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World cup cycles

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BamBam
asoreleftshoulder
ebop
Rugby Fan
aucklandlaurie
The Great Aukster
Welly
Exiledinborders
profitius
No 7&1/2
lostinwales
GeordieFalcon
Pot Hale
emack2
Poorfour
Not grey and not a ghost
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Post by Not grey and not a ghost Mon 26 Sep 2016, 7:01 pm

till trying to get my head around where teams are at. My thoughts are that it's hard to judge this early in the cycle. It's becoming more pronounced each world cup that there are issues post world cup. Things that affect the first 2-3 tournaments/tours include:
New management
Players burnout (Players playing in the Northern club season following the world cup) and injuries
Player retirement (affects all nations, but is an additional issue for southern teams  who lose players early due to payouts from European clubs)
I feel there's probably a bedding in period of up to a year before we see how teams are positioning themselves.

Here's my thoughts on NZ.

Management essentially remained the same. However, there have been changes in attack and defensive strategies.
Burnout hasn't been an issue.
Retirement: The loss of a significant portion of last years team was offset through the incorporation of younger players into the team through rotation. If there was an issue it's been the loss of midfield to injuries on the back of retirements and the olympics. I think pretty much all of the centres have been unavailable at one point or another (with the possible exception of Fekitoa). Things were particularly dire in the first two games of the year.

Your thoughts on your own nation?


Last edited by Not grey and not a ghost on Mon 26 Sep 2016, 8:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Poorfour Mon 26 Sep 2016, 7:59 pm

England:
Positives:
1. We have a core group of 50-cap+ players who are mostly still likely to be available in 2019
2. We have probably the best pipeline of junior players of any nation, and we are getting more consistent at getting players from JRWC success to performance at senior international level
3. We are likely to approach RWC 2019 with a squad that has the age mix and cap count that has characterised previous RWC winners - and with a steady stream of replacements in the wings
4. We have a coaching team that seems to be getting the best out of the players
5. Gustard's defensive system is one of the best there is
6. We will find out in the autumn how good our setpiece is, but I do not expect it to be found wanting
7. We have great strength in depth in several areas - tight five, fly half, wing, arguably OC. In the front row in particular, by 2019 we will probably be able to choose from at least 3 top class options in each position.
8. We have some momentum and confidence.

Concerns:
1. The All Blacks
2. We need to prove that we can be consistent at winning. Beating South Africa in the AIs (which would probably in practice mean a clean sweep), retaining the 6N (though a second grand slam would be icing on the cake) and winning in Argentina with a depleted team would give us reason to believe that this can be sustained
3. We don't have a fully functioning attack, though that is usually the last piece of the jigsaw to fall into place
4. We need to see that we can evolve tactically and integrate new players seamlessly if we really wan to challenge the All Blacks for dominance. How will the Gustard defence cope now other teams know what to expect?
5. Eddie Jones has a bit of history of burning through players and losing the dressing room... though he probably hasn't had the depth that England have in his previous roles
6. There is no concern 6
7. The post-Eddie succession plan isn't clear, and it needs to be. We want him to leave on a high and leave behind someone who has been prepared to step into the top job.
8. We need to find a long term 7, establish depth across the back row, find a third international class scrum half, work out what to do with the centres, and bring through a long term replacement for Mike Brown (hint: it's not Alex Goode.)
9. We need to find who has the voodoo doll of Manu Tuilagi and get it back. Firstly, for Manu's sake but also in case they know how to make one for Itoje. It might be the same person who had the Jonny Wilkinson one.
10. The Lions will almost certainly break some of our players
11. We will not truly know how good we are until we play New Zealand.
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Post by emack2 Mon 26 Sep 2016, 9:48 pm

Poorfour, agree with you on a lot of what you say but a few
quibbles.The Coaching benefits of George Smith and Ella
are no longer available.
Englands Scrum for me is a problem and apparently if
you read the Telegraph in the Premeirship.
The Scrum is being used to milk penalties,by collapsing
deliberately or otherwise.
Referees are starting to just reset wasting time or saying
use it.I know your trying to con me if it continues I`ll
go to my pocket.
This is common to Australian and Argentina too,NZ win
ALL there own scrums and use it to attack.
Pre RWC Lancaster had England playing running rugby
this reverted to old RWC safety first game.
It is a delusion that England have the best conveyor belt
just because they`ve won so many JWC`s.
NZ have a system that is unbeatable at least in theory
all teams from kids of 4 to AB`s playing the same game.
NO team is standing still and come 2019 I`d bet anything
that France and the SH sides will reach the SF stage .
Unless they eliminate each other on the way.
England are building nicely and but come AI`s think SA
and Oz not to mention Argentina can give them a game.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 26 Sep 2016, 10:41 pm

emack
- You are placing far too much emphasis on the influence of Smith and Ella. It looks to me as if Eddie will bring in new coaches for each campaign to emphasise specific points, but I don't think they were core to what's been achieved

- I think you are confusing England's scrum with Wales's. I have not seen England trying to milk penalties for quite some time. If anything, their issue was the inability to counter teams that did try to milk penalties.

- As I said in my original post, the attack is typically the last part of any coach's gameplan for the players to pick up. It took Woodward 4 years to get his up and running; Lancaster 3. I have every expectation that England's will improve. Given time. Which they haven't had.

- "New Zealand has a system that is unbeatable at least in theory", but it's a "delusion" to believe that success at JRWC is not an indicator of player pipeline? I happily admit that New Zealand's system is better. I would have liked the RFU to switch to weight grade rugby and it would be great if all the clubs played to a common style. But I think that the gap between the systems has narrowed, and England's system has the advantage of greater numbers. We still need to see that translate into more players in the national side, but the presence of players like Itoje, Clifford, Ford, Farrell, Joseph and Watson in the XXIII and Genge, Hill, Sinckler, Chisholm, Evans, Marchant in the wider squad suggests it is starting to work.

- Believing that France will reach the SF stage in 2019 sounds much more like a delusion to me. A league stacked with foreign imports and regular open conflict between the clubs and the national team is not a recipe for world cup success. And it's not exactly consistent to knock England's system for not being as good as New Zealand's (in theory) while in the same post arguing that the most broken system in the NH will somehow deliver the goods.

I fully expect SA, Oz and Argentina to "give England a game" in the AIs. But equally I don't see anything that would lead me to believe that England can't win. England were competitive against those sides under Lancaster, and are materially better now. I have seen nothing to suggest that Australia or South Africa have improved since last year, and I don't think Argentina have done enough to close the gap.
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Post by Poorfour Mon 26 Sep 2016, 10:42 pm

By the way, why is it that you always post in half lines with no paragraph breaks? It's very hard to read.
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Post by Pot Hale Tue 27 Sep 2016, 2:06 am

Poorfour wrote:By the way, why is it that you always post in half lines with no paragraph breaks? It's very hard to read.

That's the size of his screen so he hits return when it gets to the edge, I reckon.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 27 Sep 2016, 9:40 am

Im glad you replied to that Poorfour....was much more eloquent, informative and accurate than my:

"What the f*$k are you on about" would have been.....

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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Sep 2016, 9:43 am

Poorfour wrote:emack
- You are placing far too much emphasis on the influence of Smith and Ella. It looks to me as if Eddie will bring in new coaches for each campaign to emphasise specific points, but I don't think they were core to what's been achieved

- I think you are confusing England's scrum with Wales's. I have not seen England trying to milk penalties for quite some time. If anything, their issue was the inability to counter teams that did try to milk penalties.

- As I said in my original post, the attack is typically the last part of any coach's gameplan for the players to pick up. It took Woodward 4 years to get his up and running; Lancaster 3. I have every expectation that England's will improve. Given time. Which they haven't had.

- "New Zealand has a system that is unbeatable at least in theory", but it's a "delusion" to believe that success at JRWC is not an indicator of player pipeline? I happily admit that New Zealand's system is better. I would have liked the RFU to switch to weight grade rugby and it would be great if all the clubs played to a common style. But I think that the gap between the systems has narrowed, and England's system has the advantage of greater numbers. We still need to see that translate into more players in the national side, but the presence of players like Itoje, Clifford, Ford, Farrell, Joseph and Watson in the XXIII and Genge, Hill, Sinckler, Chisholm, Evans, Marchant in the wider squad suggests it is starting to work.

- Believing that France will reach the SF stage in 2019 sounds much more like a delusion to me. A league stacked with foreign imports and regular open conflict between the clubs and the national team is not a recipe for world cup success. And it's not exactly consistent to knock England's system for not being as good as New Zealand's (in theory) while in the same post arguing that the most broken system in the NH will somehow deliver the goods.

I fully expect SA, Oz and Argentina to "give England a game" in the AIs. But equally I don't see anything that would lead me to believe that England can't win. England were competitive against those sides under Lancaster, and are materially better now. I have seen nothing to suggest that Australia or South Africa have improved since last year, and I don't think Argentina have done enough to close the gap.

It does seem to be that Emack looks at England in the worst possible light and NZ in the best, then complains that we are overly optimistic when we disagree.

There are always concerns going forward. There were concerns in Australia that when they got going they could almost score at will, but then we seldom if ever looked like losing, were quite capable of scoring against them (even if it was mainly in 3's) and crucially were able to shut them down for long periods. We beat them up but winning 3-0 was a big deal.

SA is going to be a big game because its been so long since we have beaten them, Australia will be out for revenge, and Argentina will be hard to predict (and might be the toughest game) but we have every right to expect to win all our Autumn games

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 27 Sep 2016, 10:38 am

Think 'cycles' are being a bit overplayed at the moment to be honest. I hear that the 6Ns prior to WC are now just practices, the ones after are filled with newbies, heard similar around the Championship. Stretches belief that the various unions aren't realistically expecting performances to be maintained. For England especially over the last 4 years I think we've seen necessary progression which wasn't just around the WC and won't be this time. You bring youngsters in when you think they can deliver and add longer term.

England are doing well now in part to the work and development Lancaster laid down. Jones is adding to that and bringing through more youth (quality players). Hopefully we just build on this now, as NZ have without the need to rip it up and start from scratch which does affect short term results.

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Post by emack2 Tue 27 Sep 2016, 12:26 pm

Re collapsing Scrums see Brian Moore`s piece on the subject.Australia Series
was my point Re BOTH sides Scrums.In the first two Tests no attempt was
made to hook nor were any completed properly.
England have good players coming from Under 20`s true,BUT so have other
losing teams too.
The cycle post RWC is apt because players often retire or go for a pension,
Coaches are sacked as a knee jerk reaction.
Teams developing nicely the year before see different ones in the RWC`s
adopting a safety first policy,or even 2 different ones viz SA/OZ using
NH players etc.
No team sits still,England have a temporary injury problem among the
backs.So a chance for others to step up, the main weak point for me
is the laboured service at SH[Youngs].
He has a good break,and a sound box kick but his service is so slow
and laboured.Care for one is a better bet for me.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 27 Sep 2016, 12:38 pm

Aus struggled in the scrum, it happens.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 27 Sep 2016, 1:57 pm

There is a point about how many players you need from the U20's to graduate to full internationals. I don't know how long the average international career is, but say it is 5 years then you'll only need roughly 3-5 players a year to step up. (Although you have to make allowances for positions, and of course it will usually take longer for forwards to mature)

There will also be players who reach international standard without going through age group teams for a whole bunch of reasons.

Still - winning is always better than the alternative and it suggests that you may have more chances of unearthing talent.

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Post by profitius Tue 27 Sep 2016, 3:33 pm

For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.
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Post by Exiledinborders Tue 27 Sep 2016, 3:43 pm

emack2 wrote:
England have good players coming from Under 20`s true,BUT so have other losing teams too.
They have but clearly not as many or as good. England now have to develop enough of them into top senior players but I would rather start with more good youngsters than less.

NZ used to dominate the Junior World Cup. They have been overtaken at junior level by England. We will see how that translates into the senior team over the next few years.
emack2 wrote:
No team sits still,England have a temporary injury problem among the backs. So a chance for others to step up, the main weak point for me is the laboured service at SH [Youngs]. He has a good break and a sound box kick but his service is so slow and laboured. Care for one is a better bet for me.
I agree re Youngs. For me Robson is the best SH in England by quite a margin. He has the flair but combines it with solidity.

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 27 Sep 2016, 6:55 pm

profitius wrote:For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.

What's been discussed is that Nucifora/Schmidt want to have 3 possibles in every position. Who else should be in these positions:

Loosehead -
Healy
McGrath
Kilcoyqne
Buckley UC
McCall UC
Robertson-McCoy UC

Hooker
Best
Cronin
Strauss IQ
McCartney? NIQ
Scannell? UC
Sherry?
Tracy? UC
Byrne? UC

Tighthead
Ross
Furlong
Bealham
Moore
Ah You IQ
Cronin

TH Lock
Henderson
Roux IQ
Dillane
Ryan
McCarthy
Kearney

LH Lock
Toner
Foley
Cannon? UC
Malony UC
Kleyn? NIQ

Blindside
Ruddock
O'Mahony


Openside
O'Brien
Van der Flier
Murphy
Reidy
Leavy UC
O'Donnell
Heenan? NIQ

No 8
Heaslip
Stander IQ
Conan
O'Donoghue UC
Masterson?? UC
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Post by Welly Tue 27 Sep 2016, 7:54 pm

England should if done correctly best production line in the world ATM.
and have plenty of starting AP players right now who will be under 31/32 come 2024 RWC.

Granted a lot will be down to the national team but 20 or our provisional 45 man EPS are 24 and Under it certainly looks alot brighter for English rugby IMO.
ESP @ LH, H, Flanks, Centres.




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Post by Poorfour Tue 27 Sep 2016, 8:18 pm

I'd be very happy to see Robson break in to the squad, looks the most complete option.

In terms of player pipeline, England have more JRWC finalists than any other country at the moment, just have to learn how to integrate them with the squad consistently.

As for the scrums, a bit of context is required if that's the article I think it is. Moore was responding to Australia's claims before the the RWC pool match and has for many years criticised all teams for squint feeds and refs for not policing them. I don't recall him giving the All Blacks a pass on that, though he is right to say that they prioritise just getting the ball away over winning the physical contest. However, England have a powerful pack and using it is a valid tactic.
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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 27 Sep 2016, 9:51 pm

Not grey and not a ghost wrote:till trying to get my head around where teams are at. My thoughts are that it's hard to judge this early in the cycle. It's becoming more pronounced each world cup that there are issues post world cup. Things that affect the first 2-3 tournaments/tours include:
New management
Players burnout (Players playing in the Northern club season following the world cup) and injuries
Player retirement (affects all nations, but is an additional issue for southern teams  who lose players early due to payouts from European clubs)
I feel there's probably a bedding in period of up to a year before we see how teams are positioning themselves.

The biggest thing that affects the world cup cycle for Ireland is their continued participation in Lions tours. This effectively means they (and the other home nations) have a 1 to 2 year cycle before the RWC rather than the 4 enjoyed by all other sides.
I agree about the one year settling down period after the RWC but this also happens to Ireland after the Lions tour, so there is really a constant state of flux regrouping for a year and then having only one year preparing for the next event.

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Post by Welly Tue 27 Sep 2016, 10:00 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Not grey and not a ghost wrote:till trying to get my head around where teams are at. My thoughts are that it's hard to judge this early in the cycle. It's becoming more pronounced each world cup that there are issues post world cup. Things that affect the first 2-3 tournaments/tours include:
New management
Players burnout (Players playing in the Northern club season following the world cup) and injuries
Player retirement (affects all nations, but is an additional issue for southern teams  who lose players early due to payouts from European clubs)
I feel there's probably a bedding in period of up to a year before we see how teams are positioning themselves.

The biggest thing that affects the world cup cycle for Ireland is their continued participation in Lions tours. This effectively means they (and the other home nations) have a 1 to 2 year cycle before the RWC rather than the 4 enjoyed by all other sides.
I agree about the one year settling down period after the RWC but this also happens to Ireland after the Lions tour, so there is really a constant state of flux regrouping for a year and then having only one year preparing for the next event.

TBF isn't that the case for the host nation as well as all the other home nations though.

The All Blacks will be going through the same thing this cycle.

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Post by emack2 Tue 27 Sep 2016, 10:28 pm

Bored I watched World Rugby over the weekend,was amazed that it was
estimated that 1 million out of population of about 4 million.Were involved
in NZ Rugby at some level last week.
It was talking of the Heartland tier 3 provincial game,and the kiddie teams.
There were mixed sexs from 4 up playing and enjoying themselves.
The 2015 All Blacks were among the best I`ve seen.I thought losing all those
caps they`d suffer.
The new mix as a team seem to have gelled well,IF you think the conveyor
belt is jammed.Because they weren't JUNIOR RWC winners look at there
Provincial/Super sides crammed with many of their squads[u20]
NZ have a major problem who to pick in some cases it`s up to 10
deep.Sopaga is arguably the form 10 in NZ,but Barretts starting.
Cruden isn`t exactly rubbish etc.
Combinations in midfield due to injuries mean there not consistent
Players like Matt Todd who could have gone abroad for big money
now hopefully his loyalty will be rewarded.
Argentina match may see some players rested to give others a chance
it`s a fine line as to when try new players.

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Post by Welly Tue 27 Sep 2016, 10:33 pm

Todd is not going to get anymore AB caps now IMO he is behind Savea and Cane @ 7 and you have the likes of Blake Gibson look an interesting prospect.

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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 27 Sep 2016, 11:45 pm

Welly wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Not grey and not a ghost wrote:till trying to get my head around where teams are at. My thoughts are that it's hard to judge this early in the cycle. It's becoming more pronounced each world cup that there are issues post world cup. Things that affect the first 2-3 tournaments/tours include:
New management
Players burnout (Players playing in the Northern club season following the world cup) and injuries
Player retirement (affects all nations, but is an additional issue for southern teams  who lose players early due to payouts from European clubs)
I feel there's probably a bedding in period of up to a year before we see how teams are positioning themselves.

The biggest thing that affects the world cup cycle for Ireland is their continued participation in Lions tours. This effectively means they (and the other home nations) have a 1 to 2 year cycle before the RWC rather than the 4 enjoyed by all other sides.
I agree about the one year settling down period after the RWC but this also happens to Ireland after the Lions tour, so there is really a constant state of flux regrouping for a year and then having only one year preparing for the next event.

TBF isn't that the case for the host nation as well as all the other home nations though.

The All Blacks will be going through the same thing this cycle.

I agree that some ABs may forgo foreign riches and not retire immediately after a RWC to stand the chance of facing the Lions, because they only get the chance once every twelve years. However these are players who are continuing in a settled side, and are integrating new players alongside them under settled coaching. The ABs are not a scratch team and they can prepare for the Lions as they would for any other visiting team in any other season, so they have continuity between years 1 and 3. Far from being the same for the host nation it is the polar opposite of the disruption that the Lions nations have to endure.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Wed 28 Sep 2016, 12:30 am


I see what you are saying Aukster, but when the disruption is spread across four nations it would surely only be minimal.

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Post by Exiledinborders Wed 28 Sep 2016, 7:17 am

Welly wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Not grey and not a ghost wrote:till trying to get my head around where teams are at. My thoughts are that it's hard to judge this early in the cycle. It's becoming more pronounced each world cup that there are issues post world cup. Things that affect the first 2-3 tournaments/tours include:
New management
Players burnout (Players playing in the Northern club season following the world cup) and injuries
Player retirement (affects all nations, but is an additional issue for southern teams  who lose players early due to payouts from European clubs)
I feel there's probably a bedding in period of up to a year before we see how teams are positioning themselves.

The biggest thing that affects the world cup cycle for Ireland is their continued participation in Lions tours. This effectively means they (and the other home nations) have a 1 to 2 year cycle before the RWC rather than the 4 enjoyed by all other sides.
I agree about the one year settling down period after the RWC but this also happens to Ireland after the Lions tour, so there is really a constant state of flux regrouping for a year and then having only one year preparing for the next event.

TBF isn't that the case for the host nation as well as all the other home nations though.

The All Blacks will be going through the same thing this cycle.
No. The All Blacks will just be playing a different team, The Lions. They can continue to develop their team. The British and Irish teams will lose their players for a summer and a chance to continue with team development.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Wed 28 Sep 2016, 9:45 am


However the ones that have been touring NZ will come back a lot wiser.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 28 Sep 2016, 9:52 am

aucklandlaurie wrote:
However the ones that have been touring NZ will come back a lot wiser.

Yep - and they'll be great as soon as we can stick the pieces back together

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Sep 2016, 10:13 am

aucklandlaurie wrote:However the ones that have been touring NZ will come back a lot wiser.
I often hear this idea that Lions players come back somehow improved by the experience but the evidence really doesn't back it up. A summer spent resting from injury, or playing with regular international team mates under the usual coaching regime would be much more valuable in building towards a World Cup.


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Post by ebop Wed 28 Sep 2016, 10:46 am

Is there actual evidence?

Like real evidence?
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Post by Poorfour Wed 28 Sep 2016, 10:53 am

emack2 wrote:Bored I watched World Rugby over the weekend,was amazed that it was
estimated that 1 million out of population of about 4 million.Were involved
in NZ Rugby at some level last week.
It was talking of the Heartland tier 3 provincial game,and the kiddie teams.
There were mixed sexs from 4 up playing and enjoying themselves.
The 2015 All Blacks were among the best I`ve seen.I thought losing all those
caps they`d suffer.
The new mix as a team seem to have gelled well,IF you think the conveyor
belt is jammed.Because they weren't JUNIOR RWC winners look at there
Provincial/Super sides crammed with many of their squads[u20]
NZ have a major problem who to pick in some cases it`s up to 10
deep.Sopaga is arguably the form 10 in NZ,but Barretts starting.
Cruden isn`t exactly rubbish etc.
Combinations in midfield due to injuries mean there not consistent
Players like Matt Todd who could have gone abroad for big money
now hopefully his loyalty will be rewarded.
Argentina match may see some players rested to give others a chance
it`s a fine line as to when try new players.

And your point?

My club only starts from 6 and up, but last week our minis did joint training with another club and had about 350 kids and 50 adult coaches across six mixed sex age grades out and playing. Overall 196,000 over 16's participate in rugby at least once a week; if you factor in mini, youth, coaches, refs and other supporters it's around 2.5m. That's a lower proportion than NZ, but it's a much bigger absolute number.

No-one is arguing that NZ doesn't produce strong U20 players and bring them through into the senior team. Indeed, when you can afford to lose players of the quality of Cruden (and Nick Evans before him) you're in good shape. But for the last few years England have been matching and arguably beating the All Blacks in terms of the quality of players AT U20. What we're not as good at - yet - is turning them into full internationals, but the signs are that the tide is beginning to turn.

To use your analogy, the conveyor belt is not jammed at all. But other people have been building conveyor belts too, and while none of them runs quite as smoothly, a couple of them are now wide enough that they are delivering greater throughput.

As for 10 deep... well maybe. Not sure it matters. In practical terms, you need 5-6 players per position who are at or near the right standard. England have that in some positions, NZ maybe have it in more. We've probably got better depth in the tight 5, you're better at openside and in the back 3. It's about the same at 10.

The point is that you're writing from your own perspective. We all do, it's almost impossible not to. But you're also not acknowledging that any progress is being made elsewhere, and doing it in a way that comes across as "what we've got here is so great and nobody else can have anything close." That veers very close to hubris. Which is fine, because Eddie is working very hard to create a nemesis.
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Post by ebop Wed 28 Sep 2016, 10:58 am

England's U20s are usually quite big aren't they? Good scrum, good line out, good rolling maul etc.
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Post by lostinwales Wed 28 Sep 2016, 12:14 pm

The other thing is that the England conveyor belt is still a relatively recent construction. We have had a stack of decent backs so far but it takes an extra couple of years for forwards to come through (unless ofc you are Itoje). The future is bright...

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Wed 28 Sep 2016, 1:00 pm

profitius wrote:For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.

He has us playing a more attacking brand already,that's evident from watching the 6N and the tour of S.A.

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Post by Welly Wed 28 Sep 2016, 1:02 pm

Forwards seem to be alright TBH.
Genge Hepburn, Cowan-Dickie, Taylor, Hill, Sinkler, Itoje, Ewels, Evans, Underhill, Vunipola, Clifford etc etc


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Post by BamBam Wed 28 Sep 2016, 1:05 pm

Welly wrote: Forwards seem to be alright TBH.
Genge Hepburn, Cowan-Dickie, Taylor, Hill, Sinkler, Itoje, Ewels, Evans, Underhill, Vunipola, Clifford etc etc


Just imagine if 2 or 3 of the others can come through with the impact that Itoje/Vunipola already have ...

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Wed 28 Sep 2016, 1:07 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
What's been discussed is that Nucifora/Schmidt want to have 3 possibles in every position. Who else should be in these positions:

Loosehead -
Healy
McGrath
Kilcoyqne
Buckley UC
McCall UC
Robertson-McCoy UC

Hooker
Best
Cronin
Strauss IQ
McCartney? NIQ
Scannell? UC
Sherry?
Tracy? UC
Byrne? UC

Tighthead
Ross
Furlong
Bealham
Moore
Ah You IQ
Cronin

TH Lock
Henderson
Roux IQ
Dillane
Ryan
McCarthy
Kearney

LH Lock
Toner
Foley
Cannon? UC
Malony UC
Kleyn? NIQ

Blindside
Ruddock
O'Mahony


Openside
O'Brien
Van der Flier
Murphy
Reidy
Leavy UC
O'Donnell
Heenan? NIQ

No 8
Heaslip
Stander IQ
Conan
O'Donoghue UC
Masterson?? UC

Ryan from Munster and Kane from Ulster both have been impressive at TH so far this season,it's far from certain but either or both of them might become an option.I'd also have Jordi Murphy down as an 8,it's where I've seen his most impressive performances come from.

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Post by profitius Wed 28 Sep 2016, 1:54 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.

He has us playing a more attacking brand already,that's evident from watching the 6N and the tour of S.A.


They scored 10 pts against england, 16 against Wales and 9 against France. Thats averaging 12 points per match.


In the SA series I did notice some improvements but I remain skeptical.
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Post by asoreleftshoulder Wed 28 Sep 2016, 2:27 pm

profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.

He has us playing a more attacking brand already,that's evident from watching the 6N and the tour of S.A.


They scored 10 pts against england, 16 against Wales and 9 against France. Thats averaging 12 points per match.


In the SA series I did notice some improvements but I remain skeptical.

Correlation does not equal causation.They are playing a more attacking brand ,all you have to do is look at thee games.The removal of the box kick as one of our main attacking weapons in the 6N is one example,our willingness to run from deep when it was on against England is another (poor execution meant we didn't get the outcome but the attitude was there).Our overuse of the running game in completely unsuitable conditions against France shows that we need to be a bit more careful about when we play attacking rugby but it's another example of the change in approach.

Heaslips try against Italy and Murrays try in the 1st Test v S.A. are also good examples,2 tries created by different fullbacks running the same line and offloading in the same fashion to releasethe winger.Obviously the team are practising this set move as a way to create line breaks in open play where that just wasn't attempted in the previous years.Alos the fact that we've seen this one successful move almost certainly means there are others in the locker which we haven't seen yet.

I'd love to know why you remain skeptical,I'd say it's undeniable that we are trying to play more attacking rugby.You can criticise the execution (this imo is why we scored so few points in the 6N) but the attitude is there.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 28 Sep 2016, 5:42 pm

ebop wrote:Is there actual evidence?

Like real evidence?
That's my point. There is no evidence at all.

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Post by ebop Wed 28 Sep 2016, 8:46 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
ebop wrote:Is there actual evidence?

Like real evidence?
That's my point. There is no evidence at all.
What would such evidence even look like?

That's my point

It'd be the intangibles
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Post by profitius Wed 28 Sep 2016, 11:11 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.

He has us playing a more attacking brand already,that's evident from watching the 6N and the tour of S.A.


They scored 10 pts against england, 16 against Wales and 9 against France. Thats averaging 12 points per match.


In the SA series I did notice some improvements but I remain skeptical.

Correlation does not equal causation.They are playing a more attacking brand ,all you have to do is look at thee games.The removal of the box kick as one of our main attacking weapons in the 6N is one example,our willingness to run from deep when it was on against England is another (poor execution meant we didn't get the outcome but the attitude was there).Our overuse of the running game in completely unsuitable conditions against France shows that we need to be a bit more careful about when we play attacking rugby but it's another example of the change in approach.

Heaslips try against Italy and Murrays try in the 1st Test v S.A. are also good examples,2 tries created by  different fullbacks running the same line and offloading in the same fashion to releasethe winger.Obviously the team are practising this set move as a way to create line breaks in open play where that just wasn't attempted in the previous years.Alos the fact that we've seen this one successful move almost certainly means there are others in the locker which we haven't seen yet.

I'd love to know why you remain skeptical,I'd say it's undeniable that we are trying to play more attacking rugby.You can criticise the execution (this imo is why we scored so few points in the 6N) but the attitude is there.


Ireland are passing the ball more but they still play with a lack of width, go from ruck to ruck and of course the players are afraid to offload the ball. BOD even mentioned that about Schmidt. That's why those matches were low scoring.


The SA series showed promise but in the 3rd game the Boks looked very comfortable in defence.
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Post by wolfball Wed 28 Sep 2016, 11:24 pm

profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:For Ireland


It looks like Schmidt is staying for another world cup. I think for Ireland to move up a level he has to allow them play a more attacking brand of rugby but I don't think thats going to happen.

There will be some players that need replacing before the world cup but not too many. Mike Ross, Rory Best, Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe. One or two others like Heaslip might need replacing also. There'll also be some forced retirements, possibly Sean O'Brien.

There are 2 problem positions that need addressing. Hooker and scrum half. There are contenders for each position like Herring and Luke McGrath but theres no real stand outs.

Apart from those positions, Ireland has never been stronger in terms of squad depth. There are over 5 uncapped players who have a good chance of making the november squad.

I expect a backlash of some sort over the player residency issue. A few commentators are starting to come out strongly against it and many fans like myself are not at all happy with it. There'll be more available and if anything Schmidt favours them over Irish players.

He has us playing a more attacking brand already,that's evident from watching the 6N and the tour of S.A.


They scored 10 pts against england, 16 against Wales and 9 against France. Thats averaging 12 points per match.


In the SA series I did notice some improvements but I remain skeptical.

Correlation does not equal causation.They are playing a more attacking brand ,all you have to do is look at thee games.The removal of the box kick as one of our main attacking weapons in the 6N is one example,our willingness to run from deep when it was on against England is another (poor execution meant we didn't get the outcome but the attitude was there).Our overuse of the running game in completely unsuitable conditions against France shows that we need to be a bit more careful about when we play attacking rugby but it's another example of the change in approach.

Heaslips try against Italy and Murrays try in the 1st Test v S.A. are also good examples,2 tries created by  different fullbacks running the same line and offloading in the same fashion to releasethe winger.Obviously the team are practising this set move as a way to create line breaks in open play where that just wasn't attempted in the previous years.Alos the fact that we've seen this one successful move almost certainly means there are others in the locker which we haven't seen yet.

I'd love to know why you remain skeptical,I'd say it's undeniable that we are trying to play more attacking rugby.You can criticise the execution (this imo is why we scored so few points in the 6N) but the attitude is there.


Ireland are passing the ball more but they still play with a lack of width, go from ruck to ruck and of course the players are afraid to offload the ball. BOD even mentioned that about Schmidt. That's why those matches were low scoring.


The SA series showed promise but in the 3rd game the Boks looked very comfortable in defence.

We offload frequently now. I mean your comments might have made sense in 2014-2015, but are completely ignoring the reality of how we are playing all of 2016. We are playing attacking, incredibly pass-heavy rugby with far fewer kicks than most international teams. Whether we are playing this style of rugby WELL is a completely different question.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 29 Sep 2016, 1:02 am

ebop wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
ebop wrote:Is there actual evidence?

Like real evidence?
That's my point. There is no evidence at all.
What would such evidence even look like?

That's my point

It'd be the intangibles
I think if someone is going to argue that players get a benefit from the Lions - Laurie says they "will come back a lot wiser" - then I'd hope for something more substantial than "in ways it's impossible to assess".

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Post by aucklandlaurie Thu 29 Sep 2016, 1:27 am


RF, Is it not like a rep player coming back from rep duties? whether it be a city, a province, a state etc etc.

Surely players should come back smarter having been in a more intense environment,training sessions, tactics, should all be of a higher level.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 29 Sep 2016, 1:45 am

aucklandlaurie wrote:
RF, Is it not like a rep player coming back from rep duties? whether it be a city, a province, a state etc etc.

Surely players should come back smarter having been in a more intense environment,training sessions, tactics, should all be of a higher level.
I've been a bit unfair to you, Laurie, because I don't think you've argued the Lions experience offers any unique benefits. You just happened to use a turn a phrase which pops up a lot among those who think it does.


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Post by ebop Thu 29 Sep 2016, 6:15 am

You don't reckon being exposed to rugby in one SH country for over a month offers any unique benefits? You must think the Lions players already know it all and are complete players. A Lions tour is probably more intense than a RWC and if players don't prepare or take it seriously then it's a missed opportunity for them. It'll be intense on and off the field. More so than the average 6N, RC, July and November tours.
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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 29 Sep 2016, 7:15 am

ebop wrote:You don't reckon being exposed to rugby in one SH country for over a month offers any unique benefits? You must think the Lions players already know it all and are complete players. A Lions tour is probably more intense than a RWC and if players don't prepare or take it seriously then it's a missed opportunity for them. It'll be intense on and off the field. More so than the average 6N, RC, July and November tours.

Two years into a four year World Cup cycle, it would be much better for the development of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh players that they spend that time playing competitive matches with their national squad under their usual coaching regime. That's what the French, Argentinian, NZ, Australian and South African teams will be doing.

If there are superior gains for Home Nations players in playing on a Lions tour, then it would be good to know what they are, and which players have benefited in the past.

I'm not using that as an argument to call for an end to Lions tours. Rather, I think it's a development price the Home Nations always pay for continuing the tradition, and so should be acknowledged.


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Post by ebop Thu 29 Sep 2016, 11:01 am

Fair point

But you neither have evidence that says missing three June junket tests in a four year cycle impacts team development

What about the replacement players

Is that development?
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Post by lostinwales Thu 29 Sep 2016, 11:27 am

For me one concern is that traditionally it felt like the Lions tour was an opportunity for a team combined from the best of the home nations and Ireland to achieve something that the individual teams could not.

Because its a pro game, because of the strength of the individual nations (based on England and Ireland's performances this summer), because of the value of familiarity and conversely the lack of time for the Lions to generate that same understanding between their players I don't think that is the case anymore.

There is of course some positives to forcing our teams to tour with a selection of the 2nd choices and up and coming players, but it does remove an opportunity to develop the collective experience of our first choice team. If we are talking about fine margins at the RWC then I do believe the Lions tours can give an advantage to the SH teams.

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Post by emack2 Thu 29 Sep 2016, 12:01 pm

Two points as I understand it England currently have 11 injured from there
starting 23 squad.So we will see how many fringe players will get a chance
assuming of course they don`t recover in time for the AI`s
Secondly with a 23 squads and only 10 games the Lions tours are a long
way from the classic tours of 30 odd games.Stopping of in Aus and British
Columbia for example 30 players away for up tp 6 months.
Then ALL the players would get a full game with no Subs.injured players
played on as long as they could walk.We`ve come a long way from that
indeed concussion victims from that era are now suffering from alzheimers
especially Taranaki 1960`s squads.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Thu 29 Sep 2016, 12:27 pm

profitius wrote:


Ireland are passing the ball more but they still play with a lack of width, go from ruck to ruck and of course the players are afraid to offload the ball. BOD even mentioned that about Schmidt. That's why those matches were low scoring.


The SA series showed promise but in the 3rd game the Boks looked very comfortable in defence.

They wouldn't have looked so comfortable if Jackson didn't butcher a 4 on 2 or if Marshall hadn't made a forward pass following his excellent line break in the first half.Execution, not attitude.(That's not to be overly harsh on these players,they both were excellent on the tour but if we want to start beating the best then we have to nail every chance)

How comfortable did England look in Twickenham,if I remember correctly Henshaw and van der Fleer both got over the line but a foot in touch and a TMO that just couldn't see the ball that probably was touched down foiled us.Also Dillane made a great line break but passed too early to van der Flier allowing Mike Brown the chance to haul him down,had Dillane fixed his man there's another try gone.Execution,not attitude.

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