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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 propdavid_london Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:45 am

1. Marler/Mako V/Mullan
2. Youngs/George/Hartley
3. Cole/Wilson/Brookes
4. Launchbury/Attwood/Slater
5. Itoje/Lawes/Kitchener
6. Robshaw/Wood/Haskell
7. Kvesic/Clifford/Brendan O'Conner (wildcard)
8. Vuinipola/Morgan/Hughes (When is he available)?

9. Youngs/Care/Robson
10. Ford/Farrell/Cipriani
11. Nowell/May/Yarde
12. Tuilagi/Slade/Barritt
13. Joseph/Daly/Burrell
14. Watson/Ashton/Wade
15. Brown/Watson/Pennell

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Post by propdavid_london Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:51 am

GF - Was there any indication of the type of players that Eddie would be likely to pick?
His Japanese side was very structured, but he was also limited to players he had available and working within constraints.

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Post by cb Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:58 am

I would be surprised if there are mass changes but may be lesser capped players might move up the pecking order.  I would also think changes would not happen all in one match but be spread out (since Jones will not want to lose too often).

Of uncapped players possibly Itoje, Kitchener (if he can get fit and find form), Kvesic (cannot remember if he has a cap or not), might come in.  Though these may not be Jones' type of player?

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:59 am

LondonTiger wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:Cole is looking better again at Tigers isn't he?

Depends who you listen to. The typical Saint's fan (WPI Wink) will tell you he has been rubbish.

But I am happy with him so far. 3 starts since the WC against Wasps, Exeter and Stade. Leicester were clearly superior at scrum time against the first and last, but struggled a little with Exeter. Primarily this was in the LH side where stand-in Balmain struggled with Francis, but the whole pack should shoulder responsibility.

Is he at his best?  No.

Is he close? Probably not yet.

Is he playing better than he did at the RWC? Most definitely yes.


This sunday will be informative. Ayerza, Youngs & cole vs Auterac, Webber and Thomas.

I certainly wouldn't say Cole is or has been rubbish, he is clearly as you have admitted not at the top of his game and there are other players that at the moment are on better form, Thomas, and Brookes to name two.

Cole at his best is the best scrummaging TH we have, the problem being that through injury and the new scrummaging laws he has not got back to that form. He also offers less as a carrying forward than the others although his breakdown skills are better. He is definitely worth his place in the EPS and then it would then be up to EJ to decide if he wants the rock in the tight or the mobility of the others.

I may be pro Saints, but I am rarely anti any other side or player unless they are a complete and utter waste of space. How old is Ayerza now, if I would EJ I would be getting him involved (with Tigers consent of course) to tutor some of the young crop of props we have got coming through, for me he is the best in the world at the moment.
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Post by Mad for Chelsea Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:02 am

Might as well have a go.

1st choice
Mako Vunipola
George
Thomas
Launchbury
Lawes
Robshaw
Kvesic
B. Vunipola
Youngs
Ford
May
Slade
Joseph
Watson
Brown

Marler
Hartley
Cole
Kitchener
Morgan
Simpson
Farrell
Nowell

2nd choice

Mullan
Youngs
Brookes
Kruis
Itoje
Haskell
Fraser
Easter
Care
Cipriani
Wade
Eastmond
Tuilagi
Ashton
Goode

Auterac
Haywood
Wilson
Slater
Ewers
Wigglesworth
Burns
Daly

3rd choice

Waller
Webber
Sinckler
Attwood
Symmons
Wood
Clifford
Waldrom
Dickson
Myler
Yarde
Hill
Burrell
Roko (not going to try to spell...)
Foden

Corbisiero
LCD
Wilson
Garvey
Croft
Harrison
Twelvetrees
Penell

Bench for the third team a little unbalanced, but they're players I feel should be involved somewhere. First thoughts are that some areas are strong (back 3 for instance, Foden and Yarde way down) while for others such as TH prop I was struggling at times.

I wasn't particularly consistent with regards to picking players "going forward", i.e. discarding those I feel won't be around that long. For instance, I didn't pick Parling or Barritt, as I felt there were enough options there already (though Parling could definitely make it into the third team), but did pick Wigglesworth and Easter as I felt they were necessary at this moment, particularly the latter. So sue me!

I didn't pick Hughes as he's not EQ yet, but he would replace Easter in a few months. Aside from that, and any I may have completely forgotten, I feel the only player who could/should be involved in this discussion but couldn't find a spot for is Devoto.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:04 am

cb wrote:I would be surprised if there are mass changes but may be lesser capped players might move up the pecking order.  I would also think changes would not happen all in one match but be spread out (since Jones will not want to lose too often).

Of uncapped players possibly Itoje, Kitchener (if he can get fit and find form), Kvesic (cannot remember if he has a cap or not), might come in.  Though these may not be Jones' type of player?

Kvesic was capped vs Argentina on the tour that took place at the same time as the Lions.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 25 Nov 2015, 11:11 am

propdavid_london wrote:GF - Was there any indication of the type of players that Eddie would be likely to pick?  
His Japanese side was very structured, but he was also limited to players he had available and working within constraints.  

No mate, Kafer didn't suggest any "types" just said many of that squad or team would not have been there if Eddie had been in charge.


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Post by Poorfour Wed 25 Nov 2015, 1:11 pm

[quote="GeordieFalcon"]
propdavid_london wrote:GF - Was there any indication of the type of players that Eddie would be likely to pick?  
His Japanese side was very structured, but he was also limited to players he had available and working within constraints.  

No mate, Kafer didn't suggest any "types" just said many of that squad  or team would not have been there if Eddie had been in charge.

[/quote

But as Eddie himself has said, it's a bit different being a national head coach than being a pundit... and your view of players may change accordingly.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 25 Nov 2015, 1:27 pm

Absolutely, its very different being a pundit and being a manager.

But im only pointing out what Kafer said...someone who has been close to Jones for a lot of his career in Aus.

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Post by yappysnap Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:06 pm

1st XV
Marler, George, Brookes
Launchbury, Itoje
Haskell, Ward, Easter
Simpson, Ford
Wade, Slade, Tuilagi, Nowell, Brown

Mullan, Synckler, Garvey, Clifford, Robson, Devoto, Pennell, Daly

2nd xv
Autorac, Hartley, Cole
Attwood, Kitchener
Robshaw, Kvesic, Vunipola
Care, Farrell
Yarde, Burrell, Joseph, Roko, Watson

Waller, Buchanan, Mullan, Slater, Wallace, Harrison, Twelvetrees, Tait

3rd xv
Corbisero, Youngs, Wison
Slater, Lawes
Ewers, Fraser, Morgan
Youngs, Cipriani
May, Hill, Lowe, Ashton, Foden

?,?,?, Twomey, Chisholm, Chudley, Lazowski, Walker


Last edited by yappysnap on Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:21 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:12 pm

Yappy....Tuilagi? Shocked
Will he even be fit for the 6n?

Itoje? Im just not sure he's ahead of the likes of Attwood, Launchbury, Slater, Kitchener, Kruis etc etc

Ward??? Shocked
Now we know your a quins fan but really?

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Post by yappysnap Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:17 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Yappy....Tuilagi?  Shocked
Will he even be fit for the 6n?

Itoje? Im just not sure he's ahead of the likes of Attwood, Launchbury, Slater, Kitchener, Kruis etc etc

Ward??? Shocked
Now we know your a quins fan but really?

Tuilagi is quite a big gamble I agree... but a brilliant player if he is fit

Itoje looks better then a lot of other props right now, and is partnered by Launchbury who'll help him out. Really don't rate Kruis (mr average).

Ward after his performance against Montpellier and off the bench at 7 against Cardiff is the best EQ 7 in England Wink only joking, sort of.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:22 pm

As far as I'm aware, Itoje doesn't run the line out and isn't a great option. I don't think he can be partnered with Launchbury. I think we're looking at:

4. Launchbury
5. Kitchener, Lawes, Attwood

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:31 pm

yappysnap wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Yappy....Tuilagi?  Shocked
Will he even be fit for the 6n?

Itoje? Im just not sure he's ahead of the likes of Attwood, Launchbury, Slater, Kitchener, Kruis etc etc

Ward??? Shocked
Now we know your a quins fan but really?

Tuilagi is quite a big gamble I agree... but a brilliant player if he is fit

Itoje looks better then a lot of other props right now, and is partnered by Launchbury who'll help him out. Really don't rate Kruis (mr average).

Ward after his performance against Montpellier and off the bench at 7 against Cardiff is the best EQ 7 in England Wink  only joking, sort of.

Your putting him in at Prop??? Shocked

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Post by Welly Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:37 pm

1) Itojie, 2) Tuilagi, 3) Launchbury
4) Slater, 5) Attwood
6) Tom Youngs, 7) Ward, 8) Simpson.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Wed 25 Nov 2015, 3:48 pm

Welly wrote:1) Itojie, 2) Tuilagi, 3) Launchbury
4) Slater, 5) Attwood
6) Tom Youngs, 7) Ward, 8) Simpson.

That was gonna be Lancaster's next pack if he kept the job.

Then Haskell at 9, Barrritt at 10, Goode and Farrell on the wings, Robshaw at Fullback, Wood at 13 and Burgess at 12
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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 25 Nov 2015, 4:31 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:... Rod Kafer who seems to know Eddie very well, said quite clearly that many of the side that went to the WC were not the type of players that Eddie would have taken...

propdavid_london wrote:GF - Was there any indication of the type of players that Eddie would be likely to pick?


I wish we we doing more thought experiments like this. When we know the coach of a British Lions team, there are often posts saying "Well, it wouldn't be my pick but I bet he chooses X". We should all be looking back into Jones's coaching history for clues about what he will be doing with England.

For instance, if he chooses Joe Launchbury as captain, then that will be a surprise. Jones doesn't usually choose a front five forward. He did name Steve Borthwick at Saracens but Borthwick had already been Bath and England captain. Borthwick was named alongside Andy Farrell. Just think about that for a moment. Eddie Jones chose Andy Farrell as his club captain. If Sam Burgess hadn't already gone, I don't think it's ridiculous to think Jones might have wanted him to be in the leadership group too.

If it is Launchbury, then we can start to say that Jones might be playing what he sees, rather than imposing some fixed ideas.


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Post by doctor_grey Wed 25 Nov 2015, 4:34 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:
Welly wrote:1) Itojie, 2) Tuilagi, 3) Launchbury
4) Slater, 5) Attwood
6) Tom Youngs, 7) Ward, 8) Simpson.

That was gonna be Lancaster's next pack if he kept the job.

Then Haskell at 9, Barrritt at 10, Goode and Farrell on the wings, Robshaw at Fullback, Wood at 13 and Burgess at 12
Hey, this is not too bad!
I really think Wood and Burgess would have worked well together (couldn't have been worse than what we had).
Barritt's passing is about the same as Farrell so no drop off at ten.
If we have Haskell at 9, at least we have a scrum half who knows where the goal posts are..........

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 25 Nov 2015, 5:03 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
yappysnap wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Yappy....Tuilagi?  Shocked
Will he even be fit for the 6n?

Itoje? Im just not sure he's ahead of the likes of Attwood, Launchbury, Slater, Kitchener, Kruis etc etc

Ward??? Shocked
Now we know your a quins fan but really?

Tuilagi is quite a big gamble I agree... but a brilliant player if he is fit

Itoje looks better then a lot of other props right now, and is partnered by Launchbury who'll help him out. Really don't rate Kruis (mr average).

Ward after his performance against Montpellier and off the bench at 7 against Cardiff is the best EQ 7 in England Wink  only joking, sort of.

Your putting him in at Prop??? Shocked

In the absence of a tight head on the bench he may need to go there
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Post by yappysnap Wed 25 Nov 2015, 5:31 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
yappysnap wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Yappy....Tuilagi?  Shocked
Will he even be fit for the 6n?

Itoje? Im just not sure he's ahead of the likes of Attwood, Launchbury, Slater, Kitchener, Kruis etc etc

Ward??? Shocked
Now we know your a quins fan but really?

Tuilagi is quite a big gamble I agree... but a brilliant player if he is fit

Itoje looks better then a lot of other props right now, and is partnered by Launchbury who'll help him out. Really don't rate Kruis (mr average).

Ward after his performance against Montpellier and off the bench at 7 against Cardiff is the best EQ 7 in England Wink  only joking, sort of.

Your putting him in at Prop??? Shocked

All I said was that he looked better then most props, make of that what you will!

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 25 Nov 2015, 6:14 pm

yappysnap wrote:
All I said was that he looked better then most props, make of that what you will!

You have a new mancrush?

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Post by Poorfour Wed 25 Nov 2015, 6:23 pm

Yappysnap and beshocked sitting in a tree... Getting worked up over Itoje

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 25 Nov 2015, 8:57 pm

The biggest ?? for me so far is the front rows

The hookers are fine...George and Hartley with Youngs 3rd choice.

BUt then the Props are just anyones guess....for both 1st XV and Saxons

LH
Mullan, Marler, Auterac, Mako

TH
Brookes, Cole, Thomas, Wilson

Others:
Hepburn, Cooper Wooley, Hill, Scott Wilson, Sinkler

Its Wide open for some good consistant performances....and someone who can show strong scrummaging first ad foremost but with a bit of extra about the pitch.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Wed 25 Nov 2015, 10:02 pm

left out Waller in the "others" column there GF? also maybe Corbs (though I think he's just had too many injuries).

As you say props is very open. I personally favour Mako, who yappy omitted (forgot about?) entirely. I think his scrummaging has really improved, and he's got the better of some very good THs this season, terrific performance against Toulouse. He's also a very strong carrier, even at international level, and offers good workrate. On the TH side I have really no idea, and change my mind every week.

At hooker there's a lot to like about George. It's been noticeable that Sarries have been a much better team with him there over the last couple of games: the scrum really dropped off against Toulouse when Brits came on (the line-out wasn't that hot either), while he made a real difference all around when he came on against Ulster. Just needs to learn to hook the ball at scrums (though he's hardly alone in that...)

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 26 Nov 2015, 2:03 am

I think it is not possible for Corbisiero to be ready for international duty with sufficient club games behind him by the Six Nations. I do think he is now on a conservative and proper track to recovery. His injuries are classic and typical of a player rushed back too soon, which is a greater risk for a prop who is heavier and have different physical stresses than other players. Barring any unforeseen impediments, I think Alex will be fit and raring to go in the second half of the season and a good bet for the Australia tour.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Thu 26 Nov 2015, 8:20 am

Lets hope so Doc, Waller/Corbs and Brookes/Hill is a very strong set of front rows that should enable Mallinder to keep them all fairly fresh, especially with Ethan Waller and if he can learn to scrummage better Denman still in reserve
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 26 Nov 2015, 10:46 am

I did indeed forget Waller.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 26 Nov 2015, 12:19 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Lets hope so Doc, Waller/Corbs and Brookes/Hill is a very strong set of front rows that should enable Mallinder to keep them all fairly fresh, especially with Ethan Waller and if he can learn to scrummage better Denman still in reserve
Well, that's the plan. Let's see how it plays out. Hopefully Hill continues to develop. Then Saints have a great front row, with everyone rotated and managed with utmost care. Since each of the guys offers someting slightly different, it would also allow a horses for courses approach to each game, too.

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Post by cb Thu 26 Nov 2015, 12:38 pm

Question for the experts. Many on this board favour a proper open-side (e.g. Kvesic) and probably Vunipola as first choice number eight.  Neither of whom is great shakes at the line-out.  With say Launchbury as one of the locks and even with someone like Kitchener/Lawes as the other lock, surely the blindside needs to have some line-out ability.  Otherwise two jumpers are very easy to mark.

Who would anyone suggest?

Robshaw (as blindside) does a bit?  Another choices might be Otoje.  Croft would be the best but might not fulfill the other characteristics of a BS.

Other options: - Haskell, Wood, Garvey, Gibson, Ewers, Hughes (when available).

Who would people chose?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 26 Nov 2015, 1:00 pm

Kitchener, Launchbury, Ewers, Fraser, Morgan to me looks to be offering a good deal in scrum and lineout? Whether we would benefit for that many changes though in the short term is questionable.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 27 Nov 2015, 2:07 pm

Regardless of number of jumpers, in order for us to re-develop a strong line-out the players and coaches need return to backing their basic skills in that area.

Whenever you see interviews with Matfield about line-outs he inevitably talks about 'action beats reaction'. The key to a good line-out is trusting that if you get your throw, jump and lift all correct then regardless of whether the jumper is marked or not you should win the ball.

If you watch the SA line-out more often than not their jumpers are marked. In fact they often throw to the same man (Matfield, De Jager, Van der Merwe, etc) for 9 out of 10 throws in a game. The opposition know where it's going but because they execute their basic skills they still win the ball 90 odd percent of the time.

This is the key thing to get back in place first and foremost before worrying about having 3 strong jumpers etc. We need to get throwers who can hit their mark under pressure (i.e. usually throwing to the middle) plus jumpers and lifters who are comfortable backing themselves to win ball in those areas.

If we can't win ball in the middle consistently then our line-out becomes very easy to defend. Throwing to the front cuts attacking options massively. Throwing to the back inevitably lowers percentages and is at the mercy of the weather on the day.

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Post by yappysnap Fri 27 Nov 2015, 2:21 pm

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the starting pack for the 6N's, injuries aside will be almost unchanged.

Marler, Youngs/Hartley, cole
Launchbury, Lawes/Kruis
Wood, Robshaw, Vunipola

Only question marks are on 2 and 5, namely who starts and who benches.

I do not think Eddie will make many changes to start with, he'll want to see how a lot of players come back from the disappointing RWC and how they train and play in person, rather then second hand anecdotal evidence.

The Australia tour will be when changes are made, or even further into the 6N's if he feels he needs to, but I think that first game will see an England side that we're used to run out.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 27 Nov 2015, 3:11 pm

I agree that I don't think we will see as many changes to the starting XV immediately as many want.

I do however think Kvesic and one of George or Hartley will start at hooker.

In the EPS I reckon we will see a few new faces however due to players gaining or losing ground due to injury and Eddie likely wanting some different options so he has scope to shape how we play. If I had to predict his first EPS at the minute I would suggest:

Prop - Marler, Mako, Cole, Brookes, Thomas

Hooker - George, Hartley, Youngs

Second row - Launchbury, Lawes, Attwood + one of Kitchener, Slater or Kruis

Flanker - Robshaw, Kvesic + two of Haskell, Wood, Itoje, etc

Number 8 - Morgan and Billy

Scrum half - Youngs, Care + AN other

Fly half - Ford, Farrell

Centre - Joseph, Slade, Burrell, Daly

Wing - Watson, May, Nowell + one of Yarde, Roko or Wade

Full back - Brown + one of Goode, Foden or Pennell

Jones is a wily enough operator to know that in order to secure his job he will need results and the best way to got that will be with players who know each other. At the same time I think he is smart enough to acknowledge that the balance was far from right in the RWC, he'll want a few new guys to address however he feels that should be fixed.

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Post by nathan Fri 27 Nov 2015, 5:07 pm

Mad for Chelsea wrote:left out Waller in the "others" column there GF? also maybe Corbs (though I think he's just had too many injuries).

As you say props is very open. I personally favour Mako, who yappy omitted (forgot about?) entirely. I think his scrummaging has really improved, and he's got the better of some very good THs this season, terrific performance against Toulouse. He's also a very strong carrier, even at international level, and offers good workrate. On the TH side I have really no idea, and change my mind every week.

At hooker there's a lot to like about George. It's been noticeable that Sarries have been a much better team with him there over the last couple of games: the scrum really dropped off against Toulouse when Brits came on (the line-out wasn't that hot either), while he made a real difference all around when he came on against Ulster. Just needs to learn to hook the ball at scrums (though he's hardly alone in that...)
But your comparing him against Brits who has just come back from being out for a long time. I'm not saying George isn't good, just that comparing him against Brits will make him look brilliant.

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Post by yappysnap Fri 27 Nov 2015, 5:08 pm

I can see Slade coming in after his performances for club and country, Simpson as well.

They'd probably be the only new players I'd pick in the backs.

In the forwards as you say George will have a place, but after that I think it'll stay largely the same. Kvesic could feature in the match day 23 depending upon how the backrow goes in the opener, I think Jones will make a change rapidly if the players don't perform.

My predicted team for the opening game against Scotland is

Marler, Hartley, Cole
Launchbury, Kruis
Wood, Robshaw, Vunipola
Care, Farrell
Slade, Joseph
Watson, Nowell, Brown

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Post by Mr Bounce Fri 27 Nov 2015, 5:20 pm

I think the main issue there is with all the selections we're making is that there are far too many changes to the squad. There are a few issues with the current squad being collective leadership and balance along with a few players being badly off form and too much favouritism.

The props and hookers needs to be taught how to scrum properly again and there's one or two players who are out injured or about to retire and a couple so far off form they shouldn't be near the squad right now.

Let's keep the changes down to about 20% of the whole squad. There's a good basis, but it needs tweaking.

Who goes?

Wigglesworth to be replaced by Simpson
Wood by Kvesic
Burgess by Burrell
Daly for Joseph (injury)
I would also like to see Wade given a run (possibly for May if he's doing his "speedy headless chicken" thing) and would welcome Foden back with open arms. (Yup I know it's a bit Wasps-heavy, but I am a fan Wink )

Aside from that there's no real reason to chop and change. The issues are mental more than anything else. Too much chopping and changing would result in catastrophe. Let's use the players we have but if their form dips, bring in the next cab off the rank.

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Post by jamesandimac Fri 27 Nov 2015, 6:12 pm

Interesting reading Dean Ryan in the Guardian stating that Eddie Jones can only make 10 changes to the EPS for the upcoming 6Ns. If he makes more than that then the clubs are in for a large compensation fee from the RFU. Now I'm assuming that the 10 changes is inclusive of the 2 additions to bring the EPS up from 31 to the normal 33 but that's not confirmed.

That said I wouldn't want to see that many changes if I'm honest. Based on form since the RWC you would have to say there has to be slots for the likes of Attwood and Simpson, and you would even suggest that maybe replacing Wilson at 30 with his club mate Thomas would even be justified.

I would probably look at the following changes:

1. Thomas for Wilson
2. Hartley for T. Youngs (providing he finds form and fitness following injury)
3. Attwood for Parling
4. Kitchener for Kruis (providing he finds form and fitness following injury)
5. Itoje as an addition
6. Fraser as an addition (assuming Easter is not a full member of the Squad as he was an injury replacement)
7. Simpson for Wigglesworth
8. Daly for Burgess
9. Tuilagi for Barritt, if Tuilagi is out then Twelvetrees


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Post by nathan Fri 27 Nov 2015, 10:22 pm

Burrell was pretty average tonight when he should of been able to use his bulk

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Post by king_carlos Sat 28 Nov 2015, 1:54 am

yappysnap wrote:I can see Slade coming in after his performances for club and country, Simpson as well.

They'd probably be the only new players I'd pick in the backs.

In the forwards as you say George will have a place, but after that I think it'll stay largely the same. Kvesic could feature in the match day 23 depending upon how the backrow goes in the opener, I think Jones will make a change rapidly if the players don't perform.

My predicted team for the opening game against Scotland is

Marler, Hartley, Cole
Launchbury, Kruis
Wood, Robshaw, Vunipola
Care, Farrell
Slade, Joseph
Watson, Nowell, Brown

I'd agree that Jones may view Hartley ahead of George due to international experience and wanting to target immediate wins to get some momentum.

However I think that he will look to bring a new 7 straight in - after the criticism which our lack of one received during the RWC, not least from Eddie this is likely a given IMO.

I also feel that the need to strengthen the tight 5 in the line-out AND scrum could see Attwood or Kitchener get a look in again as bigger lumps who offer a caller and primary jumper. Jones is smart enough to know that not shoring up our set-piece will put him under pressure early so this will be one of his first priorities thankfully.

I'd also be quite surprised if he favoured Farrell over Ford, especially if Slade is outside him offering another kicking option. He tends to like a strong distributing 10 when he can get one.

1.Marler 2.Hartley 3.Cole 4.Launchbury 5.Attwood 6.Robshaw 7.Kvesic 8.Morgan
9.Youngs 10.Ford 11.May 12.Slade 13.Joseph 14.Watson 15.Brown
16.George 17.Mako 18.Brookes 19.Lawes 20.Billy 21.Care 22.Farrell 23.Nowell/Burrell

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Post by jamesandimac Sat 28 Nov 2015, 8:18 am

Why has Morgan jumped ahead of Vunipola on everyone's starting line up? I thought Vunipola had really matured this year and pushed himself well ahead. His RWC performances were very good. I personally would stay him.

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Post by nathan Sat 28 Nov 2015, 9:52 am

I think they are a very close call and will be for the foreseeable future

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Post by cb Sat 28 Nov 2015, 10:02 am

I would go with at the moment (subject to a bit of form and fitness): -

Marler, Hartley, Brookes, Launchbury, Kitchener, Robshaw, Kvesic, Vunipola,
Youngs, Ford, Nowell, Slade, Joseph, Watson, Brown.

Bench: Vunipola, George, Cole, Lawes, Morgan, Simpson, Farrell, Manu.

Maybe a year or so down the track Otoje and Auterac may feature.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 28 Nov 2015, 10:51 am

jamesandimac wrote:Why has Morgan jumped ahead of Vunipola on everyone's starting line up? I thought Vunipola had really matured this year and pushed himself well ahead. His RWC performances were very good. I personally would stay him.
I don't have a strong preference but I will be interested to see whether England ever play them both in the same match day 23 again. Always thought that limited our bench options, which might not appeal to Jones if he decides he wants to freshen up the back row.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Sat 28 Nov 2015, 10:59 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
jamesandimac wrote:Why has Morgan jumped ahead of Vunipola on everyone's starting line up? I thought Vunipola had really matured this year and pushed himself well ahead. His RWC performances were very good. I personally would stay him.
I don't have a strong preference but I will be interested to see whether England ever play them both in the same match day 23 again. Always thought that limited our bench options, which might not appeal to Jones if he decides he wants to freshen up the back row.

I suppose if Robshaw is moved to play at blindside flanker and a "proper" openside is brought in, then England can afford to have both Vunipola and Morgan in the 23. Vunipola can play at 6 and obviously Robshaw can play at 7.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun 29 Nov 2015, 10:52 am

jamesandimac wrote:Why has Morgan jumped ahead of Vunipola on everyone's starting line up? I thought Vunipola had really matured this year and pushed himself well ahead. His RWC performances were very good. I personally would stay him.

Morgan was invisible on a wild and windy night on Friday, just the sort of conditions you want a lump of an 8 to do the hard stuff close in. Dickinson looked by far the better player.

Kvesic looked pretty ordinary against Wood as well, completely outplayed although it was behind a retreating pack.

One other player that put their hand up controlling the game in the filthy conditions was Myler, he may not have Ford's flair or Farrells defence, but he does everything to a good standard and does not have any weaknesses to exploit.
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Post by doctor_grey Sun 29 Nov 2015, 11:12 am

Good points about Morgan and Kvesic. Someone wrote they weren't aware Morgan was on the pitch until later in the match. It certainly seemed that way. Was nowhere to be found. Same with Kvesic, not just in the scrums, but in open play as well. The Saints forwards simply seemed better to a man than the Gloucester forwards, even putting aside the scrum situation.

Regarding Myler, he he quietly having a very good start to the season. He has played so much Rugby the last few years, we can see the positive effect of having a longer time off this summer.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 29 Nov 2015, 1:18 pm

Myler is an outstanding club player, but nothing else. Nothing wrong with that either.

I'd have Billy V way ahead of Morgan so far, but Morgan seems to be one of those players that saves his best for England (when fit at least) while Billy struggles.

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 29 Nov 2015, 1:41 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
Kvesic looked pretty ordinary

Sorry but I disagree 100%. No-one made more tackles than Kvesic while he was on the pitch, he did not miss one either, he was a constant menace at the breakdown and the main reason Fotuali'i was getting such slow ball. People have mentioned Dickson looked better when he came on, but that also co-incided with Kvesic being removed from action. Kveric, for me, quite rightly looked livid when he was replaced as he was easily Glaws stand out player and the best back rower on the field. (PS i really like Tom wood and feel he is being unfairly trashed in the int section)

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Post by yappysnap Sun 29 Nov 2015, 2:30 pm

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.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 29 Nov 2015, 2:36 pm

Hard for a 7 to impress when your pack is on the back foot.

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