Best English team of the Pro era?

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Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by maestegmafia on Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:18 am

First topic message reminder :

Thank Eddie Jones for raising this moot point but when queerying whether this is the greatest Welsh team in history allow us to also ask just how good the opposition are in a historical context..?

This England team are playing with the gusto and devastating ability of the best England teams I can remember. But how many of these players are the best in their position.... is this the greatest English team ever and will they replicate the success of previous great English teams over the next few years...?

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Rugby Fan on Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:25 pm

LordDowlais wrote:The best English side I have ever seen in the pro era are the one's that won the world cup, but they were at their best circa 2000/2001. They were coming to an end at the WC in 2003, but boy, I do not think I will ever see a better pack again in my lifetime. Players like Neil Back, Richard Hill, Jason Leonard, Lawrence Dallaglio, Trevor Woodman, Martin Johnson.

Then you had Billy Whizz (Jason Robinson), what a player he was, Will Greenwood, and a Welshman, Josh Lewsey Wink . The rest of the backs were decent, but those three really took advantage of probably the best pack to grace the pro era.

Ooohh, and lets not forget Mike Catt. He was some player as well.
I mentioned that 2000/01 season above. It was a bit early for Woodman and Robinson, since they were both still on the bench, while Lewsey didn't feature properly until 2003.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by BamBam on Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:29 pm

Lewsey came out of nowhere really, but what a full back he was. Had the complete skill set, Balshaw was a better pure running threat but as an all rounder Lewsey is underrated in my book, was so consistent once he got in the team

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Ricardo74 on Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:33 pm

BamBam wrote:Lewsey came out of nowhere really, but what a full back he was. Had the complete skill set, Balshaw was a better pure running threat but as an all rounder Lewsey is underrated in my book, was so consistent once he got in the team

Lewsey was responsible for two of my favourite moments in rugby. This cover tackle against SA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsMdyjLUsxQ

And this massive hit on Mat Rodgers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZPZLnA_HWc

Both a joy to watch.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Mr Bounce on Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:31 pm

Ricardo74 wrote:
BamBam wrote:Lewsey came out of nowhere really, but what a full back he was. Had the complete skill set, Balshaw was a better pure running threat but as an all rounder Lewsey is underrated in my book, was so consistent once he got in the team

Lewsey was responsible for two of my favourite moments in rugby. This cover tackle against SA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsMdyjLUsxQ

And this massive hit on Mat Rodgers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZPZLnA_HWc

Both a joy to watch.

This one never fails to make me smile either. The little pat on the head was perhaps a bit naughty but very funny.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT6jMw1b1ls

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by LondonTiger on Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:58 pm

And yet perhaps the best thing Lewsey ever did on the pitch was during the Wasps training session when he lamped Cipriani for being a smug arrogant .......

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:50 pm

Lewsey had lots of special moments. Hard as nails, one of the best tackling backs of his time, as well as being pretty pacy and an intelligent player. Another moment that stands out was his show-and-go from 50 yards out against Italy (yeah, I know) in 2003. The pace and the way he turned Bergamasco inside and out was pretty special.

If we’re eulogising about England of that era (and why not?) I still think Cohen is underrated to this day. Some of his tries against the old SH ‘Big 3’ we’re outstanding. Pre-Ashton, he had a good knack of being on the shoulder to take a pass, great acceleration and a good swerve and step for a big guy

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by miaow on Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:05 pm

Ben who?

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:10 pm

Heh Smile That old chestnut. If you’re going to have more than one Shane and a partially deaf winger you’re bound to run into all sorts of misunderstandings. There was a bit more flavour in the game in those days.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by miaow on Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:18 pm

Indeed. Ben would be #cancelled for that today. Dropped by his sponsors and vilified among the media set. No more Guardian-with-Land-Rover press releases on how great a guy Cohen is, and how his new Range Rover is the perfect vehicle for driving through the rough terrain of Surrey.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:35 pm

Indeed. As a hearing-impaired gay icon he would probably do ok though

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by miaow on Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:46 pm

Very true, that offsets the toxically masculine problematic banter.

All jokes aside, being an LGBT advocate long before it was cool, in a sport not notorious for its political correctness, was a good thing to be.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:00 am

Yep. Good guy!

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Rugby Fan on Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:19 am

I agree on how effective Cohen was in that World Cup squad. With all the problems England faced in the years afterwards, it got a bit lost in the wash just how sharply his form dipped from 2003 onwards. He was only 25. I know he subsequently said he just didn't enjoy the grind of rugby anymore but it is pretty unprecedented in the modern game to see someone vitually give up at that young an age. Julian Savea comes to mind.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:32 am

I think we sometimes underestimate the pressure on these guys. Sure, for most of us it’s an absolute dream to play at that level and consider them lucky to have that lifestyle. Injuries and other factors can make players lose the love for the game. I recall Cohen having contractual problems after Saints.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Pie on Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:59 am

Clearly this current team is the BEST of the BEST.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by majesticimperialman on Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:36 am

Pie wrote:Clearly this current team is the BEST of the BEST.


Cannot agree with that. The best England team is the one that won the RWC.

That team won against the Abs home and away. Some of this England team have won against the Abs in 2012 but not all of them.

And beside this current England team have not won anything. YET.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:41 am

2 6 nations titles for the majority.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:01 am

Pie, England are back in the Top Three Elite, which tells you all you need to know

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by LondonTiger on Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:10 am

Cyril wrote:Pie, England are back in the Top Three Elite, which tells you all you need to know

As it was Mikey who spoke about the Top 3 Elite, not the best comeback.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by BamBam on Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:12 am

Rugby Fan wrote:I agree on how effective Cohen was in that World Cup squad. With all the problems England faced in the years afterwards, it got a bit lost in the wash just how sharply his form dipped from 2003 onwards. He was only 25. I know he subsequently said he just didn't enjoy the grind of rugby anymore but it is pretty unprecedented in the modern game to see someone vitually give up at that young an age. Julian Savea comes to mind.

I think we have to consider that the loss of his dad in such a sudden and brutal manner may have had an impact on his love of rugby. He reached the pinnacle of the game, and it's entirely possible that was the first time since his dad passed away that he wasn't 100% driven and focused on rugby. I can only imagine that being in that England setup was so relentless that it helped as a distraction, but who knows how the grief affected him

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by rodders on Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:34 am

I think when looking at Woodward's team you have to consider the context of where rugby union was at the time.

The professional side was evolving very quickly with a lot of specialist coaches coming in particularly from rugby league, the physical improvements were marked in this period, with more and more players starting out as full professional but a long way off what we see today.

What made the like of Lewsey stand out was the level of dedication he had, largely from his military background, and then with Cohen you had someone who was a big natural athlete with a bit of pace but limited skill, a bit like Alex Cuthbert, so in his case it wasn't surprising he had a limited shelf life once teams had worked him out.


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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by dummy_half on Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:53 am

rodders wrote:I think when looking at Woodward's team you have to consider the context of where rugby union was at the time.

The professional side was evolving very quickly with a lot of specialist coaches coming in particularly from rugby league, the physical improvements were marked in this period, with more and more players starting out as full professional but a long way off what we see today.

What made the like of Lewsey stand out was the level of dedication he had, largely from his military background, and then with Cohen you had someone who was a big natural athlete with a bit of pace but limited skill, a bit like Alex Cuthbert, so in his case it wasn't surprising he had a limited shelf life once teams had worked him out.



Harsh and unfair - Cohen usually caught the ball... boxing

I think as well the role of a winger changed after 2003, with much more call for them to be a secondary fullback - by 2007, England had Cueto well established in that role

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by rodders on Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:12 am

I don't think so, Cuthbert was lions test wing by contrast Cohen had a terrible tour in 2001.

Like Cuthbert he has a handful in attack but exposed in defense.
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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by BamBam on Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:18 am

rodders wrote:I don't think so, Cuthbert was lions test wing by contrast Cohen had a terrible tour in 2001.

Like Cuthbert he has a handful in attack but exposed in defense.

Again, that Lions tour was 6 months after his dad died. With the circumstances, its not that surprising his rugby suffered.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by robbo277 on Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:36 pm

dummy_half wrote:
rodders wrote:I think when looking at Woodward's team you have to consider the context of where rugby union was at the time.

The professional side was evolving very quickly with a lot of specialist coaches coming in particularly from rugby league, the physical improvements were marked in this period, with more and more players starting out as full professional but a long way off what we see today.

What made the like of Lewsey stand out was the level of dedication he had, largely from his military background, and then with Cohen you had someone who was a big natural athlete with a bit of pace but limited skill, a bit like Alex Cuthbert, so in his case it wasn't surprising he had a limited shelf life once teams had worked him out.



Harsh and unfair - Cohen usually caught the ball... boxing

I think as well the role of a winger changed after 2003, with much more call for them to be a secondary fullback - by 2007, England had Cueto well established in that role

Were the ELVs in 2007? The ones that were designed to reduce kicking but actually led to a heap more?

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by LordDowlais on Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:03 pm

On a side note to this, I have to say, of the Pro era and England in particular, Matt Dawson is by far and away one of the nicest pro rugby players I have ever had the benefit of meeting/bumping into.

What a true gentleman that guy is.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:09 pm

LondonTiger, I’m aware that Mikey coined the Top Three Elite phrase. Was just joshing with Pie. Everything’s a bit serious and po-faced on here these days!

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by rodders on Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:04 pm

robbo277 wrote:
dummy_half wrote:
rodders wrote:I think when looking at Woodward's team you have to consider the context of where rugby union was at the time.

The professional side was evolving very quickly with a lot of specialist coaches coming in particularly from rugby league, the physical improvements were marked in this period, with more and more players starting out as full professional but a long way off what we see today.

What made the like of Lewsey stand out was the level of dedication he had, largely from his military background, and then with Cohen you had someone who was a big natural athlete with a bit of pace but limited skill, a bit like Alex Cuthbert, so in his case it wasn't surprising he had a limited shelf life once teams had worked him out.



Harsh and unfair - Cohen usually caught the ball... boxing

I think as well the role of a winger changed after 2003, with much more call for them to be a secondary fullback - by 2007, England had Cueto well established in that role

Were the ELVs in 2007? The ones that were designed to reduce kicking but actually led to a heap more?

I think we need a Cuthbert v Cohen poll to settle all this....
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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by LondonTiger on Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:07 pm

Cyril wrote:LondonTiger, I’m aware that Mikey coined the Top Three Elite phrase. Was just joshing with Pie. Everything’s a bit serious and po-faced on here these days!

Not refusing you the right to josh. Just feel it needed more wit and invention. It felt like a lazy come back.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by BamBam on Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:48 pm

rodders wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
dummy_half wrote:
rodders wrote:I think when looking at Woodward's team you have to consider the context of where rugby union was at the time.

The professional side was evolving very quickly with a lot of specialist coaches coming in particularly from rugby league, the physical improvements were marked in this period, with more and more players starting out as full professional but a long way off what we see today.

What made the like of Lewsey stand out was the level of dedication he had, largely from his military background, and then with Cohen you had someone who was a big natural athlete with a bit of pace but limited skill, a bit like Alex Cuthbert, so in his case it wasn't surprising he had a limited shelf life once teams had worked him out.



Harsh and unfair - Cohen usually caught the ball... boxing

I think as well the role of a winger changed after 2003, with much more call for them to be a secondary fullback - by 2007, England had Cueto well established in that role

Were the ELVs in 2007? The ones that were designed to reduce kicking but actually led to a heap more?

I think we need a Cuthbert v Cohen poll to settle all this....

Polls are for losers

Cohen vs Cuthbert
Tests: 54 - 48
Tries: 31 - 17
Strike rate: 57% - 35%
World Cups won: 1-0

Pretty conclusive

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Cyril on Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:31 pm

LondonTiger, whereas Pie’s quip that This England team was the bestest of the best was practically Wildean?

If mods are now judging wit you’re going to be very busy people.

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by BamBam on Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:33 pm

Cyril wrote:LondonTiger, whereas Pie’s quip that This England team was the bestest of the best was practically Wildean?

If mods are now judging wit you’re going to be very busy people.

At least they know I meet the high wit standards on here

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by lostinwales on Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:43 pm

BamBam wrote:
Cyril wrote:LondonTiger, whereas Pie’s quip that This England team was the bestest of the best was practically Wildean?

If mods are now judging wit you’re going to be very busy people.

At least they know I meet the high wit standards on here

As long as you are not a shining wit

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Pie on Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:42 am

[quote="BamBam"]
rodders wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
dummy_half wrote:
rodders wrote:I think when looking at Woodward's team you have to consider the context of where rugby union was at the time.

The professional side was evolving very quickly with a lot of specialist coaches coming in particularly from rugby league, the physical improvements were marked in this period, with more and more players starting out as full professional but a long way off what we see today.

What made the like of Lewsey stand out was the level of dedication he had, largely from his military background, and then with Cohen you had someone who was a big natural athlete with a bit of pace but limited skill, a bit like Alex Cuthbert, so in his case it wasn't surprising he had a limited shelf life once teams had worked him out.



Harsh and unfair - Cohen usually caught the ball... boxing

I think as well the role of a winger changed after 2003, with much more call for them to be a secondary fullback - by 2007, England had Cueto well established in that role

Were the ELVs in 2007? The ones that were designed to reduce kicking but actually led to a heap more?

I think we need a Cuthbert v Cohen poll to settle all this....

Polls are for losers

Cohen vs Cuthbert
Tests: 54 - 48
Tries: 31 - 17
Strike rate: 57% - 35%
World Cups won: 1-0

Pretty conclusive [/quote

and Cohen was profoundly deaf as well, quite some feat

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

Post by Pie on Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:11 pm

Cyril wrote:Pie, England are back in the Top Three Elite, which tells you all you need to know

Doesnt it just Laugh

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Re: Best English team of the Pro era?

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