Updated: Mar 29
We don't typically like ragging on players who have more talent in their right shin than we do in our plucky, journalistic fingers. However, the negative nelly in all of us rears it's ugly head after a particularly hard-to-watch weekend of Rugby. Being a Wasps and England supporter at the start of February felt like an unkind blessing from the lord above. Now it's time to take my frustrations out on players who definitely don't deserve it... Enjoy!
5. Owen Farrell vs Scotland (06/02/2021)
The most recent inclusion on this list, Faz had a woeful day at the office on Saturday. Often regarded as one of the best inside centres cum fly half's in the world, Owen had a particularly poor 2020 leading into the first game of the 2021 Six Nations. Following a relegation, an Autumn Nations Cup that saw his tackle completion rate dip below 50% and kicking ratio dip below 60%, and two months out of Rugby due to COVID, it's fair to say he wasn't ready for the intensity shown in the Calcutta Cup clash. Aimless kicking, repeated, awful attempts at big hits, a complete lack of attacking structure and clear lapses in concentration led to a day to forget for the England skipper. His inside centre compatriot, Ollie Lawrence, touched the ball once in an hour of play; that sums up the lack of platform set up by Farrell. Yikes...
4. Will Genia vs England (02/11/2013)
Genia is one of the all-time test titans, and one of the best players during a torrid era for Australian Rugby. However, during the Autumn International tours of 2013, Genia put in an uncharacteristically poor performance against a dysfunctional England side. His handling, or lack there of it, led to multiple infringements that really hurt the Aussie attack. The erratic service from the deck he was giving, led to Quade Cooper getting smashed by England's back row over and over again. His opposite number Lee Dickson was made to look like a world class operator, sniping around the fringes and exploiting Genia's nerves. It's also fairly rare to see a high penalty count from a nine, but Genia attempted to break those records with silly offsides and unneeded interferences at the breakdown.
3. Ben Youngs vs South Africa (02/11/2019)
Exactly six years after Genia's meltdown, we saw one on a whole new level. Picture this, it's the World Cup final, England on an absolute tear throughout the knockout stages, taking the world number one to the sword, brutalising opponents left, right and centre, now favourites to lift the trophy against a South African side who had previously lost to the All Blacks and struggled in their encounter against a resilient, but injury stricken Welsh side. Then this happens... South Africa dominated England in every area of the game, bullying the English forwards and exploiting the heavy backline. However, Youngs had the worst day out of all of them. Sluggish service from the deck, loopy passes barely making their recipient, dropped balls at the base of breakdowns and a look of visible exhaustion by half time. De Klerk was all over him... What summarised Youngs' performance perfectly, was his little pokey throw over it's receiver straight into touch in the second half; nothing was going his way...
2. Ugo Monye vs Argentina (14/11/2009)
Maybe we just shouldn't play Rugby in November... Or at least England shouldn't play Rugby in November... Monye had a rare start at Full Back for this England side that narrowly defeated a very poor Argentinian outfit over a decade ago. It's rare for a reason! Monye made mistake after mistake in his attempts to claim the high ball and was largely out of position for 90% of the game. He made so many handling errors that it nearly cost England the win; it got to a point that the crowds were jeering against their own man. Monye was a supremely talented attacking winger and criminally underrated for his turn on the South African Lions tour of 2009, but he won't be remembered as a test-level Full Back that's for sure!
1. Mauro Bergamasco vs England (07/02/2009)
Was 2009 a really weird year for Rugby or something? Yeah, it must have been. This is an absolute Nicki Mallett special, putting one of Italy's best flankers in history at number 9 to add more bulk against Martin Johnson's new look England. History does not look kindly on this decision... Horror-show passing, sluggish service from the breakdown, fumbling balls at the set piece and just a look of fear across his face, this was career assassination from the South African coach. A spritely pairing of Harry Ellis and Andy Goode exploited this huge experience gap, and ran in three tries through that 9/10 channel. It's such a shame that younger readers will only remember this performance during what was an illustrious career for an all time great, but poor Mauro, poor poor Mauro.