Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Friday, August 12, 2011

O2 Inside Line - RWC Warm-up number two

Wales and England meet at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff tomorrow for the second of their Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, so it's time to catch up with Austin and Abi to get their thoughts on the game, and see what the England squad have been up to.

Last weekend we saw England in all black at Twickenham as they beat Wales in what turned out to be a tight match. Tomorrow things will be back to normal, with England in their new all white strip as they aim to pick up another confidence boosting win.

Ugo Monye was there in the stands with Austin, which provided quite a unique view on the game and some great back and forth between the two of them, with Ugo explaining how he's itching to get out there again for England.

Cooking was on the menu midweek, as some of the players took part in a cooking challenge, which provided a nice time out from the hard work on the training paddock. Front rowers Matt Stevens and Lee Mears then sat down with Abi for some tea and scones, and a Tweet Q&A.

Enjoy the game tomorrow, and if you have any thoughts on how you think it's going to go down in Cardiff, feel free to share your thoughts as a comment below.

To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at O2InsideLine.com



  • Two very different teams this week. I expect more tries from both teams and wales to sneak a win at home ;D

    By Anonymous WelshOsprey, at August 12, 2011 6:55 pm  

  • Wales to win on Saturday. England look too one dimensional.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 12, 2011 7:34 pm  

  • They did look one dimensional last week but have made 13 changes so hard to predict how they'll play. I'd imagine Wales may struggle slightly come scrum time.
    England need a convincing performance not just a win to take both confidence and momentum forward to the world cup.

    By Anonymous Kember, at August 12, 2011 7:44 pm  

  • Healy will always be one of the biggest muppets of all times.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 12, 2011 7:48 pm  

  • Henson will either have an amazing game or a fucking nightmare

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 12, 2011 8:12 pm  

  • Lol-greenwood's nose in 3d

    By Anonymous Brennie, at August 12, 2011 8:16 pm  

  • Has Aston been in a fight with Manu again? He's got a black eye. Maybe he should put a raw steak on it instead of boiling the hell out of it...

    Greenwood next week? That should be funny. Looking forward to it.

    PS I think Healy is ok. Has no problems with making a fool of himself, I like that.

    By Anonymous Guy, at August 12, 2011 8:29 pm  

  • Ahh love the tension when Stevens gets asked about the coke ban...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 12, 2011 8:35 pm  

  • What a game this is going to be, Johnson will have seen almost everyone before he makes his pick!

    would love to have seen monye get a run out. The welsh back line looks dangerous.

    Is hape the answer to englands problem at 12? hmmmm? Lawes, ashton, foden & flood will be exciting.

    By Blogger Savage, at August 12, 2011 9:26 pm  

  • Shane williams is only 8 tries behind campese... hopefully he'll play every game and take the record.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 12, 2011 9:55 pm  

  • Hape is never going to be the answer... the guy is clueless...

    I have a raging clue..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 12, 2011 10:46 pm  

  • Christ, I'm glad my local club has better banter than these England boys. Greenwood has a big nose, Thompson eats! High brow stuff...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2011 12:19 am  

  • LOL South Africa, aka the SpringDROPS. So many errors.

    Didn't even score a single try.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2011 6:52 pm  

  • That was an embaresment - neither team will have any chance in NZ.

    They should be ashamed to pull on an england shirt. Tindal, flood both looked scared to make a break.

    Banahan and cueto are shit, truely shit. At least care added some pace. Thompson was the only guy playing like he wanted a place.

    Wales have nothing to be proud about either.

    can we really improve that much in two weeks?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2011 6:53 pm  

  • show's just how little depth there is in the NH...what a joke

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2011 7:39 pm  

  • ^^ Right cos the boks are screaming away as we speak....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2011 10:36 pm  

  • There was nothing awkward about asking Stevens about the 2 years away. What are you talking about?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 13, 2011 11:44 pm  

  • Aus v SA was so painful I pulled out all of my fingernails.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2011 12:10 am  

  • seems that the teams weaking black in all the fixtures came up with the wins.. (except SA vs Aus who will just be bringing their traditional colours to this years world cup)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2011 12:16 am  

  • "(except SA vs Aus who will just be bringing their traditional colours to this years world cup)

    South Africa and Australia have white alternative jerseys, disgraceful to the countries that wear white.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2011 11:03 am  

  • Any bum poking from the team in black? oh wait... oh it wasn't NZ, sorry never mind...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2011 3:31 pm  

  • England dominated against a second choice welsh scrum and frankly that was to be expected. Awful decision making by England in regards to penalties and their inability to score was laughable.It showed that Wales have been working on their defence and fitness and that won the game. Hopefully when the welsh pack return from injury enough ball can be generated to give the welsh backs the possession they deserve.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 14, 2011 10:13 pm  

  • give us some vids aye. french looked the pick of the bunch from the weekends game.

    By Anonymous michalelynagh, at August 15, 2011 3:46 pm  

  • Anonymous said...
    Tindal, flood both looked scared to make a break.

    And that's an understatement - did you see Tindall late in the second half? Actually made a break and looked like he got lost!! He basically slowed down to look about for Welsh defenders - it looked like he said to one of them "Oi mate, can you come back and stand in front of me so I've got someone to run straight into?".

    Don't think I've ever seen a rugby player look so far out of his comfort zone attacking empty space - well maybe the odd prop in an amateur vets game, but an international centre captaining his national side?!?!?

    Not taking away from the Welsh performance - they played well once they had the ball, they were hungrier/more effective at breakdowns and their defensive organisation was good, especially when they were down to 14 men for so much of the second half - but... England were diabolical, weren't they!

    Totally lacking invention and creativity, desperately trying NOT to let any of the back three have a go, except for Banners but maybe he had a special pass on account of his past life as a lock - an incarnation that manifested itself perfectly in his decision to try and steamroller Ickle Shane rather than conempmlate trying to go round him.

    To have that much possession and such a lack of penetration is surely a harbinger for a totally shit world cup for England.

    By Anonymous Von, at August 15, 2011 4:08 pm  

  • Hi,

    Just my opionion, but I am really encouraged by the game on Saturday and think it shows that England can compete and probably get to the final of the World Cup.
    Bull crap I hear you cry, did you actually watch the game? I hear you mutter; but here is why.
    I think we are a selection away from being the complete side and Saturdays game was essentially used to decide who is and who is not the team to take on the world. Eng dominated Wales but did not turn it into points. Wilkinson given that sort of possesion would have seen England 20 points up in the first half and that would have been from the boot alone. Aston on the wing would have scored Banahans chance and most likely worked his way into another scoring position at some point. Just by putting our young Samoan brother into the centres would have seen those opportunites taken.
    I dont think Wales can get much better, or the Southern Hemisphere teams for that matter. England howver can go up 20% by having the right people on the pitch and Saturday was probably the best thing that could have happended in terms of our world cup chances.
    Cue barage of comments.

    By Blogger morgan, at August 15, 2011 4:25 pm  

  • @Morgan,
    Nice one. I wish I shared your optimism, (think "probably get to the final of the World Cup" is maybe a stretch too far), but you make some very valid points.

    Positions 1-8 I think we're pretty OK, could do with a specialist openside but what we've got should hold their own. I think Danny Care's really put his hand up for the scrum-half job and Wilkinson's got to be #1 flyhalf again, (some of the comments Flood's made in interviews betray a massive lack of confidence and conviction). Not much back-up for scrum-half though. Back three again are OK - if they're allowed to have the ball and you make a very good point about Ashton working his way into try scoring opportunities - in both games against Wales we've had England players taking the ball into contact and looking for someone/anyone to offload to but no-one's been there, Ashton always seems to be on people's shoulders - he's arguably hungrier and goes looking for the ball more.

    Which just leaves the centres. Hape and Tindall showed absolutely no incision or creative ambition between them, however Wales did have to work harder to break through this week. I do think Tuilagi's awesome and will make a huge difference - if he gets injured (or banned!) England will be back to square one. 12 is still a conundrum - I think out of the players available Flutey may be the best bet...

    Anyway, if the game-plan was to lull the major contenders into a false sense of security, England did a cracking job on Saturday. But I don't think they'll be shitting themselves just yet.

    By Anonymous Von, at August 15, 2011 5:34 pm  

  • Isn't about time we started seeing this weekend's highlights RD?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 15, 2011 7:40 pm  

  • Von,

    Thanks bud, I was going to far when using 'probably' in reference to reaching the final, you're spot on.
    I would like to see Croft, Haskell and Easter as the back row, wilko at fly half and armitage on the wing ahead of cueto. Samoan and his highness in the centres, care at scrum half, lawes and shaw at locks, Stephens, cole and Hartley front row.

    By Blogger Morgan Leadbitter, at August 15, 2011 10:16 pm  

  • I think Sharples needs a run out against Ireland, that guy is bloody quick and i'm quite surprised he wasn't given a chance on the weekend. Sharples, Ashton and Foden (or even Armitage) as our back three could do some damage.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 16, 2011 12:06 am  

  • Its Funny the to see your English comments. Just a lack of respect for some great welsh play. Wales back line is far more shape and clinical, when i come to scoring tries. The welsh forwards where young and when get our experienced players Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones. I see us going up another few gears. We have a lot more chance of winning the W.C. We won last weeks game due to our Defence and cutting edge once we got a some ball, giving more time the at the 9 August we would of won that game as well. We line out ball the ball, we put you under immense pressure, we where clinical with it. England where great at the brake down but once England had the ball it was as if they didn't have skill to take it wide and isolated and turned over . England of Old straight up the middle boring rugby and pull the drop goals. Rugby has moved on since then. If you play like that with the big Ireland forwards i see you getting smashed.

    By Anonymous Welsh boy, at August 16, 2011 12:37 am  

  • The look on martin johnson's face when he knew england couldnt break the welsh defence and Jamie Roberts running over shantaye hape. Awesome in slow mo


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 16, 2011 1:17 am  

  • Welsh boy, I don't think anyone is actually disrespecting the Welsh play...I think everyone knows Wales has a few big utility players amongst their lines in the backs, i mean stephen jones is a damn good fly half (when he plays), then you have hook, and as much as i hate that tool you also have henson, then there is roberts... and really they are all big guys.... so its no wonder england found it hard to break

    anyway...I think almost every English person who knows about rugby understands that england is pushed for time... they have one more warm up game then its ticket time...and really englands centre is a big mess..and in someways im not a fan of armitage either...

    I think 1-8 is fairly sorted, the odd change here and there, haskell is also the worlds biggest fag which doesnt help things.. but thats by the by...9 they have care, so thats sorted, 10, got to be wilkinson really...i think flood potentially offers more expansive rugby.. but he cant always deliver it... with wilkinson you generally get a "perfect" (i'll be careful there) game from him, but it does tend to be quite risk free rugby which doesnt always make good watching, however i was perhaps under some illusion that the world cup is about winning, not about entertaining, but there we go...

    centres...hape blows.. im sorry i just cannot accept him in the centre, he looks lost and wooden... and tindall, i like the guy, but i just can't see why johnson keeps going back to him...i mean to me its like he is being picked because he was in the world cup winning squad in 2003... the guy hasnt delivered for so long (imo)

    so really it leaves bananaman and tuilagi... tuilagi needs to start...yes he has little experience but he has shown his cool and maturity and i think he wants the ball. Banahan...i don't know what to say about the guy... maybe in 2-3 years time he will be a great player... but right now, he sort of, does a few good things, then cocks something up, or looks lost...he needs to be hungrier for the ball...

    So really, i think a partnership of maybe tuilagi and banahan or tuilagi and tindall depending on who is providing more might be needed... i would sway towards banahan for his youth...even if they right this RWC off and just use it as an experience builder...

    back three... gotta be foden and ashton...fantastic players and partnership they both go sniffing for the ball, and foden is pretty damn reliable from what i've seen..

    as for the other wing... idk...no idea.. armitage i guess is the only one who could fill that position...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 16, 2011 1:42 am  

  • Welsh boy said...
    Its Funny the to see your English comments. Just a lack of respect for some great welsh play.

    A few posts further up, Von said...
    Not taking away from the Welsh performance - they played well once they had the ball, they were hungrier/more effective at breakdowns and their defensive organisation was good, especially when they were down to 14 men for so much of the second half

    Lack of respect, you say? And then look at the shit England supporters have to tolerate from everyone else, including you.

    By Anonymous Von, at August 16, 2011 10:21 am  

  • Plenty of other teams have worn black in years gone by, and don't forget the New Zealand football team are called the All Whites despite the fact that they're are hundreds of other teams who play in white.

    They should forget about whining about shirt colours and concentrate on not choking AGAIN.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 16, 2011 10:54 am  

  • It wasn't the most entertaining game saturday.

    England lacked in attacking prowess, forwards looked good at the lineout and scrum. If there was a different ref maybe Wales would have been penalised with a yellow card or even penalty try at the scrum? Their mauling wasn't as effective as in recent years and lost too much ball at the braekdown.

    I wouldn't write England off yet though, they do most of the basics well and with Wilko's boot, he can keep them in any game.

    Wales were resilient in defence but better attacking teams will test them more than England could. The lineout and scrum were shambolic at times but the forwards worked hard at the breakdown. Wonder how well they'll do with a a better front row.

    If Wales manage to secure ball, i'm sure they can create opportunities against anyone with the backline they have and they aren't one dimensional.

    Can't wait for the World Cup

    By Blogger Spuff, at August 16, 2011 12:20 pm  

  • It was hard to see England lose. Especially when the squad selection performed as expected.

    For me I am non the wiser after both the games as to either teams real potential as both teams have been so different.

    The only conclusions I can draw are...

    positives - 1st phase both tight five arrangements can dominate in the scrum and line out. Both hookers look good croft, stevens and lawes stand out as game changers. Jonny is back to form, all you ball buggers can moan about drop goals and its "old fashioned" - it wins games and is good game management exactly what you'd expect from a general. Manu will score try's for england this september, he's a match winner. Both full backs look on form, and ashton is yet to be uncaged! Toby flood was off his best, but we've seen what he can do, and given the perfomances of hape, and banahan around him he was set up to fail.. Youngs is still to crack on to. those two know each other.

    The negatives - Forwards need to start owning the break down to give us chance to get on the front foot, crash pods need to be moving at more pace and hitting spaces not faces. We have to second rows to work as pivots so we do need mat banahan to do that job. The reason for the inclusion of such a massive winger is to be sure of scoring from 10m out. But he showed he cant do that- could he be retrained at 12 - maybe but not in time for sept. Simpson daniel, Monye, Strettle all would have scored that try, and shown williams alot more respect.

    The centres have no dynamics, Tindal is there as a defensive centre. Hape has showed nothing in an england shirt, we need a pure bread 12 to show off Manu's flair. I do not think Jonny should be used as a stop gap. Dan hipkiss would do a much better job.

    Crash runners need to do just that and stop taking the ball flat and stood still - manu and ashton have shown what happens when you take ball at pace and pick your line.

    I want to see the direction of attack changing and sharpe lines, backs running from depth and rumbling forwards, quick pick and goes and accurate off loading combined with bully boy rucking to suck in defenses.

    England have the DNA to do all those things. There is still time!...

    By Blogger Savage, at August 16, 2011 12:41 pm  

  • Oh and hodgeson? he isnt even the best 10 at his club!

    By Blogger Savage, at August 16, 2011 1:01 pm  

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