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Saturday, November 14, 2009

England defeated in first test

England have been beaten by New Zealand in the First Test at Esher RFC today. The final score of 16-3 was significantly larger than most experts had predicted - especially given the conditions which might have been expected to favour England.

Few details were available until nearly four hours after the game - indeed it is remarkable that information from home internationals still remains so hard to trace. We managed to publish live scores and even short reports from the touchline during Letchworth tour and tournament games as long as three years ago, and what with Twitter and Facebook anyone with a mobile phone can now do the same thing incredibly easily. Other unions have even experimented with live video feeds, but the RFU and RFUW remain... rather behind the times.

However Scrum Queens had a correspondent at the game (otherwise it would all have still been a secret even now!) and have published a detailed match report. Surprises seem to be the dropping of Emily Scarratt to the bench (allegedly to "keep her fresh" - though as she is only 19 you'd think that a shade unnecessary!) and a truly awful kicking display - only one try in the game, it seems, but the Black Ferns slotted three penalties to England's one.

Actually reading between the lines you strongly suspect nerves. Did the build-up get to England more than New Zealand? If so, how will they cope with live TV at Twickenham? Gary Street has a huge task ahead of him in the next few days. Afterwards he said:

"This game was a real fact finder for us ahead of the World Cup in 2010, and more immediately next Saturday. We are not a side that lose often, and despite that I am upbeat. We have found out today that they are not super human and we are certainly ready to fight again next Saturday.

"I would have liked better playing conditions today. For 30 minutes of the game we were only 3-0 down, and if we had matched that I think it would have been a different story. Instead we made errors and they added a second penalty and a try just before half time. Then we were left chasing our tails."

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