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England Squad for the 6N 2016

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 26 Oct 2015, 11:03 am

First topic message reminder :

Well, the dust is settling on our early exit, time to concentrate on the next disappointment.

We obviously have no idea who the Head Coach or team will be at this current point, but we can take a stab at the potential squad going into the 6N.

2 games into the AP season, who's looking impressive? Who can come in under the radar and steal a spot? Are any of the disappointing WC squad going to grab the bull by the horns and actually impress! Who should be captain? What could or starting 23 be? Do we starting blooding for 2019 now?

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Post by yappysnap Sun 03 Jan 2016, 11:25 pm

I think the props carrying idea is down to tactics. If the roles were reversed then I have no doubt Marler would be far more dynamic off the bench then he is/was starting, just like Mako was.

We'll have to see what Jones wants. Powerful dynamic props who may not be everywhere like extra flankers but bring more bosh, or extra flankers who can consistently graft for the majority of a game.

Lancaster preferred the second and we've kind of seen that as the norm now.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 04 Jan 2016, 5:11 am

Mako's technique in the scrum has always been an issue at Int level, has this improved this season? He's certainly looking good in solid Sarries outfit, but is this down to him or a collective effort?

Marler hasn't been too great this season. If Jones is looking at a clean slate for everyone, Marler would be lucky to make the squad on recent performances.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jan 2016, 9:03 am

king_carlos wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
king_carlos wrote:Billy has all but nailed the 8 shirt with some fantastic performances this season as well. He was massive at the weekend.

Mako is scrummaging a lot better this season too. Many have written him off as a poor scrummager for life seemingly but it wasn't too long ago that Marler was very inconsistent there too. Given some time with his club to improve his technique (with Mako seems to be doing) and a run the starting XV to establish himself, Marler is now a strength at set piece. If Mako were to start at LH I wouldn't be surprised to see some very accomplished performances from him. Particularly with 2 locks who can offer a decent shove.

If he can solidify his set piece at test level then it's very likely his carrying will come out more as well. It is always difficult for a prop to shine around the park if they are under pressure with job 1. Now that is improving the rest of his game could as well.

That's what we thought of Marler, but we're yet to see his carrying game.

Being a bigger bloke than Marler should help with getting over the gainline against stronger defences. It isn't uncommon to see guys who carry well in club rugby struggle to impose their physicality on test defences in the same manner. Marler is incredibly strong for his size and in great physical shape but isn't actually that huge a bloke for an international prop.

I have said all along that is a key reason that the scrum is behind where it was.

Marler who as you say isn't that big for an international LH prop - and wasn't a destructive scrummager, replaced a guy who was about a stone and a half heavier than him and who was a destructive scrummager in Corbs.

Add in Lawes and Parling etc and that's not a heavy duty scrimmaging pack.


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Mon 04 Jan 2016, 9:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jan 2016, 9:10 am

yappysnap wrote:I think the props carrying idea is down to tactics. If the roles were reversed then I have no doubt Marler would be far more dynamic off the bench then he is/was starting, just like Mako was.

We'll have to see what Jones wants. Powerful dynamic props who may not be everywhere like extra flankers but bring more bosh, or extra flankers who can consistently graft for the majority of a game.

Lancaster preferred the second and we've kind of seen that as the norm now.

Have to say...I favour that route.

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Post by jamesandimac Mon 04 Jan 2016, 9:47 am

Is a shame Brookes got injured as his form was so far ahead of Coles this season. Would've loved to have seen Mako, George and Brookes in the front row together in the 6Ns. I think the form they're showing (were in Brookes case) proves they're ready to be tried

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 04 Jan 2016, 10:09 am

Vunipola still seems better suited to coming on as a sub for me. He's scrummaging has never been as bad as made out but the likes of Marler, Mullan and probably Waller are ahead of him there. Comes back down to what Jones wants and I don't think any of us have a clue as to what that is currently.

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Post by cb Mon 04 Jan 2016, 10:53 am

Lancaster et al seemed to have a very deliberate plan to make the English pack more mobile. (Attwood had an article in the DT about three weeks ago outlining some of the changes required).  The downside of this was to make the pack maybe a little underpowered and less resilient in the scrum and maul.  The approach could have worked but it was a bit of gamble and of course all teams at the World Cup would be at their fittest (and strongest).

Whilst not wanting to swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction I would prefer initially at least to see a more robust pack.  Murrayfield in early February is not necessarily the place to go 'lite'.

Agree with many of the comments, it is a great shame to lose Brookes as he was both scrummaging well and providing bulk.  Marler does not seem to have dominated since his return from the WC, so I would not be adverse to Vunipola being given a starting berth.

Also though Launchbury and Kruis may be a possibility, I would like to ensure that some bulk is still there.  Again Pity Slater is injured.  What about Kitchener or Attwood (his article suggested Lancaster was trying to get him to play in exactly the way he was not comfortable with, and then did not select him).

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Post by BamBam Mon 04 Jan 2016, 11:17 am

Just seen that Slater got injured, was it a bad one?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 04 Jan 2016, 11:24 am

Looked like a dead leg at the time.

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Post by jamesandimac Mon 04 Jan 2016, 11:38 am

Knee injury by all accounts. Not the same one as previous though.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jan 2016, 11:56 am

Any info on how serious.

I would say its looks like -
4 Launchbury
5 Kruis

What is Kitcheners form?

Could Itoje slip into the squad?

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 04 Jan 2016, 12:43 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Any info on how serious.

I would say its looks like -
4 Launchbury
5 Kruis

Agreed

What is Kitcheners form?

Pretty good

Could Itoje slip into the squad?

Quite possible. If nothing else because the strong Sarries flavour to the coaching team will work in his favour. It is natural for new coaches to select people they know.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jan 2016, 1:11 pm

Very true re Itoje LT. Could help him.

Had to chuckle after the Bath game. Myself and Beshocked had been debating about locks and you may remember I mentioned that whilst our lock Sean Robinson is nowhere near the England side, he outplayed Itoje in our recent game.

Well he was outstanding v Bath. Looks like the Falcons have a fine premiership level lock on our hands - (maybe why Barrow was so easily released).

And 10 of our starting 15 that played v Bath were falcons academy produced...and 2 of the Bath team were falcons academy produced.
(Vickers, McGuigan, Wilson, Robinson, Welch, Young, Willis, Harris, Tait, Hammersly) and Bath (Davy Wilson, Batty)

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Post by Poorfour Mon 04 Jan 2016, 3:17 pm

The lock cupboard is looking quite full at the moment. For Quins, Sam Twomey is out injured til after the 6N but did not look out of place alongside James Horwill in early season, and Charlie Matthews is finally putting it all together and starting to show why Quins kept him and released Launchbury. Don't think either is ready quite yet, but it shows the options that England have.

As ever the big problem remains 12, especially with Slade out til the summer. Who'd have thought that Will Greenwood would be the hardest of the 2003 side to replace?

But beyond that, it will be interesting to see how Eddie's sides evolve. In the past he's generally had to mould both a side and gameplan out of the available talent. With England, at least by the time he gets to the summer tour, he will have free choice of several players of similar quality but differing styles available to him in most positions.

It'll be very interesting to see what he does when he can effectively define his gameplan and then pick players based on their ability to implement.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jan 2016, 3:48 pm

I was reading elsewhere about our locks. I think we all agree that Kruis has been playing exceptionally well. Someone actually suggested him for the starting AND Captain spot.

Now I think he has a very strong chance of starting at lock...but im not sure about Captain. Does he have any Captaincy experience?

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Post by englandglory4ever Mon 04 Jan 2016, 6:01 pm

Mitch Lees is worth a look. He's big and can score tries from close range. We need some big guys in the engine room. Guys who quite like pushing. Too many locks stand up in rucks and mauls to try and reach over the top. All that does is take their considerable weight out of the fray and their side usually ends up going backwards. Locks should get down and blinking push I say.

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Post by jaydubs1977 Mon 04 Jan 2016, 9:01 pm

I was impressed with Worcester's young centre/flyhalf Ryan Mills who was central to their fightback this weekend. Haven't seen much of him recently - any Worcester supporters want to weigh in on his prospects as a future England inside centre?

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Post by propdavid_london Tue 05 Jan 2016, 11:53 am

I am a little concerned that the England coaching setup is becoming a little Saracen-centric!
This does tend to happen when a new Head coach comes in, they pick a support team that they know.
Squads havent been picked yet but I would fully expect Sarries to be well represented (as they are the form team).
And matchday squads are a long way off.....

But do we all think that Barritt will have a resurgent England career? I am struggling to forgive for poor WC performance
Is Mako the form LH? Current average form of Marler - who else is in contention? Corbs out of the picture
Will Goode leapfrog Brown? Same as Marler, Brown is out of sorts. Pennel could come into contention
Jamie George? Lots of chat about Hartley-Although he is yet to displace Haywood. Webber is done internationally. I think LCD is injured
O.Farrell? Probably the form 10 ATM, Ford is out of sorts, Slade injured, Cipriani is average ATM

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Post by lostinwales Tue 05 Jan 2016, 12:06 pm

englandglory4ever wrote:Mitch Lees is worth a look. He's big and can score tries from close range. We need some big guys in the engine room. Guys who quite like pushing. Too many locks stand up in rucks and mauls to try and reach over the top. All that does is take their considerable weight out of the fray and their side usually ends up going backwards. Locks should get down and blinking push I say.

I saw a picture and the guy looks massive. I understand he's injured at the moment (and I believe he was brought up in Australia although he is England qualified)

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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jan 2016, 12:12 pm

I wouldn't have a problem with the Sarries players who will likely be involved propdavid. Jones is a strong enough character to not allow an assistant to take over proceedings as Farrell reportedly did.

Goode I don't rate at international level but he is performing very well and perhaps Jones can get something out of him that others haven't.

Mako, George, Kruis, Farrell, Barritt, Goode - Those seem fairly nailed on for the EPS. I wouldn't have an issue with Barritt (lack of options) and Goode (good form) being involved but would personally look elsewhere.

The other guy who has a decent shot at the EPS is Fraser. Personally I'd be very happy for him to be in the squad competing with Kvesic. Two talented opensides fighting for the 7 shirt exactly what we need to mix up our back row and breakdown work.

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Post by propdavid_london Tue 05 Jan 2016, 12:14 pm

King C - completely agree, although you put it much more eloquently than me.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:36 pm

lostinwales wrote:
englandglory4ever wrote:Mitch Lees is worth a look. He's big and can score tries from close range. We need some big guys in the engine room. Guys who quite like pushing. Too many locks stand up in rucks and mauls to try and reach over the top. All that does is take their considerable weight out of the fray and their side usually ends up going backwards. Locks should get down and blinking push I say.

I saw a picture and the guy looks massive. I understand he's injured at the moment (and I believe he was brought up in Australia although he is England qualified)

Another one.... Crying or Very sad

I think we're fine with locks though to worry about bringing more non English in to the fray

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Post by lostinwales Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:44 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
englandglory4ever wrote:Mitch Lees is worth a look. He's big and can score tries from close range. We need some big guys in the engine room. Guys who quite like pushing. Too many locks stand up in rucks and mauls to try and reach over the top. All that does is take their considerable weight out of the fray and their side usually ends up going backwards. Locks should get down and blinking push I say.

I saw a picture and the guy looks massive. I understand he's injured at the moment (and I believe he was brought up in Australia although he is England qualified)

Another one.... Crying or Very sad

I think we're fine with locks though to worry about bringing more non English in to the fray

Just doing some research 'Qualified for England through grandparents on either side'. But 6ft 5, over 19st, and loves the tight game.

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Post by nlpnlp Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:49 pm

I think the comment that "Cipriani is average ATM" is a tad unfair.  Against Wasps on the weekend he was excellent - I know it was against Wasps which would give him added motivation - but he has generally been good all season, behind a sometimes very average pack.

Likewise I am not sure I agree with "O.Farrell? Probably the form 10 ATM".  From my watching of the Sarries games, Charlie Hodgson is the form 10, but sadly no longer available for England.  I am not sure that having two genuine options at 10 helps Farrell get a good run of games.  If Cipriani is fit and in any kind of form, then he will be starting for Sale.

Sadly Ford seems to be off the boil at the moment, whether as a result of the world cup sapping his confidence, or a general malaise at Bath.

I think Cipriani may well appeal to Eddie Jones and he seems to be the compromise choice between the two extremes of kicker Farrell and runner Ford, being fairly proficient at both attributes to the game.  As has been said on the Irish 6N thread - do you really want your no 10 doing a Sexton and constantly getting injured or being stuck at the bottom of a ruck? it could finally be the time to find out it Cipriani is the real deal at International level, or have I like quite a few others been taken in by him.

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Post by nlpnlp Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:53 pm

"I think we're fine with locks though to worry about bringing more non English in to the fray" If someone is English qualified they will do for me - everybody else (New Zealand included) pick whoever is available.  Without wanting to get into the usual mindless debate, does the fact that Billy Vunipola was not born in England in any way take away from his performances for England/is there any lack of pride in the shirt?  I don't think so.

So bring on Nathan Hughes and whoever else wants to wear the England shirt.

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Post by yappysnap Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:55 pm

I'd be happy with Cips being picked.

If nothing else I do think he should get a squad place and a chance to prove his worth properly.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:56 pm

The rules suck but play to them, Jones certainly will. Lees is a very long shot though, plenty better than him.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 05 Jan 2016, 1:57 pm

A Cipriani with his head in the right place is always going to be there or thereabouts. Its just unfortunate for his international career that it seems to have taken so many years for him to get there.

For all Farrell's qualities England just seemed so much more threatening with Ford pulling the strings. With Ford out of sorts it might very well be Cipriani's turn.

Also worth mentioning Freddie Burns. Way too early for the 6N but might be getting back in the mix by the end of the season.

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Post by nlpnlp Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:02 pm

I was a big Burns supporter (before he went to Leicester!), so hope I am not the kiss of death for Cipriani.  It just seems that with Eddie Jones in charge, it could be now or never/not get a better opportunity than now for him to make his mark.

I hope that Jones does look at the more unfashionable clubs like Exeter, after all it is no fluke that they are where they are in the league.  Players like Lees have massively contributed to this success without doing so in a necessarily flashy manner.  I think there may be one or two rough diamonds out there, who given the opportunity could really add something to England.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:03 pm

[quote="lostinwales"]
GeordieFalcon wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
englandglory4ever wrote:Mitch Lees is worth a look. He's big and can score tries from close range. We need some big guys in the engine room. Guys who quite like pushing. Too many locks stand up in rucks and mauls to try and reach over the top. All that does is take their considerable weight out of the fray and their side usually ends up going backwards. Locks should get down and blinking push I say.

I saw a picture and the guy looks massive. I understand he's injured at the moment (and I believe he was brought up in Australia although he is England qualified)

Another one.... Crying or Very sad

I think we're fine with locks though to worry about bringing more non English in to the fray

Just doing some research 'Qualified for England through grandparents on either side'. But 6ft 5, over 19st, and loves the tight game.[/quote]

That's Ed Slater....

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Post by nlpnlp Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:08 pm

"That's Ed Slater...." Problem is this seems to read "That's the injured Ed Slater" at lot at the moment. I know injury is part and parcel of the game, but some players Tom Croft, James Simpson-Daniel, etc seem to be unlucky on that front.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:11 pm

Mitch Lees is an absolutely huge bloke. One of those few guys who look even bigger than their monstrous statistics would show. I remember once seeing Simon Shaws stats on TV and thinking no-way, that's not human. Then I saw him in real life after a Tigers vs Wasps game and immediately thought heck he's even bigger! Erm Lees is a similar category. I agree with GF though. The grandparent rule is idiotic and as such I get very frustrated when players qualify through it.

Regardless of that debate the truth is that if we want a massive bloke who's excellent in the tight then Slater is as good but also more dynamic if carrying a bit further out.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:16 pm

nlpnlp wrote:"I think we're fine with locks though to worry about bringing more non English in to the fray" If someone is English qualified they will do for me - everybody else (New Zealand included) pick whoever is available.  Without wanting to get into the usual mindless debate, does the fact that Billy Vunipola was not born in England in any way take away from his performances for England/is there any lack of pride in the shirt?  I don't think so.

So bring on Nathan Hughes and whoever else wants to wear the England shirt.

No Billy is great and im a huge fan. Likewise Ewers etc im a huge fan of....

but im just getting concerned from hearing every player touted for England being from ?? but English Qualified.

I know the rules are what they are but I genuinely fear the day we have a team where more than half the 15 are from a different country but English qualified.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:17 pm

nlpnlp wrote:"That's Ed Slater...."  Problem is this seems to read "That's the injured Ed Slater" at lot at the moment.  I know injury is part and parcel of the game, but some players Tom Croft, James Simpson-Daniel, etc seem to be unlucky on that front.

Then look to Kruis, Itoje, Barrow, Kitchener, Attwood, Garvey, Launchbury etc etc.....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:18 pm

Hughes has to be involved though. no ifs or buts.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:19 pm

I have no doubts he will be.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:21 pm

nlpnlp wrote:"That's Ed Slater...."  Problem is this seems to read "That's the injured Ed Slater" at lot at the moment.  I know injury is part and parcel of the game, but some players Tom Croft, James Simpson-Daniel, etc seem to be unlucky on that front.

Thankfully for Ed the current injury doesn't seem too serious. 'Strained medial ligaments' is pretty common place in modern game. It's incredible how easy it is to minorly jolt or twist a knee in rucks, especially when in the jackal position.

Having done it myself it's a very frustrating injury as it was so innocuous at the time. In a ruck in the jackal position (or my inept impression of it) and as someone was cleared out they came down on the side of my knee. My studs stuck in turf so by knee just buckled in a tiny bit, wasn't that sore and felt fine running in a straight line but the second I tried to change direction it was very weak and buckled again.

It's frustrating because it will likely take around 3/4 weeks to get back to playing from it but from what has been released by Tigers it isn't a serious knee injury by any means so he could realistically make the 6 Nations. Even if he misses the Scotland game I'd have him in the EPS and include him on the bench when fit to see what he offers.

4.Launchbury
5.Kruis

19.Kitchener/Slater

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:25 pm

I know Kruis is in fine form but for me he is the guy in place of Launchbury (which he hasn't overtaken for me) rather than beside him.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:26 pm

king_carlos wrote:Mitch Lees is an absolutely huge bloke. One of those few guys who look even bigger than their monstrous statistics would show. I remember once seeing Simon Shaws stats on TV and thinking no-way, that's not human. Then I saw him in real life after a Tigers vs Wasps game and immediately thought heck he's even bigger! Erm Lees is a similar category. I agree with GF though. The grandparent rule is idiotic and as such I get very frustrated when players qualify through it.

Regardless of that debate the truth is that if we want a massive bloke who's excellent in the tight then Slater is as good but also more dynamic if carrying a bit further out.

Teehee. As a 6ft 14/15yr old I used to play 2nd row. Unfortunately I didn't grow any taller but being as its a specialist position carried on playing 2nd row at colts level. Then there was the time I was playing alongside a 6ft 10inch 20 stone scottish hammer thrower. In the scrum I physically could not reach far enough round to bind on to him properly.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:36 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I know Kruis is in fine form but for me he is the guy in place of Launchbury (which he hasn't overtaken for me) rather than beside him.

I'd have said the same at the start of the season. Since Hargreaves has been out injured at Sarries he has really stood up though. He's calling the line-out with already impressive and increasing confidence, noticeably calling tough throws in the middle to himself with regularity.

On top of this he has looked much stronger on the carry. He always offered himself to his scrum half as an option regularly but rarely showed anything too dynamic when it came to getting over the gain line. This season he's looked much more powerful in that regard.

I'm a big Kitchener fan and honestly felt he was the best lock the Prem last season. On current form Kruis is putting in much more influential performances and deserves to start though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:47 pm

Fair enough, I only saw to about 50 min of the Leicester game but they looked very wary of getting the ball anywhere near Kitchener though (probably a very smart call) but it underlined why he would be the one for me over Kruis next to Launchbury.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jan 2016, 2:48 pm

In the lineout that is.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:00 pm

I don't think many would argue if Kitchener started alongside Launchbury. He is quality and a big guy aswell.

4 Launchbury
5 Kruis (in current form) / Kitchener (in top form)

Would be a very potent lock combo.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:04 pm

Fine lines. I'd know what I'd have but when push comes to shove I very rarely disagreed (or at least couldn't see the reasoning) with Lancaster's choices and it'll be the same with Jones. Lot's of good options.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:10 pm

I think its the balance in the pack that everyone disagreed with the most.

We saw the reasoning for much of it...but still disagreed at times.

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Post by bluestonevedder Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:16 pm

Dave Attwood out for 10-12 weeks to have surgery on his neck.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/35235726

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:21 pm

Have you seen that guy Mitch Lees....now theres a prospect....
Wink

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:23 pm

On a serious note...might that explain why Attwood hasn't been firing in games.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jan 2016, 3:44 pm

He looked strong in his first couple of appearances then tailed off rapidly before being rested. It would make sense if he'd picked up that sort of injury.

Hopefully he recovers quickly and gets back to his best. He's a player I felt for under the Lancaster tenure. It seemed at the time that he'd been told to effectively drop what he was good at (and what got him selected) in order to fit a 'mould'. Then he got dropped for not doing what he did for Bath after being told not too...

The real irony think back it that if you look at his performances in terms of the quantity over quality that the old set up seemed to look for then he actually played OK! He shored up the scrum, called and jumped well in the line-out, defended solidly round the fringes and carried regularly but not for many yards. With hindsight that seems to be a good description of what Bomber was demanding from his locks.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jan 2016, 4:27 pm

Well there does seem to have been a public issue between Lancaster and what he wanted Attwood to play like.

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