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Well done England

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Well done England  Empty Well done England

Post by R!skysports Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:48 am

Just wanted to pop in with a well done to England (now that the beer haze is wearing off).

Deserved champions. Pushed hard by several teams but stayed the course.

Congratulations on a grand slam

See you next year where will wil try to ensure you do not get back to back Wink




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Post by stub Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:35 am

Thanks Risky!

(I'm hoping the beer haze wears off by Monday!)

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Post by yappysnap Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:14 am

Cheers Risky OK next year it might be your turn mate!

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Post by Rowanbi Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:26 am

Surely this raises even more questions about last year's epic fail at the RWC though. Congratulations, England, but they appear to have peaked a year too late for the big prize . . .
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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:38 am

Rowanbi wrote:Surely this raises even more questions about last year's epic fail at the RWC though. Congratulations, England, but they appear to have peaked a year too late for the big prize . . .

Disagree, the questions were raised and answered in fact some time ago. Eddie and Hartley are a new combination, the world Cup was last year.

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Post by Rowanbi Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:42 am

Fair enough.

Eddie must be the most popular Aussie in England right now RedWine RedWine
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Post by aucklandlaurie Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:50 am

Rowanbi wrote:Fair enough.

Eddie must be the most popular Aussie in England right now RedWine RedWine

Well hes well ahead off Rolf.

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Post by rapidsnowman Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:56 am

Yes, well done England!

Connacht top of the Pro 12
Exeter Top of the Aviva
Leicester Top of the Premiership

England win the Grand Slam,  definitely the year of the underdog

Nice to see the little teams have a chance every so often Whistle

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Post by Exeter_Chief Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:48 am

The little tag is quite apt really when you consider that England have bucked the recent trend of picking "big" ball carrying players in the backs! Ford, Nowell and Joseph are all on the smaller side and it just goes to show that there still is a place in the game for skilful smaller players.

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Post by Pete330v2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:15 am

Yes indeed, well done all you Anglo folk.
England absolutely deserve that grand slam, there's no luck involved, no points difference to worry about, just simply the best team in the tournament.
The unfortunate point is that you don't have to be very good to be the best of us NH lot and I can't see the SH sides quivering in their boots. England are the only ones who can mount a serious challenge IMO and will undoubtedly get better too which is a little scary.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:42 am

Thanks Risky.

I was pleased to see Scotland improve as a team, I think you'll get better too. You've made real strides in terms of your attacking game - I thought Hogg and Taylor in particular were your shining lights. A little more composure at times needed but some cracking tries.



The Saracens influence on the England improvement cannot be underestimated - 3 ex Saracens coaches. 5 starters vs France in the GS decider.

England have benefited greatly from it. Defence and lineout strengthened.

Borthwick has help nurtured two locks he knows very well - Kruis and Itoje. Plus of course Gustard knows these two as well.

Gustard - has added a toughness to England which they lacked under Lancaster. Everyone knows Gustard is an upgrade on Farrell Sr.

Billy - arguably the outstanding player of the tournament.

I agree Pete330v2 The exciting thing for England, I think there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Eddie Jones knows this too which is refreshing.


I think what's surprised me the most though is that some of Eddie Jones' more controversial picks like Haskell,Hartley and Farrell have paid off. Hartley has kept his inner demons in check and has been generally solid. Haskell in that last game I don't think gave one penalty away - incredible. Farrell - I believe is still a stop gap 12 but has not been sufficiently exposed by the opposition, still a very good international kicker.

It's been Billy,Kruis and Itoje who IMO have been the shining lights for England but all the English players have contributed. Itoje is a freak - he's a player I've been talking up for some time and each time he makes the hype justified. To slot in so easily and help inspire his team, immense. U20s captain winner,LV captain winner,AP winner now GS winner. Still think Lancaster missed a trick by not putting him in the RWC but that was his decision.

Robshaw has been Mr reliable.

LCD even managed to keep the ship steady when he came on for an injured Hartley vs France!


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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:47 am

Scary to think how much Itoje should improve as well.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:12 am

Just needs to keep his feet on the ground - this was a big step up and he made it look straightforward - I was confident he would but still needs to not let the hype go to his head.

I don't think he will but still.... I think the most refreshing thing was when he got penalised by Owens instead of reacting, he just nodded and moved on. Seems like an old head on young shoulders. That's something you expect from an experienced player, not someone on their 3rd start in a GS decider!

Now you realise why I've banged on about him for so long -a player of his ability and temperament doesn't come along often.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:22 am

I realised a while back beshocked, as I kept telling you! Didn't think he would have had the impact on the Wales match, particularly first half mind but a very impressive guy. Decision making is already great but can and should get better there as he has given away penalties, but forgivable given it's his 3rd game in. Exceptional jump on him as well, brilliant at disrupting the lineout this tournament (and surely that's in large part to Borthwick unpicking peoples plans I would have though?) probably should get better here as well. Fingers crossed for a few years injury free and some hard work.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:35 am

no 7 & 1/2 you didn't the same faith though, you rated him behind the likes of Slater,Kitchener,Launchbury,Lawes,Kruis etc. Perhaps in the case of Launchbury and Kruis you had a point but I have always believed Itoje would perform.

Itoje has given away penalties because he's been trying to attack the opposition ball, it's natural if a player is more aggressive they might get on the wrong side of the whistle but equally he makes more turnovers too. He's an excellent disruptor in general and helps support other players.

Borthwick - known as the professor of the lineout indeed seems to have made a positive impact - I was pleased by the variety vs France - I think we used 5 jumpers - Billy,Haskell,Robshaw,Kruis and Itoje. Didn't lose one I believe. Even LCD hit his jumpers.

There were some doubting Borthwick's suitability as an England coach but Borthwick has done what England sorely needed - turn the lineout into a weapon again instead of a liability.

Now it's not just Borthwick, Hartley and the rest of the pack should get credit too. Eddie for his selections as well.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:40 am

Yup, still don't think he's the best we have at the moment. Still wonder whether Jones will be tempted to have Itoje at 6. And Clifford took the final lineout I think. Looking forward to seeing if he can improve the rolling maul as well. It's an area we need to get better at.

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Post by Shifty Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:49 am

Yup congratulation England well deserved, an interesting point to note is that of the last 4 Grand Slams won, 4 different teams have won it. So at least the tournament has variety and is competitive.
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Post by SimonofSurrey Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:54 am

Being really selfish, I'm so glad we're touring Oz this summer, not NZ. Yes, we got a mighty tonking last time we played them, on the field and the scoreboard, and may well lose out there this summer. But even if we do lose, you sense we shouldn't get the heavy beatings we surely might cop with this team at this stage in NZ. Either way, it would not be good for NH rugby as a whole for the GS Champions to be pulled to pieces. So come on England, make us proud and do well in Oz.

Meanwhile, if Wales can play for the first 40 against the ABs like they did for the last 8-10 minutes at HQ, they might just shock the ABs enough to get that decades long winless streak v NZ monkey off their backs, too. That would be great for Wales and good for the NH too.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:56 am

Still not the best? Comedy gold. At least Eddie Jones disagrees.

True shifty. Maybe Scotland next year? A more exciting and stronger Scotland is good for the tournament.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:57 am

Does he? ok.

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Post by Poorfour Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:03 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yup, still don't think he's the best we have at the moment. Still wonder whether Jones will be tempted to have Itoje at 6. And Clifford took the final lineout I think. Looking forward to seeing if he can improve the rolling maul as well. It's an area we need to get better at.

Given Jones has publicly described Itoje as "a lock who can play 6 at a pinch", I wouldn't hold your breath. I would imagine the maul will improve, but that the focus will be on improving maul defence first.

Eddie seems to want to build a team that can run opponents off their feet, which suggests to me that the maul will be used sparingly. If you're getting clean, quick lineout ball - as England mostly are - then you have more options to go straight to the backs.
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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:07 am

Well of course he did, didn't pick the player you wanted vs Wales. Eddie Jones did disagree with you. Could have cost us a GS if he didn't.

Simonofsurrey agreed - Australia tour is good but don't know why there is the bizarre Wales game scheduled before. Seems like a waste of time for both England and Wales IMO.

In regards to Wales - I've said this before - still think they need to tweak the coaching, not necessarily get rid of Gatland but shake up the backroom staff. They've got quality players but don't think they'll reach their potential without a change.

England are a better team because of their change in coaching personnel. Now not every change is right - France have made a poor selection in Noves whose well past his prime but bringing in good personnel can reinvigorate a team.

I feel sorry for France, a strong France is good for the NH but till they getting their coaching set up right I think they'll struggle.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:13 am

Oh right. I don't think that really confirms that Jones thinks that Itoje is the best English lock, nor do I think it would have cost us a gs. If he continues his improvement at the rate he has we could actually be talking about Itoje in the world class bracket in a year to 18 months, he's certainly improved a helluva lot in the last 12 months. Just think you need to dial down the hype at the moment. He's had an extremely good introduction in the international game but he's not there just yet. it will be good to see him and rest of that U20s group grow together in the next couple of years.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:27 am

No 7 & 1/2 we know what we know.

You can speculate about how Launchbury would have done instead, perhaps Launchbury would have won 3 consecutive MOTMs, who knows? It's just speculation.

Kruis-Itoje - hugely influential 2nd row combo which helped get the GS. That's fact.

Dial down the hype? A player comes into the England starting lineup in his first 6 nations and helps his team win the GS, puts in a MOTM vs Wales and it should be dialled down?

Itoje has delivered what I thought he would - turning hype into reality.

Not where yet? I never claimed he's world class. I am claiming Itoje and Kruis are currently the best 2nd rows in England. Maybe go as far to say they are the form 2nd row pairing in Europe. Not the finished article but in decent shape already.

This can change of course. Not going to write off Launchbury, he might well bounce back from an indifferent 6 nations where he was overlooked and rise to the challenge. Hope he does as it would be good for England.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:30 am

Yup they played very well. Yup you should dial it down slightly, he's a very good player, he should get better but he's a long way to go as yet. He's not England's best lock yet, he's taken advantage of an injury and did well. Hopefully I'll agree with you in 12 months that he's the best as it'll mean he's been consistent across that period of time.

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Post by GunsGerms Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:34 am

Yes well done England. My only gripe I that is wasn't Stuart Lancaster that got a slam rather than the insufferable naughty naughty boy Eddie Jones. Anywho, well deserved.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:42 am

No need to dial it down because I haven't been unreasonable.

I doubt you'll ever truly agree. I was happy to admit I was wrong on Hartley, you stubbornly won't admit that Itoje and Kruis are currently the best 2nd rows in England. The best combo too.

I guess it's because you rate Launchbury so highly, I think it's you who needs to dial down your hype....

Taking advantage of injuries is the best way for a player to make their mark.

Things can change. Not everything is set in stone. Perhaps Launchbury will come back put in a stormer but as of now he's not first choice.

He's been fit so it's been a choice by Eddie Jones to stick with Itoje and Kruis vs Wales and France, don't think he'll be too upset with his decision on the 2nd row!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:43 am

It's just an opinion beshocked, I don't think Itoje is the best English lock at the moment. As I said it's pretty clear he's going be special and mentioned in the same breath as some all time greats, if he fulfils that potential. He's got a fantastic oppotunity given when he's broken through as well given he has a full year and a bit before the Lions where he really could go into orbit. He's not ready to be talked about like that for me just yet.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:52 am

An opinion which is wrong.

He has broken through now.

Just as I was wrong about Hartley, show some humility, admit you were wrong.

There is no point talking to you now as you are not living in the real world.

You probably believe the world is flat even if all the evidence points to the contrary.

You might think I am being harsh, think what you want.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:03 am

Not really beshocked no. I don't rate him as the best lock in England/English lock and I doubt I will before the end of the AIs. Where would you rate him currently behind Retallick alone? Or has he now proved he's better?!

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:20 am

Shame you won't show humility. Never mind.

2nd best lock currently in the NH behind Kruis based on current form IMO. We'll see how he measures up vs the top SH locks when he faces them. Currently behind the top SH locks.

Guys like AWJ and J.Gray have shown more consistency at international level but on current form, Itoje is playing better IMO though there's not much in it. Doesn't make him necessarily a better overall better player. He's achieved less but he's one of the current shining lights at lock.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:24 am

Why exactly do you think I need to show humility on an opinion I hold that Itoje shouldn't yet be considered our best lock? Ah but now I see you're moving the goalposts a bit and we're talking the best form at the moment? In which case yes he's in very good form, as you see from my previous posts I would say he needs to carry that through to the AIs and beyond before saying he's up there. Again seem to be saying prettyy similar things but you jump down my throat for it.

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Post by Shifty Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:28 am

I said before Eddie Jones's track record is that of a boom bust coach, all his teams either over achieve in spectacular manner or fail to get anywhere near their true potential. We're on the boom at the minute. I like this England team it looks fantastic.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:40 am

I think Kruis was class this 6n. A lineout guy, but he offers a good physicality aswell.

I think he's been Englands player of the tournament.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:46 am

Kruis is currently England's best lock.

Itoje has done really well, and has proven me wrong and managed to perform well in the lineout (or perhaps he worked on it since this time last year and is better). However I do not believe his performances were better than Kruis. If he continues as he has and avoids the "Sophomore Season" syndrome then I am pretty sure that in 12 months time I will call him the best English lock. I am not willing to do that now however.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:53 am

Those two could be a tremendous duo though if they develope.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:58 am

I'm more surprised by Kruis this tournament than Itoje to be honest. Previously he's looked a good lock for England but not that special, seems to be carrying better now and clearly his lineout, bar that dodgy 40 min, has been top notch. Not sure how much Borthwick has had to do with that or if he's just simply on form. Again it'll be very very good for us if he can reproduce that through the summer and AIs.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:16 am

no 7 & 1/2 Not moving the goalposts at all. Would make a refreshing change for you to show some humility. I've always talked about form, it's about is the best currently, not last year or more, it's now.

He's up there, he's shown it by his performances, can he carry on? We'll see. We're not saying the same things - you don't rate him very highly. Think he's worse than an unfit Launchbury.

Londontiger not even I am calling Itoje England's best lock - that title is held by Kruis currently, not that it really matters as I've been happy with both.

I thought Itoje outperformed Kruis vs Wales but then as I've said before they are a duo, team mates. They work together. If one is 8/10 and the other 9/10 it doesn't matter as both would have done well.

I do think that Itoje-Kruis is the best 2nd row combo in England currently though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:20 am

You've moved the goal posts, or you misunderstood my comment. I simply said he's not the best lock at the moment. Wasn't talking form.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:37 am

At the moment is current form.....not difficult to understand surely?

In rugby there are two 2nd rows in a pack..... with one on the bench.

Against France the pecking order was Kruis,Itoje then Launchbury - not hard to understand.

If Eddie Jones thought that Launchbury was looking world class in training and Itoje wasn't he might well have picked him vs Wales.

He did not. England beat Ireland,Wales and France with a 2nd row combo of Kruis-Itoje as starters.

If you are still having trouble then please do say. I'll try and explain again.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:41 am

Yet you've misunderstood, happy to clear it up for you i was talking the general pecking order as I see it., not current form. If I'm judging how good a player is in general I generally want to see it longer term.

Still the training thing, still not getting it? Why are you so upset?

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Post by king_carlos Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:49 am

LondonTiger wrote:Kruis is currently England's best lock.

Itoje has done really well, and has proven me wrong and managed to perform well in the lineout (or perhaps he worked on it since this time last year and is better). However I do not believe his performances were better than Kruis. If he continues as he has and avoids the "Sophomore Season" syndrome then I am pretty sure that in 12 months time I will call him the best English lock. I am not willing to do that now however.

Agree with all that LT.

This season with Hargreaves injured Kruis really stepped up for Sarries. It seemed that his lack of chances in the RWC stung him and he went away and improved on what he needed to. His carrying has been so much more dynamic than previously and in the space of a year he has turned himself from a strong jumper and fledgling line-out caller to an excellent exponent in both. On top of that he has kept his high defensive work rate in the tackle and made himself more of a nuisance at ruck time.

I still feel that he can improve as a line-out leader, when Hartley had an off day he really struggled to adapt the game plan to the situation. The best callers find a means to make life easier for their thrower and lifters on off days whereas Kruis still seems to be feeling his way in those situations. That control under pressure is something that should come with experience though.

In Kruis, Itoje and Launchbury we have a really strong first 3 locks to choose from. I'm still hoping that Jones gives Slater a chance to claim the final spot in the EPS though. The best squads these days have an ability to rotate players to get the best side for each opposition. I think Slaters extra bulk and carrying could offer an interesting alternative against bigger packs.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:56 am

Eddie Jones has made it clear where he sees the current pecking order with his selection vs Wales and France....

Training can only tell you so much.

king carlos I agree would be good, perhaps Slater-Launchbury could be one combo with Kruis-Itoje being the other or maybe even Slater-Kitchener in the future. I believe in club combos being effective.

Lock seems to be a healthy position at the moment.

Kruis has indeed been a revelation this season, I think Itoje and Kruis have pushed each other. Kruis has the upperhand currently.

Hopefully we'll see Launchbury up his game too.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:56 am

Yeah agree Slater should tour if he is fit and in form.

He is another leader aswell and offers something different from the rest.

Whats happening with Kitchener.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:58 am

Training can only tell you so much yes, you still seem upset about that from the world cup and constantly bring it up. We have a good choice from locks at the moment, forgive me if I don't alter who I feel the best is on a game by game basis.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:24 am

Yes well done England, a grand Slam is not to be sniffed at, no matter what the circumstances.

From A Welsh point of view second is nothing, although I have no qualms against losing to the better side. From a positive point of view, Wales blooded a very young front row for this tournament which should stand us in good stead for the next decade.

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Post by beshocked Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:28 am

no 7 & 1/2 it's just I don't think you've learnt from previously made mistakes.

Lorddowlais I think it's good to aim for the summit. You should be annoyed with your performances vs Ireland and England, started too slowly. Need to make the coaching changes. Only way you'll improve is learn from your mistakes.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:31 am

Sorry beshocked, what should I have learnt? That I need to constantly alter my views on who I rate as best game to game? Or the training thing where I suggested with no more games available a player would need to get their head down and perform well in the only available thing to catch an eye?

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Post by king_carlos Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:38 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Yeah agree Slater should tour if he is fit and in form.

He is another leader aswell and offers something different from the rest.

Whats happening with Kitchener.

Kitch had a couple of niggles and has fallen behind Fitzgerald in the Tigers picking order. With Barrow coming through as well he has been on the bench for a few weeks. His set-piece work has still been very strong (albeit I haven't seen the Sarries game yet) but his work around the park has disappointed me this year.

Last season he seemed to be using his massive frame more and more effectively and making lots of valuable yards in tight areas. This season he just seems to have lacked that bit of bite to his game. Perhaps fatigue or build up of niggling injuries affecting him.

All that said he would still be my next choice after Slater with Lawes injured. Barrow is a huge talent but needs to double his IQ score into triple figures before he'll have the temperament for international rugby.

Parling is past that level, Attwood is injured, Stooke nowhere this season, Gaskell isn't big enough for an international lock, Myall is good but not good enough... Mitch Lees has been talked about but personally I'm unconvinced, he'd probably be deserving of a Saxons spot though. Matthews and Twomey at Quins would be pushing for a Saxons squad place too. Symons has been a real disappointment this season though.

For all the pokes with Robinson he has been one of the best in the Jeff this season and would deserve a Saxons spot!

Out of all the options after Kruis, Itoje, Launchbury, Lawes and Slater I'd say that Kitch is the next most deserving of a chance. With Lawes already out Eddie may well need another name to travel to Aus.

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