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Post by cb Mon 28 Dec 2015, 12:36 pm

Please treat this as a fun topic. When looking at the options for England at blindside there are a long list of options.
There is the old guard of Wood, Haskell and even Robshaw if experience is important.

Ewers, Itoje offer untested options.

Then there are a number of flanker/lock possibilities such as Slater/Lawes/Garvey (and even Launcbury and Kruis have played there).

Others might be Wilson, Croft. I probably have missed a few.

Not all options are equally probable.

My choice would be Slater with Itoje as the second option (maybe on the bench). Also I do like the work of Garvey because he will tighten up the pack.


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Post by sad_gimp Mon 28 Dec 2015, 2:09 pm

I might be a bit biased.....but I'd have Robshaw or Clifford at 6 for now. Itoje I think should stick to lock.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 28 Dec 2015, 3:17 pm

There are better carriers, faster runners, better players in the lineout but I'd bet that Robshaw will show that there is some distance between him and the rest.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 28 Dec 2015, 3:50 pm

I do not believe Slater should be considered as back rower for England.

(My views on Garvey or Itoje at 6 for england, well if you do not know I shall keep it to myself)


Would be happy to see Robshaw there.

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Post by yappysnap Mon 28 Dec 2015, 6:33 pm

I think Jones will stick with Robshaw for the 6n's at least.

He'd be a fool to change too much. And Chris has a lot of plus points.

In the future I'd like an interchangeable backrow for England where in poor weather or what's going to be an ugly game Robshaw can play at 6 for us, in more expansive matches we can play Ewers or Clifford.

Likewise at 8 with Hughes and Vunipola alternating tactically.

A core of 5-6 high quality experienced back rowers who can interchange would be far far better.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 28 Dec 2015, 6:55 pm

Robshaw is our best option at 6 IMO and I think Jones will stick with him. Especially if he keeps putting in performances like he did on Sunday.

With a 7 (likely Kvesic) who offers a breakdown presence I'd back Robshaw to thrive with some pressure of his shoulders. In fact I bet the addition of a new 7 will see his breakdown influence increase even playing 6 as he will be more difficult to target.

If we have more carriers in the pack then I'd hope that he could use his distribution to better effect as well. There is only so much use of a forward coming in as 1st receiver, shifting the point of attack to other forward runners if Billy is the only one who is realistically getting passed the ball.

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Post by Seagultaf Mon 28 Dec 2015, 7:39 pm

With Robshaw likely to lose the captaincy, is it likely to cause some difficult team dynamics if he stays in the side?

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Post by yappysnap Mon 28 Dec 2015, 8:10 pm

No

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Post by yappysnap Mon 28 Dec 2015, 8:11 pm

He has publicly said it won't bother him. Lots of other Int sides move the captaincy around. He'll feel it's a relief.

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Post by DaveM Mon 28 Dec 2015, 9:49 pm

In the short-term I'd say Robshaw, Ewers and Itoje are the contenders. I wonder if Clifford will pick a position (I'd say 6 is his best bet) or if he'll stay as a utility back?

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Post by king_carlos Mon 28 Dec 2015, 10:07 pm

Seagultaf wrote:With Robshaw likely to lose the captaincy, is it likely to cause some difficult team dynamics if he stays in the side?

As yappy said it won't cause difficulties in the side at all with a guy as professional and committed as Robshaw. He's stated he'd love to continue in the role but would be behind a new captain 100%. He also stated that he doesn't care whether he is playing blindside or openside - he just wants to represent his county still.

Between the Quins captaincy and England captaincy he has been leading a side (and at times 2) since 2010. I wouldn't be shocked to see the relieved pressure help his influence at international level increase.

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Post by yappysnap Mon 28 Dec 2015, 11:05 pm

I really want Robshaw to get a chance to play for England again to put the RWC behind him. He's a million times better then that tournament and the press suggest, and it'd be cruel if that was what defined him.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 28 Dec 2015, 11:55 pm

I think that Jones will give him another shot yappy.

More than anything if he wants to bring in an openside who's new to international rugby (which given his comments during the RWC we will surely have) then Robshaw is the best bloke to partner them as they bed in. Even if Eddie only views him as a stop gap whilst that happens I would back Robshaw to show his class and hang around a fair bit longer.

Ewers has many attributes but his tendency to disappear at times isn't what you want partnering a new 7.

Itoje is playing lock for Sarries which will surely count against him. I can't see Jones throwing a new flanker and a guy as green (allbeit talented) as Maro in with a new 7 either.

Haskell I wouldn't be surprised to still be around the squad given how well he's playing once again for Wasps. His current performances aren't significantly better than Robshaws though and he has been far less consistent or influential in his recent internationals than Robshaw.

Wood isn't playing at the moment and likewise hasn't offered nearly as much to England for a long while now.

Wilson is an excellent player but not in Robshaws class if you ask me.

Garvey is playing lock for Bath.

I don't think Lawes will realistically be tried at flank again at international level after how it went last time. If Slater is selected it will be in the boiler room to shore up the scrum, this is one of his often forgotten strong suits. Launchbury seems one of the few nailed on starters to most people so I can't see him being moved.

Even without the captaincy Robshaw is the front runner by a distance to partner someone like Kvesic/Fraser with Billy at 8.

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Post by thomh Tue 29 Dec 2015, 9:17 am

DaveM wrote:In the short-term I'd say Robshaw, Ewers and Itoje are the contenders. I wonder if Clifford will pick a position (I'd say 6 is his best bet) or if he'll stay as a utility back?

I'd agree 6 is probably his best shot. He's good over the ball but doesn't focus on it like the proverbial out-and-out openside. He also jumps in the lineout and is bloody quick, so could fill the Croft/Wood role with more influence in rucking/tackling/carrying/offloading.

He didn't put up any particularly impressive numbers in the big game but made one fantastic break early on.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 29 Dec 2015, 12:12 pm

I'd probably go with Robshaw if we're trying a new 7 but going forward we need to move on from him. For all Robshaw's work, he's Mr Average on the Int stage, we need better.

Moving forward, Ewers needs to up his work rate and Itoje needs to focus on one position. I've really like me the look of Harrison who's been Saints best player over the last month or so. He tackles well, carries hard and is excellent at the breakdown. He's also got bags of pace which is rare in our options.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 30 Dec 2015, 11:45 pm

I would have Robshaw at 6 with Ewers on the bench (if he recovers and is fit)

As people have said above, if Robshaw is allowed to just get on and play his game at 6 (without captaincy and such) then he could be even better.

I agree he could be a breakdown pest. Despite what every one says he is good in that area and not being the "main one" at 7 he could sneak in and get turnovers. Plus he is a machine that doesn't stop and tackles, is a lineout and has experience.

Then bring Ewers on to smash it up in the second half and to gain some experience.

Itoje is playing lock all the time for Saracens. He needs to be considered there.

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Post by cb Thu 31 Dec 2015, 6:44 am

Devil's advocate here but if we were playing Scotland away on wet and muddy pitch would any one mind Garvey being the blindside?

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Post by yappysnap Thu 31 Dec 2015, 6:48 am

Surely a game that has the potential to be an 80 min hard slog, on a wet and muddy pitch, with lots of loose ball and not much chance for speed is Robshaws perfect kind of match?

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Post by yappysnap Thu 31 Dec 2015, 6:51 am

Also bear in mind that with the new coaches, potential team changes and new tactics, we're probably going to go very conservative for the first game. Getting a win will be a priority, so that there's good will to build on and the media are 'on side'.

Robshaw will be key for that as his workrate, and more importantly his tackle count is usually huge. He makes few mistakes and gives away few penalties too unlike a lot of flankers.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 31 Dec 2015, 7:55 am

cb wrote:Devil's advocate here but if we were playing Scotland away on wet and muddy pitch would any one mind Garvey being the blindside?

Yes.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 31 Dec 2015, 9:29 am

cb wrote:Devil's advocate here but if we were playing Scotland away on wet and muddy pitch would any one mind Garvey being the blindside?

Garvey hasn't suggested he's anywhere near an International flanker for a number of years, he's nowhere near a cap. If we're picking an inexperienced Openside, as expected, it's important to have some continuity at 6.

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Post by offload Thu 31 Dec 2015, 9:54 am

Robshaw is playing as well as anyone in a 6 shirt this season. I think he is England's best current option. Also provides Jones with experience in a pack that is likely to be light on international caps.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 31 Dec 2015, 9:56 am

Agree offload, he's probably our best option currently but more for continuity than actual quality I think.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Thu 31 Dec 2015, 4:06 pm

Seagultaf wrote:With Robshaw likely to lose the captaincy, is it likely to cause some difficult team dynamics if he stays in the side?

Not based on his apparent personality. And he's been fine at Quins not being captain
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 31 Dec 2015, 5:31 pm

I must admit, I do like what Clifford could potentially bring to the squad though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 31 Dec 2015, 5:51 pm

Clifford and Itoje could offer a lot from the bench.

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Post by DaveM Tue 05 Jan 2016, 11:33 pm

I don't think Jones needs to worry about continuity. If he wants to start with a brand new 6 and 7 he can get away with that, no problem. At the moment I'd go Robshaw 6, and toss a coin between Kvesic, Fraser and Harrison for the 7 shirt.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 06 Jan 2016, 11:52 am

DaveM wrote:I don't think Jones needs to worry about continuity. If he wants to start with a brand new 6 and 7 he can get away with that, no problem. At the moment I'd go Robshaw 6, and toss a coin between Kvesic, Fraser and Harrison for the 7 shirt.

I do not believe that 4 weeks of decent form should have Harrison in contention.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed 06 Jan 2016, 11:54 am

6. Robshaw
7. Fraser
8. Vunipola

There's your backrow Eddie Jones. With Launchbury in the second row England might actually win a turnover or two in the 6 Nations.....

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:05 pm

Surely Kvesic has to be at 7.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:11 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Surely Kvesic has to be at 7.

I would have him over Fraser.

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Post by BamBam Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:12 pm

Agree

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:15 pm

Don't get me wrong, Fraser is a decent player - but I do feel that playing in the current Saracens team makes all players look a touch better than they are.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:35 pm

Kvesic has improved consistently and is quite a talismanic figure in Gloucester. His breakdown work is becoming very very good, and working with Laurie Fisher can only help that.

Add in he's a good carrier and tackles relentlessly...he simply must be given a shot.

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Post by yappysnap Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:38 pm

I was very mistrustful of the Kvesik hype, but this last month of games, he has literally been on a one man crusade to pull Gloucester out of the gutter. He definitely deserves the full tournament to showcase his skills.

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Post by yappysnap Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:39 pm

He is hated on the Harlequins forum as well, which is always the mark of a good player Wink

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:45 pm

Ha ha yes it is Yappy.

I have always rated him highly. He was class at Wuss. His move to Glos caused a bit of a slump as he had to acclimatise to the different set up, but once he got in to the groove he has been getting better and better.

And he's a captain as well. A real leader on the pitch, so that can only aid England despite his inexperience.

Of course it may be that he is a top club performer who wont make the grade...but we wont know unless he is given a shot.

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Post by TJ Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:56 pm

Seagultaf wrote:With Robshaw likely to lose the captaincy, is it likely to cause some difficult team dynamics if he stays in the side?

I doubt it - I do not read Robshaw as that sort of person

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Post by TJ Wed 06 Jan 2016, 12:57 pm

cb wrote:Devil's advocate here but if we were playing Scotland away on wet and muddy pitch would any one mind Garvey being the blindside?

We have a new pitch that will not be muddy.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 06 Jan 2016, 1:07 pm

I'm still erring towards Fraser but there's always the likelihood he'll be injured by the Scotland game.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 06 Jan 2016, 1:30 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I'm still erring towards Fraser but there's always the likelihood he'll be injured by the Scotland game.

I think Fraser will be selected - but would not be my preference.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 06 Jan 2016, 1:33 pm

Two quality options anyway. The one thing I like is no one is talking about Steffon.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 06 Jan 2016, 1:36 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Don't get me wrong, Fraser is a decent player - but I do feel that playing in the current Saracens team makes all players look a touch better than they are.

Surely some of the players have to be top draw or are they all winging it?

I don't think there's much between Fraser & Kvesic personally, sometimes a good player can look better than what he is by playing in a poor team as they standout more.

I'd say Fraser was better at the breakdown as Kvesic gets his hands in the deck more but Kvesic probably has the better all round game that would suit England.

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Post by nlpnlp Wed 06 Jan 2016, 2:20 pm

I think you need to throw Brendon O’Connor into the no 7 mix, as probably the most proven of the available candidates.  I know he isn't a definite yes to make himself available, but I don't think Eddie Jones would have any qualms in picking him.  And none of them are 'kids', they have all been around top flight club rugby for a number of years now, so I am not sure that this would push selection at no 6 to Robshaw.  Wood isn't massively behind Robshaw in experience and does pretty much everything he does - if anything he is a better lineout option.

I think Robshaw could be the Phil Dowson of the current era - picked for a year for his experience, whilst the coach brings in some new players and then put out to pasture.  He is an admirable person and club player, but does little really well at international level other than workrate.  He makes his tackles, but not 'bone crushing' ones; he carries, but doesn't make big runs or score tries; he jumps adequately at the front of the lineout; etc.  I think England need a 6 who can make an impact - be it tackling or carrying.  Richard Hill was a fairly under the radar no 6, but I wouldn't put Robshaw in his category.  With Nathan Hughes likely to be in contention at no 8 in a few months, what odds Vunipola going back to no 6?  And please no part-time second row players at no 6 - Lawes, Garvey, Slater, Itoje, etc.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 06 Jan 2016, 2:28 pm

Itoje looks a better bet for 6 than Vunipola surely?

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 06 Jan 2016, 2:34 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Itoje looks a better bet for 6 than Vunipola surely?

I cannot see Eddie Jones picking either at 6.

The 2015 6Ns vintage BillyV would be an excellent call at 6, however the 15/16 vintage is looking flabbier, less fit and a touch workshy. Itoje is surely a second row - he just needs to persuade everyone, not least George Kruis, that he is a decent lineout option.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 06 Jan 2016, 2:36 pm

nlpnlp wrote:I think you need to throw Brendon O’Connor into the no 7 mix, as probably the most proven of the available candidates. .

Nope, next

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 06 Jan 2016, 2:57 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
nlpnlp wrote:I think you need to throw Brendon O’Connor into the no 7 mix, as probably the most proven of the available candidates. .

Nope, next

Not for us, and I doubt for Eddie Jones right now - until he has shown more in the AP. However he will not have the antipathy you and I have for selections like this.

I know that nationality is rather fluid, but I will always struggle to view players with only tenuous qualification, who played pro rugby oversees before coming to the UK, as valid representatives of my country.

If I want to support an international all-stars XV - I could follow Toulon instead.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 06 Jan 2016, 4:05 pm

And LT, I certainly don't see value in his selection when we have two young home raised 7's in Fraser and Kvesic playing great stuff.

That sends out an appalling message.

If I want to support an international all-stars XV - I could follow Toulon instead.

That's EXACTLTY why I keep raising this point when another foreign player is touted. I apologise if im a Broken Record but it does concern me.

I have said I think Ewers should be in the squad...so im not innocent either, but I just think we need to be careful how many we select, and I don't think the "well its the law so do it " idea should just be followed.

There have been so many recently with varying degrees of qualification from parental to Grandparents and 3 year residency.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Wed 06 Jan 2016, 6:25 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Kvesic has improved consistently and is quite a talismanic figure in Gloucester. His breakdown work is becoming very very good, and working with Laurie Fisher can only help that.

Add in he's a good carrier and tackles relentlessly...he simply must be given a shot.

He's also a very industrious tackler, keeping our workrate ability, and can cover 8 in times of crisis. I've been convinced that the right option is to give him a shot at 7. Initially with Robshaw at 6, but that can change and Itoje/Ewers/Clifford can get a go off the bench in various games
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