England v Italy Match Build Up Thread

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Post by yappysnap on Mon 04 Mar 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 Wed 06 Mar 2019, 12:02 pm

No9 wrote:


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).

So, if you lose one of the remaining games it is because you slip up, rather than Scotland or Ireland do well? Run


Thing is everyone concentrates on what their team could have done better, especially when they lose. For example there was a lot of talk about how Wales could have beaten England in the four previous meetings under Eddie, if they had done XY or Z. Especially when looking at the previous Cardiff game, where the consensus seemed to be Wales lost because of JD2 and Cuthbert, rather than anything England did. Yet that is fine because it is natural - us English fans look at the passes from Ford and Farrell, you look at the defensive lapses from your guys.

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Post by No9 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 12:08 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
No9 wrote:


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).

So, if you lose one of the remaining games it is because you slip up, rather than Scotland or Ireland do well? Run


Thing is everyone concentrates on what their team could have done better, especially when they lose. For example there was a lot of talk about how Wales could have beaten England in the four previous meetings under Eddie, if they had done XY or Z. Especially when looking at the previous Cardiff game, where the consensus seemed to be Wales lost because of JD2 and Cuthbert, rather than anything England did. Yet that is fine because it is natural - us English fans look at the passes from Ford and Farrell, you look at the defensive lapses from your guys.


Fair point....sort of. I was referring to a game in the future not the past, so like everyone, I don't know what the result will be or whether a Welsh loss could be because Scotland/Ireland (both) just completely school us, or they capitalise on Welsh mistakes. But, it could have read "If Scotland or Ireland beat us..."


But not going to comment on this anymore, as it wasn't my intention to sidetrack the England v Italy thread, just didn't like the way Wales where dismissed as being "given the game"..

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 12:19 pm

No9 wrote:
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

The best side on the day won it fair and square. However it's not arrogant (and is in fact self evident) to say that if England had played better, they would have won.

You can cut every game two different ways on your perspective. From an England perspective, you look at a game where we were 7 points ahead at halftime, then failed to see off the game from there. We gave away penalties, there were a few uncharacteristic errors (Farrell kicking the ball out on the fall) and we didn't adapt our game plan or use our bench. We didn't land a blow in that second half were Farrell's words (might be paraphrasing).

From the Welsh perspective, you can talk about how you adapted your tactics, dropped more players into the backfield, kept the ball in hand well, brought on Biggar to shore up the aerial battle etc, but this thread isn't about Wales. The comment wasn't about Wales, the comment was about whether England could show the brutal efficiency to win games. If GF had interjected in Welsh discussions about how England gave the game away, then it would be a little bit off.

So yes, I think it's a bit of a leap to get to arrogant from what was written. It's a tired old trope that gets trotted out regarding England rugby, both our players and our fans, and I think the label has been applied here unjustly.

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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 12:39 pm

Mentally England gave it away vs Wales, the crowd played a part in affecting the Ref too.

But England had chances to mix it up but continued to kick, we got what we deserved which was a defeat to a better team on the day, remember this years 6 nations is about the RWC, don't panic just yet.
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 12:57 pm

Well that hit a nerve didn't it?? Unintentional I might add...its just my thoughts about this England team. I think they are mentally weak to win a world cup.

However I repeat, can England put Italy to the sword big time! I think we need to see that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:01 pm

We'll at least the ruck debacle won't be repeated. Cokanasiga to score 4 then?

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Post by BamBam on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:13 pm

Ignore the troll guys, he'll soon go back to arguing about which insignificant little region should be wiped off the rugby map

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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:17 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Mentally England gave it away vs Wales, the crowd played a part in affecting the Ref too.

Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh

What a twonk..... Laugh

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:19 pm

He was but he'll have better days officiating.

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:20 pm

Haven't looked but I take it the Wales Scotland thread must be pretty dead.

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Post by Sharkey06 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:39 pm

Other than Robson starting at 9, it doesn't look like there will be many other changes - Cokanasiga in for Nowell if as likely he is unfit, but I can't see the likes of Ford, Te'o, Shields, etc coming into the starting line up.  Scott Wisemantel is quoted as saying things will be pretty much the same against Italy 'views the fixture as the platform for minor experimentation.'

Having just had a week off I can't see any benefit in England putitng out a scratch team against an Italy team who have if nothing else been awkward opposition for Wales and Ireland.  Looking at the average number of caps world cup winning teams have had, England need to get as manay caps as possible into their starting side as we are still well off the average and hundreds off the 2015 All Blacks figure of 996.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:44 pm

lostinwales wrote:Haven't looked but I take it the Wales Scotland thread must be pretty dead.

Livelier than this.


GF,

We should be able to to put a big score on Italy. I do not think they are very good. With 10 minutes to go a Scotland team who really were struggling with their accuracy were winning 33-3 and I feel that is a genuine reflection of Italy's level. So far we have looked to keep the tempo high - yes we have kicked a lot - but we have been looking to minimise the down time in games. I feel we need to continue with that but mix the game up in the was we should have done against Wales. We have the skills in the team to play in many different ways, but seem to lack the IQ to do more than play one style at a time.

If a team is dropping players back for the kick, then we should look to get the ball wide quickly to exploit space there, if they rush up to stop space, drive it on round the fringes. We need to put the ball where the space is, which can be done by kicking, passing and running. Do we have the nous to play what we see? It seems not.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 1:46 pm

Nous or drilled in response by the coaches? It was obvious in the Wales match and could have been rectified through subs and wasn't. Suggests the coaches wanted that approach no matter what?

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 2:02 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:Other than Robson starting at 9, it doesn't look like there will be many other changes - Cokanasiga in for Nowell if as likely he is unfit, but I can't see the likes of Ford, Te'o, Shields, etc coming into the starting line up.  Scott Wisemantel is quoted as saying things will be pretty much the same against Italy 'views the fixture as the platform for minor experimentation.'

Having just had a week off I can't see any benefit in England putitng out a scratch team against an Italy team who have if nothing else been awkward opposition for Wales and Ireland.  Looking at the average number of caps world cup winning teams have had, England need to get as manay caps as possible into their starting side as we are still well off the average and hundreds off the 2015 All Blacks figure of 996.

Is Robson to start likely, or just desired?

Assuming a starting line-up of: Mako, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Wilson, Curry, Billy, Youngs, Farrell, May, Tuilagi, Slade, Watson, Daly (not saying it will be, but just as a basis).

England currently have 576 caps. They can add another 24 in the next 2 weeks, with Mako, Lawes and Watson the 3 that are unavailable to add to their tally. England have 4 warm-up games, so if the whole starting line-up featured in an average of 3 games each, we'd be on 645 at the start of the tournament.

When is the average cap figure normally taken? At the start or the end of the tournament? Because if England get to the semi-finals (and therefore have 7 World Cup games), the first team could have an extra 90-105 caps. How does 735 stack against former winners - if winning this tournament is our objective?

The other point is we could inflate the numbers by parachuting in Cole, Robshaw and Brown. Would we could add 165 caps to our total. Would we be that much more likely to win the World Cup? To take this to the extreme, we could also bring back Haskell as well for a net gain of 69 caps over Tom Curry. Again, I don't think this will help our cause!

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 2:09 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:Other than Robson starting at 9, it doesn't look like there will be many other changes - Cokanasiga in for Nowell if as likely he is unfit, but I can't see the likes of Ford, Te'o, Shields, etc coming into the starting line up.  Scott Wisemantel is quoted as saying things will be pretty much the same against Italy 'views the fixture as the platform for minor experimentation.'

Having just had a week off I can't see any benefit in England putitng out a scratch team against an Italy team who have if nothing else been awkward opposition for Wales and Ireland.  Looking at the average number of caps world cup winning teams have had, England need to get as manay caps as possible into their starting side as we are still well off the average and hundreds off the 2015 All Blacks figure of 996.

I have put down what I would select from the squad available over the page. I would like changes made but kept to a minimum. I do feel though that this mantra on the number of caps is potentially misleading, especially in the way people then look to increase the cap count. Giving another start to Ben Youngs increases the cap count, but giving a start to Robson is more important. Any way I would like to see Genge, Robson and Cokanasiga all start on Saturday.


PS we could put out a competitive team with almost 900 caps though we would rather have the likes of Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler to Hartley and Cole Very Happy (so what Robbo said)

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 2:12 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Nous or drilled in response by the coaches? It was obvious in the Wales match and could have been rectified through subs and wasn't.  Suggests the coaches wanted that approach no matter what?

That the coaches did not send replacements on to change the style of play does suggest they were happy. Question is are they pushing a team to a simple game plan because they do not have the skills for anything else or the capacity to apply the skills to the situation?


It is of course an area of grey - but a team that requires the coaches to proscribe how to play will not have serious long term success.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 2:27 pm

At the very least, I want to see Genge, Robson and Cokanasiga starting, I'd also like to see LCD tested from the start, mainly because we need to know what we have in reserve if Hartley isn't recovered for the RWC. I'd want to know we have a back up to George who can play in the short turnaround game and do a good job

I'd keep the rest of the pack as it is with the settled locks and back row, Farrell/Slade/Tuilagi/Daly/May would all keep their place in the backs as I'd want to see how the 3/4 new starters look with the full strength side, we just won't learn anything with any more changes than that imo


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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 3:13 pm

lostinwales wrote:Haven't looked but I take it the Wales Scotland thread must be pretty dead.

That's because the Scotland fans interested in this game have been called up to the squad as cover.
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Post by Collapse2005 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 4:04 pm

This will be a good test as to exactly where Italy are. They have never come close to beating England really, only a few times has the game been within one score the rest are hammerings and yet Italy showed some signs of improvement v Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Prediction: 20 point loss.

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 4:38 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:This will be a good test as to exactly where Italy are. They have never come close to beating England really, only a few times has the game been within one score the rest are hammerings and yet Italy showed some signs of improvement v Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Prediction: 20 point loss.

That is what it should be given the match is at Twickenham. But generally either Italy drag you down to their level and make you look really bad in a narrow victory, or you give them a hiding and it is only because they are Italy.

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 8:59 pm

lostinwales wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:This will be a good test as to exactly where Italy are. They have never come close to beating England really, only a few times has the game been within one score the rest are hammerings and yet Italy showed some signs of improvement v Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Prediction: 20 point loss.

That is what it should be given the match is at Twickenham. But generally either Italy drag you down to their level and make you look really bad in a narrow victory, or you give them a hiding and it is only because they are Italy.

Even the fox game we won by 21 points and took a bonus point. Our away wins in Eddie's tenure we have both been by 31 points. I think we've only ever had criticism for our performances against Italy. No, we don't seem to rotate against Italy as much as other teams do, but over the last 3 years we've never been in any danger of losing to them, and have beat them pretty comfortably with 4+ tries each time.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 12:51 am

Ben Ryan had some thoughts about the Wales game

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2019/mar/06/england-risk-averse-game-blunts-threat-six-nations-eddie-jones-wales

...But the shape and style in the tactics Eddie Jones’s men employed stayed on its original course. Why? I have a theory but let’s exclude some others first.

No 1 The team didn’t haven’t the technical quality to do something different. Not a chance. They are gifted and able throughout the team. No conversations to be had on a skill level.

No 2 They didn’t change it up because they couldn’t change it up. But the munitions were there.

No 3 Jones had formulated a plan based on the shortcomings of his team. The coaches instructed the team to play a certain way, come rain, shine or impending doom. It happens. The door isn’t opening, there is just a push-harder mentality.

But I don’t buy that either. Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell were not kicking because they can’t pass or evade defenders. Crossfield kicks were not struck because they couldn’t make a pass followed by an offload or side step.

Yes, you could see that at the start of the Ireland-England match there had been some pre-planning around the first lineout and few phases of possession but they were to surprise the Irish not constrict the English. I don’t believe this England team are instructed so rigidly that they cannot change their plans.

No 4 Lack of effort. I’ll keep this answer very short. The team look energetic and committed. They are working as hard as they can. That is not the issue.

My view is the reason why the changes on the field didn’t happen is down to the team not taking what they subconsciously think of as risks. I’m sure all the team can think for themselves but they won’t act on those instincts if they don’t feel safe enough to.

Think back to the 2003 World Cup final, extra time and the Jonny Wilkinson drop goal for an example of a team that did...My gut feeling with this current England team in the same position as the one captained by Martin Johnson is the this side would keep recycling the ball and wait for an opposition error. They might get that, but the risk of a winning drop goal wouldn’t be taken.

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 5:21 am

That's a pretty basic write up.

And it's all guesswork.

I lean more towards the coaches and players believed in the plan and that it would work, they'd drilled for it, played it to victory in two games so far, and had faith that if they kept on then the cracks would appear. Obviously then Wales score again and the goal posts change, but good teams stick to the gameplan under pressure and that's what they did. It just didn't work this time because Wales played better then us for 40 minutes and took two very good chances when they had them.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 6:34 am

yappysnap wrote:That's a pretty basic write up.

And it's all guesswork.

I lean more towards the coaches and players believed in the plan and that it would work, they'd drilled for it, played it to victory in two games so far, and had faith that if they kept on then the cracks would appear. Obviously then Wales score again and the goal posts change, but good teams stick to the gameplan under pressure and that's what they did. It just didn't work this time because Wales played better then us for 40 minutes and took two very good chances when they had them.

The thing I keep on thinking about is the interview Jones did a couple of weeks earlier talking about the kicking game. He basically said that if more people were committed to defending the kicks through it would leave more space in the defensive line. It implied there is a plan B.

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Post by George Carlin on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 7:15 am

TightHEAD wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Haven't looked but I take it the Wales Scotland thread must be pretty dead.

That's because the Scotland fans interested in this game have been called up to the squad as cover.
Fact. I got a stretchy strip for free and have been told to bring my boots to changing room 1 at Murrayfield this weekend.
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 7:17 am

Suggestions in press that Robson, Te'o and Cokanasiga to get starts.

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Post by Poorfour on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 9:00 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Ben Ryan had some thoughts about the Wales game

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2019/mar/06/england-risk-averse-game-blunts-threat-six-nations-eddie-jones-wales

My view is the reason why the changes on the field didn’t happen is down to the team not taking what they subconsciously think of as risks. I’m sure all the team can think for themselves but they won’t act on those instincts if they don’t feel safe enough to.

Think back to the 2003 World Cup final, extra time and the Jonny Wilkinson drop goal for an example of a team that did...My gut feeling with this current England team in the same position as the one captained by Martin Johnson is the this side would keep recycling the ball and wait for an opposition error. They might get that, but the risk of a winning drop goal wouldn’t be taken.

I sort of agree, but he's chosen a bad example. Woodward, Johnson, Wilkinson and Dawson walked every yard of the pitch before the game and discussed what they would do in different circumstances. Drop goals were a standard part of Wilkinson's armoury and the team had experience of being beaten by drop goals at the RWC. The drop goal attempt would not have been seen as a risk but as a standard option under the right circumstances. The smart bit of play was Johnson trucking the ball up after Dawson's break so Daws could get back in positiion, but even that would have been part of the toolkit: don't take a drop goal without a proper scrum half to get it out.

The key is not to see a drop goal - or any other play - as a risk, but to recognise the circumstances in which it's the right option.

That degree of tactical flexibility comes with maturity as a team (which is why cap count matters so much), and the England of 2003 only put all the pieces together in 2003 itself. We saw a an example going the other way in 2011-15, when Chris Robshaw repeatedly made choices as captain that he could have relied on his Quins side to execute at club level, but which for an inexperienced England team failed in the execution.

2019 England looked to be getting there in the Ireland game, but their judgement was off in the Wales game and they weren't able to recognise that a different balance of tactics were needed. The problem is that "making the right choice" on the field comes down to having a split-second sense of both what you're seeing from the defence and what your team can execute to exploit it. England don't have that yet - and I am not sure they will have it before the RWC.

(As an aside, that's one reason to be excited at the prospect of having Marcus Smith in the England 10 shirt - while he's not the finished article yet, I don't think even Cipriani has a better sense of how to manipulate a defence to create holes).


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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:33 am

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)

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:34 am

I like that there s not too many changes overall. I do not like Robson on the bench!

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:35 am

Disappointed that Robson does not start.

There is some real bulk in the backs.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:39 am

Interesting team selection from Jones. Losing a kicker for a runner swapping Te'o in for Slade and more power with Cokanasiga coming on for Nowell. I expect us to keep it in hand more given this team selection.

Interesting bench. 2 back row is a bit of an indictment on Ewels although both Hughes and Shields could cover. One thing about Jones is he's not afraid to get his best 23 (as he sees them) into the squad and worry about where players play later. In the days of Johnson and Kay we sometimes had Corry as the second row cover, but look to bring him on in the back row regardless. I guess it will be the same here.

Hopefully early runs for Cowan-Dickie and Robson from what is an inexperienced bench. 203 caps on the bench made up almost entirely by Cole and Ford (combined 136) with the remainder averaging around 11-a-man.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:41 am

I just don't understand his blind spot re Robson 

Happy to see Joe and Genge get a run, and Shields needs to really stand out to show he's worthy of the faith shown in him

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:45 am

LondonTiger wrote:Disappointed that Robson does not start.

There is some real bulk in the backs.

Will be interesting to see how Tuilagi goes at his favoured 13. He managed to get around Parkes against Wales for one break, so having him in a wider channel may be more beneficial. Out of him and Slade they've also tried to use Manu as the distributor more, so in effect we're losing one hard running centre for a much bigger one, albeit a worse kicker.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:48 am

I can only assume that Jones sees Robson currently as the guy who lifts tempo from the bench. If Youngs were to go down injured I think hed bypass Robson and Care and go to Wigglesworth. Personally I think Robson does have the skill set for the starting 9 and think hisnlicking in particular has improved no end.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:52 am

What does Shields need to do for you then Bam? Personally I continue to be underwhelmed by Wilson, shields at least is better in the lineout. They hold the shirt currently ahead of us slotting in a willis or an Underhill. Even Dombrandt or Hill for that matter.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 10:56 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:What does Shields need to do for you then Bam? Personally I continue to be underwhelmed by Wilson, shields at least is better in the lineout. They hold the shirt currently ahead of us slotting in a willis or an Underhill. Even Dombrandt or Hill for that matter.

Wilson's involvements have been through the roof. He hasn't made the biggest tackles or carries, but he's hit a lot of rucks which frees up Billy to carry, and he's made a lot of tackles which frees up Curry to compete for the ball.

Shields has to do equally as much work around the park and, against a poor Italy side, he probably needs to show a point of difference, be it physically dominating opponents or ability as a link player, for example. The lineout is one area where he can show a point of difference, and a reliable option and a steal in addition to the work Wilson would have got through would represent a very good day for the 6.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:00 am

And when he was in the autumn people were non plussed. Wilson picked up a MOTM for his carrying role at 8 and a steal towards the end of the match to tick the box for Stuart Barnes. We now see him in that supporting role I agree. Curry for me is probably the player of the tournament. Yes he's shining because our pack has been good. Also making the most tackles as well.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:02 am

I expect it'll be less on tackles this time anyway so it will have to be rucks carries and to a lesser extent disrupting front of lineout ball for shields to get any credit. And as touched upon above it'll only be against Italy.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:03 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:What does Shields need to do for you then Bam? Personally I continue to be underwhelmed by Wilson, shields at least is better in the lineout. They hold the shirt currently ahead of us slotting in a willis or an Underhill. Even Dombrandt or Hill for that matter.

At this point in the RWC cycle, I can only see 1 of Robshaw/Shields/Wilson being in the squad, with Billy/Hughes/Underhill/Curry making up the rest of the true back rowers and Itoje/Lawes as blindside options. For me, Wilson is the incumbent at the moment in that shirt. We've seen him work well with in a back row with Billy/Hughes at 8 and with Underhill/Curry at 7. He hits a lot of rucks and makes plenty of tackles, which has freed up the other two in the back row to focus on carrying and jackling. He is also a capable number 8 in an emergency, which offers us some flexibility in the match day squad

Just think Shields needs to do all of that, plus show whether he can really act as POM lite in the line out to make it worthwhile dropping Wilson. I would also imagine Robshaw will get some game time ahead of the squad being finalised, so think Shields is running low on opportunities to show he deserves that shirt

Happy to see we've got real competition, but at the moment Wilson is out in front in my book

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Post by BamBam on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:04 am

Or what Robbo said Laugh

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Post by Cumbrian on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:06 am

I really dislike the midfield, Farrell, Te'o and Tuilagi together seems to lack creativity. I would hope that we could do more than simply try to bludgeon Italy into submission.
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:08 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:What does Shields need to do for you then Bam? Personally I continue to be underwhelmed by Wilson, shields at least is better in the lineout

I disagree with this point. I think Wilson is at least as good in the air and a better lifter. My issue with Shields is that so far I have not seen him have a good game for England or Wasps. So far a 6/10 player. Of course much of this may be due to not having an off-season.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:11 am

And I've not seen Wilson produce above that at 6! Hey ho this 'll go on until the world cup.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:15 am

Cumbrian wrote:I really dislike the midfield, Farrell, Te'o and Tuilagi together seems to lack creativity.  I  would hope that we could do more than simply try to bludgeon Italy into submission.

It's a valid concern and you may be right, but I'd say wait until we see it. Maybe the midfield will make Italy bolster their frontline defence and England will redouble their kicking game with the full back isolated? Or if we do try to keep the ball more, after a crash on the first phase Daly might step into the front line as that distributor option.

If we are looking for creativity, we haven't had it from Slade. I have no doubt that he was playing to instructions, but I don't think we can argue we need to have more creativity in the midfield when we have had Slade taking crashballs. At least if we put Te'o in, we can have someone with a bit of size hitting the line.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:16 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:And I've not seen Wilson produce above that at 6! Hey ho this 'll go on until the world cup.

It will, and neither will go Very Happy

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:18 am

Te'o does have pretty soft hands, so I am hoping we may see Sinckler and Te'o carrying hard but also using short balls to put Genge and Manu into space. Manu at 13 also means he can use his outside arc and hand off.

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Post by miaow on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:23 am

Poorfour wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:Ben Ryan had some thoughts about the Wales game

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2019/mar/06/england-risk-averse-game-blunts-threat-six-nations-eddie-jones-wales

My view is the reason why the changes on the field didn’t happen is down to the team not taking what they subconsciously think of as risks. I’m sure all the team can think for themselves but they won’t act on those instincts if they don’t feel safe enough to.

Think back to the 2003 World Cup final, extra time and the Jonny Wilkinson drop goal for an example of a team that did...My gut feeling with this current England team in the same position as the one captained by Martin Johnson is the this side would keep recycling the ball and wait for an opposition error. They might get that, but the risk of a winning drop goal wouldn’t be taken.

I sort of agree, but he's chosen a bad example. Woodward, Johnson, Wilkinson and Dawson walked every yard of the pitch before the game and discussed what they would do in different circumstances. Drop goals were a standard part of Wilkinson's armoury and the team had experience of being beaten by drop goals at the RWC. The drop goal attempt would not have been seen as a risk but as a standard option under the right circumstances. The smart bit of play was Johnson trucking the ball up after Dawson's break so Daws could get back in positiion, but even that would have been part of the toolkit: don't take a drop goal without a proper scrum half to get it out.

The key is not to see a drop goal - or any other play - as a risk, but to recognise the circumstances in which it's the right option.

That degree of tactical flexibility comes with maturity as a team (which is why cap count matters so much), and the England of 2003 only put all the pieces together in 2003 itself. We saw a an example going the other way in 2011-15, when Chris Robshaw repeatedly made choices as captain that he could have relied on his Quins side to execute at club level, but which for an inexperienced England team failed in the execution.

2019 England looked to be getting there in the Ireland game, but their judgement was off in the Wales game and they weren't able to recognise that a different balance of tactics were needed. The problem is that "making the right choice" on the field comes down to having a split-second sense of both what you're seeing from the defence and what your team can execute to exploit it. England don't have that yet - and I am not sure they will have it before the RWC.

(As an aside, that's one reason to be excited at the prospect of having Marcus Smith in the England 10 shirt - while he's not the finished article yet, I don't think even Cipriani has a better sense of how to manipulate a defence to create holes).


Slightly surprised by Ben Ryan's comments. A lot of it on the surface seems to make sense but, as mentioned, it doesn't really go into much detail or address the ins and outs of either that game or England's gameplan in general.

On the Wales game, this was the moment where I felt confident that Wales were going to win: https://youtu.be/ctqYLOmddGo?t=5429

Having kicked everything all game, this was a telling moment where I thought 'England don't know what to do'. There's all sorts of things going on - firstly, not kicking away from 1st/2nd phase for territory; Farrell calling for the ball and then spreading a wide pass to Slade in the hope something happens; the Welsh defence absolutely relishing the ground they've gained with their linespeed; JD2 shutting down the outside and Parkes putting in the dump on Slade; the crowd, again, recognising the importance and playing their part in the spectacle. Yes, this came just after Wales had taken the lead, and is fairly late in the game, but I felt it was an encouraging indication as 1. England had little to no tactical response to Wales' gameplan when it was now clear holding onto the lead wouldn't be enough and 2. They looked out on their feet. So I agree with Ryan's 'No 2' - they couldn't change it up because they were never given the opportunity by Wales, either to extend their lead in the second-half or to then recover any sort of control of the ball and the field when they went behind. After Slade is hit, the Welsh defence made sure they disrupted the 2 consecutive rucks to stop Youngs kicking, so it goes back to Farrell meaning the chase starts from deeper, and Biggar claims the ball uncontested which Wales use to keep England pinned deep in their own half. They're unable to ever recover and do anything with it until Wales score the decisive try.

On the wider England gameplan: yes, it's low risk, but I don't think England have been doing that in every game they've played this season/the last 18 months. They've cut some lovely running angles and moves when they've got front foot ball and can play off 9 or 10 with their power runners - George, props, 2nd rows, wingers/Tuilagi - coming in and breaking the gainline. They tore Australia apart at times, and scored some fantastic tries against Ireland, and, on the surface, you'd think the Oz game is one you'd want to play low risk due to their broken field threat. The reality is, England have played a small portion of a French team and several other jokers, and then two teams who like to dominate possession to control rugby matches: which hinders England's strength which is playing high intensity, stop-start rugby...but, again, they still scored some great tries against Ireland. The kicking game is a continuation of that stop-start approach; yes, it's low risk to a point, but I'm not sure it's fundamentally low risk? I'm not sure England are going into each game/EJ's main plan is to play 'low risk' rugby first and foremost - it's simply a case that England have one of, if not the, strongest teams in the world and when they play at the tempo they want to, they can bully just about everyone else. With a solid kicking game that only makes the other teams' job harder as it's another way to attack, and it also completely disrupts planned patterns of play, allowing physical dominance in 1 v 1 or 2 v 2 situations to be more pronounced. That is if they don't score directly from kicking itself. England haven't needed to use a plan B - they held out against South Africa, battered Australia, nearly held out against NZ, outfoxed Ireland, and then battered France. They showed they didn't have one against Wales but I imagine if there was more time left they would have had the opportunity to chance something: every time Slade had the ball in the wider channels in that game he was looking to play, particularly from turnover ball.

I disagree entirely that this England team wouldn't go for a drop-goal. Picking Slade at 13 is not a low risk choice. Integrating Ashton back in is not low risk; he's there because he can finish a midfield try better than any other English player. England will have learnt from the Wales game but I think Ryan is reading a bit too much into this one performance and not enough from the others. I think he's bringing a good attitude that served him well in the 7s into his analysis when, really, it's not all that applicable here; the failure of England to adapt to Wales' increasing dominance was Eddie Jones' first and foremost, not a lack of freedom in and of itself.

Still sticking with England score 60 for this game...

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Post by miaow on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:24 am

I have to be honest and say that team selection is EJ 'bottling' it...to a point.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:34 am

Just when the debate was getting back round to the game picard picard

LT, can we have a thread solely for members to pontificate into thin air? Would avoid cluttering up the normal threads

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 11:36 am

Mays going to be full back cover by the looks of it. Or possibly slade at a push? I don't like the over for that or wings to be honest looking at it again.

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