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Home Nations Team of the AIs

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Post by George Carlin Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:25 pm

It's inevitable, so I might as well start this.

Just to summarise what everyone has done so far:

A. England

England 37 - 21 South Africa

England 58 - 15 Fiji

England 27-14 Argentina

B. Ireland

Ireland 40 - 29 New Zealand

Ireland 52 - 21 Canada

Ireland 9 - 21 New Zealand

Ireland 27 - 24 Australia

C. Wales

Wales 8 - 32 Australia

Wales 24 - 20 Argentina

Wales 33 - 30 Japan

Wales 27 - 13 South Africa

D. Scotland

Scotland 22 - 23 Australia

Scotland 19 - 16 Argentina

Scotland 43 - 16 Georgia

Based on:

- consistency across all tests;
- quality of the opposition; and
- how influential the player was,

I would propose something like:

01. Jack McGrath (Ireland)
02. Rory Best (Ireland)
03. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
04. Devin Toner (Ireland)
05. Jonny Gray (Scotland)
06. CJ Stander (Ireland)
07. Justin Tipuric (Wales)
08. Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)

09. Conor Murray (Ireland)
10. Owen Farrell (England)
11. Keith Earls (Ireland)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
13. Huw Jones (Scotland)
14. Jonny May (England)
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

16. Mako Vunipola (England)
17. Dylan Hartley (England)
18. Dan Cole (England)
19. Joe Launchbury (England)
20. Ross Moriarty (Wales)
21. Ben Youngs (England)
22. George Ford (England)
23. Liam Williams (Wales)

Tough people to leave out:
Hamish Watson (Scotland)
Joey Carbery (Ireland)
Andrew Trimble (Ireland)
Billy Vunipola (England)
Courtney Lawes (England)
Tiernan O'Halloran (Ireland)
Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
Sean O'Brien (Ireland)
Chris Robshaw (England)
Richie Gray (Scotland)
John Barclay (Scotland)
Iain Henderson (Ireland)

* No abuse please kids - there were lots of good individual performances so let's have some respect for the fact that there's real competition for places here.


Last edited by George Carlin on Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:10 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Whinging.The ceaseless whinging.)
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Post by aucklandlaurie Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:32 pm


No Abuse? However I see you dangled out there as a bit of bait "quality of the opposition....."

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Post by George Carlin Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:39 pm

aucklandlaurie wrote:
No Abuse? However I see you dangled out there as a bit of bait "quality of the opposition....."
If I can delay the inevitable todger comparison jamboree for half a page Laurie - then my work here is largely done.
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:49 pm

We still have a match!
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Post by Poorfour Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:49 pm

England quite under represented there, I would say. The main point of comparison with Scotland and Wales was playing Argentina. England were a man down for 65 minutes and still won by more than twice Scotland and Wales' winning margins combined.

We will be in a better place to judge after next weekend, but England should be providing 30-40% of the squad in my view. And not Cole, who has looked distinctly off colour.
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Post by George Carlin Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:52 pm

Poorfour wrote:England quite under  represented there, I would say.  The main point of comparison with Scotland and Wales was playing Argentina. England were a man down for 65 minutes and still won by more than twice Scotland and Wales' winning margins combined.

We will be in a better place to judge after next weekend, but England should be providing 30-40% of the squad in my view. And not Cole, who has looked distinctly off colour.
The question is which players stood out individually, even in their relatively weaker or stronger teams.


Last edited by George Carlin on Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by IanBru Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:53 pm

Here's a useful template:
"I can't believe you left out ______________! You clearly haven't been watching the England/Scotland/Wales/Ireland games at all. He's way better than _____________, who was given a total armchair ride in/behind a dominant pack. Wait till he plays New Zealand/England/Scotland, and you'll see he's no better than ___________ or even Gavin Henson."
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:54 pm

So far, I'd say:

15 Hogg
14 May
13 Jones
12 Farrell
11 Earls
10 Ford
9 Murray
8 Vunipola
7 Tipuric
6 Robshaw 
5 Toner
4 J Gray
3 Furlong
2 Best
1 McGrath

Bench- Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Stander, Youngs, Russell, L Williams
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Post by SecretFly Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:00 pm

Poorfour wrote:England quite under  represented there, I would say.  The main point of comparison with Scotland and Wales was playing Argentina. England were a man down for 65 minutes and still won by more than twice Scotland and Wales' winning margins combined.

We will be in a better place to judge after next weekend, but England should be providing 30-40% of the squad in my view. And not Cole, who has looked distinctly off colour.

But then all sides are beginning to tire...especially the SH boys who now simply want to get home after a Championship season (with the air miles) and now the AI season.

Plus - isn't 8 players in a squad of 23 in and around 30 to 40% anyway? Wink

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Post by whocares Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:01 pm

What about the coach GC? It's a tough battle between the kiwis and that rob Holwey guy that did surprise a few.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:02 pm

whocares wrote:What about the coach GC? It's a tough battle between the kiwis and that rob Holwey guy that did surprise a few.
Howley. Obviously
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Post by theslosty Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:03 pm

Having only paid close attention to Ireland's games I am in no position of knowledge... however, Tadgh Furlong was immense across both NZ tests and vs Australia yesterday. In terms of the Lions he's gone from relative no-hoper to possible Test starter in the space of a month. Josh van der Flier at 7 was also outstanding throughout those games and looks like a 50+ cap player for Ireland.

I don't disagree with much of your team George but Henshaw only played one match (albeit brilliantly) so he doesn't fulfil the consistency criteria. For me, Garry Ringrose would be more deserving. Donnacha Ryan at lock is another player who gets very little attention outside Ireland but if you're going to start Devin Toner, Ryan deserves at least an honourable mention.

I apologise I can't speak for the other nations but just thought I'd shine light on some of the more unsung Irish players.
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Post by poissonrouge Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:07 pm

Not sure how Joey Carbery gets a nod ahead of Sexton/Jackson? He had a brief outing against the ABs and played as fullback against Australia - Not knocking his potential but there wasn't a lot of exposure in the AIs for him to be regarded as influential or consistent?
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Post by SecretFly Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:08 pm

theslosty wrote:Having only paid close attention to Ireland's games I am in no position of knowledge... however, Tadgh Furlong was immense across both NZ tests and vs Australia yesterday. In terms of the Lions he's gone from relative no-hoper to possible Test starter in the space of a month. Josh van der Flier at 7 was also outstanding throughout those games and looks like a 50+ cap player for Ireland.

I don't disagree with much of your team George but Henshaw only played one match (albeit brilliantly) so he doesn't fulfil the consistency criteria. For me, Garry Ringrose would be more deserving. Donnacha Ryan at lock is another player who gets very little attention outside Ireland but if you're going to start Devin Toner, Ryan deserves at least an honourable mention.

I apologise I can't speak for the other nations but just thought I'd shine light on some of the more unsung Irish players.

Pretty much agree with all of that in terms of highlighting 'unsung' boys. But like you, I realise all fans here were most closely looking at their own teams and therefore slotting in other players to fit in with their favourite 'own Nation' performers.

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Post by SecretFly Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:16 pm

poissonrouge wrote:Not sure how Joey Carbery gets a nod ahead of Sexton/Jackson? He had a brief outing against the ABs and played as fullback against Australia - Not knocking his potential but there wasn't a lot of exposure in the AIs for him to be regarded as influential or consistent?

I'd pick all Irish from 1 to 8 (they've been heroic through the series) and then that 9 to 15 list, you people could all fight over Wink I think we have a lot to work on in Ireland in the backs.

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Post by wayne Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:28 pm

Haven't watched much of the other teams but if there has been a better 7 than Tips, well he must have had a tremendous series, and I think it was GC had Samson Lee in, he wasn't even the best in Wales with Thomas Francis replacing him.

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Post by Pot Hale Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:39 pm

I'd have Furlong at TH and van der Flier at 7. Everything else, yiz can argue about.
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Post by Guest Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:05 pm

Toby Faletau is down as 'tough to leave out'. However, I think I'm right in saying that he only played 30 mins of rugby all AIs (due to injury), which was in the 2nd half against SA yesterday. He wasn't that good!

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Post by lostinwales Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:10 pm

We all have our favourites..

I know Jones has been a revelation for Scotland at 13 but there is no better player currently playing at 13 in Europe (probably few if any anywhere at the moment) than JJ. He's not the biggest - which is probably why he isn't more prominent but he is such a complete player. He has serious gas, he's a great defender, good hands and a priceless ability to find space in attack where there should be none.

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Post by George Carlin Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:14 pm

OP amended to reflect the unrelenting bloody whinging educated and incisive invective of the masses.
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Post by Cyril Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:16 pm

O'Halloran 'tough to leave out'?

Didn't he just play one game, against the mighty Canada? Wink

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Post by Guest Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:16 pm

George Carlin wrote:OP amended to reflect the unrelenting bloody whinging educated and incisive invective of the masses.

I can't believe you've left Faletau out. You clearly didn't watch the AIs at all! Wink

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Post by wolfball Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:20 pm

Cyril wrote:O'Halloran 'tough to leave out'?

Didn't he just play one game, against the mighty Canada? Wink

Yeah, I think he is an amazing player who should be starting for ireland in the big matches but he is no where close to the team of the autumn after 1 game against canada. Same for Henderson, he played well but briefly, but Ryan was far superior to him across the autumn matches.

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Post by carpet baboon Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:41 pm

wayne wrote:Haven't watched much of the other teams but if there has been a better 7 than Tips, well he must have had a tremendous series, and I think it was GC had Samson Lee in, he wasn't even the best in Wales with Thomas Francis replacing him.

There is, and he has.

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Post by robbo277 Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:13 pm

As others, I've not watched every game in the series. I've watched all England's games and various others, so can't fully comment on a team of the series.

However, from an England perspective our standout players for me have been both Vunipolas, Lawes, Robshaw, Youngs and Ford. Possibly Launchbury, Joseph and May as well, who have only played two each. Although it is definitely worth noting we've still got a game to play, and our toughest one at that.

England might be victims of their own success a bit here, because after the Grand Slam and whitewash in Aus, winning these 3 games with a fair degree of comfort is about what we would have expected. If you want to know who I think merits consideration from England:

Mako and Billy have given us very good go forward with their carrying ability, allowing others to play off the back of that. Mako's shown some nice hands on occasion too.

Launchbury and Lawes have come back in and made sure Itoje and Kruis weren't missed too much (although Kruis is obviously back now). Lawes in particular looks to have raised his game.

Robshaw has helped hold it all together with new faces and players switching in and out of the back row, with his tireless performances making everyone else's life much easier.

Youngs and Ford have been great at halfbacks at getting the team running onto the ball and calling the shots.

Joseph and May have both looked sharp when they played, both in attack and defence. I'd say Daly has looked good too, and although one mistake shouldn't be used to crucify him, it was a howler, both in terms of potentially costing England the game, but also potentially doing damage to the Argentine 8.

Other than those: Farrell has ably assisted without being spectacular himself. Brown showed glimpses against Argentina, but bombed a try and was quieter against South Africa. I think Hartley and Cole have also been quiet. Wood, Harrison and Yarde looked like no more than fill in guys and Roko looked good in one game against weak opposition, so can't really be counted.

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Post by wayne Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:25 pm

carpet baboon wrote:
wayne wrote:Haven't watched much of the other teams but if there has been a better 7 than Tips, well he must have had a tremendous series, and I think it was GC had Samson Lee in, he wasn't even the best in Wales with Thomas Francis replacing him.

There is, and he has.
As I said in my opening sentence haven't seen much of the other games, watched Scotland yesterday and against Australia and Argentina, and parts of the Ireland v NZ games. Haven't watched any of the England matches, so who is this mystery player?

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:34 pm

At least 12 of the 15 come from England and Ireland

Scotland and Wales simply have not been at the same level

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Post by carpet baboon Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:50 pm

wayne wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:
wayne wrote:Haven't watched much of the other teams but if there has been a better 7 than Tips, well he must have had a tremendous series, and I think it was GC had Samson Lee in, he wasn't even the best in Wales with Thomas Francis replacing him.

There is, and he has.
As I said in my opening sentence haven't seen much of the other games, watched Scotland yesterday and against Australia and Argentina, and parts of the Ireland v NZ games. Haven't watched any of the England matches, so who is this mystery player?

I was being a bit flippant to be honest, but against nz and yesterday against oz Josh van der flier was out standing. Will admit to have not seen much of the other games and I do like tips , but VDF played against arguably the best backrows about and if not outperformed them certainly matched them.

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Post by Golden Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:53 pm

Earls didn't play in either NZ game. If your putting an Irish winger in I think it should be zebo who has been tremendous

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Post by Guest Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:24 pm

carpet baboon wrote:
wayne wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:
wayne wrote:Haven't watched much of the other teams but if there has been a better 7 than Tips, well he must have had a tremendous series, and I think it was GC had Samson Lee in, he wasn't even the best in Wales with Thomas Francis replacing him.

There is, and he has.
As I said in my opening sentence haven't seen much of the other games, watched Scotland yesterday and against Australia and Argentina, and parts of the Ireland v NZ games. Haven't watched any of the England matches, so who is this mystery player?

I was being a bit flippant to be honest, but against nz and yesterday against oz Josh van der flier was out standing. Will admit to have not seen much of the other games and I do like tips , but VDF played against arguably the best backrows about and if not outperformed them certainly matched them.

I'm not a Tips fan. He's a 'luxury' player who can play like a back, but unfortunately you then need others to do the flanker job that he doesn't do (as well as others can). Good flanker at club level but I feel he's a bit anonymous at the ruck and in defence at international level. Warburton isn't much better. I'm hoping Ollie Griffiths at the Dragons can live up to his potential and be Wales' new openside sometime soon.

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Post by Allty Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:42 pm

Oh dear Griff.... Tips is an outstanding player.

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Post by wayne Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:44 pm

carpet baboon wrote:
wayne wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:
wayne wrote:Haven't watched much of the other teams but if there has been a better 7 than Tips, well he must have had a tremendous series, and I think it was GC had Samson Lee in, he wasn't even the best in Wales with Thomas Francis replacing him.

There is, and he has.
As I said in my opening sentence haven't seen much of the other games, watched Scotland yesterday and against Australia and Argentina, and parts of the Ireland v NZ games. Haven't watched any of the England matches, so who is this mystery player?

I was being a bit flippant to be honest, but against nz and yesterday against oz Josh van der flier was out standing. Will admit to have not seen much of the other games and I do like tips , but VDF played against arguably the best backrows about and if not outperformed them certainly matched them.

No problem CB, haven't seen much of Ireland's games, only highlights. Hopefully the better all the players available for the Lions tour perform the stronger the squad selected will be.

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Post by carpet baboon Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:47 pm

The 6ns is looking like it will be a bloody good

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Post by Guest Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:53 pm

Allty wrote:Oh dear Griff....   Tips is an outstanding player.

I think he's an outstanding rugby player. Hes probably our best centre Wink

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Post by SecretFly Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:54 pm

carpet baboon wrote:The 6ns is looking like it will be a bloody good

...or just bloody bloody?

It seems it'll take immense efforts for certain sides to get one over on the other. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to wincing through the efforts required.

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Post by Allty Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:25 pm

Now thats a thought Griff

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