Let both joy and hyberbole be unrestrained. Jack Nowell put in a try-saving tackle of such majesty that it will go down in the history books as one of the best in an England shirt against Ireland on Saturday afternoon.
Forget about a petty knighthood, Nowell should have a national holiday; street parties should be had in his honour.
Watch his wonderful tackle again:
As Robbie Henshaw was charging towards the line it looked inevitable he would score, and under the England teams of Stuart Lancaster, Martin Johnson, Brian Ashton and even Andy Robinson he probably would have done. But Jack Nowell knew he had to put every ounce of energy into it and try to stop Ireland getting back into the game.
This is why Eddie Jones has been focusing on fitness in training and arguably the work England have done over the past few weeks was best encapsulated in this moment.
It’s been a while since this writer saw an England try-saving tackle like this, but the most vivid in memory is Josh Lewsey’s against South Africa back in 2006. Lewsey was one of the last remnants of England’s World Cup-winning squad and his quality shone through here.
That quality, that determination, that drive has been missing from the newer generations of England players, but Nowell is part of a fresh breed of player, just like George Ford, Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford, Billy Vunipola and more, who can take England up to another level.
When this writer wrote about Lancaster taking England as far as he could, but couldn’t get the team to go up that extra notch, it is moments like this tackle from Nowell that are part of that next step. International rugby – much more so than domestic competition – is all about tiny margins, as Brian O’Driscoll tweeted yesterday:
Played with a lot of ambition yesterday just didn’t take our chances. Small margins in those games. Dillane great impact.
— Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) February 28, 2016
England now have plenty to work on over the next fortnight, including their awful discipline, that could have cost them the game. What was so embarrassing was that it was England’s older heads that were causing so many of these issues.
The likes of James Haskell and Danny Care should be the elders of the side who set an example for the rest of the squad, but they continued to give away silly penalties and yellow cards that could and should have been avoided. If that is not changed quickly then they will soon find themselves out of Jones’ thoughts.
However, thanks to Nowell’s moment of magic England went on to win the game and keep their grand slam hopes alive. Now we can all look forward to him doing it all again against Wales’ colossuses in George North and Alex Cuthbert. Best of luck, Jack!
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
Read More About: Alex Cuthbert, andy robinson, billy vunipola, brian ashton, brian o'driscoll, clive woodward, danny care, eddie jones, england international rugby, england rugby, england rugby news, english rugby, george ford, george north, jack clifford, Jack Nowell, jack nowell tackle, James Haskell, Maro Itoje, Martin Johnson, Six Nations 2016, Six Nations news, stuart lancaster