#1 tball World Cup, but didnt qualiify for the Olym von riluowanying123 24.03.2018 03:04

Stuart Barnes looks at the fierce rivalry between England and Wales and breaks down the early pace-setters in Super Rugby. 1. All roads lead to Twickenham, or they do if you are English or Welsh. Historically, this has always been the huge international, even when Wales were constantly clobbering England in their glory days of the 1970s and England were thrashing them in the Clive Woodward era. In those days, the result was rarely in doubt but the fear of losing to the other nation when expected to win made it tense - for all the superiority of the one over the other.Now there is a delicate balance. Wales do not fear Twickenham and England can conquer in Cardiff. It has become a hard test match to call. But this one, this is different. This is about more than history. This is the game that signalled the beginning of the end for the last England regime. If they win, it will be perceived as the start of the Jones era. England have shown improvement but remain overly reliant on the front-foot power of Billy Vunipola. Wales have disappointed with the ball in hand but if there is one team capable of driving big Billy backwards, it is Wales. Stuart Barnes Scotland and Italy were expected victories while Ireland were badly hit by injuries. However, Wales march east knowing that a win will not only taste sweet against their great rivals, but also that it will earn them another Six Nations title. They will not lose to Italy in the final round of fixtures.England have shown improvement but remain overly reliant on the front-foot power of Billy Vunipola. Wales have disappointed with the ball in hand but if there is one team capable of driving big Billy backwards, it is Wales... that is the draft plot. Lets see whether the management and players come up with something surprising.There are few greater advocates than me for performance over results in terms of developing great teams but this is England against Wales and the world can stop for the weekend when red and white clash. Manu Tuilagis performance for Leicester against Exeter was not startling, says Stuart 2. It was Manu Tuilagi watch time at Welford Road on Sunday afternoon. He didnt look startling bur nor was there anything wrong with his game. The decision to add him to the squad is all Eddies, based on potential and tactics as much as form.We came to see the centre but ended up talking about Matt Carley and his officials. To say the referee was inconsistent would be generous in the extreme. What was a yellow card and penalty try against Exeter in the first half was a scrum, no penalty and no card despite the TMO, Graham Hughes, telling him the situation had been identical for Leicester in the second... Freddie Burns wins the most obvious knock on of the season and escaped without a card, while Carley clearly does not know the difference between wrapping the arms to make a tackle and the sort of strong-shouldered hits we saw from Mike Williams in particular. It was a good game but it was terribly officiated.3. It was good to see Rhys Webb back in action. He played a captains role in Ospreys defeat at Leinster. Despite not making any of his trademark swooping breaks, Webb was accurate, aggressive and intelligent. The temptation for Warren Gatland to include him in the 23 will be great. If forced, I think the Welsh manager might fast track him to the bench. Id start him but its much easier to pick a team when you are a journalist rather than a selector. Im sure the Welsh Kiwi will get it right. Highlights of the Guinness PRO12 round 17 clash between Leinster and Ospreys 4. Sunday is tipping point for Vern Cotter and his Scottish project. Scotland have been building momentum, despite not getting the necessary results. Theres no excuse for not making it back-to-back victories in the Six Nations. France are there for the taking and with WP Nel steadying the scrum to neuter one of Frances few attacking weapons, they could head to Dublin chasing three successive wins.But defeat at the hands of the cumbersome French would make one wonder if and when Scotland will ever threaten the higher echelons of international rugby. For the sake of the game, I will be wearing a metaphorical kilt next Sunday.5. The southern hemispheres coaching dominance knows no bounds. Cotter could become minor Scottish royalty while either an Aussie or another New Zealander will be set for the Six Nations title next weekend. Now we have the engaging Pat Lam taking full advantage of a World Cup season, leading Connacht to the top of the Guinness PRO12. They were supposed to start losing by now but Lam has them playing confident, attractive rugby. Its great to see such a success story in Galway. If only the season clashed with Galways racing festival... Highlights of the Guinness PRO12 round 17 clash between Edinburgh and Connacht 6. My little wager on the Brumbies looks shrewder than most of my ante-post bets for the forthcoming Cheltenham festival. Victory over the Waratahs puts them in pole position in the Australian conference. While the Kiwis will run one another into the ground, the Brumbies can benefit from a decidedly weaker conference and gain maximum advantage as teams head into the play-offs. Being fresher than most and at home... if you havent had a fiver on them yet, what are you doing?7. The biggest shock in Super Rugbys history? Maybe thats a tad hyperbolic but come on, who saw the Lions beating the Chiefs just a week after the bookies favourites for this years competition had gone to Christchurch and beaten the Crusaders? What with the Sharks beating the new Argentine franchise, the Jaguares, there were some notable results for the South Africans, who have struggled a little since the Bulls were at their Fourie du Preez inspired best. Fabian Booysen celebrates victory over the Chiefs with Lions team-mates 8. Just to show that its not only the northern hemisphere that knows how to lay on an awful game of rugby, who saw the Reds and the Force? What a load of nonsense. It was duller than the tedious PR surrounding Victoria Pendleton and the Cheltenham festival. I dont blame the dame of the cycle track; why not give it a go? Good for her, but its not as if the Cheltenham festival needs Olympic gold dust to sell it. Sorry, I digress.9. Back to union. Leinster have the winning habit at home but I am not sure Leo Cullens side have it in them to step up a level if a team like Glasgow squeeze their way into the play-offs. Cullen has done a fine job in his first year in charge. He has rebounded from the European slump and developed some decidedly useful players from the academy. Maybe the return of Johnny Sexton will spark them to the next level but right now I wouldnt back them at 6/5 to win the title. Dean Ryan would have been in good spirits after Worcester beat Newcastle 10. Dean Ryan, that old smiler, wins the happiest man of the weekend award. Not only did Worcester win a crucial away game at Newcastle but the next day Ben Teo, his star signing for next season, produced a sizzling display of ball carrying at the RDS. Your round next Tuesday, Deano...To the rest of you, sincere thanks again for reading these brief thoughts.Have your say… Please tell us what you think by giving us your comments below or alternatively, why not Tweet us @SkySportsRugby? Also See: Tuilagi not ready for England Lawes out, Slater in for England Follow @SkySportsRugby Podcast: Vickery on Eng v Wales Jake Elliott Jersey . 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