Autumn clean. The sweater shelf.
As for yesterday's match ... (Australia won) ... I'd argue that England didn't play badly. They followed their game plan & threw themselves into the task. The problem was simple : they were outclassed.
Several things became clear as the match unfolded:
One: as Iain Sinclair argued some time ago, the England Rugby team & co. operate like a bunch of accountants. The slavish following of game plans, stats, etc. produces the kind of percentage rugby which is vulnerable to flair & the unpredictable. For instance, last week, when Wales were forced into rejigging their positions due to injuries.
Two: they lack ball skills. Notice the number of times the ball went loose & an Australian was able to gather, flick, or juggle & keep up the momentum. Also the number of turn overs.
Three: an inability to notice & respond to the moment. How, by contrast, Australia kept looking left & right behind a ruck or maul. Why just keep plunging on in one direction? Shake it up a bit.
Four: the weight of expectation. Here I blame the pressure exerted upon the team by the Media & the Corporates. I read with interest the number of pundits predicting an England win. Really? Yet who would dare go the other way? Interests are so intricately bound up, which journalist would risk the perks, backhanders, & invites were they to go 'off message'? The ITV commentary was instructive in the way that every English mistake was spun to a positive until the last few minutes when the travesty became abundantly clear.
Five: much as I admire the Welsh pluck, it seems a long shot to imagine them beating Australia next week &/or going much further. The likes of Australia, New Zealand, SA, Fiji for that matter, have that extra gear. & I wouldn't rule out France - precisely because they can tear up the pre-match plans & improvise something there & then. Wales used to - & now & again do - but you sense it's been drilled out of them.
& to finish:
Q: what's the difference between England & a tea bag?
A: a tea bag stays in the cup longer.
(Thanks to our SA correspondent Kevin for that one).