Matt Banahan - What A Hero
All of our World Cup boys have been granted leave to spend some time with their families upon returning from New Zealand.
Not ‘Banners’ though. He chose to come back to the club this week and he wanted to play in our LV= Cup opener at Newport Gwent Dragons this weekend.
He, like the rest of us were naturally disappointed not to see England come home with the World Cup.
They have received a lot of stick too from the fans and media.
I actually feel like England have been very unlucky.
This is the same team that beat Wales comfortably at Twickenham in August and then beat Ireland away from home just before they got on the plane.
The same Ireland they had lost to at the end of a Six Nations tournament they won in the spring. It’s easy to forget that success.
What people have to understand is that every team raises their game considerably when playing England.
In the pool, it was the minnows’ cup final, Argentina were desperate to beat us and the Scots can dine out on a win over the auld enemy for years to come.
In a similar way, when I was at Leicester, people always used to tell me that other sides raised their game when they played us. I guess because the
Tigers had enjoyed so much success in recent years.
I never got a true sense of that until I came to Bath. The other week, there was a definite step up in intensity before we played them and you could tell that it was a side everyone wanted to beat.
England face the same situation and, as a result, have to play at the top of their game, every game, if they are to keep on winning.
They have had some tough games and against France, it was one of those days when everything they tried failed to come off and everything France did, went right. That can happen in rugby.
When that happens to you as a team, you tend to try too hard to pull it back and then you make mistakes and compound the misery.
England didn’t hit the heights they could have done – but they were certainly not rubbish either.