England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

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England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by LondonTiger on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 11:49 am

First topic message reminder :

At some point in the summer, Eddie Jones will announce his initial EPS. He has been talking about the difficulty he faces trying to whittle it down to that number and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with. Who would be in your EPS?

As a reminder:

The deal with PRL allows Eddie Jones to name a 45 man squad. the clubs get money for players contributed, Jones can call on them for an agreed amount of training camps and England can (to a degree) manage their workload. Jones is allowed to make a number of changes to this half way through the season. Separate 33 man training squads are announced prior to the AIs and the 6Ns - these squads are NOT restricted to players in the EPS.

Last Seasons EPS members (Bold in Both, Italics added on 31st December, normal font dropped from squad):

Forwards

Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks)
Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)

Will Evans (Leicester Tigers)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Jamie George (Saracens)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Paul Hill (Northampton Saints)  
Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)

Sam Jones (Wasps)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Matt Mullan (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Tommy Taylor
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Mike Williams (Leicester Tigers)

Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs

Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)

Alex Goode (Saracens)
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)

Alex Lozowski (Saracens)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Dan Robson (Wasps)
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)

Joe Simpson (Wasps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Spencer (Saracens)
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Marland Yarde (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Poorfour on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 1:41 pm

What annoys me is that the weaknesses that the All Blacks exploited in the first test - specifically switching off after the whistle and a lack of work rate, especially late in the game - are exactly the gaps that Launchbury and Robshaw would have plugged.

Instead, the places they could have filled went to two of Gatland's Welsh squad who, while very good players at their best, were very obviously (and by Warburton's own admission) not fully fit or in form.

I had rather hoped that Woodward had taught us the lesson of relying too much on past form.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:12 pm

Feel sorry for a few of the England players but for ford and Launchbury it well have helped cement themselves in the side.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:27 pm

Very true...and also all the England lads on the Argentina tour have a nice summer off...and will all have a nice pre-season. They'll be firing this season.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by beshocked on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:39 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Feel sorry for a few of the England players but for ford and Launchbury it well have helped cement themselves in the side.

Ford was already nailed on starting 10. Launchbury will likely be in the same position when the others come back from touring - fighting for a lock spot.

Not as if either was a fringe squad player.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:45 pm

I did miss a 'may' in that quote. But for Launchbury he's been top performing lock with Kruis out, knits the side together with a lot of guys out. Just top top class for me. Hope him and Itoje get a run together in the AI s. There were a few murmur s over ford. A sense that te'o could gt inside centre and move Farrell over. Hope that this tour has put that to bed. More a reflection of how I rate te'o than Farrell at 10 though.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by robbo277 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:50 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I did miss a 'may' in that quote. But for Launchbury he's been top performing lock with Kruis out, knits the side together with a lot of guys out. Just top top class for me. Hope him and Itoje get a run together in the AI s. There were a few murmur s over ford. A sense  that te'o could gt inside centre and move Farrell over. Hope that this tour has put that to bed. More a reflection of how I rate te'o than Farrell at 10 though.

I wouldn't mind seeing Launchbury and Itoje trialled. I think they're our 2 outstanding individuals to be honest. Autumn possibly the right time to give it a go.

I'd also like to see Ford and Te'o link up at 10 and 12. Again, possibly as an experiment.

Kruis and Farrell are similar in that they both have an outstanding facet to their game (Kruis with the lineout, Farrell with his goalkicking). But if you only throw in to 10 lineouts per game and only take 8 shots at goal, losing out on 10% in either area means you lose one extra set-piece turnover and 2 points a game (on average). If you can compensate for that in other areas while teaching Itoje to lead the line-out and giving Ford some confidence as a test kicker (he was phenomenal in Argentina), then that's for the good in the long run.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:54 pm

I feel we're doing Kruis a bit of a disservice putting him in the lineout only bracket. He's much more of a player than say Parling and brings more than being an outstanding lineout technician.

Launchbury & Itoje are great around the park but offensive and defensive lineout eould take a servere hit imo.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 2:57 pm

When talking about why Itoje wore 6 but packed down in the second row, Eddie Jones stated (and yes I know that we should always accompany his comments with a pinch of salt) that Kruis was England's best scrummaging lock, and Itoje the second best.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by robbo277 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:01 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:I feel we're doing Kruis a bit of a disservice putting him in the lineout only bracket. He's much more of a player than say Parling and brings more than being an outstanding lineout technician.

Launchbury & Itoje are great around the park but offensive and defensive lineout eould take a servere hit imo.

Kruis is a great player with an outstanding line-out. But would we be better with an outstanding player with good line-out skills?

Same as Farrell, he's not Chris Patterson or Neil Jenkins. He's a great player with outstanding goal-kicking. But his vision isn't as good as Ford's, he doesn't play as well at the gainline, and he can't carry, step and offload as well as Te'o.

I think the Autumn is the time to try these things. Let's get our best natural rugby players out there and "finish" them. We have 3 home games and the toughest opponent is Australia, let's take a risk.

Same reason I'd be giving George and Sinckler starts over Hartley and Cole.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:04 pm

I dont think it's that simple Robbo. All about balance end of the day, Kruis is a must start imo. All 4 locks are quality though

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:10 pm

I think that Itoje and Launchbury would be balanced. Itoje will learn the lineout calls well, he's working with Kruis every day and has Borthwick teaching him. He'll do well. Launchbury despite the mystifying thought he's no good in lineout is class. Maul ddence good. Took the most lineouts in the 6ns. The best 2 individual locks, if they work well together and I can't see a reason why they wouldn't it'll help push england a little further along the way. I'd echo we are blessed with locks. Ewells started to really impress me as well. Hopefully he starts to put pressure on as well.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Scottrf on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:16 pm

robbo277 wrote:

Kruis is a great player with an outstanding line-out. But would we be better with an outstanding player with good line-out skills?.
Lawes? Except switch the good line out skills for excellent.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by BamBam on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:18 pm

I think getting a stronger jumper in the back row would be a big help

Billy is obviously not a jumper, are any of the new crop at flanker strong options? Robshaw has been ok in this area, but finding a jumper even close to the quality of O'Mahoney/Read would open up so many options for the lineout

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:21 pm

Given that Farrell has missed a number of key kicks on this tour and didnt have a great game against the ABs is it time to give Sexton a start? If Best's lineout throwing is keeping him out of the side surely Farrell's trademark kicking should be under scrutiny.

I fancy Sexton to counter act the AB narrow attack much better with choke tackles and marginally more physicality, he is also familiar with Murray and kicking well.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by BamBam on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:22 pm

Ford>Sexton Wink

Guns, are you lost mate Hug

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:23 pm

Think he's tied to ireland now? I'll have to check the rules.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:31 pm

Well, I am sure Eddie will try to bend the rules to accommodate him.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by robbo277 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:38 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:I dont think it's that simple Robbo. All about balance end of the day, Kruis is a must start imo. All 4 locks are quality though

I agree largely with 7&1/2 below you. Launchbury and Itoje could develop a great partnership. There's work to be done to get a line-out leader in there, but Itoje could develop the credentials.

A back row jumper would help us out enormously. Robshaw, Haskell and Vunipola puts pressure on our two second rows regardless of who they are.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:41 pm

BamBam wrote:Ford>Sexton  Wink

Guns, are you lost mate Hug

I think Ford is a good player. Not surprising when he grew up with the Ireland team. If you look at the game plan the ABs played last Saturday though I dont think it wouldnt have played to Ford's strengths.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Scottrf on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 3:43 pm

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
BamBam wrote:Ford>Sexton  Wink

Guns, are you lost mate Hug

I think Ford is a good player. Not surprising when he grew up with the Ireland team. If you look at the game plan the ABs played last Saturday though I dont think it wouldnt have played to Ford's strengths.
But...Sexton can't be picked for England's EPS.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Poorfour on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 4:24 pm

I think we have to remember that Kruis v Launchbury isn't a level playing field; Kruis is playing the All Blacks in a scratch side - albeit one with some England and club continuity. Launchbury played Argentina in an England side, albeit one with a lot of new faces.

In Eddie's mind, I think this tour will have given him a clearer view on the 3rd and 4th in line in most positions, and might change his view on the specific question of who plays 7 (though I reckon we may well see Underhill phased in over the year rather than displace Haskell immediately). The Lions tour might have broadened his view at fullback (though I would not be surprised to see Brown hang onto the shirt unless Eddie also plans a change in tactics). Beyond that, it will be down to who's fit, and who shows up best in training.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Barney McGrew did it on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 4:32 pm

No way am I using the Lions’ individual performances as a yardstick to where the English players are now. Different boss, different coaches (some at least), different combinations, no time to learn new moves or gel as a team, away from home to the best and settled side in the world... Did I mention potato-head? Kruis hasn't just become an average player. I think England or Ireland would give the ABs a better game than the Lions (altho both would probably lose IMO).
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GunsGermsV2 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 4:40 pm

Barney McGrew did it wrote:No way am I using the Lions’ individual performances as a yardstick to where the English players are now. Different boss, different coaches (some at least), different combinations, no time to learn new moves or gel as a team, away from home to the best and settled side in the world... Did I mention potato-head? Kruis hasn't just become an average player. I think England or Ireland would give the ABs a better game than the Lions (altho both would probably lose IMO).

Probably agree with you on this however, I still think the Lions can mount a challenge on Saturday. all is not lost. There were positives on Saturday.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Poorfour on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 5:02 pm

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
Barney McGrew did it wrote:No way am I using the Lions’ individual performances as a yardstick to where the English players are now. Different boss, different coaches (some at least), different combinations, no time to learn new moves or gel as a team, away from home to the best and settled side in the world... Did I mention potato-head? Kruis hasn't just become an average player. I think England or Ireland would give the ABs a better game than the Lions (altho both would probably lose IMO).

Probably agree with you on this however, I still think the Lions can mount a challenge on Saturday. all is not lost. There were positives on Saturday.

I agree that the Lions can mount a challenge. I think they have to get more aggressive at the breakdown (a French ref may help there) and scrum (and there), work out what Hansen will do to challenge the Lions defence (and how to cope with it), and keep mentally and physically switched on for 80 (not easy given the fitness of some of the squad).

Oh, and use Sinckler more. On Saturday he was one of the best ball carriers and caused problems for the defence even at close quarters - and he can distribute. He's one of the few players the Lions have who can do Billy's job of forcing the defence to focus on him, and I don't understand why he was often bypassed by the attack in the first test. I would say he should be one of the primary options when the defence is aligned.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by SamTheQuin on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 5:07 pm

England certainly put forward a better 'finishers' bench than the Lions select.

Ref will make a huge difference this weekend.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 9:03 am

It'll certainly be interesting to see who Jones elects to go for.

Don't forget though...Eddie likes a bit of attitude and fight...and Farrell brings huge amount of that. He wont be pushed aside quickly.

Im not taking much from this Lions tour at all when focusing on the England players.

The season coming up and heading in to the AI's will tell us what we need to know.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 9:07 am

I'm interested to see what Borthwick brings back from the tour and to hopefully hear his thoughts on it.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 9:13 am

Well he'll see what Retallick and Whitlock bring.

Especially Retallick....we have (well few in the world do) no one like him!

Unless big Joe Launchbury could improve his lineout considerably. Then he'd be amongst the very best there is!

Or am I doing Lawes, Kruis, Itoje and laucnbhury a disservice by saying Retalick is so far ahead?

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 9:28 am

What are people's thoughts on Launchbury lineout skills? Ie where does he need to improve?

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:19 am

Also ...is it a major issue or completely irrelevant when a lock is 6'5 (Itoje) compared to say someone who is 6'8 (Retallick) Ignoring actual ability initially.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Hood83 on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:19 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Well he'll see what Retallick and Whitlock bring.

Especially Retallick....we have (well few in the world do) no one like him!

Unless big Joe Launchbury could improve his lineout considerably. Then he'd be amongst the very best there is!

Or am I doing Lawes, Kruis, Itoje and laucnbhury a disservice by saying Retalick is so far ahead?

I think you're right, none of them bring the same consistent aggression and physicality. He seems to dominate every collision and every engagement.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by thomh on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:22 am

robbo277 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I did miss a 'may' in that quote. But for Launchbury he's been top performing lock with Kruis out, knits the side together with a lot of guys out. Just top top class for me. Hope him and Itoje get a run together in the AI s. ...

I wouldn't mind seeing Launchbury and Itoje trialled. I think they're our 2 outstanding individuals to be honest. Autumn possibly the right time to give it a go.

We did it for the Six Nations already? They may have had the numbers the other way round, but Itoje was playing lock and Lawes was on the flank.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:25 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Also ...is it a major issue or completely irrelevant when a lock is 6'5 (Itoje) compared to say someone who is 6'8 (Retallick) Ignoring actual ability initially.

Or 6'6 AWJ vs 6'8 Whitelock. Plus NZ have jumpers in Read & Kaino in the back row.

It does explain why Best misses out though
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by robbo277 on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:31 am

thomh wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I did miss a 'may' in that quote. But for Launchbury he's been top performing lock with Kruis out, knits the side together with a lot of guys out. Just top top class for me. Hope him and Itoje get a run together in the AI s. ...

I wouldn't mind seeing Launchbury and Itoje trialled. I think they're our 2 outstanding individuals to be honest. Autumn possibly the right time to give it a go.

We did it for the Six Nations already? They may have had the numbers the other way round, but Itoje was playing lock and Lawes was on the flank.

Did Lawes call the line-out? Even if he didn't, he's a great line-out forward and better than having Robshaw at 6 (thinking about the line-out only).

I don't think Launcbury/Itoje/Lawes at 4/5/6 worked round the pitch although if you had Underhill and Vunipola over a half-fit Haskell and Hughes, maybe it would work better?

But what excites me more is Launchbury/Itoje at 4/5 work with a more balanced back-row around the park (e.g. Robshaw, Underhill and Vunipola), but then my question mark is does that leave us short in the line-out?

Australia didn't have a jumper in their back row when we played them last year, and we punished them for it. Could we get away with it in the autumn with the fixtures we have?

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by lostinwales on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:34 am

Pete C (Kiwireddevil) wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Also ...is it a major issue or completely irrelevant when a lock is 6'5 (Itoje) compared to say someone who is 6'8 (Retallick) Ignoring actual ability initially.

Or 6'6 AWJ vs 6'8 Whitelock. Plus NZ have jumpers in Read & Kaino in the back row.

It does explain why Best misses out though

I did wonder if Itoje would be too short but 1) he has long arms and 2) he is ridiculously good at jumping, so in the end it doesn't count for much as long as he stays so athletic.

I can remember seeing a video of Itoje out jumping AWJ when AWJ is being lifted and Itoje isn't.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by beshocked on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:36 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Well he'll see what Retallick and Whitlock bring.

Especially Retallick....we have (well few in the world do) no one like him!

Unless big Joe Launchbury could improve his lineout considerably. Then he'd be amongst the very best there is!

Or am I doing Lawes, Kruis, Itoje and laucnbhury a disservice by saying Retalick is so far ahead?


It's Itoje's athleticism and long wingspan which I think matters more than his height.


I think Retallick only seems far ahead because he's in a established partnership at home vs a thrown together team at the end of the rugby season.

Itoje is 22 with 12 England caps. Retallick has 62 NZ caps.

Put a good English 2nd row partnership at home in the AIs vs NZ and I think we'll see a more even contest.

Not our 2nd rowers being hampered by being partnered with AWJ.... and being in a thrown together team.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by SamTheQuin on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 10:55 am

Retallick just gets better, last week was one of the best displays of a lock I have seen.

Would agree Launchbury and Itoje is the way forward, but do need to find a jumper in the back row although have to say Robshaw is pretty good there. If Clifford comes back too and has an injury free run he is excellent for us in club games at the lineout.

Nice to have so many options to discuss.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:28 am

Itoje isn't anywhere near the level of the NZ pair yet, no matter who he's partnered with.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by robbo277 on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:35 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Itoje isn't anywhere near the level of the NZ pair yet, no matter who he's partnered with.

Launchbury is 26 with 44 caps
Itoje is 22 with 13 caps (incl. 1 Lions)

Whitelock is 28 with 86 caps
Retallick is 26 with 62 caps

As a senior partner, Launchbury is a couple of years and a number of caps behind Whitelock. As a junior partner, Itoje is miles behind Retallick in both age and experience. As a partnership, they also haven't developed.

But we have 20 tests before the World Cup warm-ups start in 2019. We could have:

Launchbury: 28 with 64 caps
Itoje: 24 with 35 caps (incl. 3 Lions)

and a very established partnership made up from our two best individual players.

If those two can bed in together, then we'll be in a great place by the World Cup. I think it's better to take the risk now then to chop and change over the 2 years.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:36 am

Lawes and Kruis might have a big word to say about that.

Especially the level Lawes has been playing at recently (since Eddie took over) .

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by beshocked on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:48 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Itoje isn't anywhere near the level of the NZ pair yet, no matter who he's partnered with.

Disagree. Whilst he's not as good as the NZ pair they benefit hugely from an established partnership, playing at home in a pack on top.

I think Itoje has done his reputation no harm so far in NZ.

As robbo says Itoje is still a work in progress.

Rugby is about combinations.

The holy trinity was so good because they worked so well together - sure individually all were excellent players but they brought the best out of each other.

Sgt Pooly you are generally overly harsh on Itoje. He's still a young player who is improving.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:55 am

Not harsh, just realistic. The lad is a very good player and will only improve, but he's not world class.....yet.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by BamBam on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:57 am

lostinwales wrote:
Pete C (Kiwireddevil) wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Also ...is it a major issue or completely irrelevant when a lock is 6'5 (Itoje) compared to say someone who is 6'8 (Retallick) Ignoring actual ability initially.

Or 6'6 AWJ vs 6'8 Whitelock. Plus NZ have jumpers in Read & Kaino in the back row.

It does explain why Best misses out though

I did wonder if Itoje would be too short but 1) he has long arms and 2) he is ridiculously good at jumping, so in the end it doesn't count for much as long as he stays so athletic.

I can remember seeing a video of Itoje out jumping AWJ when AWJ is being lifted and Itoje isn't.

That useless has been couldn't outjump Itoje if he was given a trampoline

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by BamBam on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 11:58 am

beshocked wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Itoje isn't anywhere near the level of the NZ pair yet, no matter who he's partnered with.

Disagree. Whilst he's not as good as the NZ pair they benefit hugely from an established partnership, playing at home in a pack on top.

I think Itoje has done his reputation no harm so far in NZ.

As robbo says Itoje is still a work in progress.

Rugby is about combinations.

The holy trinity was so good because they worked so well together - sure individually all were excellent players but they brought the best out of each other.

Sgt Pooly you are generally overly harsh on Itoje. He's still a young player who is improving.

That's why Pooly said he isn't anywhere near YET

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by beshocked on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:02 pm

Sgt Pooly that's just stating the obvious. Itoje isn't world class yet but he's on the right track.

He's also still proving himself as a big game player in NZ. He's clearly not the finished article but let's not be too critical.

Missed opportunity to partner Itoje with either Lawes or Kruis from the start vs NZ.

I think Itoje is one of the few 2nd rowers, the Nzers are wary of.

I don't think he's as far off as Sgt Pooly makes out Bambam.

Damning with faint praise comes to mind.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:13 pm

The NZ pairing is on a complete different level, I'd say the same about any other top class lock, not just your hero Itoje. He's a young lad, he'll improve, no need to go over the top about him.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:15 pm

I cannot see how saying "not world class - yet" is being over critical.

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by beshocked on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:20 pm

Londontiger it's more the nowhere near their level I have a problem as if Itoje isn't fit enough to get on the same pitch as the NZ 2nd rowers....


Sgt Pooly Itoje hasn't been given a fair shot at the NZ pair with Kruis or Lawes as a starter yet. Write Itoje off at your peril - he continually proves you wrong.

Itoje can't prove himself if not given the opportunity to do so.  Generally when given the opportunity he does well.

To get the best out of players they need to be in the right combinations. Itoje could well suffer on Saturday because of being partnered with the ineffectual AWJ. We sill see.

Put a strong England, with a good 2nd row partnership and I genuinely think they can match and maybe beat NZ.


Last edited by beshocked on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by BamBam on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:22 pm

All Itoje can do is win his own battles - knock them back in the tackle, carry well, win turnovers etc

As a pair, there's no chance they'll get on top of the NZ pair given the "quality" of his partner, but Itoje can leave his own marker - if he's at that level then he will, which would be no surprise to me

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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 12:22 pm

Ok Gents lets not go round in circles again please.

We have 4 top class locks who offer different things. I still wait for Simon Shaw MkII to come along to be honest, but we may be waiting a while.

It will be interesting to see which combo Jones goes with.


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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

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