Six Nations 2021: England & Wales seek for model in silence
|Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT|
|Protection: Reside on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Reside, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport web site and app, S4C|
In 2018, 50 college students in New South Wales took it in turns to climb right into a driving simulator.
Whereas they dodged pedestrians and weaved by means of visitors, two audio system sat both facet of them. Typically they performed Metallica. Typically Motley Crue. Typically nothing in any respect.
All of the whereas, computer systems assessed how their driving modified.
The outcomes have been clear. These listening to music broke the pace restrict extra and for longer than these driving in silence.
On Saturday, when England pitch up on the Principality Stadium, the same old soundtrack of aggro and pyro might be muted.
There might be no bus-butting as they inch by means of crowded Cardiff streets. No Tom Jones sing-along as they heat up. No roar of expectation as the primary kick sails up in direction of the rafters.
But when the 80 minutes that follows is completely different, the dearth of a backing observe is probably not why.
Normally Wales v England is, to transform the French, hostility, physicality, depth. Two juggernauts set on a collision course. A destruction derby of a Take a look at match.
This yr calls for one thing a little bit smarter, a little bit stealthier.
“My concern is England throw the kitchen sink at Wales,” stated former England scrum-half Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 Reside. “That they attempt to pummel Wales.”
“Wales can then present a little bit little bit of mind. Alun Wyn Jones and his senior gamers can barely outfox England.
“England need not up their physicality, it is the highest two inches.”
Nowhere is the change of tack clearer than in midfield.
Final yr in England’s win at Twickenham, Manu Tuilagi, out at 13, carried the ball greater than some other England again. In reality just one ahead, Tom Curry, bettered his whole.
5 years earlier than it was the identical stage, an identical story, if a special consequence. Jamie Roberts and Sam Burgess left craters across the gainline and England’s World Cup hopes completed in tatters.
These two line-ups ask completely different questions.
In Owen Farrell and Henry Slade, England have a distribution community to rival Amazon. Whether or not spreading vast or kicking lengthy they will ship the ball to all areas of the pitch.
The punch and penetration others supply is misplaced within the submit, nonetheless.
Wales have an intriguing mixture.
Jonathan Davies, usually afforded time and area to coordinate defence and sniff out area at 13, is nearer to the fray at inside centre.
Wing George North, profitable his a centesimal Wales cap however making solely his eighth begin in midfield, is at exterior centre.
Each, at their finest, are elegant gamers. However the chemistry between them is unsure, examined solely as soon as in a Autumn Nations Cup win over Italy.
There might be no falling again on well-oiled patterns. No autopilot choice for a section or two. In an space the place Wales have beforehand been drilled as tight as a marching band, the 2 centres must riff off one another.
Given Tuilagi’s damage run, England have had loads of time to work out different attacking rhythms. And, most frequently, they’ve used boot moderately than ball in hand.
It has been efficient. England scored 4 of their six tries in a 44-8 win over France in 2019 after discovering acres of backfield area. Correct field kicks with a livid chase have been key to their run to the Rugby World Cup closing six months later.
On the opening day of this season’s competitors, nonetheless, Scotland and Stuart Hogg have been prepared and ready. They lined the area, returned hearth and received the day.
Fairly than tried and examined, England’s proportion recreation was drained and bested.
For this week, these ways, if not torn up, have been tweaked.
Alternative scrum-half Dan Robson spoke on this week’s Rugby Union Weekly of “placing the ball up on these younger wingers and actually going after them”.
Coach Eddie Jones, in the meantime, publicly mulled over 20-year-old Louis Rees-Zammit’s “deficiencies” and the within line that Gloucester team-mate Jonny Could may present on the younger star’s recreation.
Mathew Tait, who walked into the Millennium Stadium in 2005 as a teenage wonderkid and was nearly carried out of it by Gavin Henson, can attest to how this fixture can trash rising reputations.
However, with Liam Williams at full-back, Rees-Zammit has the best wingman for the incoming barrage.
Amid these skirmishes, some huge solutions could emerge.
England received two trophies in 2020, however with out actually convincing.
Wales have received two out of two matches in 2021, however by slim margins and with superior numbers.
Each appear to be looking for an id, even when they haven’t been in need of outcomes.
Nearing the midway level of a World Cup cycle, and the again finish of a pandemic, each Jones and Wales counterpart Wayne Pivac hope the masks come off quickly.
That their sides’ actual self stands up and stands out amid the silence.