England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

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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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Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 5:19 pm

With total respect to Ireland and Scotland, neither can offer what NZ can. I think we're going to need a number of our players to step up if we're going to move our game forward. Our backs attack has to create and execute at a higher level than we've seen so far in EJ's tenure.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 6:37 pm

Ireland who beat nz. Scotland who on another would have done. England look well set tbh.

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Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 7:21 pm

NZ are a cut above. They have had off days and they do have injuries. We can beat them but to try to connect the dots between one off performances and then to think that that places us in a position to successfully play tournament rugby is a stretch too far.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 7:32 pm

No. You'd really need to demonstrate consistent performance over a number of years for that.

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Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 7:37 pm

What you'd need to do is beat NZ to do that, not Scotland, Ireland or anyone else.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 7:58 pm

Think you're placing nz where they were with their previous imperious best of mccaw and carter. You could equally make your points about nz to this england team.

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Post by kingelderfield on Fri 01 Dec 2017, 8:28 pm

Yes there has been a drop off in their experience and as mentioned they have suffered with injuries, but to think that realistically observing the present can some how induce historical confusion is mistaken.
They're not as good as they were but they're still better than the rest.

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Post by Poorfour on Sat 02 Dec 2017, 1:44 am

kingelderfield wrote:Yes there has been a drop off in their experience and as mentioned they have suffered with injuries, but to think that realistically observing the present can some how induce historical confusion is mistaken.
They're not as good as they were but they're still better than the rest.

But we can't actually say that, can we? This All Black team is definitely better than the teams ranked #3 and below. But that's not all the rest.

We do not know if they are better than England currently are or not. The evidence, if we are objective, is mixed:
- The All Blacks have a bigger winning margin, on average
- The All Blacks play more aesthetically pleasing rugby
- The All Blacks have only lost games when not fielding a full-strength team
- The All Blacks have, on average, played teams ranked higher and with more ranking points
- England have lost fewer games and have a better winning ratio
- England have recorded their only loss while not fielding a full strength team
- England's loss was by fewer points than either of New Zealand's test losses
- The most recent time a team with England players has played New Zealand, the series result was a draw
- The recent NH results against SH teams suggests that New Zealand's recent results against the other RC teams are as much down to the weakness of those teams as NZ's strength. Australia had two record losses on tour; South Africa had at least one.

The assumption that New Zealand are a significantly better team is just that, an assumption. It is probably correct, but it's not the foregone conclusion that many pundits seem to assume.

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Post by yappysnap on Sat 02 Dec 2017, 5:28 am

To be honest.

The All Blacks have done enough to be assumed better then us until proven otherwise. They Okey to the opposition and we can have all the winning streaks in the world and they can still score enough to best us. You don't win back to back RWC's and sit at no1 in the world rankings for decades for no reason.

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Post by lostinwales on Sat 02 Dec 2017, 10:04 am

No question that the All Black's record is a thing of wonder, but times and teams change.

I just don't think we should approach them as somehow a special case.

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Post by kingelderfield on Sat 02 Dec 2017, 8:28 pm

Exceptional circumstances.....Ashton Toulon and ENGLAND full back Run

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 03 Dec 2017, 1:13 am

Assume that's a joke.

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Post by kingelderfield on Sun 03 Dec 2017, 7:49 pm

Offered in jest, but the irony is he's playing 15 for Toulon and is the leading scorer in the Top14 with 13 tries from however many games - they've played 12 games so far but I doubt he's played in all of them.
The backline he's playing behind is ok I guess.

Seriously though and I can't remember who it was? But yesterday somebody commented (tv pundit) that the Top14 is much like the French national side and quality wise is on the slide. The next couple of weeks will tell us more.

As for Ashton of course realistically the boat is boarded.

FB'wise I would like somebody to get hold of Malinder jr to see if he has the required potential.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 4:02 am

Mallinder has been impressive from FB from what I've seen. He obviously has a huge boot, is good in the air and has less issues in defence and he doesn't have many forwards running down his channel.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 9:35 am

Ashton would have to return to England as well of course. Looks like he'd be well down the pecking order. I'm currently back to wishing mccall would play earle a bit more. Think Watson and Brown will see us through a few more years at full back. No idea who would be jones 3rd choice.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 10:15 am

Word in the papers this morning is that Itoje damaged his jaw (on Mike Brown's shoulder!) and could be out for the 6N.

I guess looking at the positive, it will ensure he doesn't get overplayed, but a nasty accident for the lad.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 10:58 am

Poorfour wrote:Word in the papers this morning is that Itoje damaged his jaw (on Mike Brown's shoulder!) and could be out for the 6N.

Did not see the game at Stoop. How did this incident occur?

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Post by propdavid_london on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 12:00 pm

I did wonder what happened! Assumed it was an HIA. Mike Brown and Robshaw were playing like men possessed - obviously felt they had a point to prove.

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Post by lostinwales on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 12:17 pm

Reports say he went to hospital with blood pouring from his mouth. May not be much.

What I do hope is its not the same issue as I mentioned elsewhere, with the young physical guys being strong enough to play well at this level but not resilient enough - not that its that relevant in this case as Itoje has played enough to drive anyone into the ground.

Ideal situation may be a few weeks off while the scars heal. It shouldn't stop him training so he could be back for the 6N rested and fit. That is the ideal situation, just hope it is not worse.

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Post by BamBam on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 12:25 pm

To be fair, broken jaws and other impact injuries aren't really representative of resilience, more just bad luck

Muscle injuries are more indicative of that

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Post by propdavid_london on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 1:22 pm

Hopefully not that serious and the lad gets a bit of a rest at the same time.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 1:36 pm

propdavid_london wrote:I did wonder what happened! Assumed it was an HIA.   Mike Brown and Robshaw were playing like men possessed - obviously felt they had a point to prove.

I was at an awkward angle for the big screen replay but from what I could see Itoje went into a ruck at the same time as Brown and there was a head-to-shoulder clash. Didn't appear to be anything untoward in it and the ref didn't issue any sanction or review it. He definitely had a bloody mouth (no more blood capsules at the Stoop these days), and McCall said afterwards that he might need surgery.

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Dec 2017, 8:09 pm

Brown claims another victim

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Post by BamBam on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 10:22 am

If he managed to do that to Maro, I shudder to think what he would have done to Warburton

Sam is lucky the ref stepped in

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 11:29 am

It's a blow if Itoje missed the 6n but may open the door for a back rower to properly cement their place. Will be interesting to see who jones believes is worthy of the time.

Confirmed fractured jaw.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 12:29 pm

Unlucky, but I think we still have to wait to find out what the practical consequences of the break are.

At least 2nd row is one area where we can afford an injury, but he does add so much to the team going forward.

Italy game isn't important. Welsh game is 9 weeks away.

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Post by dummy_half on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 12:46 pm

Shame for Itoje, but as others have said, this is really just a bad luck injury and not one with long term consequences.

While Itoje would be amongst the first names on the team sheet for me (in the 2nd row, not at 6), his loss is probably one of the least significant in terms of drop of quality in the 2nd row options. Probably the biggest impact is that it will mean EJ has to pick a specialist flanker at 6 rather than trying to shoe-horn three top class locks into the same 15

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 12:57 pm

dummy_half wrote:Shame for Itoje, but as others have said, this is really just a bad luck injury and not one with long term consequences.

While Itoje would be amongst the first names on the team sheet for me (in the 2nd row, not at 6), his loss is probably one of the least significant in terms of drop of quality in the 2nd row options. Probably the biggest impact is that it will mean EJ has to pick a specialist flanker at 6 rather than trying to shoe-horn three top class locks into the same 15

What it means in some ways is good news. Robshaw will stay at 6 with one of Underhill or a Curry at 7. More chance for one of the new boys to get established

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 1:12 pm

Yup I could see underhill Robshaw and Hughes or vunipola as the first choice no matter. Probably just takes away the option of Lawes or Itoje as the cover which for me has never really worked anyway. Bit of a battle now.between curry curry ad Simmons. Hughes and. Clifford should be back as well?

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Post by cascough on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 2:38 pm

dummy_half wrote:Shame for Itoje, but as others have said, this is really just a bad luck injury and not one with long term consequences.

While Itoje would be amongst the first names on the team sheet for me (in the 2nd row, not at 6), his loss is probably one of the least significant in terms of drop of quality in the 2nd row options. Probably the biggest impact is that it will mean EJ has to pick a specialist flanker at 6 rather than trying to shoe-horn three top class locks into the same 15

I'm not convinced it changes much tbh.

I reckon if Robshaw is fit, Jones picks him. Where he picks him will depend on who is fit at 7, and if if it's no-one, and Robshaw plays 7 (as happened this Autumn) then he will probably still pick Lawes on the blind side. Whilst there is a drop off from Kruis and Launchbury to Isiekwe and Ewels, given Jones' record with that pair to date, I don't think he'd have any qualms about naming one of them on the bench.

I think until another back row really comes out firing and demanding a place (be that recapturing form, getting better, or staying fit) then we will continue to be lock heavy in the matchday squad. There's the slight curve ball of Hughes at 6, Billy at 8. Jones did initially say that he thought Hughes would be a 6, but I'd be worried about our lineout. Does Hughes even Jump? Struggling to remember now. That would also mean picking Robshaw at 7 as a first choice, which I can't see. Even then he wouldn't be great as the only other jumper. If Robshaw were injured and we went with someone else at 7, what is Curry like in the lineout? Or Underhill?

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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 2:43 pm

I really hope we don't go for Lawes at 6. I'd much prefer us to have 2 flankers on the park rather than 3 locks. Itoje is a decent in between but Lawes isn't for me.

I was hoping we could start moving on from Robshaw, but injuries and lack of form are keeping him involved.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 2:56 pm

Hughes does jump. Came over initially as a lock.

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Post by mid_gen on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:00 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
I was hoping we could start moving on from Robshaw, but injuries and lack of form are keeping him involved.

Robshaw is the standout England qualified flanker at the moment, by a long shot. I never understand this desire to 'move on' from our best players.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:09 pm

mid_gen wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
I was hoping we could start moving on from Robshaw, but injuries and lack of form are keeping him involved.

Robshaw is the standout England qualified flanker at the moment, by a long shot. I never understand this desire to 'move on' from our best players.

Robshaw isn't one of our best players, he's an average Int flanker. We need better at 6/7 if we want to take the mantle from NZ.

We're crying out for some of these youngsters to step up to the plate.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:09 pm

mid_gen wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
I was hoping we could start moving on from Robshaw, but injuries and lack of form are keeping him involved.

Robshaw is the standout England qualified flanker at the moment, by a long shot. I never understand this desire to 'move on' from our best players.

We all have our natural bias.

I suspect Simmons is going to be the default backup unless Clifford shows some fantastic form. Robshaw is not done yet and I'd expect him to be picked as long as he's standing. I would expect him to go post RWC.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:20 pm

Clifords form pre injury was brilliant. He gets back to that before the 6n s and there ll be a heap of pressure on Robshaw which is what we want in every position.

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Post by Scottrf on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:24 pm

Lawes and Robshaw are the best AP 6s yet neither are good enough for England. We don't choose players from outside the AP, so are we going to play 14 players?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:30 pm

Lawes has been tried and found out at 6 for international level. Itoje is wasted at 6 there too. Robshaw is the best but Cliffords skill set is a step above and hence if he can get back to.his form will be right in the frame. If curry's had a run of games you.could also consider one at 7 and move underhill to 6.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:30 pm

Tbf simmonds could.force himself in there also.

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Post by Scottrf on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:38 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Lawes has been tried and found out at 6 for international level. Itoje is wasted at 6 there too. Robshaw is the best but Cliffords skill set is a step above and hence if he can get back to.his form will be right in the frame. If curry's had a run of games you.could also consider one at 7 and move underhill to 6.

Found out? Wasn't amazing when he was in worse form. One of the best players in the prem this year at 6. Clifford has had a handful of good games in his life so lets chill the hype.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:39 pm

Found out as in not good enough at 6.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:54 pm

Lawes is not an International 6. He gets away with it in the AP as the pace and quality obviously is lower. Stick 2 locks in and Lawes at 6 and we lose balance.

Simmons is a viable option, as is Curry and possibly Hughes and Wilson.


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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 3:55 pm

I agree though Scott, he's been great for Saints.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 4:22 pm

Robshaw is still streets ahead of any other contender at 6. Happy to see him challenged, but its not likely this 6N

Luckily there isn't a Saracens contender for his shirt, otherwise Robshaw would have achieved national treasure deity status by now

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Post by Poorfour on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 4:31 pm

dummy_half wrote:Shame for Itoje, but as others have said, this is really just a bad luck injury and not one with long term consequences.

"Eh, Mike mate"
"Yes Eddie"
"Listen, mate. It's Maro. I'm worried about him, mate. I think he's gonna be overplayed at Saracens. I've tried speaking to McCall, but I can't understand what he's saying. It's the accent."
"I understand Eddie. Consider it done."
"Good lad. I'd offer you a free pass for something, but since it's you, how about a free no-pass, eh?"

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 4:32 pm

BamBam wrote:Robshaw is still streets ahead of any other contender at 6. Happy to see him challenged, but its not likely this 6N

Luckily there isn't a Saracens contender for his shirt, otherwise Robshaw would have achieved national treasure deity status by now

Our main Saracens expert seems to have gone missing. If so its a shame as he's good in small doses, not so good with the recurring arguments

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Post by BamBam on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 4:33 pm

lostinwales wrote:
BamBam wrote:Robshaw is still streets ahead of any other contender at 6. Happy to see him challenged, but its not likely this 6N

Luckily there isn't a Saracens contender for his shirt, otherwise Robshaw would have achieved national treasure deity status by now

Our main Saracens expert seems to have gone missing. If so its a shame as he's good in small doses, not so good with the recurring arguments

The 5 game losing streak may have had a profound effect

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 4:42 pm

And George forgetting to score a hat trick. Forgot to say I reckon Launchbury and Lawes have a chance to get their partnership back togethet which was extremely good in the main under lancaster and they're both far better players now.

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Post by dummy_half on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 5:17 pm

Poorfour wrote:
dummy_half wrote:Shame for Itoje, but as others have said, this is really just a bad luck injury and not one with long term consequences.

"Eh, Mike mate"
"Yes Eddie"
"Listen, mate. It's Maro. I'm worried about him, mate. I think he's gonna be overplayed at Saracens. I've tried speaking to McCall, but I can't understand what he's saying. It's the accent."
"I understand Eddie. Consider it done."
"Good lad. I'd offer you a free pass for something, but since it's you, how about a free no-pass, eh?"

Very Happy , particularly the 'free no-pass'

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 5:41 pm

BamBam wrote:...Luckily there isn't a Saracens contender for his shirt, otherwise Robshaw would have achieved national treasure deity status by now

Fun fact: Robshaw has never started an England match on the bench. When selected, he has always been in the first XV (59 times, currently). Wonder whether there is any other Test player with over 50 caps who has never been a squad substitute. [EDIT: Yes - Will Carling was 73/73; Peter Winterbottom 65/65]

Still, BOD's record of 140 starts out of 141 caps is quite something. That solitary bench start was his sixth Ireland cap

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