England v Italy Match Build Up Thread

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

First topic message reminder :

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 LondonTiger on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:01 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Do you think Italy will have any little tactical surprises up their sleeves...or will it be a predictable Italy

TBH I am more interested in what we do. Hopefully we mix play up rather than playing just one way through the whole game.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:19 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Predictably we'll beat them. If they do have any surprises hopefully the ref is on top of it to call it  correctly. Can only imagine it's going to be one way traffic though. If Te'o and Tuilagi do prove to be a bit 1 dimensional they may make it through to half time in a reasonably close 40.

Yeah hopefully the ref is on hand to explain the rules to Englands players too. laughing

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Post by Ricardo74 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:20 pm

I like the Eng midfield.

For all the comments about the likely lack of distribution from a Te'o / Manu centre pairing, let's not forget that Slade has only thrown two passes in the three games to date (I'm told. I know the stat was one pass from the first two). So that doesn't worry me.

Admittedly the pass to May which led to Slade's first try in the Ireland game was a thing of beauty, mind you.

I'm hoping we get to see Te'o and Slade at some point, because in the one-in-a-million chance Manu picks up an injury and doesn't make it to RWC then that's what we'll likely field.

Other thoughts:

front row just has "proper rugby" written all over it. Love it.

I'm resigned to the Robson scenario; I genuinely think we'll get Wiggy at 9 for RWC if Youngs picks up an injury. Either that or (I think someone else suggested) he's just picking Robbo to light a fire under Care.

Shields needs a big game to put down a marker; Wilson has the box seat for the 6 shirt at the moment.

FFS no lock on the bench? Okay, I know Hughes, Wilson and Shields can all cover at a push, but I was reasonably hopeful we'd got back to playing players in their, you know, positions. Ewels should be there for me.

Don't think it'll be a cricket score, although it could be an English-collapse cricket score! I expect us to put about the same number of points on Italy as we did France, I guess.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:21 pm

Yeah that was particularly poor from the ref at the time. Poite was it? That particular issue has now been resolved as it was recognised that even top refs would have been in a whole heap of trouble accurately officiating.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:26 pm

Yes Poite. Nah it wasn't poor he was reffing the rules at the time. The England boys just didn't know what to do.

I reckon Poite is the best NH ref.

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Post by Ricardo74 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:29 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Yes Poite. Nah it wasn't poor he was reffing the rules at the time. The England boys just didn't know what to do.

I reckon Poite is the best NH ref.

Ahead of Barnes and Nige?

I think Barnes is the best, which is something of a pain since he obviously never gets to ref England games.


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:33 pm

The laws were what they were at the time but clearly dying the game he was calling tackle only when it had become a ruck etc. It just showed how difficult it would be to ref should that have become a consistent tactic as even when pre warned he was getting it wrong at times. In terms of knowing what to do in actual fact all 3 of Hartley, Launchbury and Haskell were correct in what they were asking of the ref. Indeed Haskell who got the comment had encountered the tactic while playing for the highlander s. The reason I think it was stupid of Poite to say it is that it was jokingly dismissive which can work to defuse some rugby situations in this case their questions were correct and he'd actually got a few decisions incorrect.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:34 pm

Noooooooo Ricardo don't mention Barnes to him! You think the Welsh invasion was bad. *ducks*

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Post by Ricardo74 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:37 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Noooooooo Ricardo don't mention Barnes to him! You think the Welsh invasion was bad. *ducks*

laughing laughing Run

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:39 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Noooooooo Ricardo don't mention Barnes to him! You think the Welsh invasion was bad. *ducks*

Indeed.



I like Poite as a ref, and do think he is one of the best. No surprise that our Irish friend likes him as his style and interpretation of the breakdown suits the way Ireland play. I remember once watching a match with a former ref (more experienced than my former reffdom) and we decided to look at the breakdowns with real scrutiny. There was barely a single one where you could not penalise one side or the other for something. In fact at many there were multiple offences with both sides breaking the laws. In the end refs will have a picture of what they like to see and thus we end up with differing styles, and refs that suit one country and not another.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:45 pm

Ricardo74 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:Yes Poite. Nah it wasn't poor he was reffing the rules at the time. The England boys just didn't know what to do.

I reckon Poite is the best NH ref.

Ahead of Barnes and Nige?

I think Barnes is the best, which is something of a pain since he obviously never gets to ref England games.


Way ahead of Barnes and Nige. Never liked Barnes, too inconsistent and I think Owens has got worse over the years. It seems to be all about him these days to the point where I would actually prefer Barnes over Owens.

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Post by Ricardo74 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:50 pm

Talking of refs, who's this chap we've got tomorrow?

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Post by robbo277 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:56 pm

miaow wrote:
robbo277 wrote:You're saying Eddie lacks the confidence to play his back-up 9 and 10, I don't think it's a confidence issue. He has decided his best 9 and 10 are Youngs and Farrell and he's given them his full confidence.

Really not a point I went to get hung up on - it's semantics after all - but it's very much a case of how you look at it, and calling his decision to stick with Youngs-Farrell could easily seen as poor planning for any number of reasons: lack of confidence in the back-up/his current gameplan/keeping tactics up his sleeve for Japan could all be very legitimate reasons for that. From the outside, I think EJ is lacking some bottle when it comes to team selection - but then that's not overly surprising considering what happened in 2018. Nothing contentious here. If I were English saying this I doubt you'd have the same hostility to it.

robbo277 wrote:...I don't think he is genuinely worried that either of them would cost us this game. He just doesn't see them as starters for the World Cup and doesn't want to waste time on them in those roles. That's not a lack of confidence in either of these guys for this game.

That's just crazy and not how literally every other coach has prepared for the tournament. As has been spoken about with England in 03 and NZ in 11/15 - planning for chaos is what wins RWCs. Injury to Farrell and/or Youngs - a very real possibility - in a RWC would result in players he didn't want to 'waste time' on having to now start, and to lead the team into the hotbed of itense, back to back games, and potentially knockout rugby. Either that, or you need to rotate your team heavily in the group stages to avoid burnout and/or the increased chance of injury to key players. You're a good poster robbo, I doubt even you believe what you've just written.

I'm not saying I agree with his approach, I just don't think he's bottled anything.

I don't really want to get hung up on semantics, but there's a difference between Eddie bottling his selection and poor planning. I'm arguing that Eddie hasn't bottled his selection. Whether Eddie is mismanaging the situation is a different point.

Is it poor planning not to give Robson a run-out? Possibly - see below. Would I have started him this game? Yes. Has Eddie bottled his selection? No, I don't think so. Eddie doesn't lack the courage to make a change he thinks is right, see him hauling Burrell and Harrison off early in games that we ended up winning. He just doesn't agree with the consensus that Robson should start this game - and it's probably more courageous to fly in the face of public opinion, because of all the I-told-you-so's on social media that will be ready to crucify him. So while it may not be the right decision, it is the decision he believes in.

In terms of planning, he's got two experienced scrum-halves in Care and Wigglesworth in back-up. He's had a brief look at Maunder, Spencer and now Robson. Robson has had more of a look in than the previous 2 and is the guy who's currently being looked at. He'll probably get minutes over the next two weeks, but I doubt he'll start. I'd expect to see 4 scrum halves in the 50 man pre-world cup training squad, Youngs, Care, Wigglesworth and Robson. If Robson is still his number 2, he'll probably start a summer game. In an ideal world, we'd have a more experienced back-up player, but would it make a huge difference to him if he had started this game against if he doesn't? It might actually work in his favour if there's a bit less footage of him out there and he can catch people on the back foot.

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Post by robbo277 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:02 pm

king_carlos wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Some comments from the BBC.

With Maro Itoje struggling with a knee problem, lock Launchbury starts alongside George Kruis, with Nathan Hughes providing bench cover.


Mark Wilson can cover Lock incredibly well....

Hughes came into the row against Ireland and put in one of his better England cameos to be fair.

Wilson has been excellent at blindside. I say keep him there rather than wear him down scrummaging in the row.

With Robshaw recalled so swiftly you have to think that Shields needs a good game tomorrow to stay in the squad.

6.Wilson, Shields, Robshaw
7.Curry, Underhill
8.Vunipola, Hughes

At least one of those will miss out on the RWC squad.

Eddie has said they've been trying to develop Hughes as someone who can cover lock. It's obvious (now) that Eddie has 4 world cup locks and rates no-one below that too highly. He's got a bit of flexibility in that Lawes covers 6, so he can go 4+5 with Lawes covering back row.

If he loses one of his locks, he doesn't want to call up Ewels or Isiekwe, so he'll add another back row player in and have Hughes as his cover.

Which means we might see 4 locks, 4 flankers and Billy (with Lawes and Wilson as our two versatile options), 4 locks, 3 flankers and Billy and Hughes (with Lawes as our versatile option) or we'll see 3 locks, 4 flankers and Billy and Hughes, with Lawes either missing out or as a dedicated lock and Hughes as the versatile option.

I think if his 4 locks are fit they'll all make it. I think he's more likely to go 4 flankers than 2 number 8s, especially with Wilson covering 8 to good effect in the Autumn.

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Post by robbo277 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:18 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Noooooooo Ricardo don't mention Barnes to him! You think the Welsh invasion was bad. *ducks*

Indeed.



I like Poite as a ref, and do think he is one of the best. No surprise that our Irish friend likes him as his style and interpretation of the breakdown suits the way Ireland play. I remember once watching a match with a former ref (more experienced than my former reffdom) and we decided to look at the breakdowns with real scrutiny. There was barely a single one where you could not penalise one side or the other for something. In fact at many there were multiple offences with both sides breaking the laws. In the end refs will have a picture of what they like to see and thus we end up with differing styles, and refs that suit one country and not another.

First things first, Wales deserved to win.

That said, I did get frustrated watching the Wales game at the time. I felt that the decisions he gave against England were all correct, but there were some he didn't give against Wales that could have been given. Maybe I was just hoping for the referee to give us something because our players weren't turning the game, but there were a couple of things that I felt Wales were lucky to get away with.

I think the Welsh managed the referee better, which must be seen as a key part of the game in light of the above post. If we accept LT's assertion that there's at least one offence per side at every breakdown, you win the contest if the opposition infractions are picked up upon and your indiscretions are left alone.

How your captain communicates with the referee and how your players react to the decisions referees are giving and not giving is an important part of the modern game. Wales managed this area of the game better, especially in that second half.

Before I'm accused of ref-blaming by the usual suspects, please re-read my first sentence. I'd also add that ref management wasn't the only area of the game Wales out-maneuvered us in the second half. Overall game management was also much better.

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Post by TightHEAD on Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:22 pm

What are the odds Italy will not compete at the first breakdown?
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Post by miaow on Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:40 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Bury the hatchet miaow?

if you're happy to, i'll take this at face value and say yes

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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:27 pm

miaow wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Bury the hatchet miaow?

if you're happy to, i'll take this at face value and say yes

Hug

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Post by miaow on Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:44 pm

robbo277 wrote:
miaow wrote:
robbo277 wrote:You're saying Eddie lacks the confidence to play his back-up 9 and 10, I don't think it's a confidence issue. He has decided his best 9 and 10 are Youngs and Farrell and he's given them his full confidence.

Really not a point I went to get hung up on - it's semantics after all - but it's very much a case of how you look at it, and calling his decision to stick with Youngs-Farrell could easily seen as poor planning for any number of reasons: lack of confidence in the back-up/his current gameplan/keeping tactics up his sleeve for Japan could all be very legitimate reasons for that. From the outside, I think EJ is lacking some bottle when it comes to team selection - but then that's not overly surprising considering what happened in 2018. Nothing contentious here. If I were English saying this I doubt you'd have the same hostility to it.

robbo277 wrote:...I don't think he is genuinely worried that either of them would cost us this game. He just doesn't see them as starters for the World Cup and doesn't want to waste time on them in those roles. That's not a lack of confidence in either of these guys for this game.

That's just crazy and not how literally every other coach has prepared for the tournament. As has been spoken about with England in 03 and NZ in 11/15 - planning for chaos is what wins RWCs. Injury to Farrell and/or Youngs - a very real possibility - in a RWC would result in players he didn't want to 'waste time' on having to now start, and to lead the team into the hotbed of itense, back to back games, and potentially knockout rugby. Either that, or you need to rotate your team heavily in the group stages to avoid burnout and/or the increased chance of injury to key players. You're a good poster robbo, I doubt even you believe what you've just written.

I'm not saying I agree with his approach, I just don't think he's bottled anything.

I don't really want to get hung up on semantics, but there's a difference between Eddie bottling his selection and poor planning. I'm arguing that Eddie hasn't bottled his selection. Whether Eddie is mismanaging the situation is a different point.

Is it poor planning not to give Robson a run-out? Possibly - see below. Would I have started him this game? Yes. Has Eddie bottled his selection? No, I don't think so. Eddie doesn't lack the courage to make a change he thinks is right, see him hauling Burrell and Harrison off early in games that we ended up winning. He just doesn't agree with the consensus that Robson should start this game - and it's probably more courageous to fly in the face of public opinion, because of all the I-told-you-so's on social media that will be ready to crucify him. So while it may not be the right decision, it is the decision he believes in.

In terms of planning, he's got two experienced scrum-halves in Care and Wigglesworth in back-up. He's had a brief look at Maunder, Spencer and now Robson. Robson has had more of a look in than the previous 2 and is the guy who's currently being looked at. He'll probably get minutes over the next two weeks, but I doubt he'll start. I'd expect to see 4 scrum halves in the 50 man pre-world cup training squad, Youngs, Care, Wigglesworth and Robson. If Robson is still his number 2, he'll probably start a summer game. In an ideal world, we'd have a more experienced back-up player, but would it make a huge difference to him if he had started this game against if he doesn't? It might actually work in his favour if there's a bit less footage of him out there and he can catch people on the back foot.

Bottling is pretty strong, but I still stick by it. Other than the Argentina tour in 2017, when has Eddie Jones picked a truly 'second' team: or picked a heavily rotated team. Off the top of my head, the Japan game earlier this season would count, and that went horribly for the first half/three quarters, but they eventually got the job done. The Babas game, where they got thumped? Perhaps a harsh one. I also don't think several of those players will make the world cup squad...which makes selection interesting, but I think is another issue - EJ seems to oscillate between rigidity and then confusing tactics/selections at times as well.

It's not just about rotation - I think there are big question marks on the first team as well, both individuals and combinations. Who is first choice hooker? Flankers? Wing? 15? Captain? And whoever he picks...are they the right choice? How do you/we know? If he knew his first team - and maybe he does, maybe he's holding it back for Japan - it would be easier to build the back-up, but I think the losing streak last year came as a shock to him and he didn't really know how to stop the rot, which has made him question everything in terms of personnel. Some positions, like lock, the competition is good and healthy - hooker is as well. But it doesn't remove the point that there is confusion there, created partly out of EJ not rejuvinating the team in the second season when he instead looked to win the 2017 6Ns and treated the summer tour to Argentina as the depth building exercise which, due to the wins, probably gave an inaccurate sense of confidence to certain players' abilities. Also, key players from the successful period - Haskell, Care, Brown, Joseph - have now been discarded and not really replaced and that definitely has an impact on the wider squad, mentally and tactically.

I think EJ is a short term coach, and this is why he might lead England to a RWC final/win as he might have something brilliant up his sleeve that catches people out in the knockouts, but also think he brings certain negative things with him and team development is one of them. There's a decent, not good, amount of depth - but lots of the selections that look like depth aren't that great: caps are too infrequent, or out of position, or mismanaged (if Care and Brown are brought back now that would be weird management), or in unimportant games. Now, they're not even happening from the bench in a world cup year, when the lack of clarity over certain positions would seem to make it a necessity. Partly, I think there's a fear there now that EJ doesn't really trust the players to sort out on-field issues when they're losing, or certain individuals to perform well immediately after a loss. I don't think EJ trusts his squad and so is relying on a few core players over and over, where other nations have been able to build, effectively, a second leadership team. For England, there's no excuse, as their depth is better than any other 6Ns team, or at least no worse than any other.

After the improbable success in the first two seasons, which was about taking the good foundations and letting them loose/focusing on very simple elements of the game and letting the players excel, he lost his way. Clearly, because the slow decline everyone saw happening suddenly turned into a horror show where they lost to Scotland, France, the Babas, and then SA. The response to that was to kick more and, as Ben Ryan points out, play more percentage, low-risk rugby, and in a lot of ways it's worked. I think that might even work in the early games at a RWC as it's low collision, low stamina stuff for the most part - and England have more to their game than just kicking it and that might help if they've brushed aside the early teams with relatively little physical effort compared to, say, Wales and Ireland's possession games. But it didn't work against Wales after the first 30 minutes and, when the game was calling out for the Ford-Farrell axis that led to a lot of their success under EJ, he didn't go for it. Fundamentalism to the system or bottling it? Not going for the throat when the lead was still there? Again, perspective. The fact this is a RWC year makes things harder - maybe it's a case of holding things back and the simplicity belies the detail EJ is probably working on for a more complete gameplan. Maybe.

Basically, I think EJ's success is far too reliant on a few key individuals in the first team: Tuilagi, Vunipolas, Farrell, Youngs. It's not just a case of using these good players' abilities and then building a team around them, as any other coach would do...it's the fact that the second-choice options appear to not really be trusted and also the rest of the team can look very average without them. Which is poor management and, partly, that is due to fear of trusting certain players, as I said above. I take the Marler retirement as a serious misfortune as he was a really good, effective player - but England don't really have a viable 8 back-up, Ford is no longer trusted, Cipriani never really liked, Care dropped and Robson not trusted, Wigglesworth has proved himself average/not quite good enough for years and years at test level. Te'o no match for Tuilagi - although there is variety here with Joseph, perhaps putting Farrell back to 12 as well, so slightly less of an issue than the others and more to do with Tuilagi's qualities. I just think a few factors have skewed perceptions on England - firstly, success during the 'rebuilding' period for other nations; Australia have been poor throughout the time they've played EJ's England, physically weak in a way England have been able to match and then outgun their running threats; they snuck a few wins in 2017 to keep that aura/win streak going when the cracks were starting to show; didn't play NZ for a while so weren't 'shown up' at any point. But by and large, EJ's success was front-heavy because of a new coach coming in, more aggressive tactics, disappointment from the RWC etc. His job was probably saved by sneaking the win against SA in the autumn, and the close game against a fairly average NZ team as well - hammering Australia then helped put to bed any doubts.

I do take the point about less footage of Robson and catching opposition out. That is a thing. But it's not a comprehensive answer - there are far more 'moments' where experience, comfort, and quality at test level is required and that ONLY comes from playing test minutes: something as simple as a box kick to clear from your tryline with 2 minutes to play. Or the split second decisions at a far higher tempo than club level, even in Europe. These come from experience and, clearly, there are some players who are good club men, but not international quality - relying on them when they're lining up to be second-choice is very strange. There's also a case of getting through the first few caps on adrenaline/the novelty of it - once players start to 'relax' into the test environment, you can see the wide-eyed effort from the first few caps drop a little; somtimes that's a good thing as they then develop that comfort to execute, sometimes players look a lot more average. To risk that happening at a RWC with, potentially, the 9 and 15 (two key positions) is crazy.

Anyway, there we go. It's a lack of confidence, rather than bottling it perhaps. But that's splitting hairs really.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:59 pm

TightHEAD wrote:What are the odds Italy will not compete at the first breakdown?

Ruck laws have changed since then, TightHEAD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfEz8lCj4BE&t=352s

5 minutes into that videos there's a good explanation of it from Wayne Barnes.

Basically an opposition player doesn't need to engage the ruck to form an offside line.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:13 pm

Why wouldn't it be miaow. I'm still going to disagree obviously. Like the above post I think you're vastly under rating a class coach and team bit hey ho.

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Post by miaow on Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:13 pm

On a related point, the offside line that caught Courtney Lawes out against NZ - i.e. the offside line is no longer the back foot, it's the total length of the ruck irrespective of shirt colour - has been woefully officiated so far this 6Ns. Really, really poor.

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Post by miaow on Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:19 pm

Don't think I'm underrating. Maybe being a bit harsh because they have the potential/did for a brief while sweep all before them in the NH. The focus is proportional to the weakness, which is proportional to the potential...I think.

The main thing EJ has going for him is his ability to create 'buy-in' culture among the players. I get the sense that most players will really like him, with a few hating him. He'll get the players to play 'for' him, as you often hear it called - basically, they fear and respect him enough.

But on reflection I have been thinking about Ben Ryan's points about low risk rugby and - whilst I don't think that was the main issue against Wales, per se - maybe the kicking game, selection, and wider tactical approach is because he is trying to fundamentally avoid the kind of situation they got into in 2018. And rather than simply being a way to stabilise the rot and go 'back to basics', this is the way he wants his team to play - he's setting them up to have fast starts, get points on the board, hold out with defense and physical power, and keep it 'low risk'. Maybe it is a kind of conservatism that ignores the fact that, ultimately, you do need to play a more comprehensive gameplan to win back to back games of rugby against teams with different strengths i.e. a RWC. England might look good running the ball against Australia but that's because they're a joke for the most part - a good few players, poor managed, with only Hooper and a few others looking like they care.

So it's a strange one. EJ might have gone for low risk control with his selection but, also, that selection has weakneses - Daly exposed in the air, for instance, despite his attacking prowess at 15. Which does make me question EJ. If he doesn't unveil 'the plan' in Japan then it will all be a bit of a disappointing end to his England tenure, really.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:24 pm

Hey ho. Some will always focus on a small amount of results of games but looking at his tenure in full and understanding the context behind I'm sure most will agree it's been a success.even if he were to leave now or atbthe world cup we've progressed well since the last WC.

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Post by miaow on Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:40 pm

No doubt he's been a success. Not something I'd argue. He's brought a mentality that England needed that no English coach after Woodward was able to accept/encourage in the players. That alone has made him a success, as well as the 6Ns wins.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:43 pm

Yup. I'd accept he's been lucky as well to walk into such a talented group with more coming through of course. Had Ashton or johnson had this group rather than the frankly mediocre group during mid 00s or vice versa he may well have been judged differently by those who cannot look beyond results.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:41 pm

miaow wrote:On a related point, the offside line that caught Courtney Lawes out against NZ - i.e. the offside line is no longer the back foot, it's the total length of the ruck irrespective of shirt colour - has been woefully officiated so far this 6Ns. Really, really poor.
Every team has been a long way offside at pretty much every breakdown. Only backs in centre field seem to have been picked up.

England, Ireland and Wales have been the worst offenders.

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Post by Yoda on Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:54 pm

For all its worth, that Italian tactic was not officiated properly by poite as he got it wrong alot of the time and inconsistent approach really buggered the game. He was more confused than the players. Of course everyone else thought it was hilarious but I wouldn't have been happy as an Italian as they just went into the game with a losers outlook never played and were never going to win. Basically what's the point of turning up with that attitude. As for Mr peyper always been a bit of a homer and will give benefit of the doubt to the home team see England Australia for example.

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Post by Sharkey06 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:38 pm

Ok that was 2 years ago - as Conor O'Shea said at that point Italy could only compete for 30 minutes out of 80, so that was the best tactic they could use.  He has said he reckons they can now compete for 80 minutes, although they are not as fit as he wants.  So I don't think we will see any gimmicks.

It is frustrating to see opposition players putting their hands in at rucks and being told 10 times by the referee "hands off now", and I can't remember a ruck where at least half the defending team were not in front of the back foot.  I know it is incredibly hard being a referee, but I think the game would be better if they policed the offside line to the same degree that football does on the offside line.  I am sure it would open up the game a bit more and we would see more tries.

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Post by BamBam on Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:14 am

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2019/03/08/owen-farrell-lead-twickenham-mascots-inspired-trademark-charity/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:25 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Predictably we'll beat them. If they do have any surprises hopefully the ref is on top of it to call it  correctly. Can only imagine it's going to be one way traffic though. If Te'o and Tuilagi do prove to be a bit 1 dimensional they may make it through to half time in a reasonably close 40.

Yeah hopefully the ref is on hand to explain the rules to Englands players too. laughing

Hope not, if he was explaining the rules, he would be confusing everyone.

Now if he was explaining the LAWS of rugby union, that would be a lot better. Yahoo

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:15 am

Jamie George in the Independent wrote:

Jamie George has warned Italy that any attempt to rough-up England will be met with the same unified retaliation evident against Georgia last week.

Fighting broke out during a live scrummaging session at the three-day training camp in Oxford, forcing coaches from both nations to intervene to separate the warring front rows.
George views the brawls against the Eastern Europeans as the perfect medicine following a 21-13 defeat by Wales that means England can afford no further setbacks if they are to win the Guinness Six Nations title.
"After a loss sometimes you feel very isolated and naturally you are constantly thinking about yourself - 'what did I do, what could I have done better?"' the Lions and Saracens hooker said.
"And then the next thing you know you're in a pretty heated session with the Georgians. As a pack we showed that we have each other's backs and we are as tight as ever.


"I know for a fact that the person to my left, right and behind me have got my back so it's definitely brought us closer together.
"As a forward pack we will always look out for each other and we speak about that a lot.
"We don't want to get into pushing and shoving and all that, but unfortunately it's a part of the game.
"It's that fine balance of standing up for yourself and not showing any form of weakness, but at the same time not letting it distract you from what you've got to do next.
"You see any white shirt being messed around with and more often than not you'll see 15 white shirts there pretty quickly. That's the great thing about the team and it's a sign we're in a great place."


Kyle Sinckler was targeted by Wales at the Principality Stadium after being identified by Warren Gatland as an "emotional timebomb", but England have a strategy in place to deal with any baiting.
"People are going to target our better players, always. We would try to do the same with any opposition," George said.

"How they do that might be by trying to get under their skin a bit, so we make sure we look after them, get them out of there and then we fly into the next thing."

England are still in a strong position to win the Six Nations but need Grand Slam-chasing Wales to slip up in the final two rounds while dispatching Italy and Scotland on successive weekends at Twickenham.
"Winning the title is certainly the end goal. The big thing is we know we need to put pressure on Wales to get results from both those games," George said.

"Then they'll know for a fact we're right back on it and we're desperate to win the championship. That will apply pressure on them. That's all we can do."

George refuses to dwell on the evidence presented to Premiership Rugby Ltd that questions whether Saracens are in breach of salary cap rules.

"I haven't really thought about it at all. We came in at the weekend and people were giving us stick, but it's all banter. There's nothing said too much," George said.


"Between the Saracens guys we haven't really spoken about it either. It is very difficult in a Test week to speak about too much else."


England on Thursday morning name their starting XV to face Italy with doubts over lock Maro Itoje and wing Jack Nowell, who are struggling with respective knee and shoulder injuries..

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Post by EnglishReign on Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:17 pm

Never a huge fan of this fixture. I have Italian blood and Italy will always be my second 6N team but let’s be honest, they won’t be competing anytime soon, so I’d rather just see a good convincing England win with some promising Italian play. Shame they didn’t play Scotland this week, rather than the first, as I’d fancy their chances of an upset.

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Post by miaow on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:41 pm

England 62 Italy 19

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Post by SecretFly on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:42 pm

God, cameras back on the returning Parisse.....things already not looking great for Italy.

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Post by BamBam on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:49 pm

Feels like this game should have been the appetiser early game, I think of this tea time Saturday slot as being for the biggest games!

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:50 pm

I like these new breed of English players. So much nicer than watching the guys from mid 00s

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Post by robbo277 on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:53 pm

Can everyone saying Farrell has a bad defence now see what he's doing? Not for the first time this tournament his stripped someone in a tackle. Sometime he misses that and it's classes as a missed tackle, but there was someone else to tidy up. As it was Vunipola kicked it downfield and we made 50m in 8 seconds.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:55 pm

Cockasaniga is developing in to some player.

He could be a starting winger at the world cup!

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Post by BamBam on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:56 pm

Can someone tell young Jack that doing that celebration with his hands gets on the nerves of opposition fans, and it's just bang out of line? Thanks

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:57 pm

Celebration comes alive when you see those kids.

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Post by Scottrf on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:58 pm

How embarrassing.

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Post by Heaf on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:58 pm

Poof defence from England there ...

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:59 pm

Hope you meant to hit r!

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Post by LondonTiger on Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:59 pm

But good come back by Italy

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Post by Heaf on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:00 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Hope you meant to hit r!

Oops yes Smile

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Post by Heaf on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:00 pm

Good conversion too ...

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:00 pm

BamBam wrote:Can someone tell young Jack that doing that celebration with his hands gets on the nerves of opposition fans, and it's just bang out of line? Thanks

I thought everytime Farrell did that his sponsors has to pay money to the charity? If that's the case...then it's good! And hardly winds up the opposition

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Post by Heaf on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:01 pm

Followed by pooR defence by Italy

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Post by Heaf on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:02 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
BamBam wrote:Can someone tell young Jack that doing that celebration with his hands gets on the nerves of opposition fans, and it's just bang out of line? Thanks

I thought everytime Farrell did that his sponsors has to pay money to the charity? If that's the case...then it's good! And hardly winds up the opposition

Think/hope he was joking ...

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