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 Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:31 pm

Fluxy wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Yeah Dallaglio is a good example.

I just think bar the trio mentioned above...most of the back rowers coming through aren't huge...

Chisholm, Clifford, Harrison, Mercer, Underhill, Curry's, Evans, etc etc.

Dave Ewers perhaps?

Yeah Ewers, but he's not really made the grade has he...with England that is.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:32 pm

cascough wrote:
propdavid_london wrote:Agree that we have shied away from the English Orcs of old.....and have gone down the wiry mobile back rowers of Woods, Tom Johnstons etc.
The impact of Billy V does prove that we really do still need some ballast there at all times.

Did Ben Woods ever get capped? He could play in the centre a bit couldn't he?

I don't know who Tom Johnston is?

Seriously though, it's always been and always will be about balance, surely?

Exeter back rower. Very good club player...didn't really make it at international

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

Post by yappysnap on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:33 pm

Karl Fearns? He's been in the T14 team of the week at no8 almost all season so far. And he is very physical.

IIRC he's coming back to England next season too.

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:34 pm

Tom Johnson. I was being facetious.

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:37 pm

lostinwales wrote:Dallaglio reinvented himself as a muscly no.8 following a knee injury that killed his pace.

I first remember him from that first 7's world cup that England managed to steal under the noses of the SH teams. He was pretty quick in those days

Don't forget, Dallaglio's career spanned amateur and professional eras. During that time players got bigger and heavier across the board. These days players are making their debuts and are already huge. Some may gain a little throughout their careers but nothing like the en masse transition we saw throughout the late 90s until the mid 00s.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:38 pm

yappysnap wrote:Karl Fearns? He's been in the T14 team of the week at no8 almost all season so far. And he is very physical.

IIRC he's coming back to England next season too.

Good shout..ill give you Fearns. Now he's a beast!

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:39 pm

cascough wrote:Tom Johnson. I was being facetious.

Im from Newcastle I don't know what that means...

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:40 pm

Well Mercer for example is listed as 6'3 and 16.7

He's only 19 so I would imagine he'll naturally put some beef on anyway.

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:48 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
cascough wrote:Tom Johnson. I was being facetious.

Im from Newcastle I don't know what that means...

I was having a friendly dig at propdavidlondon for managing to mispell 2 out of 2 english backrowers. In doing so he also accidentally referred to an English backrower that interestingly also played centre (Ben Woods).

Well it tickled me anyway.

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

Post by propdavid_london on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 1:09 pm

Went over my head too.......

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 1:11 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Went over my head too.......

I assume you didn't mean Ben Woods, you actually meant Tom Wood. Likewise I assume you meant Tom Johnson, as opposed to Tom Johnston (I don't know who he is).

Everything is funnier when you explain it...

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

Post by Poorfour on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 1:15 pm

Haskell is a monster - 6'4" and 117kg. Clifford is similar height but 6 kg less - quite a big difference; on the other hand, he's got speed.

Underhill and Chisholm are both in the 103-105kg category - but not dissimilar in size to one Richie McCaw, Esq. And both of them hit and carry extremely hard for their size.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:26 pm

How will England evolve to take on NZ?

Probably by capping as many project players as they can, before the RFU advocates for a change in the qualification period to 5 years.

How can NZ maintain the conveyor belt that is their player development if all their youngsters are playing in England?

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:28 pm

That is catty!

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:37 pm

Not as catty as Jonathan Joseph. It was like he was clawing at a ball of string trying to tackle Huw Jones! Very poor defence, albeit world class with ball in hand, as we all know.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:38 pm

Poorfour wrote:Haskell is a monster - 6'4" and 117kg. Clifford is similar height but 6 kg less - quite a big difference; on the other hand, he's got speed.

Underhill and Chisholm are both in the 103-105kg category - but not dissimilar in size to one Richie McCaw, Esq. And both of them hit and carry extremely hard for their size.

Yeah I just get the impression that most of the youngsters are smaller yet seemingly more skilled and powerful..etc.

Even Itoje for example is only 6'5 and just on 18st which is probably on the smaller side of most locks these days at international level, yet he looks powerful and skilled.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:39 pm

miaow wrote:Not as catty as Jonathan Joseph. It was like he was clawing at a ball of string trying to tackle Huw Jones! Very poor defence, albeit world class with ball in hand, as we all know.

Not sure why your on here with these comments...but just to comment, Joseph in general is rock solid defensively.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:42 pm

He doesn't rate Joseph defence. But as above his true feelings on England and a little bitterness came out during that debate.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:52 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
miaow wrote:Not as catty as Jonathan Joseph. It was like he was clawing at a ball of string trying to tackle Huw Jones! Very poor defence, albeit world class with ball in hand, as we all know.

Not sure why your on here with these comments...but just to comment, Joseph in general is rock solid defensively.

Mild WUM, comes with territory England now being a proper Rugby team again.

He's not great defensively, however, and any serious discussion on that point is impossible on this board. I'm not looking to get into that now, I more than made my point that 7.5 and several others woefully failed to acknowledge. There seems to have become a big problem with confirmation bias surrounding this issue: the two main concerns- his defensive positioning firstly, and also the fact that he's not a dominant tackler- have been explicitly shown up in two tries this 6Ns championship. It's definitely a worry for the Lions, where those margins will be more integral than for England, who are more than dominant in other areas of the game to compensate, not least with Joseph as an attacking force, where he's sublime.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:54 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:He doesn't rate Joseph defence. But as above his true feelings on England and a little bitterness came out during that debate.

I've stayed off these boards for a few weeks, and yet whenever I've come back on, you're getting into similar little arguments with other posters where you're presenting yourself as this critique of truth. Drop the world's worst lawyer act 7.5. Clearly the problem's you, and not me. thumbsup

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 2:55 pm

We'll agree to disagree about his defence.


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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:01 pm

Yup it's a forum miaow, it's for discussing points.

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:01 pm

Joseph isn't a dominant tackler. Most backs aren't. I've made that point before when someone else's defence is criticised but it often falls on deaf ears.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:10 pm

cascough wrote:Joseph isn't a dominant tackler. Most backs aren't. I've made that point before when someone else's defence is criticised but it often falls on deaf ears.

Very true...but in general he's solid. More than happy with him at 13.

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:14 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
cascough wrote:Joseph isn't a dominant tackler. Most backs aren't. I've made that point before when someone else's defence is criticised but it often falls on deaf ears.

Very true...but in general he's solid. More than happy with him at 13.

I think he is a superb defender. Probably the best defensive 13 around at the moment although I appreciate Jared Payne has a good claim to that too. I don't agree when people try reduce defence to something as simplistic as physicallity=good defence.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:20 pm

cascough wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
cascough wrote:Joseph isn't a dominant tackler. Most backs aren't. I've made that point before when someone else's defence is criticised but it often falls on deaf ears.

Very true...but in general he's solid. More than happy with him at 13.

I think he is a superb defender. Probably the best defensive 13 around at the moment although I appreciate Jared Payne has a good claim to that too. I don't agree when people try reduce defence to something as simplistic as physicallity=good defence.

Never a truer word written. Some people see defence as only smashing people back. That's not the be all...

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

Post by LondonTiger on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:24 pm

miaow wrote:Not as catty as Jonathan Joseph. It was like he was clawing at a ball of string trying to tackle Huw Jones!

When?

I guess you mean Jones first try, where Joseph made the tackle but the intervention of Nowell trying to assist possibly straightens Jones up enough for him to just reach the line with the stretch.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:40 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yup it's a forum miaow, it's for discussing points.

The day you make one of your own with supporting evidence I'll eat my cat Cat

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:40 pm

cascough wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
cascough wrote:Joseph isn't a dominant tackler. Most backs aren't. I've made that point before when someone else's defence is criticised but it often falls on deaf ears.

Very true...but in general he's solid. More than happy with him at 13.

I think he is a superb defender. Probably the best defensive 13 around at the moment although I appreciate Jared Payne has a good claim to that too. I don't agree when people try reduce defence to something as simplistic as physicallity=good defence.

Eesh. Do you even watch Rugby?

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:42 pm

miaow wrote:
cascough wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
cascough wrote:Joseph isn't a dominant tackler. Most backs aren't. I've made that point before when someone else's defence is criticised but it often falls on deaf ears.

Very true...but in general he's solid. More than happy with him at 13.

I think he is a superb defender. Probably the best defensive 13 around at the moment although I appreciate Jared Payne has a good claim to that too. I don't agree when people try reduce defence to something as simplistic as physicallity=good defence.

Eesh. Do you even watch Rugby?

I mean, this is rich. This is coming from the person that raised doubts about Joseph's defence and then later admitted he hadn't watched him.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:42 pm

Unfortunately you started off today with a silly unecessary dig at England displaying your true purpose again.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:42 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
miaow wrote:Not as catty as Jonathan Joseph. It was like he was clawing at a ball of string trying to tackle Huw Jones!

When?

I guess you mean Jones first try, where Joseph made the tackle but the intervention of Nowell trying to assist possibly straightens Jones up enough for him to just reach the line with the stretch.

Confirmation bias indeed.

Let it go boys. Clearly you're not great at assessing a player's intrinsic abilities, as independent of his teammates as such a judgement can be. I hope none of you are involved in coaching, particularly children.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:46 pm

cascough wrote:I mean, this is rich. This is coming from the person that raised doubts about Joseph's defence and then later admitted he hadn't watched him.

Almost all your contributions on this board are guff, honestly. You're evidently articulate, but don't think your opinions through before you post them, hence declaring yourself the objective voice of reason in one of your first posts on these boards.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:47 pm

You really are lashing out today aren't you. Tough weekend?

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:48 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Unfortunately you started off today with a silly unecessary dig at England displaying your true purpose again.

True purpose? It was a WUM boys, calm down. Dear me. This board's full of them, albeit it the standard is pretty dismal.

Do you know why so many of you are biting? Because- as with all good risque jokes or antagonistic comments- it's an exaggerated form of a truth you wish wasn't there.


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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:48 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You really are lashing out today aren't you. Tough weekend?

Strange interpretation of lashing out. My weekend was very good thank you. boxing Hug

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:50 pm

Again. Discussion forum. I assume people are being serious ubless it's sn obvious joke. The Joseph thing is now obviously a wum to but I don't get why people do it.

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

Post by cascough on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 3:51 pm

miaow wrote:
cascough wrote:I mean, this is rich. This is coming from the person that raised doubts about Joseph's defence and then later admitted he hadn't watched him.

Almost all your contributions on this board are guff, honestly. You're evidently articulate, but don't think your opinions through before you post them, hence declaring yourself the objective voice of reason in one of your first posts on these boards.

My opinions are open to anyone thinking that they are guff. I'd be pretty disappointed if I was just posting things without providing examples or demonstrations of my thought process though. I also try stay away from personal insults or dismissing someones opinion without addressing the points they've made. You've just done the last to me, which I don't really think was warranted, even if you do disagree with my opinions.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:04 pm

Miaow,

Why have you come on here to spoil a decent thread?

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:04 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Again. Discussion forum. I assume people are being serious ubless it's sn obvious joke. The Joseph thing is now obviously a wum to but I don't get why people do it.

Again. Looking forward to the day you make an actual, half decent contribution to a discussion that isn't your world's worst lawyer act.Hug

Joseph's defence isn't great. I stated this before the 6Ns. I even told you how and where his weaknesses were. Said weaknesses have been eploited, one in way that I literally spelt out almost to the letter that resulted in a try. If you can't accept that, then fine, we're done, there's nothing to discuss.

However, that should be the starting point of a discussion along the lines of 'how are the Lions going to play?', or 'is it worth sacrificing Joseph's running ability for someone more defensively sound and good with the boot?' etc. Far from being the end point of a discussion as you seem the be interpreting it as, it's an analysis that should get you thinking about the Lions and NZ, where the odds are stacked against them, and if they go toe to toe on 'talent', they won't win, i.e. they need to be negative and savvy enough in their own way to disrupt the All Blacks.

You- and so, so many other English fans- have taken it to heart, unable to accept that one of your best players has a facet of his game that doesn't make him 'nailed on' for the Test side as so many were claiming prior to the 6Ns, along with Anthony Watson and Hogg (the other 2 players I called out). There's no evidence here. No counter argument. Just bitterness. It's sad that you're having to project your own biases onto me, accusing a mild wind up as my anti-English "hatred".

Play the ball, not the man, as they say, 7.5. You don't seem able to though.

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:16 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Why have you come on here to spoil a decent thread?

Surely that's the eternal 606 dilemma, no?

I don't see how I'm spoiling it, to be honest. I've posted two very explicit, tongue in cheek wind ups relating to the topic, both of which- as I've already stated- elicit the reaction they do from certain posters because of the inherent truth to them.

I could have a discussion all day about what international sport represents, and what it means in professional Rugby to for a player to represent their country. It's incredibly interesting, and a topic that is adapting all the time. Not least because it's topic is particularly pertinent to England, and one that I'm sure English fans are uncomfortable with. It's why- despite your current success- any attempt to talk about the matter seriously gets some pretty vitriolic responses from English posters, precisely because they're trying to cauterise some element of the truth in celebrating England's success. In short, they don't want to elation of being a very good rugby team again to be tempered by having to confront these ideas of representation, commercialism, identity etc., and partly I symapthise, because it's not an easy, black/white, yes/no subject. However, you can guarantee that were the England Rugby team not winning, you'd get a different response. If you were getting hammered, certain players would be scapegoated, even. That's the beauty of a good WUM: it can cut through much of the pretence and inherent bias that is just natural to have as a human being and supporter.

The Joseph comment is a little less on topic, but current nonetheless. It was a very poor tackle after all.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:18 pm

Pretty sad to come onto a thread just to wum.

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

Post by beshocked on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:20 pm

Joseph might not be the best tackler in the world but if he scores 3 tries and assists another he can be forgiven one defensive lapse!

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:21 pm

Why come on to wum though?

Theres other threads on here full of it - stick to those. This was a decent little serious thread and we were just having a chat about who will come through potentially etc..if any and you come on and start wumming where its not necessary??

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:23 pm

beshocked wrote:Joseph might not be the best tackler in the world but if he scores 3 tries and assists another he can be forgiven one defensive lapse!

Very true Beshocked

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:47 pm

Specifically relating to the OP, I think England's biggest challenge is still a mental one. So little has changed from Lancaster's tenure that hasn't been the 'top two inches', as they say. Lancaster lost his way in the RWC, and perhaps took England too much away from the pack in trying to emulate the All Blacks, but other than Jones fostering the pack and forward aggression and dominance once more- and even that is arguably largely psychology- almost all of the changes have been mental. Everything else has just been minor tactical tweaking, where the team has benefited from the coaching of Borthwick, and new players have spurred underperforming old players to raise the overall standards in a short period of time.

The difficulty will be when the honeymoon period is 'over'. Perhaps it already is. Effectively, you've just passed the first testing period; it was always going to be a much more difficult Six Nations than last year, and in winning it, even if not a Grand Slam, it's already a more impressive feat than 12 months ago. But it was a bit of a bumpy road to get there: it showed cracks in England's game, some quite large, but ultimately not big enough for them to lose a game, and surely that will put the team in good stead for the future.

I think the pack is arguably as good as NZ's, perhaps better in some regards. The depth there is very good, too. You're nowhere near as good on the floor as they are, or at the breakdown generally, but in terms of set piece, and ballast, I think it puts the two teams about on par. Where England are a fair bit off the All Blacks is handling, particularly in the backs. England play a decent offloading game at times, but it's often not at pace, or it's a pop up from a tackle, rather than a try scoring/line breaking pass. In George Ford, you have someone capable of ABs handling standards, but not really elsewhere in the team. You also don't have loads of footballers in the pack, either, though that's not necessarily a problem, as I've said.

I think in focusing on the players who are very good at one or two 'core' skills- pace, strength, footwork- England will find a backline that, though technically inferior to the ABs, can beat them on the basis of a tactically smart game up front. Watson, Joseph, Daly, and May have blistering pace, even for test level, Nowell has great feet, Te'o and Farrell are good, strong players.

I think the difference between Lancaster and Jones is the schoolmaster approach of Lancaster, trying to 'improve' what's he got, whereas Jones has played to his strengths, as he did with Japan. Let the forwards be tough and brutal, and let your backs run hard and fast and don't overcomplicate it. The Scotland game showed how easy Rugby can be when a pack that is going forward provides clean ball to a backline that comes on the ball at pace. So many of their tries were ostensibly 'simple', but beautiful in their simplicity.

The Wales and French games showed how difficult Rugby can be for England when they don't have dominance up front. Can they maintain the same standards of aggression for the next 2 years or so? That's far easier than having to adapt your game to factor in losing the battle up front, and frankly, England have lost their biggest asset if this is the case. But I do think you'll need to find a few groundhogs to steal the ball/win penalties when you are on the backfoot. I maintain that if Justin Tipuric was playing 7 for England, they'd be a very different beast, and as good as Haskell is at what he does, I still think a genuine openside providing a link between backs and forwards who can steal at a few breakdowns would improve the team quite a lot. I also don't think they have a scrum half to match their pack. Someone like Webb or Murray would also be a benefit to England.

So, the main worry for England until the next WC at least is still self belief and the culture within the team. Can they maintain their Antipodean brashness once Eddie Jones has lost a few Tests, and Hartley's performances come under greater scrutiny if George keeps pressurising him? As certain players are phased out, will the new ones deal with the expectations that come with be Test starters? As the other nations continue their development, too, will they still be able to go into games with the confidence of a winning streak behind them? This last one for me is the most important: how the team reacts once they lose a game or too. That's where, for me, as good a manager as Eddie Jones is, the coaching of the England team will be really tested to bridge the shortfall that comes with the mental dropoff.

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

Post by BamBam on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:51 pm

miaow wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
miaow wrote:Not as catty as Jonathan Joseph. It was like he was clawing at a ball of string trying to tackle Huw Jones!

When?

I guess you mean Jones first try, where Joseph made the tackle but the intervention of Nowell trying to assist possibly straightens Jones up enough for him to just reach the line with the stretch.

Confirmation bias indeed.

Let it go boys. Clearly you're not great at assessing a player's intrinsic abilities, as independent of his teammates as such a judgement can be. I hope none of you are involved in coaching, particularly children.

I sincerely hope you're kept away from children too, miaow

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

Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:54 pm

miaow wrote:The Wales and French games showed how difficult Rugby can be for England when they don't have dominance up front. Can they maintain the same standards of aggression for the next 2 years or so? That's far easier than having to adapt your game to factor in losing the battle up front, and frankly, England have lost their biggest asset if this is the case. But I do think you'll need to find a few groundhogs to steal the ball/win penalties when you are on the backfoot. I maintain that if Justin Tipuric was playing 7 for England, they'd be a very different beast, and as good as Haskell is at what he does, I still think a genuine openside providing a link between backs and forwards who can steal at a few breakdowns would improve the team quite a lot. I also don't think they have a scrum half to match their pack. Someone like Webb or Murray would also be a benefit to England.

I agree with this. When Ben Youngs is on song England are a completely different beast. The trouble is that he's inconsistent, and Care seems to be preferred as an impact sub. England could really use a young Bracken or Dawson to emerge.

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

Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:55 pm

Or they could scour Wales for the next Dewi Morris.....

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

Post by miaow on Mon 13 Mar 2017, 4:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Pretty sad to come onto a thread just to wum.

Really? I find Cyril far more entertaining than your posts. They bore me, to be honest.

beshocked wrote:Joseph might not be the best tackler in the world but if he scores 3 tries and assists another he can be forgiven one defensive lapse!

Absolutely. As I said, he's a sublime attacking player (despite being told his defence was better than his attack 2 months ago Erm ), and the debate should very much be whether that's enough to play him over a more defensively sound 13 for the Lions. As I've also said, it's not a debate for England, because England aren't setting themselves up to play the ABs 3 times, and nothing else. The Lions are held to a different standard.

If Joseph were a winger, I think he'd have a much, much better chance of being 'nailed on' already, but he's unfortunate because his position- outside centre- in both the modern game and specifically in Gatland (and therefore also Farrell's) defensive structures has become a quite specific one, and it's not an easy job by any means. Whatever Jon Davies's failing for Wales with ball in hand, he's been a very good defender in this mould, his positioning, reading of the game, and strength making up for his lack of quick burst pace, something Joseph has in bags. Gatland's shown a tendency to pick wingers who are attack-before-defence, i.e. North and Cuthbert- for both the Lions and Wales, but for 15s and 13s, he's often neglected the attacking player for a defensively sound one. This is why I feel Joseph and Hogg may be at risk from Halfpenny and JD2/Henshaw/Scott Williams, i.e. players who are defensively excellent.

But that's a debate that I'm sure will be played out over the warm up games, and I'm really looking forward to it. Far from being a stick to beat Joseph with, I'm just trying to bring to your collective attention something that perhaps you're not able to see as partisan England supporters, and it'll make the debate a little less heated and drawn down national lines if you are fair to Joseph and his defensive deficiencies, which in all fairness, aren't massive, but are enough of a margin at Test/Lions level to be a concern.

I have to say as well, I feel sorry for Nowell. He's been blamed for Joseph's defensive mistakes in both Liam Williams's and now Huw Jones's tries. High expectations of his defensive responsibilities indeed!

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