RWC 2015: Dai vs. Goliath

One of the annoying things about England being in a major sporting tournament is that due to shared broadcasters the Welsh have to endure a parade of flag waving adverts featuring their stars. This is enough to make you sick of them, and only gets worse if Wales are in the same tournament and basically ignored.

For this year’s Rugby World Cup there’s a cheesy advert by O2 featuring a cartoon of the English rugby team transforming into titans due to the country’s support. The tagline and suggested hashtag is “make them giants”.

Urgh, so cheesy.

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Of course, the side effect of this is setting up giant killer, like the Snapchat I made a few days before to goad my English friends:

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This was in response to some cocky English behaviour and the fact I felt England’s home advantage was being a bit over played. Luckily for me, it came off.

It was a nervy game but a gutsy Welsh come back meant the hosts were upset at Twickenham. In the first half England were in control but neither team was dominant.

It was a game where the number 10s dominated. Replacing the ever reliable but injured Leigh Halfpenny as Wales’ designated kicker must have been daunting for Dan Biggar, but aside from a wasteful drop goal attempt it didn’t show and he was a machine, racking up 23 points. It was a calm, controlled performance and he deserved his Man of the Match award.

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Biggar kicks for the posts

His opposite number, Owen Farrell was enjoying similar good form and managed 20 points, including a solid drop goal. My only issue with him is his daft celebration and the weird way he looks at the posts before a kick. It’s clearly a visualisation thing, and seems to be working, but it don’t half look weird.

In truth England dominated the first half, bossing in the scrum and getting the opening try. From a line out England went across the park with some good passing. The move seemed to stall when a pass to Mike Brown fell short, but as everyone else ball watched Brown kept calm and recovered well.

This was one of Wales’ weaknesses, a failure to exert pressure on England, and giving a player of Brown’s calibre time is always a mistake. His cool head under pressure kept the move alive and Johnny May crossed over for a try.

Brown had a solid game and arguably one of England’s best performers.

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Brown during an earlier match against Ireland

At half time the home side led 16-9.

Thankfully Wales started to click in the second half, although there was more injury worries as Liam Williams, Scott Williams and Hallam Amos all had to leave the field. But Biggar’s kicking kept them in it and finally, finally they began to start pushing England, who obliged by giving a few penalties away.

While Biggar’s kicking kept the game alive and the scoreboard ticking over, I’ll confess to being frustrated, wishing Wales would kick for the corner and chase a desperately needed try.

George North had a bit of a run, Taulupe Faletau showed signs of life and they began pushing the English. Finally a good move saw them carve through the English defence and a perfectly weighted kick from Lloyd Williams allowed Gareth Davies to go under the posts. A Biggar conversion tied things up at twenty five each with very little of the match remaining.

Then England infringed again and at almost halfway down the field Biggar kicked his last contribution to give Wales a three point lead.
England tried to get back into it, but Wales dug in and impressed with a mammoth drive at the lineout, forcing England into touch.

The seconds ticked away and then the whistle sounded.

28-25.

It was edgy at times but Wales’ strong come back and England’s lack of discipline tipped the scales and Wales earned their dramatic and hugely enjoyable win (unless you’re English, I guess).

Wales won and extended their lead at the top of the group. England meanwhile could be out by this time next week should Wales beat Fiji and England fail to win against Australia.

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Wales just about deserved it to a strong display, refusing to lie down and keeping the pressure on, forcing England to make errors and capitalising on them.

I shouted myself almost hoarse and went nuts at the end and sleep did not come easy as I buzzes from the result and cheered my new giant slaying heroes. It was a fantastic conclusion to a tough match and I also enjoyed the celebrations and joy that erupted all over Wales as a result.

I may be knackered today, but it was definitely worth it.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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4 Comments on “RWC 2015: Dai vs. Goliath”

  1. Can’t argue with your analysis of yet another disappointing England performance, but I really can’t agree that Farrell was the weirdest kicker in the game – I thought Biggar looked like he was having a fit several times. Good luck with the rest of the games – fortunately my mother in law is Japanese so we do have something to be happy about.

    • chrisebpage says:

      Yeah, Biggar’s fidgeting is a bit bizarre, it almost looks like he’s doing the Macarena, but Farrell looks like some kind of rugby Terminator analysing the distance.
      I swear kickers’ rituals are getting more elaborate every year.
      Glad there’s a silver lining for you! Thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy the rest of the world cup.

  2. […] the joy of last weekend Wales came down with a bump thanks to a bruising encounter with the Fijians. I’m writing this […]


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