Wales v England thread (6 Nations)

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 10 Feb 2019, 7:49 pm

First topic message reminder :

Date: 23rd Feb 2019
Time: 9:45 am (Mountain Time)
Venue: MILLENIUM Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)


Teams:

Wales: Wales: Liam Williams (Saracens); George North (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Worcester); Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, captain), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Dragons).

Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Aled Davies (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Northampton), Owen Watkin (Ospreys).


England: Daly; Nowell, Slade, Tuilagi, May; Farrell, Youngs; Moon, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Williams, Launchbury, Shields, Robson, Ford, Cokanasiga.





LondonTiger wrote:ANY personal attacks will be a ban. No warnings.


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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 1:40 pm

Well, we better not bother turning up then. Rolling Eyes

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Post by Ricardo74 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 1:41 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:...

Wins v Scotland, France, Italy and Tonga aren't that impressive anymore and if you look at the list of fixtures only the win v Scotland in the Millennium stadium stands out as a really impressive Wales performance.

If you beat England on the weekend then you can start to brag.

Ah, come on. Like they need *more* incentive...


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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 1:42 pm

Edited by LT


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Post by BamBam on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 1:44 pm

Edited by LT

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 1:46 pm

The form thing is interesting. I feel Wales 'had' England for a while - beating them in 07, 08, and 09, before a narrow loss in 10 due to AWJ's trip and an intercept try (if I remember correctly). 11 was something of a turning point and when England really clicked for the first time since 03 (can you call 07 RWC 'clicking'?).

Then, Wales have their RWC campaign, beat England in 2012 and then hammer them in 2013. So 2 competitive losses with 5 wins, and 3 6Ns titles and a RWC semi-final to 1 6Ns for England.

Consequently, I think Wales have suffered for a few reasons. The big one, though, is the Lions. This isn't the thread to go over the nuances but, really, last season was the first year post-2013 that Wales have 'had' Gatland fully and not been in a RWC run-in, or a recovery/redevelopment period after a big tournament. The difference between 17/18 and 13/14 is quite clear in terms of coherent development and players used (losing in Japan v beating Argentina on tour; two SA wins and Aus v no SH wins and having to have a 'probables v possibles' game).

Anyway, you can argue how much having Gatland in and out has hindered the team. I think it's been significant, and also has taken Gatland's focus away even when he has been 'there'. But the results have been emphatic: England won in 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 in the 6Ns. The one they lost was the game that knocked them out of the RWC, of course.

2014 was shocking, the worst of the lot. Care's try epitomised how Wales were way off it. England pumped after the 2013 and got some sort of payback. 2015 a good win but Wales definitely in RWC mode: very little in the way of 'specific' gameplan. Instead, that was saved for the autumn, and it worked. Again, devastating for England. 2016 saw Wales caught cold, probably the most disappointing as Wales were rightly favourites but England steamrolled them. Wales nearly nicked it but a deserved win for England who rid some of the ghosts of the WC. 2017 saw Wales bottle it and then 2018 was pretty 50:50 game in that both teams weren't on top form, it was a pretty dreary game, and still Wales nearly won it and should have been closer have Anscombe's try been given.

All this talk about England being Wales' Everest smack as a bit of projection for EJ. I have no doubt that after the 13 and 15 results England feared Wales when it really counted, particularly as Wales had a good winning run against them from 07. They harnessed that to turn it around when Wales were perhaps underpowered - 14, 18 definitely - and got the wins. But EJ clearly wants Wales (and Ireland) to be also-rans in the NH. His wants to tap into England's power and psyche to make them arrogant, and for the results to back them up. To be in a position where only the AB's can challenge them on the world stage and, even then, England believe they are better.

The reality is, even with the winning run against Wales, Wales have won 2 of the 3 big ones: 13 for GS, 15 in the RWC. England won the 17 game for Lions selection. You can argue the merits of the others but, to me, those were the three biggest games not 'mitigated' by recovery or preparation.

I Wales win this - and I think they're 3/4 key players away from doing that - then I think England go back to having a psychological issue with Wales. EJ's motivation tactics are a bit boom and bust and whilst this might work and take them on a wave to a RWC final, it could also crumble if they lose at the Millennium and miss out on a title having thrown everything at Ireland in that first game.


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Post by The Oracle on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 1:53 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:... Every time we play England we're written off, yet the win ratio is not far off 50%....

I was wondering about that. I don't think Wales are always written off. For instance, at the start of the 2016 Six Nations, all the Guardian rugby journalists predicted a win for Wales. However, I think England supporters began to see Wales the same way Australians saw England. Until the recent fall off in form, a lot of Wallaby supporters always imagined they had the beating of England, even though we had a good record against them (it's now 25-24 to Australia, with one draw, which is easily the best record any northern teams has against one of the big 3 southern sides).

The England Wales record is 62-57 with 12 draws, which surprises me a little, since I grew up watching Welsh sides run rings around England. It took me a long time to think we might ever be favourites for a game in Cardiff since our record was so poor there. When we finally won in 1991, it was the first time we'd done so since 1963. That's about the time that England began thinking not just that we might beat Wales, but that we ought to beat them.

In the professional era (which is something of an arbitrary line to draw), England are ahead 20-8, so it's never been insane for an England supporter to imagine his team can beat Wales, but it's close enough for a Welsh supporter to also feel confident of his team. In Cardiff, the record is 7-5 to England, so it's a notably tougher place for us to get a win, and somewhere I doubt any pundits write off the chances of a win for Wales, even if their form is poor in the lead-up.

This weekend, I don't think Wales are in poor form. They haven't perhaps clicked in the last two games but they are on a winning steak, and Cardiff isn't a venue where the team wilts. In 2011, Wales hadn't won a game in eight Tests, but England only won that Cardiff match by seven points.

Consequently, if England do manage a win on Saturday, then it will probably count as one of the best we've managed in the professional era.


Yes, past experience can colour things certainly. It was the opposite for me. My earliest memories of really getting into and watching/supporting rugby was in the 90's, and a win against England was so rare. That 1999 Wembley win was like nothing I'd experienced - it was a Sunday and the pubs were packed and most ran out of beer in my local area! The pubs stayed packed til closing time. On a Sunday! It was like we'd won the word cup, even if that is a little sad for only a 6N game!

I know form, recent history, etc. goes against Wales - but I feel we're due a win (statistically) against England. Hoping it's close and then....... who knows.
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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:00 pm

Scottrf wrote:
miaow wrote:I agree he's growing into the captaincy. He's actually surprised me how he's basically curtailed his inclination to 'lose it'. I just think that, underneath it all, he's not really in the same league as a Warburton or someone like Guirado. He's a leader, no doubt, but I'm not sure he's the leader, if you know what I mean? I'm not sure it's wise giving him that role when he's already in a key leadership position on the field, and obviously has the personality to lead the rest of the team with his persona and drive. It might seem counter intuitive but I think leadership can be a nuanced thing and, actually, a bit of temper to the fire Hartley and/or Farrell bring would be perfect for England. Again, though, he does seem to have been cool so far, probably an age and maturity thing.

Where is Guirado's leadership? France are playing like headless chickens, collapsing in the second half, looking completely demotivated and with a broken dressing room.

I think he's a good captain but sadly surrounded by idiots (and mostly off the field). If he were playing 10-15 years ago it would be clearer how good he is.

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Post by Scottrf on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:03 pm

miaow wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
miaow wrote:I agree he's growing into the captaincy. He's actually surprised me how he's basically curtailed his inclination to 'lose it'. I just think that, underneath it all, he's not really in the same league as a Warburton or someone like Guirado. He's a leader, no doubt, but I'm not sure he's the leader, if you know what I mean? I'm not sure it's wise giving him that role when he's already in a key leadership position on the field, and obviously has the personality to lead the rest of the team with his persona and drive. It might seem counter intuitive but I think leadership can be a nuanced thing and, actually, a bit of temper to the fire Hartley and/or Farrell bring would be perfect for England. Again, though, he does seem to have been cool so far, probably an age and maturity thing.

Where is Guirado's leadership? France are playing like headless chickens, collapsing in the second half, looking completely demotivated and with a broken dressing room.

I think he's a good captain but sadly surrounded by idiots (and mostly off the field). If he were playing 10-15 years ago it would be clearer how good he is.

This for me is where the analysis falls down. Farrell has to take responsibility for England struggling under pressure, but Guirado not for France completely crumbling.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:08 pm

miaow wrote:The form thing is interesting. I feel Wales 'had' England for a while - beating them in 07, 08, and 09, before a narrow loss in 10 due to AWJ's trip and an intercept try (if I remember correctly). 11 was something of a turning point and when England really clicked for the first time since 03 (can you call 07 RWC 'clicking'?).

Then, Wales have their RWC campaign, beat England in 2012 and then hammer them in 2013. So 2 competitive losses with 5 wins, and 3 6Ns titles and a RWC semi-final to 1 6Ns for England.

If your period is 2007-2013, it's slightly odd to include Wales' semi-final and miss England's final.

2011 was an anomaly for England. 2008 to 2010 there were 3 different grand slam winners. It was a time when teams could get on a bit of a roll, but there was no standout team in Europe, and truth be told England were probably a step behind the other 3.

Lancaster's England was better than Johnson's England for example, but Johnson had a Championship and Lancaster didn't. We went 4-0-1 in 5 straight Championships and only won one of them, possibly one of the least convincing of the 5 campaigns.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:10 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:If you beat England on the weekend then you can start to brag.

It's not about bragging. I'm not sure anyone is bragging. Wales are very used to bottling it against the likes of Tonga and Italy every so often and the winning run is a mark of a few things: namely the baseline performance getting a lot better and, also related, Wales' 2nd and 3rd choice options being better than they have been in the past.

The games they lost last 6Ns were both close and both away from home. Some key scores for Ireland around half-tme put them in the lead and they turned the screw. That said, it took an intercept with time up for Stockdale to kill the game - if that pass goes to hand Wales race up the field with a one man overlap and are only 3 points down. They score and they win the 6Ns. Also, beat Ireland in 2017 at home and drew (should have won) in Dublin in 2016. And this is and Irish side that is 2 from 3 against the ABs.

I've touched against England above but, again, one incorrectly disallowed try, one butchered break by Shingler, and one try saving tackle on Scott Williams. Like against the ABs in the Autumn England didn't score for 60 mins or so against Wales and it was very much a 'kick and try to hold' on approach. Once again, this is an England team that has won two 6Ns titles since the RWC and are now being talked about as RWC contenders again.

So two defeats in that winning run against two quality teams, both of which were very close. The results before that similarly close. The issue with Wales has always been why the bottle it against average Australian and SA teams. The winning run includes a change in that regard: first win against Oz for 10 years, and two against SA, albeit a 3rds against 3rds match in one.

So get it right: no-one's bragging, and if they are, well every nation has their idiot(s) who will try to derive achievement and self-worth on the back of where they were born. No issue there - but hopefully we're all rugby fans/players here before we're nationalists! But the run says what it says and most Wales fans know where they are. If/when it clicks Wales - with all the situational things that help that i.e. Gatland/Lions/injuries - can beat England and Ireland, particularly at home, even when England and Ireland are in good form.

I make England favourites for this game because I see weakness at 9/10/12 and 4 - and also, just generally, physically when playing England. But to suggest this is a gimme or a case of England turning up and just hoofing it for May to score - without Wales being able to keep going for 80 minutes and grind their way back into it - is inane.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:15 pm

Interesting stats in the telegraph show Manu and Slade have passed the ball a combined 5 times over the first two games. When I first read it I thought it must mean to each other. But no. 5 passes. Sinckler has 7 by himself.

The stats I have show:
Manu - 16 carries, 4 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Slade - 17 carries, 1 pass, 4 kicks from hand
Mako - 23 carries, 3 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Sinckler - 16 carries, 7 passes, 0 kicks from hand

Other than Slade's kicking game, there's little to distinguish between the props and centres in terms of total touches (all between 20 and 26) and carry/non-carry split.

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Post by Scottrf on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:18 pm

Sinckler probably has been running better lines than the centres too notworthy

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Post by Ricardo74 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:19 pm

miaow wrote:...and one try saving tackle on Scott Williams.

And what a tackle that was:

https://youtu.be/H8GBQ8WT4Hg?t=114

I think it's pretty clear that any side putting together a win-streak into double figures is going to high on confidence and has to have demonstrated a degree of strength in depth to achieve it, not to mention the mental fortitude alongside it. The fact that Wales are on a high going into this game, as are England, just makes it all the tastier. Throw in a full and roaring Principality Stadium - this is what it's about!

Thought: any word on the roof? Have I missed anything on that front?


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Post by Ricardo74 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:22 pm

robbo277 wrote:Interesting stats in the telegraph show Manu and Slade have passed the ball a combined 5 times over the first two games. When I first read it I thought it must mean to each other. But no. 5 passes. Sinckler has 7 by himself.

The stats I have show:
Manu - 16 carries, 4 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Slade - 17 carries, 1 pass, 4 kicks from hand
Mako - 23 carries, 3 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Sinckler - 16 carries, 7 passes, 0 kicks from hand

Other than Slade's kicking game, there's little to distinguish between the props and centres in terms of total touches (all between 20 and 26) and carry/non-carry split.

That *can't* be right. Slade obviously threw that beautiful pass to May for the chip which ultimately led to Slade's try. Are you saying that is the *only* pass he's thrown thus far? Or am I misreading it? Or am I wrong and that is the only pass he's made?


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Post by Scottrf on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:23 pm

Ricardo74 wrote:Thought: any word on the roof? Have I missed anything on that front?

It will be open.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:23 pm

robbo277 wrote:
miaow wrote:The form thing is interesting. I feel Wales 'had' England for a while - beating them in 07, 08, and 09, before a narrow loss in 10 due to AWJ's trip and an intercept try (if I remember correctly). 11 was something of a turning point and when England really clicked for the first time since 03 (can you call 07 RWC 'clicking'?).

Then, Wales have their RWC campaign, beat England in 2012 and then hammer them in 2013. So 2 competitive losses with 5 wins, and 3 6Ns titles and a RWC semi-final to 1 6Ns for England.

If your period is 2007-2013, it's slightly odd to include Wales' semi-final and miss England's final.

2011 was an anomaly for England. 2008 to 2010 there were 3 different grand slam winners. It was a time when teams could get on a bit of a roll, but there was no standout team in Europe, and truth be told England were probably a step behind the other 3.

Lancaster's England was better than Johnson's England for example, but Johnson had a Championship and Lancaster didn't. We went 4-0-1 in 5 straight Championships and only won one of them, possibly one of the least convincing of the 5 campaigns.

Good point, wasn't overlooking it, but 07 was a weird one for England. A final earnt more through guts and determination of the likes of Wilkinson and Dallaglio than any coaching plan or long term quality. As it showed, it was a case of WC holders refusing to go down meekly, and getting something of a favourable draw/deeply flawed opposition in the knockouts as well. But, still, the Wales team of 07 was by and large the team that Gatland then took forward and it's that that I'm basing it on, that transition between coaches. England won in 06 and Wales in 05 but no-one is still really involved anymore/the teams changed quite substantially after that so it feels pointless. If you want to start from 08 then so be it but it was also pointing out how Wales did have a winning run against England that began in 07 and, for a while, certainly in 09, going into those games felt very comfortable for Wales.

Also no argument about your assessment of England. Lancaster's England were very good without getting that trophy when they were good enough to. But, clearly, they did underperform in the big games when it counted and Wales managed to be the benefactors twice in the 6Ns and once in a RWC. I felt like 2011 was a thoroughly deserved win for England in Cardiff though and not too much on an anomaly (Wales' worst season under Gatland for sure but it felt like the first time Johnson had his team playing like he wanted; certainly a lot better than the 2010 game which was Wales creating their own downfall). A bit like with the 07-08 transition, the likes of Ashton and Youngs broke through and then became mainstays under Lancaster, in a way Hook did for Wales for a while. It was the foundation of the Lancaster team, which in turn became EJ's foundation before, really, we're seeing him put his hand on how he wants England to play in all areas this season.

We are talking about different teams, with different psyches, from 07 of course but I think the interesting thing is there are a number of players who still hold 'the fear' for England v Wales. A close up of the England bench in 2016 with 4 minutes to go was telling - Haskell etc. looking terrified it was happening again. England's winning streak (which is 5 in a row in the 6Ns) does suggest a dominance that I don't believe is as clear or as vast as that would suggest. It shows only that England beat Wales 5 times - once with an acting Head Coach, twice with a Head Coach who missed 12 months with the team.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:31 pm

Ricardo74 wrote:
robbo277 wrote:Interesting stats in the telegraph show Manu and Slade have passed the ball a combined 5 times over the first two games. When I first read it I thought it must mean to each other. But no. 5 passes. Sinckler has 7 by himself.

The stats I have show:
Manu - 16 carries, 4 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Slade - 17 carries, 1 pass, 4 kicks from hand
Mako - 23 carries, 3 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Sinckler - 16 carries, 7 passes, 0 kicks from hand

Other than Slade's kicking game, there's little to distinguish between the props and centres in terms of total touches (all between 20 and 26) and carry/non-carry split.

That *can't* be right. Slade obviously threw that beautiful pass to May for the chip which ultimately led to Slade's try. Are you saying that is the *only* pass he's thrown thus far? Or am I misreading it? Or am I wrong and that is the only pass he's made?


Those are the stats I'm reading, although I can't comment on their accuracy. Looking at the individual matches, they've credited Slade 1 pass against Ireland and 0 passes against France, so it would appear that this could be the one.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:32 pm

Scottrf wrote:This for me is where the analysis falls down. Farrell has to take responsibility for England struggling under pressure, but Guirado not for France completely crumbling.

Of course he has to take responsibility. But Guirado's task is mammoth in comparison to any England captain's. Perhaps Guirado is a poor choice to compare to as he hasn't had the kind of pressure and role that Warburton, or PoM or Rory Best, have to deal with as a successful captain in a winning team. Just as I said for years (even in 2013 when Youngs was with the Lions, I said Hartley would be hooker by the WC and then he went and headbutted George...) that Hartley was a key leader and player for England - but not necessarily a perfect captain - I don't doubt Farrell's leadership and qualities but I'm not sure he's 'the one' you want in a semi-final or a final, or a game where you're struggling on the backfoot. In fact, I'd say the infrequency with which Saracens and England play on the backfoot is precisely why I doubt Farrell.

That said, you only pick what you can. I think Rory Best has his issues as a captain, as does AWJ. There is no real standout for England so Farrell is probably the best choice. Tbh as well I'm not seeing Itoje as a test captain - a great leader and competitor but, again, too much of an on field troll. May be a maturity thing but until he curtails that - and he might not want to, it's all part of the game - you're not the person to converse with the ref and take the key decisions when it really, really counts.

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Post by Ricardo74 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:42 pm

robbo277 wrote:
Ricardo74 wrote:
robbo277 wrote:Interesting stats in the telegraph show Manu and Slade have passed the ball a combined 5 times over the first two games. When I first read it I thought it must mean to each other. But no. 5 passes. Sinckler has 7 by himself.

The stats I have show:
Manu - 16 carries, 4 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Slade - 17 carries, 1 pass, 4 kicks from hand
Mako - 23 carries, 3 passes, 0 kicks from hand
Sinckler - 16 carries, 7 passes, 0 kicks from hand

Other than Slade's kicking game, there's little to distinguish between the props and centres in terms of total touches (all between 20 and 26) and carry/non-carry split.

That *can't* be right. Slade obviously threw that beautiful pass to May for the chip which ultimately led to Slade's try. Are you saying that is the *only* pass he's thrown thus far? Or am I misreading it? Or am I wrong and that is the only pass he's made?


Those are the stats I'm reading, although I can't comment on their accuracy. Looking at the individual matches, they've credited Slade 1 pass against Ireland and 0 passes against France, so it would appear that this could be the one.

That being the case, it really does show how England are using the props as first receiver distributors close in to the ruck, moving the point of attack one pass further out and targeting the outside shoulder of the guards at the ruck, rather than ploughing into them. There's Sink's scrum-half pass for May's try against France too, but I think that's anomalous to the rest of the pattern.

The centres haven't had much ball in hand in space, presumably due to the (much discussed) kicking-in-behind tactic used in the first couple of matches. I still find that carry:pass ratio to be surprising; something one expects of Manu, perhaps, but less of Slade. That said, the kicks from hand for Slade might correlate to what would normally be thrown as passes... not sure, just thinking aloud!

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:44 pm

miaow wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
miaow wrote:The form thing is interesting. I feel Wales 'had' England for a while - beating them in 07, 08, and 09, before a narrow loss in 10 due to AWJ's trip and an intercept try (if I remember correctly). 11 was something of a turning point and when England really clicked for the first time since 03 (can you call 07 RWC 'clicking'?).

Then, Wales have their RWC campaign, beat England in 2012 and then hammer them in 2013. So 2 competitive losses with 5 wins, and 3 6Ns titles and a RWC semi-final to 1 6Ns for England.

If your period is 2007-2013, it's slightly odd to include Wales' semi-final and miss England's final.

2011 was an anomaly for England. 2008 to 2010 there were 3 different grand slam winners. It was a time when teams could get on a bit of a roll, but there was no standout team in Europe, and truth be told England were probably a step behind the other 3.

Lancaster's England was better than Johnson's England for example, but Johnson had a Championship and Lancaster didn't. We went 4-0-1 in 5 straight Championships and only won one of them, possibly one of the least convincing of the 5 campaigns.

Good point, wasn't overlooking it, but 07 was a weird one for England. A final earnt more through guts and determination of the likes of Wilkinson and Dallaglio than any coaching plan or long term quality. As it showed, it was a case of WC holders refusing to go down meekly, and getting something of a favourable draw/deeply flawed opposition in the knockouts as well. But, still, the Wales team of 07 was by and large the team that Gatland then took forward and it's that that I'm basing it on, that transition between coaches. England won in 06 and Wales in 05 but no-one is still really involved anymore/the teams changed quite substantially after that so it feels pointless. If you want to start from 08 then so be it but it was also pointing out how Wales did have a winning run against England that began in 07 and, for a while, certainly in 09, going into those games felt very comfortable for Wales.

Also no argument about your assessment of England. Lancaster's England were very good without getting that trophy when they were good enough to. But, clearly, they did underperform in the big games when it counted and Wales managed to be the benefactors twice in the 6Ns and once in a RWC. I felt like 2011 was a thoroughly deserved win for England in Cardiff though and not too much on an anomaly (Wales' worst season under Gatland for sure but it felt like the first time Johnson had his team playing like he wanted; certainly a lot better than the 2010 game which was Wales creating their own downfall). A bit like with the 07-08 transition, the likes of Ashton and Youngs broke through and then became mainstays under Lancaster, in a way Hook did for Wales for a while. It was the foundation of the Lancaster team, which in turn became EJ's foundation before, really, we're seeing him put his hand on how he wants England to play in all areas this season.

We are talking about different teams, with different psyches, from 07 of course but I think the interesting thing is there are a number of players who still hold 'the fear' for England v Wales. A close up of the England bench in 2016 with 4 minutes to go was telling - Haskell etc. looking terrified it was happening again. England's winning streak (which is 5 in a row in the 6Ns) does suggest a dominance that I don't believe is as clear or as vast as that would suggest. It shows only that England beat Wales 5 times - once with an acting Head Coach, twice with a Head Coach who missed 12 months with the team.

I still don't think we were that good in 2011, even if Johnson got us playing his way. We looked good against Wales and again against Italy, but the wins against France and Scotland at home weren't convincing and then there was a big loss in Dublin. Scraped through a relatively tough pool in 2011 but then went out to a France side that had lost to Tonga.

Johnson's best season, definitely, but we we'd have been hard pushed to call ourselves the best team in the Northern hemisphere.

07 was an odd one. Wales won the game comfortably and were much better on the day, but they weren't better over the season. They had a poor Six Nations and a poor World Cup. It wasn't until Gatland took over when they turned it around. I don't think England would have been too worried about Wales in 2008 off the back of the 2007 game, I don't think it was any psychological damage inflicted by the 2007 loss, it was just the way Wales were playing under Gatland and Edwards and causing England all sorts of problems.

I think a lot of the players who played against Wales in the 2015 World Cup would have been worried in 2016, but after 4 straights wins (2 in 2016) I'm sure most of that fear factor must have dissipated. Of the 23 named this weekend, 15 of them have never lost to Wales (although it is some of their first times playing Wales): Moon, George, Sinckler, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, Slade, Nowell, Daly, Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Williams, Shields, Robson, Cokanasiga. Billy Vunipola also went off in 2015 with the team leading, and I think losing him and Ben Youngs to injury certainly didn't help.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:46 pm

Amazed by Slade's low stats. Was almost certain he was being used as a second distributor but, by and large, it appears he's running with the ball into contact rather than releasing players outside him.

Wouldn't be surprised to see those passing stats change at the weekend. Doubt there will be nearly as many holes as France allowed. And hopefully not as many intercept's as Ireland gave, either!

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Post by munkian on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 2:55 pm

miaow wrote:Amazed by Slade's low stats. Was almost certain he was being used as a second distributor but, by and large, it appears he's running with the ball into contact rather than releasing players outside him.

Wouldn't be surprised to see those passing stats change at the weekend. Doubt there will be nearly as many holes as France allowed. And hopefully not as many intercept's as Ireland gave, either!

There were some holes in the English defence too v France, hopefully we can capitalise on them though.
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:00 pm

munkian wrote:
miaow wrote:Amazed by Slade's low stats. Was almost certain he was being used as a second distributor but, by and large, it appears he's running with the ball into contact rather than releasing players outside him.

Wouldn't be surprised to see those passing stats change at the weekend. Doubt there will be nearly as many holes as France allowed. And hopefully not as many intercept's as Ireland gave, either!

There were some holes in the English defence too v France, hopefully we can capitalise on them though.

Hopefully, as with the game v France, any holes will only appear once we are 30 points ahead.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:00 pm



Shields over Hughes, because the former has a higher work rate. Wonder which of Wilson or Shields would go to 8 in the event Vunipola goes off.

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Post by nathan on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:01 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:With the RWC starting 20/09/19 and the Gallagher Premiership a day later, does that mean MT is allowed to play in the RWC when he is no longer signed up to an English team? Does he come under the "special" tag?


Personally, if he has signed up for a French club before the start of the RWC and will not be available to play for an English club next year, I would ditch him now, as good as he is. Did he discuss the move with the RFU prior to signing to make sure he was eligible?

Not a lot of loyalty to Tigers who have paid him for the last few years without getting much in the way of games out of him.


i've read this thought in a few places today, but Manu was contracted to Tigers regardless of his injuries, a club isn't showing loyalty to a player by paying them during injury, it's their legal obligation.

He's 27 now and the offer is for a large amount of money that will help set up his young family for life, seriously don't want him to leave but can understand his thinking.

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Post by munkian on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:02 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:

Shields over Hughes, because the former has a higher work rate. Wonder which of Wilson or Shields would go to 8 when Vunipola goes off.

Fixed
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Post by lostinwales on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:05 pm

Wilson will go to 8. He played there in the Autumn, and while he's no Billy (there is only one of those) he's OK.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:07 pm

Didn't know Ian Gough flies helicopters


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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:09 pm

nathan wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:With the RWC starting 20/09/19 and the Gallagher Premiership a day later, does that mean MT is allowed to play in the RWC when he is no longer signed up to an English team? Does he come under the "special" tag?


Personally, if he has signed up for a French club before the start of the RWC and will not be available to play for an English club next year, I would ditch him now, as good as he is. Did he discuss the move with the RFU prior to signing to make sure he was eligible?

Not a lot of loyalty to Tigers who have paid him for the last few years without getting much in the way of games out of him.


i've read this thought in a few places today, but Manu was contracted to Tigers regardless of his injuries, a club isn't showing loyalty to a player by paying them during injury, it's their legal obligation.

He's 27 now and the offer is for a large amount of money that will help set up his young family for life, seriously don't want him to leave but can understand his thinking.

There's definitely a bit of leeway with the rules. Shields and Te'o, for instance, being called up before they arrived and it appears Tuilagi being allowed to play until after the World Cup. I think these are common sense interpretations though.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:20 pm

The way the season goes in a World Cup year, the RWC is basically the end of the season for test players - as it is for the SH. Although he might be contracted to Racing during the WC he'll be eligible, it's not as if he's left this season. He's going to go from Tigers straight to England and a WC, injury permitting. He's not going to play for them or train with them before the WC, so none of the release issues that prevent them picking overseas players really matter.

As for dropping him? You'd be mad. One of England's most important players. He could literally be the difference between winning a WC or not. If you're that principled, so be it, but I doubt EJ and England will be.


Last edited by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by munkian on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:21 pm

England opt to have the roof open #poopingit
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Post by No9 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:23 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:Didn't know Ian Gough flies helicopters



I knew he held a PPL and was (dont know if he's still doing it) training for his ATPL (commercial licence), but didn't know he flew whirly-birds.. Mind you, he had to be shoe-horned into that Guimbal Cabri G2.

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Post by miaow on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:24 pm

Gough picks up on a good point as well: this is Wales' first home game. No warm up against Italy or France to quell the fervour for the crowd. Both players and crowd will be well up for this having been away for so long. Helps having not lost here for 8 games as well - the last being against NZ in Nov 2017.

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Post by No9 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:24 pm

munkian wrote:England opt to have the roof open #poopingit

Well there's surprise... They're starting to show fear.. Whistle

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Post by Pie on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:37 pm

No9 wrote:
munkian wrote:England opt to have the roof open #poopingit

Well there's  surprise... They're starting to show fear.. Whistle

Quite. Anyone who knows the Principality knows that roof shut it is the best stadium in the world, Eddie literally looking to ease pressure by having the roof open.

Fact is it will just make the Welsh sing louder while God watches his warrior poets playing.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:42 pm

I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:50 pm

If the rumour comes true of Gatland becoming England coach, I wonder if he would want it open or closed?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:52 pm

Open so God can hear us pray for someone else?

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Post by munkian on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:52 pm

robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

That's a lot of words to say you're Poopie it.
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Post by Pie on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:54 pm

robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

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Post by Pie on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:54 pm

Knowing Eddie he will change his mind like he did 2 years ago. Bit indecisive on that front.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:55 pm

munkian wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

That's a lot of words to say you're Poopie it.

Then I guess there's nothing to fear anymore, because it will remain open.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 3:55 pm

Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

Yes, I was there for Wales vs Fiji in the World Cup with the roof shut.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:04 pm

Forecast is for perfect rugby playing weather, so no excuses from either side.

I suspect EJ will want the roof open as England's insurance doesn't cover working in an exceptionally noisy environment and the possible consequences, i.e. deafness.


Good excuse for not obeying the ref. Player .....Sorry sir, too much noise I didn't here you shout "let go".

Ref: "You shouldn't have had hold of his testicles anyway, next time, yellow card".

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Post by Pie on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:04 pm

robbo277 wrote:
Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

Yes, I was there for Wales vs Fiji in the World Cup with the roof shut.

OK

With England the tension is palpable. Its a real pity because with the roof shut it is just a totally different atmosphere.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:05 pm

Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

I have been there both open and closed. Most noise was nothing to do with the roof, and all down to the Munster fans present. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but rugby is an outdoor sport and World Rugby should ban closing the roof.

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Post by munkian on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:07 pm

Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

Yes, I was there for Wales vs Fiji in the World Cup with the roof shut.

OK

With England the tension is palpable. Its a real pity because with the roof shut it is just a totally different atmosphere.

The poor dabs couldn't hear their own lineout calls last time Crying or Very sad
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Post by robbo277 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:10 pm

Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

Yes, I was there for Wales vs Fiji in the World Cup with the roof shut.

OK

With England the tension is palpable. Its a real pity because with the roof shut it is just a totally different atmosphere.

It was a strange atmosphere when I went there to watch Wales vs Fiji. There was excitement having just beaten England, but I think relief was the overriding emotion. It was job done against a dangerous side, whereas if they had lost it would have undone all the good work they'd achieved by beating England, and would have been left needing a win against Australia.

It probably would be different on a Six Nations day. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but I'd expect International rugby players to be able to handle crowd noise, even if it is generally louder than they are used to. If I were playing, I'd definitely be more worried about the 16st blokes running into me at pace then what the crowd are shouting!

The roof was obviously closed in 2013, but I think the roof and the crowd possibly take a bit too much of the credit away from the players. Warburton and Tipuric in tandem especially.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:11 pm

I imagine it's going to be deathly silent bar the swing lows so hopefully the English will be quiet for our lineout s.

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Post by Pie on Thu 21 Feb 2019, 4:13 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Pie wrote:
robbo277 wrote:I think if no-one spoke about the roof it wouldn't be a factor. But every Wales vs England game it becomes a massive "what is happening with the roof"? England are well within their rights to refuse to allow Wales to shut it.

I think someday soon they'll probably change the rules and allow Wales to unilaterally shut it. Until then, I'd just keep it open as a matter of course. Eddie's probably played this one about right, not really engage or commit to roof chat and then at the last moment just tell them we'll have it open. No big announcement, no press to the decision. We'll tell them we'll have it open and they can announce it if they see fit.

The roof really is a factor though - have you been there? If not I think all rugby fans need to experience the Principality roof shut.

I have been there both open and closed. Most noise was nothing to do with the roof, and all down to the Munster fans present. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but rugby is an outdoor sport and World Rugby should ban closing the roof.

And bring back oranges at half time with a bucket of ice water (with the sponge he uses to clean his Ford Cortina) carried by an old man in a white coat.

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