By hooray Henley
September 16 2012
..... Errrr!! Frankly naive rugby
Fabulous omens. I was sitting in the very same seat I occupied in “that game” in 2006. The sun was shining there was a great band and the beer was good and cheap. Good would surely triumph!!!
And it did, but not in the way all on this board would have wanted.
In the end it was the brilliance of Joe Simpson, the metronomic kicking of Steve Jones and the smash and bang of the Wasps forwards who triumphed. Evil? No we weren’t evil, just not good enough and when Varndell crossed for his second try after a turnover in his own 22 and a length of the field try the likes of which we used to enjoy seeing from our own hero’s it was no more than Wasps deserved.
And yet it had all started so well, when after an exchange of penalties early in the first half the young Yarde boy received the ball in a little bit of space, cut infield and then switched on the afterburners to round the slightly pedestrian looking Southwell and score a great try wide on the left. This try was scored during the period when Steve shingler was off and Shane on as his blood replacement.... Coincidence???? Well actually yes I believe it was, although Shane looked good he didn’t create anything special during his cameo and of course as Shings was off it was Tommy who took the conversion and missed it. Does he too have an injury that is hampering his kicking?
Well anyway the half progressed with both teams trying to attack and it really was an even, if uninspiring contest. Oh! I should have mentioned. After 8 Minutes Halavatau went off injured and was replaced by John Ryan. Ryan is a man mountain. He looks like he is probably a farmers son from Cork.. Strawberry blond, a party seven instead of a six pack and shoulders like the entrance to the Manchester ship canal – But this boy can scrummage. He spent the rest of his afternoon bending Tim Payne out of shape or shooting him and his hooker up in the air. Max on the other corner caught the mood and, rare bird that it is, we saw a dominant LI scrum for the rest of the game. We must sign Ryan long term, and might I suggest a bit of a diet for the lad.
The lineout too went well . Lawson is a good thrower, the calls looked good and mostly Skivs and sometimes Fisher or Evans came up with the goods. Ominously though, even in the first half we looked at sixes and sevens in defence, and we were getting beaten up in broken play. For me the most influential player in the game Was wasps number 8 Ashley Johnson. It would be fair to say our back row was (not even a close) second best and that for me was the key problem. I, for the life of me do not understand what must be going through a professional rugby players mind when he enters a ruck from the side, yet we do it time after time. It is an easy one for refs to notice so we get pinged for it time after time.
Well, back to the score board, more penalties and the half ended with Shings slotting a long one to send us into the sheds with a narrow lead at 11 – 9
What we did at the end of the first half, Wasps did a the start of the 2nd. In fact straight from the kick off. We went in at the side, the ref whistled and Steve Jones got another three points. Then it all started to go seriously wrong for Irish. Wasps came with a game plan in the 2nd half to beat us up in the 2nd phase and it turned out to be inspired. They set up a maul on the right, made loads of metres then spun the ball left. Christian Wade came off his wing, outpaced our midfield, sucked in the outside defence and a pass later Varndell got a goal hangers try. Needless to Say, Jones converted and there we were 19 – 11 behind.
We came back a little when the Ref got one wrong at a scrum and awarded us a pen when it should have been to Wasps. Shings didn’t care, he slotted it and we were back to 19 -14. Then the wheels started to fall off. We stuck in at this score until the 65th minute even though we were getting pounded in the loose. But when Joe simpson picked up from a ruck and noticed that there were no green (Stripey – yuck) shirts in the 25 metres between him and the line it was game over at 14 – 26. Wasps now really had their tails up (He he!) and a couple more in at the sides were punished by Jones so at 78 minutes it was 29 – 14. What us old forwards would call a “proper do-ing”.
But no. There was still more embarrassment to come. Yet another pen for in at the side, This time Jones kicks the corner, the first lineout was a mess, Wasps got another go and this time set up a good rolling Maul. Irish obviously in the huddle before the lineout had decided not to defend it because Wasps did indeed go over unimpeded and looking a little surprised. I have to say that this was possibly the softest try I have ever seen in a professional rugby match. If Glen Delaney didn’t know previously, this will have shown him that our pack have a mountain to climb. So, 36 – 14 with a minute to go. Just enough time for the one really class move of the match from Wasps to finish it at 43 -14. We had managed to turn a “proper do-ing” into a “monumental do-ing”
The lineout now looks very good and should be our primary source of possession going forward however, so far this season I have been deeply disappointed by Skivington and Evans in just about every other facet of their play. Especially in the loose, they are mostly absent – needs a new mindset
In John Ryan we look like we have finally found a real tight head –In this game he was also the best of our tight forwards around the park. He could become a legend but he does need to get fit.
Our back row yesterday was a disaster – Trev didn’t look fit, and hard as Dec and Fish tried they were outdone by their wasps counterparts in every way.
As a unit our forwards look like a really soft touch in the 2nd phase. Someone has to stand up and be a dog. In this respect we are massively missing Paicey and Huff, perhaps their returns will coincide with an upturn in our fortunes.
AND FINALLY – will someone please explain the laws of entry to the breakdowns to our players. We must have given up half of the points against yesterday by side entries.
My men of the match.
Joe Simpson of Wasps had a great second half and Steve Jones was pretty sharp and kicked 9 out of 9 but the MOTM by a country mile was their number 8 Ashley Johnson. The fact that Wasps were less effective when he was subbed by brand Haskell bears testament to his contribution.
For us? Well one or two had reasonable games, notably Lawson and Shingler but the only player who could really hold his head high after this match was John Ryan –Message to Smiffy – Sign him on a long term contract NOW
Quote:There's a bus from High Wycombe to Limerick?Jon_r43
Said he was leaving today as he got on the bus.