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Deluded England

Foley Scores!

By Gary Watton
October 5 2015

The angel in Revelations chapter eighteen, verse two triumphantly proclaims that "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!" After sharing in the worldwide rejoicing at England's deserved demise, I know how he feels. Even after getting mugged by Wales, England were still second favourites to win the World Cup! What is more, that great pundit Danny Cipriani suggested that not one of the Australia team would be worthy of a place in the England XV. You have to hand it to England rugby team and its followers: when it comes to blind confidence and naïve optimism, then they are world leaders.

Of course, dynamic Australia, like dogged Wales before them, simply ignored the script and had the sheer audacity to win at Twickers in the very heart of Blighty. As a result, England, the team that simply couldn’t lose and who were destined to attain greatness, have become the first of the Six Nations to be eliminated from the World Cup. Well at least they have achieved a first at something!

Now the knee-jerk reactions from the crestfallen ‘believers’ are in full swing. Aside from the customary and quite justified scapegoating of the team management (or mismanagement to be precise), voices of discontent have scoffed at some of the apparently bewildering selections. However, rugby teams, for some peculiar reason, are chosen a few days in advance. I don’t recall too many people throwing rotten tomatoes when the England teams were announced for the last two matches. The experts and supporters had two or three full days to criticise the choice of centres and fly half. Instead they just irrationally believe in victory. Then when the triumph doesn’t materialise, the armchair critics and assorted experts are suddenly wise after the event and bemoan the selections.

The England RFU has promised an in-depth coroner’s inquest and potential changes. However if they stubbornly impersonate King Canute and persist with their exclusion of Englishmen playing in France and any other foreign league, then presumably the post-World Cup dispensation will be no more than cosmetics and a reshuffle of the coaches. It is unlikely that the England RFU will concede wholesale changes, as changes would be an admission that they have made mistakes. Men in suits won’t have the humility to accept their share of the blame. Instead Stuart Lancaster and Andy Farrell (their appointments) will be expected to walk the plank.

Meanwhile, England will no doubt be installed as favourites for the forthcoming 2016 Six Nations, regardless of what the other European teams achieve in the remainder of the World Cup, and irrespective of the fact that England have not won a grand slam since 2003. Is it any wonder that the neighbours all celebrate England’s humiliation when the other competitors in the Six Nations are consistently insulted and written off as less likely to win the tournament than over-rated England? After all, nothing motivates les autres more than being disrespectfully dismissed as potential also-rans while England are foolishly held up as superior human beings. England and its media never seem to learn that the folly of talking up your own chances only serves to galvanise the opposition, and surely stupid Cipriani’s comments were completely counter-productive.

Bullish John Bull never learns. England will no doubt return to winning ways in the autumn internationals of the next few years against some southern hemisphere giants, who will field experimental line-ups out of season, thereby giving rise to renewed optimism about imminent England greatness, followed by more under-achievement at the next World Cup, and then repeat ad nauseam.

England’s media, pundits, supporters, and team are just deluded in the extreme. When they give the minnows of Uruguay a serious thrashing this Saturday, we will be told that “if only they had played like that against Australia (and Wales).” Yes slow learners, but Uruguay are not in the same league as the aforementioned teams, and any anticipated resounding triumph against them needs to be viewed in proper perspective. Even Luis Suarez could nearly make the Uruguay rugby team. (He would provide some pace and bite to the attack.) Unfortunately, for big mighty England, they and their followers tend to flee from reality when they get one or two wins under their belt.

Watching England fall short of their customary and traditional high expectations has been nothing short of a pleasure. The English cannot help themselves. It’s like a disease. Even when they get trounced, the Ciprianis of this world predictably state that their conquerors look like certain World Cup winners. It seems that any team that can muster the Herculean strength to defeat the big public schoolboys must be truly cosmic. They really do believe in their own hype. ‘We are so good that anyone who beats us must be superhuman’. Laughable!

What is all the more amusing, even for this native-born Englishman, is that the group fixtures were manipulated and tailored to give England every possible chance to qualify for the last eight. Blighty not only had home advantage (which I have argued for some time is way over-rated) but the host nation had greater recovery time between contests than was afforded Australia and Wales. [See Table Underneath.] Also, while Australia and Wales would battle it out on Saturday afternoon, England, it was hoped, would know precisely how many points that they needed to post on the scoreboard in their subsequent tussle with mediocre Uruguay. Talk about loading the odds in your favour! Even the corrupt FIFA would ensure that the final pool fixtures in the soccer World Cup all kicked off simultaneously. Poor England. They had everything in their favour and still succeeded in shooting themselves in the foot.

As Jimmy Cliff previously sang: “The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.”



England 22 days

Uruguay 20 days

Wales 20 days

Fiji 18 days

Australia 17 days


Japan 22 days

USA 21 days

Samoa 20 days

South Africa 18 days

Scotland 17 days


Argentina 21 days

Tonga 20 days

New Zealand 19 days

Georgia 18 days

Namibia 17 days


France 22 days

Ireland 22 days

Italy 22 days

Romania 18 days

Canada 17 days

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Deluded England
Ireland (IP Logged)
05/10/2015 13:22
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: Deluded England
07/10/2015 11:44
A 1,000-word article about England's misfortunes written by an Irishman. #chiponshoulder #gloatfest

Re: Deluded England
Jules (IP Logged)
07/10/2015 12:23
Out of interest, would any other Irish fans care to comment on the above rant. I'd just like to know if this is a general concensus or one persons view. For myself, I have always considered the Irish fans as some of the best in world rugby. Generally gracious in defeat and magnanimus in victory - should I now change my opinion?

Re: Deluded England
1908 (IP Logged)
07/10/2015 13:01
Of course not, Jules.

What has been written is exactly right. I will say that lots of English loudly criticised The Clot's ridiculous selections well before the Wales and Australia games.

I'm devastated but not surprised that England perished.

Is it just a coincidence that this is being said by many to be by far the best World Cup and that England are now no longer involved? I don't think so. Will we learn any lessons? I doubt that as well.

Ah well. Roll on Japan.

Re: Deluded England
Chief in Hobbiton (IP Logged)
07/10/2015 17:12
Oh dear!
None of the Englishmen I have spoken to regarding our exit are overly surprised by it. We are fully aware that there may well be some misguided enough to feel as you describe but no one I know.
Shame you felt the need to write such a thing. It won't change my opinion of Irish Rugby fans.........but I'm glad England's exit has inspired you to write such an article, thank you for your thoughts!

Time for a pipe of Old Toby!

Re: Deluded England
Myball (IP Logged)
07/10/2015 17:34
As an Irishman I took no particular satisfaction in seeing England being beaten and exiting RWC2015. Ireland went out in 2007, some people have short memories. England are my usual fall back team when Ireland are not playing and in general my favourite set of fans. I was raised on a diet of "they came when the others wouldn't" with reference to John Pullens 1973 side who received a 5min plus standing ovation in Lansdowne Rd.
Lancaster was shown to be out of his depth and made silly mistakes with selection and substitutions.
In an attempt to explain, not defend, the anti England rhetoric it tends to be aimed at the media. The likes of Kitson in the Guardian who discount all opposition to England as futile tend to stoke the fires. As did talk of pulling out of the 5N when England won it for fun in the Carling era because the opposition just wasn't strong enough, wheels always turn. Throwing dummies from prams and attacking Irish rugby and accusing it of bias during the Euro rugby "debates" was not helpful either.
Still, I look forward to a pint or two with the Leicester fans in Limerick when they visit.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:10:07:17:35:38 by Myball.

Re: Deluded England
Chiefs (IP Logged)
07/10/2015 23:31
After reading this you have made me so proud to be English. What a total load of tosh from someone who obviously knows very little about the game of rugby or what it stands for.

A very balanced individual........A massive chip on both shoulders.

Re: Deluded England
Chiefs (IP Logged)
07/10/2015 23:36
I did like the the World Cup under achiever bit.........And Ireland? Oh dear.

Re: Deluded England
Chiefs (IP Logged)
09/10/2015 17:54
Confused! Just a few months ago when Ireland beat England in Dublin, Watton described England as "Formidable" Something I would not have called an England side since 2003. Where are you coming from, I am supposed to be the arrogant one, of course I am, I am English.

Re: Deluded England
Dosser (IP Logged)
11/10/2015 02:21
If searching for reasons why England are so bad at rugby, maybe the writings of Stuart Barnes in The Times can help.

Usually a canny observer, Barnes - who played first-five for England - wrote last Saturday examining England's credentials for beating the Wallabies the next day. His analysis was so blindly faulty, it would be laughable if it weren't so revealing.

It helps explain why England, the biggest rugby union in the world with the most players (they have more registered adult players than Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa combined) and the most money, continue to underachieve internationally.

While much of the Southern Hemisphere was touting Australia as a big threat, some of Barnes' misjudgements underline that English rugby sees and hears only what they want - egged on by a media keen to roll the bandwagon on but which, in the absence of direction and insight, defaults to the "sack everybody" response when things go wrong.

They are only now, good grief, waking up to the need for a ball-grubbing No7 at the breakdowns instead of lumbering giants.

Barnes wrote ahead of the match:

"England have forgotten the mesmerising rugby of which they were capable before World Cup pressure sent them off the scales" - If that was mesmerising rugby (though they did score some tries), my backside is a pineapple.

"They had not lost the skills which made them such an exciting team in the Six Nations" - What skills? And it was just the Six Nations.

"England wanted it, Wales wanted it even more" - This assumes desire trumps sound selection, game plan, skill, invention and professionalism.

"The true test of the Australian scrum has arrived; England's scrum is back near its best" - Uh, no.

"The Wallabies have no world-class kicking options" - Bernard Foley, 28 points, 100 per cent success rate.

"Israel Folau is a weak kick returner" - Did he mistake Kurtley Beale for Folau?

The point is not to subject Mr Barnes to a textual shoulder-charge but to illustrate the peculiar English ability not to understand or play the game they invented very well.

Some call it arrogance but it is really the inability to recognise and repair what is wrong.

He continues

Re: Deluded England
sport historian (IP Logged)
15/10/2015 13:32
Not one, not two, but three replies from Chiefs. Blimey, you must be really touchy and badly upset by this provocative piece. Are you a woman, by any chance? Yeah, I thought so. Also, if you use a blanket comment such as "total load of tosh", you really ought to drill down into the specific statements and assertions which you believe are erroneous and that need to be addressed. However, you fail to challenge any remark and instead make a sweeping statement without stating what is so wrong with the piece that was written.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:10:15:13:37:31 by sport historian.

Re: Deluded England
Chiefs (IP Logged)
18/10/2015 15:48
I am proud of the way England has embraced with World Cup, 1000s of people have given up countless hours of unpaid time to ensure this is the best RWC of all. Fantastic stadiums, sell out crowds, friendly atmoshere. So to say "England's deserved demise" is uncalled for.

Who made England second favourites? No English supporter I know, had any confidence going into this competition, so to say England supporters are deluded is total rubbish. Also, does the author really believe that England had the easier route through the group....Deluded.

Yes, I am delighted Ireland are out. The ultimate RWC under achievers.

Re: Deluded England
pa8 (IP Logged)
19/10/2015 08:26
I await with interest to read Watton's report on yesterday's game between Ireland and Argentina.

Re: Deluded England
sport historian (IP Logged)
20/10/2015 12:00
No grand slams since 2003 when Tony Blair was still Prime Minister. Now that must make England the ultimate Six Nations under achievers. France, Ireland, and Wales have all helped themselves to grand slams since then. England have far more resources in terms of manpower and money than the other five nations and still they under-achieve at the Six Nations every year whilst humiliating themselves at their own World Cup, with home advantage! Dearie me.

Re: Deluded England
Chiefs (IP Logged)
20/10/2015 18:19
Only 2 Grand Slams for Ireland, England 12
Only 12 Championships for Ireland' England 26
Only 2 Triple Crowns for Ireland, England 12
Oh, oh dear Ireland 36 wooden spoons.
Losses to Italy.

Only Italy are below Ireland in the overall table.

Not sure, not even bothered, but have Ireland EVER been in a RWC semi final, let alone 3 finals and World Champions.

Oh dear, not sure how you come to your conclusion my chirpy little friend, but it look to me like Ireland are the ultimate under achievers.

Dearie, dearie me, not good is it my chirpy little friend.

Must go, my hair needs washing.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:10:20:18:22:18 by Chiefs.

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