England's strength in depth...and who makes their RWC squad?

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Post by miaow on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 8:52 pm

Mirroring the thread I did for Wales, England have had huge strength in depth for the last 9 years or so. Under Lancaster it seemed to be a hindrance as much as a strength, with no-one really leaping out to claim key positions, cycling through the likes of Twelvetrees, Burrell, Barritt etc. in the centre.

Now, it feels like England do have some real test quality players who have grabbed shirts with both hands and are nailed on: the Vunipolas, Tuilagi, Lawes, and latterly players like May, Curry, and Underhill.

With that in mind...who makes England's 31 man squad based on who's fit and available (as well as who's out injured)? If you want to include who you'd personally pick as well that'd be interesting, but who do England fans think will be in that squad in Japan?

Also, who is in the starting 23 and who are the 6-7 reserve players who stand a good chance of a call up?

I've done it for Wales in the Wales thread - think it's looking very settled, with a few first 15 positions up for debate depending on opposition. From the outside England's squad looks a lot less settled or certain.

Squads ten to be:

17-18 forwards
5 Props
2 or 3 Hookers
5 Second rows
5 or 6 Back rowers

13-14 Backs
3 Scrum-halves
2-3 Fly-halves
3 Centres
5 Back 3

So who/what is the current England squad?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 9:39 pm

Vunipola genge George Hartley Sinckler Williams
Launchbury Lawes Itoje Kruis
Curry Underhill Vunipola shields wilson Robshaw Hughes
Youngs care or spencer and wigglesworth
Farrell Ford
Tuilagi slade Te'o Joseph
Daly Cokanasiga may nowell Brown

Would be a pretty good stab.
Given the possible need for further front row cover you could drop a Wilson or Shields or Hughes for Cole and or moon.

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Post by miaow on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 10:10 pm

I'd be slightly surprised if they go for 4 centres and only 2 hookers. But that looks about right.

Watson and Ashton are big losses, both could easily be starters in the 15.

Slade goes as third choice 10 cover if needed unless a major injury early in the tournament. That frees up a utility back position, where I think Watson might sneak in. 9 looks weak.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 12:32 am

miaow wrote:..only 2 hookers...
Gatland and Jones both selected only two hookers at the last World Cup.

It raised the question of what happens if one of them turns an ankle before the match and can't play. You are supposed to have a designated hooker on the bench, and forfeit if you can't. Gatland claimed one of his props could do the job at a pinch, but I'm not sure what Jones had as a fall-back plan. World Rugby never ruled explictly on whether they required squads to have three hookers, or what would happen in the event one went down and couldn't be replaced.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 6:38 am

You could easily drop out shields Wilson or Hughes bring in LCD. There's so much you could switch around to drop a guy in or out.ashton isn't good enough.to start when everyone is fit for me.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 9:29 am

On the plane:

Mako, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes, Launchbury, Curry, Underhill, Billy
Youngs, Farrell, Ford, Manu, Slade, May, Nowell, Daly


Checking Passports and Visas:
Genge, Moon, LCD, Hartley, Cole, Williams, Hughes, Wilson, Te'o, Cokanasiga


Not currently making alternative plans:
Robshaw, Shields, Care, Robson, Spencer, Wigglesworth, Joseph, Brown


May be included in warmups:
Ewels, Cipriani, Ashton, Solomona


I think we are unlikely to see anyone going to Japan who is currently uncapped. Long term injured like Simmonds and Watson may attend camps, but hard to know what can happen with them.

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Post by BamBam on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 10:01 am

Written like a true Sun journalist before every football tournament LT

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Post by miaow on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 11:20 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
miaow wrote:..only 2 hookers...
Gatland and Jones both selected only two hookers at the last World Cup.

It raised the question of what happens if one of them turns an ankle before the match and can't play. You are supposed to have a designated hooker on the bench, and forfeit if you can't. Gatland claimed one of his props could do the job at a pinch, but I'm not sure what Jones had as a fall-back plan. World Rugby never ruled explictly on whether they required squads to have three hookers, or what would happen in the event one went down and couldn't be replaced.

Weird situation. I think with the tournament being in Japan, rather than England, the Home Nations are much more likely to treat it as a tour. I think Wales had a big extended squad training together after the squad were announced and got around the rule on some sort of technicality - in short, they were bending the rules. No doubt that third hooker (Richard Hibbard, in Wales' case) would have been in and around the squad and called up in a heartbeat if Baldwin or Ken went down in the week etc.

Out in Japan, however, you don't get that luxury. It's another reason why winning away from home is hard. I'd be amazed if a team goes for 2 hookers.

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Post by miaow on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 11:25 am

Here's the England squad that toured Argentina 2 years ago:

Luke Cowan-Dickie Hooker 20 June 1993 (aged 23) 4 England Exeter Chiefs
Dylan Hartley (c) Hooker 24 March 1986 (aged 31) 84 England Northampton Saints
Tommy Taylor Hooker 11 November 1991 (aged 25) 1 England Wasps
Will Collier Prop 5 May 1991 (aged 26) 0 England Harlequins
Ellis Genge Prop 16 February 1995 (aged 22) 1 England Leicester Tigers
Paul Hill Prop 2 March 1995 (aged 22) 5 England Northampton Saints
Matt Mullan Prop 23 February 1987 (aged 30) 15 England Wasps
Nick Schonert Prop 20 September 1991 (aged 25) 0 England Worcester Warriors
Harry Williams
Prop 1 October 1991 (aged 25) 0 England Exeter Chiefs
Don Armand Flanker 23 September 1988 (aged 28) 0 England Exeter Chiefs
Charlie Ewels Lock 29 June 1995 (aged 21) 3 England Bath
Nick Isiekwe Lock 20 April 1998 (aged 19) 0 England Saracens
Joe Launchbury Lock 12 April 1991 (aged 26) 42 England Wasps
Ben Curry Flanker 15 June 1998 (aged 18) 0 England Sale Sharks
Tom Curry Flanker 15 June 1998 (aged 18) 0 England Sale Sharks
James Haskell Flanker 2 April 1985 (aged 32) 75 England Wasps
Chris Robshaw Flanker 4 June 1986 (aged 31) 55 England Harlequins
Sam Underhill Flanker 22 July 1996 (aged 20) 0 Wales Ospreys
Mark Wilson Flanker 6 October 1989 (aged 27) 0 England Newcastle Falcons
Tom Wood Flanker 3 November 1986 (aged 30) 50 England Northampton Saints
Nathan Hughes Number 8 10 June 1991 (aged 26) 8 England Wasps
Danny Care Scrum-half 2 January 1987 (aged 30) 71 England Harlequins
Jack Maunder Scrum-half 5 April 1997 (aged 20) 0 England Exeter Chiefs
George Ford Fly-half 16 March 1993 (aged 24) 35 England Bath
Piers Francis Fly-half 20 June 1990 (aged 26) 0 New Zealand Blues
Alex Lozowski Fly-half 30 June 1993 (aged 23) 0 England Saracens
Ollie Devoto Centre 22 September 1993 (aged 23) 1 England Exeter Chiefs
Sam James Centre 3 July 1994 (aged 22) 0 England Sale Sharks
Harry Mallinder Centre 13 June 1996 (aged 20) 0 England Northampton Saints
Joe Marchant Centre 16 July 1996 (aged 20) 0 England Harlequins
Henry Slade Centre 19 March 1993 (aged 24) 5 England Exeter Chiefs
Joe Cokanasiga Wing 14 October 1997 (aged 19) 0 England London Irish
Nathan Earle Wing 24 September 1994 (aged 22) 0 England Saracens
Jonny May Wing 1 April 1990 (aged 27) 25 England Gloucester Rugby
Denny Solomona Wing 27 September 1993 (aged 23) 0 England Sale Sharks
Marland Yarde Wing 20 April 1992 (aged 25) 11 England Harlequins
Mike Brown Fullback 4 September 1985 (aged 31) 60 England Harlequins

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Post by TightHEAD on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 1:41 pm

Billy V might have just thrown it away!

Defending Folau, unbelievable
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Post by robbo277 on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 2:31 pm

miaow wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
miaow wrote:..only 2 hookers...
Gatland and Jones both selected only two hookers at the last World Cup.

It raised the question of what happens if one of them turns an ankle before the match and can't play. You are supposed to have a designated hooker on the bench, and forfeit if you can't. Gatland claimed one of his props could do the job at a pinch, but I'm not sure what Jones had as a fall-back plan. World Rugby never ruled explictly on whether they required squads to have three hookers, or what would happen in the event one went down and couldn't be replaced.

Weird situation. I think with the tournament being in Japan, rather than England, the Home Nations are much more likely to treat it as a tour. I think Wales had a big extended squad training together after the squad were announced and got around the rule on some sort of technicality - in short, they were bending the rules. No doubt that third hooker (Richard Hibbard, in Wales' case) would have been in and around the squad and called up in a heartbeat if Baldwin or Ken went down in the week etc.

Out in Japan, however, you don't get that luxury. It's another reason why winning away from home is hard. I'd be amazed if a team goes for 2 hookers.

Johnson gamed the system in 2011. Sheridan was injured and Johnson wanted to call up a back (possibly Flutey), but then Easter picked up a knock and Johnson paused. He called for Waldrom to fly out and later added him to the squad. I've just checked the dates and Waldrom flew out on Monday the 19th, arrived on Wednesday 21st and didn't join the squad until the 25th. And I don't think he was allowed to train with england until he was added to the squad.

Could we see something similar? Eddie, or anyone, may go out there with 7 front row. First front row knock you call a player to fly out to Japan and then add them if you need them?

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Post by Pie on Sat 13 Apr 2019, 4:20 am

LondonTiger wrote:On the plane:

Mako, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes, Launchbury, Curry, Underhill, Billy
Youngs, Farrell, Ford, Manu, Slade, May, Nowell, Daly


Checking Passports and Visas:
Genge, Moon, LCD, Hartley, Cole, Williams, Hughes, Wilson, Te'o, Cokanasiga


Not currently making alternative plans:
Robshaw, Shields, Care, Robson, Spencer, Wigglesworth, Joseph, Brown


May be included in warmups:
Ewels, Cipriani, Ashton, Solomona


I think we are unlikely to see anyone going to Japan who is currently uncapped. Long term injured like Simmonds and Watson may attend camps, but hard to know what can happen with them.

He's going somewhere hot thats for sure but i'm not sure its Japan

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 1:06 pm

1.Vunipola, Moon, Genge
2.George, Hartley, LCD
3.Sinckler, Williams
4.Itoje, Launchbury
5.Kruis, Lawes
6.Wilson, Robshaw
7.Curry, Underhill
8.Vunipola, Hughes

9.Youngs, Robson
10.Farrell, Ford

11.May, Nowell
12.Tuilagi, Te'o
13.Slade, Joseph
14.Daly, Cokanasiga
15.Brown

First reserves: Cole, Shields, Wigglesworth, Care, Cipriani, Ashton, Watson

I think that England will have a 18-13 forward-backs split in the squad. From there Jones will play cute with injury replacements. For instance if one of those 4 locks get injured I think Jones will use Hughes as emergency cover and call up an extra player to cover elsewhere. In other words the RWC squad will follow the Jones formula of picking his best players first then worrying about the side after.

Scrum-half interests me. Firstly, because I think Jones will only take 2 in the initial squad, hence you have Robson, Care, Wigglesworth and Spencer fighting for the reserve spot. Secondly, because if Youngs were crocked in the warm-ups I think Wigglesworth would come in, but I don't think Wigglesworth is favourite for the bench place. Jones seems to have settled on a formula of Youngs starting with Robson/Care finishing from the bench.

If Watson is fit for the warm-ups he might force his way in. There are big question marks over whether he will have kept his pace after rupturing his Achilles twice in 12 months.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:38 pm

Eesh, think England will be up fecal creek if they end up taking 2 scrum-halves, one of whom has got, what, less than 80 minutes of test rugby under his belt?

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Post by Exiledinborders on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:43 pm

miaow wrote:Eesh, think England will be up fecal creek if they end up taking 2 scrum-halves, one of whom has got, what, less than 80 minutes of test rugby under his belt?
As teams can bring in injury replacements what is to stop a team having players on stand-by in Japan. Care could just happen to be 'on holiday' in japan if needed.

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Post by Exiledinborders on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:47 pm

king_carlos wrote:1.Vunipola, Moon, Genge
2.George, Hartley, LCD
3.Sinckler, Williams
4.Itoje, Launchbury
5.Kruis, Lawes
6.Wilson, Robshaw
7.Curry, Underhill
8.Vunipola, Hughes

9.Youngs, Robson
10.Farrell, Ford

11.May, Nowell
12.Tuilagi, Te'o
13.Slade, Joseph
14.Daly, Cokanasiga
15.Brown

First reserves: Cole, Shields, Wigglesworth, Care, Cipriani, Ashton, Watson

I think that England will have a 18-13 forward-backs split in the squad. From there Jones will play cute with injury replacements. For instance if one of those 4 locks get injured I think Jones will use Hughes as emergency cover and call up an extra player to cover elsewhere. In other words the RWC squad will follow the Jones formula of picking his best players first then worrying about the side after.

Scrum-half interests me. Firstly, because I think Jones will only take 2 in the initial squad, hence you have Robson, Care, Wigglesworth and Spencer fighting for the reserve spot. Secondly, because if Youngs were crocked in the warm-ups I think Wigglesworth would come in, but I don't think Wigglesworth is favourite for the bench place. Jones seems to have settled on a formula of Youngs starting with Robson/Care finishing from the bench.

If Watson is fit for the warm-ups he might force his way in. There are big question marks over whether he will have kept his pace after rupturing his Achilles twice in 12 months.
I know I am biased as a Glaws fan but I would have Cips over Farrell and especially Ford any day. Morgan has been far more impressive than Hughes who is large but does not make the hard yards.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:51 pm

No team will take only 2 scrum halves. The legality/disorganisation/undermining the squad issues aside that would come with 'having' players out in Japan even when they're not in the squad makes it an impossibility.

The point is, it's very different to RWC on home soil/near your home country. Wales had players training with them because they could be back home with their clubs in under 2 hours. I'm sure Ireland and Scotland perhaps did something similar.

Japan's miles away. Also, there aren't many English club players out in Japan ready to come in either, like there would be for the Home Nations in 2015. No 'Tokyo English'.

More than that, though, if you're not starting your third choice 9 against the group fodder (can't remember who it is in England's group - France...?  Wink ) you're setting yourself up for failure.

The whole point about depth as I posted in the other chat for a RWC is - you need it. Not only will you suffer injuries, but you'll also need to rotate to not have your first XV hanging out their behinds by the quarter-finals. Wales were shot against SA and faded in those final 10 as a combination of having worked exceptionally hard against England, and also Aus, and the injuries suffered. Australia needed some crafty refereeing to get through to the finals after the intense group of death - albeit England imploded against them and weren't as tough an opposition as Wales found them to be.

England are in what could be considered a semi group of death with Argentina and France if the latter turn up (which they usually do at WCs, but who knows). Ignoring the fact that Robson has a serious illness, and has only played a few minutes here and there at test level, England will need to rotate againt the other two teams in the group if they're to progress in the latter stages.

It's not that contentious to think England have big issues at 9, and that only taking 2 (which would never, ever happen) isn't a particularly sensible suggestion.


Last edited by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:52 pm

Agree about Nathan Hughes, someone who's belies his size by being powderpuff. Think he's finally getting to grips with test level rugby, though, and is a decent squad filler against weaker teams. Not a good replacement at 8 for Vunipola though in the first team. Not sure Morgan stands any chance of making it back to this level now though.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:54 pm

Also, Carlos, did you play in the front row by any chance? A bit...erm...top heavy that squad selection. With not a lot of consideration for the backs...

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:57 pm

miaow wrote:Eesh, think England will be up fecal creek if they end up taking 2 scrum-halves, one of whom has got, what, less than 80 minutes of test rugby under his belt?

The squads can be manipulated pretty easily by good clever man management.

31 players will be named in the initial squad but some will inevitably have knocks. Due to those 'knocks' a few reserves will fly out a day or two after the initial squad. They can't train with the squad until officially named but they will be in Japan ready to come in the second they are needed. Every single side will be doing the same.

All coaches will have to compromise somewhere with the initial squad. Judging by Jones previous squads and preferences I think he will trade off getting 6 back row players by compromising in the backs. Depending on Hartley's fitness he may take only two hookers instead.

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Post by LondonTiger on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:58 pm

Miaow, I do not believe England will take 3 SHs.

KC, still not sure who Eddie views as second choice TH, but believe he will take 3 and one less backrow

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:07 pm

If he doesn't take 3 9s that's utterly, utterly insane.

king_carlos wrote:The squads can be manipulated pretty easily by good clever man management.

31 players will be named in the initial squad but some will inevitably have knocks. Due to those 'knocks' a few reserves will fly out a day or two after the initial squad. They can't train with the squad until officially named but they will be in Japan ready to come in the second they are needed. Every single side will be doing the same.

All coaches will have to compromise somewhere with the initial squad. Judging by Jones previous squads and preferences I think he will trade off getting 6 back row players by compromising in the backs. Depending on Hartley's fitness he may take only two hookers instead.

I don't understand this. You're saying they're going to fabricate injuries and/or take injured players...so they can then call up a replacement who can get to the other side of the world in a day or two? What are the rules around reserves being in the host country without being named in the squad? In terms of group stages, length of time before they have to be named etc.

I can't see why this would be a preferred option over simply naming 3 9s to begin with. Surely you plan under the knowledge that you've got 2 tough group games as opposed to the usual 1 and a bit (depending on how good someone like Fiji is)?

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:17 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:Morgan has been far more impressive than Hughes who is large but does not make the hard yards.

Morgan also offers no versatility though which will be key to the RWC squad. Hughes spending a fair bit of game time at lock during the 6 Nations won't have been an accident. If one of Kruis/Lawes/Launchbury/Itoje get a knock during the tournament I can't see Jones using a replacement calling up Ewels who might not play. In that case I think Hughes will cover lock in an emergency (i.e. against Tonga or USA) and the replacement will be used for depth elsewhere.

miaow wrote:Also, Carlos, did you play in the front row by any chance? A bit...erm...top heavy that squad selection. With not a lot of consideration for the backs...

Nope I was a carthorse of a second row. Too slow to play back row and too weak/timid to go near the front row!

If Hartley had been fit this season then two hookers might have been a possibility, Jones has only picked 2 hookers in most of his squads.

LT - An extra loosehead will allow a greater chance to rest Mako against Tonga or USA. That's why I think England will go with 3 looseheads and 2 tightheads initially. If any of Sinckler, Williams or Cole took a knock in the pool stages there isn't a big drop off to the others. Each has strengths but personally I think they are fairly close overall. Mako on the other hand is a fair way ahead of the others now Marler has retired. I'm not knocking Genge or Moon there as I rate both highly, but I think Mako is one of England's few world class players.

Miaow - My thinking above with Jones wanting to rest Mako during the pool stages is why I think it will be an 18-13 forward-back split. If Jones only takes two scrum-halves then Robson could realistically play 80 minutes against Tonga or USA to get Youngs a rest. Scrum-halves playing 80 minutes isn't too unusual. Having Mako on the bench he would probably come on though as props don't often play the full game. Similarly if Billy Vunipola were on the bench against Tonga or USA he would be covering injuries to three positions in the back row, hence he'd be very unlikely to get that break. That's why I see 6 back rows in the squad as quite likely.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:26 pm

miaow wrote:If he doesn't take 3 9s that's utterly, utterly insane.

king_carlos wrote:The squads can be manipulated pretty easily by good clever man management.

31 players will be named in the initial squad but some will inevitably have knocks. Due to those 'knocks' a few reserves will fly out a day or two after the initial squad. They can't train with the squad until officially named but they will be in Japan ready to come in the second they are needed. Every single side will be doing the same.

All coaches will have to compromise somewhere with the initial squad. Judging by Jones previous squads and preferences I think he will trade off getting 6 back row players by compromising in the backs. Depending on Hartley's fitness he may take only two hookers instead.

I don't understand this. You're saying they're going to fabricate injuries and/or take injured players...so they can then call up a replacement who can get to the other side of the world in a day or two? What are the rules around reserves being in the host country without being named in the squad? In terms of group stages, length of time before they have to be named etc.

I can't see why this would be a preferred option over simply naming 3 9s to begin with. Surely you plan under the knowledge that you've got 2 tough group games as opposed to the usual 1 and a bit (depending on how good someone like Fiji is)?

The squads are 31 players big. In 31 rugby players there are going to be injuries. Every single side will pick injured players. Many players will be picked knowing they aren't fit for the opening games but will be later. In every one of those cases those sides will have reserve players on standby in case they need to make a replacement. Injury rates in rugby are so high that fabricating injuries won't be necessary.

I'd be willing to bet that none of the 6 Nations and Rugby Championship sides will have only 31 players in Japan at any point in the tournament. The only sides that use small squads will sadly be ones with limited funding as they simply won't be able to afford flying out lots of reserves.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:34 pm

All of that is fine carlos until Robson goes down 10 mins in against Tonga. Do you have Youngs on the bench? In which case, he's now having to play 70 minutes he really, really doesn't need to be playing. Even if you then call up a replacement and he starts the next game (let's say against USA) it's the same situation with Youngs on the bench.

Ideally, you want your 9 and 10 rested from at leat 1, ideally 2, of the matchday 23s in the group. Not involved at all - focused on recovery/prep for the next game, not 20 mins+ of a midweek game where injuries and fatigue are all very possible.

If you don't take 3 9s that situation is impossible as any injury to the replacement, and suddenly your first choice is playing minutes you 'conted' he wouldn't be playing.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:36 pm

king_carlos wrote:The squads are 31 players big. In 31 rugby players there are going to be injuries. Every single side will pick injured players. Many players will be picked knowing they aren't fit for the opening games but will be later. In every one of those cases those sides will have reserve players on standby in case they need to make a replacement. Injury rates in rugby are so high that fabricating injuries won't be necessary.

It's my understand that's against the rules? As in, to have a player on standby, they have to actually replace said player within a certain time-frame. In which case - what's the point in not calling up said player first time?

Either way, the 2 9s situation makes no sense. 2 hookers and 2 10s you can just about get away with (I'd prefer 3 hookers and a utility back to make sure first choice player is getting plenty of rest) but not 2 9s.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:40 pm

Depends if you have another guy in the squad who they feel comfortable enough to have cover if there's a short term injury.
In terms of whether it's worth the risk probably not. Probably going to be Wigglesworth as the most rounded player going as the 3rd.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 3:52 pm

miaow wrote:All of that is fine carlos until Robson goes down 10 mins in against Tonga. Do you have Youngs on the bench? In which case, he's now having to play 70 minutes he really, really doesn't need to be playing. Even if you then call up a replacement and he starts the next game (let's say against USA) it's the same situation with Youngs on the bench.

Ideally, you want your 9 and 10 rested from at leat 1, ideally 2, of the matchday 23s in the group. Not involved at all - focused on recovery/prep for the next game, not 20 mins+ of a midweek game where injuries and fatigue are all very possible.

If you don't take 3 9s that situation is impossible as any injury to the replacement, and suddenly your first choice is playing minutes you 'conted' he wouldn't be playing.

In a 31 man squad that's always the risk though. The question is which position the risk is taken in though.

You say you'd rather take that risk at hooker than scrum-half but is that not the same situation? Two players in the 31 man squad in a position where two players are in the match day 23.

Picking three scrum-halves will just mean others can't be rested. For instance selecting 5 back rowers means you're unlikely to be able to leave key men such as Underhill or Vunipola out of the 23. Taking fewer front rows means having to select your props or hookers in every 23, the same as selecting two scrum-halves will mean picking both in the 23.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 4:02 pm

miaow wrote:
king_carlos wrote:The squads are 31 players big. In 31 rugby players there are going to be injuries. Every single side will pick injured players. Many players will be picked knowing they aren't fit for the opening games but will be later. In every one of those cases those sides will have reserve players on standby in case they need to make a replacement. Injury rates in rugby are so high that fabricating injuries won't be necessary.

It's my understand that's against the rules? As in, to have a player on standby, they have to actually replace said player within a certain time-frame. In which case - what's the point in not calling up said player first time?

Either way, the 2 9s situation makes no sense. 2 hookers and 2 10s you can just about get away with (I'd prefer 3 hookers and a utility back to make sure first choice player is getting plenty of rest) but not 2 9s.

My understanding of the rules in 2015 were:

- Players can't train with the squad until they are named as replacements.
- Players replaced for medical, or compassionate, reasons cannot return to the squad once replaced.
- Replacement players cannot take the field for 48 hours after they are registered as a replacement.

The 48 stand down will presumably be to reduce the advantage of sides that can afford to have players on standby. I.e. smaller nations will fly replacements in whereas most tier one nations will have players in the vicinity.

As far as I know there is nothing to stop players being in Japan as long as they aren't training with the squad before being named as replacements.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 4:07 pm

king_carlos wrote:
miaow wrote:All of that is fine carlos until Robson goes down 10 mins in against Tonga. Do you have Youngs on the bench? In which case, he's now having to play 70 minutes he really, really doesn't need to be playing. Even if you then call up a replacement and he starts the next game (let's say against USA) it's the same situation with Youngs on the bench.

Ideally, you want your 9 and 10 rested from at leat 1, ideally 2, of the matchday 23s in the group. Not involved at all - focused on recovery/prep for the next game, not 20 mins+ of a midweek game where injuries and fatigue are all very possible.

If you don't take 3 9s that situation is impossible as any injury to the replacement, and suddenly your first choice is playing minutes you 'conted' he wouldn't be playing.

In a 31 man squad that's always the risk though. The question is which position the risk is taken in though.

You say you'd rather take that risk at hooker than scrum-half but is that not the same situation? Two players in the 31 man squad in a position where two players are in the match day 23.

Picking three scrum-halves will just mean others can't be rested. For instance selecting 5 back rowers means you're unlikely to be able to leave key men such as Underhill or Vunipola out of the 23. Taking fewer front rows means having to select your props or hookers in every 23, the same as selecting two scrum-halves will mean picking both in the 23.

Scrum half is a specialit position. Like hooker, prop, and MAYBE 10/15. I'd be less concerned about a hooker playing a lot as they're usually replaced around the 60 minute mark. But more importantly, theyre less vital to the way the team plays - the 9 dictates the plays these days, from nearly every ruck. The hooker plays like another flanker in the loose - their own specialist parts are the set piece.

I'm not going to convince you, and that's fine, but you can juggle the back row in a way you cannot juggle 9.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 5:14 pm

Think it's an agree to disagree moment as you say, miaow.

Hooker is a very attritional position given the set-piece and high work rate required.

Regardless of how many scrum-halves Jones picks in his squad I think the lack of game time for Robson when fit remains an error. The limited attempts to develop a challenger to Youngs makes me think that Wigglesworth would be called up if Youngs needs replacing.

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Post by robbo277 on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 10:25 pm

king_carlos wrote:
miaow wrote:
king_carlos wrote:The squads are 31 players big. In 31 rugby players there are going to be injuries. Every single side will pick injured players. Many players will be picked knowing they aren't fit for the opening games but will be later. In every one of those cases those sides will have reserve players on standby in case they need to make a replacement. Injury rates in rugby are so high that fabricating injuries won't be necessary.

It's my understand that's against the rules? As in, to have a player on standby, they have to actually replace said player within a certain time-frame. In which case - what's the point in not calling up said player first time?

Either way, the 2 9s situation makes no sense. 2 hookers and 2 10s you can just about get away with (I'd prefer 3 hookers and a utility back to make sure first choice player is getting plenty of rest) but not 2 9s.

My understanding of the rules in 2015 were:

- Players can't train with the squad until they are named as replacements.
- Players replaced for medical, or compassionate, reasons cannot return to the squad once replaced.
- Replacement players cannot take the field for 48 hours after they are registered as a replacement.

The 48 stand down will presumably be to reduce the advantage of sides that can afford to have players on standby. I.e. smaller nations will fly replacements in whereas most tier one nations will have players in the vicinity.

As far as I know there is nothing to stop players being in Japan as long as they aren't training with the squad before being named as replacements.

This is how I understand the rules, although I don't think teams will have players out there "just in case".

Look again at 2011, Waldrom was called across to NZ when Easter was an injury doubt. He stayed out for nearly a week before he was added to the squad, and wasn't allowed to train in the interim. He eventually came in for Sheridan, as we had enough prop cover and Johnson wanted an option elsewhere. The interesting thing is Johnson didn't immediately replace Sheridan even though he had no chance of recovery. Johnson probably wanted to increase his backs options, but he held on because of Easter's niggle and eventually added Waldrom.

It would be similar if Eddie decides to go in with 2 scrum halves. We have 2 games in 4 days, then nothing for 10. After that opening flourish, we've 5 tier 1 games in consecutive weekends if we want to win the thing. I think Eddie's initial squad will look to get him near enough 2 different XVs to rotate in those opening games, and then he'll look at his squad again.

If he starts Youngs against Tonga and he picks up a knock, I'm sure he'd just start his second scrum half against USA and put another back on the bench and make his second scrum half play the 80 if fit. Which should be enough against USA. Then he can assess there. Does he have an injured back row he can use to call in cover for Youngs? How likely is Youngs to miss the next game? He'll probably at this stage get someone out to Japan and then make a decision later.

In your situation where Youngs plays 70 minutes against Tonga and then Robson gets injured 10 minutes into the USA game, in that unlikely situation I'm sure Eddie would just flog Youngs for another 70 minutes and then give him an extra day or two off. He'd then consider whether he needs to replace his second 9, draft in a third 9 at the expense of another player or allow Robson to recover.

Is it the right way to go? Maybe, maybe not. But you can only have so many options in the squad, and after those first 4 days there's not that much benefit to the 3rd 9 who's unlikely to start with Youngs inked in to that starting jersey when fit.

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Post by miaow on Sun 14 Apr 2019, 10:41 pm

With England's fixtures being the way they are, effectively two 'gimmes' before what could be a string of tricky back to back bruising games, all the more reason to use the squad properly.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 8:14 am

It's why Jones was preparing in the AIs. We obviously have to cope with the reduced preparation time as well.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 2:31 pm

miaow wrote:With England's fixtures being the way they are, effectively two 'gimmes' before what could be a string of tricky back to back bruising games, all the more reason to use the squad properly.

Which is why I think he may pick two XVs (which will include his strongest 23) and an extra front row for 31.

So he could pick:
vs Tonga
M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola, Youngs, Farrell, May, Tuilagi, Slade, Nowell, Daly
Hartley, Genge, Cole, Lawes, Underhill, Robson, Ford, Brown

vs USA
Genge, Hartley, Williams, Launchbury, Lawes, Robshaw, Underhill, Hughes, Robson, Ford, Watson, Te'o, Joseph, Cokanasiga, Brown
George, Vunipola, Cole, Kruis, Wilson, Youngs, Farrell, Slade

That is 31 players used, no-one starts twice and should be enough to get 10 points. I imagine if we're cruising against Tonga we might see the bench emptied and then the reverse against USA, but if it's tighter we might see players forced to play 80 against Tonga and plan for them to be unused against USA.

After that, he's got 10 days to rest everyone up. He has his strongest 23 already picked in the squad so if there are no injuries he can just play his strongest 23 throughout the tournament and then draft in replacements if people get injured later.

If Youngs picks up a knock in the opening 2 games and he loses say a flanker to a tournament-ending injury, he can replace his flanker with a 9, have sufficient back row options to cope and also cover that injury. Similar if Hartley picked up the knock instead of Youngs and a centre leaves the squad, in that instance he would call up a hooker.

Basically, the World Cup squad isn't big enough to cater for any eventuality, but Eddie can be relatively certain that he will only be able to call upon his initial 31 man squad for those first 4 days, so he should cater his squad to getting through those opening fixtures. It's virtually certain there will be injuries after that, and then Eddie will have 10 days to make decisions, call in extra players as cover and prepare his squad for the later tests.

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 4:03 pm

Tough fixture list for England. Presumably they'll have enough to win their group but then they'll be facing Wales or Australia in the QFs after two tier one opponents. Big ask.

Your situation makes more sense in taking two 9s, but it still feels deeply flawed. Not least because England currently only have one 9 EJ trusts. It's either a case of play a player he doesn't like during the tournament - from the bench in the later games - or flog Youngs and hope he comes through it. Maybe that's what this 6Ns was about: preparation for the RWC where he's just never going to take Youngs off. And pray he doesn't get injured.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 4:43 pm

Surely he trusts 5? Youngs care wigglesworth Robson and Spencer?

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 5:03 pm

To start if Youngs get injured? His selections don't show it if he does. Youngs is the only one he trusts to be on the field in the big games, irrespective of whether it's the right call or not (i.e. tiring, durability, experience for others).

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 5:06 pm

Well it depends on if Robson is fit I think. I'd say the best suited started is wigglesworth from what he wants. Personally think Spencer has proved with Saracens he's adept at both that controlling influence and used as the guy when the game breaks up.
If we talk about who starts in big games is suspect most coaches have a preference in their heads for who suits which game plan better. England as with most positions have an abundance of options.

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 5:52 pm

Wigglesworth is so average I cannot believe England could end up taking him as second choice to the WC. The fact he's still considered a test player, despite showing over many years that he's the scrum-half version of Charlie Hodgson, a solid clubman and nothing more, is a sign England don't have an abundance of options. Can see where this is going - you seem to think EJ has managed his squad well, I disagree. Seemed to set his stall out early on with Care and Youngs, has finally found out/accepted Care has meltdowns from time to time, and so no longer appears to trust him. Leaving him with Youngs, who he will play as much as possible, despite Youngs himself not exactly being world class. When you have the time look up the 1014 video on depth on YouTube. Until you do I'm going to be banging my head againts a brick wall trying to make you understand how a few caps/a few minutes here and there does not make someone a 'good' option for a RWC.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 6:08 pm

What's your definition of world class. Always helps to start with that. We've got 5 guys who can go to the world cup. Pretty good cover. Certainly up there with everyone else.

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 6:21 pm

World class? Hmm. Think that means one of the best in their position in the world. But not just contemporarily - that doesn't guarantee it. For instance, I think there's been a dearth of world class 10s in rugby for a long time. Sexton's good, and his mentality is undoubtedly key to his success, but I'm not sure he'd stack up too favourably to the likes or Larkham, Wilkinson, even Stephen Jones, from the 00s. Likewise Farrell. So it's not a great term to use, really, as there's not too much solidity to it - Sexton's probably, just about, the best 10 in the world. But Barrett can do things he can't do, for sure. And in some instances, I'd prefer Farrell - in some instances I'd prefer Biggar to Farrell, as well. Foley has his strengths as well, as does Nicolas Sanchez. None of those players have played in the set-ups that Sexton has been fortunate enough to: one thing education/coaching teaches you is how integral structure/'nurture' is to utilising talent or ability.

Anyway, I'm not really sure where you're going with that, but watch the video. Ability isn't a static thing - nurture is important, as is exposure and experience. Particularly at test level. '1014 world cup depth' should be enough to find it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 6:48 pm

Well when people use world class to start and judge players there isn't a concrete definition for it so I just like to confirm what people are actually saying. Yours for instance is harsher than most who generally do just consider it say top 3 top 5 in your position. Searched and watched 2 minutes. Disagree with it.

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:01 pm

Try watching all of it before disagreeing...

I've just gone back and watched to the 2 min mark. It uses the Dan Carter example and that's it. How you can 'disagree' with the video at that point is, well, hard to really imagine.

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:07 pm

This part's gold btw: https://youtu.be/Kd5aQl1eyw0?t=276


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:10 pm

Yeah terrible opinions. Who are these guys?

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:12 pm

Hahahahahahahaha. Oh man.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:16 pm

Gets to the point where people will just speak rubbish to get hits no one believes this though surely? One of the worst rugby things I've seen.

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Post by miaow on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:18 pm

And yet presumably you've seen Clive Woodward as a pundit? Incredible stuff 7.5. Truly incredible...

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 7:21 pm

Does he count as a rugby pundit these days? He s down there with Guscott as a name that is rolled out because people recognise him. They're both up there with what I've just witnessed as limited punditry.

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