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Anorak | England See Red

England See Red

by | 3rd, November 2003

‘SAMOA managed to raise their game for their Rugby World Cup match against England but failed to find the same heights the next week against South Africa.

Wales are no soft touch

How England must be hoping that Wales do not play as well against them next weekend as they did yesterday against the All Blacks.

The Times, which watched Wales run in four tries against the tournament favourites before succumbing 53-37, suggests that England “will have felt distinctly uneasy at the growing freedom with which Wales played”.

On only two occasions in their history have the All Blacks conceded more points in a match, which Wales looked like winning in the early stages of the second half.

The New Zealand Herald said it was almost the greatest upset in the tournament’s 16-year history and has provided “an enormous reality check” to the New Zealand squad.

However, England were also rediscovering their form at the weekend, albeit against the part-timers of Uruguay as they ran in 17 tries in a 111-13 victory.

In the Telegraph, Paul Hayward sees in England’s performance “a welcome deflation of angst” as a second-string side showed exactly what they could do with ball in hand.

The only blemish on the day was provided by Joe Worsley who had to apologise for what the Telegraph describes as “a puerile gesture” as he left the field after being sin-binned for a high tackle.

The flanker raised his hands to applaud the crowd and made a mock bow while the victim of the tackle Joaquin Pastore lay prostrate on the turf.

In a country where the England rugby side appears to be as unpopular as a warm beer, this will have done little to endear the Poms to their hosts.

In what was a good weekend for English sport, Tim Henman roared to the best victory of his career when he defeated Andrei Pavel in straight sets to win the Paris Masters.

It was the list of players that Henman had beaten on the way to the final, however, that was really indicative of his form as they included World No.1 Andy Roddick, Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and Henman’s Wimbledon conqueror Sebastien Grosjean.

The Indy says the victory, achieved (says Henman) because he was “strong between the ears”, has propelled the 29-year-old from No.40 in the world rankings to No.14.

“Until now,” says the Guardian, “Henman has been better at talking about mental strength than showing it. Now it seems the penny has dropped.

“He looked more relaxed this week than ever and played with a freedom that has allowed his talents to thrive.”

If Michael Owen wants his talents to thrive, many observers believe he will have to leave Liverpool – but speculation that a £25m move to Real Madrid is in the offing have been downplayed by manager Gerard Houllier.

‘It’s about trust and care. Michael knows us, loves us and I’m convinced he wants to stay,’ Houllier tells the Sun.

‘This speculation will not get to him. I haven’t heard from Real Madrid but they can reverse the figures quoted and they still won’t get him.’

Owen may have other ideas.’



Posted: 3rd, November 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink