England World Cup Warm Ups

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 24 Jul 2019, 11:28 am

First topic message reminder :

Don't expect the snazzy pics produced on better match threads!

England Wales 11th August
Wales England 17th August
England Ireland 24th August
England Italy 6th September.

Squad for the world cup is due 2nd September so theres a chance the 1st 3 could be used for selection purposes and likely to see some combos not considered 1st choice.

BBC saving me typing:

England: Daly; McConnochie, Slade, Francis, Watson; Ford, Heinz; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Cole, Launchbury, Ewels, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Singleton, Marler, Williams, Kruis, Ludlam, Youngs, Marchant, Cokanasiga.

Wales: L Williams; North, J Davies, Parkes, Adams; Anscombe, G Davies; Smith, Owens, Francis, Beard, Jones, Wainwright, Tipuric, Moriarty.

Replacements: Dee, Jones, Lewis, Ball, Shingler, T Williams, Biggar, Watkin.


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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:12 pm

Lol keep trying mikey.

at least we didn't play our first XV and keep an injured player on the field in the hope he could walk off an ACL injury.
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Post by Soul Requiem on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:14 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Lol keep trying mikey.

at least we didn't play our first XV and keep an injured player on the field in the hope he could walk off an ACL injury.

I'm sure the physios were aware straight away that it was a ACL injury Doh

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:16 pm

They should have been seeing as he was clearly struggling after taking a knock. Amateurs.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:17 pm

Hers.... Tighthead seems to have been revelling in Anscombe’s ACL injury all day now. Having had 3 ACL reconstructions and one scope surgery (all on the left knee) myself I can confirm it is a rather unpleasant experience with lasting, negative effects king. Way to go TH.

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:19 pm

Please provide proof of myself revelling in this news?

Having done a ACL myself I felt sorry for Anscombe, as clearly he wasn't right.
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Post by BamBam on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:21 pm

Where did anyone claim it was a 3rd choice XV?

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:22 pm

In his head or on Wales online I expect.
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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:22 pm

or Twitter!

Rolling Eyes
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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:33 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:So only Williams, Ewels and Marchant from Saturday didn’t make it? Ah so much for it being a 3rd XV then. Good depth at LH and 2nd row. Surprised Daly is listed as the only full back, so I imagine Watson will be playing there at some point too.

Not seen anyone saying it was third choice - though Ewels and arguably Genge could be argued as 3rd choice players. It was a second string team - but made up of guys who felt they had to play their way on to the plane. However these games are just a phony war and mean very little.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:36 pm

Gents,


Some of you are desperately looking for an argument it seems. I am fully aware that there are some personality clashes between you BUT... keep things civil and stop putting words in other peoples mouths. None of you are actually as childish as you come across at times.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:42 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:So only Williams, Ewels and Marchant from Saturday didn’t make it? Ah so much for it being a 3rd XV then. Good depth at LH and 2nd row. Surprised Daly is listed as the only full back, so I imagine Watson will be playing there at some point too.

Mickey, to be a third fifteen we would need a squad of 45, not 35, so it was never that. However it did contain only what were considered to be probably 5 - 6 starters, 3 backrow, Watson, Daly, and an iffy JJ. We lost one of them early as well (Curry) so a very much second XV filled with players playing for their place.

Sorry to hear about Anscombe, he was the one Welsh player that did impress on Sunday, he is going to be a big loss. Biggar is going to have to play a lot of rugby unless you have some unknown waiting in the wings that can just pick up where Anscombe left off. He won't have had the conditioning or tactical training the rest have either.


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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:43 pm

Sorry LT, sort of crossed in the ether.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:50 pm

We're screwed if Daly is the only fullback, but I was exaggerating for emphasis. Several players are capable of playing there, but he's the only one with international experience.

Ewels and Marchant were always outside contenders, albeit it would have been nice for the latter to have more than a minute to make his case. Williams being dropped is a surprise, though he is still a suspect scrummager.
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Post by BamBam on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:53 pm

I've got a feeling Marchant was only played to tie him to England there were rumours of the Welsh sniffing around, was never a realistic contender for this squad but think he'll be a big part of the next cycle

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Post by hugehandoff on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 4:59 pm

I fear how different this could all look once the squad flies to Japan. Injuries obviously will occur and some disappointed players today will be back in the fold. The benefit of the larger training squads is to enable those replacements to get up to speed straight away, which sadly will be needed. Fingers crossed time.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 5:06 pm

hugehandoff wrote:I fear how different this could all look once the squad flies to Japan. Injuries obviously will occur and some disappointed players today will be back in the fold. The benefit of the larger training squads is to enable those replacements to get up to speed straight away, which sadly will be needed. Fingers crossed time.

It's not the Eddie Jones way though. All throughout his tenure he has refused to pick a third scrum half in training squads to give more time to his first two guys. It's the same now. He wants his 31 together with the maximum time to work together on the pitch. If he has to call up an injury replacement he'll address that if and when, but he doesn't want to "waste" time now on players who aren't going to play.

Whether that's the right approach is a different matter - and lots would argue he's made a mistake on the 9s. But the decision is consistent at least.

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 5:34 pm

I've just been reading back the debate on scrum halves from April.
I won't name names but there's a great long debate between someone insisting every team will take 3 but Jones only has one he trusts and someone else isniting he has 5 he trusts but will only take two of them, none of which were Heinz.
Very strong opinions and both very wrong it would seem.

Let's face it this squad is not like the one we expected, even back when the training squad was announced. Francis was a rank outsider but there's three that are even more out of the blue.

How much the disciplinary issue with Brown and Two who were both fringe candidates played into that is anyone's guess but it could be called very brave to leave so many fit caps at home, and to go short with key positions like half backs and no proper full back.
I guess the flip side is it takes away the speculation and constant pressure on certain players and the style england adopt. Jones is backing his players and the system. It's kinda nice to think the coach has faith in his own opinions.

But still ....Heinz? Francis? Ronald MacDonald? Hmmm. Again though it's a pattern with Jones to pick seemingly left field players from outside the established squad who might be good enough rather than continuing to back fringe players who he feels have come up short in the past. It's not like chaps such as Robshaw Hartley and Brown haven't been given chances under him.

If anyone predicted more than 75% of this squad 2 years ago they deserve a biscuit.



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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 5:50 pm

After the weekends game defeating a good welsh team this squad exudes class and talent. England have great prospects ahead of them and so far are looking very exciting on the back of their win on Saturday.

Their depth in the front five is the envy of nearly every nation. Their set piece work was powerful and controlled.

Eddie Jones a shrewd coach and he probably feels he personally has a lot to prove as an international coach.

Looking forward to the game on Saturday, should be another belter, hopefully we can give you a good game.

Just want to say thanks to the England players for helping wales find the current flaws in wales’s Game, hopefully e have enough time to put those things right. Maybe not by Saturday but by the time the charabanc leaves for Tokyo

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 6:58 pm

BamBam wrote:I've got a feeling Marchant was only played to tie him to England there were rumours of the Welsh sniffing around, was never a realistic contender for this squad but think he'll be a big part of the next cycle

I hope you are wrong, but must admit I thought the same.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7:15 pm

Gooseberry wrote:I've just been reading back the debate on scrum halves from April.
I won't name names but there's a great long debate between someone insisting every team will take 3 but Jones only has one he trusts and someone else isniting he has 5 he trusts but will only take two of them, none of which were Heinz.
Very strong opinions and both very wrong it would seem.

Let's face it this squad is not like the one we expected, even back when the training squad was announced. Francis was a rank outsider but there's three that are even more out of the blue.

How much the disciplinary issue with Brown and Two who were both fringe candidates played into that is anyone's guess but it could be called very brave to leave so many fit caps at home, and to go short with key positions like half backs and no proper full back.
I guess the flip side is it takes away the speculation and constant pressure on certain players and the style england adopt. Jones is backing his players and the system. It's kinda nice to think the coach has faith in his own opinions.

But still ....Heinz? Francis? Ronald MacDonald? Hmmm. Again though it's a pattern with Jones to pick seemingly left field players from outside the established squad who might be good enough rather than continuing to back fringe players who he feels have come up short in the past. It's not like chaps such as Robshaw Hartley and Brown haven't been given chances under him.

If anyone predicted more than 75% of this squad 2 years ago they deserve a biscuit.



75% of a 31 man squad is 24 (after rounding).

Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Cole, Itoje, Lawes, Kruis, Launchbury, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Manu, Joseph, May, Watson, Daly and Nowell would have been in most people's squads. That's 19.

5 of the players selected in the squad hadn't been capped 2 years ago - Cokanasiga, Heinz, Ludlam, Singleton and McConnochie so you'd have done well to pick them - most people would have gone with Hartley, Robshaw, Care and Brown over 4 of those.

The other 7 are Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Wilson, Curry, Underhill, Francis and Slade. Not inconceivable that someone would have had 5 of them. I doubt Francis would have made many squads though and Wilson didn't have loads of support outside the North East back then.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7:32 pm

No one likes a smart ass Robbo Wink

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7:37 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:No one likes a smart ass Robbo Wink

I was just interested in the numbers. I actually agree, 24 would have been tough to predict in August 2017 and I'm certainly not saying I would have done been able to do it. 21 maybe, the 19 named plus Slade and Cowan-Dickie.

I would have had Hartley, Robshaw, Hughes, Care, Te'o, Solomona and Brown in there as near-definites. Light a prop and in the back row and 2017 Argentina tour was around the time Genge, Wilson, Underhill and Curry came to prominence, but we also had Mullan, Haskell, Armand etc all still pushing for selection in 2017.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 8:02 pm

England’s maul was very good, also their carrying and defence was very aggressive as it should be. I felt the supposed scrum dominance was exaggerated, although they were very solid in that area too. I know you drove our guys back big time for that penalty, but Jones and Lewis aren’t renowned scrummagers yet, more like extra flankers... I think we’ll improve there next week. The defence should be a lot better too, as that was uncharacteristically poor.

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:11 pm

Enough with blowing smoke up our own backsides and back slapping, let’s be honest our defence was poor, Wales should never have got as many points as they did. We have a lot of work to do before the RWC as that is all that matters.
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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:34 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Enough with blowing smoke up our own backsides and back slapping, let’s be honest our defence was poor, Wales should never have got as many points as they did. We have a lot of work to do before the RWC as that is all that matters.

Not at all respect where it is due, we are all fans of the sport first and our teams second. England were an impressive unit who deserved the result.


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Post by Mr Bounce on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:39 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Enough with blowing smoke up our own backsides and back slapping, let’s be honest our defence was poor, Wales should never have got as many points as they did. We have a lot of work to do before the RWC as that is all that matters.

Agreed. Thought the set piece did do very well, especially for a lot of second-choices and a makeshift back row for 2/3 of the game.

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Post by hugehandoff on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:58 pm

Mikey.....I agree 're the scrum dominance. Not the usual state of affairs, but we did have 4 locks on for that scrum. Not a normal choice.

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Post by Pie on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 12:16 am

Seems like England are taking everything and the kitchen sink out of this win over Wales as you'd expect from a side who cant perform when they need to against Wales in 6 Nations and RWC.

This is an unnecessary WUM that appears designed to do nothing other than try to incite a response. Cut it out. 


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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 12:17 am

I see Jones has talked about the importance of players dealing with the World Cup as a cultural event, as well as a sporting event.

If he actually means that, then it might explain why he has selected McConnochie. The sevens circuit is all about different cultural and sporting challenges. He hasn't played Test rugby but he has been at an Olympics, the HK sevens, the Commonwealth Games, a Sevens World Cup, as well as individual rounds in a range of climates. If he showed up well in training, then it could have been a factor.

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Post by king_carlos on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 1:53 am

Jones has rolled the dice on the back row options but it's a chance he's taking that I really like. Underhill, Curry and Ludlam all have the potential to put in match winning performances whereas Shields has shown the capacity to be solid at blindside but little more.

1.Vunipola 2.George 3.Sinckler 4.Itoje 5.Lawes 6.Wilson 7.Underhill 8.Vunipola
9.Youngs 10.Farrell 11.May 12.Tuilagi 13.Slade 14.Daly 15.Watson

16.LCD 17.Marler 18.Cole 19.Lawes 20.Curry 21.Heinz 22.Ford 23.Nowell

Reserves: Genge, Singleton, Launchbury, Ludlam, Francis, Joseph, Cokanasiga, McConnochie

That 23 is what I think Jones will move towards at full strength over the warm-ups. Sadly, injuries may effect whether that is possible but it's just my hunch.

As a Tigers fan I'm delighted for Dan Cole. He came back to form this season after finally getting a preseason to prepare. He may not be the ideal prop in 2019 but I think he's a better player than Williams so I'm very happy he's fought his way back in.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 5:52 am

Decent but expected win at the weekend with a weakened team. I've come round to liking when Jones has made this announcement allowing the squad to actually prepare rather than play for their places. I am surprised he has chosen the additional right head and scrum half though. Plenty of those backs can cover multiple places.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 7:15 am

king_carlos wrote:Jones has rolled the dice on the back row options but it's a chance he's taking that I really like. Underhill, Curry and Ludlam all have the potential to put in match winning performances whereas Shields has shown the capacity to be solid at blindside but little more.

1.Vunipola 2.George 3.Sinckler 4.Itoje 5.Lawes 6.Wilson 7.Underhill 8.Vunipola
9.Youngs 10.Farrell 11.May 12.Tuilagi 13.Slade 14.Daly 15.Watson

16.LCD 17.Marler 18.Cole 19.Lawes 20.Curry 21.Heinz 22.Ford 23.Nowell

Reserves: Genge, Singleton, Launchbury, Ludlam, Francis, Joseph, Cokanasiga, McConnochie

That 23 is what I think Jones will move towards at full strength over the warm-ups. Sadly, injuries may effect whether that is possible but it's just my hunch.

As a Tigers fan I'm delighted for Dan Cole. He came back to form this season after finally getting a preseason to prepare. He may not be the ideal prop in 2019 but I think he's a better player than Williams so I'm very happy he's fought his way back in.

Yes I’d agree with that except I think you have to start Curry if fit. He has been consistently our best forward recently. I would have Wilson on the bench who better covers the back row.

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Post by Poorfour on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 7:27 am

On current form, I would be more inclined to start Kruis, as our best setpiece lock, and pair him with Lawes with Itoje on the bench. But at any rate, you can't have Lawes at both 5 and 19. He's in great form, but he isn't quite that omnipresent.
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Post by robbo277 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 7:55 am

The 23 is an interesting debate and hopefully Eddie gets to make some positive choices rather than just picking last man standing.

It will be interesting to see how Underhill and Curry go together in the same back row. It's an option to be tried out, but not one we can immediately say will be successful. Still got time though.

I think Itoje, Kruis, Curry, Underhill, Vunipola starting with Lawes and Wilson on the bench leaves us well stocked all round.

The only other selection I'd query would be Joseph or Slade are 13. I'm sure we'll see Tuilagi and Slade together this week, but I'd assume we'll see Joseph at 22 and we could see Manu and Joseph resume their partnership. Slade and Joseph offer different threats though and it depends a lot on the game plan.

I'd also question whether Eddie is drifting toward Daly at 14 and Watson at 15 or whether that's just what we want.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 8:15 am

Marchant still with squad as cover for Slade. 

Marler and Ford to cover TH and SH in an emergency.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 8:35 am

Lawes would be one of the first names on my team sheet, he gives what no other lock can, defensive solidity out in the wider wider 10/12 channel. The others are good closer to the scrum, but Lawes gets out there quicker and puts in those massive hits that allow turnovers or put the opposition on the back foot. That ability is priceless in a game where sides like Wales want to grind out position or others that once on the front foot can cut you apart like Australia.

These days he does all the other things pretty well as well, carries well in the close confines as well as the more open areas, very good lineout operator and capable of calling the lineout, I have mentioned the defensive work.

One other thing he has that no other forward can do, he can chase down fast backs in open play, over a distance he is remarkably quick for 18+ stone.

I would have him in over either Itoje or Kruis at the moment. They are both very good and do somethings better than Lawes, but neither have the all round game that Lawes has.

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 8:51 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Lawes would be one of the first names on my team sheet, he gives what no other lock can, defensive solidity out in the wider wider 10/12 channel. The others are good closer to the scrum, but Lawes gets out there quicker and puts in those massive hits that allow turnovers or put the opposition on the back foot. That ability is priceless in a game where sides like Wales want to grind out position or others that once on the front foot can cut you apart like Australia.

These days he does all the other things pretty well as well, carries well in the close confines as well as the more open areas, very good lineout operator and capable of calling the lineout, I have mentioned the defensive work.

One other thing he has that no other forward can do, he can chase down fast backs in open play, over a distance he is remarkably quick for 18+ stone.

I would have him in over either Itoje or Kruis at the moment. They are both very good and do somethings better than Lawes, but neither have the all round game that Lawes has.

Lawes is a fantastic player. But a lot of the good work he's been doing has been at 6. He genuinely looks like an international flanker now, rather than just an out of position lock. So he could even play in the same starting team as Itoje and Kruis with two back row on the bench. It would give us that extra lineout option.

That being said, he's been fantastic coming off the bench. With him and Marler in the squad we have two very good defensive players to bring on and close games out.

I think Eddie might restrict Lawes to a finisher role. I'd like to see him start against Wales on the flank and against Ireland at lock though, to give him a shot at winning a starting place.

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Post by carpet baboon on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 8:55 am

Why does Eddie pick Manu at 12?
He's a 13.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:00 am

robbo277 wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:I've just been reading back the debate on scrum halves from April.
I won't name names but there's a great long debate between someone insisting every team will take 3 but Jones only has one he trusts and someone else isniting he has 5 he trusts but will only take two of them, none of which were Heinz.
Very strong opinions and both very wrong it would seem.

Let's face it this squad is not like the one we expected, even back when the training squad was announced. Francis was a rank outsider but there's three that are even more out of the blue.

How much the disciplinary issue with Brown and Two who were both fringe candidates played into that is anyone's guess but it could be called very brave to leave so many fit caps at home, and to go short with key positions like half backs and no proper full back.
I guess the flip side is it takes away the speculation and constant pressure on certain players and the style england adopt. Jones is backing his players and the system. It's kinda nice to think the coach has faith in his own opinions.

But still ....Heinz? Francis? Ronald MacDonald? Hmmm. Again though it's a pattern with Jones to pick seemingly left field players from outside the established squad who might be good enough rather than continuing to back fringe players who he feels have come up short in the past. It's not like chaps such as Robshaw Hartley and Brown haven't been given chances under him.

If anyone predicted more than 75% of this squad 2 years ago they deserve a biscuit.



75% of a 31 man squad is 24 (after rounding).

Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Cole, Itoje, Lawes, Kruis, Launchbury, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Manu, Joseph, May, Watson, Daly and Nowell would have been in most people's squads. That's 19.

5 of the players selected in the squad hadn't been capped 2 years ago - Cokanasiga, Heinz, Ludlam, Singleton and McConnochie so you'd have done well to pick them - most people would have gone with Hartley, Robshaw, Care and Brown over 4 of those.

The other 7 are Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Wilson, Curry, Underhill, Francis and Slade. Not inconceivable that someone would have had 5 of them. I doubt Francis would have made many squads though and Wilson didn't have loads of support outside the North East back then.


Haha well OK have a hobnob! I am half tempted to dig back to the "Whos would be in your world cup squad" thread from 2 years ago just to check Wink 

Manu wouldnt have been in many folks squads though, that was right in the middle of his extended absences form all rugby, whilst he was looking for a move to France, and uncertainty over his long term injury future. He had never been in a matchday squad under Jones. At that time Teo was well established as the direct running options in the centers. So to have him down as a certain would have been a stretch. Quite a few people were pointing to Isiekewe and Ewels as players who would push Lawes or another out.  

Cowan Dickie had dropped out of the squad altogether for Argentina. 
Of the final list 3 were fringe flankers, given the large number of established/capped players available (including various converted locks covering 6) and other like Ewers, Armand and Curry getting a lot of hype not many would have had more than two of those in. Francis would have been a big push for anyone, and frankly still is. Slade would have been in a few, but Slade and Manu alongside Farrell Teo JJ Daly (who many still see as a center) Devoto Lozowski and Marchant as possibles plus god nows how many other random names chucked in isnt exactly a probable. 
Genge I think you could bump to the top list to be fair though, he was pretty hot property by that point. 
But 5 of those 7 wouldve been a very good prediction as you say. 


 Im giving 18 from your first list , 1 from your second ( Cokanasiga although most people would have left him out just to avoid having to try and remember how to spell his name), and 5 from the last list. That makes 24 which ok is a smidge over 75%, make it a chocolate hob nob for a fair chink of folk. On reflection Id reckon the squads for the previous two campaigns would've had at least that level of shake up post lions too. 


But look the general point is theres been some pretty unexpected changes to the squad for this late in the cycle and some brave decisions made. Its certainly not unusual for one or two players to get parachuted in late ( Burgess 2015, Manu 2011) but this squad has quite a few and a lot of big name former core players left out. Reading the latest on T'eo it does seem that his exclusion was decided by the fight in Italy. Coupled with Jones' comments regarding mature players (despite some being quite young and inexperienced at test level) it does look like hes made decision to try and minimise the risks of poor discipline (cough Manu cough). both in terms of keeping calm heads on the field and following a set game plan, and off the field behaviour. 

I guess there is more of what could be considered a core squad going than Id thought. The welcome resurrection of Watson and the leaving out of Hartley, Brown, Robshaw and Care maybe makes it feel like more of a radical shake up than it really is. I guess its not so much raw numbers but a few players who seemed so deeply ingrained left out, and those bought in so very left field that makes it feel like a very different group even 75% where there or there abouts two years ago. 

In that time England have significantly changed the way they are playing too to focus on a territorial kicking game and aggressive defence. The inclusion of Heinz absolutely seems to fit this model, but given Jones had picked 6 other scrum halves prior to turning to him and been critisized for ignoring another that does show some pretty radical and brave thinking. Its good to feel though that everyone has had to earn a place in the squad both in terms of long term performances at whichever level they were playing or through the training camps. These are players on form and responding well to whats being coached and who are on board with whats going on, thats quite different to some previous squads (notably 2007 where the splits between coaching and players widened pretty rapidly).

Im hoping this avoids the discord that was sewn by Burgess last time round and the way T'eo and Brown left the squad doesn't poison things. Theres obvious issues with the lack of cover for the half backs and lack of a proper full back which could leave England in trouble if theres minor injuries. I don't think the fifth choice winger choice is really that big a deal. 

Theres still a lot of uncertainty over the first 15 and 23, but time in the remaining warm ups to work that out. With a solid win over a good Wales side, and New Zealand looking fragile I'm a bit more optimistic than I was after the 6 nations about Englands chances. It does seem like a very open cup this time around.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:01 am

carpet baboon wrote:Why does Eddie pick Manu at 12?
He's a 13.


Hes lost a bit of his raw pace and its easier to duff up the opposition 10 from there?

I was very much against him being converted to a 12 but its what hes been working on a club level for a long time now, including massively improving his passing game.


Last edited by Gooseberry on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:02 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:01 am

carpet baboon wrote:Why does Eddie pick Manu at 12?
He's a 13.

12 and 13 are quite fluid and can interchange. But England's best centres are all 13s (Tuilagi, Joseph and Slade) by nature so one of them has to step in and Tuilagi is best suited to do so.

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Post by robbo277 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:08 am

Gooseberry wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:I've just been reading back the debate on scrum halves from April.
I won't name names but there's a great long debate between someone insisting every team will take 3 but Jones only has one he trusts and someone else isniting he has 5 he trusts but will only take two of them, none of which were Heinz.
Very strong opinions and both very wrong it would seem.

Let's face it this squad is not like the one we expected, even back when the training squad was announced. Francis was a rank outsider but there's three that are even more out of the blue.

How much the disciplinary issue with Brown and Two who were both fringe candidates played into that is anyone's guess but it could be called very brave to leave so many fit caps at home, and to go short with key positions like half backs and no proper full back.
I guess the flip side is it takes away the speculation and constant pressure on certain players and the style england adopt. Jones is backing his players and the system. It's kinda nice to think the coach has faith in his own opinions.

But still ....Heinz? Francis? Ronald MacDonald? Hmmm. Again though it's a pattern with Jones to pick seemingly left field players from outside the established squad who might be good enough rather than continuing to back fringe players who he feels have come up short in the past. It's not like chaps such as Robshaw Hartley and Brown haven't been given chances under him.

If anyone predicted more than 75% of this squad 2 years ago they deserve a biscuit.



75% of a 31 man squad is 24 (after rounding).

Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Cole, Itoje, Lawes, Kruis, Launchbury, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Manu, Joseph, May, Watson, Daly and Nowell would have been in most people's squads. That's 19.

5 of the players selected in the squad hadn't been capped 2 years ago - Cokanasiga, Heinz, Ludlam, Singleton and McConnochie so you'd have done well to pick them - most people would have gone with Hartley, Robshaw, Care and Brown over 4 of those.

The other 7 are Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Wilson, Curry, Underhill, Francis and Slade. Not inconceivable that someone would have had 5 of them. I doubt Francis would have made many squads though and Wilson didn't have loads of support outside the North East back then.


Haha well OK have a hobnob! I am half tempted to dig back to the "Whos would be in your world cup squad" thread from 2 years ago just to check Wink 

Manu wouldnt have been in many folks squads though, that was right in the middle of his extended absences form all rugby, whilst he was looking for a move to France, and uncertainty over his long term injury future. He had never been in a matchday squad under Jones. At that time Teo was well established as the direct running options in the centers. So to have him down as a certain would have been a stretch. Quite a few people were pointing to Isiekewe and Ewels as players who would push Lawes or another out.  

Cowan Dickie had dropped out of the squad altogether for Argentina. 
Of the final list 3 were fringe flankers, given the large number of established/capped players available (including various converted locks covering 6) and other like Ewers, Armand and Curry getting a lot of hype not many would have had more than two of those in. Francis would have been a big push for anyone, and frankly still is. Slade would have been in a few, but Slade and Manu alongside Farrell Teo JJ Daly (who many still see as a center) Devoto Lozowski and Marchant as possibles plus god nows how many other random names chucked in isnt exactly a probable. 
Genge I think you could bump to the top list to be fair though, he was pretty hot property by that point. 
But 5 of those 7 wouldve been a very good prediction as you say. 


 Im giving 18 from your first list , 1 from your second ( Cokanasiga although most people would have left him out just to avoid having to try and remember how to spell his name), and 5 from the last list. That makes 24 which ok is a smidge over 75%, make it a chocolate hob nob for a fair chink of folk. On reflection Id reckon the squads for the previous two campaigns would've had at least that level of shake up post lions too. 


But look the general point is theres been some pretty unexpected changes to the squad for this late in the cycle and some brave decisions made. Its certainly not unusual for one or two players to get parachuted in late ( Burgess 2015, Manu 2011) but this squad has quite a few and a lot of big name former core players left out. Reading the latest on T'eo it does seem that his exclusion was decided by the fight in Italy. Coupled with Jones' comments regarding mature players (despite some being quite young and inexperienced at test level) it does look like hes made decision to try and minimise the risks of poor discipline (cough Manu cough). both in terms of keeping calm heads on the field and following a set game plan, and off the field behaviour. 

I guess there is more of what could be considered a core squad going than Id thought. The welcome resurrection of Watson and the leaving out of Hartley, Brown, Robshaw and Care maybe makes it feel like more of a radical shake up than it really is. I guess its not so much raw numbers but a few players who seemed so deeply ingrained left out, and those bought in so very left field that makes it feel like a very different group even 75% where there or there abouts two years ago. 

In that time England have significantly changed the way they are playing too to focus on a territorial kicking game and aggressive defence. The inclusion of Heinz absolutely seems to fit this model, but given Jones had picked 6 other scrum halves prior to turning to him and been critisized for ignoring another that does show some pretty radical and brave thinking. Its good to feel though that everyone has had to earn a place in the squad both in terms of long term performances at whichever level they were playing or through the training camps. These are players on form and responding well to whats being coached and who are on board with whats going on, thats quite different to some previous squads (notably 2007 where the splits between coaching and players widened pretty rapidly).

Im hoping this avoids the discord that was sewn by Burgess last time round and the way T'eo and Brown left the squad doesn't poison things. Theres obvious issues with the lack of cover for the half backs and lack of a proper full back which could leave England in trouble if theres minor injuries. I don't think the fifth choice winger choice is really that big a deal. 

Theres still a lot of uncertainty over the first 15 and 23, but time in the remaining warm ups to work that out. With a solid win over a good Wales side, and New Zealand looking fragile I'm a bit more optimistic than I was after the 6 nations about Englands chances. It does seem like a very open cup this time around.

As a below post, I don't think I would have got 24! 19 definitely, maybe 21 all in all. I just wanted to play about with the numbers though, if you parachuted 2017-me into 2019 I'd be wondering what had happened to Hartley, Robshaw, Care, Te'o and Brown most prominently, and some of their replacements would have had me raising questions. I thought Solomona was a cert after the Argentina tour as well, but he barely for another look in.

Manu would have made my squads with all the usual caveats of fitness and availability. But even 2 years ago despite him not having featured for England for years, there was no-one better than him playing at the time. I would have possibly had Farrell, Ford, Tuilagi and Joseph and 2 of Slade, Cipriani and Te'o. Possibly not Slade actually, as I might have gone with Cipriani to cover Farrell playing at 12 (as he was then) and Te'o as a back up 12, with Tuilagi and Joseph as 13s.

Maybe I'll have a dig through old posts as well!

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:09 am

Thought joseph was almost back to his best on sunday. Does provide another nice headache for jones in terms of which 2 of slade tuilagi and Joseph. Probably the best balance is the former 2 in terms of skill set.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:14 am

Because he doesn't have another lump to hit the 10 / 12 channel now that Teo has blown his chance.

We will have to disagree Robbo, Lawes is an international quality 6, but I think that Curry and Underhill are where EJ is aiming and Lawes being in there would change the pattern of play that he is looking for. Itoje in particular has not looked particularly good for England in recent times although he seemed to be back to his old self for Sarries in the closing stages of the season. Kruis contributes little further than 5m from the scrum/breakdown, he is however excellent in the lineout, especially with George throwing in. Both weigh the same but I suspect that Kruis being a more compact unit has a bit more grunt about him, but he has a more limited game.

Itoje and Lawes would be my pick and if a back row is injured and we need more than the bench replacement Kruis can come on and Lawes move to 6.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:17 am

robbo277 wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Why does Eddie pick Manu at 12?
He's a 13.

12 and 13 are quite fluid and can interchange. But England's best centres are all 13s (Tuilagi, Joseph and Slade) by nature so one of them has to step in and Tuilagi is best suited to do so.

Slade is the better defensive player too so makes sense having him at 13 instead of Tuilagi who has a tendency to get dragged out of position.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:19 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Thought joseph was almost back to his best on sunday. Does provide another nice headache for jones in terms of which 2 of slade tuilagi and Joseph. Probably the best balance is the former 2 in terms of skill set.

Joseph dropped off a couple of tackles a little too easily (a "crime" others were also guilty of) and looked a little short of his previous pace. A decent return but I felt he was at about 75%.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:28 am

I was thinking his attacking as that was what had dropped off before his injury. Got to be balanced in how badly wales defended in midfield as well.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:32 am

JJ also seems to have forgotten how to look for support or pass the ball, each time he made a line break he either ran away from his supporting players or took the contact rather than look for the pass. Perhaps he expected his pace to get him through as it used to.

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Post by BamBam on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:33 am

Kruis adds a lot at the scrum, he and Itoje are apparently the best scrummaging locks so I can see why Eddie wants them there

Its a great problem to have, Lawes offers so much every time he's on the field, I just have a feeling that having an absolute rock solid set piece is so important in a tournament

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:36 am

Soul Requiem wrote:
robbo277 wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Why does Eddie pick Manu at 12?
He's a 13.

12 and 13 are quite fluid and can interchange. But England's best centres are all 13s (Tuilagi, Joseph and Slade) by nature so one of them has to step in and Tuilagi is best suited to do so.

Slade is the better defensive player too so makes sense having him at 13 instead of Tuilagi who has a tendency to get dragged out of position.


But then you'd see him as one who would interchange with whoever is playing 10 (especially if they are buried at the bottom of a ruck) and act as the second play maker. I guess the point about fluidity is really important here, England will look to swap around that positioning dependant on how structured the play is and whether offence or defence. 
And yes its absolutely a thing that their main centres are all ones who are largely seen as 13's , even if Tuillagi has been playing a lot at 12 the last few years. 
As someone else pointed out with Te'o burnt they don't have anyone else who fills that role of being able to force a gap or tie in flankers on offence or smash the opposition 10 in defence. Jones signalled he wanted Manu for that from day one, whilst most of his tenure has seen a very different type of player ( Farrell) playing there I guess this was always his preferred theory. 
Personally I hark back to the days of seeing Manu go round the outside of the opposition 13 then full pelt run straight through the wing and full back. there was a period when he really felt wasted being asked to run into big players rather than take the outside shoulder of small ones. But as above hes maybe lost that edge of acceleration and flat pace now and others in the squad can also exploit the wide space. 

Its only JJ that you'd see as an out and out can only play one of the centre positions and thats good news for England with a lot of options for shifting things around. Oddly it feels like Manu could be the one pick thats the closest to being set even if some of us have a hard time seeing him as a natural 12.

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