Davey Warner’. Or go one further, when they come out to bat, just walk out to the bar and pretend they are indeed, as Justin Langer pointed out, ‘only human’ and have suffered enough for their past indiscretions. After all mere mortals are not worthy of such attention.
 
Ha!! What nonsense Justin. We are going to boo, tease and barrack and probably keep on doing so til September. We love a boo here. Panto booing at all times. Besides, they can take it, those Aussies are good like that. Strong tough types who haven’t got the time for a cry when things go wrong. Just ask their old coach Boof.
 

And finally

We all love an anniversary. On this very day (6th June) 25 years ago can you think where you were? I was toying with the idea of reaching mediocrity in my A levels and then probably having a game of cricket. Possibly a light fun poking too of master in charge of moustaches, rugby and economics and all round good man, Mike Pyrgos. Other than that not much.
 
Brian Charles Lara had slightly loftier plans for his day. He was to walk out to bat that morning and complete a magnificent 501 at Edgbaston. Just think 501 runs. All on his own. Forget he was bowled on 12 to a no ball and dropped on 18 by the Durham wicket keeper, Chris Scott. Even stranger was that match was interrupted for a Sunday league game where BC Lara scored only 6! Fancy pausing a game to play another (same) game and then coming back to carry on batting in another (same) game. Those were the days when cricket was easy to understand.
 
Warwickshire, who won a treble that year, finished the game on an absurd 810-4. Having beaten Hanif Mohammed’s 499 of 1959 that day, Lara had another record under his belt to go with the 375 he had scored against England that winter in Antigua.
 
Rumour had it you didn’t sledge Brian when he came out to bat. It would make him bat a bit better. I wonder what the Durham players said to him out there when he arrived out to bat a few days earlier. Perhaps he just wanted to get away from captain Dermot Reeve or, better still, show Roger Twose the NZ opener at Warwickshire a thing or two. Dear Roger gave him a letter on arrival in Birmingham welcoming him as the second best left handed batsman at the club.
 

And finally, finally…

All bets are off. As this goes to press The Windies have those chaps from Down Under 54-4 from 12 overs. Maxwell has got a duck, Davey was out for 3. Steve Smith is still there. Booooo!!! Go the #meninmarroon.
 

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England name Cricket World Cup 2019 squad

2019 World Cup | England’s 15-man squad confirmed

 
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) Captain
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
Jofra Archer (Sussex)
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Tom Curran (Surrey)
Liam Dawson (Hampshire)
Liam Plunkett (Surrey)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Joe Root (Yorkshire)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
Ben Stokes (Durham)
James Vince (Hampshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)

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Hooray for May!

 

May is here in a World Cup year

May is the best month. Not just because it contains my birthday, that of my wife or even that the birch tree pollen fades away. It’s the month when cricket and rugby collide and we can legitimately enjoy both sports without reproach. No, ‘but it’s winter you should be watching rugby.’ Or, ‘it’s not even the rugby season; you ought to be outside practicing your catching’. It’s back to back coverage of both. Armchair sporting nirvana.
 
Our very good cricket team are heading into a home World Cup at the top of their game and are favourites to win it. And, do you know what, they might just do it. There’ll be a slip up along the way no doubt. A dodgy pitch and a low total or two. It wouldn’t be the England cricket team if there wasn’t a melodrama around the corner.
 

Forget about it

If you looked back to the last Cricket World Cup and England’s dire performance, it would have been a pipe dream that they would be anywhere near winning the next tournament. Never mind lifting the World Cup. Mind you, if you had told Robert De Niro – yes that one – he would be appearing, dressed in a gold suit, in a Warburton’s advertising campaign for bagels then the response would have been the same: ‘Forget about it’. Tenuous reason number one why England will win.
 
No. 2 is that 2019 is the year of the English sporting teams’ success. Both European football competitions will produce an English club winner. Liverpool and Arsenal since you are asking. With that in mind perhaps if (when) England win the cricket their rugby counterparts will see off the competition in Japan later in the year.
 

Same, same but different

Indeed, there are similarities to both the rugby and cricket teams. Both had truly terrible World Cups last time out. It is debatable who was the most humiliated. It being a home tournament that prize probably goes to the rugby team. Having summarily dismissed home coaches both sides turned to an Aussie to get their fortunes back on track. One a genteel estate agent and the other a pugnacious bull dog from Sydney. Their methods differ but their desire to get the job done are unmistakably Australian.
 
The messages were simple from both and the results were very quick to change. Over the four years the win / lose ratio for both sides (ODI only for cricket given it is a ODI world cup) are as follows:

Cricket 51 wins / 20 losses (71% matches won)
Rugby 32 wins / 9 losses / 1 draw (76% won)

The rugby team began Eddie’s tenure with a bang but had a slump half way through the World Cup cycle. Apparently, we blame the British & Irish Lions for that. Meanwhile, the cricketers had their wake-up call at the home ICC Champions Trophy when a much-vaunted team lost in the semi-final to the eventual winners Pakistan.
 
The cricketers have really gone on to be unstoppable since then. Only the mighty Saltires have won a series (of one match) and, of the tier one nations, only the Windies have not succumbed to a series defeat and the extraordinary power hitting of England’s batting line up.
 
When you can score 481 in 50 overs and more recently chase down 359 with 31 balls to spare then what is there to worry about?! Another team fielding and bowling a bit better than Pakistan but we’ll gloss over that.
 
Predictably there have been some in the press who have being laying the ‘I told you so’ foundations by talking down the England team’s inability to play the conditions and how it’ll see them come unstuck in a low scoring game. There were a few in the Australian series last Summer but we did ok there – albeit against a weakened side. It’s going to be okay. Honestly, it’s going to be fine.
 

Selection matters

In this age of sharing tips and information across sports we would hope that the cricket team have at the very least looked at how the rugby management (mis)managed the Sam Burgess affair. They have had their own Burgess conundrum brewing for the last couple of years. When the ECB sped up the qualification process young Joffra Archer was always going to be lurking in the foreground.
 
Naturally, some of the players were asked how they would feel if he was parachuted into the side and quite naturally they were responded that it might upset the team a touch. At least that was what was reported. Dig a bit deeper and everyone has been welcoming and been pretty keen on the idea especially if it gives us a better chance of winning. England have been crying out for a fast bowler (other than the perennially injured Mark Wood) and we have one ready.
 
There is no story, however, in being welcoming. Just ask our favourite TMS correspondent who has waded into a rather unsightly ding dong on the above topic with a fellow journalist on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, it has been kept quietish but suffice to say the nuances of language, intellectual pomposity and journalistic spin are alive and well. Some of the language would not been out of place on the terraces of Baku or Madrid . And it’s just not cricket. Ironically.
 

The answer?

Well, I say pick Joffra Archer. Sadly, someone will have to lose out. Shall we take a punt and say Mark Wood or Joe Denley? They’ll keep David Willey. We need a left armer and he’s bowling well. Moeen can cover the other spinners slot. To have Wood and Archer bowling in tandem will surely improve our prospects. And Joe Denley is hardly one for the future. So the case has been made. The decision has been taken. Joffra Archer for Joe Denley. Sorry, Joe.
 
Whatever happens it would be heartening to think that Joffra will not do a Burgess and disappear back to his county and, having ticked off a bucket list item, become a franchise player. We have the Ashes coming up after the World Cup. That is surely worth sticking around for. I’d like to see him up against Steve Smith.
 

Predictions

Never one to shy away from making daft assertions, I say, let’s be positive. England will win at least one World Cup this year. Australia will not but will be much improved in the way they play cricket. Just ask Cricket Australia. They’ll tell you all is back in order. Best not ask the same of their rugby counterparts. It’s all a bit unsightly there. Just the way we like it. We must not of course give in to temptation and gloat. That would be the work of the devil…
 
What do I hope for? Genuinely, that England win the cricket World Cup for the Strauss family. Amongst the more human reasons, it was after all Andrew Strauss who set us on this road to redemption 4 years ago. Sure, there has been some help along the way but he put the foundations in place and saw a way to us becoming the best in the world. It is just a shame he cannot be at the helm when – hopefully – on 14th July Eoin Morgan lifts the trophy on a sun kissed evening at Lord’s. Now that would be cricket at its finest and worth all the glory that May offers.
 
 
 
 
 
Finally, go on I dare you… have a watch of this. It’s worth it and shows that anything is possible. As long as you promise to sign up for our cricket tour to South Africa. We’ve won our own gold medal too recently.
 

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LWTL Wins Gold Award for Customer service

 

Gold

1. A precious metal which might be a good thing to have stored under your pillow.
2. The colour of the medal you might win were you to compete at the Olympics* and be better than anyone else.
3. A Spandau Ballet single released in 1983. As in,  “You’ve got the power to know
You’re indestructible, always believe in, ‘cos you are
Gold”  and so on. 
4. The colour of the Trusted Award we have been given for our independently verified, magnificent customer service over the last year.
 
We are very proud to have been able to offer so many fantastic tours one the years. For much of the time, all the hard work that goes into making these trips such a success goes unseen. Often, on return from one tour the team immediately gets on with preparing the next one for departure. In the case of the winter cricket tours, no sooner had our clients returned from Sri Lanka it was time to prepare for the Windies Cricket Tour.
 

The Gold Trusted service award from our reviews partner, Feefo, is not only an endorsement of all the work we put into make the tours such a great success but also in support of all the help we receive from our overseas agents who make all these tours go without so much of a hitch – most of the time ;-)… Thank you to you too.   LWTL Wins Gold Award for Customer service feefo-logo-300x59  

 

Thank You!

Finally, we really could not do it without you, our lovely customers. Some of whom return annually for their overseas sporting fix and some of whom appear every 4 years for the British Irish Lions. So, whether you are an old touring pro or you are a one time trip of a lifetime kind of a person we thank you for travelling with us and trusting us with your all your touring needs.
 
Of course, you may not have travelled with us before and therefore not know first hand how great we are at what we do. Now you don’t need to just take our word for it! Once you’ve had a good read of our reviews select your tour , sign up and come join in with the fun. With the England Cricket team touring South Africa this winter and the Guinness Six Nations next February there is a lot to look forward to. Who knows one of the teams you watch could be a World Cup winner….
 
*other sporting events are available.

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Sri Lanka Fund Raising – Please Help

Weʼre raising £5,000 to donate to Butterfly Vacations for all those who work so hard to help make our tours such a success.
 

Following the tragic events on Easter Day, LWTL are raising some money for our friends in Sri Lanka.
As a small gesture of kindness to all those who work so hard to help make our tours such a success, we would like to show our support by arranging a donation to Butterfly Vacations (now Tripavi). They will then ensure money reaches those members of their extended team most in need of help. With your help we hope to raise £5000.
To find more information and to donate please go to our Just Giving page https://bit.ly/2DXcxyU and donate whatever you can. Better still if you are within the top 10 donors we’ll enter your name into the draw to win a signed Murali cricket ball! Please share with as many people as you can
 
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Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour2

Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour3

Sri Lanka Fund Raising - Please Help Tour4

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LWTL Thoughts With Sri Lanka

We are deeply saddened by recent events in Sri Lanka, which have shocked a very happy nation as we knew it before. We have been in touch with our local partners, their families and those who we had the pleasure of meeting on recent tours and we are pleased to say that everyone is safe and well.
 
Our immediate thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event and we would like to offer our continued support by remaining positive about Sri Lanka and give the communities some time to heal. LWTL look forward to touring to Sri Lanka in the future.
 

THE LWTL SUPPORTERS TEAM

Patrick, Gail, Craig, Lorri, Mike, Caitie

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England preliminary 15-man ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Squad

England National Cricket Selectors have named a 15-man preliminary squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup starting at the end of May and an extended 17-man squad for the five-match Royal London ODI series against Pakistan, which precedes the World Cup.
 

Eoin Morgan (CPT)
Moeen Ali
Jonny Bairstow
Jos Buttler (WKT)
Tom Curran
Joe Denly
Alex Hales
Liam Plunkett
Adil Rashid
Joe Root
Jason Roy
Ben Stokes
David Willey
Chris Woakes
Mark Wood

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2020 Guinness Six Nations

FEBRUARY 1st:

Wales v Italy (2.15pm)
Ireland v Scotland (4.45pm)
 

FEBRUARY 2nd:

France v England (3.00pm)
 

FEBRUARY 8th:

Ireland v Wales (2.15pm)
Scotland v England (4.45pm)
 

FEBRUARY 9th:

France v Italy (3.00pm)
 

FEBRUARY 22nd:

Italy v Scotland (2.15pm)
Wales v France (4.45pm)
 

FEBRUARY 23rd:

England v Ireland (3.00pm)
 

MARCH 7th:

Ireland v Italy (2.15pm)
England v Wales (4.45pm)
 

MARCH 8th:

Scotland v France (3.00pm)
 

MARCH 14th:

Wales v Scotland (2.15pm)
Italy v England (4.45pm)
France v Ireland (8.00pm)

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A 2019 Six Nations Wrap

 
The Six Nations always throws up some surprises and some great games. There had been witterings that this year’s version hadn’t quite lived up to expectations. These expectations were perhaps overly high following such a successful Autumn series for the home nations but the fans, as we always do, expected. We entered the final weekend of the tournament with Wales on the brink of another Slam, England waiting in the wings for a slip up and the Scots and the Irish in damage limitation mode. There was also a game in Rome, and whilst unfair to the protagonists, did anyone actually care?
 
Italy 14 – 25 France
Wales 25 – 7 Ireland
England 38 – 38 Scotland
 

The Grand Slam

In real terms this meant the Warren Gatland’s prophecy came true and Wales achieved a remarkable 3rd Grand Slam in his 11 year tenure. He and his coaching team are amazing and deserve all the plaudits they get. They say a dog owner starts to look like his dog. The same, it seems, goes for a national rugby team and their defensive coach. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine popping your shorts on and getting ready to run into 23 Shaun Edwards. No thank you very much. Doubtless Mr Edwards would’ve been furrowing his brow when Ireland crossed for a consolation score in the final moments. All that remains to be said is that Alun Wyn-Jones is now amongst the game’s all time greats. 

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AWJ and team soak up the glory after a great tournament

 

Calcutta Cup Overfloweth

The game at Twickenham started off just as many had expected. Even after the result in Cardiff England roared into the Scots, did the usual and scored within a couple of minutes. They continued in the same vain for the next 25 minutes and into a 31 point lead. Some folks around the place were whispering 100 points. It was all tongue in cheek but what it really meant was that Twickenham was crying out for a bit of a contest. The previous games against Italy and France had not really produced any drama. Well, we got what we wanted.
 

After a score just before the half-time whistle, Scotland emerged from their giant sporans, squeezed some extra juice out of the pipes before finally starting to play. Finn Russell and Ali Price started to run the show, while England did their level best to hand the game over on a plate. However, Scotland and Russell in particular, must take all the credit. Even from the most one eyed Englishman we could only watch on and marvel (and mutter, ‘we’ll not win the World Cup playing like that’.) Before, you could whisper pass the hip flask Scotland had scored their 6th try to lead 38-31. England’s answer throughout was the same old really: keep kicking the ball back and wait for the opposition to run at you. And run they did. England spend so much time in training practicing the close up tackling and line speed they seem to have forgotten how to tackle one on one. There was also the whiff of ‘we’ve been here before’.

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Eddie let’s one slip / gets away with it.

 

If we are to take – as an English fan – a positive from this England were able to summon some substitutes from the bench and score the final try of the game to take a very unlikely draw. It would have been easy to just shrivel up, lose and trot out the familiar clichés about not wanting to peak too early but England went from their own 22 and secured a converted try to draw.
 

Mike’s View

After years of travelling the globe coaching and now supporting national teams our very own Mike Pyrgos sums up the game as this:
“In a fascinating final 6 Nations day at Twickenham it became clear that trying to predict the Home Nations World Cup chances is about as sure as trying to predict the weather. England played with skill, panache and real quality for 35 minutes and even when Stuart McInally scored for Scotland just before half time nobody expected the turn around that followed in the second half. Scotland played with gay abandon and looked as if the shackles had been released and Finn Russell was the ring master, calling the shots and sparking Scotland which allowed them to cause the greatest comeback in 6 Nations history. Only England’s determination not to lose allowed them to salvage a draw but even the most partisan supporter could not disagree that that is what makes the 6 Nations the greatest International Rugby Tournament in the World.”
 

The LWTL Awards

It is customary at the end of the tournament to award some prizes. Without further ado see below for some prizes. The winners may never know but it is important to give credit where credit is due. Or in some cases where it isn’t.
 
The ‘Our Man in Belfast’ award for most over-confident fans at the start of the tournament – Irish fans
 
Comic Villain – Close one this but Johnny Sexton for his petulance at being replaced and shouting at his teammates when he chucked the ball into touch towards the end of the game. 
 
Silly Decision by a Coach – Joe Schmidt for asking for the roof to be kept open in truly awful conditions.
 
Eddie Jones Award for Silly Stats – Eddie Jones has to give this to himself. He was very incorrect when suggesting that Wales were tired after putting in the most tackles in the Six Nations before the final round. England had.
 
Pass of the Tournament – Tempting to give this to Finn Russell for every pass he threw in the second half in the England game but Jamie George nicks it for the left handed beauty he threw the previous week. Extra points for being a hooker.
 

Six Nations 2020

Although we have the small matter of the Rugby World Cup later this year we are now also ready to start thinking about the 2020 Six Nations. There are many known unknowns and unknown knowns to consider. Firstly will the tournament involve a World Champion? I think so. There’ll be a new coaching team at Wales with Wayne Pivac facing the tough task of filling Warren Gatland’s jock strap. Will France have a new coach? Will they even have a coach? Eddie Jones may not even be there either. Andy Farrell will be at the helm in Ireland for his first international head coach job. So much intrigue and therefore even more reason to start thinking about going to the games next year. Pre-register now for an opportunity to book your spot in Rome or Paris next year. 
 

The Six Nations 2020 Fixtures

Round 1

Feb 1: Wales v Italy (2.15pm), Ireland v Scotland (4.45pm);
Feb 2: France v England (3.0pm);
 

Round 2

Feb 8: Ireland v Wales (2.15pm), Scotland v England (4.45pm);
Feb 9: France v Italy (3.0pm);
 

Round 3

Feb 22: Italy v Scotland (2.15pm), Wales v France (4.45pm);
Feb 23: England v Ireland (3.0pm);
 

Round 4

Mar 7: Ireland v Italy (2.15pm), England v Wales (4.45pm);
Mar 8: Scotland v France (3.0pm);
 

Round 5

Mar 14: Wales v Scotland (2.15pm), Italy v England (4.45pm), France v Ireland (8.0pm)
 
SO what are you waiting for? To pre-register for our packages and to get first look when they become available click here.
 

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