Monday, 1 February 2010

He's at it again

I'm referring of course to Stephen Jones of the Sunday Times.

When not demanding that Martin Johnson sacks skipper Steve Borthwick (who apparently isn't good enough to play lock for Old Gitonians 6th XV), Mr Jones does like to make bold statements such as:

"England in this era have three players of true world class — Andrew Sheridan, Simon Shaw and Lewis Moody, all up front, and Sheridan is injured. They have a few players who can be world class in streaks (Ugo Monye, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Danny Hipkiss)"
Not too many arguments with the first half of that sentence, although arguably only Shaw has proven to be consistently world class over the last few years. The second half of the statement is, however, quite risible. Let's look at the list:

Ugo Monye? The bloke who cost the Lions the 1st Test in South Africa by butchering 2 tries and couldn't catch a cold against Argentina in November.

Dylan Hartley? Undoubted raw potential but his class is far from proven.

Courtney Lawes? Seriously? Based on 5 minutes against Australia and a couple of decent Northampton performances? Unproven.

James Haskell? James Haskell? The one with the white boots, upright posture and a penchant for giving away daft penalties? That James Haskell?

Danny Hipkiss? Really? Based on what exactly, the ability to run smack into his opponent each time he gets the ball?

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that these aren't dreadful players (well, not all of them) but world class, even in streaks?

World Class? My arse.


Bamberio said...

I'd love to see the stats that Stephen Jones bases his wonderful opinions on.

How many England players would get a starting place in a World XV? Zero. Well, maybe Simon Shaw, but he's knocking on a bit now and would he start above the likes of Matfield, Botha and O'Connell? Probably not.

England have a good squad of good/very good players but none of them are the best in the world in their position.

I still think England might well be the surprise package in this year's Six Nations though. No-one is really expecting too much from them after their performances last November.

Have a look at my ratings and let me know what you think:

bradders said...

Agree completely with you although perhaps Lewis Moody would drop from being world class to merely very good if we're absolutely honest.

As regards Hipkiss, the man plays like a flanker with very little pace.

Lawes looks good but far to early to comment.

Ever since Jones said he would pick Shanklin over BOD for the Lions pre tour last year i have taken his views very much with a pinch of salt!

Unknown said...

Stephen Jones is a regular whinger about 'stopping the rot' where it come to Johnno. He says it so much that my ears are bleeding and I need some relief. So I have an idea.

Let's start an online vote. You can sack Johnno or Jonesy. Simple choice. On the one hand, you can elect to keep an inspirational rugby legend in the England camp, one who commands respect, embodies the winning spirit and who is absolutely galled when losing a match...any match. On the other hand you can keep the bleater who never tires of rolling out his platform of leadership by repeated calls for sacking anyone and everyone.

You already know my vote. I'm keeping Johnno, because I believe in him. Now what we need is an IT and rugby fan with enough time to build us a voting space. Oh, one more thing. We need Jonesey and Johnno to abide by the outcome - whomever loses has to go. No questions asked. My ears just can't take any more.