Andy Bull at Twickenham

Author's details

Name: Andy Bull at Twickenham
Date registered: November 8, 2014

Latest posts

  1. Jonathan Joseph’s turnaround matches England’s change of attitude | Andy Bull — March 12, 2017
  2. Italy’s spoiling tactics outrage England coach Eddie Jones | Andy Bull — February 26, 2017
  3. Six Nations: England take control after a mess of own making against France — February 5, 2017
  4. England see off Australia’s fast start to establish themselves at No2 | Andy Bull — December 3, 2016
  5. Battle with Argentina reveals England’s enormous progress | Andy Bull — November 26, 2016

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Mar 12

Jonathan Joseph’s turnaround matches England’s change of attitude | Andy Bull

Dropped against Italy, the centre returned to deliver stiletto blows to Scotland and earn a standing ovation in England’s Six Nations title triumph

Three minutes past the last, England were still playing. They had nothing to gain now, except seven points on top of the 54 they had already scored. But they still had something to prove, to Eddie Jones, who rode them hard in the previous week, and to everyone who watched them against Italy, Wales, and France and wondered whether they were good enough to win this Six Nations, or worthy rivals to the world’s No1 side, New Zealand, whose record of 18 consecutive victories they have now equalled.

So they kept running at the Scots, moving the ball back and forth until, at last, they found an opening and Danny Care was able to slip through for a final try, which, when converted, made it 61-21. That was a record score in the history of the oldest international fixture in the sport, achieved against one the finest Scotland sides in a generation.

Related: England and Jonathan Joseph thump Scotland to seal Six Nations title

Related: England 61-21 Scotland: how the Six Nations players rated at Twickenham

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Feb 26

Italy’s spoiling tactics outrage England coach Eddie Jones | Andy Bull

Italy’s plan of avoiding rucks by not committing to the breakdown after tackles frustrated England and annoyed their coach Eddie Jones

Back when Eddie Jones was coaching in Japan he complained that his players spent too much time learning to play the game by rote, running through the same old drills without trying anything new. Always ready with a quote, he said that “everyone drives 10,000 hours but few of us become better drivers”.

A good rugby player, Jones explained, has to be able think on his feet. “A lack of creativity,” he said, “means we have fewer players with the decision-making skills needed to win games of rugby.” Well, against England Italy showed plenty of creativity and Jones’s players were presented with a problem quite unlike any other they had encountered on a rugby pitch. They solved it in the end but it was pretty painful watching them work it out. Italy turned this Test into an 80-minute debate on the intricacies of the offside law.

Related: Five talking points: England caught cold by Italian rules of engagement

Related: Jack Nowell propels England past spirited Italy after first-half scare

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Feb 05

Six Nations: England take control after a mess of own making against France

Eddie Jones’s players find a way to win 19-16 after France’s Guy Novés inspires a revival that almost forces a Six Nations major reversal

England’s 15th win, the one that broke the record set by the squad that won the World Cup in 2003, was the tightest yet. There were only three points in it, though you would never have known that from the way the head coach, Eddie Jones, told it after the match was over. “I thought we were awful,” Jones said, “but I always thought we were going to win.”

Sports journalists are usually a thirsty lot, but Jones’s press conferences leave people feeling particularly parched because you have to take so many pinches of salt with what he says. But this line seemed, and sounded, straight. Or at least, as close to it as his public utterances tend to get.

Related: Ben Te’o comes to England’s rescue after France threaten shock victory

Related: France played the better rugby but have forgotten how to win again | Michael Aylwin

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Dec 03

England see off Australia’s fast start to establish themselves at No2 | Andy Bull

An inability to maintain their highest standard gives them plenty to improve upon as they seek to overtake New ZealandThree minutes from full time, the crowd roused itself for one last blast of Swing Low. Not in exhortation, now, but celebration. Engla…

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Nov 26

Battle with Argentina reveals England’s enormous progress | Andy Bull

Victory over Argentina in a thrilling and brutal encounter was further proof that England have been transformed under the leadership of Eddie Jones

Late on Saturday afternoon a brilliant red sunset settled over south-west London, making a fitting backdrop for a bloody match at Twickenham. It was a game that contained, as Eddie Jones said, more drama than your average EastEnders omnibus. It was bracketed by two red cards, one for Elliot Daly four minutes from the start, another for Enrique Pieretto four minutes from the finish. In between, including all the extra time at the end of the first half, there was an 80-minute melee, which looked, at times, like one of those cartoon bust-ups in which everything is a blur of flying fists and feet. It was a match you would have to watch back even to begin to understand exactly how it all went down.

When it was over, England – reduced to 14 men for the majority and 13 for a good long stretch – won by 13 points, 27 to 14. It was one of their very best victories here in recent years and, along with their wins in the first two Tests against Australia back in June, the most significant marker yet of their extraordinary progress under Jones. He had promised that this match would be a test of his team’s “manhood”. It turned into something much tougher than that, an examination of their ability to adapt, improvise and overcome. It wasn’t just the loss of Daly, Dan Cole was sent to the sin-bin, too, and Billy Vunipola missed the second half because of an due to injury.

Related: England 27-14 Argentina: rugby union international – as it happened

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Nov 19

Rokoduguni’s flying England return only adds to frustration for drained Fiji | Andy Bull

Rokoduguni scores two tries and is named man of the match on his England recall – but the Nausori-born winger’s career is typical of Fiji’s talent drain

Always quick with a quip, Eddie Jones promised “fish and chip” rugby – structured, controlled, aggressive, and traditionally English. “Stick it up your jumper, kick and clap,” Jones said, “I love fish and chips.” There was just a sprinkling of vinegar in the team too, to make things more interesting: Semesa Rokoduguni started on the wing, his first England game since he played against New Zealand in 2014. Rokoduguni, who has scored 27 tries in 48 Premiership games in the last three years, and has gained more metres, made more clean breaks and beaten more defenders than any other player in the league this season. Rokoduguni, who has, as his team-mate Dave Attwood says, real “razzle-dazzle”, a wing who can go “over, around, or through” anyone ahead of him.

The wonder was that it took Jones this long to get Rokoduguni (below) in the team. He scored two tries on Saturday, was involved in the run-up to a couple more, and so was picked as the man of the match. Rokoduguni kick-started England’s first attack with a deft sidestep inside Fiji’s full-back Metuisela Talebula and a short burst up the right wing. The move ended on the far side of the pitch, where Elliot Daly glided to the try-line, beating Talebula again on the way. Soon after, Rokoduguni scored his first. He took a quick flick of a pass from Alex Goode, then skipped out of Akapusi Qera’s desperate attempt at a tap-tackle. Rokoduguni regained his balance just in time to ricochet away off Benito Masilevu and dive across the line.

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Nov 13

Allister Coetzee faces growing to-do list to transform South Africa | Andy Bull

The Springboks coach insists his team will not lose their aura, but after their defeat to England he faces a lot of work to halt their slide

Back at the start of the month, South Africa’s head coach, Allister Coetzee, was asked about the “aura” of his side. The Springboks had lost five of the nine games they had played since the last World Cup, going down to Ireland in Cape Town, Argentina in Salta, Australia in Brisbane, and New Zealand in both Christchurch and Durban, the last of those a 42-point thrashing, the worst defeat they had ever suffered at home. “The Springboks will never lose their aura,” Coetzee said, “definitely not.” Coetzee, who spent 22 years playing the game and another 20 coaching it, takes the long view. Just look at England over the last 12 months, he said. The wheel will always keep turning.

South Africa’s latest defeat, 37-21 to England at Twickenham, means they have lost five of their last six. Asked how he felt about that aura now, Coetzee picked out one thing that he felt gave him some hope. “When the Springboks give up, that’s when they will have lost their aura,” he said. He admired the way they rallied from 30-9 down in the final quarter, through tries by Johan Goosen and Willie le Roux. “When the team doesn’t give up, when they keep fighting, I draw comfort from that.” It all sounded a little hollow.

Related: England v South Africa: five things we learned from the autumn international | Paul Rees

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Nov 12

Eddie Jones uses Ali inspiration to outfox lumbering South Africa | Andy Bull

Head coach draws on Rumble in the Jungle tactics to ease England to long overdue victory against the Springboks and extend his winning run to 10 games

This being Remembrance weekend, the match began with a minute’s silence and England’s players wore red poppies as well as red roses. But the game marked another, far more trivial, anniversary too, one that went unlamented. It was a year and a day since Stuart Lancaster quit as England’s head coach after the debacle of the World Cup. In terms of personnel, this England XV was not all that different from some that Lancaster fielded during his four years in charge. The pack was pretty much exactly the same as the one he picked in the autumn of 2013, only with Mako Vunipola at loosehead instead of Joe Marler. In pretty much every other respect, though, England were unrecognisable from the side who were booed by their own fans at this stadium 12 months ago.

Eddie Jones’s England are still unbeaten, and, following on from their Six Nations grand slam and their series whitewash in Australia, have achieved another notable victory – a first against South Africa since 2006 and the penultimate match of Andy Robinson’s career as head coach. Since then, England had played South Africa in 12 games under three different coaches – Lancaster, Martin Johnson, and Brian Ashton – and the best result they had managed was a 14-all draw in Port Elizabeth at the fag-end of their 2012 tour. Despite that, Jones, who spent two years working as a technical adviser for the Springboks, seemed so confident that he had South Africa’s measure you could almost have called him cocksure.

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