England's Autumn selections

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Post by kingelderfield on Wed 14 Sep 2016, 9:30 pm

Saturday 12th November
England vs South Africa
Twickenham

Saturday 19th November
England vs Fiji
Twickenham

Saturday 26th November
England vs Argentina
Twickenham

Saturday 3rd December
England vs Australia
Twickenham

Obviously we're not playing New Zealand, but it's the other 3/4 of the Rugby Championship plus Fiji for good measure.

So given form and fitness who's going to make our starting 15 / 23?

No Haskell, but we will have Hughes. Neither Farrell, Tuilagi and Brown have played yet and injuries are certain to intervene for others to lose out or benefit as happens.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 8:56 am

3 hard games....and one game that will be physical but should be pretty straight forward.

If selected from right at this moment regardless of if they're in the EPS or not:
Players like the wasps back rowers are playing superb....and yet many of the wingers aren't flying...

1 Mako
2 Hartley
3 Cole
4 Robshaw
5 Kruis
6 Itoje
7 Robshaw
8 Billy V

9 Robson
10 Ford
11 Roko
12 Farrell
13 Joseph
14 ?? - Not sure who really?
15 ?? - Not sure who really?

16 Mullan
17 Taylor / LCD
18 Hill
19 ?
20 ?
21 Youngs
22 Slade
23 Daly

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:14 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
4 Robshaw
5 Kruis
6 Itoje
7 Robshaw


Robshaw twice? I assume you mean Launchbury at 4?



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Post by yappysnap on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:43 am

No he meant what he wrote.

There are often 2-10 Robshaws on the pitch at any time.


Looking at the rest of the team in pretty worried by the absence of Haskell, when will Farrelll be back?

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Post by propdavid_london on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:46 am

EJ has suggested picking his strongest available side for the Saffas - I would expect something like this
Mako, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Clifford, Billy.V, B.Youngs, Ford, Watson, Farrell, Joseph, Roko, Brown
Bench: Mullan, George, Hill, Lawes, Launchbury, Robson, Daly
(Think you definitely need the 5-2 split on bench for SA game)

For Fiji we could mix it up a bit more -
Mullan, George, Hill, Launchbury, Lawes, Clifford, Harrison, Hughes, Robson, Slade, Yarde, S.Hill, Daly, Watson, Goode
Bench: Genge, Taylor, Sinkler, Itoje, Care, M.Tuilagi, Ford.

Revert to a more structured selection for Argentina and Australia.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:46 am

It does offer Hughes a good opportunity to get his feet under the table though. I agree with GF, think Itoje will move to 6 and Robshaw to 7, though there is still the option of giving Clifford that role. Robson is the guy I'm expecting to really push for a starting place by the end of the set of games.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:47 am

I rate Mullan very highly but not sure Jones is going to ignore Marler should he be fit.

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Post by propdavid_london on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:51 am

Clifford hasn't stepped up yet - and Marler is recently injured (hasn't had long enough to show any form).
Mullan showed on tour that he can do very well. Genge needs to learn to wind his neck in a little bit too.

Do you think Hughes will get his chance against the Saffas?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:55 am

I'd have Itoje to 6, Robshaw 7 and Clifford bench, I have no clue what Jones will do. He's been quite conservative for the main so far so i think we can rule him out starting...maybe.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 10:06 am

LondonTiger wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
4 Robshaw
5 Kruis
6 Itoje
7 Robshaw


Robshaw twice? I assume you mean Launchbury at 4?



Sorry yes...Launchbury at 4. I just think he's quality.

And Itoje plays the role of a 6 anyway, whilst none of the other 6's are really playing great. Although can Itoje play the Haskell "insane tackler" role?
And I don't want to lose Kruis's as he's generally played well for England.

So im not sure! ha ha

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 10:08 am

A lot with the selections will depend on whether Jones does what he says (and he often contradicts himself) or does what he usually does.

After all he said that several GS winners were playing their way off the Summer tour, then selected them all - so can we trust what he says about club form over internatoinal pedigree?
He said Haskell and Robshaw were not 7s, then got the best performances in an England 7 shirt we have seen in agn age - from Haskell. So can we be sure Robshaw will not play 7?

If we look at his last 23 man squad:

Mako - Playing well
Hartley - Form a little so, so
Cole - Being eased back into the new season by Tigers, looking decent so far
Kruis - Played opening weekend, looked good.
Itoje - still unbeaten
Robshaw - a shining light of effort in the Quins dross
Harrison - was yanked off early. Not so far done enough to warrant a recall.
BillyV - in good form
Youngs - being eased back into the new season by Tigers. Looks a little rusty.
Ford - good form
Watson - not seen yet
Farrell - ditto
Joseph - decent form
Nowell - not seen yet
Brown - not seen yet

George - in good form
Mullan - so so form
Hill - second chice at Saints
Launchbury - good form
Lawes - decent form
Clifford - struggling
Care - struggling
Daly - decent form.


I suspect that the following, assuming fitness are nailed on:

Mako, Hartley, Cole, Kruis, Itoje, Robshaw, BillyV, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Joseph, Watson, Nowell from the starting XV and George, Launchbury, (Lawes too if the setup facilitates).

Thus if he goes with a 5/3 split on the bench there ar chances at lh prop (Marler v Mullan with Genge an outside bet) TH prop (Hill v Brookes) Back row (hughes maybe and someone to cover 7?) SH (Care v Robson v Simpson) FB (Brown v Goode?) and two outside backs for bench (Daly and Yarde/Roku?)


so, almost there, the squad could be:

Mako, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Kruis, Itoje, Robshaw, BillyV, Youngs, Ford, Watson, Farrell, Joseph, Nowell, Brown (Jones does not trust Goode it seems)
George, Marler, Hill, Lawes, Hughes/Harrison, Robson/Care, Daly, Yarde (Roku for me but Eddie knows what he likes)

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Post by beshocked on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 10:15 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
4 Robshaw
5 Kruis
6 Itoje
7 Robshaw


Robshaw twice? I assume you mean Launchbury at 4?



Sorry yes...Launchbury at 4. I just think he's quality.

And Itoje plays the role of a 6 anyway, whilst none of the other 6's are really playing great. Although can Itoje play the Haskell "insane tackler" role?
And I don't want to lose Kruis's as he's generally played well for England.

So im not sure! ha ha

Geordiefalcon Itoje made 26 tackles vs Exeter so maybe he can.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 10:43 am

I wasn't questioning the amount of tackles he gets through I was talking more about the physicality that Haskell has brought. Itoje is physical but not many can play the way Jones has managed to get from Haskell.

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 10:57 am

If any can it's probably Itoje, I'd certainly back him to make that impact over Robshaw.

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Post by beshocked on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:00 am

Geordiefalcon of course it wouldn't be a like for like but ultimately it depends whether Launchbury can contribute as much as Haskell, just in a different way if let's say Jones wants to put in Launchbury and shift Itoje.

Haskell isn't a traditional openside anyway. Itoje is not your average lock. Physically I don't think there's really that much difference. Itoje is a very powerful player but it depends what role, Jones wants Itoje to play.

Itoje makes more turnovers than Haskell too.

Again it's also about the backrow balance - would Itoje,Robshaw,Vunipola work?

Let's not underestimate how well Kruis and Itoje have worked together -when watching highlights of the two in the 6 nations it was impressive how many times they attacked the opposition as a duo - one would tackle and the other would attack the ball.

Also a lot will hinge on how well Launchbury can gel with the likes of Kruis and Itoje if they are picked in the same pack.

Robshaw is a good team player so I wouldn't worry too much about him.


Hill,Back,Dallaglio was such a successful backrow combo because they worked so well together.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:14 am

Sure Dayglo, Back & Hill gelled well - but their ability as a back row was helped by:

1) Two of them being world class players
2) A strong Tight 5 in front of them.

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Post by beshocked on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:25 am

Londontiger who would you say of those 3 wasn't world class? I would say all were.

I'd agree with that but then again you would hope England can put a strong front five in the AIs.

England of 2016 are not yet as strong as the England of 2002-3 but getting there.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:29 am

I do not view Neil Back as world class. Very good, but a shade below what I deem necessary for world class - though it is extremely subjective.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:34 am

The problem we have is that none of the back rowers at the moment are really impressing at all. Clifford and Harrison certainly aren't and even the much hyped Hughes isn't firing.

That can all change quite quickly of course...but as it stands whilst I actually don't like playing players out of position I think a 4/5/6 of Kruis / Itoje / Launchbury in one order or another is the selection.

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Post by offload on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:40 am

Given his performances to date this is going to sound a bit silly, but I think Itoje is wasted at lock. England has some excellent talent at second row and I think Itoje could be outstanding at 6 and long term world class.
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Post by beshocked on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:47 am

Londontiger fair point, he might not have been as good as Dallaglio and Hill IMO too but Back was still an integral cog of a very powerful England pack. Again it comes down to what "world class" means. Is it best in the world? Top 3? Top 5 in your position?

It's very subjective agreed.

Geordiefalcon realistically Hughes would struggle to push out Billy even if he was in form unless Billy is injured. Doesn't help.

We as fans have focused a lot on getting the perfect openside but realistically what we really need is a balanced backrow and pack.

Haskell isn't a traditional openside but he worked well in Jones' pack.

If we play Itoje at 6, we can also put Lawes on the bench if all stay fit. Basically utilising our depth at lock.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:52 am

I would love to see

4. Launchbury
5. Kruis
6. Itoje
7. Robshaw
8. Vunipola

19. Lawes/Hughes 20. Clifford

Think that gets our 5 best back 5 forwards on the field to start and 2 of the best we have in reserve for impact

Has Hughes ever covered 2nd row if we end up with 2 of Launch/Kruis/Itoje injured?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 11:54 am

When he came over to England he was a 2nd rower.

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Post by cb on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 12:21 pm

In the 3rd test against Australia without Haskell, England were losing out a bit physically. Itoje to the backrow helped this a lot.  How much more so then against the Boks?  Hate to see a lightweight pack against RSA.

BamBams's back five look a good shout to me.  If Hughes was really firing then Itoje back to lock and Hughes at blindside would be interesting.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 1:16 pm

beshocked wrote:

Geordiefalcon realistically Hughes would struggle to push out Billy even if he was in form unless Billy is injured. Doesn't help.

We as fans have focused a lot on getting the perfect openside but realistically what we really need is a balanced backrow and pack.

Haskell isn't a traditional openside but he worked well in Jones' pack.

.

This is the point im tryin to make.

We all looked in shock when he was announced at 7...but he never remotely played a 7 role. His physicality was used to the max - basically to just smash anything and everything as hard as he could for 80 mins with out even thinking. .

If Jones stays with the same structure for the moment then we need someone (not saying it has to be 6 or 7) to replace that. Can Itoje do it...if he can fair enough. Do we want him to play that specified role when he can do some much more.
Could Launchbury do it?

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Post by propdavid_london on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 1:28 pm

When we talk of 2nd row to back row I cant help but think of that England v France game where Lawes started on the flank!
Now I know that Itoje is a different player and has excellent skill set and physicality.
I know he is perhaps a bit small for a Lock, and the partnership with Kruis isn't the biggest pairing but it is effective - and proven.
I would be much more comfortable having Itoje as back row cover than starting there.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 1:41 pm

I think Itoje and Lawes are chalk and cheese as players. In my opinon Lawes is dropping down the list and I just cant see him catching up. He doesn't have the physical strength and physicality that the likes of Launchbury, Itoje etc do.

Even the U20's coming through are showing that real physicality...ie Witty up here at us...big strong lad.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 4:39 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:I think Itoje and Lawes are chalk and cheese as players. In my opinon Lawes is dropping down the list and I just cant see him catching up. He doesn't have the physical strength and physicality that the likes of Launchbury, Itoje etc do.

Even the U20's coming through are showing that real physicality...ie Witty up here at us...big strong lad.

Not arguing too much but Lawes was more than handy in Oz. He is most likely sliding down the list but he is a proven international lock and it is more to do with the quality of the alternatives.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 4:56 pm

propdavid_london wrote:EJ has suggested picking his strongest available side for the Saffas
He has said that. However, it's hard to see him starting a brand new player, when his preference has been for continuity.

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Post by Poorfour on Thu 15 Sep 2016, 9:17 pm

Remarkable to see such a high degree of consistency so early in the debate. I guess it shows how far England have moved on.

The big open question is 7. Absent Haskell and Underhill, and assuming Eddie doesn't have a change of heart over Kvesic, the candidates are probably Harrison, Robshaw, Clifford and Hughes. Wallace or Fraser might have an outside chance.

Clifford looks all at sea at the moment. I'm disappointed that he hasn't yet started to show the consistency needed to unlock his talent. Eddie seems to see him as a closer anyway. Robshaw would only be a stop gap, for all that he did pretty well in Oz when asked to cover the openside; I don't think Eddie would play both Itoje and Robshaw out of position, especially not against SA, though. Hughes could be given Haskell's mission of just hitting stuff really hard, or we could see Hughes and Robshaw playing left and right.

I think Eddie might persist with Harrison, given he didn't drop him from the EPS. He had a baptism of fire but at least he now knows what's expected. My guess would be that he'll be looked at in training and if he steps up he'll get another shot.

The other positions... well, if fit, we know who starts. Eddie has shown that he will persist with Brown even when his form isn't great, and we should see this week whether marriage has restored his mojo. If not, I think Haley might leapfrog Goode if he's recovered from his tour injury. Marler will probably edge ahead of Mullan but may not start.

That said, if there is an injury, that's when Eddie has tended to give new players a chance.
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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 9:04 am

Not sure Fraser and Wallace are in Eddie's thoughts. Fraser needs to be playing, but ousting Schalk Burger will be tricky. Wallace is playing but was not selected for the Saxons tour. Sam Jones, who along with Kvesic did go, is playing well atm (though wearing 6) and may have an outside chance.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 9:29 am

Poorfour wrote: Hughes could be given Haskell's mission of just hitting stuff really hard

That's what I had thought previously. Hes massive and could very well hit that role. He should find his form again.

Hopefully Clifford and Harrison etc will find some form again and give some options.

I cant think of many other young flankers coming through with Haskell's stature and physical strength etc.

EDIt: Ps isn't it odd that for years we wanted to see the best of Haskell yet only saw brief glimpses, and yet its taken Eddie to come in and give him a very basic role...and he's become a key member of a side that's just beat Australia 3-0 in Australia!!! Shocked

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 10:32 am

What's happened to Brookes? Is he still out injured?

This would be my proposed England 23 for the AIs (obviously allowing for rotation against Fiji):

1.Mako 2.Hartley 3.Cole 4.Launchbury 5.Kruis 6.Itoje 7.Robshaw 8.Vunipola 9.Youngs 10.Ford 11.Yarde 12.Farrell 13.Joseph 14.Wade 15.Watson

16.Hill 17.George 18.Marler 19.Lawes 20.Hughes 21.Robson 22.Tuilagi 23.Nowell

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Post by beshocked on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 10:33 am

Geordiefalcon poses an interesting question though - does Jones look for a direct replacement for Haskell or does he change the dynamic of the pack entirely.

Funnily enough Robshaw,Haskell,Vunipola was a backrow combo used by Lancaster so it was hardly groundbreaking innovation by Jones and co.

It does seem that England are moving towards more power in the forwards as the way forward, rightly or wrongly.

No room for Ksevic,Fraser and Wallace. Wood out.

T.Youngs moving down the pecking order, Parling out.

George and LCD the back up hookers to Hartley.

Pack would be even bigger if you put Hughes in at 7....

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 10:41 am

Brookes has started both Saints games so far - with Hill on the bench

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:10 am

beshocked wrote:
Funnily enough Robshaw,Haskell,Vunipola was a backrow combo used by Lancaster so it was hardly groundbreaking innovation by Jones and co.

Exactly..and yet he used them in a very different way. Especially Haskell whos role has been very clear and basic..an out an out disruptor and power man.

It also helps having the likes Of Itoje coming through, Kruis and Launchbury becoming very good international locks...etc etc.

I also think Gustard (and his physical pack mentality) has been a big part in this...maybe im doing Borthwick a disservice as I don't now how influential a pack coach he is.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:11 am

The main difference with Haskell under Jones so far is he hasn't had the game where he makes a stupid error and get a yellow. It'll come.

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Post by propdavid_london on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:16 am

Manu still struggling with injury is seems - http://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12552/10578001/manu-tuilagi-to-miss-newcastle-clash-due-to-groin-injury

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:24 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:The main difference with Haskell under Jones so far is he hasn't had the game where he makes a stupid error and get a yellow. It'll come.

Maybe that's true...or maybe he's just simplified the role so that the risks of that are greatly reduced.

Its been 8 games so far...

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:26 am

Still fluke for me! Personally I haven't seen that much difference in what he's doing either, bar wearing 7 and managing to avoid goal posts.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:26 am

ie, he's always been capable of these performances and has given them for England.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:31 am

Yes in one off performances but he's done it for 8 straight games now...6n and 3 in Australia.

Surely that deserves some praise.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:31 am

Thinking about it maybe it's Gustards influence. We have generally defended for long periods but looking more in control. Maybe he's feeling he doesn't have to push as much himself as the trust is there throughout the pack and the team?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:32 am

Praise yes. Trust that it'll continue, still not there for me!

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Post by Poorfour on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:34 am

I'm with GF. Eddie's asked the Hask to do one thing and do it well, and kept it simple enough not to trip any of the RCDs in his brain. On average you used to have no more than one good game in two from the Hask, so there's only about a 0.7% chance that he could fluke 7 good games on the trot (remember he missed the last test in Oz).

Meanwhile, I'd not be surprised to find that his instruction to Robshaw has been similarly simple but not so straightforward to execute ("Ah mate, just do all the other stuff, right?"). Play to their strengths.

I'd forgotten about Jones, but he's a possible. Could also imagine a Vunipola/Robshaw/Beaumont option but maybe not this autumn.
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Post by Barney McGrew did it on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:35 am

It could be ironic that a year on (come the 6N) England could have significantly improved whilst still have not obviously addressed 2 of the 3 issues everyone (including Eddie) said we had – set-piece (mostly sorted), BR balance, and a top class 12. Haskell has become a beast and made us forget about the BR issue, but with his injury it’s become debatable again – though when he’s fit he’ll probably (and rightly) come back in and we’ll forget about it again. With Farrell playing well and allowing Ford as a 10 with only moderate goal-kicking stats, the 12 issue has also gone away. Can’t help but think that if EJ wants us competing with NZ we have to look at these areas again.
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:59 am

If England can score tries and become clinical with Farrell and Ford in the midfield then its not an issue to me.

Australia are renowned as having an amazing set of backs and none of them seem to have a set position bar the number on their back especially in the midfield.

Farrell and Ford offer different abilities and skills and balance well. The problem with Farrell was that he didn't seem to play well at 12...now however he seems to have taken to it.

There are others coming through like Prince harry etc if they make the grade and offer a different BETTER alternative. But its not an issue at the moment.


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Post by lostinwales on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 12:29 pm

Barney McGrew did it wrote:It could be ironic that a year on (come the 6N) England could have significantly improved whilst still have not obviously addressed 2 of the 3 issues everyone (including Eddie) said we had – set-piece (mostly sorted), BR balance, and a top class 12. Haskell has become a beast and made us forget about the BR issue, but with his injury it’s become debatable again – though when he’s fit he’ll probably (and rightly) come back in and we’ll forget about it again. With Farrell playing well and allowing Ford as a 10 with only moderate goal-kicking stats, the 12 issue has also gone away. Can’t help but think that if EJ wants us competing with NZ we have to look at these areas again.

I think Haskell always was a beast - just didn't have the consistency to back up the big performances. EJ to his great credit seems to have sorted Haskell's head so that he has kept playing at 'beast' level.

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Post by beshocked on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 2:39 pm

Geordiefalcon could be coincidental but with Borthwick helping out the Japanese and English set pieces both have been solid in general. It helps that Borthwick has a lot of experience working with Kruis and Itoje.

Gustard does like his defensive enforcers - at Saracens the notable one was Jacques Burger so wouldn't surprise me if Gustard was the biggest influence on Haskell.

Barney Mcgrew it totally agree but the potential players who could fill these roles - Clifford,Slade and Mallinder are struggling for form and game time.

There are other question marks like

Who plays no 8 if Billy is injured?

if Hartley is injured have the back up hookers had enough game time?


Hartley as captain has been made virtually untouchable by E.Jones and it hampers the development of our other hookers. Sure it's fine as long as Hartley is in form/fit but that's not guaranteed.


England were partly exposed in the RWC because no Hartley and B.Vunipola got injured at a crucial moment.

Best to fix the roof when the sun is shining.

The England of 2002-2003 was the best in the world, not just due to the first XV, there was real strength in depth.

This England side need to get to the position where an injury does not rock the boat. Ironically Manu being injured so much has helped England find alternatives.

Robshaw being fully fit has prevented England looking at too many 7 options, Hartley was almost unchallenged as 1st choice hooker for Lancaster and nothing has changed.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 6:03 pm

I think you do have a good point about depth Beshocked, but I think the initial project of Jones was to buold a strong and potentially successful 1st team.

I would say that has been ticked now.

He needs to continue the success, but also begin to ensure that players can be replaced with relative little disturbance to the team.

Players like LCD, Taylor at hooker for example.

But don't forget, he is already working with younger players. He's working with the likes of Clifford, Harrison, Hill, etc etc...who are hopefully the future. And most of the squad is fairly young anyway

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