World number 8's

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Post by Bluedragon on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 12:27 am

Just reflecting on how many of the major international teams have world class settled players at no 8 :
NZ - Read
SA - Vermeulen
Wales - Faletau
Italy - Parisse
France - Picamoles
Ire - Heaslip
Aus - Mowen ( recently capped )
Eng ? ( Morgan or Vunipola or Wood ? )
Scot - Beattie

6 of those I would regard as World class players, and the other 3 are pretty outstanding, yet not sure the same is true of no 6's or opensides. Picamoles and Parisse have at times been one man teams, and read, Vermeulun and faletau still leave me astonished at times. Wonder why ? Does the no 8 position attract the best forwards ?

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Post by Bluedragon on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 12:28 am

meant to post in International. Can someone swap it over. sorry.

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Post by doctor_grey on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 12:42 am

Couldn't put Morgan as the England NUmber 8 at the moment.  Not sure why he hasn't continued the form he showed a year ago.  But that is a shame.  He really seemed to be on the verge of being a terrific player.  Wouldn't put Wood their either.  He is a terrific Flank Forward, but not really an 8.  I suppose the position is Vunipola's to lose at the moment?

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Post by quinsforever on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 1:09 am

having watched sarries toulouse, i think the 22yr old Galan of france is definitely worth a mention. he is keeping picamoles out of the toulouse side...

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Post by George Carlin on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 5:38 am

It is still an iconic position, to be sure.
 
Some of those countries have enormous strengh in depth - NZ have Read (whom I think is the best player in the world at the moment), Kaino, Vito and Manu. The Boks can take their pick from Spies, Vermuelen, Kankowski, Botes and van der Walt.  
 
I actually think that there's most uncertainty around England at the moment. Vunipola is the most fashionable choice at the moment but Wood has been very good. The likes of Dickinson and Ewers bode well for the future but it's not clear where Lancaster will go in terms of backrow balance this autumn.
 
For Scotland, it's fairly settled now - Beattie is only now coming back from a torn pectoral muscle but with his soft hands and brute carrying, he's probably most Scotland fans' first choice. Denton will own the shirt until JB Jnr comes back (and until Glasgow's Josh Strauss becomes SQ).
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Post by Poorfour on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 6:58 am

Wood shouldn't play 8. It unbalances the back row, and he lacks the carrying strength against top class oppo. Short term, Vunipola has similar power to Morgan but the potential to do more in the tight (sounds a bit like Dallaglio...)

Long term, Clifford looks to have real potential. Seems to have the power and skills, but also pace and a step worthy of a top class back. If he can keep that while gaining a little more bulk and experience, he could be a future world class player.

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Post by Guest on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 7:24 am

It's such a 'showcase' position that it's easy to standout. Think about some of the plays that an 8 does - picking up at the base of the scrum and running at backs (if the opposition back row stays bound)! That's bound to get you a bit of recognition!

No 6s are always described as doing the unseen dirty work, and I'll be honest I often struggle to recognise what they've done in a game. Maybe a bit less visible and therefore don't get the same recognition of the more 'exposed' 8s?

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Post by VinceWLB on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 8:54 am

Griff wrote:It's such a 'showcase' position that it's easy to standout. Think about some of the plays that an 8 does - picking up at the base of the scrum and running at backs (if the opposition back row stays bound)! That's bound to get you a bit of recognition!

No 6s are always described as doing the unseen dirty work, and I'll be honest I often struggle to recognise what they've done in a game. Maybe a bit less visible and therefore don't get the same recognition of the more 'exposed' 8s?
Very good post, this is the reason for exemple Parisse can shine behind all the dirty work of Zanni (who is imo one of the best flanker in the world).

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Post by rodders on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 9:16 am

8 is a position that involves a lot of ball carrying therefore no8s tend to be big, athletic and good footballers. 8's tend to be good lineout players too as most teams have 3-4 lineout options and the 7 tends not to be too tall because needs to be effective on the deck.

Parisse was the gold standard of current 8s for me but Reid is now a different class....probably the best player in the world.
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Post by munkian on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 9:32 am

Faletau will continue to grow as a player, absolute star of a player
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 9:39 am

Why have you picked wood at 8? Erm 

He's a top class 6 or 7, and should never have played at 8 for England.

Who knows who Englands 8 is at the moment. Morgan looks totally unfit, and whilst Vunipola is a work in progress. However Jaques Burger, Vunipolas amazing namibian flank colleague has said he couldnt believe Billy's workrate etc...so maybe if he can keep that up and his carrying / tackling, then he maybe the new England 8 for a while.

But certainly if we can get both firing we will have two seriosuly good 8's.

Read the best of the moment.

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Post by whocares on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 9:52 am

rodders wrote:8 is a position that involves a lot of ball carrying therefore no8s tend to be big, athletic and good footballers. 8's tend to be good lineout players too as most teams have 3-4 lineout options and the 7 tends not to be too tall because needs to be effective on the deck.

Parisse was the gold standard of current 8s for me but Reid is now a different class....probably the best player in the world.
8s need also to be decent under high ball. regarding line out am not sure, a big lump like picamoles is useless there so we require one of the flankers (nyanga or ouedraogo for example) to be a good jumper. Parisse is more atheltic but doesnt have the sheer stenght of picamoles, Read is a bit of both with better skills ball in hand and he's clearly the best out there.

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Post by bedfordwelsh on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 10:18 am

Was reading an article with Faletau and was good to hear him say he's not the finished article and one of the areas he has identified as an area he needs to improve on is being used more as a line out option.
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Post by Guest on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 11:00 am

I think Robin Copeland is better than Heaslip, seriously overlooked by Ireland, would love him in the Welsh squad.

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Post by munkian on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 11:30 am

He was pretty non comittal to playing for either on his Scrum V interview.

Would love him in the Welsh squad too, need another 8
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Post by Cyril on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 11:48 am

Does anyone see Haskell as a potential 8 for England or should he only be considered on the flank? He was England's form player a couple of years ago.

I really, really, really want Morgan to regain his form. I'd probably still pick him as he's performed well for England and was excellent against (an admittedly weak) Argentina in the summer. I know it's a bit of a risk hoping he clicks against the Aussies but I think he's worth it. It's not so long ago that he was seen as a player we really missed! Great hands, an intelligent player and very powerful. Still fitness issues? It can't help playing behind the Glaws tight five at the moment.

Vunipola may well overtake him soon. He's still a bit raw but an excellent impact option.

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Post by GunsGerms on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 12:51 pm

IronMike wrote:I think Robin Copeland is better than Heaslip, seriously overlooked by Ireland, would love him in the Welsh squad.
I think you are getting a little carried away. Maybe SOB might be a better 8 but Copeland hasnt played 8 for that long having previously been a lock. Also at 26 he only has a year of top flight rugby under his belt. He is also a Leinster reject. The jury is out.

He has a long way to go to be considered as good as Heaslip.

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Post by Jhamer25 on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 2:44 pm

to me the the best 8 in world rugby is Louis Picomoles and i know people will disagree with me but he matches the type of player and game i like to watch.
Then Kieran Read (just Magical) and Ben Morgan (when on form and a great prospect)
Then you have Falatue, Vermeulan and Parisse who can lead a team forward and produce some magical moments.
I guess it all bases around what type of game you like to watch and play. You can have the more open players like Read and Falaetua who will work themselves into the ground or players like Ben Morgan and Picomoles who have a clear role, stick to it, create line breaks and then finish with some beautiful offloads.

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Post by Bluedragon on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 5:48 pm

Griff wrote:It's such a 'showcase' position that it's easy to standout. Think about some of the plays that an 8 does - picking up at the base of the scrum and running at backs (if the opposition back row stays bound)! That's bound to get you a bit of recognition!

No 6s are always described as doing the unseen dirty work, and I'll be honest I often struggle to recognise what they've done in a game. Maybe a bit less visible and therefore don't get the same recognition of the more 'exposed' 8s?
Great post griff. So is a number 8 someone who was too big to play at no 10 ?

And its interesting only England and Australia - teams maybe in a rebuilding phase ? don't have settled and established no 8's.

And I am not suggesting Wood as Englands no 8 - but lancaster has played him there and has suggested he may again. I guess it depends if Billy V and ben M can keep off the pies !

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Post by aucklandlaurie on Wed 30 Oct 2013, 7:47 pm


This week Richie McCaw starts at Number 8.

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Post by Comfort on Thu 31 Oct 2013, 11:00 am

Maybe a good question would be are the 3 backrow roles becoming less defined? Depending on the coaching strategy and pack balance?

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Post by Poorfour on Thu 31 Oct 2013, 12:24 pm

Comfort wrote:Maybe a good question would be are the 3 backrow roles becoming less defined? Depending on the coaching strategy and pack balance?
It seems to go in cycles. England won the RWC with two converted 7s and one "proper" 7 in the back row. South Africa won it with right and left flankers rather than specialist open and blindsides. Then NZ won it with a largely specialist back row (albeit that their 7 was a bit lacking in conventional speed that day owing to his broken foot).

Now everyone wants specialists in every position.

Personally, I still think it's about balance. If a team finds a great balance and starts winning with it, others will try to copy them. Unless it's England, in which case people will claim that at least one of the players is five-and-three-quarters, their opponents were ill and it should be replaced by Croft, Vunipola and Fearns.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 31 Oct 2013, 1:11 pm

yep - the most balanced no.8 we have had in the last few years has been Nick Easter. I don't think Morgan is balanced at all (or BV for that matter - although his game is still developing). However the good things that Morgan offers are really really useful

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Post by nganboy on Thu 31 Oct 2013, 11:34 pm

NZ won the last world cup with a 7 who starts at 8 this week, an 8 who started as a 6 and a 6 who will play 8 next year Very Happy  who needs a specialist?
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Post by Poorfour on Fri 01 Nov 2013, 3:07 am

nganboy wrote:NZ won the last world cup with a 7 who starts at 8 this week, an 8 who started as a 6 and a 6 who will play 8 next year Very Happy  who needs a specialist?
Warren Gatland and the English press, apparently.

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