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France v England - grand slam game

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Post by yappysnap Wed 16 Mar 2016, 11:01 am

First topic message reminder :

Discuss

ENGLAND TEAM TO PLAY FRANCE

15. Mike Brown (vice captain, Harlequins, 47 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 19 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 20 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (vice captain, Saracens, 39 caps)
11. Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
10. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 57 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 31 caps)
2. Dylan Hartley (captain, Northampton Saints, 70 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 60 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 3 caps)
5. George Kruis (Saracens, 14 caps)
6. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 47 caps)
7. James Haskell (Wasps, 66 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (vice captain, Saracens, 25 caps)

Replacements
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 2 cap)
17. Joe Marler (Harlequins 41 caps)
18. Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints 16 caps)
19. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 31 caps)
20. Jack Clifford (Harlequins, 4 caps)
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps)
22. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 26 caps)
23. Elliot Daly (Wasps, 2 cap)


Last edited by yappysnap on Thu 17 Mar 2016, 8:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 20 Mar 2016, 11:18 am

yappysnap wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Care's passing yesterday was really poor, loopy and usually stopping Ford dead. Along with his kicking that kept putting England in trouble itvis why I reckon Jones hooked him so early. Of course Youngs threw two godawful passes, far worse than any of Care's - but the rest to Ford were fast and in front ofvthe young 10.

It's weird, a number of pundits had Care down as playing very well, but my view is more like yours LT.

I just don't see Care as a regular starter, he's a great bench player and should be given 30 mins each game. But Youngs basics (other then those god awful passes when he rushes) are just that bit better.

Half the papers are raving about Care, half saying how well Youngs did when he came on. As always beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess. i felt we perhaps saw the best and worst of both players yesterday.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 20 Mar 2016, 11:29 am

This is a great morn to wake up.  Celebrations, even over here, went rather long last night and getting home was by my 17 year old summoned away from his computer.

However, at the sun slowly comes up, which it is doing now, we need to focus on what comes next.  I like Pooly's analysis, but don't think we should compare ourselves to the dismal failure of the RWC, the apex of 4 years of Lancastrian planning.  Rather I think we should compare to our performances which earned England the four successive 2nd place finishes in the 6 Nations.  
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Scrum - Hugely improved
Lineout - Hugely improved (Possibly becasue of no more Youngs rather than anything different)
Breakdown - Our biggest turnaround
Defence - Certainly improved but not a huge issue anyway
Attack - Seems to be more fluid, better handling
In my opinion,
Scrum - back to a strength, but not dominant in every match.  Happy Eddie tried younger guys, but ultimately relied on the experienced guys to clinch the Slam.
Lineout - very, very good, no doubts there, and with more upside, if that is possible.
Breakdown - agree, a big improvement - but I think more players need to improve in this area.  Robshaw, Kruis, Haskell were very good.
Defence - positioning usually good, but a lot of missed tackles.  Some are inevitable as England rushed up a lot, but others were not excusable
Attack - Here is where I might disagree with Pooly.  I thought it not much different than under the prior administration.  Still making key mistakes:  Drops and failure to protect the ball at the breakdown the bigger issues to address.  Also what to do at 10,12.  Ford needs time at his club to either grow up or become a good club player.  We won in spite of mediocre play in one of the most important positions.  To me, the least productive/value-added player on either side of the ball in the 6 Nations.  

Thought processes and control - England left too many points on the pitch and did not take advantage of opportunities sufficiently.  We can look back at each game and see obvious times where England should have taken more points from an attack.  No team converts every opportunity, but this needs to improve by one or two - imagine an additional 6 - 14 points per game.........

However, back to the England feel good moment for now.  And back to the Premiership:  All those England players who play for Saracens, Exe, Leicester, Quins, Bath, Gloucs, Sale, Newcastle, Waspies, all cheat, stink, uncooth, etc..........

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Sun 20 Mar 2016, 11:47 am

Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

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Post by Hammersmith harrier Sun 20 Mar 2016, 11:54 am

yappysnap wrote:I've really come to like the two fly half approach too.

I was very sceptical but they've both done reasonably well.

I would like to see us play Farrel/Slade when we get a chance though, unless Ford gets his form back.

For me Manu needs to be a 13 predominantly, he'd change the whole gameplan if he came in at 12.

Manu has to be used at 13 for me too, you can alternate between him and Joseph depending on the game and you have the benefit of having one hell of an impact player to come on late as teams tire. I'd much rather continue with Farrell at 12 with Slade to come in, with those four I think well have a pretty decent centre combination, at the very least we need continuity.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:10 pm

Agree about Care. The excellent, well taken try automatically raises his ratings regardless of what else he does, but the kicking in particular was a lot better from Youngs

Interesting to see how the lineout has developed. I believe yesterday we used a lot of different jumpers (including Haskell ffs...) which is a really good sign. Itoje put all doubts about his jumping to rest and then some and then there was Kruis who is now the undoubted first choice lock. It is something that has obviously improved a great deal over the last 5 games.

Funny how it goes - Launchbury is going to be a bench bunny and outside of injury Lawes will find it very hard to get a look in again.

Also the back row. The same combo as in the RWC and they are never going to win loads of turnovers but they have become a very mean combo

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Post by catchweight Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:12 pm

Jones has done well to win a grand slam in his year. He is a better coach than Lancaster and he has more experience.

I think the state of crisis English rugby was in when he took over was grossly exaggerated though. I think we have the best set of players that we have had since 2003. Domestically the club sides are rejuvinated. Over the last ten decade when considering a lions team I have generally only seen maybe 2/3 English players that have been worth a starting jersey, with the Irish and Welsh generally making up the bulk of the team. Player for player England didnt actually have the same quality. Now I think a Lions team would be predominantly English and Welsh and the depth of the English squad is superior to all the other nations.

With Scotland, France and Italy away and the tougher Irish and Welsh teams at home I think England deserved to be favourites to win the competition this team around (even if Lancater was still at the helm). A Grand Slam is a welcome bonus though and a sign that Jones is moving the team forward.

My biggest concern from the tournament is Ford who hasnt looked to be progressing to the level everyone hoped both internationally and at club level in a key position.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:31 pm

OK, we know stats are useful, but never tell the whole story about a team's performance.  
But I did find it interesting to see England's stats from the 2015 6 Nations compared to the 2016 6 Nations - excluding the France games since last season was such an anomaly.  

So without the France games England scored virtually the same number of points and tries, but the defence was slightly better.  So from a performance and productivity point of view, the attack did not appear to improve.  Simply going by the data, this is where we need to ramp up.   Can Ford be part of this or do we try to get Slade in the mix as soon as really healthy and firing?  

 Points ForPoints AgainstTries ForTries Against
201510265116
201610149104

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Post by broadlandboy Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:48 pm

IMSVHO the reason that the missed tackles so high is the change in the defence system. Now going up alot quicker so greater chance of missed tackle but putting the opposition under greater pressure earlier forcing more mistakes.

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Post by nathan Sun 20 Mar 2016, 1:24 pm

Discipline is a major problem too. 65 penalties in the tournament, average of 13 a game, that needs to be well under double figures.

On the whole though to win a grand slam in eddies first 5 games in charge is great.

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 20 Mar 2016, 1:26 pm

You really, really do not like Ford, Doc.

Now it is fair to say he has really suffered from "sophomore" syndrome after such an outstanding first international season - but I do feel we are at risk of throwing the baby out withbthe bath water

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Post by robbo277 Sun 20 Mar 2016, 1:51 pm

Doc

The key difference though is who those points were against.

We got 17 extra points against Scotland and Italy with home advantage.

But we got 16 less points against Ireland and Wales and consequently lost the game to Ireland.

I think it's difficult to compare because of the cycle.

Defence obviously improved only conceding 5 tries in 5 games, 3 of which against Wales.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 1:57 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 20 Mar 2016, 1:57 pm

LondonTiger wrote:You really, really do not like Ford, Doc.

Now it is fair to say he has really suffered from "sophomore" syndrome after such an outstanding first international season - but I do feel we are at risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water
Very true.  I believe he is one of those players who has a nice little step and a half-way decent pass but brings nothing extra, at least for now.  No leadership, critical for a 10, no positive influence on the game, no defence, simply there.    

I would really like England to have a 10 to rely on for the next 5-10 years.  Maybe Ford will get there, but he needs to develop at his club.  I would go so far as to suggest his rapid call-up to the England squad may be hindering his chances of developing into a competent international fly half for the long haul.  Clearly this season he has been no better than mediocre either for Bath or England.  Maybe Eddie sees something I don't (very, very possible), or maybe he believes there is simply no one else.  I don't know.  But it seems clear to me England have been carrying Ford and not winning because of Ford.  

To go further (but wait, there's more), Eddie is committing the cardinal sin for which we lambasted Lancaster - playing people out of position.  He has done this with Farrell, a decision which surprisingly has really paid off.  And Farrell seems to be more the playmaker and Ford more of a link and occasional runner, Ford almost a second Danny Care than a second Toby Flood.  

I am not saying Ford needs to be consigned to the nether reaches of Hell for all eternity.  Simply he needs time to develop into a 10 who can be relied on to play when the pack isn't only going forward.  If he gets there, I will be content.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun 20 Mar 2016, 2:01 pm

Well Done England. A deserved GS.

I agree with the posters who think Browns days are numbered. As good as he is at finding a gap or beating his man, if he doesn't have the vision to see who is supporting him or the passing ability to hit his man, it is all a waste.

He had the option yesterday of Watson to his left who had a run in, didn't seem to see him, or Care to his right, the pass he through would have mad Kruis stretch, never mind little Danny. Just not good enough.
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Post by doctor_grey Sun 20 Mar 2016, 2:01 pm

robbo277 wrote:Doc

The key difference though is who those points were against.

We got 17 extra points against Scotland and Italy with home advantage.

But we got 16 less points against Ireland and Wales and consequently lost the game to Ireland.

I think it's difficult to compare because of the cycle.

Defence obviously improved only conceding 5 tries in 5 games, 3 of which against Wales.
Good points. Unfortunately, I can't see another way to compare or measure progress. And with only four other matches outside of the France matches, the data set is so small anyway. I thought it was interesting though. Besides it gave me something to do whilst eating breakfast.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 20 Mar 2016, 2:08 pm

broadlandboy wrote:IMSVHO the reason that the missed tackles so high is the change in the defence system. Now going up alot quicker so greater chance of missed tackle but putting the opposition under greater pressure earlier forcing more mistakes.

A big part of that was Farrells job at 12, I have no idea if it's the tactics but he seemed to be running up at the opposition, out of the line, waving his arms and (probably) screaming. I assume this was to put the opposition off their games as he never actually tackled anyone, but looked like a loony.

Reminds me a lot of school rugby when you really didn't fancy tackling the much bigger opposition so just ran around "looking aggressive".

Either way it meant there were a lot of covering tackles going on as the opposition got around him.

Just like Saracens of the last few years...

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Sun 20 Mar 2016, 2:45 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

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Post by robbo277 Sun 20 Mar 2016, 2:52 pm

Doc

I suppose it is a good point that we haven't cut away from teams and completely reinvented ourselves, just marginal increases in most, if not all, areas making us a 5-10% better side.

If you analyse it, 2014 (the last cycle this way round) We were actually painfully close to a Grand Slam, it was just the first game we fudged by 2 points, not the last as is our tradition! Without looking at the scores, you can say it's only really a marginal increase in results, but a crucial one in terms of trophies.

Big tests still to come, especially in the summer and the autumn now, but a very good start.

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Post by Guest Sun 20 Mar 2016, 3:00 pm

Belated congratulations England. Sorry for delay in posting, I'm on the razz in Austria.

Well done on your Grand Slam. You were, quite simply, the best.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 3:37 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

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Post by SimonofSurrey Sun 20 Mar 2016, 3:54 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

Before this exchange kicks off into something a bit ratty, let's all calm down a bit and take stock. I think the point here is that, at their best, England sides have developed from GSs to become competitive, sometimes even more, against the SH sides after GSs. In contrast, the Welsh and Irish slams of recent times have felt more like achievements in themselves - and great they were, in style and execution - rather than the start of something bigger in global terms, which they weren't. This is neither a WUM nor a put down, simply an attempt to explain how I understand this point. But, to finish on a realistic note, if becoming a major world power is akin to winning the lottery, this England team have drawn the first and possibly the second number only, ie an interesting start, but they have a huge way to go even before we should start to get really excited about them.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 3:55 pm

Dry your eyes Mikey.....not everything is about Wales.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 4:23 pm

England as regards development are a curious one actually.  They've won their Slam and they played some lovely rugby getting there.  But already, it's the chinks in the armour plating I'm seeing rather than the beginnings of what Jones thinks is now an Up-UP curve.

It might very well be Up and UP from here on in - but to tell the truth, I was more genuinely afraid of the England side that entered the WC than the one that finished this 6N.  I don't see too much of a difference in terms of style of play etc so I don't really see a distinction in terms of coaching eras yet.

Therefore, looking at them as a team that was progressing in advance of the last WC, through the last WC and now beyond to this point, I see their last two games as a hint of things not being as smooth in the engine as they'd like.  A vulnerable underbelly exists still that is there for the taking if they meet a team with the resolve and energy levels to keep at them.  I think energy levels is the key to much of what they're doing but some of the senior boys doing it, well if it came to a sequence of injuries would there be a genuine second string to take the heat?

No team is perfect of course and England are certainly the best team operating in the NH at the moment.... but there were a few 'oops' moments in their last two games when you felt they were trying hard to make a statement of intent (perhaps to the SH too) but they weren't able to get to the levels required to make them.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Sun 20 Mar 2016, 4:43 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

I wasn't on these forums in 2008 and I'm not talking about Wales.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 4:48 pm

SimonofSurrey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

Before this exchange kicks off into something a bit ratty, let's all calm down a bit and take stock. I think the point here is that, at their best, England sides have developed from GSs to become competitive, sometimes even more, against the SH sides after GSs. In contrast, the Welsh and Irish slams of recent times have felt more like achievements in themselves - and great they were, in style and execution - rather than the start of something bigger in global terms, which they weren't. This is neither a WUM nor a put down, simply an attempt to explain how I understand this point. But, to finish on a realistic note, if becoming a major world power is akin to winning the lottery, this England team have drawn the first and possibly the second number only, ie an interesting start, but they have a huge way to go even before we should start to get really excited about them.    

I can see what you're saying, but hasn't that happened just once? Also there's been mention of how young England's team is, therefore they're going to get better. I seem to remember Lancaster also starting out with a young team and not getting better, so to me people are jumping the gun. I think Jones' England are actually a little better than the previous era but I won't be predicting world domination just yet. There's one more game to go against Wales and then the Australia tour. By the end of that tour and perhaps the Autumn series we'll have a good idea of where England are going under Eddie Jones.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 4:51 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

I wasn't on these forums in 2008 and I'm not talking about Wales.

Then you've spectacularly missed the point and that's no surprise. I think this year's tournament was a bit below par, even England supporters have said that. Before then we've been told it's not that great winning the tournament anyway given it's a level below the SH - so based on all this Rory how do you think England are on track to becoming world beaters?

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Post by SecretFly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 5:11 pm

He thinks what he thinks Mikey. Wink

He doesn't need to include a discussion on Wales as a sub paragraph.  He's talking about what he thinks of England.  An opinion.  You don't always need an historically accurate weighing scales to give an opinion.

To be honest, I think and I've said that both Wales and to a degree even France have already shown that England have a lot of work to do yet to become a side that will make the SH sides alarmed at their rate of progress.... but Rory thinks what he thinks and it's allowed.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 5:26 pm

Well that's fair... I guess on one hand I can see England going to be up there with the world's elite. On the other hand I can see a repeat of what happened in the previous 4 years. I obviously hope it's the latter, so that my own team can become world beaters...

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Post by stub Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:03 pm

I think the majority of English posters will enjoy the slam, see it as a big step in the right direction but no more than that. Still lots of improvements to be made but definitely some signs of development and some promise that this side can make further improvements.

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Post by catchweight Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:06 pm

A Grand Slam is an acheivement to be savoured in itself.

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Post by Poorfour Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:21 pm

Mikey, I think the difference in perception comes partly precisely because England were so flawed. Wales and Ireland's recent Grand Slams have been from teams at the height of their powers, as was England's eventual GS in 2003. This England team is clearly a work in progress and yet still had enough to take the prize.

By the same token, Fly, I think those chinks in the armour are the reason England will improve rather than stagnate. If you've seen them, then Eddie's seen them too, and unlike Lancaster he's an experienced enough coach to know how to address them.

As you rightly say, they don't look that different from Lancaster's team, or play in a radically different style. That's partly because (Burgess aside), Lancaster was a good selector and brought through a lot of players that Eddie still wants to work with, and partly because an all-new coaching team can only impart their new system a bit at a time. The defensive system is always the first focus, and it is visibly different from Farrell's - and more effective. We should see more change over the summer.

It also says something that this England managed to tough out a number of close wins against teams that came back at them. Previously, that has been a problem for England teams and the skill of finding a way to win has eluded a lot of promising teams in the past - including several of Woodward's teams.

It gets harder from here, but we've seen enough progress to suggest that it's doable.

On the depth point, consider the top 3 in each position:
LH - Marler, Mako, Mullen
HK - Hartley, George, Cooper-Woolley
TH - Cole, Hill, Brookes
Lock - Kruis, Itoje, Launchbury, Lawes
Flanker - Haskell, Robshaw, Clifford - need some depth here but we have Underhill, Ewers, Kvesic etc
No 8 - Billy, Morgan - need more depth here but Hughes and Beaumont are possibles
SH - Youngs, Care - need to bring through someone like Robson
FH - Ford, Farrell, Cipriani, Burns, Slade. Take your pick
Centre - Slade, Tuilagi, Joseph, Daly, Devoto
Wing - Watson, Nowell, May, Yarde
FB - Brown, Goode, Foden.

We have work to do on the back row and scrum half, and we need to try out various centre pairings once they are all fit, but it already feels like there is a clearer plan in place than we have had for some time.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:27 pm

Cooper-Wooley?

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Post by englandglory4ever Sun 20 Mar 2016, 7:07 pm

That was a good slam for England. Something they have been searching for. Clearly Eddie and his coaches can take huge credit for it but the team have worked incredibly hard too. Their defence has made probably the most marked improvement. I think this year they have had both fewer tries and points scored against them. Like a good round of golf they also had a bit of luck particularly with so few injuries.

But what really has improved is their grit and mental toughness when teams come back at them as both Wales and France did. Only 2 points in it at one point against France away. They stuck at it and deserved the wins. That is a very good sign.

Still 4 or 5 players away from a top 3 side and a huge amount of work to do before Australia but I suspect Eddie is on it like a car bonnet already.

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Post by Poorfour Sun 20 Mar 2016, 7:23 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Cooper-Wooley?

Sorry. Got my double barrels in a twist. I meant Cowan-Dickie
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Post by majesticimperialman Sun 20 Mar 2016, 7:29 pm

Then you've spectacularly missed the point and that's no surprise. I think this year's tournament was a bit below par, even England supporters have said that. Before then we've been told it's not that great winning the tournament anyway given it's a level below the SH - so based on all this Rory how do you think England are on track to becoming world beaters?


So England win a Grand Slam witch is no easy task. and mikey_dragon says it was because it was below par. hmmmm picard

So what you are saying mikey_dragon is that if Wales had won the Grand Slam and not England, it would have been because they was the best side in the 6ns.

The least you could have done is give credit to England for winning ( every game ) and not drawing with any team. Like Wales i mean. thumbsup

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 7:32 pm

Snore.

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Post by SimonofSurrey Sun 20 Mar 2016, 7:36 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
SimonofSurrey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

Before this exchange kicks off into something a bit ratty, let's all calm down a bit and take stock. I think the point here is that, at their best, England sides have developed from GSs to become competitive, sometimes even more, against the SH sides after GSs. In contrast, the Welsh and Irish slams of recent times have felt more like achievements in themselves - and great they were, in style and execution - rather than the start of something bigger in global terms, which they weren't. This is neither a WUM nor a put down, simply an attempt to explain how I understand this point. But, to finish on a realistic note, if becoming a major world power is akin to winning the lottery, this England team have drawn the first and possibly the second number only, ie an interesting start, but they have a huge way to go even before we should start to get really excited about them.    

I can see what you're saying, but hasn't that happened just once? Also there's been mention of how young England's team is, therefore they're going to get better. I seem to remember Lancaster also starting out with a young team and not getting better, so to me people are jumping the gun. I think Jones' England are actually a little better than the previous era but I won't be predicting world domination just yet. There's one more game to go against Wales and then the Australia tour. By the end of that tour and perhaps the Autumn series we'll have a good idea of where England are going under Eddie Jones.

I think England have done two surges built on GSs. We both acknowledge 2003 - ironically when that team probably already had peaked - but I think England began to beat the SH 3 on a less than occasional basis in the 90s, ie from around the time of 1991/2/5 GSs. Where we agree 100% however is that this current England side have had a good few months and hint at the potential to go on to bigger and better things - but no more at this stage. We'll know much more a year from now after the game at HQ in May, summer tour, AIs & 2017 6N.

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 20 Mar 2016, 8:07 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:You really, really do not like Ford, Doc.

Now it is fair to say he has really suffered from "sophomore" syndrome after such an outstanding first international season - but I do feel we are at risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water
Very true.  I believe he is one of those players who has a nice little step and a half-way decent pass but brings nothing extra, at least for now.  No leadership, critical for a 10, no positive influence on the game, no defence, simply there.    


I disagree with you about his abilities. I agree his form this season has not been a patch on last year - but I never feel you have ever given him any credit either for just how well he played last season for club and country, nor the time sthis season in Europe when he dragged his team almost single handed to narrow wins over Leinster and Wasps.

I sometimes suspect you have never forgiven him for making Saints look clueless in the 2013 AP final.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 20 Mar 2016, 8:27 pm

I am also surprised that at a time when we are still never allowed to forget how 'ickle Shane' tackled Banahan that so little fuss has been made of Ford's tackle on North, even if it was of the tripping over the speed bump kind

Being more serious I though Ford was generally very good last night. Easily the best performance from him this 6N where he has often been misfiring. The thing I'd add was last year when he was playing the English back line looked a good deal more threatening, and that did seem to be because Ford was there even if he wasn't doing much.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 20 Mar 2016, 8:31 pm

SimonofSurrey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
SimonofSurrey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

Before this exchange kicks off into something a bit ratty, let's all calm down a bit and take stock. I think the point here is that, at their best, England sides have developed from GSs to become competitive, sometimes even more, against the SH sides after GSs. In contrast, the Welsh and Irish slams of recent times have felt more like achievements in themselves - and great they were, in style and execution - rather than the start of something bigger in global terms, which they weren't. This is neither a WUM nor a put down, simply an attempt to explain how I understand this point. But, to finish on a realistic note, if becoming a major world power is akin to winning the lottery, this England team have drawn the first and possibly the second number only, ie an interesting start, but they have a huge way to go even before we should start to get really excited about them.    

I can see what you're saying, but hasn't that happened just once? Also there's been mention of how young England's team is, therefore they're going to get better. I seem to remember Lancaster also starting out with a young team and not getting better, so to me people are jumping the gun. I think Jones' England are actually a little better than the previous era but I won't be predicting world domination just yet. There's one more game to go against Wales and then the Australia tour. By the end of that tour and perhaps the Autumn series we'll have a good idea of where England are going under Eddie Jones.

I think England have done two surges built on GSs. We both acknowledge 2003 - ironically when that team probably already had peaked - but I think England began to beat the SH 3 on a less than occasional basis in the 90s, ie from around the time of 1991/2/5 GSs. Where we agree 100% however is that this current England side have had a good few months and hint at the potential to go on to bigger and better things - but no more at this stage. We'll know much more a year from now after the game at HQ in May, summer tour, AIs & 2017 6N.

The early 90s are before my time, so it's no wonder I failed to acknowledge it. Alternatively, England also won a championship in 2011 and didn't progress as hoped. And yes we'll certainly know more by the summer, I also hope my own team have improved by then. As for the game in May, isn't that the one where both teams will be understrength due to club play-offs? An England possibly without their Quins and Sarries contingent, and a Wales team without their England and France based players (PRL and LNR)?

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Post by yappysnap Sun 20 Mar 2016, 8:50 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Rory_Gallagher wrote:Massive congratulations to England and to the fans on here. It is great to see England on the path to becoming a genuine world beating team again. There is still a lot of room for improvement over the next few years as I don't think you were even close to your best which is a scary proposition. Onwards and upwards!

 Ale clap rose

Calm down.

First grand slam in 13 years is a big achievement and shows they are moving in the right direction. I didn't say they are already a world beating side but this is a good start.

It certainly is. But back in 2008 it wasn't such a big achievement. I also don't recall anyone saying we were on the path to becoming genuine world beaters - funny that.

I am stunned you can remember posts from 8 years back so clearly that you can make those generalisations.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 9:03 pm

[quote="mikey_dragon]

The early 90s are before my time, so it's no wonder I failed to acknowledge it. [/quote]

The early 90s were before your time, Mikey???

God, yous are all so young!

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Post by gregortree Sun 20 Mar 2016, 10:12 pm

SecretFly wrote:
\"mikey_dragon wrote:

The early 90s are before my time, so it's no wonder I failed to acknowledge it.  

The early 90s were before your time, Mikey???

God, yous are all so young!

And it shows.

BTW, thank you Rory and Secret for your gracious comments from across the Irish Sea.
But I have to say it...it feels good to be an England fan at the moment.
Some significant shortcomings to be addressed still, but Jones at last is giving players and fans alike, both hope and confidence.

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Post by yappysnap Sun 20 Mar 2016, 10:31 pm

Watching the highlights Owens reffing of the breakdown was odd, lots of hands on the floor allowed after the initial pen and seemed to penalise the team in possession a heck of a lot

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Post by Poorfour Sun 20 Mar 2016, 11:17 pm

yappysnap wrote:Watching the highlights Owens reffing of the breakdown was odd, lots of hands on the floor allowed after the initial pen and seemed to penalise the team in possession a heck of a lot

I didn't think he had one of his bettter days.
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Post by doctor_grey Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:46 am

LondonTiger wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:You really, really do not like Ford, Doc.

Now it is fair to say he has really suffered from "sophomore" syndrome after such an outstanding first international season - but I do feel we are at risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water
Very true.  I believe he is one of those players who has a nice little step and a half-way decent pass but brings nothing extra, at least for now.  No leadership, critical for a 10, no positive influence on the game, no defence, simply there.    


I disagree with you about his abilities. I agree his form this season has not been a patch on last year - but I never feel you have ever given him any credit either for just how well he played last season for club and country, nor the time sthis season in Europe when he dragged his team almost single handed to narrow wins over Leinster and Wasps.

I sometimes suspect you have never forgiven him for making Saints look clueless in the 2013 AP final.
Sadly, a lot of people have made my Saints look bad.  But, I challenge you, mon ami, to say Ford didn't have it relatively easy for a fly half in that AP final.  You were dominating the breakdown and played the second half with 15 men to 14.  I think Dylan Hartley had a bigger impact on the game than Ford.  Unfortunately.  

No, I don't care for the little smug little pygmy (please note, not a slur at Pygmys as an ethnic or social grouping, instead using the term as a descriptor vetted and approved by the Premiership, RFU, and World Rugby).  OK, seriously, I have always thought he was overrated and was carried by his different teams, even when seeing him play U20s.  I have never had the same level of enthusiasm as everyone else.  I still don't.

Reminds me when Cipriani was very young, was hyped to the stars and almost given the keys to the kingdom.  I felt at that time Cipriani was not ready as a player, but like a lot of people didn't know he wasn't emotionally ready or mature enough to handle the job.

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Post by beshocked Mon 21 Mar 2016, 10:05 am

Londontiger surely it was Hartley who handed Tigers the 2013 AP final on a platter? Not sure you can say Ford was more influential than Hartley.

Talking about Hartley - I have to say well done to him in this tournament, I criticised his appointment as captain before the tournament, in general he was a reliable player at hooker. Especially with George's injury - his importance became even more so. Still don't think he should stay long term captain but he kept the ship steady.

Agree with you Doctor grey. Still not completely convinced on Ford. I've liked aspects of his play but I still question his lack of physicality. It's not necessarily his defence that worries me, it's his inability to support his team mates at ruck time and just feel like his team mates have to protect him.

Agree about the leadership thing too. I don't like Farrell as a person - think he's too arrogant and petulant but he has a belief about him that I don't think at times Ford does. I personally think it's because Farrell is more of a physical player.

Surprisingly I would say Farrell is the Mike Phillips of England - not everyone's cup of tea, not a natural playmaker but adds a physicality some other players don't. Never going to be a darling because he's doesn't beat men or have that vision someone like Hodgson,Goode (Alex),Slade,Ford have but he adds something. A successful international player. I don't think he'll ever be world class but adds a physical presence that Ford lacks. Plus there's his goal kicking which is very good, he's got that belief he's going to knock it over.

Ford in comparison has vision and playmaking that Farrell lacks but doesn't exude confidence and I feel needs to be helped more by his team mates. He's not given kicking duties because he's not really trusted in that role. The burden of responsibility has been shared by others to help Ford.

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Post by SimonofSurrey Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:04 am

mikey_dragon,

You make a good point re 2011 but, to be brutally honest, England have flattered to deceive constantly since 2003. For those of us with longer memories, this England team feels like the one of the early 90s - when for the first time in donkeys' years England were the powerhouse of the NH and began to mix it credibly and regularly with the SH Big 3 - as well as the much better known team of 2000-3. That is why we are feeling cautiously optimistic this side of the Severn Bridge: this feels now like a decent but very much still developing team that could go on to much bigger & better things, rather than an ok-ish team which probably has achieved as much as it can.

As for Wales, I've suggested on another thread that a first 40 of the intensity you showed in the last 10 minutes at HQ could shock the ABs and allow you - at long last - to get that all important win. That would be great not just for Wales but for the NH as a whole. Here's hoping...

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Post by TightHEAD Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:21 am

Did Wales win a slam in 2008? seems so long ago now.

Here's looking forward to the remainder of the season and summer tour down-under.

always look forward....not back.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:55 am

So does anyone know who gets who in the final round next year?.... I'm getting mighty bored having to face wild and whacky Scotland in the last game! - as England and Wales get the two sump sitters! Wink

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