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Hopes and Predictions for your national Team this year...?

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Post by maestegmafia Sun 01 Sep 2013, 6:31 am

Who is your national team and what are your thoughts on their prospects for the new season...?

Could they fulfil your optimistic ambitions or is your persimistic realism more accurate....?

Happy with the new players coming through or are the retirements going to end a golden spell of form?

Which matches/championships might you stand a chance of winning this season...?

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Post by Biltong Sun 01 Sep 2013, 7:02 am

Simple, just keep winning.
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Post by Biltong Sun 01 Sep 2013, 7:05 am

OK, there is a bit more to it than just winning.

We need to sort out the breakdown, we are far too inconsistent.
We need quicker service from the base of the ruck.
We need more pace in the backrow to have more balance.
We need 80 minute performances.

We need Goosen fit
We need Paul Jordaan fit.
We need arno Botha fit.
We need Taute fit.
We need to expose some of our youngsters at halfback.
We need one more midfielder and one more wing.
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Post by maestegmafia Sun 01 Sep 2013, 7:10 am

Bill

I can say the same for Wales, we've been ina good run since February. Do you think the last few games for the Bok have shown that you can keep winning? To me they didn't look too confident away from home...!

I do see the opposition getting better in the Home nations, this years six nations was tougher than the previous.

Tough tests to come first up in the Autumn but buoyed by a great result with the Lions there are a large number of the Welsh squad going to be brimming with confidence ready for the oppositions challenge.

I predict another good year for Wales, four wins in the Autumn and a top two finish in the Six Nations.

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Post by Biltong Sun 01 Sep 2013, 7:28 am

Well Maes our next two tests are at venues where we haven't won and haven't won since 1937.

So it doesn't get tougher than this.

It will be the litmus tests for Heyneke Meyer, he now has to prove his selection policy, his game plan and his players have progressed.

The easy part of the year is over, compared to last year Meyer had 3 wins and two draws prior to the Australasia tour. This time he sits at 5 wins with two matches (Scotland and Argentina) his two worst performances of the year. In both matches the breakdown was the major stumbling block.

Then end of year .i believe we are also playing the French, a place we haven't done well at all in recent years.

If Meyer comes out of this year with only one away loss he will have convinced me. I will wait and see.

As for Wales, it will be interesting how they go in the Autumn.
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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Sun 01 Sep 2013, 7:32 am

Corbs & Morgan showed how important they are to England in the last game of this years 6Ns & I would like to see them get a good run in the team together.
I'm interested in seeing the new lean & hungry Robshaw. I'd also like to see Tait & Foden putting pressure on the FB slot.
I'd be happy with 2 wins & a good performance against the ABs in the Autumn with the continued improvement of a young squad.
We definitely need to show improvement in the backs going forward but with the new EPS selections that looks promising.
6Ns will be close again I'm sure.


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Post by alanmackie6 Sun 01 Sep 2013, 8:40 am

Currently Boks lead the 4Ns on points difference ,AllBlacks another 6-0,3rd Bledisloe,unbeaten
Europe tour that is the ideal.Realistically one match at a time bonus point wins versus Argentina,home win versus the Boks deny them any bonus points think away match a potential loss.

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 01 Sep 2013, 10:17 am

My hopes - at least 2 wins from 3 in AIs and a 6Ns title.


Last edited by LondonTiger on Sun 01 Sep 2013, 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Sun 01 Sep 2013, 10:17 am

We have unearthed Luatua in a position where we needed some alternatives. We have yet to do so at 12. I'd like to see that happen in the Argentina test (and the end of year tour) next weekend and rest Nonu for SA who usually plays his best there.

Conrad Smith and Carter will be taking sabbaticals so I'd like to see Ben Smith take the 13 jersey and hopefully Corey Jane can regain his fitness and form and take the 14 position back.

Some more front five alternatives would be welcomed but overall have to be happy with how Hansen is developing the team and managing his senior players.

England is a must win and NZ must be wary of Ireland. France at home is another tough challenge but it's ideal preparation for the RWC.

I expect a loss somewhere in the calendar and it could come in JBurg, Twickenham or Dublin in that level of probability.

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Post by Taylorman Sun 01 Sep 2013, 11:19 am

looks like SBW's all but back with the Chiefs next year. Now we just need to get Sai'ili up to speed and we'll be able to start batting at least two deep in each pos again. Player depth is certainly a plus- moreso in relative terms...

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Post by bsando Sun 01 Sep 2013, 11:46 am

Scotland

My thoughts are that Scotland are developing very nicely. A new coach will arrive next year at some point and he is a high quality coach, who could earn Scotland a WC semi or 6N title. Well worth the wait.

I think If Scotland can perform like they did vs SA in the summer more consistently and with better accuracy, they could well win another SH scalp this Autumn. They'll also have their Lions back in the squad assuming there are no injuries. The big target is beating Aus for a 3rd consecutive time. I support Australia too, so I am hugely looking forward to that fixture and plan on wearing my kilt/wallabies top to the match to confuse the hell out of everyone.

I am very happy with new players development. In particular, Matt Scott. He was fantastic during 6n and summer, unlucky to miss the Lions tour really. Tim Swinson was also epic in the navy blue during the summer tour, expect him to start games for Scotland this autumn.

Scotland players to watch. Matt Scott, Tim Swinson, Alex Dunbar

Scotland squad to play Australia assuming injuries are not a factor...

1. Grant
2. Ford
3. Cross
4. Gray
5. Swinson
6. Brown
7. Rennie
8. Beattie
9. Laidlaw
10. Weir
11. Visser
12. Dunbar
13. Scott
14. Maitland
15. Hogg

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Post by George Carlin Sun 01 Sep 2013, 12:03 pm

bsando wrote:Scotland

My thoughts are that Scotland are developing very nicely. A new coach will arrive next year at some point and he is a high quality coach, who could earn Scotland a WC semi or 6N title. Well worth the wait.

I think If Scotland can perform like they did vs SA in the summer more consistently and with better accuracy, they could well win another SH scalp this Autumn. They'll also have their Lions back in the squad assuming there are no injuries. The big target is beating Aus for a 3rd consecutive time. I support Australia too, so I am hugely looking forward to that fixture and plan on wearing my kilt/wallabies top to the match to confuse the hell out of everyone.

I am very happy with new players development. In particular, Matt Scott. He was fantastic during 6n and summer, unlucky to miss the Lions tour really. Tim Swinson was also epic in the navy blue during the summer tour, expect him to start games for Scotland this autumn.

Scotland players to watch. Matt Scott, Tim Swinson, Alex Dunbar

Scotland squad to play Australia assuming injuries are not a factor...

1. Grant
2. Ford
3. Cross
4. Gray
5. Swinson
6. Brown
7. Rennie
8. Beattie
9. Laidlaw
10. Weir
11. Visser
12. Dunbar
13. Scott
14. Maitland
15. Hogg
Agreed. The areas in which we struggled for years to find genuine international quality (wing, centre, fly half, lock) are no longer so bare and we have a number of excellent youngsters coming through. Matt Scott is the most exciting of the bunch and I am very happy that nobody outside of the Scottish set up seems to know about him. Scott Johnson said that even given his time with Wales, he has never worked with a player more talented than Scott. Now is his time to shine and hopefully Grandpappy Solomons will continue this with Edinburgh.
 
With kids like Tom Heathcote, Finn Russell, Duncan Weir and Gregor Hunter all waiting in the wings to come through - we should be at least a generation away from ever having to playing journeymen like Godman and Parks ever again.
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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun 01 Sep 2013, 12:33 pm

Win at least 3 out of the 4 AIs which would then include a top SH scalp, keep all players fit and hopefully see some get back to top form.

Win the 6 Nations (GS is always a bonus)
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Post by bsando Sun 01 Sep 2013, 12:46 pm

George Carlin wrote:
bsando wrote:Scotland

My thoughts are that Scotland are developing very nicely. A new coach will arrive next year at some point and he is a high quality coach, who could earn Scotland a WC semi or 6N title. Well worth the wait.

I think If Scotland can perform like they did vs SA in the summer more consistently and with better accuracy, they could well win another SH scalp this Autumn. They'll also have their Lions back in the squad assuming there are no injuries. The big target is beating Aus for a 3rd consecutive time. I support Australia too, so I am hugely looking forward to that fixture and plan on wearing my kilt/wallabies top to the match to confuse the hell out of everyone.

I am very happy with new players development. In particular, Matt Scott. He was fantastic during 6n and summer, unlucky to miss the Lions tour really. Tim Swinson was also epic in the navy blue during the summer tour, expect him to start games for Scotland this autumn.

Scotland players to watch. Matt Scott, Tim Swinson, Alex Dunbar

Scotland squad to play Australia assuming injuries are not a factor...

1. Grant
2. Ford
3. Cross
4. Gray
5. Swinson
6. Brown
7. Rennie
8. Beattie
9. Laidlaw
10. Weir
11. Visser
12. Dunbar
13. Scott
14. Maitland
15. Hogg
Agreed. The areas in which we struggled for years to find genuine international quality (wing, centre, fly half, lock) are no longer so bare and we have a number of excellent youngsters coming through. Matt Scott is the most exciting of the bunch and I am very happy that nobody outside of the Scottish set up seems to know about him. Scott Johnson said that even given his time with Wales, he has never worked with a player more talented than Scott. Now is his time to shine and hopefully Grandpappy Solomons will continue this with Edinburgh.
 
With kids like Tom Heathcote, Finn Russell, Duncan Weir and Gregor Hunter all waiting in the wings to come through - we should be at least a generation away from ever having to playing journeymen like Godman and Parks ever again.
Wow I didn't realise Johnson said that about Scott, very high praise, Johnson does seem to be enjoying his time with Scotland which is great. It certainly encourages us fans.

I've slightly gone and contradicted myself by posting a thread on Hogg playing at 10 for Scotland, but my above team would be the best team to play currently IMO.

I agree with you about the youngsters and the lack journeymen in the future GC, I look forward to seeing what some of the have in them. The 1872 cup may well be a closer affair this year.

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Post by slane Sun 01 Sep 2013, 5:05 pm

My hope is that Irish players under Joe Schmidt will finally start playing to their ability. I believe if we do end up playing Schmidt ball we might win 1 or 2 of our 3 AI games however, come the 6 nations I think we will be contenders if Joe has us playing anything like he had Leinster playing.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Sun 01 Sep 2013, 5:17 pm

For Ireland in the AI's I want to see an improvement in performance and signs that we have a decent attacking framework,results aren't too important since Schmidt will be introducing his ideas.

However barring some freak event (eg. terrible injury list)I want at least 4 wins and I won't be truly satisfied without 5 in the 6N and convincing wins at that.We have the players to do it and now we have a coach that knows how yo use them.

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Post by welshy824 (new) Sun 01 Sep 2013, 5:59 pm

get a SH scalp, that is a must and to be honest it must be AUS
also win 3/4 of the AI's, and hopefully the boks
keep our run in the 6n, go unbeaten at home and beating England at Twickers would be good looking ahead to the WC
basically push on from the lions and back to back 6N

in terms of players
I would like to see like many Welshmen some more exposure for our tighthead and loosehead props, in prep for the WC
and also try and find another number 8 to battle out with Faletau
number 9 we also need to strengthen while the rest of the backline is pretty good in terms of depth.

potentially would be good to see someone like eli walker put their hand up for a wing berth and maybe another player from the regions start pressurising davies at 13!


so quite a few things but we are in a decent place and am feeling optimistic (that's a worry) the other great thing is I will be living in Cardiff come September so plenty of rugby for me!!!!

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun 01 Sep 2013, 6:49 pm

welshy,

Agree on all points but if we tinker to much we may not win as many games as us fans would like, so do we sacrifice wins for the greater good ie more strength in depth at say T/head and No9 or stick with the tried and tested and (hopefully) get the wins.
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Post by welshy824 (new) Sun 01 Sep 2013, 7:29 pm

I think that we need to balance it, obviously we want our best players out on the pitch but we also need to allow the replacement players gametime
at tighthead we have 5 players in adam jones, craig Mitchell, aaron Jarvis, scott Andrews and Samson lee, who have either been capped or have in Samson lee the potential to be capped soon.
however out of those 5, only 2 have had a decent time in that 3 jersey, adam jones and Mitchell, the others need to have more gametime at international level (maybe not SL yet) in preparation incase AJ god forbid gets injured, as while they cannot replace him we at least need players who can hold their own and not let down the team

I believe 9 is less of an issue, and more easily to replace in terms of our game plan, as while MP is a quality player (quality 9 is debatable) and fits into the gameplan well, there are other players like Gareth Davies and Knoyle who could carry out that gameplan and then many other SH such as Rhodri Williams, Evans, Webb, LLoyd Williams, Habberfield etc who have the potential to improve our gameplan, as while they would lack the physicality of Phillips their speed of ball to the 10 would allow our outside half to maximise the potential of our powerful backline against an unprepared defence, which could cause carnage.

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Post by Jhamer25 Sun 01 Sep 2013, 8:05 pm

HAHA for us Welsh it would be like asking us to predict the lottery.
We can go from A Grand Slam to a 7 match loosing streak.
Hopefully our younger players have gained a bit more knowledge and experience to keep a bit more consistency.
But good hopefully Fingers Crossed 

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Post by whocares Sun 01 Sep 2013, 10:18 pm

For France, I'd like 2 wins in the AIs and at least 3 or 4 in the 6N.
Players wise, would like to see Lopez get some real game time at 10, some new wingers be tried, a real backup to Picamoles to up his game (chouly?) and some new second row and tighthead to show up.

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Post by The Saint Sun 01 Sep 2013, 10:39 pm

Wales: Just win all the AI's. Then the 6 Nations trophy won't be going anywhere come Feb.

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Post by theslosty Sun 01 Sep 2013, 11:11 pm

Schmidt has to get Irish players playing like they do for their provinces. If he manages that results will surely come, barring a massive injury list like this year.

Players like Healy, POC, SOB, Sexton, Bowe, Zebo, Kearney, Ferris and even Madigan look world-class in the club game but it is nigh time they made the step up. Even a non-Lion such as Peter O'Mahony looked unreal up against Chris Robshaw this year, but I'm not going to deny who has been more impressive for country.

BOD's reputation has been tarnished outside of Ireland but he is still our best centre and I believe still has a little more to give.

Making selections for tactical reasons would be expected too, unlike Kidney. Schmidt did plenty of this at Leinster, he would even drop Leinster's best players for a game if they did not suit the specific gameplan.

New tight 5 forwards need badly developed but that is more in the hands of the provinces. Having said that Schmidt is expected to meddle a bit more with the 4 teams than Kidney did.

I also want to see POC appointed as captain until 2015, but it will probably be Heaslip.

Actually winning some games at the Aviva would be nice.

I'll be optimistic and say if we stay relatively injury free there is no reason why a 6N title would not be on the cards, but a slam could be too much to ask for.
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Post by captain carrantuohil Sun 01 Sep 2013, 11:37 pm

Want to see the Irish team play 80 minutes of every game this year. In every match of the last 6N, Ireland were at the very least serviceable in the first half, rising to excellent at times. There wasn't a second 40 in which the team was much better than shoite, which was ridiculous.

I've said it before, but O'Connell has to stay fit (and captain, as theslosty says), which, with the front five as threadbare as they are just now, is even more important than BOD rediscovering the elixir of youth. Then I want Schmidt and co to unearth a new Ray McLoughlin, duplicate POC, kick Rory Best's backside as hard as they possibly can and the rest should take care of itself.

If the front 5 go well this year and Ireland remember that the French are rubbish at the moment and therefore beatable, even in Paris, a 6N title is easily possible.

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Post by OzT Mon 02 Sep 2013, 12:10 am

Not an amazing lot for the Wallabies, to win the rest of our home RC games this year, beat the ABs to make up for the 1st 2 losses, those will be a real good result. Hard but not impossible.

Though the number 1 wish is at the end of the RC for us to have a steady balanced squad. Not vital if we don;t win, but to have a known squad we can build on and train together with to build team spirit and pride in the jersey again, qualities that I feel were missing the last few months.

Even if the squad may not be the best possible, according to some supporters cause you can't please everyone, but at least if we have a regular steady squad then they can work on their strengths and to cut out the weakness.

That's what I would like for the Wallabies. Pride. You cannot fault a side if they lose if you feel they have put their best out for the team. My 2c worth and hopes. Smile

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Post by theslosty Mon 02 Sep 2013, 12:17 am

Agreed CC.

I think most of us are optimistic that Schmidt can get the back row and the backs playing some top notch stuff but that could all come crashing down with just one injury in the front 5.

Once the real Rory Best would please stand up its a pretty competitive 5, (Healy Best Ross Ryan POC) but there are zero currently international class replacements. And all of them suffer from injury often (Mike Ross however is not allowed to come off ever since England 2012)

Very important that POC re-establishes himself as the best 5 in the world or near enough, absolutely agree he is more important that BOD.

I don't know what outsiders think but the potential is there for almost anything really, but an injury to POC or Ross will be devastating.

Just looking at the fixtures I would have England as favourites for the 6N.
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Post by nganboy Mon 02 Sep 2013, 1:37 am

NZ is my team.

I want to win them all with 1 or 2 beautiful games. Would love to rip England a new one for the beating last year.
Also good to unearth replacements at loosehead prop, hooker, openside, 2nd five, centre and may be a left wing.
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Post by Guest Mon 02 Sep 2013, 1:41 am

Wales; beat at least one of SA and Aus, retain the 6N, and give a few caps to the replacements at 1, 3, 9, and 14.

The Southern Hemisphere scalp is, especially on the back of a successful Lions Tour, arguably more important the winning the 6N, otherwise it's in danger of becoming a proverbial monkey so close to the WC. If Wales don't win the 6N, then they really need to be challenging, and not capitulate and/or come 4th. No losses with weakened teams in the Autumn, don't give call ups/caps to average players who are too afraid to be there, don't cap 18 year old Premiership players, and maybe add a bit more flair to the backline.

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Post by George Carlin Mon 02 Sep 2013, 7:57 am

I think it's genuinely awesome that English, Welsh and Irish fans all believe a 6N title could be theirs if the team plays to form. After the Lions tour, I think it's completely up for grabs, although Wales clearly start as the team everyone else needs to bring down.
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Post by bedfordwelsh Mon 02 Sep 2013, 10:01 am

miaow wrote:Wales; beat at least one of SA and Aus, retain the 6N, and give a few caps to the replacements at 1, 3, 9, and 14.

The Southern Hemisphere scalp is, especially on the back of a successful Lions Tour, arguably more important the winning the 6N, otherwise it's in danger of becoming a proverbial monkey so close to the WC. If Wales don't win the 6N, then they really need to be challenging, and not capitulate and/or come 4th. No losses with weakened teams in the Autumn, don't give call ups/caps to average players who are too afraid to be there, don't cap 18 year old Premiership players, and maybe add a bit more flair to the backline.
miaow,

Why at 14, I can understand 1, 3 and 9 but North and Cuthbert are there for long time IMO
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Post by Breadvan Mon 02 Sep 2013, 10:20 am

To pick players on form and in their preferred positions.
To rally around the players and play good rugby.
To motivate and prepare a team to win away in a hostile environment if it comes down to a winner takes all final game.
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Post by The Saint Mon 02 Sep 2013, 12:49 pm

bedfordwelsh wrote:
miaow wrote:Wales; beat at least one of SA and Aus, retain the 6N, and give a few caps to the replacements at 1, 3, 9, and 14.

The Southern Hemisphere scalp is, especially on the back of a successful Lions Tour, arguably more important the winning the 6N, otherwise it's in danger of becoming a proverbial monkey so close to the WC. If Wales don't win the 6N, then they really need to be challenging, and not capitulate and/or come 4th. No losses with weakened teams in the Autumn, don't give call ups/caps to average players who are too afraid to be there, don't cap 18 year old Premiership players, and maybe add a bit more flair to the backline.
miaow,

Why at 14, I can understand 1, 3 and 9 but North and Cuthbert are there for long time IMO
He's absolutely spot on. It would be good to have something a little different to massive wingers, plus they could both be out with long-term injures at some point. It's happened to 4 of our 2nd rows and 2 of our tightheads, so it could happen to our first choice wingers. I also agree with the point about novelty caps being given out. The squad for Japan was an absolute joke.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Mon 02 Sep 2013, 1:03 pm

In that case then same could be said for 1-15, injuries could strike anyone, what young(er) No8 is out there Ryan won't be around forever.

Whose the next centres behind Doc and Foxy etc etc.
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Post by The Saint Mon 02 Sep 2013, 1:07 pm

Faletau? Headscratch 

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 02 Sep 2013, 1:07 pm

Hope the players look like they're trying and don't **** up. Whatever comes from that is gravy.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Mon 02 Sep 2013, 1:09 pm

The Saint wrote:Faletau? Headscratch 

Younger than Toby I meant Saint, if they on about looking at players to take over from North and Cuthbert then same must be said across the board surely.
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Post by slane Mon 02 Sep 2013, 2:07 pm

George Carlin wrote:I think it's genuinely awesome that English, Welsh and Irish fans all believe a 6N title could be theirs if the team plays to form. After the Lions tour, I think it's completely up for grabs, although Wales clearly start as the team everyone else needs to bring down.
I agree. I also think the underdog tag works well for Ireland (not so sure about England) considering we beat Wales last year, I am confident we will get a result against them this year Very Happy I think France for all of them problems will also be strong contenders this year. It should be a good 6 nations.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Mon 02 Sep 2013, 2:18 pm

bedfordwelsh wrote:
The Saint wrote:Faletau? Headscratch 
Younger than Toby I meant Saint, if they on about looking at players to take over from North and Cuthbert then same must be said across the board surely.
I guess we would be looking at the likes of the last few Under 20s squads to step up and fill the gaps. Ieuan Jones, Morgan Allen or Dan Barker for the Number 8 roll, and then Eli Walker, Dirkson, Jordan Williams, Aaron Warren, Robinson and Co. fighting for the wing shirt (if it comes available) as I think most of those should be seeing regular regional action this season (possible not for Jones).
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 02 Sep 2013, 2:25 pm

Pretty confident England will win the 6N. A win against NZ and one of the other 6N would be a good year.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 02 Sep 2013, 3:46 pm

I think we'll need more than one 6N to win it overall Smile

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Post by The Saint Mon 02 Sep 2013, 4:33 pm

England's biggest game of the year is Wales though... Win that and it's a wholesale victory Very Happy.

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Post by Jhamer25 Mon 02 Sep 2013, 4:39 pm

The Saint wrote:
bedfordwelsh wrote:
miaow wrote:Wales; beat at least one of SA and Aus, retain the 6N, and give a few caps to the replacements at 1, 3, 9, and 14.

The Southern Hemisphere scalp is, especially on the back of a successful Lions Tour, arguably more important the winning the 6N, otherwise it's in danger of becoming a proverbial monkey so close to the WC. If Wales don't win the 6N, then they really need to be challenging, and not capitulate and/or come 4th. No losses with weakened teams in the Autumn, don't give call ups/caps to average players who are too afraid to be there, don't cap 18 year old Premiership players, and maybe add a bit more flair to the backline.
miaow,

Why at 14, I can understand 1, 3 and 9 but North and Cuthbert are there for long time IMO
He's absolutely spot on. It would be good to have something a little different to massive wingers, plus they could both be out with long-term injures at some point. It's happened to 4 of our 2nd rows and 2 of our tightheads, so it could happen to our first choice wingers. I also agree with the point about novelty caps being given out. The squad for Japan was an absolute joke.
Ha we agree. I do like the prospect of Eli Walker, Dirkson and Harry Robinson, I also think we need to convert Jordan to winger because he isn't really fitted for a 10 these days at his size. He could be our new Shane though, he has the skill set for it.
Japan tour did Really pi$$ me off, a rubbish back line and we should have really took Ryan Jones as captain with Matthew Rees to strengthen our front 5 along with Jake Ball instead of Lou Reed.

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Post by Jhamer25 Mon 02 Sep 2013, 4:44 pm

slane wrote:
George Carlin wrote:I think it's genuinely awesome that English, Welsh and Irish fans all believe a 6N title could be theirs if the team plays to form. After the Lions tour, I think it's completely up for grabs, although Wales clearly start as the team everyone else needs to bring down.
I agree. I also think the underdog tag works well for Ireland (not so sure about England) considering we beat Wales last year, I am confident we will get a result against them this year Very Happy I think France for all of them problems will also be strong contenders this year. It should be a good 6 nations.
I though the french would win it last year mind and they came last. It's just like the french have lost there flair.
They don't have a strong stable 15 to put out, they bring in players for a cap or 2 and then forget bout them never to play again. They don't really bring through there youth as much as they should. There whole set up really seems a mess to me.
There conditioning is also rubbish because in the six nations last year they just looks lazy and unfit. I know the Top 14 is all abut big, chubby strong packs which does good in Europe but when they come up against team like Wales, England and Ireland also have strong packs but can keep up with the pace of the game unlike the french, then their screwed.
I expect 4th from france

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Post by robbo277 Mon 02 Sep 2013, 10:32 pm

From an England perspective the Autumn series is huge. We've got Australia who will want revenge on every home nation, Argentina who will want revenge after we 2-0'ed them in Argentina and we've got New Zealand who will want revenge after last December's game. Couple this with the necessity to turn Twickenham into a bit of a fortress and an unpleasant place for teams to come and play, we need a huge Autumn series and should be targetting no less than 3 wins.

Six Nations and summer tour targets can wait, England need to hit the ground running this autumn.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 02 Sep 2013, 11:45 pm

The Saint wrote:England's biggest game of the year is Wales though... Win that and it's a wholesale victory Very Happy.
Not really. Winning games against the 6N sides doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. It's all about NZ, SA and Aus. And it probably always will be.

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Post by Knowsit17 Tue 03 Sep 2013, 12:05 am

HammerofThunor wrote:
The Saint wrote:England's biggest game of the year is Wales though... Win that and it's a wholesale victory Very Happy.
Not really. Winning games against the 6N sides doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. It's all about NZ, SA and Aus. And it probably always will be.
It is significant as they're likely to be playing each other for a place in the QF's in two years time. Some might even choose to see this as a preview to the group game (isn't that meant to be at Twickenham also?)

England will want to set the record straight and put down a marker at home before then I'm sure. If Wales are riding high in the table at that point it could be an enticing game but then it probably will be no matter where in the table both teams are.

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Post by Guest Tue 03 Sep 2013, 12:59 am

bedfordwelsh wrote:
miaow wrote:Wales; beat at least one of SA and Aus, retain the 6N, and give a few caps to the replacements at 1, 3, 9, and 14.

The Southern Hemisphere scalp is, especially on the back of a successful Lions Tour, arguably more important the winning the 6N, otherwise it's in danger of becoming a proverbial monkey so close to the WC. If Wales don't win the 6N, then they really need to be challenging, and not capitulate and/or come 4th. No losses with weakened teams in the Autumn, don't give call ups/caps to average players who are too afraid to be there, don't cap 18 year old Premiership players, and maybe add a bit more flair to the backline.
miaow,

Why at 14, I can understand 1, 3 and 9 but North and Cuthbert are there for long time IMO
Since Shane's retirement, it's been Cuthbert and North on the wings. They've been fortunate in that they've been fit for internationals (I cba to check, but since the 2012 6N, has either missed a 'full' game*- Japan excluded), but eventually one will get injured, and possibly during the WC. We have no obvious replacement, Liam Williams could do a job but he's a far better full back than winger, Czekaj/Tom James etc. have had their chances, and Harry Robinson and the other youngsters need to bide their time and develop (Halfpenny is clearly not being moved from 15 any time soon). Eli Walker ought to have been capped by now but for injuries, so the sooner we see what he can do at the top level, the better.

There's also a case to be made that Cuthbert's defence makes him an absolute liability if the Welsh pack doesn't dominate or gain parity of possession (as we've seen when only a few injuries occur- Samoa & Argentina- or against the very best sides). I'm still astounded by his finishing with ball in hand, it's honestly scary to think how average he makes Test opposition 3/4s look sometimes. However, I'd also argue the Welsh team needs variety; trophies and relative success has masked the failings in the backline, namely that it lacks invention when on the back foot, or at the very least ought to be able to counter attack better than it does currently, and can at times look woefully aimless when running straight lines into waiting tacklers. None of which would be solved by Walker, it's much more the failing of the gameplan. Howley introduced some effective strike moves, namely the wrap around/pass behind the dummmy runner, to Cuthbert, which resulted in his tries against Ireland and Italy in '13, and his Lions Test try, too. But it's not enough. Walker looks like a runner in a different vein to anything yet in the side, and it would be good to see him become a viable Test option and dependable replacement should injury dictate he is needed.


Edit: *Liam Williams filled in on the wing against NZ in 2012, didn't he...can't remember is he played any more during the series/if there were any other occasions of absence from the pair.

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Post by Guest Tue 03 Sep 2013, 1:09 am

On the 6N, France are traditionally in a highly favourable position the year after a Lions Tour, but such is the damage the Top 14 appears to be doing to the (already flimsy) cohesion of the national side, this will probably be nullified. They're still packed with the by far the greatest depth of talent to choose from, and last year was possibly the lowest they could possibly go in terms of performance, and results. They have a good coach, and I'd make them favourites along with England, who ought to be turning up the heat for the preparation to their home World Cup, and who also have many decent options to select. Quietly optimistic about Wales' chances of retaining the title, but I think we've been a little too fortunate with injuries during the Lions Tour to not be seriously deprived come February (especially with more now playing in the higher intensity of the French league); which will result in performances dropping dramatically.

bedfordwelsh wrote:In that case then same could be said for 1-15, injuries could strike anyone, what young(er) No8 is out there Ryan won't be around forever.

Whose the next centres behind Doc and Foxy etc etc.
I think most other positions have replacements who are either quality and experienced, 1- Paul James & 6/8- Ryan Jones, or who have been bubbling away for a year or two, and who haven't had too many opportunities but have otherwise looked solid when capped, such as Scott Andrews at 3, Scott Williams and Ashley Beck at 12/13, Shingler at 6 etc. The only position we're obviously struggling in is 8, where there is a dearth of talent after Ryan and Faletau. 15 and wing are also problems, but problems I believe can be addressed this season. It's the nature of 3/4s especially to be able to adapt to the top level quickly if you have the talent, so it's not overly worrying either.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 03 Sep 2013, 6:11 am

The 6N is wide open IMO. All of England, Wales, Ireland, France and Scotland could field strong sides but at the same time it only takes a couple of injuries, poor game plans/selection or in Frances case the wind to disturb them.

1.Corbs 2.Youngs 3.Cole 4.Launchberry 5.Parling 6.Croft 7.Robshaw 8.Morgan
9.Youngs 10.Farrell 11.Yarde 12.Twelvetrees 13.Tuilagi 14.Wade 15.Brown

For England I'll keep it simple as I want to see a side such as the one above looking to play with genuine attacking intent (i.e. scoring tries). For us I really feel it's selection now if we want to keep progressing:

1. Play players in their correct positions, no Brown on the wing or Wood at 8.
2. Get some real pace in the back three which to me means Wade, Yarde, Ashton and May competing for the wings with Brown the incumbent at FB accompanied by Foden and Tait pushing hard.
3. Get a centre partnership in place which will allow the ball to reach the back 3. To me this means Twelvetrees at 12.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 03 Sep 2013, 8:46 am

king_carlos wrote:The 6N is wide open IMO. All of England, Wales, Ireland, France and Scotland could field strong sides but at the same time it only takes a couple of injuries, poor game plans/selection or in Frances case the wind to disturb them.

1.Corbs 2.Youngs 3.Cole 4.Launchberry 5.Parling 6.Croft 7.Robshaw 8.Morgan
9.Youngs 10.Farrell 11.Yarde 12.Twelvetrees 13.Tuilagi 14.Wade 15.Brown

For England I'll keep it simple as I want to see a side such as the one above looking to play with genuine attacking intent (i.e. scoring tries). For us I really feel it's selection now if we want to keep progressing:

1. Play players in their correct positions, no Brown on the wing or Wood at 8.
2. Get some real pace in the back three which to me means Wade, Yarde, Ashton and May competing for the wings with Brown the incumbent at FB accompanied by  Foden and Tait pushing hard.
3. Get a centre partnership in place which will allow the ball to reach the back 3. To me this means Twelvetrees at 12.
I agree with this. I would also say that whether England win the 6N this year depends to an enormous extent on selection. England have the players but could still miss the mark if selections are poor.
 
Does SL have the appetite to really strike out regularly with youngsters like Yarde, Burns et al instead of established players like Ashton and Flood (statistically the most accurate kicker in the last 6N with 8 out of 8). If England can get the centre and loose forward combination right (and take down France in Paris on the opening day, which they are perfectly capable of doing), they will win. They have Wales and Ireland at home.
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