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New Zealand v England 3rd test & the 2nd test review

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Post by blackcanelion Sun 15 Jun 2014, 7:23 am

1000 posts and the 2nd test thread is blocked time to move onto the 3rd test in Hamilton.

What are England's chances of securing a win?
Could NZ win convincingly?
Will it be close again?
Who will play?
How much will the referee affect the game?

Let the banter begin..................

Oh, and feel free to discuss test's 1 and 2.

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Post by Big Sun 15 Jun 2014, 7:49 am

Answers from me....

What are England's chances of securing a win? - Depends a bit on NZ. If they stick with the current team not so good, if they decide to experiment and try a few fringe players probably pretty good. It would be an odd way to try and set a new record winning run though given how close the last couple of games have been.

Could NZ win convincingly? - Of course.

Will it be close again? - Probably.

Who will play? - I'd expect New Zealand to go for the same again, but others that follow NZ rugby more may know better. Some NZers I've heard seem to think now is the time to try a few new things, but I would have thought that would very much play into England's hands and (in my mind) push us from underdogs to favourites for the last test. I'd like to see England bring Burns in at 10, move Manu back to 13 and stick Ashton on the wing. Will probably get the same team again though.

How much will the referee affect the game? - Depends how much the players let them.

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Post by Taylorman Sun 15 Jun 2014, 8:16 am

Hansen has already gone close to the record before so will want to make sure of it, and frankly, hes deserved it. He's coached and more importantly managed this side since taking over brilliantly. He's introduced 23 new All Blacks since taking over for the one loss.

Next week he'll want a strong enough side to win and hes proved sticking with the tried and true from the start is the quickest ay back to the top for this side.

England on the other hand have been dealt a selection debacle thats left them not really knowing what the top side is. Whatever SL does he needs to pick the best performed from the first two matches as every player that took the field at some point felt they would win. A second..or third chance for some..might be all they need.

For the ABs I think Jane, Cruden and McCaw should be rested. Barrett and Fekitoa should start. The whole side know the drills now and the series is tied up, the record firmly in their grasp...Sydney is it? where number 18 could take place.

England have been fantastic this tour and can still win one, but with the ABs hitting their straps, theyll need to be better than tests 1 and 2.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun 15 Jun 2014, 8:41 am


Before we get to Hamilton, I'm actually keen to see how that next layer down of players ie Slade, Crotty,Taylor and Todd go against England.

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Post by Taylorman Sun 15 Jun 2014, 8:43 am

are they playing for the Saders? perhaps they should give Carter a half? He played half a club game yesterday...

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 15 Jun 2014, 8:48 am

Ozzy3213 wrote:
Doctor Grey wrote:And do I see mental weakness in this England team?  Perhaps one or two players.  But that wasn't my question.  I asked about who has the leadership and/or the bloody-minded attitude to to grab the team by the balls and demand this stops now.  Then lead from the front to do so.  I think this may indeed be the difference between the ABs and us.
You've hit the nail on the head there at the end doc.  When the AB's are down, somebody within their side pulls them through by leading form the front and dragging the others with them.  They do it time and again, and it's not always the same person.  It is no fluke that they churn out win after win after win.  We do not yet have this.  We have a young group, and we lack some of that mental steel that the AB's have.  The potential is there, but we have to firstly be more clinical, and secondly we have to have that inner belief that they have.  For me we never looked as if we truly believed we would win this game, and when the AB's ramped it up after half time, we froze and never managed to really get started again.
Ozzy, I think the current squad of players is arguably the best talent in England.  So, this is more or less the right greoup of players.  But who are the real leaders who can lift the team and stop the hemorrhaging before it becomes a true hemorrhage?

We have a good choices amognst the forwards - this doesn't need to be the captain, though frequently this is helpful.  Look again at Lancaster's personality and it does not always appear these guys are wanted.  (though the public personna can be unfair and quite deceiving).  This next phase of our development must include this kind of player, always playing from 0-0, always playing with that ubiquitous chip on his shoulder, with a desparate fear of losing and the correspondingly fanatical desire to win.  Let's put Robshaw asisde as he is already captain.  Marler or Wilson, but neither are penciled in as starters in the RWC, though Marler is getting closer.  Not sure Marler's mum listens to him, so not a leader.  Hartley would be a good choice but he needs more than one season as captain at Saints with his mouth under control.  Lawes?  Simply too quiet as a player.  Wood?  Same as Lawes, simply a quieter player.  Haskell playing at Number 8?  The point being we don't have many choices.  And that worries me.  

To be completely fair. I thought we would barely compete on this tour because of the timing of it all and that players need to report to pre-season at their clubs in England in 6 weeks (another daft concept for another daft thread). But once we are competing then we are there to win.  And we need those other leaders to stop the ABs in their tracks and lead the team.    I would like to see some suggestions........

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Post by nganboy Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:27 am

I think some of you are being hard on Jane. Yes he stuff up a couple of times but he worked hard in mid field I thought. Why on earth would you put Fekitoa a centre on the wing?
I would think about starting 2 or 3 of the reserves eg Crockett, Vito, and Barrett. Be good to give Tuipoloto, Perenara and Fekitoa longer runs too. I wonder if they will play Read?
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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:28 am

Ozzy3213 wrote:
Doctor Grey wrote:And do I see mental weakness in this England team?  Perhaps one or two players.  But that wasn't my question.  I asked about who has the leadership and/or the bloody-minded attitude to to grab the team by the balls and demand this stops now.  Then lead from the front to do so.  I think this may indeed be the difference between the ABs and us.
You've hit the nail on the head there at the end doc.  When the AB's are down, somebody within their side pulls them through by leading form the front and dragging the others with them.  They do it time and again, and it's not always the same person.  It is no fluke that they churn out win after win after win.  We do not yet have this.  We have a young group, and we lack some of that mental steel that the AB's have.  The potential is there, but we have to firstly be more clinical, and secondly we have to have that inner belief that they have.  For me we never looked as if we truly believed we would win this game, and when the AB's ramped it up after half time, we froze and never managed to really get started again.

BUT

The guys who've pulled them over line in the past have been Richie Mccaw who has 100+ caps, Kevin Mealamu who has 100+ caps, Dan Carter who has... you guessed it 100+ caps, Conrad Smith who has oh only 77 caps
Between those four there are probably close to 450 caps. That's nearly more then the whole England team.

We just aren't going to be able to do what they do yet, so it seems fairly logical that while they can dig themselves out of a hole, we may struggle a lot more. It's not impossible for us, we've shown before that if we can scrummage and pressure opposition we have the goods to get a win, but we aren't able to conjure the points when needed like they can.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:34 am

Anyway my England side for T3 would be:

Marler
Webber
Wilson
Lawes
Attwood (depending upon Launchberry's fitness, he's looked far from his dynamic best so far, it's been a long season so perhaps rest him)
Wood
Robshaw
Vunipola
Care
Burns (Farrel is off form and has played nearly every single England game, let's give Burns some more time)
Yarde
Eastmond (36 just makes too many mistakes, Eastmonds game was far cleaner in T1 and we need to reward good performances)
Tuilagi
Ashton
Brown

So pretty much our first choice pack, and a few changes in the backs.

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Post by Taylorman Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:49 am

nganboy wrote:I think some of you are being hard on Jane. Yes he stuff up a couple of times but he worked hard in mid field I thought. Why on earth would you put Fekitoa a centre on the wing?
I would think about starting 2 or 3 of the reserves  eg Crockett, Vito, and Barrett. Be good to give Tuipoloto, Perenara and Fekitoa longer runs too. I wonder if they will play Read?

just dont think Janes redeserved his spot Ngan and first and foremost hes a finisher, and finishing hasnt been high on the list for this series, creating opportunities is what we've needed with the tight English defence. But if hes got there as cover for Piatau and Dagg then fine but weve needed more from his position these two tests, and hes largely waited for play to come his way. But thats just my opinion. Compare him to the options B Smith, Savea give us and I just think Janes not really figuring.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:52 am

I think England look more threatening last week than this even though the scoreline was closer again.

I am still surprised to see people dropping Parling as I do think he's had two great games for you guys.

I don't think there need to be any changes in the forwards as whatever side Lancaster picks will win more than their fair share of ball, be strong in the scrum and rolling maul, they really are getting back to the England strengths of old so to speak.

The changes need to be in the backs, thought Care had his poorest game for sometime but still your No1, Farrell is off form and Twelvetrees was very poor and the Manu on the wing experiment didn't work at all.

I agree with Yappy above in that should be Englands back line.
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Post by blackcanelion Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:00 am

I see Jane was responsible for 7 turnovers (scrum.com). That's a lot (if it's accurate).

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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:07 am

bedfordwelsh wrote:I think England look more threatening last week than this even though the scoreline was closer again.

I am still surprised to see people dropping Parling as I do think he's had two great games for you guys.

I don't think there need to be any changes in the forwards as whatever side Lancaster picks will win more than their fair share of ball, be strong in the scrum and rolling maul, they really are getting back to the England strengths of old so to speak.

Bedford I don't think we were that strong in the scrum and after initial success at the maul NZ worked us out and made it pretty useless after about 20 mins, otherwise our forwards performed badly at the breakdown. Wales while getting beaten up by the bocks got more turnovers in the first half then we got all game. We were just totally inept there, likewise Care wasn't protected at the breakdown and struggled to get any clean ball after about 20 mins.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:14 am

A few team stats off Scrum.com:

England had less possesion this game as apposed to last with just 39% and 40% territory, indicating a lack of control by the pack and poor kicking from the backs (but we knew that).

NZ made 135 Runs for 567m's while England made 91 for 358m's not bad with that little possesion but on top of that NZ then only conceded one more turnover (20) for all that extra gainline success.

England missed 31 out of 167 tackles (81.0%) NZ 11 out of 85 (87%)

England conceded 7 pens and 1 yellow
NZ conceded 9 pens and 1 freekick but again managed to go the whole 80 with 15 men

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Post by ebop Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:17 am

That looks about right BCL as I recall commenting during the game that Jane has fumbled again or kicked the ball out on the full again or almost cost us a runaway try, etc.

I like the guy and he's done well for us but he just seems to have lost a bit of magic about him. If we don't have any better options, then that's fine, I'm sure if he gets selected again he'll have a better game than his last one, cause if he didn't, he would be dropped and may not get back in like what may happen with Dagg and Smith.
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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:28 am

A few player stats:

Care, Farrell, Yarde, Twelvetrees and Burrell between them made 27 tackles and missed 17!

They ran a combined distance of 119m's and beat 6 defenders making 2 clean breaks.

Farrell managed to top the team in one column at least by conceding 2 penalties.

Tuilagi who had a quiet game for his usual standard completed all his tackles (5) ran 100m's, made 1 clean break and beat 3 defenders.

The front five made a total of 22m's ball in hand.

They did manage 56 (8 missed) tackles with Parling topping out at 18 (1 missed), followed by Wilson at 15(3 missed) and Marler at 11(2 missed).

Wilson gets the top spot going foward with 1 defender beaten. Parling conceded the most with 2 turnovers.

The backrow had a pretty quiet game by their standards too, with just 24 tackles made and 3 missed (Wood 9/1, Robshaw 10/0 and Morgan 5/2).

Morgan managed a total 13m's going forward and 1 off load (zero clean breaks or defenders beaten, as an indication Vunipola accomplished 15m's when he came on and 4 tackles)
Wood managed 10m's, the only clean break and 3 off loads
Robshaw managed 9m's, and 1 offload as well

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Post by milkyboy Sun 15 Jun 2014, 2:00 pm

Backs up what we saw, well beaten up front and at the breakdown, too many missed tackles.

With our two first choice props crocked, not sure what we can do to really bolster the pack. Attwood lawes and Hartley to give a bit more beef?

Still think the best way to get mileage out it billy v and Morgan is with billy starting, making the hard yards, softening them up, and Morgan coming on later in the game, where there might be gaps to exploit.  Sat, just confirmed that for me.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 2:35 pm

Yea looks like Morgan just can't get to grips with a starting slot. Off the bench would probably be far better for him.

Lawes coming in would be good, otherwise I don't think any other changes will occur.

The big change has to be midfield. Our supposed first choice backline leaked like a sieve and that's just not on. Especially as Manu is meant to be the weak link at 13!

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Post by sickofwendy Sun 15 Jun 2014, 3:04 pm

yappysnap wrote:Anyway my England side for T3 would be:

Marler
Webber
Wilson
Lawes
Attwood (depending upon Launchberry's fitness, he's looked far from his dynamic best so far, it's been a long season so perhaps rest him)
Wood
Robshaw
Vunipola
Care
Burns (Farrel is off form and has played nearly every single England game, let's give Burns some more time)
Yarde
Eastmond (36 just makes too many mistakes, Eastmonds game was far cleaner in T1 and we need to reward good performances)
Tuilagi
Ashton
Brown

So pretty much our first choice pack, and a few changes in the backs.

Hope to see this team picked for 3rd test,Farrell could do with a rest as could launchbury
Don't want our best young players to burnout
Not sure whether to bench Farrell as he could be handy in the closing stages or invent an injury for him,he still has question marks over his temperant which if unchecked will cost us dear somewhere down the line
Tempted to put Haskell on bench over Morgan along with foden
Mullan and Brooke's both impressed and would give both at least 10 minutes.
Wilson I thought played very well in the loose,he wasn't wearing 'matt Stevens' hands this week,loved his kick but 76 minutes was too much for him

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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 3:31 pm

Wilsons kick was a thing of beauty  Smile  and another indication of the muddled thinking of the backs, why did it take a prop to realise the ball needed to go in to row D pronto?!

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Post by sickofwendy Sun 15 Jun 2014, 3:48 pm

In interview tom wood talks about our driving maul from the line out and the problems it was causing,that they could only stop it by coming in from the side saying we should have used it more but wanted to show that we can play as well.
Hindsight is wonderful isn't it
I don't want to be too critical because we are on the right track but the squad along with the coaches are still a bit naive in  our game management.
If we are causing problems with a driving maul then keep mauling,it's like they are more worried as being portrayed as a stereotype than losing.
A lot less chance of throwing an intercept pass,England need to learn when to play expansive not just for the sake of it
Wilsons kick was wasn't it

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Post by timhen Sun 15 Jun 2014, 3:55 pm

The last test always seemed the more likely one we might nick to me.  I still think we stand a decent chance, but that is dependent on Lancaster having learnt his selection lessons from the first 2 tests, reverting back to our more numerous and aggressive approach to the breakdown, vastly improving our kicking game, and continuing to try and play more attacking rugby but being patient and not forcing it when it's not on (a better blend of adventure and practicality).

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Post by SecretFly Sun 15 Jun 2014, 4:45 pm

timhen wrote:(a better blend of adventure and practicality).

A perfect team in other words????  Big ask Wink  Especially when the opposition has proved already to be the closest version for perfection in the last number of years.

England do have a real chance based on the very fact that New Zealand are finding it hard to demotivate the English players (like they always try to do), and they can't bully them either.  New Zealand know they're in a serious fight here and will take the final game ultra seriously too.  But that in itself is dragging them bit by bit into a more potent kind of form themselves.

If we say England must improve to win, we might be forced to say that New Zealand also need to improve to win more impressively.  If there is room for English improvement, then certainly it's there for New Zealand too. England won't have been happy with the one point loss. New Zealand won't be happy with the one point win.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 15 Jun 2014, 4:54 pm

blackcanelion wrote:I see Jane was responsible for 7 turnovers (scrum.com). That's a lot (if it's accurate).

As in he was turned over 7 times?

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Post by yappysnap Sun 15 Jun 2014, 5:30 pm

That's how scrum show them, they can include kicks to the opposition though and knock ons, turn overs at the ruck and forward passes.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 15 Jun 2014, 6:45 pm

sickofwendy wrote:In interview tom wood talks about our driving maul from the line out and the problems it was causing,that they could only stop it by coming in from the side saying we should have used it more but wanted to show that we can play as well.
This is a totally unacceptable comment without more information. If England had something working, the questions become all about why did they not stay with it until the ABs showed they can stop it? Or at least use it more? Game plans last until the opening whistle.
Was no one else aware of their success?
Did no one feel empowered to continue to maul?
Was the captain in disagreement with Wood's assessment?
If the captain agreed with Wood then why did he not call the play more?
In other words if something was successful are this England team so wedded to their game plan that it cannot be changed, even by team senior leadership?
If the answer to that is yes, then it is a troubling development indeed.

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Post by sickofwendy Sun 15 Jun 2014, 6:55 pm

"Perhaps we should have stuck with it" is the quote
You can find it at scrum.com

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Post by Poorfour Sun 15 Jun 2014, 8:14 pm

Finding it hard to get too worked up about yesterday, except in the comparison to last week. 2nd test was a significantly higher quality game; the ABs had definitely shaken off the rust.

I suspect that Lancaster will swap in Hartley, Lawes and Billy V in the pack but leave the backline unchanged unless someone is injured. I think he will have been sufficiently encouraged by what he saw to stick with the experiment and see if it comes good. Yes, the defence was ropey, and yes a lot of the players performed some way below what they are capable of - but put it in context: for all the mistakes, and all the poor execution, they scored 3 tries against a largely on-song All Blacks and lost by 1 point. The coaches will be looking at that and thinking about what might be possible if they can tune up the execution.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. Twelvetrees and Burrell did not fire like they did in tht 6N, but I thought Manu did very well at wing, particularly in defence - he wasn't exposed and may well have been England's best player under the high ball. He didn't get involved in the game as much as any of us would have liked - but I think that is more because of the execution than because of flaws in the gameplan. He would have seen and done plenty more had the midfield been remotely on song. So again, the coaches may see it as worth persisting with.

Two tangential points: the only thing I can think Brown was doing with his line off Manu was drawing defenders - I think he may have seen that Smith was on his own and been trying to give Manu a one on one rather than allowing the other defenders to close in. Against most opposition, that was a good bet - but a weak hand-off and superb defensive technique stopped the try.

Second point: the ref next week is Garces. England have historically played well with the current crop of French refs. Of course, the ABs have played well regardless of ref, but it'll be interesting to see if having an NH ref (and hopefully one having a good day, unlike Nige) will change the tone of the game.
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Post by Taylorman Sun 15 Jun 2014, 9:20 pm

Perhaps a bit of inexperience from Brown there in that he should have been right on Manu the whole way. Pretty sure our guys would have been on the shoulder. Manu looked to pass at the crucial moment but no one was there.

Turning point of the match and series. With 15-3 down and conversion to come we pegged back from Smiths feat to get a penalty and 10-6 at the break rather than a potential 17-3 as Brown would have gone under the posts.

Regardless of all the stats in the world those are the moments that make the differences, and what the AB's train for, and in similar circs in 2012 England scored from a similar run...by being right on the carriers shoulder.

The changing room conversations would have been completely different at 17-3 and that moment spurred the initial second half effort of the AB's.


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Post by king_carlos Sun 15 Jun 2014, 9:29 pm

milkyboy wrote:With our two first choice props crocked, not sure what we can do to really bolster the pack. Attwood lawes and Hartley to give a bit more beef?

In fairness I'd say the performances from Marler and Wilson probably put them in ownership of the jersey now. Marler in particular has been brilliant since taking over for the 6N. Wilson hasn't been quite as good as Marler but has still been excellent at set piece. Other than the 1st test handling embarrassments, he's shown up well in the loose too.

Basically I'd say there isn't a huge amount between Corbs/Marler and Cole/Wilson when all fit. Each has strong suits like all players but I wouldn't be upset with any combination starting.

That said what we are lacking in the props with the injuries to Corbs, Mako and Cole is experienced replacements to sub on when the starters inevitably tire. For big units Marler and Wilson get round the park really well and have lasted excellently for the first two test. However over 80 mins the workrate of props will always decline and as talented as Mullan, Waller, Brookes and Sinckler may be, none are yet players Lancaster would bring on tactically with 20 mins left in a tight match.

As for the hooker debate I'm expecting Hartley to start but given his lack of game time and how Webber has performed I think it will be a poor selection. For me Webber was our best player on Saturday prior to being taken off early in the 2nd half at which point Hartley struggled to get into the game. He's been solid at set piece (both he and Hartley wobbled once in the line-out on Saturday) and excellent in the loose, carrying and distributing well plus offering a big physical presence on the gain line in defence.

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Post by DaveM Sun 15 Jun 2014, 9:55 pm

Doctor Grey wrote:And do I see mental weakness in this England team?  Perhaps one or two players.  But that wasn't my question.  I asked about who has the leadership and/or the bloody-minded attitude to to grab the team by the balls and demand this stops now.  Then lead from the front to do so.  I think this may indeed be the difference between the ABs and us.

England couldn't stop the ABs in that 25 minute period because they were playing a highly experienced and accomplished side, one of the best in the history of the game, and they hit a purple patch. England are an inexperienced side, probably about half way up their development curve, and it was simply to early. You learn by making mistakes, and this England side simply needs the time to make those mistakes. The players who played on Saturday would never have experienced anything like that second-half onslaught, but you think they should just have known how to stop it?

It isn't about three or four leaders, it's about the team as a whole. SL has noted that the game management was lacking. Things like game-management under intense pressure is hopefully something we will take out of this tour. Winning on Saturday wold have been one of the very best results in the history of the English game, and would have implied England are already pretty much the best team in the world, but it sees like you just expected us to do it. This is despite the fact this side is more like the England side from 1998 than from 2002.

England are getting there. I think you should cut them some slack.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:11 pm

To summarize the leadership isnt always there now, but, experiences like this tour might just be the sort of thing to bring it out in the future.

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Post by englandglory4ever Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:15 pm

There isn't much wrong with the player's abilities but I do feel they visibly fell apart after 36 coughing up the ball and going a try down so quickly. They took too long to recover their composure and then promptly conceded 2more. To their credit they did recover but by then it was too late. 

Robshaw needed to galvanize the team quickly right after that try. If he tried it didn't work. They need to understand that and improve their mental fortitude. There will be many more times when they will go behind unexpectedly. They need to deal with it. Nz and the boks do.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:18 pm

And its also worth remembering that we are peed off because we lost a game vs a team that hasnt lost forever playing at home, by a point, at the end of a long long season.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 15 Jun 2014, 10:29 pm

DaveM wrote:
Doctor Grey wrote:And do I see mental weakness in this England team?  Perhaps one or two players.  But that wasn't my question.  I asked about who has the leadership and/or the bloody-minded attitude to to grab the team by the balls and demand this stops now.  Then lead from the front to do so.  I think this may indeed be the difference between the ABs and us.

England couldn't stop the ABs in that 25 minute period because they were playing a highly experienced and accomplished side, one of the best in the history of the game, and they hit a purple patch. England are an inexperienced side, probably about half way up their development curve, and it was simply to early. You learn by making mistakes, and this England side simply needs the time to make those mistakes. The players who played on Saturday would never have experienced anything like that second-half onslaught, but you think they should just have known how to stop it?

It isn't about three or four leaders, it's about the team as a whole. SL has noted that the game management was lacking. Things like game-management under intense pressure is hopefully something we will take out of this tour. Winning on Saturday wold have been one of the very best results in the history of the English game, and would have implied England are already pretty much the best team in the world, but it sees like you just expected us to do it. This is despite the fact this side is more like the England side from 1998 than from 2002.

England are getting there. I think you should cut them some slack.
Sorry mate, but I can't be explaining my point well. I never said anything about expecting England to go down there and simply win.   In fact, just the opposite. I wrote that I thought we were going down there for a pasting, the primary reason being the timing vis-a-vis the end of the Premiership and Euro seasons. I still think that is bad for Rugby, not just for England but for all teams up here in the frozen norte.  Consequently, I was completely prepared to give the team a lot of slack.  

Yes, England has exceeded my expectations.  But once expectations are exceeded is that enough?  I want to deal with the reality which was that we had leads which we gave up.  We are playing against the best team in the world and we are trying to measure ourselves against the best in the world.  Therefore, we must use the same criteria they would use to measure themselves.  

I am happy England have improved to a point where these kinds of comparisons are not met with derision.  Given we have improved, and I personally believe the talent gap between the teams is small, then aspects like leadership become huge.  For example, the American team could have the best, most motivating and dynamic leaders since Julius Ceasar, and they would still lose to the ABs.  The talent must be there - and yes, I am aware we do not know our best XV.  But to get over the AB hurdle we need strong leaders, the type which raise the level of play for the whole team.  Who are they?  Not sure I see them.

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Post by DaveM Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:02 pm

I don't think we need strong leaders, we need a team full of leaders. That develops through experience and through adversity. When England start winning things they will refer back to the second half on Saturday and how much they learnt as a group about what it takes to beat the best.

And I don't think anyone is saying where England are a the moment is good enough, or that exceeding most neutral's expectations for the tour is sufficient. Did you see how gutted Tom Wood was at having lost the game? But some improvements, like learning how to manage games under the most intense pressure, take time. If England keep improving over the next 15 months at the rate they have done over the last 15 we have a very real chance of winning the WC in 2015. In my view that's 4 years ahead of what we could realistically have expected after the debacle of 2011.

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Post by quinsforever Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:11 pm

i agree we are ahead of our wildest expectations since about 5 minutes before we beat NZ 18 months ago. since then the trend is definitely upwards, and we now have lots of young players who are getting experience at the very highest level and we are in spite of that a very very hard team to beat.

the forwards are progressing very nicely indeed. lots of options at every positions. personally would like to see steffon armitage called up but i know i'm not popular for saying that.

where we are not convincing is our 10-12-13 axis. or maybe its SL who isnt convincing us with his predilection for 36 at all costs. anyway, if we can really nail that combination, then i do think, on our day, in a year's time, we "could" beat anyone.

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Post by DaveM Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:36 pm

Farrell, Twelvetrees and Burrell were increasingly impressive throughout the 6 Nations. Let's see how they do if they are give more game time. Personally the thing I'm most worried about is finding a couple of convincing wingers. I suspect Yarde is the answer on the left-wing, but he obviously needs more experience and game time. On the right-right it could be Ashton, Wade or Watson, unless Tuilagi settles there of course.

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Post by blackcanelion Sun 15 Jun 2014, 11:48 pm

Quins, pretty sure you could beat anyone now on your day. I think it's the most complete England side I've seen (going back to 1978).

I think when England control the pace they are there or there about. Their size and power is difficult for the AB's to counter, especially as they now have width to their game. I think NZ still have an advantage over most sides when the pace goes up. People talked about fitness. I think this is it. It's not fitness per se. It's decision making and structures under anaerobic stress. I read a interview with a bok, who found out the AB's targeted him in the last part of a match. He been injured in the past and favoured one shoulder when he got really tired. The AB's had worked this out.

NZ should get stronger later this year, especially if Carter, Read, Romano, Cane, Dagg or Piatau come back. Add up and coming players, plus returning players like Hosea Gear (France) and SBW (League) we don't look to bad for next year. The problem is so will England, South Africa and others.

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Post by quinsforever Mon 16 Jun 2014, 12:11 am

good comments bcl.

agree that when the ABs hit their straps there is no team in world rugby that can keep up. fortunately, neither can the ABs keep it up for a whole game as its just too anaerobic. so other teams have to either i) nullify it while keeping the scoreboard ticking over, bosh, bosh, bosh rugby for example, and winning penalties from set pieces (my personal pet hate by the way - is exactly how Wales intentionally scrummaged with the old rules) ii) try to stretch the ABs in turn so they cant do the purple patch for as long as the might otherwise iii) hope for an off-day, but statistically this doesnt seem like a good strategy based on the current run of results for the ABs!

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Post by blackcanelion Mon 16 Jun 2014, 12:22 am

quinsforever wrote:good comments bcl.

agree that when the ABs hit their straps there is no team in world rugby that can keep up. fortunately, neither can the ABs keep it up for a whole game as its just too anaerobic. so other teams have to either i) nullify it while keeping the scoreboard ticking over, bosh, bosh, bosh rugby for example, and winning penalties from set pieces (my personal pet hate by the way - is exactly how Wales intentionally scrummaged with the old rules) ii) try to stretch the ABs in turn so they cant do the purple patch for as long as the might otherwise iii) hope for an off-day, but statistically this doesnt seem like a good strategy based on the current run of results for the ABs!

As an AB's supporter it highlights the WC issue. At least one knockout game in the WC is likely to be slower and tighter than we'd like. If we play SA, England, France (I know they're crap at the moment) or possibly even Australia or Ireland (not sure about Wales) we could be in trouble. 1999, 2003 or 2007 all over again......

On the other hand, that advantage is getting narrower. The Boks and England are getting better at dealing with our pace and at least limiting it, or taking advantage themselves.

It's a very good series. One game to go and you can't call game 3 with any level of confidence. I think NZ might have a bit more of a chance. If only because it's the final game and they're notoriously hard to win (1 foot on the plane home and all that). Really impressed by Lancaster. Great coach, who has a team playing a style I like to watch. You look at the under 20 sides England have produced in the last few years and you've got to be positive.

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Post by Gunner Mon 16 Jun 2014, 2:57 am

nganboy wrote:I think some of you are being hard on Jane. Yes he stuff up a couple of times but he worked hard in mid field I thought. Why on earth would you put Fekitoa a centre on the wing?
I would think about starting 2 or 3 of the reserves  eg Crockett, Vito, and Barrett. Be good to give Tuipoloto, Perenara and Fekitoa longer runs too. I wonder if they will play Read?

Agree with you 100% Nganboy. Why would you play Fekitoa on the wing? The ABs have been scratching around looking for midfield cover
for a while now. Fekitoa has burst onto the scenes with the Highlanders playing centre. Hansen is not gonna muck around with him.
Fekitoa played on the wing for us ,the Highlanders, once during the early rounds for the S15 and was mostly ineffective. (I think it was against The Force). Jamie Joseph never played him on the wing again. Im sure S Lancaster wont play Tuilagi on the wing anymore either.

Anyway this conversation is pretty much redundant with Conrad out of the final test.

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Post by Taylorman Mon 16 Jun 2014, 3:05 am

Is he? So thats Fekitoa and Nonu...with Savea our bulk is sure increasing form the first test...

I wasnt really advocating Fekitoa on the wing more than Jane on at all. Just don't think he's justifying his spot, and pretty sure his primary role isn't getting turnovers.

He needs to lift his game in the 3rd.

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Post by Gunner Mon 16 Jun 2014, 3:26 am

Yeah. Conrad has broken a bone in his hand.
I think they will play Fekitoa. Hes a natural centre. Nonu can stay at 12.
Its a better fit than bringing in Crotty and moving Nonu to centre.
Jane stays due to the fact we aint got a lot of wings available at the moment.
Im sure if Piatau was fit he would be playing in Hamilton.

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Post by Taylorman Mon 16 Jun 2014, 3:53 am

In saying that I think Fekitoa will end up a wing.

I think he's a stronger ball carrier than he is a distributor but there's no denying his tackling, has that in spades for a centre (just ask Conrad)...

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Post by blackcanelion Mon 16 Jun 2014, 4:12 am

Interesting:
a) Fekitoa at centre
b) Crotty at 12 and Nonu at 13, or
c) B Smith at 13, Fekitoa at 14 and Jane at 15.

Suspect b) could be a). Impact of players in Europe, and injuries being felt. I'd feel a lot happier with Ranger and Gear, or Piatau. Was feeling pretty confident. Not sure anymore.

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Post by Gunner Mon 16 Jun 2014, 4:23 am

Taylorman wrote:In saying that I think Fekitoa will end up a wing.

I think he's a stronger ball carrier than he is a distributor but there's no denying his tackling, has that in spades for a centre (just ask Conrad)...

Disagree T-Man.

Fekitoa has distributed the ball well all year for the Highlanders.
Why clutter his brain by chopping and changing his position a la Toeava.

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Post by Taylorman Mon 16 Jun 2014, 5:23 am

Gunner wrote:
Taylorman wrote:In saying that I think Fekitoa will end up a wing.

I think he's a stronger ball carrier than he is a distributor but there's no denying his tackling, has that in spades for a centre (just ask Conrad)...

Disagree T-Man.

Fekitoa has distributed the ball well all year for the Highlanders.
Why clutter his brain by chopping and changing his position a la Toeava.

Hey its not an Auckalnd thing (even though he/ Im from there... Whistle ) but I think its about his opportunities as a young All Black.

He's 22 and since the world cup began NZ has been dominated by four great Centres- Stanley, Bunce, Umanga and now Conrad. All were late starters to the position, all played their best- and their best was usually the best- at 30+. I think there's a reason for that in the AB space other than passing and tackling abilities. Onfield leadership by example.

To be a successful AB Centre it takes a certain type and it takes years. Years to develop the ability to control the midfield space on both attack and defence, and to assess the various midfields all around the world that they come up against. Conrad's current knowledge of JDV, AAC, Roberts and Davies, Tuilagi etc cannot be underestimated and for Fekitoa to assume that role as intuitively as Conrad is asking the impossible in the short term.

Its about providing the best possible platform for our wingers and over that period NZ has had by far...by miles...the best wingers of all time for the length of the period. That is partly because they have had the very best, most intelligent centres inside that know what they need, know how to utilise their abilities, and that simply takes time, as all four yodas have proven.

In Fekitoas case there are two wing positions and I just think in the AB space his athleticism, speed and obvious talent would be best used initially on the wing rather than using the time to acclimatise to the AB Centre position from such a young age.

Just my opinion anyway. We'll see. But I dont see Fekitoa as the no. 1 centre immediately following Smith. He's the best at the moment but I think he'll remain too good to leave him off the field and will develop him as a wing while Conrads there. Later on...yes, Centre by all means.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 16 Jun 2014, 6:18 am

There seems to be a bit of mixed thinking about what Lancaster should be trying to achieve.

Brian Moore wants him to stop experimenting, settle on a starting XV and give them a whole season together, pointing out that there are only 10 games left before the World Cup

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/england/10901307/New-Zealand-v-England-Stuart-Lancaster-must-solve-centre-saga-and-time-is-running-out.html

Others, including some here, want to see Lancaster pick the players who are in form now, even if that means leaving out first choice picks who are looking a bit ragged (I've seen that label given variously to Brown, Launchbury, Wood, Vunipola, Farrell, Twelvetrees and Care).

Some are convinced Lancaster's got his first choices wrong anyway and should be favouring Eastmond, Burns, Cipriani, Slater and Haskell (again some of the names I've seen mentioned). Others presumably want the likes of Farrell and Twelvetrees back as starters next autumn, but want those fresh, fit faces to do the job next week.

I think Lancaster did a bit of mix and match. He started his favoured backs, while letting recent form determine the pack's composition.

I think there's still cluttered thinking over the role reserves play. Lancaster seems to believe that, if you've got a reserve, you should use him, especially if he's down in your book as an impact player.

Webber wasn't doing anything wrong at hooker, though, so there was no need for Hartley. He only came on because it was pre-determined.

On the other hand, when there's a fly half on the bench, he almost never comes on for Farrell with time enough to make an impact.

For all the depth we hope we've got, we are as far as ever from knowing what we would do in the event of Robshaw going down.

I see others talking about leadership above, and it's an issue I've been banging on about since Lancaster's second season. I suspect he thinks leadership and rugby nous is largely down to experience, which is why he's so keen to stay loyal to players who might be off their best form.

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Post by Scratch Mon 16 Jun 2014, 6:36 am

T man…care to predict the score this weekend…..should be at least a 50 point margin don't you think

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