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

First topic message reminder :

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 WELL-PAST-IT on Fri 03 May 2019, 1:02 pm

Nothing has changed I see

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Post by bluestonevedder on Fri 03 May 2019, 2:03 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:For what, captain post world cup? Depends on who the coach is come that time but I'd expect them to keep Farrell or look to a younger guy tbh.

I'm of the thinking that Farrell has too much on his plate already to be captain. I'd really like to consider someone else and allow Farrell to focus on leading the defence and attack. Launchbury is a good shout, though is he a guaranteed starter, with Kruis, Lawes, and Itoje in the fray? I think Itoje is guaranteed to start if available, and also has the leadership qualities to be captain. Outside of that, perhaps Curry in a the near future? He seems extremely vocal and leads by example.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 May 2019, 2:27 pm

I can understand people have their own thoughts on it. I don't agree with the suggestion made by some that there is current uncertainty. The captain is Farrell. Then Hartley and Ford in the wings.
Personally looking at the others it's Itoje and the question of who makes those flanker spots.

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Post by miaow on Fri 03 May 2019, 2:41 pm

What are other peoples' thoughts on going back to a 'finisher'-style set up with players like George and Sinckler etc. starting from the bench

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 May 2019, 2:43 pm

Great idea.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Fri 03 May 2019, 3:24 pm

miaow wrote:What are other peoples' thoughts on going back to a 'finisher'-style set up with players like George and Sinckler etc. starting from the bench

I certainly think that some players' attributes are better suited to coming off the bench. As you mention, Sinckler in my opinion is better off the bench because he's so explosive and can cause a lot of issues against tired defensive lines. Genge is similar in that respect. Conversely, Cole is a starter in my opinion and offers little from the bench other than stability (which I understand you sometimes need). As good as Jamie George has been as a starter, he used to make arguably a greater impact of the bench, but it is difficult to know whether that's down to the fact that whether in that moment, it is because he is a genuine game changer or because the defence is reacting slower.

It might just be me, but when Eddie first took over the bench always seemed to come on a efficiently close out games (or grab the game by the scruff it we were down). Somewhere recently, we seem to have lost that a little. Certainly in a number of games this 6N our bench didn't have the desired impact.

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Post by miaow on Fri 03 May 2019, 4:35 pm

I believe England have swapped the 'finishers' to become 'starters'. Hence early tries, half time leads, kicking deep to force pressure on opponents. A marriage of the two seems the most obvious solution - having a big start where Billy etc. will be at full tilt, then around the 60 minute mark bringing on impact en masse to have a second wind if needed.

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Post by Pie on Sat 04 May 2019, 6:41 pm

Biggest question except for who will be Captain at RWC is will Cipriani go? I just cant see any justification for leaving out the best single talent England has seen at 10 since Rob Andrew.

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Post by Pie on Sat 04 May 2019, 7:41 pm

Back 3

May, Daly and Nowell must be sure to go

Then there is Brown, Ashton, Joe C, Watson...who else?

I'd take 5 with Ashton and Joe C.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 04 May 2019, 9:18 pm

It's certainly a question for people who aren't clued up.

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Post by yappysnap on Sat 04 May 2019, 11:23 pm

I dont think Cips will go but if we wanted/needed a third choice out and out 10 (not a centre covering) then he'd be that guy.

Should he have been first choice? Should he have had more chances? Who knows.

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Post by Sharkey06 on Sun 05 May 2019, 12:27 am

How many chances do you give to a player who constantly breaks team rules, gets arrested and generally fubar's things up? You can forgive that at club level, but at International level no big time Charlie is bigger than the team. You let someone get away with the things he has done, then he has to be so much better than the rest of the team that you can forgive him. At club level he is, at International level he isn't.

There are too many weaknesses in his game at International level - poor tackling, flakey kicking, lack of discipline - for him to be anywhere near England's world cup squad. Would the All Blacks put up with his antics?

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Post by Pie on Sun 05 May 2019, 4:25 am

Antics my a$$

You make him sound like Israel Folau.

In that was i'd expect you'd insist he went to RWC

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Post by LondonTiger on Sun 05 May 2019, 9:57 am

Pie wrote:Biggest question except for who will be Captain at RWC is will Cipriani go? I just cant see any justification for leaving out the best single talent England has seen at 10 since Rob Andrew.

Rob Andrew is my baby brother's Godfather, so some context to my comments. He was a very good 10 and one who pretty much hid his running ability to fit the pattern demanded of him. As an all round sportsman rugby was probably just his third best sport behind cricket and squash. He was still very good and like Wilkinson made the most of his abilities. However he had less innate talent than JW and much less than Hodgson, Cipriani and Ford. Stuart Barnes was much more talented, but much less effective.

Comparing Andrew with "The Messiah" is like comparing apples with strawberries. Much the same purpose but so very different.

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Post by Pie on Mon 06 May 2019, 5:25 am

LondonTiger wrote:
Pie wrote:Biggest question except for who will be Captain at RWC is will Cipriani go? I just cant see any justification for leaving out the best single talent England has seen at 10 since Rob Andrew.

Rob Andrew is my baby brother's Godfather, so some context to my comments. He was a very good 10 and one who pretty much hid his running ability to fit the pattern demanded of him. As an all round sportsman rugby was probably just his third best sport behind cricket and squash. He was still very good and like Wilkinson made the most of his abilities. However he had less innate talent than JW and much less than Hodgson, Cipriani and Ford. Stuart Barnes was much more talented, but much less effective.

Comparing Andrew with "The Messiah" is like comparing apples with strawberries. Much the same purpose but so very different.

Apples and strawberries categorically do not have the same purpose

One is a staple, source of a fine alcoholic beverage and most often used for the kid's lunch pack

The other a delectable fragrant morsel redolent of Britt Ekland's nipples, most often enjoyed as a bauble bathing in a creme jus with some fine Federer backhands

To say the two are purposefully matched is to say that your baby brother's tennis partner is General sir Lord Meltchett, that is, poopoo.


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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 06 May 2019, 9:04 am

Those descriptions seem to match the stout yeoman that was Rob Andrew and the exquisite but ultimately squishy Cips perfectly.


Ps,  my brother's tennis partner was Wendy Underwood. Lord Melchett would have been far too high faluting for oiks like us.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 07 May 2019, 7:33 am

Lots more discussion about Cipriani in press. No one mentions he is not taking the goal kicks for Glaws which would be a hindrance to him being selected by Eddie.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 07 May 2019, 9:31 am

Haskell retiring.

https://www.planetrugby.com/news/retirement-call-from-james-haskell/

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 May 2019, 9:34 am

He's still likely to be 3rd in the pecking order depending in presumed injuries he may still be in the side with Farrell. He's still pretty decent as a kicker but just thinking about wider option s you would have Daly who is so so. Slade who is pretty dependable and Spencer.

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Post by TightHEAD on Tue 07 May 2019, 9:42 am

Watson played well as did JJ. Watson has had his issues at FB for England but I'd rather him there in the knowledge he might or might not make a mistake as apposed to Daly who I know will make a mistake.

Both Watson and JJ have to make the England squad.
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Post by bluestonevedder on Tue 07 May 2019, 9:54 am

I thought Brown played brilliantly against Tigers on Friday. Caught everything that was kicked to him and he was back to his running best, beating pretty much every first-up tackler.

I'd still have him as England FB personally. He has really upped his game since being dropped by EJ.

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Post by TightHEAD on Tue 07 May 2019, 9:55 am

Grown some hair too!
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 May 2019, 10:00 am

I'd have Watson may Cokanasiga as my back 3 personally. I'd be happy for Brown to come back in. I'd rather Daly be the bench option.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Tue 07 May 2019, 10:14 am

Can't get used to him with hair!

I agree about Daly on the bench 7.5. Think he offers excellent cover for 11, 13, 14 and 15.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 May 2019, 10:20 am

Haskell is retiring at the end of the season so that's one less option towards our strength in depth. Another evwenso nearly man. Bar that purple patch for Jones start with England never really nailed.down his place or had the consistency despite a very decent 77 caps.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 07 May 2019, 12:25 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Haskell is retiring at the end of the season so that's one less option towards our strength in depth. Another evwenso nearly man. Bar that purple patch for Jones start with England never really nailed.down his place or had the consistency despite a very decent 77 caps.

Strange one. When he first appeared I thought he'd be something pretty special, but he seldom hit real heights or even held down a consistent position, but he has built up a very impressive CV, including decent spells abroad. He went looking for challenges and to develop his game. Also important to say that he did occasionally hit those heights, especially on that tour to Oz.

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Post by Cumbrian on Tue 07 May 2019, 12:51 pm

Haskell will probably go down as a very frustrating player, despite the excellent haul of caps. He had all the physical attributes and a popular pub conversation among my mates circa 2012/13 involved transplanting Nick Easter's brain into Brand's body. 6 years, I am getting sentimental... how time flies!

Haskell and Tom Rees should have had the England flanking positions locked up at a time when there was little competition. What might have beens eh? That period could have been so much better if the likes of Corbisiero, Rees, Attwood, Wilkinson and Cipriani hadn't be perma crocks, banned or away with the faeries.
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Post by king_carlos on Tue 07 May 2019, 1:25 pm

You can add Harry Ellis, James Simpson-Daniel and James Forrester to those.

Richard Blaze was quite the talent in the second row as well.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 07 May 2019, 1:29 pm

Very true that the team and era which was pretty depressing could have looked a lot different. I work Ellis had been available more as I think he was a quality player. Would love him around now tbf.

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Post by Poorfour on Tue 07 May 2019, 2:16 pm

Cumbrian wrote:Haskell will probably go down as a very frustrating player, despite the excellent haul of caps.  He had all the physical attributes and a popular pub conversation among my mates circa 2012/13 involved transplanting Nick Easter's brain into Brand's body.  6 years, I am getting sentimental... how time flies!

Haskell and Tom Rees should have had the England flanking positions locked up at a time when there was little competition.  What might have beens eh?  That period could have been so much better if the likes of Corbisiero, Rees, Attwood, Wilkinson and Cipriani hadn't be perma crocks, banned or away with the faeries.

Just wait. The brain transplant has been performed and the body is waiting to emerge, like David from a block of marble, once Alex Dombrandt has done a proper pre-season.

More seriously, as we get close to the end of the season Eddie has got a bit of an embarrassment of riches to choose from in the backs, as long as they've got two numbers on their shirts. With Care, Watson and JJ coming back from injury, Brown and Cipriani in decent form and relatively few injuries elsewhere, he's going to have a lot of players to look at in camp. I still think experience will out, though.
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Post by B91212 on Tue 07 May 2019, 5:57 pm

Poorfour wrote:I still think experience will out, though.
For all EJ's justified comments about lack of leadership I have a theory that he won't just go with just experience this time. It will certainly be a factor in selection but because of the expected draining weather conditions he may actually favour the younger, fitter players for the original 31 and have more experienced as reserves who can come in at short notice to cover the inevitable injuries. I feel he's been careful to keep some of the more experienced players around the squad without necessarily playing them, such as Mike Brown. Players who can come in at short notice and slot in without being overawed and that won't change the squad dynamic drastically.

You could have Brown, Wigglesworth, Ashton, Joseph & Cipriani as backs reserves. All proven players who could come in at short notice and conceivably do well. Could be the same in the forwards to an extent too, players like Robshaw & Launchbury, maybe Cole too. Not saying I totally agree with it, but I do have a feeling that Eddie has been building towards it.

Maybe. Like I say, just a theory.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Wed 08 May 2019, 6:21 am



Haskell talks about his retirement here. He might be available for a Baa-baas match, because he has never done that. Here's the Stade try he talks about from 2010. I think, if Jones hadn't come along. Haskell would have ended a very disappointed man. As others said, he didn't really have the career trajectory we might have expected - he rarely showed the confidence of that Stade try again. You get an idea why that might have been from his House of Rugby interview.


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Post by robbo277 on Wed 08 May 2019, 5:00 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Much depends upon the size of the training squad. I think you have listed 33 players. It could rise much closer to 50. Are we playing the Barbarians this year? Squad for that could be interesting if so.

Anyone know when it is announced?

England vs Barbarians on 2nd June. Double-header with England womens vs Barbarians on the same day. I'd assume the squad will be named after Round 22 when the play-offs are decided and they'll meet up on the Monday? And then he'll only draft losing semi-finalists in an emergency.

It will be interesting to see how strong he goes, although obviously the missing players will restrict him. I guess it's a question of whether he's looking to this game to shape his 31 or finalise his training squad.

With apologies to Quins fans, a team without the current top 4 could be:

Genge, Singleton, Sinckler, Launchbury, Ewels, Robshaw, Curry, Wilson, Youngs, Ford, May, Manu, Joseph, Watson, Daly
Obano, Taylor, Cole, Hughes, Underhill, Care, Burns, Cokanasiga

Struggling for many more options at tight 5 and half backs without the top 4, but also in contention in the back row and outside backs are: Clifford, Mercer, Willis, Dombrandt, Shields, Te'o, Marchant, Ashton, Brown.

The question is whether Eddie will throw any game time to those players like Mercer, Dombrandt, Willis or Marchant where he's not otherwise forced too.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 08 May 2019, 5:03 pm

Youngs and Manu injured.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 08 May 2019, 5:18 pm

Oh goody

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 08 May 2019, 5:26 pm

B91212 wrote:
Poorfour wrote:I still think experience will out, though.
For all EJ's justified comments about lack of leadership I have a theory that he won't just go with just experience this time. It will certainly be a factor in selection but because of the expected draining weather conditions he may actually favour the younger, fitter players for the original 31 and have more experienced as reserves who can come in at short notice to cover the inevitable injuries. I feel he's been careful to keep some of the more experienced players around the squad without necessarily playing them, such as Mike Brown. Players who can come in at short notice and slot in without being overawed and that won't change the squad dynamic drastically.

You could have Brown, Wigglesworth, Ashton, Joseph & Cipriani as backs reserves. All proven players who could come in at short notice and conceivably do well. Could be the same in the forwards to an extent too, players like Robshaw & Launchbury, maybe Cole too. Not saying I totally agree with it, but I do have a feeling that Eddie has been building towards it.

Maybe. Like I say, just a theory.

I think we perhaps put too much stock in experience.

Some players will develop game management skills and leadership skills more as they become more experienced, but one doesn't always lead to another and experience itself is not a skill. Cap count across a team is often a good proxy for whether a team has enough experience and game management, but an individual's cap count should not be used as a positive for their selection.

As an example, Dan Cole is very experienced. He doesn't offer as much around the park as Sinckler or Williams however. So you have to tell me how his experience has helped him become a better player. Is he a cuter scrummager, who a knack of winning a penalty at a key time? Because that would be a very useful skill to have. Is he a better leader, can he help provide focus to the rest of the team when he comes on? It's quite hard for us as fans to answer these questions. But across the board, Eddie should be asking these questions, not just focussing on cap count.

I do like an idea of "experienced" (to use the catch-all term) players on the bench. The younger, fitter players looking to blow other teams away in the first 55 and the bench to provide game management and leadership to steer us throw the latter stages - an area that has been weak for us. So potentially players like Hartley, Robshaw*, Care** and Ford*** could come on and help close out games. I much prefer this to benching stronger players because you think they'll be more effective in the latter stages.

*More as a pack leader with his ability to tidy up messy play than his tactical decision making, so please leave the 2015 jibes for now.
**His tactical kicking game when he came on against Australia in the autumn internationals a couple of years back took them apart - and it was the variety of kicking that impressed, picking the right kick at the right time and not just high box-kicks. If he's making good decisions, he's a very good player, and should definitely be in our squad.
***Proved against Scotland he can come on for Farrell if Plan A isn't working and be the guy to dig us out of a hole. Hopefully Eddie has a bit more confidence in Ford now. If Farrell is playing well he can go the 80, but if the cracks start to appear again then he should turn to Ford. An intelligent playmaker on the bench will watch the game for 60 minutes and come on and change it for the better, and I think that's what Ford can bring.

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 08 May 2019, 5:29 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Youngs and Manu injured.

Timescale? I imagine they'll be called into camp for a once over from the physios and a cup of tea, but if there's any doubt then they'll probably miss it.

Manu isn't as much of an issue with Te'o able to step in. Youngs would be a miss with Robson out, Care potentially in the top 4 and Spencer, Wigglesworth and even Maunder in play-off action. It would be a much harder ask for any back to stake a claim playing outside the 7th choice 9. Simpson maybe?

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Post by B91212 on Wed 08 May 2019, 11:29 pm

robbo277 wrote:I think we perhaps put too much stock in experience
It is often assumed that experience equals leadership, where as they are two different things. People often refer to the NZ team that won in 2011 & 2015 having a shed load of caps as though that is the reason they won. Lancaster often used to reference it and it will have contributed somewhat but lets be honest, it was just a great team and even it had on 30% of the caps they actually had would have still taken some beating.

I keep hearing that the heat and humidity will be a big factor. Doesn't matter how much experience you have, if your blowing out of your arse you've a lot less chance of getting into position for the next phase on so on.

Good post by the way, I agree completely.

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Post by Cumbrian on Thu 09 May 2019, 10:37 am

robbo277 wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Youngs and Manu injured.

Timescale? I imagine they'll be called into camp for a once over from the physios and a cup of tea, but if there's any doubt then they'll probably miss it.

Manu isn't as much of an issue with Te'o able to step in. Youngs would be a miss with Robson out, Care potentially in the top 4 and Spencer, Wigglesworth and even Maunder in play-off action. It would be a much harder ask for any back to stake a claim playing outside the 7th choice 9. Simpson maybe?

Scrum half is definitely a posing question if Youngs is out (let alone who is back-up!). Robson seems unlikely to be available doesn't he? Poor bloke. If Northampton players are available Alex Mitchell? Outside of them, er… Harry Randall from Bristol? Jonny Arr from Worcester? Sam Harrison from Leicester? Wor Mickey? If is a bit depressing/ worrying going forward because there aren’t a massive number of options at the top 4 clubs either.

I can’t even really think of any younger players that have kicked on or made me take notice. There are the Maunders at Exeter, Vellacott at Gloucester and…

You have to say it is going to be a problem position post world cup, both Care and Youngs are going to be in their 30s (and played massive amounts of rugby).

Would love to see Sam James from Sale replacing Manu, but will probably be Te'o.
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 09 May 2019, 10:49 am

robbo277 wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Youngs and Manu injured.

Timescale? I imagine they'll be called into camp for a once over from the physios and a cup of tea, but if there's any doubt then they'll probably miss it.

Manu isn't as much of an issue with Te'o able to step in. Youngs would be a miss with Robson out, Care potentially in the top 4 and Spencer, Wigglesworth and even Maunder in play-off action. It would be a much harder ask for any back to stake a claim playing outside the 7th choice 9. Simpson maybe?

Neither will be available for the Barbarians. Youngs had surgery on a shoulder injury incurred with England and will join the training camps in the Summer (assuming selection). Manu suffered a hamstring strain up in Newcastle and while he might just be available, no point rushing him in for a non-cap game in a position where there will be options.

SH is a tricky one both short term and long. While Ben Youngs is 6 years younger than Wiggy he has played a lot of rugby and another shoulder injury will be of concern. Spencer and Robson are both 27 and would be the ideal candidates to fill the starter and finisher roles after RWC 2019. Of course Spencer will be looking to push his claim this weekend. 

Who will feature against the Barbarians? Lord knows.

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Post by Poorfour on Thu 09 May 2019, 12:15 pm

There's experience and there's experience.

Goode is an experienced international, but what that experience has shown is that for whatever reason he just doesn't seem to be able to bring his club game to international level.

Cole is an experienced international but the game has moved on and he hasn't.

But there's also a difference between "experience" and "no experience", and that's what I was talking about.

How many EQ scrum halves have meaningful international experience? Youngs, Care and Wigglesworth. He might take a chance on Simpson and Robson as one of his picks, but I can't see him picking a squad with only one scrum half who's spent any time on the pitch in a competitive game.

How many EQ back three players have meaningful time at full back? Brown, the aforementioned Goode, and arguably Daly. Watson probably would have done but for his injuries, but we are where we are. He will probably persist with Daly as the preferred starter, but I can't see him going to Japan without a backup who has at least played in the position in a full international. And however much Barnes bleats about Goode, that almost certainly means Brown.

Experience is different from leadership, but the number of players who step straight up to International without missing a beat is very small. The current list for England is very short - Itoje, maybe Kruis (in an unflashy kind of way), possibly Curry.

I think most international coaches use 20 caps as a reasonable proxy for having lived through enough games to cope with a decent range of circumstances. For most players that would mean at least one tour, one tournament and one autumn series and probably two. That's the sort of level of experience we're likely to need across the majority of the XXIII, with room for a couple of promising tyros.

But going in with only one player in the squad who's played a specialist position for any appreciable period is the sort of madness of which I suspect not even Eddie is capable...
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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 09 May 2019, 12:41 pm

Poorfour wrote:There's experience and there's experience.

Goode is an experienced international, but what that experience has shown is that for whatever reason he just doesn't seem to be able to bring his club game to international level.

Cole is an experienced international but the game has moved on and he hasn't.

But there's also a difference between "experience" and "no experience", and that's what I was talking about.

How many EQ scrum halves have meaningful international experience? Youngs, Care and Wigglesworth. He might take a chance on Simpson and Robson as one of his picks, but I can't see him picking a squad with only one scrum half who's spent any time on the pitch in a competitive game.

How many EQ back three players have meaningful time at full back? Brown, the aforementioned Goode, and arguably Daly. Watson probably would have done but for his injuries, but we are where we are. He will probably persist with Daly as the preferred starter, but I can't see him going to Japan without a backup who has at least played in the position in a full international. And however much Barnes bleats about Goode, that almost certainly means Brown.

Experience is different from leadership, but the number of players who step straight up to International without missing a beat is very small. The current list for England is very short - Itoje, maybe Kruis (in an unflashy kind of way), possibly Curry.

I think most international coaches use 20 caps as a reasonable proxy for having lived through enough games to cope with a decent range of circumstances. For most players that would mean at least one tour, one tournament and one autumn series and probably two. That's the sort of level of experience we're likely to need across the majority of the XXIII, with room for a couple of promising tyros.

But going in with only one player in the squad who's played a specialist position for any appreciable period is the sort of madness of which I suspect not even Eddie is capable...

Maybe Lawes, not as fashionable as some, but just as much a certain starter as either if Itoje or Kruis, has the caps and has captained Saints in the past. It is interesting to see how much England miss his hits and ability to stop attacks instantly when he is injured. Even Gatland played him in the second half of the Lions tests as Saint A W-J got too tired by half time. He is probably the only truly all round lock we have.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 09 May 2019, 1:18 pm

The obligatory article bigging up Goode here.

Alex Goode - one of Europe's best but not wanted by England - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/48195078

Bit of focus on his speed being an issue and he's certainly slow but bar one or 2 performances he never really showed his strengths for England. He was brilliant in the rain over in Ireland but then beaten easily in the air against the same team a couple of years later. I think it was Fiji where Jones started him and he after dropping a really easy high ball looked devoid of confidence. It'll also be interesting to see how he gets on next year with Daly around.

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 09 May 2019, 2:27 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Maybe Lawes, not as fashionable as some, but just as much a certain starter as either if Itoje or Kruis, has the caps and has captained Saints in the past. It is interesting to see how much England miss his hits and ability to stop attacks instantly when he is injured. Even Gatland played him in the second half of the Lions tests as Saint A W-J got too tired by half time. He is probably the only truly all round lock we have.
Lawes is my first choice out of the four locks guaranteed to make the RWC squad if fit.

His carrying has got a lot more consistent as his game matured, alongside already excellent defence and lineout work.

I'd start Lawes and Itoje when all are on form.

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Post by robbo277 on Thu 09 May 2019, 3:58 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Youngs and Manu injured.

Timescale? I imagine they'll be called into camp for a once over from the physios and a cup of tea, but if there's any doubt then they'll probably miss it.

Manu isn't as much of an issue with Te'o able to step in. Youngs would be a miss with Robson out, Care potentially in the top 4 and Spencer, Wigglesworth and even Maunder in play-off action. It would be a much harder ask for any back to stake a claim playing outside the 7th choice 9. Simpson maybe?

Neither will be available for the Barbarians. Youngs had surgery on a shoulder injury incurred with England and will join the training camps in the Summer (assuming selection). Manu suffered a hamstring strain up in Newcastle and while he might just be available, no point rushing him in for a non-cap game in a position where there will be options.

SH is a tricky one both short term and long. While Ben Youngs is 6 years younger than Wiggy he has played a lot of rugby and another shoulder injury will be of concern. Spencer and Robson are both 27 and would be the ideal candidates to fill the starter and finisher roles after RWC 2019. Of course Spencer will be looking to push his claim this weekend. 

Who will feature against the Barbarians? Lord knows.

Thanks for the info.

I imagine it will be Youngs and literally whoever Jones feels is best suited to get him the tournament in the World Cup squad. There is a bit of an over-reliance on Youngs, but what's done is done. By the Six Nations we'll see Youngs + 1 of Robson and Spencer and by the Japan tour in 2020 Jones will have to rest his World Cup squad en masse pretty much, so we could see both Robson and Spencer or whichever one is third choice and a younger prospect also going.

So in the medium term I guess there is a pathway for the next 18 months to get into a stage where by Autumn 2020 we should have Youngs, Robson and Spencer up to speed and possibly the next guy identified, and by 2023 we could have Robson and Spencer ready to go unless someone else has usurped them. But that doesn't help us in the shorter term for later this year.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 09 May 2019, 5:08 pm

Short term I think we're ok. Spencer has really impressed recently, cares form looks back to a good level and we've see n wigglesworth drop onto the side with no issues.

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Post by yappysnap on Fri 10 May 2019, 3:26 am

king_carlos wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Maybe Lawes, not as fashionable as some, but just as much a certain starter as either if Itoje or Kruis, has the caps and has captained Saints in the past. It is interesting to see how much England miss his hits and ability to stop attacks instantly when he is injured. Even Gatland played him in the second half of the Lions tests as Saint A W-J got too tired by half time. He is probably the only truly all round lock we have.
Lawes is my first choice out of the four locks guaranteed to make the RWC squad if fit.

His carrying has got a lot more consistent as his game matured, alongside already excellent defence and lineout work.

I'd start Lawes and Itoje when all are on form.

Lawes has to be used right, like Haskell before him a simple game plan of smashing attackers back, smashing rucks and juat focusing on his physicality works really well. He is the most improved lock of all of them. If Itoje improves as much over the next few years as Lawes has from where he started then we will be very lucky.

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Post by yappysnap on Fri 10 May 2019, 3:29 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Short term I think we're ok. Spencer has really impressed recently, cares form looks back to a good level and we've see n wigglesworth drop onto the side with no issues.

Care's nearly always been good for club and fine off the bench for Eng. He doesnt suit the starting gameplan but thats the coaches fault for picking a player and gameplan that are total opposites. That he was then dropped totally was a real poor call from EJ.

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Post by Poorfour on Fri 10 May 2019, 8:15 am

yappysnap wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Short term I think we're ok. Spencer has really impressed recently, cares form looks back to a good level and we've see n wigglesworth drop onto the side with no issues.

Care's nearly always been good for club and fine off the bench for Eng. He doesnt suit the starting gameplan but thats the coaches fault for picking a player and gameplan that are total opposites. That he was then dropped totally was a real poor call from EJ.

It was a perfectly acceptable call if he wanted to give the third scrum half options some game time. And then he didn’t. I remain very puzzled by that.
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Post by EnglishReign on Fri 10 May 2019, 8:33 am

Makes me laugh when fair weather fans shout for Goode after watching one Sarries game. Solid club player but has never stepped up and should be nowhere near the squad.

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