How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

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How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by DaveM on Sun 12 Mar 2017, 12:04 pm

First topic message reminder :

England next play NZ in the autumn of 2018. We can be confident that they will be ranked 2 and 1 in the world, but England will have home advantage. I expect this will be one of the most hyped games in the history of rugby. But how will England change between now and then? Obviously there will be injuries, loss of form, players coming from nowhere, etc, but here are some things I expect:

- England will get a lot better. We are still a young and inexperienced side, and I would have thought we would naturally get about 20% better over this timescale.
- Elliot Daly will be fullback. Mike Brown has been a great servant but is in decline, and Daly is a wonderful footballer. I think this might be Daly's long-term position for England.
- Jamie George will be hooker, Luke Cowan-Dickie will be the 'finisher' on the bench, and Itoje will be Captain. Hartley has been lucky in terms of not missing internationals, when he eventually does I think the case for change will be clear.
- Underhill will be in the matchday squad, and will quite possibly be the starting 7. England have some fantastic backrows at age-group level, but Underhill will come into contention before them and he may be able to push past Haskell. I think Robshaw will still be the starting 6 at this point.

What does everyone else think?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 9:48 am

Ps can I also ask...is this a Full (or near enough ) strength Argentina we're facing or a Saxons version.

That would dictate who goes on tour.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Gooseberry on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 9:53 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Ps if what people are hinting at on the other thread that England could supply between 14- 17 players...it could very well end up a Saxons tour! Sad

Indeed. Even with a conservative 10 Lions.
The players who dont go may well be in the positions that most need further options developing, and with many senior leaders gone there may be some tough decisions to make if Jones wants to use it as an opportunity to cap players.

Add in to that that ineviatbly there will be withdrawls to treat long term injuries theres going to be a lot of unfamiliar faces there.

Not that its a bad thing in all ways. Jones has had the benefits of a stable squad with relatively few injury or performance based swaps made. Whilst theres a core of players who now have good level of experience together theres some positions that lack a "50 cap cavalry".

Its as well they are only going to Argentina who arent at a high point right now. The last thing they need is another of the early 2000s style tours where anyone who was willing to turn up would get taken to SANZAR and anhilated. The tour is in the window so in theory it should be a full strength Argentina, but they arent anything special.


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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:03 am

It could be very well something like:

1 Marler
2 Taylor / LCD?
3 Sinkler
4 Kruis (Back from Injury)
5 Lawes / Launchbury (One will go to NZ)
6 Robshaw (back from Injury - I think we missed him BADLY this 6n)
7 Clifford (one of the pretenders on the bench - Currys, Evans, Underhill etc)
8 Hughes

9 Care
10 Ford (Lozowski getting gametime)
11 May
12 Teo
13 Addison / Tompkins?
14 Yarde (Maybe Nathan Earle might get a run out)
15 Hayley

Or if Robshaw is just given the summer off...

6 Clifford
7 Underhill...
8 Hughes

Will Mercer travel?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by BamBam on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:18 am

Solomona ...

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Scottrf on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:18 am

BamBam wrote:Solomona ...
Geordie will blow a gasket. You might as well say Harrison to start.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by BamBam on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:20 am

Scottrf wrote:
BamBam wrote:Solomona ...
Geordie will blow a gasket. You might as well say Harrison to start.

It was slightly tongue in cheek and aimed at GF Wink

But in all seriousness, if Yarde and Earle are the other options, why not! At least one of Nowell/Daly/Watson will be available too though

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:22 am

Solomona.... steam

Harrison...you know I can actually see what he brings, he just hasn't delivered much recently or for England. I'd make an exception for him if he was showing last seasons hugely impressive form...

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:23 am

Bam bam...I wonder if Nowell, Watson and Daly will all travel to NZ!

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Cumbrian on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:51 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:It could be very well something like:

1 Marler
2 Taylor / LCD?
3 Sinkler
4 Kruis (Back from Injury)
5 Lawes / Launchbury (One will go to NZ)
6 Robshaw (back from Injury - I think we missed him BADLY this 6n)
7 Clifford (one of the pretenders on the bench - Currys, Evans, Underhill etc)
8 Hughes

9 Care
10 Ford (Lozowski getting gametime)
11 May
12 Teo
13 Addison / Tompkins?
14 Yarde (Maybe Nathan Earle might get a run out)
15 Hayley

Or if Robshaw is just given the summer off...

6 Clifford
7 Underhill...
8 Hughes

Will Mercer travel?

I reckon Zach Mercer along with Will Evans and the Curry brothers will go to the JRWC in Georgia this summer, rather than down to Argentina. They look good, but is still a bit too early for them.

I like the look of that back-row (Clifford, Baggins and Hughes), but I wonder if it might suffer a little at line-out time.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 11:02 am

Yeah I think your right mate...let the U20's focus on the world cup.

Well as long as we have Lawes or Kruis we'll be ok with the lineout. Some talk that Itoje, Lawes AND Launchbury will go to NZ after their impressive 6n. Who knows.

I thought Hughes was a lineout option aswell? Kruis, Hughes and who ever is the other lock would give us 3 options at the lineout.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Gooseberry on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 11:32 am

Cumbrian wrote: Baggins

thumbsup

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by BamBam on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 12:31 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Bam bam...I wonder if Nowell, Watson and Daly will all travel to NZ!

Lot of competition in the back 3 though

Hogg, Williams, North are definitely on the plane (disagree with North but hey ho)

That probably leaves 3 places open in a realistic squad

Daly, Watson, Nowell, Halfpenny, Seymour, Maitland, Zebo, Kearney, Earls are the options ..

I'd say Daly/Watson/Halfpenny are the most likely to make a Gatland squad imo, leaving Nowell to tour with England

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 12:38 pm

Its interesting that Nowell seems the 3rd choice between the 3 England lads.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by robbo277 on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 12:41 pm


Will the Currys, or Evans or Underhill (is he available) travel to Argentina??
Personally id not even look at Harrison again.

Te'o went to Aus last year in before his move to Worcester went through because he'd agrees the switch. I assume Underhill will be the same.

Ps can I also ask...is this a Full (or near enough ) strength Argentina we're facing or a Saxons version.

That would dictate who goes on tour.

Got a feeling that in 2013 Argentina rested some guys ahead of the rugby championship. Not sure whether this will be different with all their players now home based with the Jaguares. You'd think they'd be able to better manage workloads and give their first choices a game.


I reckon Zach Mercer along with Will Evans and the Curry brothers will go to the JRWC in Georgia this summer, rather than down to Argentina. They look good, but is still a bit too early for them.

In the article I linked to earlier Jones said some of the under 20s will go. I'd definitely be sending them to the World Cup, but i guess Jones has other ideas. Will be interesting to see who he has in mind.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:10 pm

Im inclined to agree the U20's should probably be given the chance in the tournament.

I suspect we'll see quite a few fringe players getting the starts:

LCD / Taylor
Clifford / Harrison
Teo
Sinkler


And it will be interesting to see how he goes with Robshaw and Kruis. If they're fit does he take them...or let them have a summer to recover and be fighting fit for next season?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by BamBam on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:11 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Its interesting that Nowell seems the 3rd choice between the 3 England lads.

I'd take Nowell over Halfpenny every day of the week and twice on Sundays, but unfortunately he isn't Welsh enough for Gatland's liking

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Gooseberry on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:12 pm

BamBam wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Its interesting that Nowell seems the 3rd choice between the 3 England lads.

I'd take Nowell over Halfpenny every day of the week and twice on Sundays, but unfortunately he isn't Welsh enough for Gatland's liking

Nor is he a full back or a goal kicker.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by BamBam on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:14 pm

Let Williams be the 2nd full back, and a squad with Farrell/Sexton/Biggar has no need for another goal kicker

If we want a Lions FB with a history of performing well against NZ, I'd take Kearney

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:16 pm

Wales online's have posted their squad....and if their English contingent suggestion is correct, we'll lose half the side......(they suggest all three Watson, Daly and Nowell,will go...)

Anthony Watson (England)
Jack Nowell (England)
Jonathan Joseph (England)
Owen Farrell (England)
Elliot Daly (England)
George Ford (England)
Ben Youngs (England)
Mako Vunipola (England)
Joe Marler (England)
Dan Cole (England)
Kyle Sinckler (England)
Jamie George (England)
Joe Launchbury (England)
Courtney Lawes (England)
Maro Itoje (England)
Billy Vunipola (England)

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by robbo277 on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:19 pm

That's a fairly good stab at the players I think would go. I think Hartley will as well, possibly not Nowell but otherwise widely in line with what I have scribbled down somewhere.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Poorfour on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:20 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Wales online's have posted their squad....and if their English contingent suggestion is correct, we'll lose half the side......(they suggest all three Watson, Daly and Nowell,will go...)

Anthony Watson (England)
Jack Nowell (England)
Jonathan Joseph (England)
Owen Farrell (England)
Elliot Daly (England)
George Ford (England)
Ben Youngs (England)
Mako Vunipola (England)
Joe Marler (England)
Dan Cole (England)
Kyle Sinckler (England)
Jamie George (England)
Joe Launchbury (England)
Courtney Lawes (England)
Maro Itoje (England)
Billy Vunipola (England)

That's unusually generous of them to English players. Perhaps they're hoping that Wales will keep more of their players and boost their summer tour.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:24 pm

So purely from THAT suggestion...the team to Argentina could be (allowing injury recovered players to tour):

1 Mullan
2 Hartley
3 Brookes
4 Kruis
5 Barrow?? / Kitchener?? / A.N.Other (Robinson??)
6 Robshaw
7 Clifford  
8 Hughes

9 Care
10 Lzowski
11 May
12 Teo
13 Tompkins / Addison
14 Solomona ( I loathe it...but Eddie wont care about nationality...only eligibility)
15 Brown


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Scottrf on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:25 pm

Not a chance Eddie picks Brookes IMO.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by BamBam on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:26 pm

Probably Ewels at lock given he's been around the squad

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:27 pm

Who else is there Scott?

Both the Saints TH's must be looked at on this tour if Cole AND Sinkler go (as suggested above)

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:28 pm

Im still waiting to see what Ewells can actually bring...but your right Bam, he has been around the squad.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Scottrf on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:33 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Who else is there Scott?

Both the Saints TH's must be looked at on this tour if Cole AND Sinkler go (as suggested above)
Not sure. Hill is being kept out because of his scrummaging, but can't see Brookes fitness being up to standard for England.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 1:38 pm

Our own Scott Wilson is a bull dozer when fit and firing...but he's been crippled with injuries since he came on the scene.

Davy Wilson is way past it..another permanent sick note...

Cant think of any other standouts...it'll need to be some youngsters??

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Cumbrian on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 2:01 pm

[quote="robbo277"]


In the article I linked to earlier Jones said some of the under 20s will go. I'd definitely be sending them to the World Cup, but i guess Jones has other ideas. Will be interesting to see who he has in mind.

I've just gone back an had a read of that, it is an interesting call. Looking at who he could possibly mean you would think the aforementioned back-rowers will be front runners. The other stand outs were Malins and Randall (IMO). Perhaps Malins has a shot, but whether it is a 10 or 15 I'm not sure, better chance at fullback at the moment I think.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Poorfour on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 2:14 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:So purely from THAT suggestion...the team to Argentina could be (allowing injury recovered players to tour):

1 Mullan
2 Hartley
3 Brookes
4 Kruis
5 Barrow?? / Kitchener?? / A.N.Other (Robinson??)
6 Robshaw
7 Clifford  
8 Hughes

9 Care
10 Lzowski
11 May
12 Teo
13 Tompkins / Addison
14 Solomona ( I loathe it...but Eddie wont care about nationality...only eligibility)
15 Brown

Maybe. Looking at the EPS, the remaining players are likely to be:
Mullan / Genge / Catt
Hartley / Taylor
?
Ewels
Kruis
Robshaw (though I think there's an outside chance that one or both of him and Kruis will got with the Lions)
Harrison / Haskell
Clifford / Hughes
Care
Lozowski
Slade
Te'o
May
Yarde
Brown

That leaves a few gaps - possible candidates to fill them are Hill (not sure who's next at TH - the Wallers are both LH, aren't they? Possibly Collier if fit), Beaumont, Merrick (namechecked by Eddie earlier in the season), Underhill, Simpson, Marchant (was part of the squad at one point). I'd also like to see Chisholm given a shot - he looks increasingly ready and may have overtaken Clifford at Quins.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 3:38 pm

Ah I forgot all about Chisholm. A combative back rower, the type Jones likes.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 3:40 pm

Also the young backrower at Saracens...Conlon (the red head lad)

Im sure he won a JWC...and was destined for big things. Still only young (22) and looks to have put some bulk on. Played very well for Saracens recently?

Shame Carl Fearns wasn't available for a run about! Or is he?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by king_carlos on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:05 pm

I expect Beaumont will travel as a lock with Itoje, Kruis, Launchbury and Lawes all with a chance of being on the Lions tour, called up as injury cover or rested. One of Kruis, Launchbury and Lawes might be available but I wouldn't be surprised if they were rested in that situation.

1.Mullan, Genge
2.Taylor, Cowan-Dickie
3.Sinckler, Hill
4.Ewels, Barrow?
5.Beaumont, Attwood?
6.Wood, Williams
7.Harrison, Underhill
8.Hughes, Clifford

9.Care, Robson
10.Lozowski, Cipriani?

11.May, Solomena
12.Te'o, Slade
13.Marchant, Tompkins?
14.Yarde, Rokoduguni
15.Brown, Haley

Brown is due a rest to be fair though.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:13 pm

I'd be quite surprised if Nowell, Watson, Ford, Lawes etc tour with the Lions. I think we may have more players available than some are thinking.

Kruis will be available and Eddie has said Underhill will tour, I expect him to leapfrog Harrison tbh

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:15 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:I'd be quite surprised if Nowell, Watson, Ford, Lawes etc tour with the Lions. I think we may have more players available than some are thinking.

Kruis will be available and Eddie has said Underhill will tour, I expect him to leapfrog Harrison tbh

Or just run through him like most have done this season.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Scottrf on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:16 pm

Lawes is probably our most consistent performer over the AIs and 6Ns, should tour.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:23 pm

Haha....GF, youre not far wrong.

Lawes has played well but just look at the options. AWJ (certain), Launchbury, Henderson, Gray, Itoje....all better than Lawes in my humble opinion. Are we thinking 4 locks + 1 who can play both? (Itoje)

Its all hypothetical at this stage. If we're going on 6N showings, Itoje would not be close imo.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Scottrf on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:26 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Haha....GF, youre not far wrong.

Lawes has played well but just look at the options. AWJ (certain), Launchbury, Henderson, Gray, Itoje....all better than Lawes in my humble opinion. Are we thinking 4 locks + 1 who can play both? (Itoje)

Its all hypothetical at this stage. If we're going on 6N showings, Itoje would not be close imo.
Nor would AWJ. Henderson doesn't even always start. Lawes/Launch the standout in the 6N.
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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by hugehandoff on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:28 pm

What happened to Attwood?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 4:32 pm

Scottrf wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Haha....GF, youre not far wrong.

Lawes has played well but just look at the options. AWJ (certain), Launchbury, Henderson, Gray, Itoje....all better than Lawes in my humble opinion. Are we thinking 4 locks + 1 who can play both? (Itoje)

Its all hypothetical at this stage. If we're going on 6N showings, Itoje would not be close imo.
Nor would AWJ. Henderson doesn't even always start. Lawes/Launch the standout in the 6N.

But we all know AWJ is going........

I just don't think they'll take 3 English locks with the amount of options available. I'd personally take Kruis over both Launchbury and Lawes but hid gitness has arguably cost him.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by king_carlos on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 5:12 pm

It's important to remember just how big the Lions 'squad' is by the time the tour concludes. 5 locks are usually named initially but more than that will end up being involved even just in the pre-tour training camps as cover for guys who are in finals or injured. Then of course there's the battalion that will be called up over the tour as injury cover and replacements.

After that you then have the possibility of key England players who miss out being rested.

If the likes of Lawes, Launchbury, Robshaw, Haskell, Care, Brown, etc are available for the tour then a few off them may still be rested.

If Kruis returns to fitness too late to push for a Lions chance then he might go to Argentina. In fact he'd be a reasonable bet for skipper if that were the case.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Gwlad on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 6:41 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Haha....GF, youre not far wrong.

Lawes has played well but just look at the options. AWJ (certain), Launchbury, Henderson, Gray, Itoje....all better than Lawes in my humble opinion. Are we thinking 4 locks + 1 who can play both? (Itoje)

Its all hypothetical at this stage. If we're going on 6N showings, Itoje would not be close imo.
Nor would AWJ. Henderson doesn't even always start. Lawes/Launch the standout in the 6N.

But we all know AWJ is going........

I just don't think they'll take 3 English locks with the amount of options available. I'd personally take Kruis over both Launchbury and Lawes but hid gitness has arguably cost him.

Im not so sure, beginning of the 6 Nations i would have said for sure but his Captaincy skills have hardly flourished and for me he can't be a certainty just on playing ability. Though irrespective he brings a level of experience in an engine room light on it

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Poorfour on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 7:19 pm

Gwlad wrote:
Im not so sure, beginning of the 6 Nations i would have said for sure but his Captaincy skills have hardly flourished and for me he can't be a certainty just on playing ability. Though irrespective he brings a level of experience in an engine room light on it

I think you're right. I think experience will swing it for him. He's been good enough to be level with most of the other locks without being an obvious standout, but having been on previous tours will likely count in his favour. I don't think he'll be captain, though. He hasn't really put his hand up for captaincy (though nobody else has either) and I think competition at lock is so strong that he's not a guaranteed starter by any stretch.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 7:27 pm

Warburton is the captain, think I may pop some cash on it.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Gwlad on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 7:31 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Gwlad wrote:
Im not so sure, beginning of the 6 Nations i would have said for sure but his Captaincy skills have hardly flourished and for me he can't be a certainty just on playing ability. Though irrespective he brings a level of experience in an engine room light on it

I think you're right. I think experience will swing it for him. He's been good enough to be level with most of the other locks without being an obvious standout, but having been on previous tours will likely count in his favour. I don't think he'll be captain, though. He hasn't really put his hand up for captaincy (though nobody else has either) and I think competition at lock is so strong that he's not a guaranteed starter by any stretch.

Yep. I wish Warburton was a little more forthright at key times like on Saturday when i think there were too many voices and not enough focussed attention. Maestri was in Barnes ear and Warburton just wasn't. You know that NZ even without out Richie will be hot on working the ref and we need someone equally cunning. Warburton has answered his critics and put himself right back in contention with Best arguably not a starter and Hartley nowhere right now it seems to me that Warburton with his experience is the go to guy but the fact that his return to form has been notably after giving up the Captaincy is a concern. I personally would rather have him playing as well as he has and not skipper. Therefore it makes sense to me that AWJ would have the role; he did a grand job with it in 2013, but i have nigglign doubts as to his ability to justify selection over the likes of Launchbury, Gray and Lawes not to mention Kruis if he gets fit.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by Gwlad on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 7:42 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Warburton is the captain, think I may pop some cash on it.

what's offered at the moment?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by miaow on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 9:48 pm

cascough wrote:
BamBam wrote:
beshocked wrote:no 7 & 1/2 I've not actually claimed that Farrell has defended well, neither player has defended well going by those stats. I said Farrell isn't as defensively poor which going by the stats he isn't.

It's an area NZ will target.

Bambam no not really. Just don't expect 10s to be smashed backwards. Wilkinson was the best but Sexton and Carter are more physical than Ford.

The 10 most like Ford is Russell and he's not famed for his tackling.

I was replying more to cascough who posted about RL hiding their playmakers and wondering why we don't do the same in union

Wilko and Carter are arguably the two best fly halves of all time, and Sexton is known as a very physical 10 in the Farrell mold

How would you compare Ford to other fly halves like Biggar, Cruden, Barrett, Russell, Lopez, Sanchez, Jantjies, Foley etc

I wouldn't say Ford stands out as a massive weakness in comparison to any of those guys, none are particularly dominant defenders like Wilko/Sexton etc

Agree with this. I'd be interested to see how Fords stats stack up against his performance in the autumn and in the summer tours, where I thought his defence was excellent. It would also be interesting to see how his stats hold up against other 10s. That would have limited value though as it depends how they are deployed in a system. Farrell will always be prone to miss more currently since he is often the one rushing up aggressively.

The other things stats don't measure in this context is how often they are in position to make a tackle. Dunbar and Jones only missed one each at the weekend but if you watched the game you'd know that was hardly indicative of their defensive performance. As well as his desire to make a tackle, Ford's line speed is excellent which will often force a pass. In that regard that's a defensive job well done which can't be captured in a stat as simplistic as missed tackles. Similarly when people talk about physicality in the tackle, there is so much more to defence than that. Think of someone like Alesana Tuilagi who used to tun his hips away from the touchline and rush from outside in to make a big hit. It was very eye catching and certainly a plus to his team if he connected. But he'd often get done on the outside or the opposition would pass it and waltz into the space he'd just left as a result. What he should have done instead was turn his hips to the touchline and drift out and allow his team to better defend as a unit to close the space down.

And that's the point really isn't it. It will be very hard to judge someones defensive capabilities on stats alone and as such will always be subjective. A team that plays with an aggressive blitz defence might be prone to missing more tackles and potentially getting done on the outside. A team that plays with a more passive drift defence will probably be less susceptible to missing tackles, but may concede more ground. I don't watch much Bath but with England I feel Ford brings good organisation and commitment and is overall a plus in defence. If he was the liability a lot of people claim, then I'd expect to be conceding a bucket load of tries. What I'm not seeing, is anyone being able to exert any sort of sustained pressure on England down the 10 channel.


Yes, context is important, too. Like the fact that both Wales and Ireland ran at Ford and repeatedly made incredibly easy yards from him, despite- statistically- the tackle being 'completed'. I'd like to see a statistic for metres lost in contact by Ford defensively.

England were able to mitigate for him, but it's just bizarre to say Ford is anything but a defensive weakness considering his size. The two best opponents England faced isolated him and got themselves momentum as a result. The rest of the England team is so beefy, that often any subsequent phases saw the momentum slowed or stopped completely, because they were running at Launchbury, Itoje, Haskell etc. Whereas that defensive approach for mitigating Ford as a defender was just enough against Wales in Cardiff, it didn't work in Dublin, primarily because England weren't good enough in attack, which is where Ford shines.

Overall I thought he had a pretty good tournament. I'd expect him to make the Lions Tour. I do think that if other teams can manage to nullify England's raw power- like Ireland did at source, although this is much, much easier said than done- then England might have to reconsider Ford's worth, because with Farrell at 10 and a second five eight outside him, you would be much better defensively. It's the pay off between whether losing Ford's attacking ability is worth it, and I'd say it almost certainly isn't, it would be very strange to get rid of him before 2019 unless he hits a run of bad form.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by miaow on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:13 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Think you've also got to consider this was away in Ireland in not great weather after 18 games unbeaten and we lost by 4 after being rubbish.

Were England "rubbish"? The only difference between the Ireland games and most of this tournament was that they lost? They didn't play that badly in Dublin, considering the weather.

I thought they were much poorer against Italy and France. You do a disservice to Ireland if you dismiss the fact that so much of England's quality comes from the accumulation of pressure that comes from the power of their pack. It's nothing new, Eddie Jones took Lancaster's model and made them stuff it up the jumper a bit more before moving it wide. It's what got them their winning run.

Ireland stopped England doing that to great effect for 80 minutes. Wales weren't as good at stopping it at source, but were able to hold out for long periods when they got it into open play.

France could easily have beaten England had they not been useless at the territorial game and in transitions. Wales butchered several scoring positions and died away late in the game to give England a winning position, which they ruthlessly took. The marginal defeat against Ireland was only different in that England didn't squeak over the line this time, primarily because of Ireland not being making errors and 'letting' England back in, as well as disciplined defence.

England have shown an inability to adapt to not having dominance up front, which frankly isn't surprising. That's where I've said I doubt Jones's ability to keep England at the top, but if I'm wrong, I'll hold my hands up. They're still very good at what they do though. I think Dan Cole needs to go, he's looked really average. You need someone better in the loose, as well as destructive in the scrum.

As I've said before, if you put a genuine fetcher on the openside, you turn a very good pack into a World Class one. Not only does it give you that ability to 'win' the ball defensively in a way that Haskell doesn't, but also, if your 7 gets marked out of the game like Warburton often is, it opens up room for Robshaw, Itoje, Launchbury etc. to get over the ball and be more effective than they already are. I really don't think ball carriers are England's problem, and picking Vunipola and Hughes isn't the way to go. However, do England have a physical 7 who's also Test level on the ground, like Warburton, Tipuric, Watson etc?

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:37 pm

I think you may well see a fetcher going with England to Argentina. Underhill looks like going...

England also have a raft of kids coming through at 7. Maybe Eddie will take a few like The Curry's who look insane for 18 yo

Clifford needs a good tour to Argentina.. .. As I think he could very well get overtaken very quickly if he doesn't push on!

Will be interesting to see how he goes.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

Post by miaow on Tue 21 Mar 2017, 10:40 pm

I think Underhill is the obvious one, yes. Looks like a smaller version of Warburton.

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Re: How will England evolve before they next play New Zealand?

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