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 Rugby Fan on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:44 am

propdavid_london wrote:And, no Vellacott in there....interesting.
No third scrum half at all. Again.

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

Post by TrailApe on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:45 am

Wouldn't want to have to call what team he's putting out vs italy.

The Italian game... I bet SteadyEddy and the team is looking through the Law books to try and anticipate what cunning plan O'Shea has lined up this time to keep the scoreline down.

Be prepared to see them trotting onto the pitch with paragraphs written on the back of their hands and reams of 'cheat sheets' stuffed into the top of their socks.
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Rinsure on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:45 am

yappysnap wrote:The fact that there's 5 locks suggests one will be playing flanker to my mind.

Inclined to agree. EJ has shown he's more than willing to deploy Itoje & Lawes in a "shared 6" capacity, and given the lack of experience available in the back row I reckon this is the most likely starting combo, along with Robshaw and Simmonds.

Not convinced of the "hard yard" capacity there, though... although if Launch is in at lock as well then he offers some.

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

Post by TightHEAD on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:46 am

Ladies & Gentelman, this years winning 6 Nations squad is.......................

England Backs 

Mike Brown (Harlequins) Nathan Earle (Saracens)  Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints) Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks) Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) Inside backs Danny Care (Harlequins) Owen Farrell (Saracens) George Ford (Leicester Tigers) Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby) Alex Lozowski (Saracens) Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors) Marcus Smith (Harlequins)  Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) 

England Forwards 

Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons)  Nick Isiekwe (Saracens) Maro Itoje (Saracens) George Kruis (Saracens) Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) Joe Launchbury (Wasps) Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)  Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby) Lewis Boyce (Harlequins)  Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby)  Jamie George (Saracens) Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)  Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) Mako Vunipola (Saracens) Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:54 am

More the makeup of the pack and bench cas. Which of the locks start who is the 6 and 7. Does mercers promotion to full squad indicate a possible start at 8? Does simmonds move to 7? As it's italy he may be tempted.to attempt a little more risk.

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

Post by cascough on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:56 am

Tighthead that's the 3rd time the squad has been posted now, am I missing out on inside joke?

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

Post by TightHEAD on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:00 am

why worry?


Last edited by TightHEAD on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by cascough on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:00 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:More the makeup of the pack and bench cas. Which of the locks start who is the 6 and 7. Does mercers promotion to full squad indicate a possible start at 8? Does simmonds move to 7? As it's italy he may be tempted.to attempt a little more risk.

Personally think it's clear Robshaw and Underhill are his first choice 6 and 7. The Mercer/Simmonds is closer, but it would surprise me to see Jones remove the current incumbent. I can't think of many times he has done that. Kruis, Joseph are the only ones that spring to mind. And that was form related. Not something you can really level at Simmonds.

Who do you think might force their way onto the bench? The only other one besides those I've listed is Sinckler. Other wise I don't think Earle, Mallinder, Solomona, Graham, Dunn or Boyce will get near. That doesn't leave a right lot!

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:05 am

I'm not sure who he now sees as his first 2 locks. I'm. Not sure who he will play at 6 and 7 predominantly as underhill is just back. I'd agree he seems to see on has seen underhill and Robshaw as his first 2 and simmonds as that next 8 but....Simmonds has been mentioned as a 7 mercer has been moved from apprentice. The obvious choice for loosehead cover is Hepburn but I wouldn't put my house on it. We all know he'll start brown until.suddenly Watson will be there!

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

Post by cascough on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:17 am

For a bit of fun... there are seem to be some things that are set in stone in the Eddie Jones regime, that no matter what happens, what anyone thinks or says, simply shall not change. But let's assume Eddie Jones' dog has gone missing and he's started to receive some hair clippings through the post...in order of, which he will give up first, to not changing it until he receives an ear, would you rank his decisions.

Mine would be

Ben Youngs and Danny Care, when fit, shall be the only 2 scrum halves in a squad
Dan Cole starts, regardless of the opposition
If Robshaw is fit, he starts
Dylan Hartley starts as captain
Mike Brown starts



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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:22 am

Ford at 10 Farrell at 12.

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

Post by cascough on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:24 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Ford at 10 Farrell at 12.

You need to put it in the list! Besides, he's already reneged on that a couple of times. You can't have that one.

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

Post by propdavid_london on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:26 am

cascough wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:LoTa of interesting picks in there. Wouldn't want to have to call what team he's putting out vs italy.

I don't think it's that difficult to be fair. Jones is a fairly consistent selector.

My guess would be

Mako
Hartley
Cole
Itoje
Lawes
Robshaw
Underhill
Simmonds
Youngs
Ford
May
Farrell
Joseph
Watson
Brown

Hepburn
George
Williams
Launchbury
Mercer
Care
Slade
Nowell

He could even go 6:2 and bring Kruis onto the bench in place of Nowell.
I didn't think that Nowell would be fit for 6N! Broken jaw wasn't it?

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

Post by Scottrf on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:26 am

Why can't you play with a broken jaw? What a softie.

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

Post by beshocked on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:35 am

Why would I pretend I am a Wasps fan?

Actually I think Ford-Farrell combo needs to stay for now. No real alternative is jumping out.

I am a bit worried about the prospect of Ford facing Ireland but no more than Hartley or Brown or Robshaw.


Hartley has lost to Ireland in 2010,2011,2015,2017 - only notching up 2 wins as a starter in 2012 and 2014.

Hartley's win record seems to matter so much to many of you - thought his win/loss ratio as a starter vs Ireland would be of interest. As a starter - 2 wins, 4 losses.


If Jones is going to experiment it should be vs Italy but I doubt he'll do it.

We'll see a rather uninspiring England XV picked.


I just don't feel like Jones is making improvements to England's 23. He's picking some newer players (very few as starters).

England aren't no 1 in the world and still need to work out how to beat Ireland in Ireland (Ireland's gameplan isn't groundbreaking).

Jones hasn't been helped by injuries but he seems stuck in his ways.


cacough agree but swap Brown and Hartley around, Jones has made it clear in the media, the more the media question Jones' decision to retain Hartley as captain the more stubborn he is.

Even I can see why Jones loves Hartley, from his POV he sees Hartley as someone who has helped him to 22/23 wins.


Also a 3rd hooker contender has not emerged to challenge either Hartley or George.


I am also worried about England in terms of ball carrying and the breakdown.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:42 am

Positive review from you beshocked!

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:47 am

For italy I'd like to see this team:

Vunipola hartley sincklwr
Itoje Launchbury
Robshaw underhill
Mercer
Youngs ford
May
Farrell slade Watson brown.
Hepburn george Cole Lawes simmonds care Joseph solomona.

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

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:55 am

Beshocked, we have typically lost in Dublin due to being bossed at the breakdown.

Two recent wins there:

In 2011 RWC warm up we were always on the front foot against an Irish team that was struggling to win a game in their warm-ups
In 2013 in dire conditions our pack fought and scrapped right to the end.

Now I am not saying that Hartley has not had a bad run in Dublin he has, but I doubt many would claim we won in 2013 because Tom Youngs was the hooker Very Happy

I do agree with most of your points. Liek pretty much all of us I desperately want to see a 3rd hooker and SH coming to teh fore (for differing reasons). I am really struggling to see what is keeping LCD from being involved (other than injuries and he is fit and in-form now)

Over the last few weeks in interviews Cole, Care and Farrell have all been effusive in their praise for Hartleys impact and commitment during the squad sessions. He obviously is bringing things to the table that we do not see and the players appreciate. If this is mainly off-field though, perhaps he should be added to the coaching staff?

I still maintain though that if we have Hartley and George in teh squad, then for overall team performance it works better with the Saint starting and the Sarrie on the bench - despite believing George is the better player.

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

Post by Scottrf on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:58 am

"Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in".

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

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:05 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:For italy I'd like to see this team:

Vunipola hartley sincklwr
Itoje Launchbury
Robshaw underhill
Mercer
Youngs ford
May
Farrell slade Watson brown.
Hepburn  george Cole Lawes simmonds care Joseph solomona.

Assuming all the named players are actually fit -

I would like to see: Mako, Hartley, Cole, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Simmonds, Mercer, Youngs, Ford, May, Farrell, Slade, Watson, Brown + George, Hepburn, Sinckler, Launchbury, Underhill, Care, Joseph, Nowell

I expect to see: Mako, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Simmonds, Youngs, Nowell, Farrell, Joseph, Watson, Brown + George, Hepburn, Williams, Kruis, Underhill, Care, Slade, May

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

Post by Cumbrian on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:12 am

I know it makes me immature to find it amusing and it is only because of alphabetical order, but I see that Gary Graham is now the first forward on the team sheet. Very Happy
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by Cumbrian on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:13 am

Might be time for a new thread?
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Re: England's Elite Performance Squad - 2017/18

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:23 am

Cumbrian wrote:Might be time for a new thread?

Yeah, an England 6 Nations thread maybe

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

Post by beshocked on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:37 am

Londontiger I agree the breakdown has been important which is why I am frustated by the lack of progress in the backrow conundrum

Yes there has been misfortune with injuries but I feel it's an area that made the England of 2002- 2003 the team to beat.

Of course there was more to that 2002-2003 side than the backrow but it's an area, England haven't quite cracked since.

True but H2Hs do matter to a degree who IMO - when you are on a winning streak/losing streak vs a specific opposition it can have a psychological impact.

Scotland shouldn't have had 60 points put past them in last year's 6 nations but England have a hoodoo over them, particularly at Twickenham.

Same with Australia and Wales. Wales should be able to beat Australia but psychologically they really struggle.

I am not suggesting that Hartley or Ford necessarily have a psychological block vs Ireland but clearly Ford has been more comfortable playing Wales than Ireland.

Has Ford lost to Wales as a starter? I am not sure he has.

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

Post by king_carlos on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:54 am

Losing to Ireland compared to Wales has far more to do with Ireland being a stronger side, beshocked.

Particularly in the line-out where England's maul defence still needs improvement. The back row battle was also telling with Robshaw missing and Billy needing a run of games.

The kicking game of Sexton also exposed the lack of continuity in the back three IMO. Due to injury and lots of strong options wingers have chopped and changed a lot. The England back three is as strong as it has been since Robinson/Cohen/Lewsey but the lack of a unit means they can make poor decisions when pressured by good kicking. Sexton applies that pressure extremely well.

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

Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:58 am

POM killed us in that game.

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

Post by lostinwales on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 12:25 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:6.Robshaw
7.Underhill
8.Simmonds

I can't see any player making the hard yards from that trio, it's slightly worrying times. I don't know why Morgan hasn't been brought in as a 3rd option, we can't run with just 2 x 8's.

I think Morgan is down as being too fat and not enough form. I don't think he fits with Eddie's work ethic and I don't think he has produced the kind of performances which demand selection.

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

Post by tazfalklands on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 12:51 pm

I think the George Ford being to small is helping England.

Its a bit like an inverse WarrenBall. You know exactly what's going to happen. The opposition are going to continually going to send a big runner down Wee Georgie's channel. He wont stop them (he may not drive players backwards but he always gets a hand on them) but will slow them enough for the support to help get the payer to ground, and because the attacker thinks he's going to run over Wee Georgie he has the ball well tucked up with no thought of passing.

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

Post by cascough on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:11 pm

Interesting Velacott is in the EPS (which isn't published at Eddie Jones' request).

You'd think that should Youngs or Care pick up a knock he'll come in.

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

Post by beshocked on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:25 pm

king_carlos wrote:Losing to Ireland compared to Wales has far more to do with Ireland being a stronger side, beshocked.

Particularly in the line-out where England's maul defence still needs improvement. The back row battle was also telling with Robshaw missing and Billy needing a run of games.

The kicking game of Sexton also exposed the lack of continuity in the back three IMO. Due to injury and lots of strong options wingers have chopped and changed a lot. The England back three is as strong as it has been since Robinson/Cohen/Lewsey but the lack of a unit means they can make poor decisions when pressured by good kicking. Sexton  applies that pressure extremely well.

king carlos Lancaster's England did much better vs Ireland than Wales.

Ireland are good, yes but not unbeatable. If they were, they'd be higher ranked in the world.

It's not as if Ireland have beaten England by doing something unexpected or particularly spectacular.

Our last 2 losses in Ireland were incredibly dull affairs IMO.

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

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:28 pm

cascough wrote:Interesting Velacott is in the EPS (which isn't published at Eddie Jones' request).

You'd think that should Youngs or Care pick up a knock he'll come in.

Where have you seen info on the EPS?

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

Post by cascough on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:29 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
cascough wrote:Interesting Velacott is in the EPS (which isn't published at Eddie Jones' request).

You'd think that should Youngs or Care pick up a knock he'll come in.

Where have you seen info on the EPS?

Several journalists reporting it on Twitter this morning.

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

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:37 pm

Based on Nick Mullins tweet about EJ's press briefing:

Wiggy, Robson & Vellacott are all viewed as back up
Nowell being looked at as a 13
Mercer has toughened up
LH cupboard bare due to injuries

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

Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:38 pm

See Harry Mallinder has been included in the squad. He was good for England in their under 20s RWC win in 2016.

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

Post by propdavid_london on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:48 pm

Mallinder was good for the U20s - I am surprised at his inclusion though. He has been on the receiving end of some spankings for Saints. Some of them were pretty bad personal performances too! But, we've all seen that EJ only pays so much attention to club form. Harry has definitely looked better from 15 than 10 I thought. Perhaps Eddie wants to look at him in that role rather than the utility player.....

Nowell as a 13! interesting. He could be quite effective there and coming into the middle off his wing line is something he did quite effectively - Would make a useful bench option in the same way that Daly can cover the midfield and back 3.

Mercer may well have toughened up, but sometimes there is no substitute for bulk. Especially in the carrying stakes of the back row. May well be someone to come on in an open game but not sure how he would fair in the grinding games that could easily be 'France'.

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

Post by propdavid_london on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 1:54 pm

Boyce is another. Surprised he hasn't been given the apprentice tag!
Looks handy in the loose, but there are a number of ? over his scrimmaging. Barring the Wasps game recently (that Eddie watched) where he did quite well.

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

Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 2:10 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Mallinder was good for the U20s - I am surprised at his inclusion though. He has been on the receiving end of some spankings for Saints.  Some of them were pretty bad personal performances too! But, we've all seen that EJ only pays so much attention to club form.  Harry has definitely looked better from 15 than 10 I thought. Perhaps Eddie wants to look at him in that role rather than the utility player.....

Nowell as a 13! interesting. He could be quite effective there and coming into the middle off his wing line is something he did quite effectively - Would make a useful bench option in the same way that Daly can cover the midfield and back 3.

Mercer may well have toughened up, but sometimes there is no substitute for bulk.  Especially in the carrying stakes of the back row.   May well be someone to come on in an open game but not sure how he would fair in the grinding games that could easily be 'France'.

Saints were a shambles though. I reckon under Gaffney they will improve a lot. I have a feeling they might even beat Saracens in the champions cup on Saturday.

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

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 2:17 pm

Mallinder has many of the qualities to be a top player. If you look at his performances for the U20's, he was head and shoulders above anyone else.

I think he's struggled with nailing a position and Saints struggling of course, a lot was put on his shoulders.

I like that Eddie is getting him involved, hopefully Gustard can sure up his defence.

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

Post by Scottrf on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 2:20 pm

Struggled because he is bad defensively, a terrible kicker and a poor game sense. He does some good things attacking wise though.

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

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 2:30 pm

Interesting Scott as his kicking from hand was a major plus for England.

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

Post by Scottrf on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 2:35 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Interesting Scott as his kicking from hand was a major plus for England.

He can kick long, but has no accuracy. From penalties, he has an incredibly high missed-touch ratio, especially if there isn't much angle to play with.

For the posts, he's just awful.

EDIT: Statbunker has him at 36/51 conversions (70.5%) and 16/26 penalties (61.5%) for 67.5% overall.

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

Post by Poorfour on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 3:17 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Boyce is another.  Surprised he hasn't been given the apprentice tag!
Looks handy in the loose, but there are a number of ? over his scrimmaging.  Barring the Wasps game recently (that Eddie watched) where he did quite well.

To be fair to Boyce, it can take a full season for a prop to integrate into a new scrummaging setup when he changes clubs. He's had a bit of a baptism of fire courtesy of Quins' injury crisis and Marler's stupidity, but he has stepped up impressively quickly. I imagine Eddie will have spoken to Wig and Kingston about where his scrum technique is at, and will have made his choice based on that. Given that the Quins setup has contributed Marler, Sinckler and Collier (who is injured and behind what Eddie wants in fitness terms, but is possibly the best technical scrummager in the wider England player pool) in the last few years, their opinion will count.

I also suspect that Eddie's selection of Lewis might be a (typically cheeky) way of putting Marler on notice that if he continues to behave like an idiot, Eddie can always find another prop.

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

Post by Nottswasp on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 3:55 pm

"Low rent imitation" and blocking
Rather than debate, be open to opinions and read.....didn't realize so many trump supporters liked rugby lol

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 4:28 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Mallinder has many of the qualities to be a top player. If you look at his performances for the U20's, he was head and shoulders above anyone else.

I think he's struggled with nailing a position and Saints struggling of course, a lot was put on his shoulders.

I like that Eddie is getting him involved, hopefully Gustard can sure up his defence.

That's because he's 6'5!

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

Post by lostinwales on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 4:40 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Mallinder has many of the qualities to be a top player. If you look at his performances for the U20's, he was head and shoulders above anyone else.

I think he's struggled with nailing a position and Saints struggling of course, a lot was put on his shoulders.

I like that Eddie is getting him involved, hopefully Gustard can sure up his defence.

That's because he's 6'5!

Saw him vs Scotland in the JWC. He was the tallest guy on the pitch from either side. (Kitchener the younger was possibly taller but on the subs bench)

Very good in the U20's.

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

Post by yappysnap on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 7:26 pm

What's Youngs form been like this season? Care started out poorly but has got back up to top form recently, seems to be kicking well too atm

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 8:46 pm

Ok genuine questions about our back row.

People say we've been bossed by the Ireland back row....

So

1. Is Underhill and his physicality and tackling a start to bridging the gap?
2. Will Mercer potentially increase that? He really looks like he's developing well since he made the step to senior rugby. Will he get much game time this 6n? Will he any impact this 6n?
3. Is Simmonds going to offer enough carrying in the tight? Or will that role be passed on to some of the bigger guys in the tight 5? Or will it result in a tactical change?
4. Will Robshaw still be the key player? Mopping up the ball and being in the right place etc...?


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

Post by Exiledinborders on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 9:14 pm

yappysnap wrote:What's Youngs form been like this season? Care started out poorly but has got back up to top form recently, seems to be kicking well too atm
It is hard to tell what Youngs' form is like because he is playing in such a poor club side. I cannot recall such an uninspiring Tigers team. I doubt he will let England down.

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

Post by Poorfour on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:07 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Ok genuine questions about our back row.

People say we've been bossed by the Ireland back row....

So

1. Is Underhill and his physicality and tackling a start to bridging the gap?
2. Will Mercer potentially increase that? He really looks like he's developing well since he made the step to senior rugby. Will he get much game time this 6n? Will he any impact this 6n?
3. Is Simmonds going to offer enough carrying in the tight? Or will that role be passed on to some of the bigger guys in the tight 5? Or will it result in a tactical change?
4. Will Robshaw still be the key player? Mopping up the ball and being in the right place etc...?


Good questions.

1. It depends on the tactics. When we had Haskell at 7, the tactic was just to clear out and not worry about much else. Last year, without Haskell and Robshaw that didn't work against Ireland, whose back row was much more dynamic. Partly because they weren't playing a crock, a lock and another crock there.

Underhill has Haskell's dynamism but is also pretty adept over the ball. The issue so far has been his decision making about when to go for what, and his tendency to get crocked. As he gains experience, he should make us much more capable there.

2. Mercer seems to me more in the mould of Clifford, of Clifford could stay fit for any length of time. A balance of pace and power, rather than outright power.

3. It's not carrying in the tight that's the issue, it's line breaking. We have plenty of players who can be relied upon to make a yard or two in traffic, and even a couple who can get the ball back quickly. What we lack with no Billy and no Hughes is someone who will just smash through the line. Simmonds might have the power to do that given his leg drive and low centre of gravity, or he might not. Mercer probably doesn't, but has the acceleration to exploit half gaps, which may amount to the same thing. We will find out.

However, I suspect we will call on Mako and the Sinck to do most of the linebreaking.

4. Yes.

Whatever us lot and pundits think, two successive England coaches and three successive Quins coaches have picked Robshaw whenever he's fit. The exceptions are Martin Johnson, who preferred a superannuated Lewis Moody, and Warren Gatland, who for some reason totally unconnected to his day job prefers any Welshman who can pull on a shirt without wincing too much over anyone else.

Here's a game for the Six Nations: take a drink every time Robshaw makes things slightly better for England. Then watch the game again and take two drinks for every one you missed the first time around.

At the end of the game, you will be very drunk. He's the rugby equivalent of Dave Brailsford's doctrine of marginal gains. Which, since rugby is a game that hinges on very fine margins, is a useful thing.

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

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 18 Jan 2018, 10:28 pm

Thanks poorfour...

It'll be interesting to see how it goes.

I think its pretty guaranteed it'll be Robshaw and Underhill on the flanks and their partnership will be critical. Hopefully Underhill can avoid getting knocked out, and play the full games / tournament.

Itoje comes into it for me in that case as I think he's a major player on the front line breakdown etc...

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

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