It’s the reality of the game that never fails to get people talking across the channel. The Roses’ XV, predicted to be in hell after sinking in Dublin against the Blues, put up an unexpected display of opposition against the world’s number one nation this Saturday. Leading (3-6) on the half-hour, Owen Farrell’s men certainly conceded once with hooker Dan Sheehan’s (32nd) try, but early on the break was approaching (10- 6).
Then the game changed. Seconds after the siren, Ireland have started a game to negotiate in the English camp. Scrum-half Jamieson Gibson-Park slips to Jonathan Sexton with his hooker. The opener sends it to his winger Mack Hansen with perfect tempo. As the ball drops and Hugo Keenan picks it up, Freddie Stewart, England’s number one defender, is almost on top of him. But not in the right way. Instead of taking it with a big tackle, the Leicester Tigers’ back half hesitates in a dejected, accepting attitude and becomes like a football goalkeeper.
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His immense height (1.96 m) knocks Keenan’s head into his elbow. An astonishing approach that unsettles the South African referee of the crowd, Jaco Peiper, concludes a comment after the video referee: “There’s contact with the head, there’s a shoulder involved and there’s a high level of risk”.
A decision that was harsh and much commented on social networks, the unwillingness of the contact and the steward’s hand sticking to his side. Still, the English had to finish the game at fourteen. What did they do brilliantly after an hour of play, could they have created a sensation with equaliser, and at the same time handed France the title? The question will remain unanswered forever.
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Yesterday at 07:47
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