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606 Selects Englands EPS for 2016 6Ns - Take 2

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 02 Dec 2015, 4:42 pm

First topic message reminder :

Name your 33 man EPS squad.
It must include 22 of the following players.
Keep any injured players in as they can be replaced later - but state who you would have on standby.

I will add up and produce the consensus next week.

Current Squad


Props
Kieran Brookes
Dan Cole
Joe Marler
Mako Vunipola
David Wilson

Hookers
Jamie George
Rob Webber
Tom Youngs

Second rows
George Kruis
Joe Launchbury
Courtney Lawes
Geoff Parling

Back rows
James Haskell
Ben Morgan
Chris Robshaw
Billy Vunipola
Tom Wood
Calum Clark

Scrum halves
Danny Care
Richard Wigglesworth
Ben Youngs

Fly halves
Owen Farrell
George Ford

Centres
Brad Barritt
Sam Burgess
Jonathan Joseph
Henry Slade
Luther Burrell

Back three
Mike Brown
Alex Goode
Jonny May
Jack Nowell
Anthony Watson

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Post by Cumbrian Mon 07 Dec 2015, 2:19 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:At the moment id probably be looking to start the following (if all knocks have cleared up and a few more months to get back in shape and rediscover form):

1 Marler
2 George
3 Cole
4 Launchbury
5 Kitchener
6 Robshaw (Ewers on the bench)
7 Kvesic
8 Billy V

Im even coming around again to Tom Wood at 6. He's still a quality operator with a very good lineout option. But get him to focus on certain aspects....not just being an alrounder.

That would be my starting pack for the opening match against Scotland too. Seems to have some very strong units and hopefully a bit of go forward!
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Post by jamesandimac Mon 07 Dec 2015, 3:12 pm

I'm not sure Marler is in the greatest form of his career at the moment, certainly improving since the RWC, but Mako is currently way ahead for me at the moment. He's always been strong in the loose, but he's now showing a level of consistancy in the set piece which is very good to see.

If England were playing Scotland tomorrow, I pick:

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Kieran Brookes
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Graham Kitchener (Despite only being his first game back he looked very impressive)
6. Chris Robshaw
7. Matt Kvesic
8. Billy Vunipola

I would also find room for Itoje on the bench.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 07 Dec 2015, 3:17 pm

So we only disagree on the props...which is wide open anyway to be honest.

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Post by jamesandimac Mon 07 Dec 2015, 3:37 pm

Exactly. I do like the idea of playing Mako and Brookes as they would offer a hell of a lot of go forward and take a lot of pressure off Billy V in the carrying department. My biggest worry though was that they would't show up well in the set piece although that fear has now been put to bed recently.

Also having Launchbury and Kitchener behind them isn't exactly a small engine room and both offer good lineout jumping options for George at 2 and 4. Robshaw is also very credible at the tail so all bases covered.

And with Robshaw and Kvesic you have a bit of balance in the scavaging department.

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Post by Bathman_in_London Mon 07 Dec 2015, 3:40 pm

Interesting that you both have gone for a similar team, personally I'm not sure Brookes is a starter yet but its hard to argue too much with the rest I think. Props can either look like heros or useless, depending on whether the ref has picked up on their boring in/other dark arts or their opposite numbers.

I am looking forward to Eddies first EPS announcement.

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Post by jamesandimac Mon 07 Dec 2015, 4:14 pm

Bathman, I know what you mean about Brookes, it was always my concern that he wasn't consistant enough in the set piece to warrant the start. That said, he has been in impressive form for about a month now, is part of a very dominant Saints scrum and i would argue of all the contenders (Cole, Thomas, Wilson and Brookes) he is the only one really showing the level of performance needed for international level right now.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 07 Dec 2015, 5:08 pm

Cumbrian wrote:I don't know what Eddie Jones is like as a selector... Does he like to throw youth in early?...
No, not particularly. I'd go as far as to say Jones doesn't have a great record of developing young players.

He likes experienced players, and tends to end up trying to teach them the skills to follow his gameplan, rather than looking for raw skill and trying to see whether a player can hack it as an experienced international. The minimum requirement for Jones, though, is that you do what he says. No amount of experience or skill will save you if you don't.




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Post by robbo277 Mon 07 Dec 2015, 6:03 pm

Retained in normal font. Dropped struck off. Replacements in bold. Injury cover in italics.

Props
Kieran Brookes
Dan Cole
Joe Marler
Mako Vunipola
David Wilson

Hookers
Jamie George
Rob Webber Dylan Hartley
Tom Youngs

Second rows
George Kruis
Joe Launchbury
Courtney Lawes
Geoff Parling

Back rows
James Haskell Matt Kvesic
Ben Morgan
Chris Robshaw
Billy Vunipola
Tom Wood
Calum Clark Maro Itoje

Scrum halves
Danny Care
Richard Wigglesworth Joe Simpson
Ben Youngs

Fly halves
Owen Farrell
George Ford

Centres
Brad Barritt Danny Cipraini
Sam Burgess Manu Tuilagi
Jonathan Joseph
Henry Slade Elliot Daly
Luther Burrell

Back three
Mike Brown
Alex Goode
Jonny May
Jack Nowell
Anthony Watson

[br]

Hartley should have never been dropped, so I'd reverse that one, but otherwise happy with the front row for now, although I'd have an eye on Auterac and Cowan-Dickie for the future.

I would be tempted to possibly drop a lock for a second seven (with Itoje covering lock and flanker), but (excluding one particular french-based player) I can't think of the stand-out candidate, although Fraser comes close. I have taken out the two players I don't really want to see in the EPS (Clark and Haskell) and replaced them with two players I really do (Itoje and Kvesic), and left it at that for now. Other options considered where Attwood, Slater, Kitchener and Croft to come in to the mix, but they're marginal calls.

Maybe I'm being harsh on Wigglesworth, but everyone talks about Robshaw's decision to go to the corner at 25-28, but no-one talks about him dropping a simple ball off the top from a subsequent line-out, and therefore robbing our backs of one last attacking opportunity. Can't really ignore Simpson's form with Wasps either. No need to remove Youngs, Care, Farrell or Ford, these guys can still take us forward, they just have to be given the opportunity to play their natural games.

I think with Slade out things in the centres are clarified a little, we don't have that playmaking option in the centres, unless we go with Ford/Cipriani at 10 and Farrell at 12, which isn't attractive, so I've gone with Tuilagi and Burrell as my options at 12 and Joseph and Daly as my options at 13, with my first choice and the most like-for-like replacement available. If Tuilagi stays fit, he has 4 years under Eddie Jones at 12, taking him from 24 to 28. Jones has said he wants to work on players' skills, and with that kind of timeframe, the hope would be that Tuilagi would look at Nonu as his template and look to develop his game as he did, to the extent that he is an effective enough distributor to not require a "second-five".

With Slade out I've also bolstered my options at 10, with 5 specialist centres being a little excessive in my opinion. So out goes Barritt and in comes Cipriani.

Back 5 is okay for now. I read an interesting article on the merits of Brown vs Goode, and I'd definitely be looking at the make-up of the side and whether having that second distribute at 15 is a better option, therefore Goode and Cipriani would come into play here, and Brown could end up making way for another winger.

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Post by robbo277 Mon 07 Dec 2015, 6:07 pm

With regards to the prop debate going on, I have no issue starting with Mako and Brookes. If the two of them can hold the set-piece up, then you want to get them into the game and carrying (assuming you want to play an attacking gameplan). If they falter in the set-piece, I'd have no problem making a change after 25-30 minutes. Front row are unique in that you can bring them back on if you get an injury later on in the game, and I'd have no concerns with Marler or Cole coming on after 25 minutes and seeing the game off fitness wise.

I think at the very least, you'll find out a bit more about Mako and Brookes (who have racked up a large portion of their caps as substitutes) and possibly give Marler and Cole a little bit of a kick up the backside that they might not have it all their way - as they did to an extent under Lancaster.

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Post by Exiledinborders Tue 08 Dec 2015, 6:55 am

robbo277 wrote:With regards to the prop debate going on, I have no issue starting with Mako and Brookes. If the two of them can hold the set-piece up, then you want to get them into the game and carrying (assuming you want to play an attacking gameplan). If they falter in the set-piece, I'd have no problem making a change after 25-30 minutes. Front row are unique in that you can bring them back on if you get an injury later on in the game, and I'd have no concerns with Marler or Cole coming on after 25 minutes and seeing the game off fitness wise.

I think at the very least, you'll find out a bit more about Mako and Brookes (who have racked up a large portion of their caps as substitutes) and possibly give Marler and Cole a little bit of a kick up the backside that they might not have it all their way - as they did to an extent under Lancaster.
If we need a loose head who is excellent in scrum on the bench I would go with Alex Waller.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 08 Dec 2015, 7:12 am

jamesandimac wrote:I'm not sure Marler is in the greatest form of his career at the moment, certainly improving since the RWC, but Mako is currently way ahead for me at the moment.  He's always been strong in the loose, but he's now showing a level of consistancy in the set piece which is very good to see.

If England were playing Scotland tomorrow, I pick:

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Kieran Brookes
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Graham Kitchener (Despite only being his first game back he looked very impressive)
6. Chris Robshaw
7. Matt Kvesic
8. Billy Vunipola

I would also find room for Itoje on the bench.
I think that would be a very balanced pack to start a 6N with.

My own personal belief is that Robshaw will thrive at blindside without the ongoing pressure of having to do all of the breakdown work himself and I also believe that Eddie Jones knows this. The same was true of Scotland where picking Blair Cowan at 6 and John Hardie at 7 in the World Cup suddenly meant that we won more breakdown ball and conceded fewer penalties. That combination came within a sparrow's fart of beating Australia in the quarters and that was not a coincidence.

I would still have Robshaw as captain though as the players seem to like him.
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Post by yappysnap Tue 08 Dec 2015, 7:48 am

I agree with you there GC.

I think as the media lead frenzy over Robshaw and the 7 role dies down people are beginning to remember how good he is, and how he can still benefit the team, even if it's just over the next year or so.

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Post by killer938 Tue 08 Dec 2015, 8:50 am

Robbo

With regards to Manu, Leicester have just signed up one of the best 12s in the world on a 3 year contract starting next season so he won't be playing at 12 for Tigers in the near future so don't think trying to get him to play there for England makes much sense. It is still a problem position but I would prefer to give someone who plays there for their club a chance. I would give Devoto a chance, another young player to add to the backs who I think could have a bright future.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 08 Dec 2015, 10:01 am

Surely Devoto needs to be first choice for Bath before walking into the England team?

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Post by Bathman_in_London Tue 08 Dec 2015, 11:28 am

Absolutely. He is a promising player but I would think a place in the extended summer tour squad rather than the 6N starting team should be his aim.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 11:33 am

This is what the Saxons is for......and why there should be a push to create more games for them.

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Post by BamBam Tue 08 Dec 2015, 12:00 pm

Yeah that is a bit of a joke tbh, I haven't checked but I'd imagine the only game they'll have is the Wolfhounds game again.

I'd happily see them play against a side like Georgia before the second tier tournament if it was feasible

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 12:06 pm

Georgia, USA, Canada, Romania, etc etc

Some people say its be-littling those countries to play our A sides...but im not sure.

I think its giving them further international exposure.

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Post by BamBam Tue 08 Dec 2015, 12:11 pm

I guess the problem is that it doesn't give those sides any kind of ranking points, but opens them up to the chance of injury before they do play the second tier competition

Its a difficult one, they need the exposure to higher level rugby, but it needs to be to the benefit of both sides, rather than just giving our youngsters an extra run out

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 08 Dec 2015, 12:27 pm

BamBam wrote:Yeah that is a bit of a joke tbh, I haven't checked but I'd imagine the only game they'll have is the Wolfhounds game again.

My understanding is there are no games thi sseason, but a Saxons squad has to be named to provide the official standby list for call up to EPS and out of Int Window access.

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Post by Dubbelyew L Overate Tue 08 Dec 2015, 12:51 pm

Injury news from Exeter is that Slade will be out for about 4 months, and Dave Ewers' knee ligaments will take a "fair few weeks" to heal, so unlikely to be available for 6N.

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Exeter-Chiefs-Henry-Slade-roughly-months/story-28319035-detail/story.html

A previous prognosis on LCD's broken thumb will probably keep him sidelined for another 6 weeks (His darts have been good this season), so also unlikely for 6N.

Bit of a stretch to include Don Armand as an England prospect (but his early season form earns it), but no news on his injury so hopefully he'll be back soon.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 1:00 pm

Bad news on Both Slade and Ewers.

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Post by yappysnap Tue 08 Dec 2015, 1:25 pm

It'll be interesting to see how Exeter fair without those three too.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Dec 2015, 1:29 pm

Huge blow for Exeter and really unfortunate for the players wanting to grab a chance with Jones. Shame.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 1:33 pm

Ah well...i'll stick with the team I listed before.

Only 9, 6 and 12 are debates.

1 Marler
2 George
3 Cole
4 Launchbury
5 Kitchener
6 Robshaw / Wood (I know I know)
7 Kvesic
8 Billy V

9 Care / Youngs
10 Ford
11 May
12 Hill ??
13 Joseph
14 Watson
15 Brown

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 1:36 pm

Which English Q 12's are actually a fixture in their club side?

Hill
Burrell
Twevletrees (At 10 and 12)

Who else?

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Post by lostinwales Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:00 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Which English Q 12's are actually a fixture in their club side?

Hill
Burrell
Twevletrees (At 10 and 12)

Who else?

Barritt Run

Eastmond?

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Post by Dubbelyew L Overate Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:01 pm

There's a fair chance we'll see Jack Nowell at 13 for Ex, or, less likely, 15 with Dollman moving up as playmaking centre, both of which would give Unsteady Eddie food for thought.

Hill has been Ex's 12 for the last couple of years, but this season he's been on strict start/bench rotation with Whitten. Won't be able to do that now with a flyhalf needed on the bench, so we'll see who's first choice.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:09 pm

From HoT's excellent analysis 37 out of 58 centers who played in week 5 were EQ. They can't all be 13's can they?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:11 pm

That's True LIW

Forgot about Eastmond. He may have a good chance now. But id rather forget about Barritt now. Ive defended him a whole load on here over the years...I maybe need to accept defeat.

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:20 pm

Saracens - Barritt
Exeter - Hill
Leicester - Smith (about to be replaced by JDV?)
Harlequins - Sloan (though about to be replaced by Doc Roberts)
Northampton - Burrell
Wasps - Jacobs
Gloucester - Twelvetrees
Sale- Tuitupou
Bath - Eastmond
Worcester - Mills
Newcastle - Socino
London Irish - Griffin


8 of the guys currently playing 12 in the AP are EQP

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:20 pm

Then add Devoto and Stephenson into the mix of course and the numbers are there, is the quality?

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Post by Cumbrian Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:25 pm

Always rated Mills when he was at Gloucester, was suprised when he dropped down a league to play with Worcester. Doubt he is international quality though, falls into the 'good club man' category. Same goes for Matt Smith at Leicester too I reckon.

Burrell seems better at 13 and 36 is wildly inconsistent.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:41 pm

So who do you pick?

Eastmond has the skills and running ablity to really challenge defences. But is him and Ford strong enough in defence?

In fact every player has some form of strength and weakness.

Which ones offer the best balance and potential for progressing and reaching there potential.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:42 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:That's True LIW

Forgot about Eastmond. He may have a good chance now. But id rather forget about Barritt now. Ive defended him a whole load on here over the years...I maybe need to accept defeat.

Yes. The hope with Barritt was that we'd get back the warrior of old whose skills and defensive leadership would be a perfect counterbalance to the quick feet and hands of Ford and JJ. We got an old out of condition slow flanker with greased hands.

He might come back. Its entirely plausible that he came back from injury too quickly before the RWC and was therefore out of form and poorly conditioned, but I think he has a great deal to prove before he gets another chance.

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Post by BamBam Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:45 pm

Now Slade is out Crying or Very sad , I'd go with the Ford/Burrell/JJ combination from last year's 6N. We scored plenty of tries with it, and hopefully the pack will be even better than they were then

I'd also consider Farrell/Eastmond/JJ, but I see Ford and JJ as entrenched starters, and would need monumental performances from Farrell/Tuilagi to get ahead of them, whenever Manu is back.

Burrell is the 12 that I think best complements them

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Post by Cumbrian Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:52 pm

Agreed that they all have their individual strengths and weaknesses. With Slade out, in an ideal world I would go with Billy Twelvetrees, but he'd have to have his head screwed on and be ready to make all the correct decisions. I would also be happy for Devoto to be given a lash. That I aside I reckon it is going to be Barritt, I am resigning myself to it.
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Post by king_carlos Tue 08 Dec 2015, 2:53 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Which English Q 12's are actually a fixture in their club side?

Hill
Burrell
Twevletrees (At 10 and 12)

Who else?

EQP players who have started at 12 in the first 6 rounds of AP action.

6 starts
Ryan Mills - Worcs
Luther Burrell - Northampton

5 starts
Kyle Eastmond - Bath
Kyle Sloan - Quins

3 starts
Adam Powell - Falcons

2 starts
Matt Smith - Tigers
Sam Hill - Exeter
Brad Barritt - Sarries
Fergus Mulchrone - LI
Bill Meakes - Gloucs

1 start
Ollie Devoto - Bath
Owen Farrell - Sarries
Mark Atkinson - Gloucs
Johnny Williams - LI
Billy Twelvetrees - Gloucs

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 3:48 pm

lostinwales wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:That's True LIW

Forgot about Eastmond. He may have a good chance now. But id rather forget about Barritt now. Ive defended him a whole load on here over the years...I maybe need to accept defeat.

Yes. The hope with Barritt was that we'd get back the warrior of old whose skills and defensive leadership would be a perfect counterbalance to the quick feet and hands of Ford and JJ. We got an old out of condition slow flanker with greased hands.

He might come back. Its entirely plausible that he came back from injury too quickly before the RWC and was therefore out of form and poorly conditioned, but I think he has a great deal to prove before he gets another chance.

Pretty much spot on.


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Post by George Carlin Tue 08 Dec 2015, 3:56 pm

Why on earth wouldn't you stick to a good club combination like Bath's 10, 12 and 13? If Slade is out, that seems to be the intuitive thing to me.
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Post by lostinwales Tue 08 Dec 2015, 4:02 pm

George Carlin wrote:Why on earth wouldn't you stick to a good club combination like Bath's 10, 12 and 13? If Slade is out, that seems to be the intuitive thing to me.

It is worth a shot, and it could be a lot of fun. The concern is always what do you do when you get big runners coming down the middle all day, because 10 and 12 are very lightweight. I remember seeing it when Eastmond played for the Saxons vs Scotland. The Scots just sent big runners at him all day. He will make the tackles but isn't going to be stopping anyone at the gain line.

I think part of the concern is that we won't have any monsters in the backline at all. All monsters doesn't work that well, and I don't think an all lightweight mobile backline is going to work either. You need a bit of both

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 08 Dec 2015, 4:08 pm

George Carlin wrote:Why on earth wouldn't you stick to a good club combination like Bath's 10, 12 and 13? If Slade is out, that seems to be the intuitive thing to me.

Take a look at where Bath are in the table this year, that backline is not performing, although to be fair JJ has just come back
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Post by Mad for Chelsea Tue 08 Dec 2015, 4:12 pm

I still think Ford Baritt and Joseph could work, the only time it's been played was against Fiji I think, where Ford had a 'mare, and it was pretty clear that Baritt wasn't fit for the WC anyway. Baritt has certainly looked better this year for Sarries, so maybe, with Slade out, worth a look at...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 08 Dec 2015, 4:27 pm

Was every player in the WC squad that much out of condition for their normal standards? Ie Too underpowered / weak, too slow and sluggish, too unfit etc

It really says something about the coaches mind.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 08 Dec 2015, 4:54 pm

A ridiculous number were rushed back from injury as well or just looked burnt out as well.

We keep mentioning Morgan as someone who clearly wasn't fully fit.

Davey Wilson the coaches also seemed to have little belief in him making it onto the pitch due to fitness. Dan Cole rushed back to make the 6 Nations and by the RWC looked knackered. That's 2 of our 3 tight heads.

Joseph was carrying an injury which he then aggravated. Barritt had only just returned himself. That's both of Bombers first choice centres.

I feel that a significant number of player who went on the much vaunted conditioning programs weren't fit to be on them. Guys like Davey Wilson, Launchbury and even someone like Ed Slater had only just returned from injuries then were suddenly thrown into extremely intensive training. As such I think it did little but burn out many of the players further.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 08 Dec 2015, 6:23 pm

Back to the subject of 12s, Harry Sloan has done enough in his games this season to suggest that Roberts won't just walk in (though he will be given a start in a heavily rotated sqyad v Calvisano next week). He's a pretty straightforward player - big and runs hard, but can pass, has a tendency to go sideways a bit much but that's fixable.

I don't by any stretch think he's ready for England yet, but it will be interesting to watch how he develops with Roberts to learn from.
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Post by cb Wed 09 Dec 2015, 5:18 am

I would still advocate a look at Devoto.  Bath have him as 16+st and 6' 5", so he would provide bulk and can kick..  Not saying he is totally ready but worth a look.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 09 Dec 2015, 9:23 am

cb wrote:I would still advocate a look at Devoto.  Bath have him as 16+st and 6' 5", so he would provide bulk and can kick..  Not saying he is totally ready but worth a look.

and I still suggest that it will be hard for him to push his case when he is only second choice at his club.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 09 Dec 2015, 9:27 am

Will be near impossible unless he now gets a run ahead of Eastmond who I just doubt has the defense to play midfield at international level.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 09 Dec 2015, 9:57 am

Gents this is getting me dizzy the circles we're going in.

So who is ACTUALLY READY for the 12 spot.

Burrell?
Hill?

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