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England 6 Nations Thread

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England 6 Nations Thread - Page 9 Empty England 6 Nations Thread

Post by LondonTiger Thu 23 Jan 2020, 10:04 am

First topic message reminder :

Sunday 2nd February 15:00 - France (a)
BBC Sport

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant 1: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant 2: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)


Saturday 8th February 16:45 - Scotland (a)
BBC Sport

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant 1: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant 2: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)


Sunday 23rd February 15:00 - Ireland (h)
ITV Sport

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant 1: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant 2: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)


Saturday 7th March 16:45 - Wales (h)
ITV Sport, S4C

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant 1: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant 2: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)


Saturday 14th March 16:45 - Italy (a)
ITV Sport

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant 1: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant 2: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)




Squad

Forwards
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 21 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Ben Earl (Saracens, uncapped)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 45 caps)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 34 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 41 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 62 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 81 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 68 caps)
Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 31 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)

Backs
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 39 caps)
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 79 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 42 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)

Apprentice players
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Mon 17 Feb 2020, 8:50 am

Yes not forgetting Marchant who will come into the mix again post summer following his loan at Aukland Blues.

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Post by BamBam Mon 17 Feb 2020, 9:58 am

Is it only the RWC starters who are being rested? I thought it was the entire squad, that makes it easier

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 17 Feb 2020, 10:01 am

I'm assuming that it's a full capped game as well?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 17 Feb 2020, 10:01 am

I'm assuming that they are full capped games as well?

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Post by BamBam Mon 17 Feb 2020, 10:42 am

Yeah definitely full capped

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 17 Feb 2020, 12:40 pm

BamBam wrote:Is it only the RWC starters who are being rested? I thought it was the entire squad, that makes it easier

My understanding was that regulars will be rested. That will mean those who were at the RWC who have hit an (undefined?) threshold of games.

so probably rested: Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Itoje, Kruis, Curry, Underhill, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Tuilagi, May, Daly

Not sure: Genge, LCD, Launchbury, Ludlum, Heinz, Joseph, Slade, Watson, Nowell

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Post by lostinwales Mon 17 Feb 2020, 12:53 pm

Not sure if the physical load on the guys who played through the RWC is significantly higher than the ones who went but just made up the numbers. They all trained together on the same schedule.

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Post by Sharkey06 Mon 17 Feb 2020, 2:19 pm

king_carlos wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:What's peoples thoughts on Sam Simmonds.?

Very good player but if we want an all rounder at 8 then I rate Earl higher. He has the physicality to standout at international level.

Zach Mercer is back and scored for Bath yesterday. He offers a different skill set at 8.

I appreciate that size isn't everything, but 3 of the best International No 8s over the last few years have probably been:

Sergio Parisse
Height: 1.96 m
Weight: 113 kg

Kieran Read
Height: 1.93 m
Weight: 111 kg

Duane Vermeulen
Height: 1.93 m
Weight: 117 kg


England on the other hand have picked

Sam Simmonds
Height: 1.84 m
Weight: 102 kg

Tom Curry
Height: 1.85 m
Weight: 109 kg

If you are good enough then you are big enough, but it does look like we are giving up a lot of physicality and it isn't as if Parisse, Read and Vermeulen couldn't play a bit too.  You don't see many 100 kg props or 85 kg hookers anymore.  Are we picking Lawes as a 6 to compensate for the fact our No 8 is small, if so we are compounding the compromises.  Curry is a very good player, but isn't a No 8.  Likewise Simmonds can play as a club No 8 with Armand and Ewers, but at International level we need to be picking players with the requisite physical attributes.  Hopefully Mercer or Dombrandt will get an opportunity, but I am not holding my breath.

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Post by BamBam Mon 17 Feb 2020, 2:29 pm

I somewhat agree with you Sharkey, but without checking I'd be surprised if Mercer was much bigger a lump than Curry! Doesn't play the same way as Dombrandt etc but on pure size I don't think he's massive

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Post by lostinwales Mon 17 Feb 2020, 2:38 pm

I think we got very conditioned into playing a certain kind of 8. Easter, Vunipola, Morgan and Hughes are all very big guys. It doesn't mean we can't play lighter 8's it just means we have to either find our heavy duty carriers elsewhere or find a way of playing which doesn't rely on just giving the ball to the fatty and waiting for the offload.

I'd argue that Simmonds played well when he had a chance but would always be behind Billy at 8 and of course got injured at just the wrong time. Very dynamic runner but yes doesn't have the ballast to tie in defenders like Billy does.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 17 Feb 2020, 2:38 pm

Surely Willis has to travel.

The guy is a beast...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 17 Feb 2020, 2:50 pm

lostinwales wrote:I think we got very conditioned into playing a certain kind of 8. Easter, Vunipola, Morgan and Hughes are all very big guys. It doesn't mean we can't play lighter 8's it just means we have to either find our heavy duty carriers elsewhere or find a way of playing which doesn't rely on just giving the ball to the fatty and waiting for the offload.

I'd argue that Simmonds played well when he had a chance but would always be behind Billy at 8 and of course got injured at just the wrong time. Very dynamic runner but yes doesn't have the ballast to tie in defenders like Billy does.

Ted Hill...would be the answer at 6 then...hes a monster...

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Post by Soul Requiem Mon 17 Feb 2020, 3:11 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
BamBam wrote:Is it only the RWC starters who are being rested? I thought it was the entire squad, that makes it easier

My understanding was that regulars will be rested. That will mean those who were at the RWC who have hit an (undefined?) threshold of games.

so probably rested: Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Itoje, Kruis, Curry, Underhill, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Tuilagi, May, Daly

Not sure: Genge, LCD, Launchbury, Ludlum, Heinz, Joseph, Slade, Watson, Nowell

I'd expect Ford to go as a co-captain in some guise or another, the others do need a rest outside of that I'd expect everyone else to be considered.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 17 Feb 2020, 3:58 pm

The agreement was any players from the world cup squad of 32 who make more than 20 appearances this season get the full summer off.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 17 Feb 2020, 4:03 pm

What counts as an appearance?

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 17 Feb 2020, 4:15 pm

lostinwales wrote:What counts as an appearance?

Ask finn russell

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon 17 Feb 2020, 5:05 pm

king_carlos wrote:Even with the World Cup starters rested there are some very good players due game time in the summer.

1.Genge 2.Cowan-Dickie 3.Stuart 4.Launchbury 5.Isiekwe 6.Hill 7.Ludlam 8.Earl
9.Spencer 10.Smith 11.Nowell 12.Devoto 13.Lawrence 14.Thorley 15.Furbank

16.Dunn 17.Obano 18.Williams 19.Kpoku 20.Mercer 21.Randall 22.Simmonds 23.Mallinder

Personal choice hence I've gone for Lawrence over Dingwall, Isiekwe and Kpoku over Ewels and Moon, Simmonds over Umaga despite the latter players being in 6 Nations training squad.

There's a lot of talent around. I hope a few players who offer differing skill-sets to current regulars get a go. Earl and Mercer I think offer differing skills at 8 for instance. Ollie Lawrence and Joel Kpoku I think could be a real stars in the near future.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Mallinder as Saints first choice 15 very soon, he has attributes that Furbank is never going to have, mainly due to being 6'5" and 17.5 stone, plus a howitzer of a left boot; very useful if your 10 is right footed. As he showed Sunday he has the ability to offload that his height and reach give him. Furbank is nippier but can't compete for the high balls like Mallinder. Harry hasn't got an outside break like Furbank though, so they may mix it up a bit.

I personally think his best position is 12, but he seems to have given up on that.
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Post by Guest Mon 17 Feb 2020, 6:19 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
BamBam wrote:Is it only the RWC starters who are being rested? I thought it was the entire squad, that makes it easier

My understanding was that regulars will be rested. That will mean those who were at the RWC who have hit an (undefined?) threshold of games.

so probably rested: Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Itoje, Kruis, Curry, Underhill, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Tuilagi, May, Daly

Not sure: Genge, LCD, Launchbury, Ludlum, Heinz, Joseph, Slade, Watson, Nowell

Given that Saracens are likely to have a leisurely time next season and their England stars will likely be well managed and/or be playing at 50% effort due to the standard needed, is there an incentive to take the likes of Itoje and Farrell down?

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Post by SecretFly Mon 17 Feb 2020, 9:33 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
BamBam wrote:Is it only the RWC starters who are being rested? I thought it was the entire squad, that makes it easier

My understanding was that regulars will be rested. That will mean those who were at the RWC who have hit an (undefined?) threshold of games.

so probably rested: Mako, Marler, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Itoje, Kruis, Curry, Underhill, Billy, Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Tuilagi, May, Daly

Not sure: Genge, LCD, Launchbury, Ludlum, Heinz, Joseph, Slade, Watson, Nowell

Given that Saracens are likely to have a leisurely time next season and their England stars will likely be well managed and/or be playing at 50% effort due to the standard needed, is there an incentive to take the likes of Itoje and Farrell down?

Shocked A bit excessive there, guestalt, surely?  I mean they were part of a scam, sure. But they were only very naughty boys really.  Not really serious enough for a swat team to get involved with.

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Post by BamBam Tue 18 Feb 2020, 11:51 am

https://www.englandrugby.com/news/article/six-nations-england-squad-update-ahead-of-ireland-clash

Mako Vunipola is not included as he has travelled back to Tonga for family reasons.

Forwards
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby)
Ben Earl (Saracens)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

Backs
Elliot Daly (Saracens)
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Apprentice player
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)


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Post by lostinwales Tue 18 Feb 2020, 11:51 am

Mako is out for the Ireland match. Gone to Tonga for 'family reasons'

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 18 Feb 2020, 11:56 am

Good to see Obano included after his injury nightmare, sounded like his knee was in a real state.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 18 Feb 2020, 12:02 pm

Obano is a good selection. Glad to see him in there.

Genge v Obano will be a good dilema at LH in the next few years

Why is Charlie Ewels in there?? Can someone please tell me what he brings?

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Post by lostinwales Tue 18 Feb 2020, 12:12 pm

Aaaand still no no. 8

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 18 Feb 2020, 12:27 pm

lostinwales wrote:Aaaand still no no. 8

I genuinely hope Earl or Ludlum start at 8.

6 Curry
7 Underhill
8 Earl

Is a tasty back row...even if it does lack a little bit of real size.

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Post by BamBam Tue 18 Feb 2020, 12:28 pm

Barring a back row injury I can't see a true number 8 featuring in this 6N. Wouldn't be surprised if Earl was next man up there even if it' was Curry who went down.

Eddie has set his stall out for this tournament and will be stubborn

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Post by lostinwales Tue 18 Feb 2020, 12:42 pm

BamBam wrote:Barring a back row injury I can't see a true number 8 featuring in this 6N. Wouldn't be surprised if Earl was next man up there even if it' was Curry who went down.

Eddie has set his stall out for this tournament and will be stubborn

I agree

Eddie is generally a fantastic coach, and all the players (current and former) seem to have a good word for him, but it doesn't mean he never does stuff which just seems bizarre. Its fine that hes using the 6N to develop players but Curry at 8 seems perverse when he could have been, say, developing Dombrandt instead. I can't see England not playing Billy when he's fit, so why work on Curry for 8 when he's only ever going to be a stop gap?

The worst case scenario is that he takes Billy as no.8 in the summer because he will have had so much time off this season with injury.

Also noticed in the players selected for Ireland. No Hill.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 18 Feb 2020, 1:08 pm

I think Mercer would have featured this 6 Nations if not for his injury. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes into the side for the Italy game even.

I really rate Earl and think he could offer balance from 8 provided we have more carriers in the backs. With Manu back that should be the case against Ireland even if we are still missing Watson, Nowell and Cokanasiga.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 18 Feb 2020, 1:45 pm

It will be interesting to see whether Genge gets the nod to start with Mako not in the squad. I think Marler might be picked on experience against the exceptional Furlong.

I thought Mako looked a long way from full fitness against Scotland. He's been picked not match sharp by Jones before as well. It's very unusual for Mako to look out of place working round the corner in defence but he did at Murrayfield. It's usually where he stands out, his fringe defence at full fitness is exceptional for a loosehead.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 18 Feb 2020, 3:19 pm

At Twickers England of course will be favorites however, with the two Vunapolas missing and Curry at 8 added to the momentum Ireland have built with two wins and the carrot of a triple crown in Twickenham I think it gives Ireland a realistic chance of winning and Im starting to feel reasonably positive they can do a much anticipated number on England. Season defining game coming up for Ireland.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 18 Feb 2020, 3:47 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:At Twickers England of course will be favorites however, with the two Vunapolas missing and Curry at 8 added to the momentum Ireland have built with two wins and the carrot of a triple crown in Twickenham I think it gives Ireland a realistic chance of winning and Im starting to feel reasonably positive they can do a much anticipated number on England. Season defining game coming up for Ireland.

Or Ireland will go in overconfidence...and England will do a job on them....

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Post by king_carlos Tue 18 Feb 2020, 3:49 pm

It's a season defining weekend for all teams.

If Scotland lose then they will be getting a new coach. If Italy lose they will be looking at a third successive 6 Nations without a win.

If France win they will be narrow favourites with Ireland travelling to the Stade de France in the final round. It will also confirm them a successful first championship under new coaching regime and captaincy.

If Ireland win they will have secured a Triple Crown and with Italy to come in the penultimate round will be eyeing up tough but winnable grand slam game against France in the final round.

If England or Wales lose their hopes of a tournament win are over. It will also confirm a disappointing championship for either side as they will have already lost one game at home and one away.

On the England vs Ireland game I'd call it very level. Ireland are playing better but home advantage statistically counts for a lot in the 6 Nations.

Manu being available makes an enormous difference for England if he is fully fit.

Larmour settling well as a starter is a big boost for Ireland given England are still trying to settle at fullback.

There are 5 experience half backs involved in Murray, Sexton, Farrell, Ford and Youngs. None of them have yet shown their best form but the Ireland pair have been better than their counterparts so far. England need Farrell to impose himself on the game more, that's when they play their best rugby.

I'm excited by Jonny May vs Stockdale. A lot of fans have overlooked May moving to the right wing to accommodate Daly playing on the left where he started for the Lions. It gives a fascinating match-up between two potential Lions starters though in May and Stockdale.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 18 Feb 2020, 3:56 pm

Can you see Genge and POM having a few words together...

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Post by king_carlos Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:02 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Can you see Genge and POM having a few words together...

Between Faz and Sexton I feel more sorry for the ref than any of the players...

The medical benefits of a fly-half getting a penalty advantage seem unrivaled judging by those two. Every time the refs arm comes out both will suddenly bounce back from critical condition having been in agony for 30 seconds waiting for the TMO to decide whether it's still legal to tackle playmakers.

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Post by Gooseberry Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:03 pm

Are you not expecting May at 11 and Daly fullback again?

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Post by king_carlos Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:19 pm

With Watson, Nowell and Cokanasiga still injured probably not, Goose.

I don't see Thorley being given a first cap against Ireland.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:48 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Are you not expecting May at 11 and Daly fullback again?

Newbie at full back or newbie at wing. Same argument as the last 2 games. It has been hard for Furbank to make an impact, particularly last game not least because May spent so much time covering for him. But it is also hard to see what he has to offer.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:49 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:At Twickers England of course will be favorites however, with the two Vunapolas missing and Curry at 8 added to the momentum Ireland have built with two wins and the carrot of a triple crown in Twickenham I think it gives Ireland a realistic chance of winning and Im starting to feel reasonably positive they can do a much anticipated number on England. Season defining game coming up for Ireland.

Or Ireland will go in overconfidence...and England will do a job on them....

You would have to imagine that given England beat Ireland home and away last season that overconfidence would be unlikely, more likely hungry to turn the tables.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 18 Feb 2020, 4:50 pm

king_carlos wrote:It's a season defining weekend for all teams.

If Scotland lose then they will be getting a new coach. If Italy lose they will be looking at a third successive 6 Nations without a win.

If France win they will be narrow favourites with Ireland travelling to the Stade de France in the final round. It will also confirm them a successful first championship under new coaching regime and captaincy.

If Ireland win they will have secured a Triple Crown and with Italy to come in the penultimate round will be eyeing up tough but winnable grand slam game against France in the final round.

If England or Wales lose their hopes of a tournament win are over. It will also confirm a disappointing championship for either side as they will have already lost one game at home and one away.

On the England vs Ireland game I'd call it very level. Ireland are playing better but home advantage statistically counts for a lot in the 6 Nations.

Manu being available makes an enormous difference for England if he is fully fit.

Larmour settling well as a starter is a big boost for Ireland given England are still trying to settle at fullback.

There are 5 experience half backs involved in Murray, Sexton, Farrell, Ford and Youngs. None of them have yet shown their best form but the Ireland pair have been better than their counterparts so far. England need Farrell to impose himself on the game more, that's when they play their best rugby.

I'm excited by Jonny May vs Stockdale. A lot of fans have overlooked May moving to the right wing to accommodate Daly playing on the left where he started for the Lions. It gives a fascinating match-up between two potential Lions starters though in May and Stockdale.

Yes May v Stockdale will be very interesting. Stockdale will have his work cut out given May's unbelievable form.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 18 Feb 2020, 9:10 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:At Twickers England of course will be favorites however, with the two Vunapolas missing and Curry at 8 added to the momentum Ireland have built with two wins and the carrot of a triple crown in Twickenham I think it gives Ireland a realistic chance of winning and Im starting to feel reasonably positive they can do a much anticipated number on England. Season defining game coming up for Ireland.

Or Ireland will go in overconfidence...and England will do a job on them....

You would have to imagine that given England beat Ireland home and away last season that overconfidence would be unlikely, more likely hungry to turn the tables.

True but England have been pretty poor and everyone have been slating them...theyll have a lot to prove aswell.

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Post by SecretFly Tue 18 Feb 2020, 9:32 pm

England's 'poor' was still a good few steps above Ireland's version so......

Ireland only finally looked like something you might pin a buck to in the Wales game.  But that's still not enough to in any way expect good things against England in England.

If Ireland manage to look as ambitious as they did against Wales (being more offensively minded than defensive), if they manage some good scores and end up losing a close enough game, it'll be an okay day.  If they can pull off a win it will be through hard work and 80 minutes of extreme concentration (something Ireland actually is quite good at when in the fight with hope). No flourishes of over confidence.

England probably know that the longer we're in the game, the more energy feeds in to our play so..... Eddie's objective will be the usual I suspect - a highly charged first 10 or 20 minutes to spook Ireland, to stretch Ireland, to punish Ireland early on the scoreboard and then hopefully observe Ireland do the rest itself by allowing all the new found resolve to drain away in floods of self doubt.

We won't like a loss but really, from where Ireland started 2020, a good respectful performance will be a positive next step forward.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 19 Feb 2020, 12:05 am

Irish pundits on the podcasts I've listened to this week sound a lot happier with the way Ireland are heading, which is increasing confidence levels for this weekend. If the match was in Dublin, all of them would probably tip an Ireland win. As it is, a few have done so anyway.

I'm not sure that Jones has been stubborn with his selection of Curry. He says he has a particular idea about a different role for a no.8, and Charlie Morgan in the Telegraph has identified what thay might be. If he is trying something, then I'd rather he saw the idea through to success or failure rather than dumping it after two matches, when the second was an improvement on the first.

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Post by SecretFly Wed 19 Feb 2020, 9:22 am

Oh we're happy that we seem more effective as a side in terms of renewed aggression and willingness to avoid contact in attack when the opportunity for doing so is on.

But it really is only one game into existence.  So you can't be brimming with smugness yet!  Mucho still to learn about just how effective we really are.  Big tests coming against GS favourites France and first up England.

Yes, Ireland looked pretty damn good in 2018, so is this just a gradual returning to form?  Perhaps some Irish fans think that's all that it is.  A return to form.  I'd say it isn't so clear cut and I wouldn't link the two.  I'd say it's moreso the beginnings of a side that will in the end look quite different to a Joe Schmidt team.  For good or bad, the side will now increasingly take on the coaching personalities of Farrell and Catt; ......... for good...... or *gulp* bad.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 19 Feb 2020, 9:28 am

Catt did sod all for england. Skills coach from memory.

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Post by BamBam Wed 19 Feb 2020, 9:43 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Irish pundits on the podcasts I've listened to this week sound a lot happier with the way Ireland are heading, which is increasing confidence levels for this weekend. If the match was in Dublin, all of them would probably tip an Ireland win. As it is, a few have done so anyway.

I'm not sure that Jones has been stubborn with his selection of Curry. He says he has a particular idea about a different role for a no.8, and Charlie Morgan in the Telegraph has identified what thay might be. If he is trying something, then I'd rather he saw the idea through to success or failure rather than dumping it after two matches, when the second was an improvement on the first.

Any chance of a link to that piece? Or is it paywalled

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Post by SecretFly Wed 19 Feb 2020, 9:46 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Catt did sod all for england. Skills coach from  memory.

I did say good - or bad... and added a pregnant *gulp* for good measure Wink

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 19 Feb 2020, 10:05 am

[b]Inside Line: What are England doing differently with Tom Curry at No 8 and is Eddie Jones ahead of the curve?  
Tom Curry was outstanding against Scotland as England tailored tactical plans to revamped back row
ByCharlie Morgan, RUGBY REPORTER10 February 2020 • 10:36am
Premium

Tom Curry carries into opposite man Magnus Bradbury CREDIT: Getty Images
• Join in the debate with Charlie Morgan in the comments section from 12pm
Even before Billy Vunipola broke his arm last month, Eddie Jones had been keen to trial Tom Curry at the base of England’s scrum. He had already seen a brief glimpse of the positional switch in the second half of a 39-10 victory over Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2019.
Still, following Vunipola’s injury, the decision to omit in-form specialists such as Sam Simmonds and Alex Dombrandt from England’s Six Nations squad came as a surprise. Jones’ explanation was intriguing, because it hinted at significant tactical tweaks:
“We’ve decided to go for a different way of playing at number eight, without Billy. And that’s a judgment call.”
There was a stuttering start to the experiment. Jones revealed on Saturday that Curry and Sam Underhill were particularly frustrated with their respective performances against France.
However, although few conclusions can be drawn from such a scrappy game, we saw some evidence of how England want to play with a lighter number eight at Murrayfield.
Curry’s 21st-minute jackal turnover is a good place to start. The sequence begins with a scrambled clearance from scrum-half Willi Heinz. Jonny May chases the ball and Scotland wing Blair Kinghorn drops to gather.
Curry starts beyond Heinz, behind Mako Vunipola in the screenshot below:

Rather than bolt up-field, though, he sweeps underneath England’s defensive line:

Kinghorn catches and makes headway, stepping inside Owen Farrell and George Kruis before Mako Vunipola fells him. Curry is on the spot, and swoops to steal:
Now, we know that Curry honed his back-field coverage during England’s World Cup campaign.
Look at this turnover he wins during a training session, captured by the RFU’s superb Rising Sons YouTube docuseries:
In the 37th minute of the semi-final win over New Zealand, Ben Youngs box-kicks:

Curry drops back as Billy Vunipola chases:

When the All Blacks find space on the edge, Curry strikes to pilfer from an isolated runner:
During the 2019 Six Nations, while posted at openside, Curry conceded a total of eight penalties. Switching to blindside in Japan, he was far more disciplined and selective about when to compete on the floor. He has only conceded one penalty over the first two matches of the 2020 tournament.
On Saturday, he contested just five defensive breakdowns, according to Opta. He helped to force turnovers at two of them, a remarkable strike-rate.
Curry spent plenty of time in the front line against Scotland, making nine tackles over the 80 minutes. But colleagues such as Maro Itoje (22 tackles) and Jamie George (19) were far busier in that area.
An unconventional sweeping role in defence presents opportunities for Curry to mop up opposition breaks and jackal on his own terms. Jones placed high value on the tenacity and breakdown aggression of Mike Brown before making the conscious decision to select quicker, more attack-minded full-backs to capitalise on loose kicking from opponents.
Perhaps Curry’s defensive role aims to make up for what England miss in the absence of Brown?
Teams often drop their most powerful carriers into the back-field. Leicester Tigers have done so with Manu Tuilagi and Ellis Genge in recent months.
Billy Vunipola often hung back from England restarts as well. Here, a year ago in Dublin, Farrell strikes from the halfway line. Vunipola tracks over towards Elliot Daly:

When Conor Murray clears, Vunipola has a chance to generate front-foot ball for England:
At the weekend, during the numerous kicking exchanges between England and Scotland, Curry proactively moved into the back-field.
Take this fourth-minute lineout. Curry begins in midfield:

When Scotland secure possession, he calls across Jamie George to fill in closer to the fringes…

…and drops back as Ali Price passes to Stuart Hogg:

The ball stays in-field and Curry gets his hands on the ball via Daly and George Furbank. His pass to May puts the right wing in a bit of trouble…
…but Curry is generally a lively and skilful link man, who is comfortable in space and a fierce breakdown clearer. It makes a lot of sense to involve him in kick-returns.
In the seventh minute, we can see how much ground Curry covers during these kicking exchanges. He is involved in a breakdown on the far 15-metre line as George Ford dinks across the pitch:

Hogg covers for Scotland, calling for a mark to earn a free-kick…

…and clearing:

You can see Curry dropping as Ford gathers:

England regather their fly-half’s up-and-under:
All the while, Curry has stayed in the same channel. Loitering beyond first-receiver Farrell and second-receiver Ford, there is the potential for a physical mis-match against an opposing outside back:

Failing that, he is at least providing England’s attack with width. As it happens, Curry bounces away Scotland centre Sam Johnson:
In the 25th minute, we see an excellent example of how England’s back-rowers combined. Ford strikes a 22 drop-out. Underhill chases, while Curry heads towards the far touchline:

When Adam Hastings slides to collect…

…Underhill jackals. He is very lucky not to concede a penalty for resting his bodyweight on his right knee. Referee Pascal Gauzere lets it go…

…and Underhill twists away with the ball. He passes to Jonathan Joseph, who frees Daly:

Kyle Sinckler is next to carry…

…before Heinz feeds Ford. Farrell joins the line and, with Hogg behind the breakdown, May is calling for a cross-field grubber:

Farrell obliges. Furbank and May flood through, with blindside flanker Lewis Ludlam and Curry – having trekked diagonally up-field – following them:

Furbank lassoes Hogg and both Ludlam and Curry jackal. John Mitchell enjoys his back-rowers teaming up at breakdowns like this:

Curry slips around the side slightly, which impedes Jonny Gray:

Gauzere does not see anything untoward from England, though, and Scotland are penalised.
Curry did not shirk graft in the tight exchanges. A strong carry at the start of this clip preceded another England penalty:
This maul turnover, stunting the same shift-drive that Scotland hinted at against Ireland…
…was muscular as well as clever.
If other forwards such as Mako Vunipola, Ellis Genge, Sinckler, Underhill and Ludlam can consistently make headway with narrow carries, and by association make up for what England lose without Billy Vunipola, expect Curry to occupy the 15-metre channels a great deal.
It was obvious that his control at the base of scrums was sharper, too. Matt Proudfoot is already proving to be a valuable addition to the coaching team and Curry has shown he is a quick learner from his improvement as a lineout forward:
Tellingly, Curry stayed at the base of the scrum throughout the game. The five-metre put-in prior to Genge’s match-winning try could have been a perfect chance to unleash Ben Earl, but England’s forwards piled over anyway:
Earl’s explosive acceleration was clear in this 75th minute burst. Note that the debutant cuts in front of Curry and Sinckler, both of whom are looking for more work:
Jones named Earl alongside Curry and Ludlam as one of three potential number eights to replace Billy Vunipola for this Championship. It is a fair inference, from his comments on accommodating Curry and a developing a “different” style, that England’s head coach is looking longer-term.
Attempting to convert versatile flankers in international number eights is nothing new. Stuart Lancaster shoehorned Tom Wood into the position various times. That said, World Rugby are aiming to increase ball-in-play time with every law alteration. Jones might be banking on a trend of lighter back-rowers – even if the powerful Duane Vermeulen underpinned South Africa’s surge to World Cup glory.
With Underhill making dominant tackles, resourceful Ludlam stealing a Scotland lineout, Curry contributing intelligently all over the pitch and Courtney Lawes and Earl adding heft and dynamism from the bench, England’s back-row balance worked well on Saturday.
Winning by seven points at Murrayfield, after a six-day turnaround, represented a strong response from England. That said, Ireland’s forwards looked fearsome against Wales.
Spearheaded by CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony, they will provide a stern test of England’s new-look pack – and Jones’ back-row theories – at Twickenham on February 23.





It is behind a paywall BamBam (though it can be read for free with a once a week article allowance https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2020/02/10/inside-line-england-differently-tom-curry-no-8-eddie-jones-ahead/ - and I do not have the patience to copy and paste the pictures and gifs but above is the text.

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Post by BamBam Wed 19 Feb 2020, 10:34 am

Thanks LT, no worries at all re the gifs and pics!

Its an interesting piece, I get the idea of giving Curry the licence to roam and contribute at the breakdown and linking the game when the ball is in the air. I can recall the turnover mentioned, and so it has proven it can work.

The question always is going to be about balance - is there any reason why Curry couldn't do that from his position at blindside?

I don't know enough about defensive systems to be certain, but I would have thought that Dombrandt for example would be able to fill the spots defensively that Ludlam played against Scotland. Unless that is where I am going wrong, and due to his additional bulk etc he just isn't capable of playing a similar role.

From my point of view, Dombrandt appears to be a very good tackler and carrier, so I can't see why we wouldn't have Curry back in the 6 shirt, dropping back as required in the kicking game with Dombrandt covering that role. We'd then have the benefit of Dombrandt's go forward when we have the ball

We suffered against France due to a weak all around game from the forwards, which looked better against Scotland. Ireland will be a big test, and if the back row falters again with the current set up then it should be the end of the experiment imo

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 19 Feb 2020, 11:27 am

Id Prefer to see Curry staying on the flank and Earl doing the trial 8. But its underway now so Jones aint going to change it.

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Post by Barney McGrew did it Wed 19 Feb 2020, 12:55 pm

The problem some of us have is that EJ has built quite a bit of our go-forward strategy on the big carrying of Billy (and Manu when he’s about). If EJ then has to substitute Billy (and what he brings) for someone who brings something different, then we lose the Billy contribution. This makes for an altered game-plan, and is fine (if it works) - except we suspect that Billy will fit right back into the team, if he ever sorts out his arms, ie. back to the original game-plan. Just strikes me as muddled thinking, unless EJ wants to permanently replace Billy. Or play him or Curry off the bench as a change-in-style option. Or expect others to do more hard carrying.

Reminds me a bit of the Lancaster days when no-one was really sure what type of game he wanted to play.
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