England v Italy Match Build Up Thread

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 1:39 am

Date: Sat 9th March
Time: 16.45
Venue: TWICKENHAM Stadium, London
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia) ((Who???))

England starting XV (472 caps)

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 28 caps), 14 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 3 caps), 13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps), 12 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 16 caps), 11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 43 caps), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 68 caps) (captain), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 83 caps), 1 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)  , 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 35 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 20 caps), 4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 56 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens, 30 caps), 6 Brad Shields (Wasps, 6 caps), 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 8 caps), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 39 caps)

Finishers (203 caps)

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps), 17 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 6 caps), 18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 83 caps), 19 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 20 caps), 20 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 11 caps), 21 Dan Robson (Wasps, 1 cap), 22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps), 23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 20 caps)




Italy squad for England:




15 Jayden HAYWARD (Benetton Rugby, 15 caps)
14 Edoardo PADOVANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 18 caps)*
13 Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby, 23 caps)*
12 Michele CAMPAGNARO (Wasps, 41 caps)*
11 Angelo ESPOSITO (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)
10 Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby, 46 caps)
9  Tito TEBALDI (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps) 
8 Sergio PARISSE (Stade Francais, 136 caps) – capitano
7 Abraham Jurgens STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 28 caps)
6 Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 14 caps)
5 Dean BUDD (Benetton Rugby, 19 caps)
4 Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)*
3 Simone FERRARI (Benetton Rugby, 20 caps)
2 Luca BIGI (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)
1 Andrea LOVOTTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 32 caps)*
 
A disposizione:
16 Leonardo GHIRALDINI (Stade Toulousian, 102 caps)
17 Cherif TRAORE' (Benetton Rugby, 8 caps)*
18 Tiziano PASQUALI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
19 David SISI (Zebre Rugby Club, 3 cap)
20 Jake POLLEDRI (Gloucester Rugby, 6 caps)
21 Guglielmo PALAZZANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 30 caps)
22 Ian MCKINLEY (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps) 
23 Tommaso CASTELLO (Zebre Rugby Club, 17 caps)



So after the come down of losing to Wales in Cardiff, England now have Italy at home as a chance to get the chariot back on track. Bonus points so far mean they are in with a good shout of a tournament win even if the GS and Triple Crown are out the window. They'll want to test out a few fringe players, avoid injuries and get the full 5 points from this fixture.

Italy so far look poor, they've yet to get a win and if history means anything will have to wait another week too. But anything can happen, they often make England work hard for any points and can catch the English off guard sometimes, dragging them into a scrap that suits the Azzurri. Get ready for another long afternoon of certain hosts and pundits gushing over Parisse as he gets in the way of everything good the Italians try, but looks so good doing it.

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 1:43 am

I expect to see:

Genge, George, Sinkler, Launchbury, Kruis, Shields, Wilson, Vunipola, Youngs, Farrell, May, Te'o, Slade, Cokanasiga, Daly.

Moon, LCD, Williams, Hughes, Curry, Robson, Ford, Nowell

Not necessarily my team but what I think Eddie will pick.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 7:23 am

I have given up trying to predict what Eddie will do. My lineup would be:

Genge, George, Sinckler, Launchbury, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, Vunipola, Robson, Farrell, Cokanasiga, Manu, Slade, Nowell, Daly

LCD, Moon, Williams, Ewels, Shields, Youngs, Ford, Te'o

Was tempted to rest Billy, but as with Manu just feel he needs internationals under his belt. Would like to see Robson playing 40 with Farrell, then if things going well have 40 with Ford, using g Youngs as injury cover. May can have the week off to ensure no concussion effects.

I am not one for wholesale changes as I want to see how the new boys go alongside regular faces.

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 7:42 am

Agreed on wholesale changes, theyre pointless and counter productive. I just think Shields may be in as hes an EJ fave.

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 7:44 am

Also there's lots of talk about how much the Hurricanes miss Shields work ethic and leadership. Theyre already struggling a bit in SR. So even if we dont rate him he is highly rated down here (more so now that thwyve stopped throwing their toys out of the pram about him leaving and seen the hole in his place).

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Post by compelling and rich on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 8:31 am

billy still seems off the pace to me, think he needs more games so i wouldn't rest him. he's been the poorest performer out of our back row so far

robson really needs a start, and if not against italy dont know when eddie will throw him in before the world cup

can see a run out for genge and joe. but other than that dont see too much other changes that haven't been forced

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 8:40 am

compelling and rich wrote:billy still seems off the pace to me, think he needs more games so i wouldn't rest him. he's been the poorest performer out of our back row so far

robson really needs a start, and if not against italy dont know when eddie will throw him in before the world cup

can see a run out for genge and joe. but other than that dont see too much other changes that haven't been forced

In hindsight from the when Wales played Italy a few weeks back, I am glad we rotated the squad and have game time to the larger squad for two reasons. One it gave game time and meaningful experience to peripheral players and two it showed that if we are missing too many key players we lack the potency to achieve a bonus point over a weaker nation. This far away from the World Cup the coaches have plenty of time to get the peripheral players up to speed.

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Post by compelling and rich on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 9:03 am

maestegmafia wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:billy still seems off the pace to me, think he needs more games so i wouldn't rest him. he's been the poorest performer out of our back row so far

robson really needs a start, and if not against italy dont know when eddie will throw him in before the world cup

can see a run out for genge and joe. but other than that dont see too much other changes that haven't been forced

In hindsight from the when Wales played Italy a few weeks back, I am glad we rotated the squad and have game time to the larger squad for two reasons. One it gave game time and meaningful experience to peripheral players and two it showed that if we are missing too many key players we lack the potency to achieve a bonus point over a weaker nation. This far away from the World Cup the coaches have plenty of time to get the peripheral players up to speed.

that lack of bonus could still cost you... hopefully Wink

in this game i dont want to see too many changes as i want us to try a gameplan that isnt just kick it in the corner. wales game we lacked a plan B.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:54 am

Well in terms of flankers Clifford is out of the 31 man squad Robshaw returns with Earl as the option who is more of a 7. Joseph could be pushing now as well.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 11:18 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well in terms of flankers Clifford is out of the 31 man squad Robshaw returns with Earl as the option who is more of a 7. Joseph could be pushing now as well.

OP updated with the England squad.

With Ewels not retained, they must deem Itoje as fit to play. Bench would be sensible I feel for him.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 11:45 am

compelling and rich wrote:... we lacked a plan B...
I don't think that was the problem. "Lacking a plan B" has become the all-purpose explanation for almost any team losing these days. We know England can play differently because they did so for most of 2016 and 2017 with a Ford/Farrell axis, and an openside flanker tasked with thumping everything in sight. We didn't "lack a plan B", so much as elect not to use it.


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 11:48 am

I wonder what the conversation was at half time. If Jones and co were reiterating play this way and it'll come the players may have been reluctant to go against it. Late or lack of subs certainly suggests that the plan was chosen. So less lack of plan b and more being too stubborn?

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 12:09 pm

I think the England coaches prepped their team to play what they saw in front of them. They executed that beautifully against Ireland and France but didn’t find the space they had before instead they found Liam Williams the form fullback of the tournament having a fantastic game.

England struggled with the pressure Gareth Davies put on the halfbacks. England didn’t adapt to that. I think GD sacked Farrell twice and charged him down once. No Irish or french player laid a hand on him before.
The forwards should have been working on a plan to stop this.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 12:45 pm

Bit contradictory saying we should play what was in front of us then saying we didn't adapt. It was one of those frustrating games. Put it down to a learning curve and move on.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 12:56 pm

What is the May situation, did he pass the protocols, he looked pretty woozy when he went off

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 1:13 pm

I'll take up the baton and argue for wholesale changes then.

If our last game was away or Ireland/Wales, then I wouldn't make wholesale changes for this match. But with Scotland at home, I'd be looking for a slightly rotated team for that one anyway - e.g. the team that LT has picked.

For this one I'd have an all changed team and want to look at how the individuals play, rather than how they fit in the team. Some of them would remain in place for the Scotland game when we'd play something much closer to a first team.

E.g. I'd have Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Shields, Robson, Ford and Cokanasiga all start for definite. Maybe Te'o and Joseph too, with Earl and Thorley on the bench. Against Scotland, I'd be looking for much closer to the Wales team, possibly with a couple of tweaks though (maybe Genge and Robson to start).

On an unrelated note, it's interesting to see no Mike Brown in the 31 at all. You'd think if this was the World Cup he'd replace Thorley, but if Watson gets back fit then he might take this last back spot.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 3:14 pm

I'd like to see Watson back at full back if he can recover. Is the lack of calls for Brown the resignation that Jones will.pick Daly no matter what. Personally I can see has incredibly talented but I was never overly enamoured with him as a winger and I'm less so now he's at full back. He'll be shoe horned in somewhere though.

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Post by miaow on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 4:26 pm

The lack of adaptation/use of the bench by EJ in the games so far can be viewed a few ways - one of which is that this is still a tournament where a large focus in on preparing for the RWC. And he's both looking at what he has on the field/from the first 15, as well as playing the game as he would if a key group/knockout game.

EJ/England obviously had to tear up the plan somewhat in 2018 as he came under huge pressure just to keep his job. How close he was to losing it, it's hard to say. That said, losing didn't help the development of the team and the squad planning - but, by and large, the losing streak did pave the way for the success they had against Ireland. They played very similar tactics in the Wales game last year as they did against NZ and SA in the autumn, and Ireland this 6Ns, only with a more focused and functioning attack this season. The focus has to be on developing that, particularly against Scotland, and making Slade and Tuilagi central to creating 4-5 phases into a move for the wingers to finish off. England's kicking game last 6Ns was almost identical; it just wasn't exectuted or capitalised on as successfully, and then Scotland took them apart up front in the next game, and it went down hill from there.

But...in the last 12 months ago, England have nailed down a few key starting positions, got rid of a few of the deadwood, and are now onto the next step of bringing through the replacements. Some, like Underhill and Curry, are flourishing, but perhaps could do with 10 more caps/800 minutes of game time underneath their belt to really be 'ready' for the latter stages of a RWC. They're still at that stage where not enough is known about them by opposition teams in terms of analysis, and also they're flying high on the novelty of being a fresh cap - that will fade at some point, and experience of dealing with pressure is what it's all about at the top level. Other players, like Robson, are obviously not ready for the World Cup and have to be viewed as a failure of succession planning by Jones, who stuck by the Cares and the Haskells after 2016 when he could have been blooding new players. The trade off there is he won another 6Ns in 2017, so English fans can discuss whether that was worth it.

I would expect wholesale changes by England. If would be amazed if Youngs doesn't start the game on the bench. This is the last competitive opportunity to give fringe players a chance before Japan. Newer caps who have found themselves first choice like Wilson, Curry etc. should probably keep their places as well, but LCD, Cokanasiga, Robson, Genge - these are the players who need to be starting against Italy. If England were in a better place I'd also say start looking at an alternative to Farrell - whether that's Slade or Ford to 10, Farrell to 12, or whatever - for when you need to play it flatter to the line. Time and again Farrell has showed his limitations as a playmaker - he's not big enough to start at 12 anymore but can still do a job there later in the game. It's more about having him on the field as well as having a greater/flatter running threat - and I'm not sure Ford is trusted to do that anymore. The interesting thing is to see how Slade slots into all of this - he's a really good all-round player and, to me, has looked like England's best back, maybe even best player, so far this tournament. He can be the Mike Catt figure who can just come on and add a bit of class, whether defensively or in a more creative role, and having played 10 a fair amount for Exeter, I wonder if he's being prepared to fill that role later in a game when required. I don't expect that to happen in this game but, to me, that appears to be a weakness worth testing before the RWC, particularly when it might be needed against one of the better teams later on in the tournament.

The fact the 6Ns is 'gone' should also help this game - Ireland managed a BP win with their reserves, England are at home, and they need Wales to slip up to win the title, in which case focus on preparing your own camp for the RWC. If England win the 6Ns, great, but it's now out of their hands. They should play as if it's gone - i.e. without pressure - whilst still going for max points. I'd be amazed if they didn't bring in at least 5 different players for this game. Anything less it bottling it by EJ.

England should hammer Italy. I'd expect 60 points tbh. The pain of losing to Wales, the fact it's been a fallow week, Italy are away from home...if England get a try in the first 10 minutes it should be over 50.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 6:01 pm

I think it's slightly disingenuous to say England should be putting 60 on Italy. No-one else has come close to that. Ireland were away, granted, but it was hardly a reserve team. Furlong, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Murray, Sexton, Stockdale, Aki, Earls, Kearney. It was a strong side. I'd expect England to hammer them, but 60 is a bit of a stretch target.

I also don't think you can call it "bottling it" by Eddie if he makes fewer than 5 changes. I don't think it would be bright to go near enough unchanged, but I think it's an odd verb to use in this situation.

Modern sport commentary is obsessed with teams "bottling it" to the extent I think it's one of the most overused terms in sport.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 6:07 pm

It has been a long while since he played 10 for Exeter, and when he did Slade was poor.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 6:51 pm

I have said it before, No one should take any team for granted. I do agree the England at home should be an England win. But as they shown against Ireland, give them a chance and they (Italy) can play some fine running rugby.

I do agree with miaow the 6ns regarding Grand Slam as gone. But they can still win if, if Scotland beat Wales this week. so they should aim to get maximum points in the last 2 game's.

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Post by miaow on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 9:35 pm

robbo277 wrote:I think it's slightly disingenuous to say England should be putting 60 on Italy.

Perhaps not shouldn't, but that's my prediction - it's my honest opinion, I think England will (or come close to) putting 60 on them. In reality, they should be putting over 40 given the circumstances, and 60's not that far away after that.

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Post by miaow on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:30 pm

robbo277 wrote:I also don't think you can call it "bottling it" by Eddie if he makes fewer than 5 changes. I don't think it would be bright to go near enough unchanged, but I think it's an odd verb to use in this situation.

Modern sport commentary is obsessed with teams "bottling it" to the extent I think it's one of the most overused terms in sport.


I skimmed this and missed it. By and large, I agree. It's everywhere in football at the moment but it's also slipping into rugby.

It's all about perception. Gatland has 'bottled it' in terms of selection a few times. Namely, picking Roberts at 13 and JD2 at 12 in 2011 when the media was calling for more creativity at 12. Likewise, Hook at 10 over SJ in his latter years/Priestland in his early years. Halfpenny at 14 with LW at 15 in an AI game a few years ago. You could also add not capping the geography 6 for the Lions. Gatland would defer on certain occasions...and it would go horribly wrong. Or, at best, wouldn't be that impressive. On the one hand, he caved in to pressure and picked the 'populist' option. On the other hand, he chose the right moment to release the pressure valve on the media idiocy that can wear a coach down and basically let the theory of selection fall on its own sword. There's more to 'bottling it', I suppose, but this is the one we're talking about: selection.

Now, with EJ, I don't think he comes close to Gatland or Schmidt, who has similarly produced really good depth in the last 3.5 years, as a long-term tactical coach. There are some things he's better than Gatland at but the losing streak arrived as other teams (inevitably) improved and England tried to change their game. That was poor coaching by EJ, whichever way you look at it. He was 2-3 more defeats or 1-2 hammerings away from losing his job in my opinion. To turn that around, he did improvise a few things and bring some different players in. But that's another matter of perspective - was it desperation that led to dropping the Browns, Cares, Haskells, Hartleys and Coles (started with plural and stuk with it...) who weren't performing anymore, or was it part of a measured plan to phase those older players out? Was he bottling it, or was he sticking to his guns despite the pressure from losing? To me, a bit of both, but there's too much panic picking in the last 2 years that suggests confusion rather than coherence.

So why have I said it would be bottling it not to pick those less experienced players against Italy? Basically, going into the RWC, there are a few key positions that seem unsettled. The same is true for the other Home Nations (bar maybe Ireland, but clearly they will suffer massively with injuries to 1st choice players) but the other teams don't have the club depth, and didn't win two titles after the RWC, like EJ and England did.

This is the last chance, right? The last competitive game to look at some of those fringe players - or, in the case of Robson, a key member of the 23. The issue with England/EJ is the first team is still not completely out of the woods from last year; yes, good performances in patches against SA and NZ in the autumn, and an immense performance against Ireland (and first 40 v France, if you want to include them in the same bracket), but still some pretty big flaws to what was a team that swept all before them in 2016, and won the title in 2017 as well. Not terminal, and not enough to say they're not RWC contenders, but flaws nonetheless. And because those fears might come creeping back in if they only manage to grind their way past both Italy and Scotland, irrespective of what happens in the summer, things could go sour very quickly in Japan with that pressure on their backs. Considering their group, and how much better France should/might be, it's not out of the question that England exit at the group stage - which would be unforgivable if it comes because key players (Youngs, Farrell, Vunipolas, Tuilagi, close after are May, Itoje) are injured. The external pressure from 2018 is the added bit: the main issue is the team itself. Youngs has been the same for years: usually a solid 7/10 player, sometimes brilliant, occasionally looks completely ineffectual. If that happens, who do England bring on? This 6Ns EJ has answered and said: "no-one".

Injury has robbed Underhill of cementing a place in the team. Likewise Watson at 15. You can't rely on those/any key players returning. Daly has been a decent stand-in and his goal-kicking is vital, but the last game exposed him defensively. Curry's young and inexperienced. Not sure if your 6 shirt is that good either - Robshaw fine, but steady, and needs an Underhill type to play with to shine. Probably still your best 6 in that case, but missed a fair amount of rugby. Wilson inexperienced at this level - the last thing you want is bringing in another youngster/inexperiened player at this stage unless they're truly exceptional/better than Wilson, Shields and Robshaw. Hughes and Simmonds haven't really settled into the team when Billy's absent, although former now being used well and finally looking up to international standard. 10/Farrell issue we've spoken about. Locks are fine, depth is amazing, best 4 options in the world in my opinion. LCD probably deserves more caps at 2, no problem there with Hartley/George. Prop depth hammered by Marler leaving, so understandable the issue at LH. Centre options fantastic but what's the best unit? Current one looks good but no good against Wales. Should persist with that but, unfortunately, probably should look at bringing in Joseph when fit as he offers difference. Te'o average in my opinion. Wing depth is also very good and selection here has been ok: Ashton, Nowell and Daly all have decent gametime and offer different strengths. But Cokanasiga offers something more and should obviously go to the RWC if the numbers stack up/injuries occur.

But the issue isn't just the first XV. England's first XV could feasibly beat everyone bar NZ in Japan if they perform well. But injuries will happen. And also, rotation has to happen unless you want to heighten the chances of injuries and fatigue later on. England aren't quite in a group of death as France might be completely useless, but they will obviously need to rotate against USA and Tonga, both of whom might turn up and produce an absolute blinder against them. Probably not, Samoa and especially Fiji look streets ahead of Tonga, but USA beat Scotland last year. Not only do England have to win without May, Itoje, Farrell and Youngs on the pitch all at once, but those fringe players also have to slot in.

The point about bottling it is this: is EJ confident enough in his squad and his structures that he can put a largely second XV out against Italy and treat it like the USA/Tonga game; or, will he go for a win, give those players who lost last week a chance to bounce back, and then rely on revenge to get past Scotland for a big win that might end up giving them a 6Ns trophy?

Again, it's all a matter of perspective. If that works, and England win the title, no-one will call it bottling it: and if there's no tangible effect on England's rotation at the RWC, likewise. But I'm not sure about elements of the first XV, and I'm definitely not sure about the second XV, and that's why it's an interesting point about how risky EJ is willing to be. In my opinion, Italy look as poor as they have done in terms of competitiveness. O'Shea is laying down some nice structures, and they're playing 'good'/better rugby than they have for years, but it's second/third rate and means they're never really 'in' games: the kind England will face against USA. If England have to play Farrell to get past that, frankly, that's a worry. So that's why I used bottling it, but can understand why you might take issue with it. Let's wait on selection to see.

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Post by miaow on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:31 pm

LondonTiger wrote:It has been a long while since he played 10 for Exeter, and when he did Slade was poor.

Wouldn't say it's been a long while - definitely seen him play there in the last 2 seasons - and think it's also harsh you calling him poor there. I don't expect he is the answer to Farrell's problems - to me, it's a fit Ford or Cipriani - but at the moment he looks like the best partner for Farrell England can field. If the game does break up, maybe he does step into more of a second 'first receiver' role late on in games. Maybe not. Just interesting to see how England utilise him as, to me, he's really not far off Farrell in ability, maybe even his superior in some ways (but Farrell definitely has some strengths over him/most players).

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Post by miaow on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 10:36 pm

Realise I wrote another essay: apologies, don't get angry at me.

The short answer is this: Schmidt adapted and picked Marmion and other players at 9 when he could and Ireland kept winning. Including v the ABs. That's despite how integral Murray's kicking is to his gameplan. EJ rotated Youngs with Care sometimes but most knew Care's weaknesses - EJ apparently surprised by them, drops him, and doesn't replace him. Care might even be the man to come back in and 'replace' himself, which must do wonders for his confidence/team morale. Both teams successful/winning big games and titles, but one has planned succession, the other not. Bottling it? Maybe. Getting it 'wrong'? Certainly.

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 11:00 pm

Like in all games England will first want to get the win. That'll be achieved by controlling the game, we usually do that through our defense and kicking, which is how I expect to see it go against Italy as well. Italy have pretty poor ball skills so let them play, wait for the mistake and take our chances.

Now this is what we usually do so I would quite like to see a bit more pressure from England in attack and perhaps look to rack up the phases. But it probably won't happen.

We'll look for the win. Then we'll look for the tbp, then we'll just keep on playing.

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Post by maestegmafia on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 7:00 am

yappysnap wrote:Like in all games England will first want to get the win. That'll be achieved by controlling the game, we usually do that through our defense and kicking, which is how I expect to see it go against Italy as well. Italy have pretty poor ball skills so let them play, wait for the mistake and take our chances.

Now this is what we usually do so I would quite like to see a bit more pressure from England in attack and perhaps look to rack up the phases. But it probably won't happen.

We'll look for the win. Then we'll look for the tbp, then we'll just keep on playing.

England have played three games where they use a strong defence and try to score tries from smart decisions on the counter. We may well see that Italy have a strong answer to a similar tactic. Their back three isn’t as poor as you might think.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 7:31 am

miaow wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:It has been a long while since he played 10 for Exeter, and when he did Slade was poor.

Wouldn't say it's been a long while - definitely seen him play there in the last 2 seasons - and think it's also harsh you calling him poor there. I don't expect he is the answer to Farrell's problems - to me, it's a fit Ford or Cipriani - but at the moment he looks like the best partner for Farrell England can field. If the game does break up, maybe he does step into more of a second 'first receiver' role late on in games. Maybe not. Just interesting to see how England utilise him as, to me, he's really not far off Farrell in ability, maybe even his superior in some ways (but Farrell definitely has some strengths over him/most players).

I have not seen him at 10 ever since the season 4 or so years ago when they tried to move him up there, but ended up bringing Steenson back into the team and moved Slade back to the centres.

Slade had the skills, but not the ability to make decisions quickly enough. Since that season I did not think he had played at 10, with Steenson still at Chiefs and Simmonds the newish kid on the block. I certainly would not want a guy who was 3rd choice at his club performing such a pivotal role for country.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 8:13 am

And I wouldn't expect him there. 10 looks fairly well set as we have Farrell Ford and Cipriani. You'd then be looking to Smith coming through after the world cup and indeed Simmonds. Bit of a puzzle to say that England haven't planned or indeed initiated succession though. George sinckler itoje Underhill curry Simmonds senior slade Cokanasiga Daly.
Anyway England will win with the bonus point on Saturday and I'm sure there'll be comments we didn't do it with enough panache whatever happens.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 8:35 am

Don't know if it's simply something for the media to focus on but Robshaw is receiving a bit of praise from Hatley. Possibility he comes straight back in. Personally don't think he's a great bench option so start or nothing for me.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 10:53 am

I have seen a lot of people in the press looking to draw correlations between this 31 man squad and the 31 man squad needed for RWC.

First thing to point out is that the shape of the squad is likely to be different. The current one has:

6 Props
2 Hookers
3 Locks
7 Back Row
2 SHs
2 FHs
4 Centres
5 Back 3 players

Eddie would probably drop a couple of back rowers to give him an extra hooker and a lock (especially as Itoje and Lawes can cover back row)
Will he choose to add any more half backs? Probably not at FH, as despite my reservations Slade could cover there for a short term injury. Maybe at 9 and then losing an outside back.

Choosing 5 back rowers from Curry, Hughes, Robshaw, Shields, Underhill, Vunipola & Wilson (with Earl, Mercer and Simmonds as outside hopes) will be an interesting conundrum for Eddie. Assuming fitness I would take Billy (with Hughes on standby should he get injures), Curry, Underhill & Wilson (who can play at 8 for "lesser" games) with one of Shields and Robshaw taking the final spot. I of course am not the selector.

Selecting 8 or 9 outside backs - Manu, Slade, May, Nowell & Daly feel like certs. Joseph will go if he can stay fit and demonstrate form. Te'o is an Eddie favourite and almost certain to go (but may be sacrificed if we need a 3rd SH?). Cokanasiga has been the bolter and will probably go. Which leaves perhaps two spots available for Ashton, Brown, Thorley and Watson to fight over.

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Post by miaow on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:57 pm

Just quickly re: Slade at 10. Yes, I agree Cipriani and Ford are better. But 1. Cipriani isn't trusted or liked and 2. Ford isn't either, and hasn't played well for a while.

I'd have Cipriani in there. Truly talented 10. Think we're going to see Quade line-up with the Wallabies in Japan, even if he doesn't start, and Cipriani has a similar aura/abilities. But I don't think he'll be in England's squad.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:33 pm

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)

Jamie George (Saracens)

Nathan Hughes (Wasps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens)

George Kruis (Saracens)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)

Brad Shields (Wasps)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)

Elliot Daly (Wasps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain

George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

Dan Robson (Wasps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)

Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Updated squad.

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Post by yappysnap on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:53 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
yappysnap wrote:Like in all games England will first want to get the win. That'll be achieved by controlling the game, we usually do that through our defense and kicking, which is how I expect to see it go against Italy as well. Italy have pretty poor ball skills so let them play, wait for the mistake and take our chances.

Now this is what we usually do so I would quite like to see a bit more pressure from England in attack and perhaps look to rack up the phases. But it probably won't happen.

We'll look for the win. Then we'll look for the tbp, then we'll just keep on playing.

England have played three games where they use a strong defence and try to score tries from smart decisions on the counter. We may well see that Italy have a strong answer to a similar tactic. Their back three isn’t as poor as you might think.

No but they're probably still the weakest of the teams in the comp, so we should expect some rewards if we let them play themselves into errors.

Saying that O'Shea is a very smart coach and again, the two week break gives plenty of time for analysis.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:56 pm

So Hepburn, Williams, Earl, Robshaw and Joseph released, with Ewels added.

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Post by yappysnap on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:56 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)

Jamie George (Saracens)

Nathan Hughes (Wasps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens)

George Kruis (Saracens)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)

Brad Shields (Wasps)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)

Elliot Daly (Wasps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain

George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

Dan Robson (Wasps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)

Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Updated squad.

Interesting, so Itoje has recovered quicker then expected? I hope he isn't being rushed back but if he is fit and ready it'll be great to have him back in the team. I'm definitely more confident when I see his name on the team sheet.

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Post by yappysnap on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:57 pm

And what is it with Ewels? He seems to always be around the squad but I swear I never hear anything about him, good or bad, and his name never crops up on any of the Prem coverage etc.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 6:58 pm

Ewels is apparently injury cover for itoje so must be touch and go. Thorley is there for injury cover to nowell.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:47 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47458545

Itoje is doubtful and so is Nowell. I expect to see Teo and Ewels on the bench then.

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 8:21 am

Unless Eddie swaps his entire bench to start, it looks like it's going to be a very familiar looking line-up for England.

They have had less possession than their opposition in the previous 3 games, do we think England will try to hold onto the ball more? Or look to use their kicking games and aggressive defence as weapons?

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Post by miaow on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 8:52 am

The short answer: yes. Because it'll be a lot easier to win the territorial game against Italy than it was against Ireland and Wales.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 10:04 am

What is it that the coaching staff see in Ewells?

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 10:07 am

Ps for the game...I think we need to see a performance of brutal efficiency from England, and put on a cricket score.

They gave the game away against Wales...they simply cant do that if they want to win world cups.

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Post by No9 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 10:23 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Ps for the game...I think we need to see a performance of brutal efficiency from England, and put on a cricket score.

They gave the game away against Wales...they simply cant do that if they want to win world cups.

So Wales didn't win then, England simply "gave the game away".... Yahoo . Tad arrogant...

When I watched the game in the Stadium, I thought England had the upper hand in the first half, with things changing in the second half. Since watching again (full game), England only had the upper hand for about 20mins in the first half, as Wales defence had full control of the English game, with our back 3 (Liam especially) having full control of the only tactic England seemed to have (the kicking game)..

So, the "gave the game away" statement is a little inaccurate.

Never mind... I do expect you'll get away with it against Italy, especially at Twickenham.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 10:28 am

We mentally gave the game away. From in full command, Wales got under Englands skin. England gave it away.
Quite clear. Any way this is about England v Italy, not Wales.


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Post by robbo277 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:41 am

No9 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Ps for the game...I think we need to see a performance of brutal efficiency from England, and put on a cricket score.

They gave the game away against Wales...they simply cant do that if they want to win world cups.

So Wales didn't win then, England simply "gave the game away".... Yahoo . Tad arrogant...

When I watched the game in the Stadium, I thought England had the upper hand in the first half, with things changing in the second half. Since watching again (full game), England only had the upper hand for about 20mins in the first half, as Wales defence had full control of the English game, with our back 3 (Liam especially) having full control of the only tactic England seemed to have (the kicking game)..

So, the "gave the game away" statement is a little inaccurate.

Never mind... I do expect you'll get away with it against Italy, especially at Twickenham.

Can it not be both? Or does that not fit with your "England are arrogant" narrative?

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Post by No9 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:50 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:We mentally gave the game away. From in full command, Wales got under Englands skin. England gave it away.
Quite clear. Any way this is about England v Italy, not Wales.


Oh, how silly of me. You "mentally gave the game away", was nothing to do with the fact the playing tactics wasn't working and you had no alternative game plan. Got it..

... and you brought up Wales first, by mentioning the game against Wales... thumbsup

.... by the way. England was never in full command. We had your game plan, we took control of that through our defensive game, then slowly built the attack. At no point did England look in command, looked even up to Curry's try, but after that England slipped off and looked clueless when they're Plan A failed to deliver.

You'll be fine against Italy though, so as I've said before, you still have a strong chance of taking the title, if we slip up on one of our remianing games. But, you may regret not getting a BP against Wales, as that as let Ireland get a sniff of a chance (and Scotland).


(Oh no... you bullies had red lined me. Are you afraid of the truth)


Last edited by No9 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:59 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Rugby Fan on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:52 am

miaow wrote:It's all about perception..
Sorry, I've just read your comment now.

To be honest, I think all you have really described, is that Gatland has been coaching Wales for over 11 years, through two World Cups, Schmidt has run Ireland for nearly six years, and one World Cup, while Jones has had England for only three years.

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Post by No9 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 11:55 am

robbo277 wrote:
No9 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Ps for the game...I think we need to see a performance of brutal efficiency from England, and put on a cricket score.

They gave the game away against Wales...they simply cant do that if they want to win world cups.

So Wales didn't win then, England simply "gave the game away".... Yahoo . Tad arrogant...

When I watched the game in the Stadium, I thought England had the upper hand in the first half, with things changing in the second half. Since watching again (full game), England only had the upper hand for about 20mins in the first half, as Wales defence had full control of the English game, with our back 3 (Liam especially) having full control of the only tactic England seemed to have (the kicking game)..

So, the "gave the game away" statement is a little inaccurate.

Never mind... I do expect you'll get away with it against Italy, especially at Twickenham.

Can it not be both? Or does that not fit with your "England are arrogant" narrative?

First I didn't say England where arrogant, I said GeordieFalcon's comment was arrogant.

Secondly, it could be both (ie England giving it away and Wales winning), if England where in control, winning the game then just giving up. But, as I said, that wasn't what happened. England's tactics was found wanting, and Wales defence was immense, building the attack slowly and winning the game. At no point did England give the game away.

Just be nice to recognize the best side won it fair and square. thumbsup

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 12:00 pm

Go create an England Wales thread on it.

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