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OJO'S INSIDE LINE: Reasons I backed Italians
1:30pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport News
THIS might surprise people but I was actually willing Italy on to victory against England at Twickenham on Sunday.
For me, it was a calculated decision because then all talk of an English Grand Slam would have been over.
That would please me because if this group of England players succeed this year, two years could be a long time.
With a home World Cup to come in 2015, we all know what will happen if England do complete the clean sweep in Cardiff tomorrow.
All of a sudden, perhaps the number of England players on this summer’s Lions tour increases dramatically, there is a worry about burnout and then they are struggling for next year’s tournament.
Personally, I’d love to see them win the Grand Slam – next season – giving them a good run into the 2015 World Cup.
As it is, the opposite could well happen now because Sunday’s close shave against the Italians was a real wake-up call and I’ve no doubt England will turn up in better shape against Wales.
Not that anything should be taken away from Italy last weekend.
They seem to be developing their own style of play now and there could have been no grumbles had they got a draw – at least – out of their game with England.
Bath suffered disappointment in their LV= Cup semi-final at Harlequins but, if they take anything from that game, it should be that it’s time for them to look at their Academy set-up.
You need players coming out of your Academy who can slot smoothly into the senior squad and perhaps it’s time for Bath to look at their practices.
To all intents and purposes that was a second-string Harlequins side on Saturday, but there were young players who were very comfortable in that team.
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