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606 Selects Englands EPS for 2016 6Ns

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 12 Nov 2015, 11:28 am

First topic message reminder :

Typically the EPS consists around 34 players, broken down into 5 props, 3 hookers, 4 second row, 6 back row, 3 SHs, 3 FHs, 4 centres and 6 back 3 players.

So can we do a better job than the 3 monkeys who will be doing it this season?

The Process:

We all select 3 full 23 man match day squads, ranking them 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice.
Players will be assigned points 3 for being in a 1st choice squad down to 1 for being in a 3rd choice squad.
Points will be added up and players divided between EPS and Saxons based on the values and obtaining an "ideal" mix of positions.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Sun 29 Nov 2015, 3:00 pm

yappysnap wrote:I thought Kvesic was a traditional 7 and should be making turn overs for fun and 50m breaks ball in hand before linking with the backs like a centre? What you're describing LT sounds like what Robshaw does week in week out and is pilloried for.

Most of the best openside flankers in the world lead the tackle count. Richie McCaw isn't known as captain tackles for nothing! It is a myth that an openside flanker should stand off tackles and spend more time hovering about looking for fetching opportunities. The best 7s will be doing both.

I don't think that the 7 always needs to be the best player on the deck either. In fact it is much better to have a pack with multiple "fetchers". Look at Vermeulen, Louw and Du Plessis for SA. Or look at O'Mahony, O'Brien and Best for Ireland. Probably the best example is David Pocock selected at 8 and playing just as effectively as he does at 7. Which allows someone a bit different to play at 7 (Michael Hooper).

England need to find the correct balance in the pack with players who can address these issues and work together as a unit.

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 29 Nov 2015, 4:02 pm

yappysnap wrote:I thought Kvesic was a traditional 7 and should be making turn overs for fun and 50m breaks ball in hand before linking with the backs like a centre? What you're describing LT sounds like what Robshaw does week in week out and is pilloried for.

Robshaw not pilloried by me.

Main difference between the two is robshaw is bulkier/stronger but Kvesic quicker. They could do well as a pair.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Sun 29 Nov 2015, 6:22 pm

Would you have Wood with Kvesic /fraser.....

6 Wood
7 Kvesic / fraser

Then you have a 3rd lineout option.

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Post by jamesandimac Sun 29 Nov 2015, 7:39 pm

Haskell, Robshaw and Vunipola for me, with Ewers, Fraser and Morgan as backup. It was a very strong backrow in the 6Ns but was torn apart in the Autumn because of the need for Wood to be bought in and also the desire for an unfit and out of form Morgan to start.

Haskell has been in storming form at 6 for Wasps and it seems as though he's been given the simple task of tackling and running all day long, nothing fancy, nothing too demanding, but he is excelling in the role.

Give Robshaw a strong pack of ball carriers and tacklers and you'll see him get over the ball a lot more. Most underrated, and most derided player in England. I would also keep him as Captain.

I have to admit that the last few weeks has seen a shift in thought for me, especially in the front row. Despite originally seeing them as replacements, I've been very impressed with the performances of M. Vunipola, George and Brookes in the front row and think they could warrant a start. The following pack would certainly provide a step change from what we saw in the RWC and offers a strong set piece as well as a lot of powerful carrying options. That would provide a lot of front foot ball which would limit the options of opposition 7's to attack as they would have further to go to hit the ruck and challenge for the ball. Also in defence, you wouldn't imagine them getting pushed around and bullied and with a defence going forward it would provide a platform for Robshaw to show his breakdown skills.

1. Vunipola
2. Hartley
3. Brookes
4. Launchbury
5. Attwood
6. Haskell
7. Robshaw
8. Vunipola



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Post by LondonTiger Sun 29 Nov 2015, 8:16 pm

Until Fraser can play more than 1 week in 3 we need to forget him. 26 may be too young to write a player off, but i wonder if he will ever play for England.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Sun 29 Nov 2015, 9:17 pm

I had no idea he was 26. Don't know why but I thought he was only 20 / 21

Kvesic is the likely candidate anyway I think of the two.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 29 Nov 2015, 11:53 pm

A Kvesic/Robshaw combo could actually work very well.

LT your a genius, get on the phone to Eddie Jones quick!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 30 Nov 2015, 5:24 am

If Jones is going on form, Robshaw won't be there.

Fraser played 2 weeks ago, was banned last week and played again at the weekend. As far as I'm aware, he's had no injury issues this season, he's just been building his fitness.

6. Haskell
7. Fraser/Kvesic
8. Vunipola

Would be the form trio so far, Haskell has been superb.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 8:13 am

Yeah Haskell has been class. Can he bring that form consistently to this level?

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 30 Nov 2015, 8:58 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:If Jones is going on form, Robshaw won't be there.

Fraser played 2 weeks ago, was banned last week and played again at the weekend. As far as I'm aware, he's had no injury issues this season, he's just been building his fitness.

6. Haskell
7. Fraser/Kvesic
8. Vunipola

Would be the form trio so far, Haskell has been superb.

Fraser was selected for this weekend but did not actually play in the end due to some problem or other.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 30 Nov 2015, 9:12 am

Ah right, I didn't see the game, I just saw his name on the team sheet.


Last edited by Sgt_Pooly on Mon 30 Nov 2015, 9:45 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 30 Nov 2015, 9:36 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Yeah Haskell has been class. Can he bring that form consistently to this level?
He does have a track record which says he is inconsistent.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 9:53 am

His consistency issues are a problem as he is consistently inconsistent at this level despite being consistently excellent for his club.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:24 am

......leading to consistent critiques of his consistently inconsistent play at International level.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:28 am

Maybe SL asked different things of him for England than he does at Wasps? He does seem to have a pretty basic game plan at Wasps which highlights his strengths.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:42 am

doctor_grey wrote:......leading to consistent critiques of his consistently inconsistent play at International level.  

Very Happy thumbsup

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:44 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Maybe SL asked different things of him for England than he does at Wasps? He does seem to have a pretty basic game plan at Wasps which highlights his strengths.
Well yes this is something a few of us have covered on here Sgt.

It raises the same question with Dave Attwood, and his public spat with Lancaster. By all accounts Attwood was being asked to play a much different role than he normally does for bath and he was being dropped because he couldn't adapt.

My question is why pick a player known for playing the game in a certain way, then try to change his style???

Has he been doing the same with Haskell...and who else?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:52 am

Did he ask Haskell to consistently make stupid decisions and give pens away?

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:58 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Maybe SL asked different things of him for England than he does at Wasps? He does seem to have a pretty basic game plan at Wasps which highlights his strengths.
Well yes this is something a few of us have covered on here Sgt.

It raises the same question with Dave Attwood, and his public spat with Lancaster. By all accounts Attwood was being asked to play a much different role than he normally does for bath and he was being dropped because he couldn't adapt.

My question is why pick a player known for playing the game in a certain way, then try to change his style???

Has he been doing the same with Haskell...and who else?

Dan Cole. what we had was an excellent scrummager, decent fringe defender and good at the breakdown. However they wanted an all singing, all action running passing prop.

Option 1) Get such a prop and improve their scrummaging
Option 2) Take the prop you have, de-power them and remove their main strength.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:00 am

Absolutely LT!

So its not just one off instances...but I don't understand why??

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:10 am

I can't recall giving away that many pens, certainly no more than Youngs or Cole.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:16 am

It would be interesting to see a breakdown of who the actual penalty culprits were....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:19 am

He did. It's more the fact he gives away stupid ones rather than ones he could possibly get away with.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:29 am

Props usually give away most penalties as they get pinged at scrum time as well as around the field.

The impression I have is that Haskell (and Hartley) have with some regularity given away needless penalties with dumb actions. However as I have said in discussions about Jonny May, impressions we form early on can be misleading. Once we have that impression it is re-inforced every time it is true, but never weakened the countless times it is not.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:32 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Maybe SL asked different things of him for England than he does at Wasps? He does seem to have a pretty basic game plan at Wasps which highlights his strengths.
Well yes this is something a few of us have covered on here Sgt.

It raises the same question with Dave Attwood, and his public spat with Lancaster. By all accounts Attwood was being asked to play a much different role than he normally does for bath and he was being dropped because he couldn't adapt.

My question is why pick a player known for playing the game in a certain way, then try to change his style???

Has he been doing the same with Haskell...and who else?

I'll have to ask the wife.....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:39 am

There are times when he plays excellently LT but the stupidity doesn't go away. I wouldn't mind his time being up. He's had enough chances to nail down the position and has never been able to.

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Post by yappysnap Mon 30 Nov 2015, 1:06 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Maybe SL asked different things of him for England than he does at Wasps? He does seem to have a pretty basic game plan at Wasps which highlights his strengths.
Well yes this is something a few of us have covered on here Sgt.

It raises the same question with Dave Attwood, and his public spat with Lancaster. By all accounts Attwood was being asked to play a much different role than he normally does for bath and he was being dropped because he couldn't adapt.

My question is why pick a player known for playing the game in a certain way, then try to change his style???

Has he been doing the same with Haskell...and who else?

Dan Cole. what we had was an excellent scrummager, decent fringe defender and good at the breakdown. However they wanted an all singing, all action running passing prop.

Option 1) Get such a prop and improve their scrummaging
Option 2) Take the prop you have, de-power them and remove their main strength.

Danny Care - great at increasing the pace of a game, keeping the defence guessing and supporting runners. What Lancaster decided is that he should kick everything, what he doesn't kick should be passed, no matter what don't run it.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon 30 Nov 2015, 1:26 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:If Jones is going on form, Robshaw won't be there.

Fraser played 2 weeks ago, was banned last week and played again at the weekend. As far as I'm aware, he's had no injury issues this season, he's just been building his fitness.

6. Haskell
7. Fraser/Kvesic
8. Vunipola

Would be the form trio so far, Haskell has been superb.

The man that everyone wants to drop has been playing in his old position at 7 this season and has been very good in the last few matches, certainly outplayed Kvesic on Friday by a country mile. Tom Wood.

I can understand people wanting a gruntier 6, but don't rule out Wood at 7, it was his original position and England have not really tried him there due to Robshaw being skipper and therefore undropable. Before he had his foot problems, many regarded him as the favourite for both the 7 shirt and the captaincy.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 1:30 pm

What are you suggesting WPI

6 Ewers
7 Wood
8 Vunipola

Something like that?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 1:31 pm

Also...did he really outplay Kvesic? Im not sure.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 30 Nov 2015, 1:48 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Also...did he really outplay Kvesic? Im not sure.

Not sure which thread it was on, but no I do not believe, no matter how much I admire Wood, that he did outplay Kvesic. In fact I thought that on the night Kvesic was marginally better.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:10 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:If Jones is going on form, Robshaw won't be there.

Fraser played 2 weeks ago, was banned last week and played again at the weekend. As far as I'm aware, he's had no injury issues this season, he's just been building his fitness.

6. Haskell
7. Fraser/Kvesic
8. Vunipola

Would be the form trio so far, Haskell has been superb.

The man that everyone wants to drop has been playing in his old position at 7 this season and has been very good in the last few matches, certainly outplayed Kvesic on Friday by a country mile. Tom Wood.

I can understand people wanting a gruntier 6, but don't rule out Wood at 7, it was his original position and England have not really tried him there due to Robshaw being  skipper and therefore undropable. Before he had his foot problems, many regarded him as the favourite for both the 7 shirt and the captaincy.

I didn't seem the game but it's been widely reported that Robshaw played very well against Exeter. While wearing 6. It seems we had the right back row all along, just in the wrong shirts.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:22 pm

Its not so much the personnel that is being questioned...its the roles they have been asked to play I think.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 30 Nov 2015, 6:31 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Its not so much the personnel that is being questioned...its the roles they have been asked to play I think.

I get the impression that supporters are increasingly taking the view that we had the right players but contrived to get the worst out of them. Listening to the recent eggchasers podcast, they were also talking about having a pack without an obvious fetcher, but with shared turnover responsibilities. One of the trio said, "Hang on, isn't that exactly what Lancaster wanted?" to which the reply was "Yes, but he didn't know how to get players to do that, whereas you would hope Jones can".

If Eddie Jones' past record is anything guide, I think we might find he agrees with what Lancaster tried to do, and so his value will be in whether he can give players a clearer idea of how he wants them to do it. For instance, I suspect Jones will also want Dan Cole to have an all-court game too, or he'll look elsewhere. Tom Youngs is the kind of player Jones has liked in the past.

That might sound like it's not good news for our set piece but the great conundrum for all of us remains this. Why did our pack, which had already adopted those workrate values, and had been competitive as recently as the last Six Nations, perform so poorly?

The main reasons I've seen given so far are 1. Dylan Hartley was missing 2. The conditioning programme was in reverse gear 3. Too many players were coming back from injury.

I don't think it's going to be hard to get our pack back up to speed. It's not as if performances were gradually going down hill, and the chickens came home to roost at the World Cup. The warm-up games and the tournament itself were complete anomalies.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:43 pm

I think the roles people were asked to play is a big part of it.  That is a great point which we have kind of taken a narrow view of in recent discussions, but probably does apply to the whole team:  Just think Burgess, Foden on the wing, Lawes at 6, Cole as a mobile prop, Brown as a human, on and on.  Many examples.

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I think it is all true:  Hartley was missed, there were problems in the training regimen, and far too many players were recovering from injury.  So we really don't know if this squad, if healthy, could have been a real contender, though we presume so.  We do know these things were amiss which are the responsibility of the head coach. Taken together these points are a recipe for failure.

Another question is whether this group of players can ever get and stay healthy to play together.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 01 Dec 2015, 4:08 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Its not so much the personnel that is being questioned...its the roles they have been asked to play I think.

I get the impression that supporters are increasingly taking the view that we had the right players but contrived to get the worst out of them. Listening to the recent eggchasers podcast, they were also talking about having a pack without an obvious fetcher, but with shared  turnover responsibilities. One of the trio said, "Hang on, isn't that exactly what Lancaster wanted?" to which the reply was "Yes, but he didn't know how to get players to do that, whereas you would hope Jones can".

If Eddie Jones' past record is anything guide, I think we might find he agrees with what Lancaster tried to do, and so his value will be in whether he can give players a clearer idea of how he wants them to do it. For instance, I suspect Jones will also want Dan Cole to have an all-court game too, or he'll look elsewhere. Tom Youngs is the kind of player Jones has liked in the past.

That might sound like it's not good news for our set piece but the great conundrum for all of us remains this. Why did our pack, which had already adopted those workrate values, and had been competitive as recently as the last Six Nations, perform so poorly?

The main reasons I've seen given so far are 1. Dylan Hartley was missing 2. The conditioning programme was in reverse gear 3. Too many players were coming back from injury.

I don't think it's going to be hard to get our pack back up to speed. It's not as if performances were gradually going down hill, and the chickens came home to roost at the World Cup. The warm-up games and the tournament itself were complete anomalies.

When exactly did he like Tom Youngs?

Jones was quoted pre-world cup that England would miss Hartley because Youngs is a poor scrummager. I wouldn't say that was a huge positive in the Youngs corner myself and hopefully he won't be anywhere near any matchday squad.

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Post by yappysnap Tue 01 Dec 2015, 8:39 am

Another thing that I think contributed was the psychological side to preparation. Too many times in big games England came out either nervous, or too passive. It was very rare that the coaches would manage to build that passion/aggression that the top teams can show.

Again I hope Jones can effect this positively and get the players heads in the right places.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 01 Dec 2015, 9:16 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:...Tom Youngs is the kind of player Jones has liked in the past
When exactly did he like Tom Youngs?

Jones was quoted pre-world cup that England would miss Hartley because Youngs is a poor scrummager. I wouldn't say that was a huge positive in the Youngs corner myself and hopefully he won't be anywhere near any matchday squad.
I said Youngs is the type of player Jones has favoured in the past.

With the Wallabies, Jones famously de-emphasized scrummaging practice in favour of having his pack do more in the loose. With Japan, the scrum became a serious weakness at the start of his tenure (it hadn't been one under Kirwan) because he again wanted a fast tempo game. To his great credit, he set about rectifying that weakness, so the team would have a chance to put his plan into action.

While we were all dismayed at the way our pack underperformed during the World Cup, I don't think it will take anything drastic to see an improved performance. Once he gets that, I believe Jones will turn his attention back to what the forwards can do elsewhere on the pitch.

Jones won't ignore Hartley, not least because he has so much experience, which is something he also likes a lot. It wouldn't be a surprise if Hartley got the nod above others. That doesn't change the fact that Jones likes what Youngs offers, and if he thinks he can be part of an adequate scrum, then he'll be in a good position to contest that spot.

This is all based on how Jones has coached teams in the past. It is possible that he'll change his ways, given access to the English palette, but it's more likely that he'll go with the coaching style which got him the job in the first place.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 01 Dec 2015, 9:36 am

SA didn't have an under powered scum when he was involved there and Japan improved measurably.

With Jones it's more he works with what he's got. Aus had some very poor props under his tenure, he didn't have a lot to work with. Japan have came on leaps in this department.

With England he's already got a decent base, I can see this only improving.

Everything you say about Jones is very pessimistic, I'm not sure why.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 01 Dec 2015, 9:40 am

[quote="Rugby Fan"]
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:...Tom Youngs is the kind of player Jones has liked in the past
When exactly did he like Tom Youngs?

Jones was quoted pre-world cup that England would miss Hartley because Youngs is a poor scrummager. I wouldn't say that was a huge positive in the Youngs corner myself and hopefully he won't be anywhere near any matchday squad.
I said Youngs is the type of player Jones has favoured in the past.

With the Wallabies, Jones famously de-emphasized scrummaging practice in favour of having his pack do more in the loose..[/quote]

Is that not because he recognised that his available props were rubbish??

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 01 Dec 2015, 9:42 am

Ill also add, he doesn't live in a vacuum, he will have seen all the press and public going on about how woeful our set piece was.

If he doesn't take the hint from that then he shouldn't be in the position!

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:32 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:...and Japan improved measurably...
Under Jones, the Japanese scrum weakened markedly and then improved. No-one remembers Japan under Kirwan, not least the fickle Japanese public, but their scrum wasn't weak at the 2011 World Cup, and that was when we still had the hit. It went to pot with Jones, who then set about putting it right again. The scrum law changes gave him a route to developing a technically sound pack capable of striking quick ball against stronger units.

I've never said Jones wants an underpowered scrum, he just wants it to do enough to support the rest of his gameplan. We might think the Wallaby scrum was a shambles but, as far as Jones is concerned, he got his team to a World Cup final, which they might even have sneaked if it had gone to drop goals.


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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:40 am

He was never in a position to get a dominant scrum with the resources at his disposal. It's not like now, we have the players and with some tweaking could dominate in the set piece.

There's a lot of if's and but's around Jones, but he has an evolving style which he adapts to the players he has available.

If we can get back to having a strong set piece and bring in some sort of breakdown awareness/strategy we could have a very interesting England team.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:59 am

I think we're seeing the beginning of a trend in the scrum where scrum-as-penalty-machine gives way to scrum-as-possession-machine, with the forwards then active around the pitch. The ABs have done it for a while, Japan nailed it, I think it's where England were trying to go [1]. Not every nation has caught up but there is a definite option to emphasise technical proficiency over power and fast scrums over destructive ones.




[1] Interesting hypothetical: would England's approach have worked in the RWC if Hartley hadn't got himself banned? If the had fielded a hooker who could hook, the scrums would have been over quicker, there would have been less time for the opposition to attack the front row and the extra fitness of the pack might have told.
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Post by doctor_grey Tue 01 Dec 2015, 4:48 pm

Hartley adds more than simply the ability to hook.  He also adds weight, push, and attitude.  I think the scrum would certainly not have been worse if he was there.  At Saints, the one constant in the scrum for a long time has been Hartley.  He has prodded and pushed the entire pack and mentored many of the younger members to improve technique and drive.  

So if Hartley was in the England camp, how would he have reacted to a weakening pack?  Speculation only, but likely would tried something........

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Post by jamesandimac Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:00 pm

How is Hartley's head injury? Not really heard anything about when he is due back only that its ongoing.

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Post by jamesandimac Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:06 pm

Also did anyone watch the Chiefs Quins game at the weekend? Whats peoples thoughts on Marler at scrum time vs Low? Worries?

I thought he looked strong when Low was off, but as soon as Low returned from the blood he really took it to Marler which is a bit of a concern.

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Post by yappysnap Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:39 pm

On Tom Youngs, here are the stats for the set piece of each club in the Prem so far. Leicester not doing well.

http://www.ukrugbystats.co.uk/

Obviously it's more then just Youngs but it is a worry.

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 01 Dec 2015, 10:54 pm

I think key for Leicester is that they're missing two of their best locks. Both provide a lot in the scrum and Kitchener bosses the line out. It'll be interesting to see how those stats change now they're getting back.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 02 Dec 2015, 1:45 am

jamesandimac wrote:How is Hartley's head injury?  Not really heard anything about when he is due back only that its ongoing.
I was told on Sunday he is 50/50 for this week. In theory could have played last week but apparently the team is taking no chances.

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