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 Rinsure on Fri 10 May 2019, 9:30 am

Watson looked very sharp against Wasps last weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if he slots back in at FB ahead of Daly, with Daly moving to the wing (or bench, since he covers so many slots).

A back three of May, Daly and Watson would be pretty sharp.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:05 am

Rinsure wrote:Watson looked very sharp against Wasps last weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if he slots back in at FB ahead of Daly, with Daly moving to the wing (or bench, since he covers so many slots).

A back three of May, Daly and Watson would be pretty sharp.

That would be sharp, and an awful lot of pace. What about Nowell, Ashton, and Cokanasiga though? Would Daly slot into the wing in place of any of those guys? It's a really difficult decision as they each bring their own qualities. Personally, I'd persevere with Big Joe as I think he's got so much potential and offer something totally different to the others.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:19 am

Cokanasiga for me. Or nowell depending on tactics. Ashton probably on the list of stand bys?

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Post by Rinsure on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:23 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Cokanasiga for me. Or nowell depending on tactics. Ashton probably on the list of stand bys?

Yeah, I'd be inclined to agree. Daly is a good fit for the bench, unfortunately for him!

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Post by BamBam on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:06 am

I would love to see Watson nail down the FB slot, if he does that its more or less between Daly / Cokanasiga / Nowell for the other wing.

All have their pluses and minuses, I think Daly is certain to be in the 23 somewhere and he just looks such a threat when he's coming into the line, whether that be from FB or off his wing. When he has ball in hand and begins that arcing outside break, I'm always confident that he'll make the right decision, how many tries have come from a Daly break or half break then a simple pass to May steaming down the wing.

Joe offers a unique skillset, I just wonder if we're better off starting with May / Daly then having him as a wrecking ball option off the bench. Nowell is unfortunate to be up against such a strong group, as he also offers plenty.

All comes down to whether Watson / Brown / Daly are the starting full back though!

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:08 am

I did not see enough from Watson to suggest he would be straight back into the test team. The Barbarians match could be a good one to see him play.

As for Daly, Eddie has demonstrated time and again he wants him in the team. Whether it is his kicking or the intelligence of his running & passing, Uncle Eddie likes what he sees and despite what any of us would do it is likely he will continue selecting Daly to start.

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:51 am

Rinsure wrote:Watson looked very sharp against Wasps last weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if he slots back in at FB ahead of Daly, with Daly moving to the wing (or bench, since he covers so many slots).

A back three of May, Daly and Watson would be pretty sharp.

Saw a highlight of May's 6 Six Nations tries after his award this week - I think Daly made 3 of them with breaks, in addition to scoring one himself. He's maybe not the best under the high ball or in terms of positioning, but when you get the ball in his hands with space in front of him he's deadly, in terms of scoring and creating.

I like Watson, and I'd have him in my back 3. I'm not sure about my configuration though. I guess that's what we've got to work out over the summer.

Cokanasiga and Nowell are both very good players and would be my other two in the 31 man squad, with Ashton and Brown on the stand-by list.

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 10 May 2019, 11:52 am

BamBam wrote:I would love to see Watson nail down the FB slot, if he does that its more or less between Daly / Cokanasiga / Nowell for the other wing.

All have their pluses and minuses, I think Daly is certain to be in the 23 somewhere and he just looks such a threat when he's coming into the line, whether that be from FB or off his wing. When he has ball in hand and begins that arcing outside break, I'm always confident that he'll make the right decision, how many tries have come from a Daly break or half break then a simple pass to May steaming down the wing.

Joe offers a unique skillset, I just wonder if we're better off starting with May / Daly then having him as a wrecking ball option off the bench. Nowell is unfortunate to be up against such a strong group, as he also offers plenty.

All comes down to whether Watson / Brown / Daly are the starting full back though!

Just read this post! Agree completely. I think he created 3 of May's tries alone. That first try against Ireland, that first try against France and one other, possibly the Italy one?

Edit: It was the Italy one. And probably Daly's best assist of the 3.

https://twitter.com/SixNationsRugby/status/1126408543102558209

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:15 pm

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.

On Spencer, he's been selected ahead of Wigglesworth for the Champions Cup final this weekend. Not many bigger club games.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 10 May 2019, 12:48 pm

Daly is a player who needs to start for me. On the 2017 Lions tour only 4 Lions played every minute of the 3 tests. Farrell, Davies, Faletau and Daly. He's a quality player just not a fullback.

For me the nailed on starting wingers should be May and Daly. Then find your best fullback. Whether that's Watson, Brown or even a recalled Goode (though I think Goode's pace will be found out again at test level).

I definitely see Nowell and Cokanasiga in the RWC squad but to me they should be the reserve wingers.

Bright side is that Daly, May, Nowell and Cokanasiga are 4 very strong wingers with differing skill sets, hence different tactical options.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 10 May 2019, 1:03 pm

You could get a heck of a game out of England vs england a at the moment.

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Post by Rinsure on Fri 10 May 2019, 1:27 pm

The alternative is Daly at 13, although with Slade playing so well in the 6Ns, and JJ looking to be back to something like his best form, coupled with Manu (if fit) and Te'o, and other options coming through then that's an equally contentious and competitive place selection!

I've said on other threads that I think Daly is the best "top 2 inches" player we have, in that he spots, exploits and uses opportunities better than anyone else. So yeah, he needs to play, but where - 15, 14 or 13?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 10 May 2019, 1:30 pm

I just wouldn't. As I said above he's the best utility we have but I just don't feel he's the best winger full back or outside centre.

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Post by Poorfour on Fri 10 May 2019, 1:35 pm

Watson would be a slight risk at fullback, but only a slight one, I think. Much more solid than Daly. I can see it coming down to who performs best in the warm up games in several positions, fullback, scrum half and back row being the key ones.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 10 May 2019, 2:56 pm

I just really hope that competitive positions aren't decided by injury.

England will be in a much stronger position if Underhill and Curry are competing for one place. If it's choice between one of them or moving Shields, Wilson or Robshaw to openside then the back row won't look nearly as dangerous.

Ben Spencer is in very good form and he's the style of scrumhalf that Jones has preferred. I wouldn't be surprised if he claims the backup 9 spot. Such brutal timing for Robson to fall ill.

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Post by lostinwales on Fri 10 May 2019, 3:45 pm

king_carlos wrote:...Such brutal timing for Robson to fall ill.

Yes. In considering his health the RWC is an irrelevance.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Fri 10 May 2019, 3:56 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You could get a heck of a game out of England vs england a at the moment.

1. Mako vs. Moon
2. George vs. Singleton
3. Sinckler vs. Cole
4. Lawes vs. Ewels
5. Itoje vs. Launchbury
6. Wilson vs. Robshaw
7. Curry vs. Underhill
8. Billy vs. Morgan
9. Youngs vs. Care
10. Farrell vs. Cipriani
11. May vs. Thorley
12. Slade vs. Devoto
13. Manu vs. Joseph
14. Nowell vs. Cokanasiga
15. Daly vs. Watson

16. LCD vs. Thacker
17. Genge vs. Hepburn
18. Williams vs. Hill
19. Kruis vs. Isiekwe
20. Shields vs. Kvesic
21. Spencer vs. Wigglesworth
22. Ford vs. Smith
23. Ashton vs. Brown

I'd swap out Moon for Marler if he does indeed come out of retirement, with each person moving down a notch and Hepburn dropping out entirely. I'd also replace Thacker with Hartley if he's deemed fit.

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Post by king_carlos on Fri 10 May 2019, 5:52 pm

Taking 1st XV vs 2nd XV then mixing up the benches would be more interesting. I'd be very interested to see the below battle it out for RWC places.

1.Vunipola - Genge
2.George - Cowan-Dickie
3.Sinckler - Williams
4.Itoje - Launchbury
5.Lawes - Kruis
6.Wilson - Robshaw
7.Curry - Underhill
8.Vunipola - Hughes

9.Youngs - Spencer
10.Farrell - Ford

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

16.Singleton - Dunn
17.Moon - Hepburn
18.Cole - Schonert
19.Ewels - Isiekwe
20.Shields - Simmonds
21.Robson - Care
22.Devoto - Cipriani
23.Ashton - Thorley

Given Jones practice of bringing Georgia in for training matches during the 6 Nations I wouldn't be surprised if there is a behind close doors full speed game during the training camps.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 10 May 2019, 5:54 pm

Yeah I was thinking more that mix.great options.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Fri 10 May 2019, 7:12 pm

bluestonevedder wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:You could get a heck of a game out of England vs england a at the moment.

1. Mako vs. Moon
2. George vs. Singleton
3. Sinckler vs. Cole
4. Lawes vs. Ewels
5. Itoje vs. Launchbury
6. Wilson vs. Robshaw
7. Curry vs. Underhill
8. Billy vs. Morgan
9. Youngs vs. Care
10. Farrell vs. Cipriani
11. May vs. Thorley
12. Slade vs. Devoto
13. Manu vs. Joseph
14. Nowell vs. Cokanasiga
15. Daly vs. Watson

16. LCD vs. Thacker
17. Genge vs. Hepburn
18. Williams vs. Hill
19. Kruis vs. Isiekwe
20. Shields vs. Kvesic
21. Spencer vs. Wigglesworth
22. Ford vs. Smith
23. Ashton vs. Brown

I'd swap out Moon for Marler if he does indeed come out of retirement, with each person moving down a notch and Hepburn dropping out entirely. I'd also replace Thacker with Hartley if he's deemed fit.

Boyd was very confident that Hartley would play a part in at least on more game this season, so he must be getting back to some sort of fitness. He has apparently been wearing out and breaking the equipment in the gym.

bluestonevedder, you seriously have Ewels ahead of Kruis?

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 10 May 2019, 7:26 pm

No he doesn't. He has listed a first choice 23 and a second choice 23.

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 10 May 2019, 10:27 pm

Poorfour wrote:Watson would be a slight risk at fullback, but only a slight one, I think. Much more solid than Daly. I can see it coming down to who performs best in the warm up games in several positions, fullback, scrum half and back row being the key ones.

Back row is a selection dilemma but a good one. We could go into the world cup with Wilson, Curry and Vunipola or Robshaw, Underhill and Hughes and be reasonably well set and still have further options in Shields, Mercer and Simmonds, Ted Hill, Armand - albeit less proven. Heck, even Haskell will probably keep himself fit over the summer just in case.

Fullback is a bit of a selection dilemma, but again we have lots of international quality players, although our best players are more proven at wing. We can either go with our best players and take a risk on the full back or we can go with our proven full back (Brown) and leave out a better player. It's a tough choice, but not a choice borne out of lack of options.

Scrum half is the worst of the 3, because we have a paucity of options. We have players who could be international quality, but it's shakier ground.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Sat 11 May 2019, 11:33 am

LondonTiger wrote:No he doesn't. He has listed a first choice 23 and a second choice 23.

Got it thumbsup

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Post by robbo277 on Sat 11 May 2019, 7:16 pm

Good performance by Saracens today and their strong England contingent. It was billed as a test match and was definitely played at near-test intensity.

Mako went off early but is moving about freely now.
George was good, ran a tight set piece and contrinuted around the pitch. Itoje was the official man of the match despite his sinbin. Kruis was almost "Lawes-like" with his knocking people down way behind the gain line. Billy was my man of the match, he's back to his best.

Spencer and Farrell tidy but the game was more about the forwards. Lozowski (if he's still on the radar) looked lively as well.

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Post by yappysnap on Sun 12 May 2019, 9:52 am

Should England base the team more around Saracens? Eg

Mako
George
...
Kruis
Itoje
...
...
Vunipola
Spencer
Farrell
...
...
Lozowski
...
Goode

Looks like a strong core of a team who all train week in week out and know each other well. When sarries then have Daly it looks even better, just need another backrower or wing to fill it out.


Last edited by yappysnap on Sun 12 May 2019, 9:54 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added Spencer)

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Post by LondonTiger on Sun 12 May 2019, 10:13 am

I would strike Goode and Lozowski. Exceptional in the Sarries bubble but with flaws that are magnified at international level.

Would take the other seven though.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 12 May 2019, 1:37 pm

robbo277 wrote:Good performance by Saracens today and their strong England contingent. It was billed as a test match and was definitely played at near-test intensity.

Mako went off early but is moving about freely now.
George was good, ran a tight set piece and contrinuted around the pitch. Itoje was the official man of the match despite his sinbin. Kruis was almost "Lawes-like" with his knocking people down way behind the gain line. Billy was my man of the match, he's back to his best.

Spencer and Farrell tidy but the game was more about the forwards. Lozowski (if he's still on the radar) looked lively as well.
Wasn't Barritt named MOM?

Either way it could have gone to any of Kruis, Itoje, Billy or Barritt. Lozowski as well was excellent.

My MOM would have been Kruis. His defence was thrilling as well as running an outstanding lineout attack and defence against Toner and Ryan.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Sun 12 May 2019, 4:14 pm

The man that impressed me the most won't help England's cause at all Koch, we was just everywhere, made loads of metres, smashed Leinster players in the tackle and passed like a back. Not what you expect form you second choice prop.

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 12 May 2019, 4:34 pm

Koch was outstanding as was Barrington after coming on. The combination of such well drilled systems and strong scrum-halves means that Sarries forwards all link very well. Itoje looks very good in that regard for Sarries, taking the ball to the line then shifting the point of contact.

Tito Lamositele has come a long way for Sarries since joining at 20/21. They have that knack of improving the players they sign.

A friend posed the interesting question of whether this is the best club side we'd yet seen win the European Cup in the pro era. It's so difficult to compare sides across different times but they have to be right up there.

Leinster, Toulouse, Toulon, Munster, Leicester and Wasps have had some special sides in the Pro era. This Sarries side have such depth and consistency though. I'd say it's a really tight argument between the strongest Leinster, Toulon and Sarries sides.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 13 May 2019, 6:53 am

king_carlos wrote:
robbo277 wrote:Good performance by Saracens today and their strong England contingent. It was billed as a test match and was definitely played at near-test intensity.

Mako went off early but is moving about freely now.
George was good, ran a tight set piece and contrinuted around the pitch. Itoje was the official man of the match despite his sinbin. Kruis was almost "Lawes-like" with his knocking people down way behind the gain line. Billy was my man of the match, he's back to his best.

Spencer and Farrell tidy but the game was more about the forwards. Lozowski (if he's still on the radar) looked lively as well.
Wasn't Barritt named MOM?

Either way it could have gone to any of Kruis, Itoje, Billy or Barritt. Lozowski as well was excellent.

My MOM would have been Kruis. His defence was thrilling as well as running an outstanding lineout attack and defence against Toner and Ryan.

Yes, I stand corrected on that. Maybe the commentator named Itoje his unofficial MOM or something, and then the tournament organiser gives the official award out. Or I'm just hearing things!

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 13 May 2019, 7:08 am

LondonTiger wrote:I would strike Goode and Lozowski. Exceptional in the Sarries bubble but with flaws that are magnified at international level.

Would take the other seven though.

Agreed. If we were going that way, we could put in a call to Barritt and try to get him to come back. But we have stronger players than Barritt and we have stronger players than Lozowski and Goode. Other than Spencer, the rest of the guys are pretty set in there.

Having navigated a Champions Cup final and with Premiership play-offs to come, I'd have no qualms about Spencer at international level. Would be good to see him get a shot in the summer series. Especially if he's playing with Vunipola and Farrell as his 8-9-10 and a majority Saracens tight 5 (at least 3 you'd think, but 4 for me).

Youngs and Robson are still ahead in the pecking order at the moment, but for Robson obviously his blood clots are a serious issue.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Mon 13 May 2019, 10:00 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
bluestonevedder wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:You could get a heck of a game out of England vs england a at the moment.

1. Mako vs. Moon
2. George vs. Singleton
3. Sinckler vs. Cole
4. Lawes vs. Ewels
5. Itoje vs. Launchbury
6. Wilson vs. Robshaw
7. Curry vs. Underhill
8. Billy vs. Morgan
9. Youngs vs. Care
10. Farrell vs. Cipriani
11. May vs. Thorley
12. Slade vs. Devoto
13. Manu vs. Joseph
14. Nowell vs. Cokanasiga
15. Daly vs. Watson

16. LCD vs. Thacker
17. Genge vs. Hepburn
18. Williams vs. Hill
19. Kruis vs. Isiekwe
20. Shields vs. Kvesic
21. Spencer vs. Wigglesworth
22. Ford vs. Smith
23. Ashton vs. Brown

I'd swap out Moon for Marler if he does indeed come out of retirement, with each person moving down a notch and Hepburn dropping out entirely. I'd also replace Thacker with Hartley if he's deemed fit.

Boyd was very confident that Hartley would play a part in at least on more game this season, so he must be getting back to some sort of fitness. He has apparently been wearing out and breaking the equipment in the gym.

bluestonevedder, you seriously have Ewels ahead of Kruis?

LT has already answered on my behalf, but I thought i'd reiterate that I definitely wouldn't, especially after Saturday's performance! I much prefer the way that King_Carlos approached the above by mixing up the benches- that would be far more interesting. I also totally forgot about Hughes, so he would replace Morgan.

I hadn't heard that regarding Hartley. Good to know he's on his way bag as is seemingly in good condition. I just can't see him getting match fit by the world cup, especially given the lack of games remaining. It would be terrible if he was just shoe-horned into the squad because of his previous accolades.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 May 2019, 10:21 am

A core of Saracens would be fine for me as they have group that are nearing world class and already are in some cases.i just don't think familiarity of partnerships makes up for not picking others that for me are head and shoulders above the Saracens. The one guy who is love to have from their squad is unfortunately Welsh.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Mon 13 May 2019, 10:26 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:A core of Saracens would be fine for me as they have  group that are nearing world class and already are in some cases.i just don't think familiarity of partnerships makes up for not picking others that for me are head and shoulders above the Saracens. The one guy who is love to have from their squad is unfortunately Welsh.

Dominic Day?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 May 2019, 10:34 am

😀

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Post by BamBam on Mon 13 May 2019, 10:39 am

Will definitely be interesting to see how they use Daly next season. Would assume 13, but a back 3 with him and Williams would be worth watching!

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 13 May 2019, 12:02 pm

bluestonevedder wrote:I hadn't heard that regarding Hartley. Good to know he's on his way bag as is seemingly in good condition. I just can't see him getting match fit by the world cup, especially given the lack of games remaining. It would be terrible if he was just shoe-horned into the squad because of his previous accolades.

I think he's got previous for England of coming straight into internationals with very little game time. If he's getting to full fitness he should have a full pre-season with England, a couple of run-outs in August and probably 1 pool start against USA before we get to the serious stuff. So as long as he can run out for England in August he makes my squad.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Mon 13 May 2019, 12:06 pm

robbo277 wrote:
bluestonevedder wrote:I hadn't heard that regarding Hartley. Good to know he's on his way bag as is seemingly in good condition. I just can't see him getting match fit by the world cup, especially given the lack of games remaining. It would be terrible if he was just shoe-horned into the squad because of his previous accolades.

I think he's got previous for England of coming straight into internationals with very little game time. If he's getting to full fitness he should have a full pre-season with England, a couple of run-outs in August and probably 1 pool start against USA before we get to the serious stuff. So as long as he can run out for England in August he makes my squad.

Do you think it justifies him coming in ahead of players like LCD? I haven't seen Exeter play for a while so don't know what his performances have been like and whether or not he is indeed the backup hooker. Just wondering whether the competition is so low for hooker that Hartley would parachute straight back into the 23.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 13 May 2019, 1:51 pm

bluestonevedder wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
bluestonevedder wrote:I hadn't heard that regarding Hartley. Good to know he's on his way bag as is seemingly in good condition. I just can't see him getting match fit by the world cup, especially given the lack of games remaining. It would be terrible if he was just shoe-horned into the squad because of his previous accolades.

I think he's got previous for England of coming straight into internationals with very little game time. If he's getting to full fitness he should have a full pre-season with England, a couple of run-outs in August and probably 1 pool start against USA before we get to the serious stuff. So as long as he can run out for England in August he makes my squad.

Do you think it justifies him coming in ahead of players like LCD? I haven't seen Exeter play for a while so don't know what his performances have been like and whether or not he is indeed the backup hooker. Just wondering whether the competition is so low for hooker that Hartley would parachute straight back into the 23.

I think Hartley's leadership and set-piece skills would be invaluable coming off the bench in crunch games. You only have to look at how the line-out malfunctioned against New Zealand (not all George's fault it has to be said - the caller needs to take some responsibility) in the second half, robbing us of the ability to sustain pressure and score the points that would have won us the game.

You could take 3 hookers and have all 3, but if Hartley can show in the warm-ups that he's playing at a high enough level, I don't think we need to see 4 months of end-of-season form from him to put him in. If he plays and looks too far off the pace, then we can reconsider.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 13 May 2019, 2:25 pm

In the ideal world the WC squads would allow you to have two full XVs and then extra cover for the "specialist" positions If we limit the specialists to the 3 front rowers  and Scrum half, you would need 34 - 3 more than you are allowed.

 You want to be careful about messing around with the front row. If you went with just two looseheads then should Mako get another tight hamstring and miss a week, you would have to drop him from the squad entirely to call up someone who can sit on the bench. It is possible to go with 8 front rowers if you either have someone who can cover two positions, or are willing to sacrifice the starter for any position should they get a small injury. I am not aware of any props we have that can play both sides but LCD did (I think) play at LH in his first season for the U20s. Not sure that is enough though.

I do not think we can justify taking 10 second and back rowers. With Itoje and Lawes both being deemed able to cover 6, I suspect that 5 back rowers will go. 

Do we take 3 SHs? I was thinking Eddie would not, and would call someone up if there was any injury. Not sure now.

We will only take two FHs. If Farrell has a niggle then FH cover will have to be provided elsewhere. A third FH would only be called up to replace a major injury.

We will look to drop a player from the outside backs. This is also where we have the higher amount of versatility. Eddie will just need to decide where he loses a specialist. We will have 5 guys who can play in the back 3, 3 at centre and one other. With Daly and Nowell perhaps able to cover 13 we may see just 3 centres.

Which brings me back to the front row. If we want 3 SHs we need to have just 8 front rowers, if we want 9 front rowers we may have to lose a SH. Thus selection for the very last spot could come down to Cole or Care Very Happy

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 May 2019, 2:30 pm

Ow. My head hurts.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 13 May 2019, 2:43 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Ow. My head hurts.

So does mine.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 13 May 2019, 2:55 pm

You've also got some more positions that could potentially cover. Hughes and shields bothbused in the 2nd row this 6 nations. Daly covers everything. Joseph covered wing previously. Cipriani as a risky full back cover.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 13 May 2019, 2:57 pm

LondonTiger wrote:In the ideal world the WC squads would allow you to have two full XVs and then extra cover for the "specialist" positions If we limit the specialists to the 3 front rowers  and Scrum half, you would need 34 - 3 more than you are allowed.

 You want to be careful about messing around with the front row. If you went with just two looseheads then should Mako get another tight hamstring and miss a week, you would have to drop him from the squad entirely to call up someone who can sit on the bench. It is possible to go with 8 front rowers if you either have someone who can cover two positions, or are willing to sacrifice the starter for any position should they get a small injury. I am not aware of any props we have that can play both sides but LCD did (I think) play at LH in his first season for the U20s. Not sure that is enough though.

I do not think we can justify taking 10 second and back rowers. With Itoje and Lawes both being deemed able to cover 6, I suspect that 5 back rowers will go. 

Do we take 3 SHs? I was thinking Eddie would not, and would call someone up if there was any injury. Not sure now.

We will only take two FHs. If Farrell has a niggle then FH cover will have to be provided elsewhere. A third FH would only be called up to replace a major injury.

We will look to drop a player from the outside backs. This is also where we have the higher amount of versatility. Eddie will just need to decide where he loses a specialist. We will have 5 guys who can play in the back 3, 3 at centre and one other. With Daly and Nowell perhaps able to cover 13 we may see just 3 centres.

Which brings me back to the front row. If we want 3 SHs we need to have just 8 front rowers, if we want 9 front rowers we may have to lose a SH. Thus selection for the very last spot could come down to Cole or Care Very Happy

In 2015 England took 8 front row and 3 scrum-halves. Eddie's Japan took 7 front row and 2 scrum-halves. Going by their positions on Wikipedia (sorry, no expert in Japanese rugby) they went with the 2 full line-ups + a hooker option (although wikipedia says 5 wingers and 1 full back, I'm sure there is some overlap with one of the players). I think if there is one coach in the rugby world who's going to disregard a template squad distribution then it's Eddie.

I also don't quite agree with your point on 2 looseheads and Mako. If he took 7 front row, he can wear 1 injury to a front row player. If that was Mako, Genge, Hartley, George, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler and Williams and Mako took an injury, he could load Cowan-Dickie onto the bench and hope to not use him, or use him for 10 minutes at the end and hope there aren't too many scrums. Could even see him come on in the back row as a way of getting fresh legs on the pitch, but keeping Genge there for the set-piece. This isn't ideal and I'd probably be looking for 8 front rowers, but as I said, if there's one coach who I think wouldn't mind gambling in this way it's Eddie.

You can also bank any tournament-ending injuries. If you have 2 full teams and an extra front row cover and you lose an outside back or a back row player during those opening two games, you don't have to replace them immediately. So if you lose Johnny May to an injury against USA, you could conceivably get through the rest of the World Cup with just Daly, Watson, Nowell, Cokanasiga and Brown (if we assume those are the other 5 players selected), and bringing in a 6th back three player who probably won't see the pitch isn't a great option. So if you bank that injury and then Mako gets a knock in the next game against Argentina, you can replace Nowell with Moon and he can bench against France and provide cover for the quarter-finals if still required. This is similar to what England did in 2011 with Sheridan.

World Cup squads are relatively small considering the schedule and the replacement rules, so you have to take calculated risks, be clever with your replacements and hope for a bit of luck. Having a number of versatile players (Lawes, Itoje, Robshaw, Wilson, Daly and Nowell) in particular definitely helps, and would give us a bit more wiggle room to get an extra couple of specialists in if we wanted.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 13 May 2019, 3:06 pm

I agree that having versatile players really helps. It is the lack of real versatility that makes me think he will take at least 8 front rowers. This is why my sneaky feeling is he will overload on the front row making the "savings" elsewhere.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 13 May 2019, 3:50 pm

LondonTiger wrote:I agree that having versatile players really helps. It is the lack of real versatility that makes me think he will take at least 8 front rowers. This is why my sneaky feeling is he will overload on the front row making the "savings" elsewhere.

I think a squad of:
8 front row
4 locks
6 back row
2 scrum halves
2 fly halves
4 centres
5 back three

Would be how I think he will go if I had to say now. I think he's on record of saying back row is the most attritional position, and I think he'd quite like to rotate his entire back 5s in those opening games, even if Lawes and Itoje cover 6 and Hughes and Shields cover second row.

I think his back 5 will be May, Daly, Watson, Nowell and Cokanasiga and whomever is settled at 15 will start both games, with the wingers rotating.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 14 May 2019, 12:31 pm

I read somewhere that Jim Mallinder is in charge of teh England "Development" XV that will face the Barbarians.

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 14 May 2019, 12:33 pm

LondonTiger wrote:I read somewhere that Jim Mallinder is in charge of teh England "Development" XV that will face the Barbarians.

Interesting. Will Eddie be wrapping his World Cup hopefuls in cotton wool for the match? And is Mallinder in the running for permanent England coach after Eddie?

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Post by king_carlos on Tue 14 May 2019, 4:44 pm

robbo277 wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:I read somewhere that Jim Mallinder is in charge of teh England "Development" XV that will face the Barbarians.

Interesting. Will Eddie be wrapping his World Cup hopefuls in cotton wool for the match? And is Mallinder in the running for permanent England coach after Eddie?
The Baabaas game is on the same weekend as the Prem final so a significant pool of them wont be available anyway.

McCall is rumoured to be favourite to take over as England coach. I haven't heard anything to suggest Mallinder is in the running.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Tue 14 May 2019, 5:27 pm

Mallinder is very much in the Lancaster mould. I could never understand why when a game was tight he would automatically put on 5 or 6 replacements at the same time for players that were playing very well. It was always at around the 60 minute mark and it always upset the balance of the side to the extent that they often lost the game. I understand the need to try and keep players fresh but when a game is tight you don't bring on inferior players and destroy the balance of the side.

Too much theory and not enough common for my liking, Leinster may have educated him though.

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