The Sam Underhill tackle everyone is talking about
There is a lot you will be debating after England defeated Wales 12-6 in the 2018 Six Nations. No doubt heated discussions will rage on for a long time about that decision from the Television Match Official not to award Gareth Anscombe a try, despite it looking like he got downward pressure on the ball, in-goal, before Anthony Watson…
But forget about that because we also saw one of the great tackles in this match!
Related: England 12-6 Wales match report
At the hour mark, Anscombe returned the ball from Wales’ back-field, setting things in motion. After some tidy offloading and quick hands, George North found himself with a two-on-one within the tramlines, with Mike Brown in front and Scott Williams outside him. There were a few team-mates around the centre after he took the ball, but Williams backed himself, diving for the line some 7m from the try-line.
This is the truly special bit. Sam Underhill was racing across. The Bath flanker – who had previously played for the Ospreys – made contact with Williams just past the 5m-mark and with barely a yard to go had flipped the Welsh centre onto his back, with his feet in touch.
Underhill is well-known for his tackling, priding himself on posting big tackle-count numbers. But those are your traditional, attritional hits. This one was a testament to his never-say-die attitude. If he had not dived or if he was a second too slow, Williams was in for a try. Tight Test matches can hinge on such moments.
England face Scotland next up after a week without full Six Nations action. Has Underhill, who came on for No 8 Sam Simmonds at the start of the second half against Wales, done enough to start the next game? Only Eddie Jones knows for sure.