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Englands Summer Tour of NZ - The rugby

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 9:00 am

NZ tour squad

England squad flying on May 27 (30)
Props
Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), David Wilson (Bath Rugby)

Hookers
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Dave Ward (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)

Locks
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)

Back rows
James Haskell (London Wasps), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)

Scrum halves
Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Fly halves
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)

Centres
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

Wings
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Marland Yarde (London Irish)

Full backs
Mike Brown (Harlequins), Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors)

Prem Final - 31st May (Sarries v Saints)

England v Baa Baas - 1st June

New Zealand v England (First Test)- 7th June
New Zealand v England (Second Test) - 14th June
Crusaders v England - 17th June
New Zealand v England (Third Test) - 21st June.


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Mon 26 May 2014, 7:25 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:01 am

What size squad will be taken? 35? 40? More?

Baring in mind several players will be missing due to the AP finals...and there are 4 games including the game v the crusaders.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:25 am

Stuart Barnes raised an interesting suggestion in the Sunday Times. He intimated that SteffonA is a "difficult character" and that the powers that be believe he is disinterested in making himself available for England. Barnes spoke about how important the "only selecting overseas based players in exceptional circumstances" was, how it keeps the AP stronger and ensures easy player access but suggested that Armitage's ability over the ball and form makes him a special circumstance. Thus he suggested that Steffon be told he is selected for the match against the Crusaders - 17 days after the T14 final. If he is willing to make that journey, well he will surely make himself available for other training sessions and should be included in 2015 plans. If not, well he has made the decision easy.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:27 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:What size squad will be taken? 35? 40? More?

Baring in mind several players will be missing due to the AP finals...and there are 4 games including the game v the crusaders.

SL names a 42 man squad for SA in 2012. With any players in the AP final effectively being unavailable for the first game - I suspect he will name a similar number again.

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Post by blackcanelion Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:33 am

There's a story on the rugby blog that they may involve some of the under 20's players in the tour.

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Post by quinsforever Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:44 am

LondonTiger wrote:Stuart Barnes raised an interesting suggestion in the Sunday Times. He intimated that SteffonA is a "difficult character" and that the powers that be believe he is disinterested in making himself available for England. Barnes spoke about how important the "only selecting overseas based players in exceptional circumstances" was, how it keeps the AP stronger and ensures easy player access but suggested that Armitage's ability over the ball and form makes him a special circumstance. Thus he suggested that Steffon be told he is selected for the match against the Crusaders - 17 days after the T14 final. If he is willing to make that journey, well he will surely make himself available for other training sessions and should be included in 2015 plans. If not, well he has made the decision easy.
missed that over the weekend. Personally i would like to see him included. If he doesnt fit in, or is disruptive, then he can be excluded later on. but i have been banging on about his strength over the ball for ages as its something different from any other england player in the EPS so should at the very least be seriously considered.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:46 am

He knew the deal though so it's his choice. Hasn't he recently signed an extension in France?

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:49 am

43 man squad...how about?

1 Marler, Vunipola, (Mullan or Waller)
2 Hartley, Youngs, Webber
3 D.Wilson, Thomas, (Brookes or Sinkler)
4/5 Launchbury, Attwood, Lawes, Slater, Kitchener, (Stooke or Kruis or Barrow)
6/7 Wood, Robshaw, Clark, Fearns, Wallace, T.Johnson
8 Vunipola, Morgan

9 Care, Youngs, Robson
10 Farrell, Ford,(Then who knows Cipriani, Burns, Myler)
12 Burrell, Twelvetrees, Barritt
13 Tuilagi, Daly(Why is he playing 15), Eastmond
11/14 Ashton, Yarde, Wade, May, Nowell
15 Brown, Foden, Watson

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 10:54 am

blackcanelion wrote:There's a story on the rugby blog that they may involve some of the under 20's players in the tour.

Yeah i read a few things giving the impression they would do that.

But my arguement is of that squad of U20's WHO would be a likely choice?

Scot Wilson at TH.
Is Anthony Watson in that squad or is he too old?
Young 13 Tompkins from Sarries (with a P) looks a serious talent.
Maybe Itoje at lock?

Never give the opposition to much respect regardless who it is...however you must still give them respect...and need to remember this is the AB's IN NZ we are playing. Are these kids ready to be facing that challenge just yet?

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Post by quinsforever Mon 14 Apr 2014, 11:09 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:He knew the deal though so it's his choice. Hasn't he recently signed an extension in France?
yes i think he has. but that's not a choice.

he was rather poorly treated by the england setup in my opinion before he left for France so i don't think he is going to risk going back to an english club, for less money, cr1p weather, less clubs success and no guarantees of playing for England. Man would be an irrational to do that, no?

he also, like his brother, speaks completely fluent french so obviously feels very much at home there.

the "choice" is Lancaster's now. does he want the best ball winner in world rugby (imo obviously) to possibly figure in RWC2015? And that also is no choice at all, imo. that's a no-brainer. SL's rule of not selecting foreign based players is fair enough. But brave coaches make brave decisions, and making an exception could pay off bigtime.

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 11:16 am

Regardless of my thoughts on him as a player.....I will eat my hat if S.Armitage is ever in the England squad again.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Apr 2014, 11:26 am

quinsforever wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:He knew the deal though so it's his choice. Hasn't he recently signed an extension in France?
yes i think he has. but that's not a choice.

he was rather poorly treated by the england setup in my opinion before he left for France so i don't think he is going to risk going back to an english club, for less money, cr1p weather, less clubs success and no guarantees of playing for England. Man would be an irrational to do that, no?

he also, like his brother, speaks completely fluent french so obviously feels very much at home there.

the "choice" is Lancaster's now. does he want the best ball winner in world rugby (imo obviously) to possibly figure in RWC2015? And that also is no choice at all, imo. that's a no-brainer. SL's rule of not selecting foreign based players is fair enough. But brave coaches make brave decisions, and making an exception could pay off bigtime.

It was his choice as he now knows anyone playing in France has no chance of being capped under Lancaster. If he's signed an extension without speaking to Lancaster or putting a release clause in his contract to match the agreement England based players in the squad have he's clearly made his bed. The foreign based rule benefits the English game as a whole. I don't blame him for picking weather, money etc over the chance to play for England but it shows his priorities.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 14 Apr 2014, 11:28 am

quinsforever wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:He knew the deal though so it's his choice. Hasn't he recently signed an extension in France?
yes i think he has. but that's not a choice.

he was rather poorly treated by the england setup in my opinion before he left for France so i don't think he is going to risk going back to an english club, for less money, cr1p weather, less clubs success and no guarantees of playing for England. Man would be an irrational to do that, no?

he also, like his brother, speaks completely fluent french so obviously feels very much at home there.

the "choice" is Lancaster's now. does he want the best ball winner in world rugby (imo obviously) to possibly figure in RWC2015? And that also is no choice at all, imo. that's a no-brainer. SL's rule of not selecting foreign based players is fair enough. But brave coaches make brave decisions, and making an exception could pay off bigtime.

He's not the only player - or even the only backrower - who was poorly treated by the previous regime. The ones who stuck with it are for the most part fixtures in Lancaster's squad. Armitage is a very talented player but the coaches clearly have question marks over him, for reasons that may not be visible to us. The most obvious guesses are fitness (the French pattern of the game is different from what England are aiming for, and the RFU would not have the control over his conditioning that they do with EPS players), attitude (we don't know how well he gelled with the squad and to what extent he fitted the - pretty successful - forward pattern Lancaster is aiming for), and how well he'd handle being part of a mere international squad rather than Toulon's all stars.

It's also pretty certain that England don't want to set a precedent on picking overseas players (or you end up with a Welsh situation) - and that it would also drive a coach and horses through the squad ethos that Lancaster's worked very hard to create. Picking Jonny wasn't a precedent as he's clearly an exception for all sorts of reasons. Picking Steffon or Delon would be. The flip side of that is commitment to the cause - he's presumably had at least one opportunity to come back and try to play in England to win a place in the squad, and has passed on it. Finally, there's the risk - on both sides. He had a couple of caps and went OK with them; it's a big risk for England to make more of a commitment to him than "if you're in England we'll give you a shot" or for him to make the commitment to move given that he'd be trying to force his way into an established back row.
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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 11:28 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:
quinsforever wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:He knew the deal though so it's his choice. Hasn't he recently signed an extension in France?
yes i think he has. but that's not a choice.

he was rather poorly treated by the england setup in my opinion before he left for France so i don't think he is going to risk going back to an english club, for less money, cr1p weather, less clubs success and no guarantees of playing for England. Man would be an irrational to do that, no?

he also, like his brother, speaks completely fluent french so obviously feels very much at home there.

the "choice" is Lancaster's now. does he want the best ball winner in world rugby (imo obviously) to possibly figure in RWC2015? And that also is no choice at all, imo. that's a no-brainer. SL's rule of not selecting foreign based players is fair enough. But brave coaches make brave decisions, and making an exception could pay off bigtime.

It was his choice as he now knows anyone playing in France has no chance of being capped under Lancaster. If he's signed an extension without speaking to Lancaster or putting a release clause in his contract to match the agreement England based players in the squad have he's clearly made his bed. The foreign based rule benefits the English game as a whole. I don't blame him for picking weather, money etc over the chance to play for England but it shows his priorities.

That pretty much sums it up for me.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 14 Apr 2014, 12:36 pm

Poorfour wrote:...Picking Jonny wasn't a precedent as he's clearly an exception for all sorts of reasons....
I don't think Lancaster ever picked Wilkinson - he had already announced his retirement by then. Johnson is the man who first said he would look to select from Premiership-based players but he made an exception for those who were already based abroad (e.g. Haskell, Palmer, Wilkinson. I think even Erinle slipped through when we had loads of injuries)

Based on what he said, Johnson would not have picked the Armitage brothers if he had stayed in charge. Lancaster reaffirmed that stance when he took over but we always wondered how much he would stick by that if he faced a repeat of the wave of injuries we saw in 2009-10. Seeing Lancaster resolutely ignore Easter in 2013 convinces me he is not considering overseas players at all.


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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 12:56 pm

I have to say i like the hard line stance on players abroad.

We have seen how its hurting Wales having all their players moving...and with Sexton going from Leinster.

It gives players the option. You have a chance to play for England or you go make lots of money and a different lifestyle. If they take the latter you certainly cant blame them, but then its clear they dont care about their international aspirations so they dont get picked.

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Post by quinsforever Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:06 pm

yes but, sexton, and ireland are better for his experience playing in France. and he is obviously still getting picked for Ireland.

really doesnt bother me that much players being overseas. for armitage though i think its unfair to say that he is snubbing england for the money...he played his first representative rugby in France, speaks fluent french, and has family there.

i think that experience in different leagues can really add to the repertoire of certain players in key positions, as they get to play with a raft of experienced stars past and present. And i think it will hurt england in the long run not to have players with experience of more than just the 1 domestic league. especially if the best players in club rugby migrate to France yet we wont pick our own if they do the same.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:22 pm

Think you've got to ask yourself the question about whether Armitage knew that if he stayed in France his international career would be hurt.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:24 pm

and Sexton is obviously an exception - Ireland don't have another player of the same quality (and neither do most NH sides).

At the moment I think the dangers of allowing overseas players to be considered for England outweigh the benefits. The EPS was set up to give the RFU access to and control over their squads above and beyond what the IRB allows for. It defuses (much of) the long-running club vs country issue and is now starting to bear fruit in terms of there being decent strength in depth in most positions. It also gives clubs more of an incentive to develop English talent because they know that good players have an incentive to stick around.

Allowing an exception creates a slippery slope. One player is given special treatment. Other players might think the same can apply to them. It muddies the water for everyone. The reason I used Jonny as an example is that a) he was an established international in a largely unassailable position, b) he very specifically negotiated EPS-equivalent clauses in his Toulon contract, c) if anyone's an exceptional case, it's him.

Lancaster also has some very clear ideas about the culture he wants to create and part of that seems to be that England players must play in England. More broadly, he's trying to create a system that is bigger than any one player, and into which new players can slot and have an immediate impact. Who in the current side is truly irreplacable? Farrell, maybe Robshaw, mainly through lack of experience in the alternatives.

Maybe players would benefit from time overseas, but if that's the case they need to accept that the way to do it is to take a contract post-RWC and aim to be back in time to fight for selection - within that system - on their return. It seems to work for the ABs.
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Post by quinsforever Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:32 pm

i understand all these points and they are fair.

but i would still like to see Armitage in the england back row or on the bench. He offers something completely different. And as a coach it's good to have options, especially as different opponents required different tactics/player skillsets to gain the upper hand.

i sympathise with the culture that SL is trying to create. is a good idea. but we cant just say that someone wouldnt fit in without giving them a shot. players mature all the time and develop. even gavin henson no less!

i would really like to hear jonny wilkinson's honest opinion on S Armitage's ability, and whether he could help England win the RWC. Because that, for me, is what it's all about.

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Post by quinsforever Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:35 pm

anyway, not going to bang on about S Armitage.

but i might not be able to resist saying something when he picks up the ERC european player of the year award after toulon lift the HC again...Wink

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:55 pm

He may well do but don't think it's about persoanlity etc. Lancaster has demonstrated with Care, Clark and comments about Cipriani that if demonstrate good discipline etc you will be considered.

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Apr 2014, 1:57 pm

Quins,

I dont think anyone is doubting his ability. He's a top class player and would enhance the squad definately.

Playing overseas is a two sided arguement. I think its great to see the world and experience new cultures. I have been fortunate to see much of it. Likewise playing in France or down under would be immense.

But i dont want to see our clubs being hampered by an exodus of players. especially when i believe our clubs are getting better and being boosted by the work of all the clubs academy's now.

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Post by quinsforever Mon 14 Apr 2014, 2:18 pm

thumbsup 

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Post by sickofwendy Mon 14 Apr 2014, 6:22 pm

Armitage has been picked for the world side to face south Africa,no chance of an England call up and rightly so.

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Post by geoff998rugby Mon 14 Apr 2014, 8:41 pm

I think England are 100% spot on not playing players outside of England.

As are Ireland for limiting to the absolute minimum - the smaller player pool makes the odd exception inevitable but 4 in recent years (Bowe, Sexton, Murphy, Easterby) isn't bad.

I believe both countries are stronger for their policy

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Tue 15 Apr 2014, 6:20 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2604592/England-consider-sending-Wasps-flyer-Christian-Wade-sprint-training-camp-America.html?ico=sport%5Eheadlines

Covers a bit about Wade & RFU selection policy.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Tue 15 Apr 2014, 7:56 am

Corbs is apparently aiming to start v Bath on May 2nd. On that basis he may well tour & be used sparingly?

Though I think most fans would like possible WC squad starters like Corbs, Wade, Croft, Parling (?) to have a summer rest & come back fully fit for the 6Ns & beyond.

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 8:27 am

Parling and Croft? Parling should be nowhere near the England squad now.

Croft...well im not a fan, but i can understand what he can bring. Though having him there would change the whole set up of the pack. You'd need more grunt at lock to cover his lack of it.

Why take a player on tour (Corbs) to NZ to use him sparingly. I wouldnt bother. Take Marler, Vunipola and MUllan or Waller and then you know you have 3 guys who can hack the full tour.

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 15 Apr 2014, 9:58 am

What a line

Richie wrote:‘I read various things about how easy it is to pop on a plane to France, but the crucial thing for me is that directors of rugby in this country are very supportive of the England team. There’s a lot of contact, day in, day out, with the coaches. There’s a lot of contact with the players and there’s a willingness to collaborate with Stuart.

Basically if you're not supportive of us, gone is the carrot of only playing for England from in England. Which is right, work together to get the both for both parties.

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Post by beshocked Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:18 am

No way should Steffon Armitage be considered for England. He signed an extension at Toulon. 7 is not an area of strength - if he came to England he probably would have been at least 2nd choice 7 but he did not make that call. We need to back the guys who are playing in England - it's about the long term.

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:22 am

I think most agree with you Beshocked. Whilst i acknowlege his ability, he has chosen to play in France knowing that will hamper his England credentials. He chose France.

If we need a 7...then we have to look from the following:

Robshaw
Will Fraser (worryingly injury prone in his young career)
Kvesic
Wallace

There are others like Welch or Saull etc etc...but they're not international standard in my opinon.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:34 am

You could add Wood and Haskell (the latter definitely not a conventional 7, but I think he actually played much of his best rugby in an England shirt at 7). The cupboard is not so bare as it might seem.

There's also the option, if he's back and can stay fit, of putting Croft at 6 with either Wood or Robshaw at 7. It alters the balance of the back row but Croft to my mind worked really well with Robshaw in 6N 2012 and I see no reason why you wouldn't have a similar dynamic with Wood.

That gives 5 pairings that I think would work and would give an option with a proven player regardless of who was injured (R+W, R+C, R+H, W+C, H+W - I would be less confident of H+C).

If we were going to develop a new player, my bias at this stage of the game would be to focus on club pairings. There's not much time to develop a new player within the system so it would help to partner them with someone they play with regularly. That would favour Wood at 7 and maybe Clark at 6, or a Robshaw-Wallace who-cares-which-number-they're-wearing [1] combo.

But what do we know? Lancaster and Rowntree will know what their plan is, and may well surprise us with how well it works.

[1] Given Woodshaw, would this be Wallshaw? Wallace Shawn? Inconceivable!
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Post by beshocked Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:43 am

Sorry geordiefalcon but I don't really rate any of the contenders to Robshaw that highly. Certainly not vs NZ. Fraser is an unknown because he was playing really well before his injury but a long lay off can sometimes hurt a player in the long term.

Ksevic and Wallace I feel have not really proven their worth yet.

If Fraser comes back strongly he could contend but that's a big if.

Poorfour I rate neither Wood nor Haskell as a 7.

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:46 am

You have a valid point about club combinations Poorfour.

Though am i right in thinking Clark and Wood werent exactly at their best over the weekend. Or was that just down to Sarries playing well.

If we are going to change the back row aswell...i would prefer to bring a heavy duty 6 in than a lightweight speedster like Croft. The problem is we dont seem to have many.

Garvey not rated, Fearns has his moments, Haskell's form doesnt really warrant a call up. Any other "big " 6's...i cant think of.

Besides i think Lancaster seems to prefer two flankers who have alround skills. So may be Clark fits that. But again his form doesnt seem top, and has he ever filled the potential that so many seem to see in him.....so far.


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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:47 am

beshocked[b] wrote:Sorry geordiefalcon but I don't really rate any of the contenders to Robshaw that highly.[/b] Certainly not vs NZ. Fraser is an unknown because he was playing really well before his injury but a long lay off can sometimes hurt a player in the long term.

Ksevic and Wallace I feel have not really proven their worth yet.

If Fraser comes back strongly he could contend but that's a big if.

Poorfour I rate neither Wood nor Haskell as a 7.

Again, i totally agree...no one comes close to Robshaw...and that in istelf is a concern. Robshaw is a top international flanker, but if we lose him...we're in a bit of a pickle.

In fact i think back row is one of our key areas of concern...we have lots of possibles coming through as i listed above...but none totally proven.

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Post by beshocked Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:55 am

Geordiefalcon Sarries did play well though I did think before the game that the Sarries backrow looked much stronger on paper - playing Wood vs Billy at 8 was a real head scratcher too.

Clark was outplayed by the underrated Wray. I like Wray but unfortunately don't think is physically imposing enough for international rugby. He's another smaller 6/8.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:59 am

Just as an aside, it's amazing how perception of Robshaw has changed. Less than a year ago he wasn't wanted by the Lions, and was widely expected in the media to be dumped altogether by England after being rested for the summer tour.

His stock has risen quite a bit since then. The interesting thing is that his game hasn't changed that much. I haven't looked at all his stats but in general they've been hugely consistent throughout his England career. The main thing that's changed this season is that he's getting more involved as a link man (which I think is more a shift in England's gameplan than in his ability [1]). His confidence as a captain has risen a little, which has made a difference.

But mainly I think it's just a question of perception. The wider point is that I don't worry too much about the coaches' ability to bring the right possible through at the right time. The system is now settled enough that they've been able to bring new players like Burrell, May and Nowell in and have them working pretty effectively. We will probably be surprised by who they choose and equally surprised by how well they settle.

[1] He played pretty much the whole 2012 AP final at first receiver, for instance.
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Post by beshocked Tue 15 Apr 2014, 11:04 am

Poorfour I have always thought Robshaw was a good player. I think sometimes he get criticised because he's not a traditional open side.

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 11:19 am

I for one was amazed that Robshaw didnt go on the lions tour. He definately should have.


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Post by Poorfour Tue 15 Apr 2014, 11:35 am

Gatland has his way of doing things, and he prefers players that fit specific roles. Robshaw didn't fit and Gatland made it clear quite early on that he wasn't really in the running.

It may have worked out for the best. The Lions series was won (just, and with another non-traditional 7 playing in the decisive test) and the chance for a summer off seems to have done CR a lot of good. He looked very jaded this time last year, much fresher this year.

Back to the back row more generally. Assuming we can keep BV, Morgan and Ewers fit, I am not so worried about having additional grunt on the flanks. The strategy is clearly to have a very mobile pack with huge engines who can run the opposition ragged. We've a good mix of carrying front rows and 8s to provide go forward close to the scrum, so I am pretty comfortable with dynamic locks and flankers.
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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 11:48 am

Yeah that seems to be what they want. And players who are more than comfortable at all facets of the pack requirements.

If Lawes is in the AP final...it'll be interesting to see how Attwood goes alongside Launchbury in the engine room.

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Post by little_badger Tue 15 Apr 2014, 1:04 pm

Aims for the tour IMO:

Establish Ford as the back up 10, Burns is so off colour he's positively opaque.
Establish when first who are the first choice centres. Picking from 36, Manu, Burrell, Eastmond most likely.
Establish who are the first choice wingers at the moment. Expecting Wade not to tour, most others seem to be fit.

The pack is pretty much settled. Qs over Corbs fitness, whether Parling is good enough remain and back up flankers.

All in All, could be worse. (Heavy caveat for likely end of season injuries to ruin it all).

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 1:10 pm

In my opinon the Parling questin is already answered. He should be moved on now.

Corbs...well thats a big question isnt it. But we're lucky to have two crackin LH's challenging him already, a good LH behind them in Mullan, and a potentially cracking young LH in Waller (Corbs Saints understudy)playing well.

Back up flankers yes....thats another big question.

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Post by little_badger Tue 15 Apr 2014, 1:14 pm

I'm glad someone agrees with me on Parling, he was good while it lasted but I think we have younger and better options. 4th choice currently Slater?

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 1:20 pm

He was a good player whilst the game style was changed...likewise Botha. Who served his purpose under Lancasters early reign.

Now however Parling has been surpassed by Launchbury, lawes and Attwood. After that we have Slater pulling up trees, Kitchener, Stooke getting very impressive reviews, and Dom Barrow who was outstanding prior to his injury (and who has just reutrn last week), not to mention Kruis at Sarries, and even Itoje the young sarries England U20 lock who looks a beast and like Lawes Mk II

With those options, i dont believe Parling is the choice anymore...indeed he may find his Tigers spot at risk aswell.

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Post by little_badger Tue 15 Apr 2014, 1:34 pm

Unfortunately I think Kruis is injured and out for the season, did I make that up?

So on the tour, Slater for sure. Stooke is a bit raw but should develop into a bit a bruiser I think. Itoje looks a prospect too, hopefully should get some Sarries gametime next year with Borthwick gone.

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Post by Geordie Tue 15 Apr 2014, 1:57 pm

Yeah i believe Kruis is out. Likewise Itoje is away with the u20's in the World cup in NZ, and Stooke maybe needs another season.

But my point is that with the three main senior squad locks being Launchbury, Lawes and Attwood, we should be looking to bring some of the young guns in to the squad rather than someone like Parling.

Slater has been on fire, and indeed hasnt he been captaining the Tigers recently. He offers a bit more ooph yet still has that athleticism that Lancaster seems to crave.

i would take him to NZ. What has his partner in crime Kitcheners form been like?

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Post by killer938 Tue 15 Apr 2014, 2:01 pm

Yeh, Slater is probably the in form 2nd row at the moment (he says with Tigers tinted glasses on) so in my opinion has to go on tour along with Lawes, Launchbury and Atwood. Kitchener has been very impressive when he has played but he seems to have the unfortunate knack of picking up injuries. Him and Slater are hopefully going to form a formidable 2nd row partnership at Tigers over the next few years with Deacon and Parling still there but obviously not getting any younger.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 15 Apr 2014, 3:01 pm

What are our captaincy options after Robshaw?

It probably would automatically have been Hartley before but I'm not sure if he's still in the doghouse after last year's red card.

There's Tom Wood, of course, given that he might have been Lancaster's original choice if he'd been fit. The only point of concern for me there, is that some posters above are talking of him switching to seven if Robshaw is off the pitch. I'm not sure I want him assuming captaincy duties at the same time he is making a relatively unfamiliar positional switch.

Outside those three, we run short of people who have actually captained a side, and start thinking about who has half decent game management as well as his team-mates' respect.

That's one reason why Slater might bring something to the squad which is not in abundant supply, no matter how much we talk of developing strong leadership groups.

As a matter of interest, other than Flood, who is off to France, and Tindall, can anyone tell me which English backs wear the captain's armband for their teams, if only occasionally?

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