Lions 2017 - Name your team, captain and whatever else you want to harp on about

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Post by GunsGermsV2 on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 12:19 pm

First topic message reminder :

My wishlist:

I hope AWJ is named captain to keep the Irish and English lads in check.
I hope Robshaw gets picked, he deserves to tour at least once at this point.
I hope the refereeing is strictly on a level playing field.
I hope NZ are made accountable for any incidents where they break anyone's collarbone and put them out of the game for 13 months.
The Lions to be at the very least competitive and win one of the first two tests.
I'd like to see Tadhg Furlong get a run out.
Would like to see an uncapped player in the squad.
No charity caps, Tom court, Shane Williams etc.
I hope Gatland comes up with a much more interesting and variable game plan than on the last Lions tour.
Dylan Hartley calls a ref the C word on the last day of the six nations and misses the tour.

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Post by TJ on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:09 am

Yes I am talking about last weekends game about Farrell - and you really need to watch the full game against Racing to see how good he was in those games.

I have consistently said Russell is not the man the lions need. Farrell for all his weakness would be better for the lions but Sexton and Biggar better again

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Post by George Carlin on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:10 am

Not directed at any individuals in particular but it's absolutely crystal clear that a number of people here are commenting on players they have never seen play in a full game more than 4 times. I understand that's the nature of this because you can only watch so much rugby (and I watch far too much) but it really makes me hope to hell that the Lions selectors are more comprehensive in their approach.

It must be incredibly galling for players to be subject to the whims of coaches and selectors if it is clear that they also come tottering under the weight of their own individual agendas and see only what they wish to.
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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:12 am

I'd like Russell to steer Scotland to some big wins, that would help. Should have beaten Australia in the AIs but Hogg and Russell didn't give Scotland the control they needed in the 2nd half.

My opinion of Russell is he's an exciting 10 but still a work in progress.

Whether you like Farrell or not, he's been influential in plenty of big wins in his career. Highlights include beating the ABs (outplaying DC), contributing to an series away win vs the Aussies, winning a GS, winning the European Champions Cup and winning the AP 3 times (in the first one he had a 100% kicking record which in the end was crucial).

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Post by Guest on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:16 am

George Carlin wrote:Not directed at any individuals in particular but it's absolutely crystal clear that a number of people here are commenting on players they have never seen play in a full game more than 4 times. I understand that's the nature of this because you can only watch so much rugby (and I watch far too much) but it really makes me hope to hell that the Lions selectors are more comprehensive in their approach.

It must be incredibly galling for players to be subject to the whims of coaches and selectors if it is clear that they also come tottering under the weight of their own individual agendas and see only what they wish to.


I find this is directly related to nationality though. For all of those pushing the case for Russell, for example, it tends to be those same people playing down the merits of players like Farrell. And vice versa for those pushing Farrell over Russell, etc. So it probably comes down to who you watch more! Familiarity with their skill set and memories of the good things they've done.

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:18 am

TJ wrote:Yes I am talking about last weekends game about Farrell - and you really need to watch the full game against Racing to see how good he was in those games.

I have consistently said Russell is not the man the lions need.  Farrell for all his weakness would be better for the lions but Sexton and Biggar better again

I'll admit I haven't watched the full game but the highlights show me that he made lots of mistakes. I've watched finn russell in probably 10 full games over the last couple of years and I'm still waiting to see a top class player.

Re this weekends Game and Farrell, you don't need to watch the full game to undermine your post, just the clips of the tries will do it. The things you say he didn't do, he did.

This reminds me of a George Gregan quote when England were visiting the SH in 2002. He said anyone who thinks England play 9 man rugby hasn't been watching. I'm sure you can work out the parallel.

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Post by TJ on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:21 am

I watched the full game and that is what I saw.   Farrell did nothing spectacular at all - not one chip, runaround, dummy, disguised pass.  Nothing to create space.

Russell at his best like against Racing is sublime. At his worst he is a numpty. Farrell is far more consistent but not capable of the sublime bits but then neither does he make the same number of mistakes


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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:35 am

Griff wrote:
George Carlin wrote:Not directed at any individuals in particular but it's absolutely crystal clear that a number of people here are commenting on players they have never seen play in a full game more than 4 times. I understand that's the nature of this because you can only watch so much rugby (and I watch far too much) but it really makes me hope to hell that the Lions selectors are more comprehensive in their approach.

It must be incredibly galling for players to be subject to the whims of coaches and selectors if it is clear that they also come tottering under the weight of their own individual agendas and see only what they wish to.


I find this is directly related to nationality though.  For all of those pushing the case for Russell, for example, it tends to be those same people playing down the merits of players like Farrell.  And vice versa for those pushing Farrell over Russell, etc.  So it probably comes down to who you watch more!  Familiarity with their skill set and memories of the good things they've done.  

Russell has his merits. I watched Glasgow vs Racing Metro - Russell deserved to be MOTM. He's an exciting player but it's not enough.

It's funny because I don't see the Lions 10 shirt as Russell vs Farrell.

I see it as Sexton vs Ford.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:42 am

So bar the tries Farrell created to drag Saracens back into it he did nothing.

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Post by munkian on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:44 am

TJ wrote:I watched the full game and that is what I saw.   Farrell did nothing spectacular at all - not one chip, runaround, dummy, disguised pass.  Nothing to create space.

Russell at his best like against Racing is sublime.  At his worst he is a numpty.  Farrell is far more consistent but not capable of the sublime bits but then neither does he make the same number of mistakes


Didn't Farrell sell a dummy to create the try to draw the game after 80 mins ?
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Post by TJ on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:45 am

To say it again - I am not advocating Russell for the lions. His inconsistencies are too great, he needs familiar players around him, he needs better game management and consistency.

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Post by TJ on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:46 am

munkian wrote:
TJ wrote:I watched the full game and that is what I saw.   Farrell did nothing spectacular at all - not one chip, runaround, dummy, disguised pass.  Nothing to create space.

Russell at his best like against Racing is sublime.  At his worst he is a numpty.  Farrell is far more consistent but not capable of the sublime bits but then neither does he make the same number of mistakes


Didn't Farrell sell a dummy to create the try to  draw the game after 80 mins ?

Don't think so. Took a loose ball, made a nice inside pass to a man in space.

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Post by munkian on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:47 am

TJ wrote:
munkian wrote:
TJ wrote:I watched the full game and that is what I saw.   Farrell did nothing spectacular at all - not one chip, runaround, dummy, disguised pass.  Nothing to create space.

Russell at his best like against Racing is sublime.  At his worst he is a numpty.  Farrell is far more consistent but not capable of the sublime bits but then neither does he make the same number of mistakes


Didn't Farrell sell a dummy to create the try to  draw the game after 80 mins ?

Don't think so.  Took a loose ball, made a nice inside pass to a man in space.

Watch again. He made around three dummy passes that game including one for the last try.
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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:47 am

2 dummies in the space of a minute actually munkian. Although one was in the passage leading up to the try. Clearly some people see what they want to see. Or they lie when they say they have seen something.


nb, the 2 dummies was relating to your previous message, munkian.


Last edited by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:49 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:49 am

Anyway, to pick on one game or one particular skill is missing the point somewhat. I'll say again, if you think Farrell is more conservative than Biggar over the last 18 months, then I'm at a loss as to what you've been watching.

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:51 am

TJ wrote:
munkian wrote:
TJ wrote:I watched the full game and that is what I saw.   Farrell did nothing spectacular at all - not one chip, runaround, dummy, disguised pass.  Nothing to create space.

Russell at his best like against Racing is sublime.  At his worst he is a numpty.  Farrell is far more consistent but not capable of the sublime bits but then neither does he make the same number of mistakes


Didn't Farrell sell a dummy to create the try to  draw the game after 80 mins ?

Don't think so.  Took a loose ball, made a nice inside pass to a man in space.

Are you actually getting mixed up with the first ashton try he helped create? Where he put Losowski through a hole?

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Post by TJ on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 9:57 am

cascough wrote:Anyway, to pick on one game or one particular skill is missing the point somewhat. I'll say again, if you think Farrell is more conservative than Biggar over the last 18 months, then I'm at a loss as to what you've been watching.

I don't. I think Biggar is better at that sort of game. Biggars kicking from hand is the best I have ever seen.

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:02 am

But you ruled Farrell out because he was too conservative? You're arguing with yourself.

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:05 am

Can anyone else comment? In the countless times I've seen Biggar play I don't actually recall him having a strong tactical kicking game, because he doesn't seem to do it that much for Wales. Am I mistaken?

His up and unders are good (but I think thats more of a reflection of how hard he chases and how good he is in the air, rather than the kick itself). And his goal kicking is good. But In a Wales shirt I don't seem to remember him putting the ball in behind very much?

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:09 am

cascough I find myself agreeing with you quite a bit.

Important to pick the right 10 with the right 9. I'd pick Murray and Sexton, Youngs and Ford on the bench.

Gatland might well go for Webb and Biggar but I don't think that will worry NZ.


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:18 am

You really don't like the Farrells beshocked.

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Post by Cyril on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:25 am

I do wonder whether TJ watches these games properly or if his television is faulty.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:27 am

To be fair Farrell when he came into the England team is exactly as tj describes.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:28 am

Why do you say that? I think Farrell Jr has been very successful and his record speaks for itself. Plenty of silverware. Farrell Sr has had a successful career too, yes you are right perhaps I've been harsh about his coaching record.

Is it because I said they are overrated? Well they are. Doesn't make them bad. I've called the likes of Hogg and Heaslip overrated too.

Farrell Jr is still a very good player, the problem is 10 is competitive. If Farrell has aspirations to be Lions 10 he must overhaul Ford for England, Farrell's key advantage over Ford is goalkicking.

Farrell Jr's best relationship with a 9 has been with Care but Care is not really in the mix at the moment.

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Post by Scottrf on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:31 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:To be fair Farrell when he came into the England team is exactly as tj describes.
I think a bit of it is confirmation bias. You remember what you already thought to be the case.

It's why a lot of people's opinions of Saracens style of play seems to be 3 years out of date.

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:34 am

Scottrf wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:To be fair Farrell when he came into the England team is exactly as tj describes.
I think a bit of it is confirmation bias. You remember what you already thought to be the case.

It's why a lot of people's opinions of Saracens style of play seems to be 3 years out of date.

Excellent post.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:35 am

Agree Scott. Farrell has continued to grow and improve massively.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:37 am

Just seems like you downplay them a lot lately. Especially owen now saying he's not fit to captain due to personality happy to have Ford for Saracens rather than him. Just a change of tact to your normal.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:47 am

You can be a good player but not captain material.

My opinion of Ford has changed. I used to think he was too small. He's grown as a player though not literally.

Plus of course he's keeping Farrell out of the 10 jersey for England.

I guess the biggest issue would be Ford, not fitting the Saracens style compared to Farrell.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:49 am

You'll crack eventually and let us know what he said to you to make you so upset!

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:59 am

If you say so. Laugh

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 11:18 am

George Carlin wrote:Not directed at any individuals in particular but it's absolutely crystal clear that a number of people here are commenting on players they have never seen play in a full game more than 4 times. I understand that's the nature of this because you can only watch so much rugby (and I watch far too much) but it really makes me hope to hell that the Lions selectors are more comprehensive in their approach.

It must be incredibly galling for players to be subject to the whims of coaches and selectors if it is clear that they also come tottering under the weight of their own individual agendas and see only what they wish to.

Well on the last tour Gatland picked Hogg because he could apparently cover 10, making me think that the dossier on the Scotland fullback was still referring to Chris Paterson.....

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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 11:45 am

beshocked wrote:I would say the RWC 2015 was a failure for the NH as a whole.

Failure? Na, just England there I'd say.

Italy could be miffed at not turning over one of their two chances at beating a 6 Nations side in the group.

The other 6 Nations sides all made the Quarter Finals, which is the expectation for them, playing teams you would consider better or at near enough the same level. France would be disappointed by the margin against the All Blacks, but then they're a superb team. Ireland underperformed, but again, to lose to Argentina is hardly astonishing, their RWC record is very good and belies the systemic difficulties they have to overcome.

Georgia were excellent, Canada underwhelming but up against it, Romania did very well, USA perhaps underachieved, but they were in a group with Japan, who were so good they made their coach a lot wealthier in the aftermath.

Wales can be disappointed at their failure to grasp the Australia game having put themselves in a winning position. Ireland can be disappointed having failed to capitalise on winning their group, and therefore being in the 'easier' half of the draw. Scotland can be disappointed at their failure to deal with restarts. France can bemoan their historic success in RWCs against the All Blacks, which meant they were met with all the fury of hell.

But England's failure? Their's was as the host nation, and the wealthiest rugby country in the world, failing to get out of their group having been tactically played by Wales and Warren Gatland, and getting a pasting at the hands of Australia.

I wouldn't try to minimise that by conflating the NH together as one large entity of failure.

beshocked wrote:Now I am sorry this seems like I am bashing Wales. Wales under Gatland have been a very good side vs NH opposition. In the 2011 and 2015, most of Wales’ biggest wins were against NH sides. Only lost to France because of that red card.

The win vs England in the 2015 RWC was plucky, backs to the wall stuff but Wales stayed stagnant whilst England have moved on.

Unfortunately NZ are not a NH side, they are the best side in the world. This means the Lions need to move away from Gatland tactics he uses vs NH sides.
Being able to beat an England side coached by the mentally fragile Lancaster isn’t the same as defeating the best side in the world.

Gatland is not the man to beat the Lions. When a staunch Gatland fan is saying Gatland is playing to pluckily lose, you know there’s next to no chance.


If the Lions had any desire to beat NZ, they needed Schmidt or Jones in charge.

Wow. If Lancaster is mentally fragile, what does that make Eddie Jones!? You've got a treat coming in the next two seasons when the honeymoon period subsides.

I don't want to say you don't know what you're talking about, but, well...I'm not a staunch Gatland fan. Far from it. I'm just someone who recognises that he's not this one, unitary beast, who has "THE GATPLAN" like some sanctified manuscript he never deviates from. Gatland's tactics from 2008-2011, to 2012-2014, and from 2014-2016 were all quite different, and adapted to opposition, playing personnel, and importance of the game. There are certain principles, but then those are the things casual watchers, and you, fail to pick up on, which leads to "Warrenball". But Warrenball won a Lions series, three 6Ns titles, and got to the latter stages of two RWCs with a team that- although talented- you could hardly say would be expected to be doing much better than that such is the NH and SH competition in those tournaments. Wales's failures are in part Gatland, but also in part independent of him (consider Gatland's results against the SH when not solely Welsh players...). It's the ability to discern how much of each is present that often escapes people: everyone loves a scapegoat, and if it's not Alex Cuthbert or Rob Howley, the next best bet is Warren Gatland and his boring, boring rugby.

The frustration with Gatland is that he is so willing to sacrifice a game, even a series, for the long term goal: that was the case in the 2015 6N, where he set tactically set Wales up to offer nothing, but to see what England had. Wales didn't score a point in the second half, and lost the game, despite having been 10-0 up within a few minutes. He didn't want to lose the game, but he did no tactical work on the team (only fitness) before that tournament, so as not to give anything away when they played in the RWC. What happened in the RWC? England couldn't live with Wales's pick and go tactics (a difference from the one out pass from the 9 which was read so well a few months previously), and England crumbled at the resulting breakdowns. In true Gatland fashion, Wales beat England in the latter stages of the game, minimising their set piece weakness (scrums are vital for Gatland, it was 30-3 when Wales had a dominant one, 25-28 when they had a weak one) and getting over the line by the boot and the breakdown.

This is how the Lions will look to beat New Zealand. Yes, they will have their backs against the wall, how could you expect anything else? But just like the best boxers in the world are usually those who box clever and don't come out swinging, and a stage of the Tour de France is now never won by a gallant lone all day breakaway, or the football Euros last Summer won by a defensively disciplined side, the Lions will be lambs to the slaughter if they try to match the All Blacks head on.

It'll be rope-a-dope Rugby at times, with a rock solid defence and the ability to pick them off, stay in the fight and not get knocked out, and hope to get the decision on points, because NZ are a class above any other team in the world, let alone a scratch side from the typically off the pace NH, which- though comprised of talented players- is far less organised or drilled than any settled, professional national team in the RWC would have been.

I'm not going to discuss Wales any more. I wrote all this months ago. But I'm framing it in what the Lions can expect, and not simply throw my hands up and say "ah, we should have had Schmidt or Eddie".

Warren Gatland's the coach, get over it. It's not perfect, certainly not from a Welsh perspective, but if you're a Lions fan you grit your teeth and get on with it, recognising he's not some bogeyman, but rather an coach who has been really quite successful, and was by far the best option available to the Lions one the basis of ability, experience, and aptitude.

And I'm saying that on the basis that you, and every other poster, was available to coach the Lions... thumbsup

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:06 pm

You seem to suggest Gatland deliberately lost games. He didn't.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:08 pm

miaow disagree.

Just shows how little ambition you have if quarter final is seen as a success.

Of course those sides should make the 1/4 finals. We still aren't in a position where every side has a real chance at 1/4s.

France didn't just lose, they got utterly destroyed. Ditto Ireland albeit by less points.

The SH sides utterly dominated. Not 1 NH side in the semi finals.

4 wins in the quarter finals - 2 heavy wins.


England not getting out of the pool was indeed a failure but then again Australia are a good side and Wales are specialists vs NH sides. Fiji prevented Wales and Australia getting bonus point wins.

It was the toughest group.

Not minimising England's failure. It wasn't good enough and England have a new coaching set up as a result.

It's you playing down the NH's failure in the RWC 2015.

Fortunately for England we are moving on.


I think it's laughable to suggest Gatland sacrificed a game at home in 2015 to win one later in the year.

If he did so it's just stupid. Wales have gained nothing from beating England in the RWC in the long term.

Sure you might want to laugh a little at England but England have moved on.

Wales' fixation on England is not good.

Gatland has specialised in beating NH sides, the problem is that the best sides in the world have tradtionally been Australia,SA and NZ.

Need to beat the best to be the best.

Gatland sadly isn't the man to do this.


Problem is you don't realise how limited Gatland is. He hasn't moved with the times.


I applauded Wales when they beat England, you did us a favour, we got rid of Lancaster. You are stuck with Howley,Gatland and co.

Perhaps Jones is going through a honey moon period but he's done well so far.

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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:08 pm

TJ wrote:Biggar is better at the conservative game tho - and his kicking from hand is sublime.  As I keep on saying - what Farrell does is very good indeed but what he dosen't do compared to the other contenders is what rules him out for me.

One poster recommeded I watched the Sarries last game to see how good he is.  I did and couldn't see it.  Not one runaround, chip, dummy, piece of trickery to create space, two kicks off the tee missed and poor kicking from hand.  I recommend to anyone who wants to see how a mercurial attacking 10 can play to watch the two Racing / Glasgow games ( just don't watch the pro 12 game the week after ;-) )  Russell had the racing defense completely mesmerised with his trickery.

I still would not play russell for the lions tho for the reasons above

I think you're doing Farrell a slight disservice, and he'll certainly tour. His attitude is obviously what is needed to go to NZ, that unwavering belief in himself and competitive edge.

But as a player? TJ's right. I talked about the big stage earlier, and I have no doubt he's a good kicker from the tee, but the number of times I've watched Saracens or England on Sky (i.e. the big European or AI games) and the sycophantic commentators (started with Barnes) talk about 'I've already chalked this one down as 3 points', or 'ice cool Owen Farrell won't miss this'. Yet he invariably misses more kicks than I've seen Biggar or Halfpenny (pre injury, had a shocker at PyS and in one of the AIs) miss in those pressure games, and the commentators then have to speak about how much of a 'collector's item', or how abnormal it is for Farrell to miss. But...it's not.

I know it's genuinely propaganda, and Sky want him to be Johnny Wilkinson for them to sell "Rugby" through this figurehead to the casual, middle England subscriber, but there's something a bit off with how he's talked about and how he actually performs from the tee in a lot of big games. No doubt he probably has a better percentage in the Premiership, and he probably has games, even consecutively, for England where he's very good. But I've also seen him mess up enough kicks in pressure games, where they may be in tougher positions than the Premiership, and certainly with more riding on them being scored, for me to say he's a good- perhaps even very good- but overrated goal kicker. Halfpenny and Biggar are more reliable for me. I think Sexton and Farrell are probably on a par.

Farrell has other qualities that make him useful. I said for years he was a 12, but I'm not so sure now he's actually playing there. He's more of a...10.5? That wouldn't really work, but the point sort of comes across hopefully. He tours, and he probably makes the 15, at least the 23, because of his grit. But he's not a great playmaker, though he's certainly improved and did well to make two half breaks to draw the game after 80 minutes at the weekend. He's adequate all round, and is tough, and is confrontational. My fear is, however, he's a flat track bully: whether for Saracens, and presently England, he's used to a platform, and he's used to being consistently good, but not top class.

That's not enough to not take him. The Lions can only select what they have. It may well be that such a mentality- used to winning, gets angry when not winning- is vital to the team psychology. However, we've seen just how unreliable he can be if he loses his head. Just like Hartley. That's something that never leaves a player, and perhaps that's a good thing if they can control it, but there is an element of risk there.

Gatland's laid down the mantle with his recent media soundbites, it's a challenge to Sexton that he wants him to be his man, but know that you might not get picked, even for the squad, if there is any rumbling of discontent, or compacency in any regard.

Russell's a good player. I think the Lions Tour is too early for him. I do actually think he's the kind of fly half Gatland may like, a bit in the Priestland mould, but just like him a bit too inconsistent to form into someone he could trust for the Tests in such a short time. Again, as with Farrell, it's worth taking Russell's form when he doesn't have his club platform: so, when he's playing behind the Scotland pack, where much is dictated by the 9 (this will likely be the case down in NZ). With less ball, less opportunity to express himself and try things, and certainly a lot less margin for error, a very good 6Ns would put him on the plane, but as it stands, I don't think he tours.

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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You seem to suggest Gatland deliberately lost games. He didn't.

No, I didn't suggest that, you've misunderstood.

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Post by Scottrf on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:13 pm

miaow wrote:Halfpenny and Biggar are more reliable for me.
Halfpenny is at about 20% for the two games I've seen of him this year. And some were not even in the right ballpark.

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Post by Hammersmith harrier on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:13 pm

I can't remember Farrell missing too many pressure kicks to be honest and he's got a reputation as ultra reliable kicker for a reason.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:14 pm

So he isn't willing to sacrifice a game.

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Post by cascough on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:24 pm

miaow wrote:

But as a player? TJ's right. I talked about the big stage earlier, and I have no doubt he's a good kicker from the tee, but the number of times I've watched Saracens or England on Sky (i.e. the big European or AI games) and the sycophantic commentators (started with Barnes) talk about 'I've already chalked this one down as 3 points', or 'ice cool Owen Farrell won't miss this'. Yet he invariably misses more kicks than I've seen Biggar or Halfpenny (pre injury, had a shocker at PyS and in one of the AIs) miss in those pressure games, and the commentators then have to speak about how much of a 'collector's item', or how abnormal it is for Farrell to miss. But...it's not.

I know it's genuinely propaganda, and Sky want him to be Johnny Wilkinson for them to sell "Rugby" through this figurehead to the casual, middle England subscriber, but there's something a bit off with how he's talked about and how he actually performs from the tee in a lot of big games. No doubt he probably has a better percentage in the Premiership, and he probably has games, even consecutively, for England where he's very good. But I've also seen him mess up enough kicks in pressure games, where they may be in tougher positions than the Premiership, and certainly with more riding on them being scored, for me to say he's a good- perhaps even very good- but overrated goal kicker. Halfpenny and Biggar are more reliable for me. I think Sexton and Farrell are probably on a par.

Completely agree about Skys propoganda, but equally you should be careful not to go too far the other way and use that against him. Just because Sky go over the top, doesn't mean he isn't a very good player.

I will disagree with the big game thing. For me, when the pressures on, Farrell nails his kicks. It seems to me like he misses more for Saracens than England. I can't remember an England game where it's come down to a score and I'm thinking back to kicks he should have made. I can remember occasions when we absolutely needed it he has come up with the goods.

In the game against Wales in the WC he was 100% (tip of the hat to Biggar too) and in the Aus tour he finished with 89% success rate. Arguably he was the difference. Not because of the points per se, but because of the effect the points had in the games, just nudging England back in front, increasingly forcing Australia to play within themselves because they were being relentlessly punished. Englands back row outplayed Australias much vaunted back row in that tour, but how much of that was down to Farrell making them realise they couldn't afford to concede penalties.

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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:50 pm

cascough wrote:Can anyone else comment? In the countless times I've seen Biggar play I don't actually recall him having a strong tactical kicking game, because he doesn't seem to do it that much for Wales. Am I mistaken?

Yes. He's the best outside half from the boot since Neil Jenkins, perhaps even on a par. He's got the full range, up and unders (and regathering), goalkicking, accurate touch finders from penalties (a welcome change considering Priestland was poor at this), cross field kicks, drop goals, territorial kicking for space...all excellent, and something he's been doing well since he was 19 at the Ospreys. It's the other areas of his game he has weaknesses in, but- most notably in defence- he's worked very hard at improving them.

If there is one incredibly minor criticism, it would perhaps be that he doesn't do enough of the 'short range' kicking, i.e. grubbering someone in for a try, a little dink over the top: although he's certainly capable, we don't see it that often.

Another, even more minor criticism, is that he doesn't have a huge boot. He can still kick them from just about the halfway line, but in modern rugby, that seems par for the course these days.

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Post by Scottrf on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:53 pm

Biggest criticism of his kicking IMO is his stupid action.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 1:00 pm

Steady on miaow, you're making him sound like the AWJ of fly halves

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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 1:05 pm

beshocked wrote:miaow disagree.

Just shows how little ambition you have if quarter final is seen as a success.

Just because it's not a failure doesn't mean it's a success. That's a childlike binary.

beshocked wrote:The SH sides utterly dominated. Not 1 NH side in the semi finals.

Australia destroyed England, true. But Wales's failure to beat 13 men was down to the sheer desperation and psychological weakness and lack of belief that they could beat them by actually playing rugby, and instead resorted to pick and go until it was too late. Even then, they beat them by that, 15-6? Scotland lost with the last kick of the game. Wales then went on to lose to SA through a similar late concession, losing by less than a score. Hardly domination considering the skills of both South Africa and Australia, but there we go. Agree to disagree I suppose.

Fortunately for England we are moving on.



beshocked wrote:I think it's laughable to suggest Gatland sacrificed a game at home in 2015 to win one later in the year.

If he did so it's just stupid. Wales have gained nothing from beating England in the RWC in the long term.

Are you sure? It got Wales out of the group, and therefore removed any doubts about whether he kept his job. It very nearly got Wales into the top part of the group, and into the side of the draw that contained Scotland, Ireland, and Argentina, which in theory may well have seen Wales get to a World Cup final Gained nothing!? Are you serious?

beshocked wrote:Sure you might want to laugh a little at England but England have moved on.

Wales' fixation on England is not good.

What are you on about?

We're discussing Wales under Warren Gatland, who is the Lions coach, which is what this topic is about. The constant running down of Gatland's- and therefore Wales's- achievements in order to express your displeasure and lack of support for the Lions is the fixation here.

beshocked wrote:Gatland has specialised in beating NH sides, the problem is that the best sides in the world have tradtionally been Australia,SA and NZ.

Need to beat the best to be the best.

Gatland sadly isn't the man to do this.

There's some merit to this. He's certainly got the upper hand of a lot of NH teams, and I'd say during his tenure he's intermittently made Wales the best team outside SANZAR, and put them alongside Ireland and England in this undulating competition for who is the best of the 6Ns, with each having their respective strengths and weaknesses. It's been quite enjoyable.

As I said, Wales's failure against SANZAR- and, indeed, any other team they typically play in the AIs- is not one of coaching alone. There are systemic problems relating to player depth, the declining standards of the regions, inability to maintain players in Wales, and a certain mental fragility that is as much entwined with class as it is with nationality.

Wales have, however, come incredibly close too many times against particularly Australia for it to be mere coincidence, or 'deserved', or reflective of a badly coached team, or bad players. There's something deeply inherent, a mental block that sits awkwardly with the Welsh when it comes to being favourites, or being in a position to win, and this is never more the case than against SANZAR. England should know a thing or two about that, considering their fortunes between 2004 and 2010: it's something in the water, something collective, not easy to extract.

The point is, what do you base Gatland not being "the man" on? Wales's record? Those minor losses time and again where they have been competitive or- frequently- the better team, only to fail to grasp the opportunity? What about that same scenario, in a Lions setting, where the water is different, less stagnant and fearful? That scenario? That's where he won a Lions Tour against that same opposition- with many of the same players- emphatically. I fail to see how- based on actual evidence, and not hyperbolic assumptions about just how easy it is to coach professional rugby at the highest level- there is anyone better on paper to lead the Lions into what is almost an impossible task.


beshocked wrote:Problem is you don't realise how limited Gatland is. He hasn't moved with the times.

This is quite literally not true. In fact it's a ridiculous suggestion. Weathercocks and signposts comes to mind here, as well.

Whether his focus is and has drifted away from applying his methodology and focusing his energy solely in Wales is a whole other matter. But let's talk about the Lions, rather than an England v Wales slagging match, which is not what I want, or what posters want to read.


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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 1:26 pm

Scottrf wrote:
miaow wrote:Halfpenny and Biggar are more reliable for me.
Halfpenny is at about 20% for the two games I've seen of him this year. And some were not even in the right ballpark.

He's had a long injury lay off, and was away from international rugby for well over 12 months.

The 6 Nations will be the barometer for whether he's still as reliable as he was. If he's not, he may not make the squad. There was a marked improvement from his first game back for Wales through to his last though (and not just from the tee, he played as well ball in hand as he had done for a long time). He'll be given time, because he's worth that much, but yes, he needs to be better than he's shown so far this season. At his best, no doubt he's a better goal kicker than Farrell though. It's whether or not he can get back to that point.

No 7&1/2 wrote:You seem to suggest Gatland deliberately lost games. He didn't.

No 7&1/2 wrote:So he isn't willing to sacrifice a game.

Is that a statement or a question?

In any case, hopefully you can see the disparity between your two statements there. I'll let you do the leg work for yourself.

Hammersmith harrier wrote:I can't remember Farrell missing too many pressure kicks to be honest and he's got a reputation as ultra reliable kicker for a reason.

cascough wrote:Completely agree about Skys propoganda, but equally you should be careful not to go too far the other way and use that against him. Just because Sky go over the top, doesn't mean he isn't a very good player.

Yeah, as I said, I think he's a good, maybe even very good goalkicker. I've tried to temper what I believe is a fair criticism- or not even criticism, but analysis- of him, without going too far the other way, and bashing him. He's definitely an asset for the Lions in a Gatland mould: anatagonistic, used to winning, strong, reliable, athletic, versatile, dedicated etc. But there are weaknesses. That's fine. We're picking the best we can muster, not trying to go like for like with the All Blacks. He's probably a better goalkicker than anyone NZ can field. But if there's a point of difference between him and Halfpenny, or maybe even Biggar (I'm not sure if Biggar has the range of Farrell), could that be enough to pick someone else, when it will so obviously be a massive facet of the Lions' gameplan?


cascough wrote: I will disagree with the big game thing. For me, when the pressures on, Farrell nails his kicks. It seems to me like he misses more for Saracens than England. I can't remember an England game where it's come down to a score and I'm thinking back to kicks he should have made. I can remember occasions when we absolutely needed it he has come up with the goods.

I'll take your word on it. I can remember him bottling it against Wales in 2013, but that alone isn't really enough. It's worth reiterating: I never said he's a bad kicker, by any stretch, just that he's overrated, particularly by Sky with their horrible tendency to declare a kick scored before taken. It's happened frequently enough that he's missed those 'middling kicks'- about 30m out, around 15m infield- whilst in Europe (as at the weekend) and for England for me to wonder whether Halfpenny and Biggar would do the same, and in my opinion, they're marginally better. Halfpenny proved in Australia to be an asset better than anyone could have expected from a goalkicker. It may be harsh to hold Farrell to that standard, but that's what Gatland will be doing when choosing a frontline goalkicker. He's ceftainly put himself in the frame with his kicking in Australia, and I was going to mention that as a caveat. If he can keep that up this 6 Nations, particularly if the English pack is put under pressure (I'm looking at France here in particular), that will do him no harm at all.

BamBam wrote:Steady on miaow, you're making him sound like the AWJ of fly halves

Believe me, I used to take no pleasure in praising Biggar considering the player he once was. But he's won me round and improved his attitude and ability immensely.

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Post by Cyril on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 1:37 pm

miaow, do you have a job? Laugh

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Post by miaow on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 1:45 pm

Yes, but fortunately not 9-5!

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 2:03 pm

Cyril wrote:miaow, do you have a job? Laugh

Very Happy

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 2:10 pm


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 2:18 pm

What exactly did you mean then miaow by willing to sacrifice?

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