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Mike Tindall: England should be happy with no frills win on thrilling opening weekend

22 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Mike Tindall: England should be happy with no frills win on thrilling opening weekend

The World Cup winner and Betway ambassador believes that efficient England will need more of the same against injury-hit Wales on Saturday

As far as opening weekends of a Rugby World Cup go, that must be right up there with one of the best ever.

I thought that the standard of rugby was excellent, the quality of the games was exceptionally high and nobody could complain in terms of the competitiveness of the contests.

As a spectacle I think that it was far better than perhaps some people were expecting.

For Japan to do what they did against South Africa and for Argentina to be in the position that they were against the All Blacks for 60 minutes was great to see – and how good were Uruguay considering that not one of them is a professional rugby player?

It really did have a bit of everything for everyone in there.

As a starting point, I think that England will be very happy with how it panned out.

It did not go entirely to plan but the weather made things a little tricky so the game was always likely to be slightly disjointed. To come away with a bonus point win is all you can ask for.

At the start of the day people were saying that Fiji were going to run them really close, so to win by 24 points is probably about as good as anybody could have expected.

If it wasn’t for that last-minute try then my winning margin prediction in the first round of Man v Machine would have been spot on!

Yes, England will be unhappy with a few aspects of their game which were a little scrappy. They didn’t really go through the phases so they will want to work on their continuity and ball retention a little more, but that was the only thing that was really missing. 

Now they have got those first game nerves out of the way with the opening ceremony and everything that comes with it they can just concentrate on getting back to playing rugby.

They are certainly in far better shape heading into next weekend than Wales.

They have just been so unlucky with injuries and cannot seem to carry anybody through. Cory Allen is now out of the tournament and they will be hurt by the fact that Liam Williams had to hobble off as he is so short on game time. liam-williamsIn some ways, Wales were quite disappointing as I would have expected them to put more of a cricket score on Uruguay.

People said after the Fiji match that England had not shown anything to scare Australia and Wales but you could say exactly the same about Wales in the Uruguay game.

However, a win and a bonus point is all that matters at this stage.

Those games where you are expected to just pile on the points always offer a very different kind of challenge.

Against England it will be a completely different type of game and I imagine that they will relish the tight nature of that contest.

It does not matter who Wales are missing – there is enough quality in their squad for them to make a real game of it.

It will be a proper Test match with a full week of preparation and come Saturday there is no doubt that they will be ready to go.

Regardless of who qualifies from England’s pool and in what order, it will fascinating to see who they end up playing in the quarter-finals.

You cannot ever rule them out but I honestly think that South Africa will struggle to win their group given what they showed on Saturday and that both Scotland and Samoa can push them really close in Pool B.

In Pool C, Ireland looked solid and got the job done but will need to be a little bit more accurate.

France on the other hand looked very good in fits and starts but will need to find a little bit more consistency for 80 minutes.

The very fact that three of the four pools are no easier to predict after the first round of fixtures says all you need to know about the quality of entertainment that we have seen so far and how much more we still have in store.

READ: The remarkable evolution of the modern day rugby player

READ: Rugby World Cup: Greatest Pool Stage Moments

READ: Mike Tindall in Man v Machine: Round One

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