Only lazy people will remember the TMO incident yesterday. Whilst it is very definitely is a huge talking point, and in my opinion a try, the game should be remembered for other things that influenced the England win.
1. Aimless kicking. Kicking out of hand to Mike Brown from the Welsh back three was shocking. Mike Brown returned most kicks making serious hard yards and beating most first Welsh defenders. This was the Rugby of four to five years ago. In contrast Farrell and Ford kicked for corners, chasers and deft chips through. They constantly changed the area of attack. Anscombe in the second half turned the Welsh around and was frankly excellent.
2. Sam Underhill. Sam Simmonds was a player most journalists were excited to write about. He was unfortunately taken off with a slight knock at half time, so Jones brought on Sam Underhill. Wales worked some serious magic and ended up with a 4 v 1 situation. Underhill races back and put a match winning tackle on a diving Scott Williams. His significant weight pulling Williams in too touch.
3. Scrum Halves. Both starting scrum halves were guilty of being arses. Whilst I don’t hold them responsible. The Referees forgot that feeding a scrum is illegal. Evans was possibly guilty of an ‘easy fall’ when Farrell attacked an open ball at the back of a ruck. Tensions steamed over and thankfully no-one went to the bin.
4. Alun Wyn Jones. The legend. A true professional was clearly a target for the England defence. He was allowed very little of the ball. His new best friend in Maro showed little respect and seemed to relish every opportunity to get close to AWJ.
5. Channels. Lots had been talked about Rhys Patchell. I was expecting him to be the target of strong running and big tackles from Lawes. It didn’t seem to happen. Whilst true when he left the field and Anscombe slotted in at 10 Wales became a different beast. Not a terrible outing from Rhys but one I’m sure he’ll learn from and quickly.
6. Defensive rugby. Both sides will be very sore today. Both left everything out there. Wales looked to be finishing stronger and with big players clearly blowing at 70 minutes you would have been forgiven to expect a Welsh interception and try. The hits were brutal and bar a high tackle from Ben Teo late on, clean. Not a classic game but one for a purist. I loved it. Both sides supported each other, realignment happened fast and without calls. Two well drilled sides defensively.
7. Missing players. Wales missed Halfpenny. Clearly the loss of his experience hurt Wales. Equally England missed Ben Youngs. Bens box kicking and delivery only matched in the competition by Ireland’s Conor Murray. Danny Care and Anscombe/Patchell need to up their games.
8. Afters. Mike Brown was guilty of goading Wales. Oh dear. Twitter erupts. I really don’t mind this part of his game. Honestly. I remember standing in defensive lines and screaming ‘10’s mine!’ To me it shows what it means to him, it shows relief when a try is missed. If you listen to him and his Welsh Harlequin team mates you’ll realise, he’s actually a lovely guy. Yes, will inevitably upset people, but ach well. I’m sure when suited and booted after the game he’s one of the first in to meet up with Scott Williams! I disagree with this, whereas many people have claimed goading by Brown, there is a second camera angle where Williams and Brown are both having a grin at each other. It's the usual nonsense that gets aimed at certain players, especially by Welsh press towards Brown, Hartley and Farrell..... whereas AWJ slapping Maro, Moriarty acting like a world cup was won and screaming in English faces following a penalty win, etc etc etc..... just get ignored. #FAKENEWS. Rich
9. Penalty Count. England are too often guilty of high penalty counts. No change yesterday. For silly breakdown infringements. Going off feet, in at the side, playing the 9. Against Sexton these will need to be cut out!
10. Farrell and Ford. For me this pairing is why England won this game. You could argue the TMO was, but as previously mentioned, no. Ford and Farrell were key in Mays first try. Heads up, saw the Welsh wing and Anscombe were out of position and punished with pin point accuracy. Both were ran at all day and they made each tackle moved and realigned. They were the real reason for the win. The missed conversion would have made an extra two and left Wales without the Bonus point. Welsh coaching staff will be scratching their heads as to why May was able to score twice, why their defence fronted up in the second half and why the TMO seemingly ruined their party at Twickenham. England will be looking at how that situation even occurred, why penalty counts are so high (again) and how they will improve Eddie Jones media relationship.