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The Lions backrow and the English absentees

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formerly known as Sam
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Post by wales606 Sat 22 Jun 2013, 4:50 pm

The Lions backrow contains 3 very good individual players,

but, the backrow requires balance and a decision on the style of game the team are going to play.

Things didn't really work today,

Croft had a decent game in the wide channels, closing down Aussie backs with his pace and securing Lions lineout ball

Warburton did the dirty work around the breakdown, he was the top tackler and slowed Aus down and frustrated them at the breakdown

Heaslip grew into the game in the second half, he made some carriers and tackles around the fringes and made some runs in the loose

...............

However, this backrow lacked any real carrying option. Croft made 16 metres and Heaslip 13 while Warburton didn't make any in his 3 carries.

This backrow also needs another breakdown worker. These days, you need at least 2 of your backrow to combine and work together at the breakdown, Heaslip and Croft don't do this as both tend to play wider.

.............

So, that brings me on to two English players left behind by the Lions.

If you ask me, Ben Morgan is currently the best no8 in the Britain and Ireland - he is a very dynamic carrier from the base and in open play - he also has shown his ability to pass out of the tackle, which is a great way to make space and create chances.

The other player is Chris Robshaw. He is the hardest working backrow around, he carried the English backrow in a few games this season. Although the Lions have lots of talent at 6, none of them have the all round game of Robshaw (or dare I say, Ryan Jones). Robshaw would contribute a lot to the Lions breakdown and really allow Warburton to work on winning turnovers, over provide the breakdown physicality to allow Tipuric to come in at 7.

................

If I could choose anyone, my backrow for next week would be

6. Chris Robshaw
7. Sam Warburton
8. Ben Morgan

20. Ryan Jones/Justin Tipuric/SOB
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Post by Metal Tiger Sat 22 Jun 2013, 4:55 pm

On reading the title of your post I thought this was going to be a Wumfest. I"m glad to say I was wrong.

Absolutely agree on the Ben Morgan bit.
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 5:00 pm

If we had more than 1 week to integrate new players, maybe. We don't unfortunately, so I think we should play Lydiate and Warburton or maybe (if we are allowed) SOB at 7. Or maybe 8? All 3 had good games, I agree but the balance was wrong. Spot on post
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Post by wales606 Sat 22 Jun 2013, 5:02 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:If we had more than 1 week to integrate new players, maybe. We don't unfortunately, so I think we should play Lydiate and Warburton or maybe (if we are allowed) SOB at 7. Or maybe 8? All 3 had good games, I agree but the balance was wrong. Spot on post

Well, i'm not really suggesting that they get called up - since it is very unlikely and would be bad for morale if they were called up with injures.

Injuries cost Ben Morgan his place, and Gatland stated that Robshaw could be the most disappointed exclusion - I think perhaps it was the Lions loss as much as Robshaws' now.
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 5:07 pm

As a huge Robshaw fan I agree to a point but we will never know. He certainly struggled with Hooper last time they faced each other!
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Post by wales606 Sat 22 Jun 2013, 5:09 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:As a huge Robshaw fan I agree to a point but we will never know. He certainly struggled with Hooper last time they faced each other!

At 7 he would struggle against a natural openside like Hooper, but I think he could put in a good shift at 6 considering he has the workrate of a 6 and the breakdown skills of a 7 these days.
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Post by majesticimperialman Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:04 pm

I agree with you that Robshaw is a big Loss for the Lions IMHO.

Robshaw was a dead cert for the Lions possibly Captain before that last game in the 6ns. That loss too Wales sealed Robshaw's fate. And then to cap it all just after Gatland named the Lions squad, Robshaw goes and gets injured.

I do think that Ben Morgan would be ideal for the Lions, but then again injury before the Lions squad was announced meant he would not get a look in.

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Post by Geordie Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:14 pm

I think Tom Wood should have travelled...top class 6 or 7.
Robshaw aswrll...but then kelly brown is class aswell....
morgan would have went but for his injury...

but we have a good bsck row out there...lydiate, warbs and faletau has good balance and grunt...


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by valtrepkos Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:14 pm

Big shame for Morgan - I however feel the decision to omit him was fair given his injury situation. Lydiate over Robshaw was just the call Gatland made and it's where we are now

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:28 pm

Disagree, the backrow worked. Hooper was nullified, the Lions only conceded turnovers due to urine poor decision making in attack (mainly from Phillips) leaving players isolated. I don't think a differing combination or the likes of Wood or Robshaw would have added balance to the backrow. Robshaw is to similar to Warburton and finished the season in no fit state for additional game time and Wood does not offer the mobility in cover defence required on a tour of Oz.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:31 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Disagree, the backrow worked. Hooper was nullified, the Lions only conceded turnovers due to urine poor decision making in attack (mainly from Phillips) leaving players isolated. I don't think a differing combination or the likes of Wood or Robshaw would have added balance to the backrow. Robshaw is to similar to Warburton and finished the season in no fit state for additional game time and Wood does not offer the mobility in cover defence required on a tour of Oz.

Hooper (and Gill) was mostly nullified because nobody was allowed to compete at the ruck! Some people seem to think that this only worked in the Aussies' favour on the match thread though
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Post by Guest Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:32 pm

Can't remember the Aussies conceding penalties for competing for the ball in the ruck though CJ? Lions were pinged about 5 times if memory serves.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:33 pm

Griff wrote:Can't remember the Aussies conceding penalties for competing for the ball in the ruck though CJ? Lions were pinged about 5 times if memory serves.

That's because they didn't do it much, because they knew they'd be pinged!
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:34 pm

Hence they didn't turn over any ball, the only time they did compete was when everyone shouted for a yellow card on their try line
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Post by Jhamer25 Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:43 pm

Don't go there with Ben, im still gutted he didn't go
By far the best 8 in Britain and that's coming form a welsh person

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Post by Ulster12 Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:43 pm

Probably gonna annoy a lot of folk on here but I would much rather have Wood or Robshaw as plan B options in the squad than Tipuric.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:45 pm

Think Morgan might end up being this England side's most important player, at least until Billy V gets a bit more experience
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Post by RubyGuby Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:45 pm

Ben Morgan's stock appears to grow without him playing meaningful games. The guy so far has shown that he has a decent 50 minutes in him before he starts blowing - I think I'll reserve judgement until he starts playing with the big boys on a regular basis thumbsup

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Post by Guest Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:46 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:
Griff wrote:Can't remember the Aussies conceding penalties for competing for the ball in the ruck though CJ? Lions were pinged about 5 times if memory serves.

That's because they didn't do it much, because they knew they'd be pinged!

My point is that if the Ozzies weren't allowed to compete at the ruck then they would have had penalties against them for trying it. If they didn't try competing at the ruck at all then we'll never know if the ruck was refereed equally for both sides as we have nothing to compare!!!

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 6:49 pm

Griff wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:
Griff wrote:Can't remember the Aussies conceding penalties for competing for the ball in the ruck though CJ? Lions were pinged about 5 times if memory serves.

That's because they didn't do it much, because they knew they'd be pinged!

My point is that if the Ozzies weren't allowed to compete at the ruck then they would have had penalties against them for trying it. If they didn't try competing at the ruck at all then we'll never know if the ruck was refereed equally for both sides as we have nothing to compare!!!

I'm not sure I understand that. When the Aussies did compete, i.e. when on their own try-line, they were rightly pinged. They didn't do it most of the time because they, like Gatland should have, knew that Pollock always, always favours the attacking team. It was talked about a fair bit before the match
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Post by Guest Sat 22 Jun 2013, 7:03 pm

Sorry CJ, not trying to trip you up. Was just picking up on your earlier point where you said "Some people seem to think that this only worked in the Aussies' favour on the match thread though". If the Aussies didn't try to compete on the floor as they were intelligent enough to heed the per match warnings, but the Lions did and got pinged a lot, then it is impossible to know if it worked in the Aussies favour as they didn't compete and so didn't give us a chance to see how the ref would react. There were not the same things to compare. Does that make sense?!

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Post by Guest Sat 22 Jun 2013, 7:04 pm

However, if you say they did try to compete on the ground and got pinged then fair enough. I just couldn't remember that.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 7:10 pm

Griff wrote:However, if you say they did try to compete on the ground and got pinged then fair enough. I just couldn't remember that.

It was where Halfpenny got the kick chance he missed and the commentators were asking for a yellow
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Post by Guest Sat 22 Jun 2013, 7:17 pm

But that wasn't for 'jackaling' though, which is where we really got pinged for not doing it right. I believe Oz were pinged on that occasion for diving over the ball off their feet to disrupt the ruck. But maybe we're talking about different things and I've come into the debate at the wrong time without reading the rest of the thread! Wouldn't be the first time!!!

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 22 Jun 2013, 7:25 pm

Oh they pretty much didn't do any outright jackaling. But people seem to think that Pollock penalising the defending team in the ruck inherently punished the Lions alone. It did punish the lions but only because they persisted when it was clear that he was penalising the defending team, as he usually does, so I'm told and have read. The Aussies didn't even try but if the referee had allowed competition for the ball then they would have (and may have started Gill not Hooper) and it would have been a different game but I'd still have bet on the Australians to come up tops. Aussies were complaining that Hooper was picked over Gill who has been much better at jackaling this season. In retrospect that was the correct selection as jackaling was not allowed in any way
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Post by Hood83 Sat 22 Jun 2013, 7:31 pm

I think it's a massive shame B Morgan isn't there. BUT - When his carrying is targeted by defenses, the rest of his game isn't yet up to scratch. I thought he was a worthy second choice and different type of player to Faletau and Heaslip but I can completely accept why Gatland didn't pick him. 

Robshaw was unlucky because as much as I love Croft, I still think he's a luxury player. But again, no probs with him being left out, i'd just prefer someone like SOB at 6.

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