England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

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England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by propdavid_london on Tue 17 Oct 2017, 10:52 am

First topic message reminder :

I missed the Chiefs game on the weekend - did Slade have a good one?
Seems like he is starting to focus on 13 - I do wonder if that is a directive from RFU.
12 is quite well stocked with Teo and hybrid 12's in Farrell, Lozowski.
After Saints demolition - Is Piers Francis still in the mix for some people?
Joseph I am sure will come back into the mix.

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

Post by Cumbrian on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 10:51 am

Who are the inside centres around the world at the moment?

Ireland: Robbie Henshaw
Wales: The Chin or Scott Williams?
Scotland: Matt Scott
France: Gael Fickou
NZ: Money Bill,
SA: Jan Serfontein
Aus: Kurtley Beale

Other people can probably better add to the list.
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by beshocked on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:01 am

Wesley Fofana is normally for France surely?

Alex Dunbar for Scotland no?

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:18 am

And I'd probably only want serfontein or a fit fofana over Farrell at present.

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

Post by cascough on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:22 am

Personally very happy our 10/12/13 options and particualrly a 10/12/13 of George Ford, Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph. We are getting results, scoring a lot of tries so I don't see it as a problem.

I think Slade is an excellent player and although Jones sees Slade as an OC, if Farrell's injured, It wouldn't surprise me to see Slade come in, and I'd be very comfortable with that.

I can see why you'd look at a Farrell/Slade combo and on the face of it dismiss it as they are too similar, but I think that's doing a disservice to Slade's running. He is reasonably quick, has a better step than Farrell and if you watched either of Exeter's superb Champions Cup victories you'd see him put in some hard yards too.

I also think Te'o is a good player at 12 or 13 and again offers something a bit different to the rest. I think we are well stocked.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:22 am

LondonTiger wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:So whats the puzzle with Englands 12's. Why cant we produce them?

And im not saying Farrell is not a good 12. He's proved he is. I just think he lacks that hard running ability that a good 12 needs.

If he had that...he'd be the complete 12 Laugh

GF - who in world rugby fits your template of a complete 12?
What skills do they need?
Running, distribution, kicking and defence?


Only asking as I suspect there are not many of them around.

Your probably right, maybe im being a bit unrealistic.

I want Brad Barritts defensive aspects and toughness, with Giteaus playmaking skills, Nonus running ability and Roberts crash ball ability. Very Happy

Not a lot to ask is it??

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

Post by Scottrf on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:23 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:So whats the puzzle with Englands 12's. Why cant we produce them?

And im not saying Farrell is not a good 12. He's proved he is. I just think he lacks that hard running ability that a good 12 needs.

If he had that...he'd be the complete 12 Laugh

GF - who in world rugby fits your template of a complete 12?
What skills do they need?
Running, distribution, kicking and defence?


Only asking as I suspect there are not many of them around.

Your probably right, maybe im being a bit unrealistic.

I want Brad Barritts defensive aspects and toughness, with Giteaus playmaking skills, Nonus running ability and Roberts crash ball ability. Very Happy

Not a lot to ask is it??

So Luther Burrell?

I'll get my coat.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:29 am

It could have been Scott! Laugh

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

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:31 am

Matt Scott plays OC these days for Gloucester and Scotland (when selected). Scotland's options at IC over the last couple of years have been Alex Dunbar and Duncan Taylor, with Peter Horne filling in on occasion.

Of those, Peter Horne is the most similar to Farrell, but not nearly on the same level (most Scottish fans don't really think he's international class, though he'll do a job when called on). Taylor and Dunbar are very different styles of players, so harder to compare. Dunbar is more in the hard-running mould, and is usually excellent at earning turnovers at the breakdown. Taylor is a very good all-round player, and would probably be in or around the squad if English IMO, though don't think he'd displace Farrell.

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

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:47 am

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Taylor is a very good all-round player, and would probably be in or around the squad if English IMO, though don't think he'd displace Farrell.

Well, he was English once upon a time Run

Ever since he moved from Bedford to Sarries in 2012 he has looked good, but never nailed down a regular starting berth in any position. Been used at 12, 13 & 15 I think

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

Post by cascough on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:51 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:And I'd probably only want serfontein or a fit fofana over Farrell at present.

Fofana is a romantic pick IMO. It's easy to be enamoured by him because he's such an exciting runner, but if you were to subject him to the same level of scrutiny and partizan club bias as our players get, in this case Farrell, it's Farrell all day for me.

Serfontein I'm genuinely baffled by. He's been woeful whenever I've seen him.

I often think that when comparing "our" players to another nations we can fall in to the trap of comparing our player warts and all (because we've seen them lots, good and bad, and have formed strong opinions) against a foreign player's highlight reel. I think this is especially true of the SH players as we don't have an ingrained rivalry to temper that hype.

One thing I'll say on Farrell, for a player that misses pressure kicks, can't tackle, can't break the gainline, has no running game, and has a poor attitude, he's bloody effective isn't he!?*

*All criticisims I've seen fans throw at Farrell on these boards over the last 12 months.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 11:53 am

Yes. Saying there are 2 players banging about that I would prefer were English means it's a romantic pick and done from a highlight reel. I'm not a critic of Farrell.

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

Post by cascough on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 12:01 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yes. Saying there are 2 players banging about that I would prefer were English means it's a romantic pick and done from a highlight reel. I'm not a critic of Farrell.

The last part wasn't directed at you, it was just a general observation. As I said earlier in the thread, I don't think we have a problem at 12, quite the opposite.

I also wasn't passing comment on wether or not you should prefer 2 players to Farrell, just that in general we tend to hold foreign players in higher esteem than perhaps they deserve. You could either refute that, or you could explain what it is you like about those two players. Your sarcastic response isn't really adding much. Apologies if my post came across as too confrontational. It wasn't meant to. Like I said, general observations. Perhaps I shouldn't have quoted you.

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

Post by beshocked on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 12:06 pm

Taylor has played lots for backline positions for Scotland but he gets injured a lot, almost as much as Manu.

Taylor is generally a shoo in for Scotland when fit but staying fit isn't easy for him.

21 caps in 4 years is a frustating return. Missed a lot of games.

Not sure people realise how many injuries he's had because he's had a tendency to slot back in well.

He's also been Saracens' first choice 13 mostly when fit but again injury after injury.

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

Post by lostinwales on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 12:15 pm

Scottrf wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:So whats the puzzle with Englands 12's. Why cant we produce them?

And im not saying Farrell is not a good 12. He's proved he is. I just think he lacks that hard running ability that a good 12 needs.

If he had that...he'd be the complete 12 Laugh

GF - who in world rugby fits your template of a complete 12?
What skills do they need?
Running, distribution, kicking and defence?


Only asking as I suspect there are not many of them around.

Your probably right, maybe im being a bit unrealistic.

I want Brad Barritts defensive aspects and toughness, with Giteaus playmaking skills, Nonus running ability and Roberts crash ball ability. Very Happy

Not a lot to ask is it??

So Luther Burrell?

I'll get my coat.

Well yeah - after all Banahan is getting a bit old for international rugby

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 12:43 pm

I don't see myself overly hyping either player cas. Of course everyone has good and negative points and a few woeful or quiet games. Those 2 guys though for me offer somthing at a different level. And yes you would on fofana s running skills as much as anything else because he's so good! I don't think id play him with Joseph more slade or even te'o especially with daly on the wing. It would be more a switch around in some respects. Serfontein granted I've only seen a handful.of his bulls games but has always impressed me for sa.
The overall aim was to suggest that Farrell has gone from a guy who I was very cynical about playing at 12 to be in a handful of players who are the very best.

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

Post by Poorfour on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 5:56 pm

It all makes you realise how under-rated Will Greenwood was... Oh that we may see his like again...

I think Banahan only played 12 for England once, in a Barbarians game, but I saw enough in that to wonder why the heck he didn't get played there more often. He had all the crash ball ability of Jamie Roberts, his vast turning circle wasn't exposed, his distribution was fine, he offered protection for his fly half and he had something unique: the ability to offload regardless of who tackled him just by lifting his arms up.

As for who else might be in the mix, we don't have any real bruisers beyond Te'o but Hill and Harry Sloan at Quins are pretty solid. Quins also ended up playing Henry Cheeseman in the centres on Sunday. I think he's listed as a wing, but as a former No 8 he may have the physicality to play 12. Very early for either Sloan or Cheeseman yet, though.

Personally, I doubt we will change from Farrell and Te'o, with Slade as backup, much before 2019 unless Manu has learned to distribute and plays himself back into contention.

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

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 5:58 pm

[quoteHe had all the crash ball ability of Jamie Roberts[/quote]

Shane Williams disagrees....

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

Post by Poorfour on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 6:59 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
He had all the crash ball ability of Jamie Roberts

Shane Williams disagrees....

Shane Williams didn't play him at inside centre, though. I always thought Banahan was a terrible winger, far too slow to accelerate and far too slow to turn. What he did worked at club level, but was too easily exposed at international level, like Wade but with different flaws.

But at inside centre his weaknesses mattered much less; you can time your run more easily, and being hard to stop counts for much more, especially when you can just pick a receiver and offload at leisure. It was a position that made the most of his strengths and made light of his weaknesses. Still don't understand why he was only tried there once.


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

Post by lostinwales on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 7:04 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
He had all the crash ball ability of Jamie Roberts

Shane Williams disagrees....

Shane Williams didn't play him at inside centre, though. I always thought Banahan was a terrible winger, far too slow to accelerate and far too slow to turn. What he did worked at club level, but was too easily exposed at international level, like Wade but with different flaws.

But at inside centre his weaknesses mattered much less; you can time your run more easily, and being hard to stop counts for much more, especially when you can just pick a receiver and offload at leisure. It was a position that made the most of his strengths and made light of his weaknesses. Still don't understand why he was only tried there once.


I have heard people who should know saying that his distribution skills were pretty good too. It's all ancient history though

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 9:10 pm

I agree Poorfour.

I said several times on this very site years ago that Banahan should have at least been trialled at centre. He was wasted at wing.

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

Post by kingelderfield on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 3:01 am

Maybe my memories playing tricks, but I'm sure I saw Johnson try Banahan at 12 against Samoa years ago?

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

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 4:28 am

Poorfour wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
He had all the crash ball ability of Jamie Roberts

Shane Williams disagrees....

Shane Williams didn't play him at inside centre, though. I always thought Banahan was a terrible winger, far too slow to accelerate and far too slow to turn. What he did worked at club level, but was too easily exposed at international level, like Wade but with different flaws.

But at inside centre his weaknesses mattered much less; you can time your run more easily, and being hard to stop counts for much more, especially when you can just pick a receiver and offload at leisure. It was a position that made the most of his strengths and made light of his weaknesses. Still don't understand why he was only tried there once.


Wing should be easier to crash ball though if you're a unit. You get 1 on 1's more than centre and less defenders close by.

Banahan was/is just a decent AP player. He's massive but he's unable to transfer that into physicality to dominate, possibly why he moved from lock to the backs as he was getting bullied.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 8:25 am

Shane Williams isn't the only small player who's brought down a big guy....and wont be the last.

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

Post by cascough on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 8:32 am

Poorfour you're correct when you say he he was only tried once at IC for England, but I thought he got caught out of position a few times, although it's a distant memory by now.

Kingelderfield, he was at OC in the Samoa game.

Sgt_Pooly has it spot on IMO. For all of his size, his contact skills were poor. The missed try against Wales on the try line was absolutely criminal. If he took just half a step to either side going into the collision he would win the collision and his sheer mass would see him over the line. Instead he just fixes Williams and runs straight and Williams is able to keep him out. Really, really poor.

Personally think the best thing about Banahan were/are his hands, which is oft overlooked because everyone focuses on his size. He was ineffective on the crash ball for me, and his defence and positioning always a bit suspect. I wouldn't have wanted that in the centres for England. Decent AP player.

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

Post by Poorfour on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 10:48 am

As I said, never rated him as a winger, but he looked worth a bit of investment at centre. I can forgive being caught out of position in your first game in a new position, and the contact skills matter less if you can stay upright long enough to offload.

Anyway, that ship has sailed. I was hoping Harry Mallinder would emerge as a credible 12, but that seems less likely over time.

Most of the kids coming through look more like 2nd 5/8ths than crash ballers, though none of them are short of physicality. And then there's Jacob Umaga...

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

Post by Scottrf on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 10:49 am

2nd 5/8ths? Are you a Kiwi?

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

Post by Poorfour on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 10:56 am

No, just trying to describe a style of play. Also, I occasionally coach with a kiwi

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

Post by lostinwales on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 11:34 am

Poorfour wrote:As I said, never rated him as a winger, but he looked worth a bit of investment at centre. I can forgive being caught out of position in your first game in a new position, and the contact skills matter less if you can stay upright long enough to offload.

Anyway, that ship has sailed. I was hoping Harry Mallinder would emerge as a credible 12, but that seems less likely over time.

Most of the kids coming through look more like 2nd 5/8ths than crash ballers, though none of them are short of physicality. And then there's Jacob Umaga...

Umaga's England credentials are impeccable, but can you imagine the reaction of the usual suspects if we played Hughes and a couple of vunipolas in the pack then had a back line containing Umaga, Tuilagi and Roko....

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

Post by beshocked on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 11:46 am

Greenwood wasn't underrated.

Also the NZers don't seem to have an issue developing centres when you think they've had the likes of C.Smith,Nonu and SBW.....

Could you imagine if England had just one of them? Admittedly SBW is a bit of a diva but still.....

There's a Gallagher in the Saracens academy.... used to be a Sella too. Talking about famous names in rugby.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 11:58 am

Lynagh s son is kicking about in one of.England's under age teams as well. Or used to be very recently.

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

Post by propdavid_london on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 12:01 pm

I have seen a few age grade games for Jacob Umaga - admittedly above his age grade perhaps! But I wasn't that impressed.
Didn't stand out like an Itoje, Malins, Mallinder!

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

Post by lostinwales on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 12:34 pm

propdavid_london wrote:I have seen a few age grade games for Jacob Umaga - admittedly above his age grade perhaps! But I wasn't that impressed.  
Didn't stand out like an Itoje, Malins, Mallinder!

I think he's trading on his name at the moment, but could well be a slow burner and I would not write him off. Itoje is just a freak (in a good way) as its hard for forwards that young to have such a big impact. I think it is easier for U20 backs to shine and Malins has shone very brightly. Mallinder is also a freak (but maybe in not such a good way as Itoje). It is impossible not to stand out when you are the tallest guy on the pitch and playing FH.

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

Post by Poorfour on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 3:15 pm

There was a lot of enthusiasm from the commentators for LI's Johnny Williams in the 2016 JRWC - and he's certainly got the size to make an impact at IC (Johnny Williams)).

(Personally, I thought Marchant was the better centre in that tournament (and the one that the other players looked to when they needed to make something happen or make use of bad ball), but he's very much an OC and has Joseph and Slade to get past.)

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

Post by kingelderfield on Sat 18 Nov 2017, 1:52 pm

Brad Shields.....coming to a national side near you....according to the Toryrag he's joining Wasps next season for parental qualification.

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

Post by lostinwales on Sat 18 Nov 2017, 2:10 pm

kingelderfield wrote:Brad Shields.....coming to a national side near you....according to the Toryrag he's joining Wasps next season for parental qualification.

Parents both English and apparently back living in the UK. There is no guarantee he'll make the grade (see Matt Symons..)

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Sat 18 Nov 2017, 2:47 pm

There wont be an English accent in the squad soon

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 18 Nov 2017, 3:57 pm

Aww. Wanted you to read the hartley george thread!

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

Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 11:36 am

It does worry me that unless there is a very 'long straw' option in Chicago next 'fall', we'll only be playing the All Blacks once in this entire cycle - apart from those who traveled with the Lions that is. Ofcourse a huge amount will have been learnt by players and coaches in NZ but as a national side I think this omission leaves us under clubbed. NZ is undoubtedly the greatest rugby lab experiment in history (regardless of the NRL) and our lack of exposure to them places us in a superficial position. Will one game really be enough?

I think the 03 vintage played (and beat them)in both 02 & 03.

This is where the likes of Ireland (who would probably get the Chicago invite if any such a thing ever exists?) who have the ability to capitalise, in developmental terms, on the opportunity, have the advantage.
IF we are able to get some where near to forfilling our perceived potential, then I would hope that the summers South African tour can offer a real challenge?
We never kicked on from Bombers tour and the real incite that was then given. It would be very exciting if such an opportunity was presented again, as I am in no doubt that Jones et al would make good.

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

Post by lostinwales on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 12:21 pm

It goes both ways though. Be nice to think that NZ will have to be worrying about us for a change.

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

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 1:33 pm

We played NZ in a pool match at the 1991 World Cup, having not faced them since 1985. The anticipation was amazing. We lost.

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

Post by Poorfour on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 2:33 pm

lostinwales wrote:It goes both ways though. Be nice to think that NZ will have to be worrying about us for a change.

New Zealand have now lost 3 times as many matches as England in this RWC cycle, and against a wider range of opponents. England have a better record against Australia than New Zealand, and I think it's honours even against Ireland. Obviously, England don't have a record at all against the Lions.

New Zealand will still be favourites when they meet, because history. But if England continue in their current vein they could go into the game only a point or so behind in the rankings and genuinely able to view the match as a test of who is the form team in this cycle.

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

Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 3:11 pm

The point surely is at least another game would have helped our evolution. Real understanding of the best side in the world would help us to counter their threats, especially when the AB's are such a unique challenge playing the game consistently at a level above all comers. Make no mistake they are the number 1 and realistically there isn't a credible argument to suggest their position will be challenged.

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

Post by Scottrf on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 3:13 pm

kingelderfield wrote:The point surely is at least another game would have helped our evolution. Real understanding of the best side in the world would help us to counter their threats, especially when the AB's are such a unique challenge playing the game consistently at a level above all comers. Make no mistake they are the number 1 and realistically there isn't a credible argument to suggest their position will be challenged.

Why isn't it credible to say that England have had more consistent results recently?

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

Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 3:29 pm

You tell me. I didn't say it wasn't.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 3:30 pm

I honestly believe england are a shade better at the mo. Especially with nz missing retallick. So in that respect yes it's a shame we didn't play them this year.

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

Post by Scottrf on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 3:32 pm

kingelderfield wrote:You tell me. I didn't say it wasn't.

"realistically there isn't a credible argument to suggest their position will be challenged."

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

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 3:39 pm

Completely hypothetical, but I think we'd have beat NZ this AI. With Coles, Kaino,.Retallick and Smith out, they've looked human. NZ are struggling to replace some of their WC players in the pack, it's hard to see where the next Read or Retallick will come from currently.

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

Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 4:22 pm

I just think as a part of our education the AB's offer the best lessons. Furthermore before you take your finals you'd want to take more than 1 Test paper.
I'm not saying we can't beat them, I just think that that we let ourselves down by not preparing sufficiently and so making things harder.

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

Post by Poorfour on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 4:47 pm

kingelderfield wrote:I just think as a part of our education the AB's offer the best lessons. Furthermore before you take your finals you'd want to take more than 1 Test paper.
I'm not saying we can't beat them, I just think that that we let ourselves down by not preparing sufficiently and so making things harder.

The entry fee for that particular mock was three million quid, though. Paying it would have set a dangerous precedent.

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

Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 5:09 pm

I know these tours are organised some way in advance, but the option must have been initially there to make this one of the 3 autumn matches. I think the money was an excuse, convenient to both sides, as neither wanted to really face the other.


Last edited by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 5:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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

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