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6N Rugby - Italy v England

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 08 Feb 2016, 9:50 am

First topic message reminder :

England team to face Italy - Sunday

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 28 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (captain, Northampton Saints, 67 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 57 caps)
4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 43 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 11 caps)
6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 44 caps)
7 James Haskell (Wasps, 63 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (vice captain, Saracens, 22 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)
10 George Ford (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)
11 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (vice captain, Saracens, 36 caps)
13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 16 caps)
15 Mike Brown (vice captain, Harlequins, 44 caps)

Replacements
16 Jamie George (Saracens, 4 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 38 caps)
18 Paul Hill (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 29 caps)
20 Maro Itoje (Saracens, uncapped)
21 Jack Clifford (Harlequins, 1 cap)
22 Danny Care (Harlequins, 54 caps)
23 Alex Goode (Saracens, 19 caps)


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Fri 12 Feb 2016, 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Cumbrian Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:40 pm

I might be the only one, but I thought Launchbury did okay! England were on the front foot when he was on the pitch certainly. What did I miss?
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:41 pm

England looking the pick so far this 6N. Only team I can see stopping us are Wales although they're not looking too good to be honest.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:42 pm

Very scruffy first half, thought a lot of the parts to our game didn't click for about 50 minutes until that JJ intercept. After that the replacements and the bench made a big difference.

Still not sold on the the 10/12 axis, thought that Ford looked a bit lost at 10 and Farrell slowed a lot of things down at 12 until we got clear.

Worrying as well that our lineouts seemed to go backwards. A lack of options perhaps or just Kruis struggling with organising it?

Lastly it's interesting that Care and Youngs both played copies of each other's games these last two weeks. Both games the starting 9 has looked a bit off the pace and struggled, that needs to change.

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Post by englandglory4ever Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:45 pm

Quite clunky from England in the first half but they easily over powered a tired and tiring Italy in the second half. A fairly easy W in the end.

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Post by englandglory4ever Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:51 pm

Italy lost a few first picks to injury. They should be sitting ducks for whoever plays them next.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:52 pm

Tiger/Chief wrote:The point about players being better off the bench is interesting.

So far in their England careers i would definitely put M.Vunipola, Lawes and Care into that bracket!

i don't think Lawes has the grunt to be truly effective against teams from that start and think all 3 are much better in the broken field that tired legs often offers.
Are you mentioning the comments made by Stevie Thompson after Eddie Jones about starters and finishers? Or just about Eddie's in the post-match? Stevie elaborated very, vert well. I have known Stevie for a long time now and I have never seen him string together so many spot on comments like this. Put the camera on him and he is really good.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 14 Feb 2016, 4:53 pm

I'd be very tempted to start next week a pack of:

1. Marler
2. Hartley
3. Cole
4. Lauchbury
5. Kruis
6. Itoje
7. Haskell/Clifford
8. Vuinipola

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Post by Tiger/Chief Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:01 pm

agree Sgt_pooly! the pack needs some more grunt and Robshaw needs to make way for Itoje.... is it too much of risk to pick

6: Itoje
7. Clifford

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Post by englandglory4ever Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:01 pm

Pooly I agree. Robshaw looked out of his depth. His days in an England shirt look numbered.

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Post by Scottrf Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:04 pm

Robshaw out of his depth? No way. He really contributed a lot imo.

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Post by Exiledinborders Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:07 pm

Tiger/Chief wrote:The point about players being better off the bench is interesting.

So far in their England careers i would definitely put M.Vunipola, Lawes and Care into that bracket!

i don't think Lawes has the grunt to be truly effective against teams from that start and think all 3 are much better in the broken field that tired legs often offers.
I think Jones agrees with you about Lawes. He only started because Launchbury had been ill during the week.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:11 pm

Robshaw adds very little and is soooo slow. Itoje made at least two tunovers when he came on and added to the lineout. I'm unsure of him at lock but he could be a real option at 6.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:15 pm

Think the 10 12 deserves another go after that although a shaky start with Ford looking jittery and Farrell throwing a terrible pass leading to Italy's 1st pen. Haskell at 7 is depressing either Clifford in or Robshaw back there with Itoje at 6 must be passing through the minds of the coaches.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:22 pm

Robshaw just adds nothing. At least Haskell adds aggression and momentum with his tackles now and again.

I honestly don't see what Robshaw bring.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:39 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Robshaw adds very little and is soooo slow
I thought Robshaw was one of the few cool heads we had when Italy were pressing in the first half. He read where their attack would come and got up to defend.


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Post by LondonTiger Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:41 pm

mid_gen wrote:Kruis MOTM for me.

In loose play Kruis was excellent. However his running of the lineout was appalling, and was the main reason we were unable to pull away in the first half.

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Post by Exiledinborders Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:47 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Robshaw just adds nothing. At least Haskell adds aggression and momentum with his tackles now and again.

I honestly don't see what Robshaw bring.
I agree. He does tackle but it is rarely an impact tackle that leads to a turnover. He always seems to get knocked back when he carries. Good bloke I am sure, tries hard I am sure but the fact is Itoje is better now and will only get better.

If he is dropped he cannot be on the bench because he is the very antithesis of an impact player.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:54 pm

Thought it was all very clinical really. Apart from George taking the quick throw in to the Italian at the end we did very well at scoring any time there was a chance

In a way it was a very 'Saracens' performance, in that it was ugly and seemed tight for such a long time, but England squeezed and squeezed and when Italy finally fell away they scored a lot of points very quickly.

Too many penalties, but Italy never ever looked like scoring a try. They scored 3 last year so we are doing something right.

Robshaw was solid and I also thought he upped his game when he switched to 7. He doesn't do eye catching - but then he doesn't do stupid penalty either. He does do everything else.

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Post by majesticimperialman Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:57 pm

A good win for England today. but lets not get too carried away England are not the finished articul, not by a long way.

England cannot afford to make so many mistakes when they play Ireland as they did today against Italy, or Ireland will punish England with a lot more points on the board.

Eddie Jones seems to be picking the best players for each game. So next game we might not see Robshaw and Haskell in the 23.

It would be nice if the players he does pick for Ireland and they won. But lets wait and see over the next 2 weeks.

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Post by nathan Sun 14 Feb 2016, 5:59 pm

nobbled wrote:Why is it Care always seems better as a sub than a starter for England?
Tired defence which suits his game better?

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Post by Fanster Sun 14 Feb 2016, 6:09 pm

I think England have to be carefull in this scenario, a good 30 mins doesn't win a championship, especially against an Italian team ravaged by injuries who certainly hit the self destruct button!

I'd say without Robshaw first half Italy wouldve gone in ahead, and possibly scored a try, but there are just too many journey men and youngsters on the park for Italy to be anything but difficult to break down.

The English lineout was woefull, the scrum went well when they got it right, but if you consider the mistakes they made, especially penalty count better teams wouldve been 12+ ahead.

Englands pack needs leaders, Cole, Vunipola, Vunipola, Kruis, Lawes, HAskell aren't paticularly intelligent players, they are great physical specimins, but they won't outthink a Welsh or Irish pack. Hartley at captain today got frustrated first half and hit a ruck with no arms giving away a pen, the one constant for England is Robshaw, who held a lot of things together first half, talk of replacing him with Itoje etc would be suicide IMO.

Englands pack is similar to Frances, they both have beef, and are very physical, but can't think on their feet, it took a half time dressing down for the English forwards to learn how to counter Italian pressure, against better packs they'll have to react far quicker or suffer.

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Post by Exiledinborders Sun 14 Feb 2016, 6:30 pm

Fanster wrote:I think England have to be carefull in this scenario, a good 30 mins doesn't win a championship, especially against an Italian team ravaged by injuries who certainly hit the self destruct button!

I'd say without Robshaw first half Italy wouldve gone in ahead, and possibly scored a try, but there are just too many journey men and youngsters on the park for Italy to be anything but difficult to break down.

The English lineout was woefull, the scrum went well when they got it right, but if you consider the mistakes they made, especially penalty count better teams wouldve been 12+ ahead.

Englands pack needs leaders, Cole, Vunipola, Vunipola, Kruis, Lawes, HAskell aren't paticularly intelligent players, they are great physical specimins, but they won't outthink a Welsh or Irish pack. Hartley at captain today got frustrated first half and hit a ruck with no arms giving away a pen, the one constant for England is Robshaw, who held a lot of things together first half, talk of replacing him with Itoje etc would be suicide IMO.

Englands pack is similar to Frances, they both have beef, and are very physical, but can't think on their feet, it took a half time dressing down for the English forwards to learn how to counter Italian pressure, against better packs they'll have to react far quicker or suffer.
To be honest that was a pretty pathetic penalty call by touch judge. If that is penalised then a penalty need to be given at every breakdown.

This is what comes from having referees acting as touch judges. They are used to being the centre of attention and feel the need to get involved when an experienced touch judge would not.

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Post by Gwlad Sun 14 Feb 2016, 6:49 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:
Gwlad wrote:England were playing a team with a completely disorganized defense and were very average for 40 minutes. Italy are the only side in the 6 Nations who will allow them in that way but no doubt the usual grandiosity will occur.


Gwalad.

Cannot give praise where praise is due can you?  England was not allowed to play in the first half due to Italy putting England under pressure, in the line out at the break down.

At half time it was looking a very tight game, a game that if Italy could of kept up putting England u7nder prssure like they did in the first half Italy may well have won.

Any way have you done sulking now after Wales got a draw against Ireland. Laugh

No Grand Slam for Wales eh.Yahoo  

No.

And what has this thread got to do with Wales and Ireland?

Tight game at half time, that's really vey funny.

Of course it was, anyone who knows anything about playing Italy knows that is what you get. Then they tire and the floodgates open, but this week its as if England just discovered the concept eh maj Shocked

They beat Italy by 30 points in Rome having stumbled past Scots and of course, we are back into the 6 Nations Champions territory. I'd expect no less than 4 points after starting v italy and Scotland. The tourney hasn't even started for England yet.

same every year.

Lets wait and see how you handle Ireland and Wales and then how you travel to Paris. thumbsup

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Post by majesticimperialman Sun 14 Feb 2016, 8:08 pm

Gwlad wrote:
majesticimperialman wrote:
Gwlad wrote:England were playing a team with a completely disorganized defense and were very average for 40 minutes. Italy are the only side in the 6 Nations who will allow them in that way but no doubt the usual grandiosity will occur.


Gwalad.

Cannot give praise where praise is due can you?  England was not allowed to play in the first half due to Italy putting England under pressure, in the line out at the break down.

At half time it was looking a very tight game, a game that if Italy could of kept up putting England u7nder prssure like they did in the first half Italy may well have won.

Any way have you done sulking now after Wales got a draw against Ireland. Laugh

No Grand Slam for Wales eh.Yahoo  

No.

And what has this thread got to do with Wales and Ireland?

Tight game at half time, that's really vey funny.

Of course it was, anyone who knows anything about playing Italy knows that is what you get. Then they tire and the floodgates open, but this week its as if England just discovered the concept eh maj  Shocked

They beat Italy by 30 points in Rome having stumbled past Scots and of course, we are back into the 6 Nations Champions territory. I'd expect no less than 4 points after starting v italy and Scotland. The tourney hasn't even started for England yet.

same every year.

Lets wait and see how you handle Ireland and Wales and then how you travel to Paris. thumbsup


I do agree with you Ireland will be different from Scotland or Italy. But that is all we can think about right now, the next game. And Ireland are the next game.

Ireland though in my opinion have not played the type of rugby that we know they can p-lay like...Is it to do with Injuries? Or is it because they are missing the likes of Paul O'connel, who used to give them that extra push, that extra bit of confidence?

We will have to wait and see on who Eddie Jones selects for this game.

But like i said unlike Wales England and France are played 2 won 2.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 14 Feb 2016, 8:31 pm

Fanster wrote:I think England have to be carefull in this scenario, a good 30 mins doesn't win a championship, especially against an Italian team ravaged by injuries who certainly hit the self destruct button!

I'd say without Robshaw first half Italy wouldve gone in ahead, and possibly scored a try, but there are just too many journey men and youngsters on the park for Italy to be anything but difficult to break down.

The English lineout was woefull, the scrum went well when they got it right, but if you consider the mistakes they made, especially penalty count better teams wouldve been 12+ ahead.

Englands pack needs leaders, Cole, Vunipola, Vunipola, Kruis, Lawes, HAskell aren't paticularly intelligent players, they are great physical specimins, but they won't outthink a Welsh or Irish pack. Hartley at captain today got frustrated first half and hit a ruck with no arms giving away a pen, the one constant for England is Robshaw, who held a lot of things together first half, talk of replacing him with Itoje etc would be suicide IMO.

Englands pack is similar to Frances, they both have beef, and are very physical, but can't think on their feet, it took a half time dressing down for the English forwards to learn how to counter Italian pressure, against better packs they'll have to react far quicker or suffer.

You really have it in for the Vunipolas don't you? Billy is turning into a very good player. He isn't going to be sprinting down the wing any time soon (but then look what Nowell did to Parisse early in the 1st half when he was). However there must be very few in the world game with his ability to always make yards in the heaviest of traffic and to protect the ball (except when nobody went with him the one time today). He also makes some very good turnovers and is getting better at being at the right place at the right time.

And lets face it - consider the comedy value of seeing Billy jump for the ball when receiving...

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Post by lostinwales Sun 14 Feb 2016, 8:33 pm

Oh and I am amazed that none of the wums have yet accused Jackson of bias because of the Sarries link...

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 14 Feb 2016, 9:47 pm

Fanster wrote:Englands pack needs leaders, Cole, Vunipola, Vunipola, Kruis, Lawes, HAskell aren't paticularly intelligent players, they are great physical specimins, but they won't outthink a Welsh or Irish pack.

Samson Lee, the Einstein of rugby? Whistle

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Post by Cyril Sun 14 Feb 2016, 10:11 pm

I did like that moment when Jackson stopped play after he had got in the way and said something like 'Sorry lads, I think I just stripped the ball in the tackle. First time that's ever happened.' Laugh

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Post by Gwlad Sun 14 Feb 2016, 11:38 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Fanster wrote:Englands pack needs leaders, Cole, Vunipola, Vunipola, Kruis, Lawes, HAskell aren't paticularly intelligent players, they are great physical specimins, but they won't outthink a Welsh or Irish pack.

Samson Lee, the Einstein of rugby? Whistle

Yeah i'd say that list of England forwards combined might handle Lee, but only just thumbsup

Should be another win at 'HQ' for Wales.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 15 Feb 2016, 4:16 am

Exiledinborders wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Robshaw just adds nothing. At least Haskell adds aggression and momentum with his tackles now and again.

I honestly don't see what Robshaw bring.
I agree. He does tackle but it is rarely an impact tackle that leads to a turnover. He always seems to get knocked back when he carries. Good bloke I am sure, tries hard I am sure but the fact is Itoje is better now and will only get better.

If he is dropped he cannot be on the bench because he is the very antithesis of an impact player.

Exactly Exiled.

I really like the bloke, he really put himself about. He's just not good enough and will be replaced sooner or later. Clifford and Itoje looked impressive from the bench, I'd seriously consider starting at least one of them and having the other or Haskell on the bench.

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Post by Fanster Mon 15 Feb 2016, 7:21 am

Not sure why my thoughts on Robshaws importance being crucial to England has anything to do with Samson Lee, or me hating the Vunipolas? Whats wrong with you guys that you can't take an honest view on what happened today?

Billy Vunipola is very good at what he does, he's a monster of a man who can shift and is immensely powerful, yes I'd prefer he chose Wales to play for, he'd be incredible in a red shirt, both brothers would!

My point is simple, there aren't too many players in that England pack who consider too much before acting, Launchbury, Robshaw aside the rest are either overly aggressive, or physical monsters who excel in an area, Cole, Hartley, Lawes, Haskell are penalty machines at times!

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Post by rodders Mon 15 Feb 2016, 9:31 am

England looking good for the slam.
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Post by nathan Mon 15 Feb 2016, 9:38 am

rodders wrote:England looking good for the slam.
Not a chance!

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Post by beshocked Mon 15 Feb 2016, 9:41 am

rodders still a long way to go.

Still 3 tough games to come. Weaknesses that can be exploited.

English discipline still a big issue in my opinion.

Though I would be a little worried if I was Ireland because England might injure more players!


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Post by BamBam Mon 15 Feb 2016, 9:43 am

Plus points

Bench performances - Marler, George, Hill, Itoje all added something, and even if it was only Italy, that kind of impact can only stand us in good stead

Ford/Farrell - Again, has to be qualified with it only being Italy, but there were signs that they could potentially be a passable midfield combo

Joseph/Watson - Joseph looks to have added a bit of strength to his elusiveness, took his tries well. Watson looks even quicker than before, really put his head down and flew through a gap a couple of times

Negative

Too many errors - stupid penalties (Haskell in particular) and handling wasn't great

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Post by Fanster Mon 15 Feb 2016, 9:53 am

I don't think considering ITaly as weakened opposition is fair at all, they ran France to the last second.

Englands bench options paid off massively, where Italy looked out on their feet last 15 England looked like they could've played for another 30 minutes!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 15 Feb 2016, 9:57 am

How would Vuinipola have chosen Wales?

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Post by lostinwales Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:00 am

BamBam wrote:Plus points

Bench performances - Marler, George, Hill, Itoje all added something, and even if it was only Italy, that kind of impact can only stand us in good stead

Ford/Farrell - Again, has to be qualified with it only being Italy, but there were signs that they could potentially be a passable midfield combo

Joseph/Watson - Joseph looks to have added a bit of strength to his elusiveness, took his tries well. Watson looks even quicker than before, really put his head down and flew through a gap a couple of times

Negative

Too many errors - stupid penalties (Haskell in particular) and handling wasn't great

I was thinking after the first game that Watson was looking a lot more physical this season.

I don't think Joseph was looking stronger as such, he couldn't muscle through the Italian line. But he did show terrific acceleration around contact which made it seem so. He did really well overall

And I know that Nowell had a fairly quiet game in comparison but he made some cracking tackles. A nice reminder of what you can do when you go for a guys legs.

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Post by Cowshot Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:03 am

We've a new coach, a very poor recent record, a number of talented new players and combinations to try and a 6N to win, maybe even Slam.

So far I've been pretty impressed. Eddie Jones has made sure we picked sides to win first, but has introduced new players slowly: we are three tests into his tenure and 3 new caps. Worth noting that ten of the starting 23 have fewer than 20 caps. England at present is not a vastly experienced side. This showed against Italy where for the first half very little went as the players wanted it to. I put this down as inevitable adjustment to the new coach and his style - and credit to the Italians who got at us as well, before they tired...

I think he's spot on about the team now being 23 players. (That has been the case for some time imo)

Now it gets interesting! I don't have us as favourites in either of the next two games: all I've said about newness of team and ideas is added to playing the weaker teams in the tournament first - Ireland will turn up at Twickers with some serious angst to work off. England's game will need to go up in quality and intensity from the first whistle. Wales we know are very strong. They have individual players who can turn games on their own and they seem to be getting some form and confidence: Takes a bow, Mr North and Dr Roberts!

After that? Well, we see what Monsieur Noves has done with France...anything is possible. Let's hope it involves Bubbly

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Post by rodders Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:04 am

beshocked wrote:rodders still a long way to go.

Still 3 tough games to come. Weaknesses that can be exploited.


2 of them at home. Can't see you guys losing either - so sorry you'll have to ditch the plucky underdogs tag Smile
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Post by dummy_half Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:05 am

BamBam wrote:Plus points

Bench performances - Marler, George, Hill, Itoje all added something, and even if it was only Italy, that kind of impact can only stand us in good stead

Ford/Farrell - Again, has to be qualified with it only being Italy, but there were signs that they could potentially be a passable midfield combo

Joseph/Watson - Joseph looks to have added a bit of strength to his elusiveness, took his tries well. Watson looks even quicker than before, really put his head down and flew through a gap a couple of times

Negative

Too many errors - stupid penalties (Haskell in particular) and handling wasn't great

Agree with much of that. Would add Kruis to the positives, as he really put himself about in the loose. Not sure whether the lineouts were poor calls or bad throws, I suspect a bit of each.

Ford / Farrell works if we are getting go forward elsewhere, as we were after 50 minutes, but I was worried by how many times the Italian centres were making ground after bumping off the first man. I think we need a more physical player in there, particularly for Wales, as otherwise Roberts is going to have a field day.

The penalties / discipline thing really needs work. A few blatantly stupid ones (Haskell being early on the kick receiver for one), and too many technical mistakes such as offside and obstruction in forming mauls.

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Post by fa0019 Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:08 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:How would Vuinipola have chosen Wales?

I don't think they could have.

Neither had ancestry nor were born in Wales albeit were there from an early age. They were brought up in Wales but as soon as they moved to England they only became available for England. They would have had to have been signed by one of the provinces in their youth. I think they moved just as he was getting to the age when players start getting signed up by academies.

Mako sounds Welsh though.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:12 am

Cowshot wrote:We've a new coach, a very poor recent record, a number of talented new players and combinations to try and a 6N to win, maybe even Slam.

So far I've been pretty impressed. Eddie Jones has made sure we picked sides to win first, but has introduced new players slowly: we are three tests into his tenure and 3 new caps. Worth noting that ten of the starting 23 have fewer than 20 caps. England at present is not a vastly experienced side. This showed against Italy where for the first half very little went as the players wanted it to. I put this down as inevitable adjustment to the new coach and his style - and credit to the Italians who got at us as well, before they tired...

I think he's spot on about the team now being 23 players. (That has been the case for some time imo)

Now it gets interesting! I don't have us as favourites in either of the next two games: all I've said about newness of team and ideas is added to playing the weaker teams in the tournament first - Ireland will turn up at Twickers with some serious angst to work off. England's game will need to go up in quality and intensity from the first whistle. Wales we know are very strong. They have individual players who can turn games on their own and they seem to be getting some form and confidence: Takes a bow, Mr North and Dr Roberts!

After that? Well, we see what Monsieur Noves has done with France...anything is possible. Let's hope it involves Bubbly

Its only the most recent history that is truly horrendous...

Wales will be interesting and there is always the question of how the patched up midfield will deal with what appears to be a rejuvinated Roberts, but we have played against these guys just a few time over the last few years, and barring the last 20 minutes of the last game (Unfortunately the most important ones) this is a team that we have dealt with pretty well over the previous 220 minutes.

Big hurdle with Ireland 1st. They may be in a state but they are going to be very hard to break down.

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Post by Scottrf Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:14 am

Need to bring Burgess back to deal with Roberts.

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Post by fa0019 Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:18 am

Scottrf wrote:Need to bring Burgess back to deal with Roberts.

For the next month Roberts will be living in George Ford's closet that's for sure.

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Post by Cowshot Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:25 am

I saw an interview with Mako V where he was asked if he felt English and he said he had lived here more than half his life and felt English, but was also proud of his Tongan ancestry. Seems fair enough to me.

Dunno whether his time "here" included his time in Wales or not. Either way I'm happier with the likes of him who have a commitment to the country wider than Rugby, and those you feel will be back off down South as soon as their careers are over..

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Post by dummy_half Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:44 am

Cowshot

I think very few of us have any issue with the likes of the Vunipolas playing for England or Faletau for Wales - they have spent a substantial proportion of their lives in the UK, including much of their childhood and most of their rugby development. Similarly, there would be no issues with them playing for Tonga.

The interesting one with the Vunipolas is that (iirc) Billy could play for New Zealand and Mako for Australia on account of their places of birth, even though neither have any particular affinity with those countries, having only been born there because their father was playing in each country for a year or two.

Now of course Nathan Hughes (for example) is a different matter...

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:53 am

Cowshot wrote:I saw an interview with Mako V where he was asked if he felt English and he said he had lived here more than half his life and felt English, but was also proud of his Tongan ancestry. Seems fair enough to me.

Dunno whether his time "here" included his time in Wales or not.  Either way I'm happier with the likes of him who have a commitment to the country wider than Rugby, and those you feel will be back off down South as soon as their careers are over..

I've got no issue with that, nobody should. However Mako is the more welsh sounding brother....

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:54 am

dummy_half wrote:Cowshot

I think very few of us have any issue with the likes of the Vunipolas playing for England or Faletau for Wales - they have spent a substantial proportion of their lives in the UK, including much of their childhood and most of their rugby development. Similarly, there would be no issues with them playing for Tonga.

The interesting one with the Vunipolas is that (iirc) Billy could play for New Zealand and Mako for Australia on account of their places of birth, even though neither have any particular affinity with those countries, having only been born there because their father was playing in each country for a year or two.

Now of course Nathan Hughes (for example) is a different matter...

I forgot to add, should people even be asking Mako and Toby these sort of questions? It's kind of bitter. We know how they feel about playing for their nations, we see how much it means to them each time they pull on the jersey.

I don't know much about Hughes but for now he does come across as a bit of mercenary.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 15 Feb 2016, 10:57 am

He wants to play for the best country he can so fair enough to call him a mercenary (in terms of a better chance to win things rather than strictly the definition of making money).

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