England v. Georgia
Ref: P de Luca (Argentina)
Subiaco Oval, Perth
Full time: England 84 6 Georgia
Half Time: England 34 3 Georgia
Goodness gracious me. There's an expression of enthusiasm regarding a match that was otherwise grandly unspectactular. Perhaps we have learned that Lewis Moody could break into the first choice backrow and that Gomersall is a perfectly adequate replacement at no. 9 but very little else. The skiddy pitch and up front playing style of the Georgians meant precious little could be gleaned about the English squad we did not already know.
The white line held firm to deny the Georgians a try but we knew that the defence is solid and a source of pride for CW 1 missed tackle all game. The scrum is powerful and educated but we knew that also one against the head, one push over try. The lineouts could take little improvement two of our own lost. And Wilko is quite an amazing kicker.
Georgia made a good showing of it aggressive in midfield, awkward at the ruck and maul, even powerful at times but class was the byword of the game. Take the England scrum on opposition ball, (thanks to FP for highlighting this to me) the tighthead pushes out against the oppos loosehead; Englands loosehead steals a yard and lets the scrum wheel slightly clockwise then the second and backrow drive that angle through the loosened Georgian pack. Most top flight countries would struggle to hold that let alone Georgia.
Downsides were some suspect handling and the fact that Grayson cant kick at flyhalf. Oh and this whole scrumhalf injury possibility thing: as injuries go its no Kefu or Umaga - Gomersal played well - but one to keep an eye on. Still 12 tries against a team who seem a whole level above Uruguay (also beaten by 12 tries) is 12 tries.
The reaction over here has been a subdued one. Despite some attempt at hype all focus was on the not very riveting European footy qualifier (Turkey 0 0 England). Next weeks game should see some increased interest especially amongst a more rugby educated crowd. For everyone else there is such a confidence in the team here that I doubt many have even considered defeat. This was the last warm up game now bring on some real opposition - should be cracker.