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Did England make a mistake playing Fiji

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beshocked
damage_13
Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler
Notch
majesticimperialman
HongKongCherry
ChequeredJersey
bathmad
LondonTiger
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Biltong
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Do you think playing Fiji was a good call...

Did England make a mistake playing Fiji Vote_lcap81%Did England make a mistake playing Fiji Vote_rcap 81% 
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Did England make a mistake playing Fiji Vote_lcap19%Did England make a mistake playing Fiji Vote_rcap 19% 
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Total Votes : 21
 
 

Did England make a mistake playing Fiji Empty Did England make a mistake playing Fiji

Post by MajorRoadWorks Mon 12 Nov 2012, 1:54 pm

First, I have to say well done England on a good professional display against Fiji.

However, I think on reflection that fixture, in what is an important AI fixtures, due to RWC 2015 seedings may have been a big mistake.

What, have the English management learned from this fixture ?

After all, you have slipped out of the seeding spot after winning the game by a 42 point margin, due to the French performance against Aus.

With games left against the top 3, which if lucky you will win 1, you could have shot yourself in the foot setting up such an easy 1st fixtutre.

You would have been better off playing tougher opposition, like the Pumas, or at least Samoa who are in the top 10.

The only plus for thw Fiji game that I can see is a feel good factor you have today....


... and to be honest, its a feel good factor we would like to have in Wales.

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Post by Biltong Mon 12 Nov 2012, 1:57 pm

You can look at it as a good match practice against real oppositions, not someone who will tackle like a pansy, but real physical tackles and they had time to practice their line outs, scrums and technical aspects in a match situation.

The important thing is to look at the match and see what went wrong, what was not well executed, and where did players make wrong decisions.
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Post by dummy_half Mon 12 Nov 2012, 2:21 pm

mrw

I think you're slightly under-selling England here - for me it was a notch better performance than your 'good professional display' description, particularly after the first 15-20 minutes. Not the performance of a world beating side, but certainly a good first hit-out of the AIs, and one that both showed some positives and (as Biltong highlights) some things that still need to be worked on.

I suspect the fixtures were set too long ago to be adjusted on account of potential RWC rankings. Also, it would have been a bit unfair on Argentina to have to play England and Wales simultaneously Wink

Anyway, I'm sure the RFU are intelligent enough laughing to have considered that if France are beating the Aussies then we have a decent chance as well. If we don't manage it, then we don't deserve to be in the #4 spot in the rankings (and to be honest, we were very lucky to be there for the last RWC seedings).

OK, so we could potentially have played Samoa, although I seem to recall we played them in the AIs last year and haven't played Fiji for a few years - considering the wider duty the RFU and England have to helping the development of rugby in the PIs and elsewhere, I think it's perfectly reasonable to rotate who England's first match of the AIs is against.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 12 Nov 2012, 2:27 pm

dummy_half wrote: then we don't deserve to be in the #4 spot in the rankings (and to be honest, we were very lucky to be there for the last RWC seedings).

We were in the 5-8 seeds. Where we were lucky was drawing the weakest top seeds in Argentina.


As to whether the fixture was a mistake - well as the previous poster says we owe it to the smaller countries to play them (though we should send a team to Fiji some time). any way it looks like clever scheduling to me, with each match likely to be harder than the one before.

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Post by bathmad Mon 12 Nov 2012, 2:45 pm

Need to consider games coming up. Aus/SA/NZ have all just come off the back of the RC, with Aus/NZ fitting in another Bledisloe afterwards. They're battle hardened with combos/calls etc well known.
Eng have not been together sice June/July, with a pre-season with their respective clubs, and some change in personnel since last outing against SA. Fiji was a useful exercise in getting rid of rustiness and blooding a few new faces.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon 12 Nov 2012, 2:53 pm

Samoa might have been better but we needed to shake the rust off AND win and playing a better side (aside from 6N sides, only Samoa, maybe Tonga and Argentina are options) would have been Argentina or anoter PI nation. Samoa are an option, but Tonga would be the same situation as playing Fiji and Argentina could very well have beaten us and that would not have been constructive just before the big 3 especially with the new caps, we might have ended up destroying careers based on one result, like Allen and Tait
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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon 12 Nov 2012, 2:55 pm

The main point is, who else would we have played?
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Post by HongKongCherry Mon 12 Nov 2012, 3:13 pm

More to the point why has it been so long since we've played Fiji? The major nations have a responsibility to help develop the 2nd tier nations and to have not hosted Fiji since 1999 is simply not on. Going further, why do we never play a tour game there? You couldn't have a whole series there granted, but a one off would be viable.

So whilst hosting Fiji may have not been ideal for the rankings, it was a long overdue necessity.
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Post by majesticimperialman Mon 12 Nov 2012, 3:40 pm

I think the Fiji game was a good idea for England to start the AIs.

England have not played together since the summer tour and so would be a bit rusty to be honest. So playing Fiji gave lancaster a chance to see what the good points and what the bad points are. What do England need to work on for the next game.

And also it gave a chance for a few new faces to get some game time aswell.

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Post by Notch Mon 12 Nov 2012, 3:41 pm

I think that this is silly, it's not just about England- it's about Fiji too. The Pacific Islanders need these tours.
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Post by dummy_half Mon 12 Nov 2012, 3:43 pm

HKC
Is it really that long since we played Fiji at home? Absolute disgrace if so, especially when a few years ago we played some scratch 'Pacific Islands' team instead.

I don't see why it isn't possible for summer tours to Aus or NZ to include 1 match away to a PI team - played ahead of a 2 or 3 Test series it would give a good chance of winning a game, testing a few combinations and being good PR for the game overall. Indeed, I'd argue that such a game should be almost the responsibility of the touring side.

Similarly, the Saxons should be playing matches against the likes of Georgia, Romania and Japan - the big rugby nations have a responsibility to help the development of the game around the world, and at the moment they appear to be falling some way short of this, instead focussing primarily on the big money internationals of the 6Ns and against RC opponents.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Mon 12 Nov 2012, 3:43 pm

Lets not forget the confidence England took from their big win against Pislands in 2008 and Aus in 2010 ...look how they went on to ...oh

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Post by damage_13 Mon 12 Nov 2012, 3:44 pm

wot bathmad said

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Mon 12 Nov 2012, 4:13 pm

Just a quick point ...if we assume England are going to play the "big 3" every year then that does only leave 3 slots every 4 years for the "others" .... Samoam, Fiji, Tonga, Argentina and the Pislands, and that doenst even give the likes of the US , Canada, Georgia, Japan and The Vatican City a look in.
Argentina aside these are teams that are a level or 2 below England, who are already on welfare through IRB payments and utilising the professional training at NH clubs. England aspire to be in the tier above the one they are in.
How often do the Sanzars play these guys? Pretty much never despite being geographicaly closer and having stronger cultural ties.
Of course its not jsut the island sides that are desperate for the money spinning games in England and France, the Sanzars are pretty reliant on this income too to help mantain their dominance over us.
Maybe England and France should just refuse to play anyone , bankrupt the game outside their borders and the go on to be the only professional sides, after taking their pick of 3 year residency players...(and still lose to the all blacks)

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Post by beshocked Mon 12 Nov 2012, 4:31 pm

I think this was a smart choice by England. It's not good for confidence losing your first game of a series.

You want to build momentum.

Wales in comparison were always taking a risk by playing Argentina in their 1st match. There was always the potential for a banana skin because of Wales' missing players and poor selections. Plus Argentina are probably on par with the 6 nations sides.

Another major factor in Argentina beating Wales was that they were more prepared than they've ever been and consequently were more cohesive than the Welsh.

Playing Samoa or Argentina when you are not quite prepared is risky.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon 12 Nov 2012, 5:40 pm

dummy_half wrote:HKC
Is it really that long since we played Fiji at home? Absolute disgrace if so, especially when a few years ago we played some scratch 'Pacific Islands' team instead.

I don't see why it isn't possible for summer tours to Aus or NZ to include 1 match away to a PI team - played ahead of a 2 or 3 Test series it would give a good chance of winning a game, testing a few combinations and being good PR for the game overall. Indeed, I'd argue that such a game should be almost the responsibility of the touring side.

Similarly, the Saxons should be playing matches against the likes of Georgia, Romania and Japan - the big rugby nations have a responsibility to help the development of the game around the world, and at the moment they appear to be falling some way short of this, instead focussing primarily on the big money internationals of the 6Ns and against RC opponents.

+1
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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Mon 12 Nov 2012, 5:43 pm

Didn't the IRB set out the fixture list?

I thought the Dec test vs NZ outside the window was the only fixture England themselves organised - all the in-window fixture are set out by the IRB so that the games are shared around
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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon 12 Nov 2012, 5:45 pm

Pete

I'm not sure, I know Gatland was under fire recently for only playing the top 3 constantly, and trying to arrange a NZ game as much as poss.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Mon 12 Nov 2012, 5:53 pm

thebluesmancometh wrote:Pete

I'm not sure, I know Gatland was under fire recently for only playing the top 3 constantly, and trying to arrange a NZ game as much as poss.

Actually you might be right. The IRB I think works out the schedule of who plays who in which week (to avoid say the ABs being asked to play Wales and England on the same weekend)
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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 12 Nov 2012, 5:59 pm

The IRB do set out the international game tours. There is some negotiation from unions but if the IRB say you WILL play Fiji then you have to. They're supposedly having more tours to the PI and America, which was their justification for dropping the Churchill Cup (which I liked as a competition, not sure about US and Canada).

The English international schedule is clever in rugby terms (playing roughly stronger teams each week to help build the team) and stupid in rankings means (any points gained from Australia and South Africa will mean we have more to lose against the remaining sides. Playing the All Blacks first would have been better (if we assume we're going to lose) and finish on our best chance of a 3N scalp (probably Australia).

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Post by yappysnap Mon 12 Nov 2012, 8:55 pm

Would it have been better to go:

NZ- First up means we get them a little rusty and the guys have to be at full pace straight away
Fiji- Hopefully some players who missed out on NZ get to come and make a point, likewise perhaps players who performed poorly get a game to impress in.
SA- Two games down the team should be pretty coherent and those that were dropped/benched after the AB game will hopefully be fired up to make ammends.
Oz- Hopefully finishing on a high we've had the running game against Fiji and the tug of war v Boks, string them both together against Oz.

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