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What will Wilkinson contribute.

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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:24 am    Post subject: What will Wilkinson contribute. Reply with quote

adi,during the last RU world cup,I recorded all the top matches played by England Australia New Zealand S Africa,&Argentine,and I still have them here,..I shall be doing the same again this time,and I would hope to see Wilkinson make at least one breakthrough,(or at least try to) which he didn't do in 2003.I'm sure you have at least one 5/8th who has some attacking flair in his game,and as I always have thought,a good attacking side will always wipe the deck with a defensive side,.....although this theory was shot to pieces in the last WC final. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a fan of him either to be honest and don't quite understand the fuss made of him in this country. His kicking is obviously very good and he puts in the odd big tackle, but he's a fly half, not a flanker, his main job is to get the backline going. Wilkinson has never really done that. He doesn't have great pace, his passing is ok without being exceptional and he lacks the flair of a Larkham or Michalak to do the unexpected. Even simple things like a drubber kick or something to mix it up would be nice. In an attacking sense I rate Charlie Hodgson more but he isn't fit so wasn't selected, and has in many ways suffered because of the adulation given to Wilkinson in that the public have never taken to him.

Having said all of that we were very good offensively in the 18 months prior to the 2003 tournament but I think most of that can probably be attributed to Will Greenwood at inside centre who had great hands and could pick a running line superbly, and the dancing feet of Jason Robinson offering up some unpredictability. At the WC itself we kinda reverted back to type and largely played 10 man rugby. Indeed it often took the introduction of Mike Catt to bring some creativity into the game. Of course games such as the semi-final against France where the heavens opened required tight rugby and Wilkinson was superb in those conditions because they suited his game.

Which brings me to my expected contribution from him in this tournament. If the warm up games are anything to go by we're going to play a game dominated by the pack and use Wilkinson to gain territory with the boot. It seems that the outside backs will largely be selected with defence in mind, so the likes of Farrell and Noon in midfield. At times against South Africa and France this game plan has worked quite well but against both nations we've faded badly late in the game so good use of the bench will be important. I don't see much more from him to be honest, I don't expect him to side step his marker and break the line, I don't forsee much attacking use of the boot with cross kicks or drubbers. He'll pass well, tackle well and kick well. Butch James will probably do the same for SA and I expect him to play more than the talented Steyn because he's more consistant.

Whether that will be enough to win it I don't know. The purist in me says that it shouldn't do but Lynagh was no Dan Carter and the Aus team still did well with him at #10. History shows that defence often wins WC's because it's hard to play flowing rugby when the tension is high. In '95 NZ were the attacking side yet came unstuck against SA in the final. In '99 France were tremendous in the semi-final against NZ but couldn't replicate it against you guys in the final. And of course we won in '03 with a good defence, although to be honest I didn't see any outstanding attacking sides in that competition.
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