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Potential Lions Squad - The Backrow

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Post by bsando on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 12:31 pm

I thought it would be fun to do a few Lions threads specifically on positional areas of a potential 2021 squad. I'll break these down into 6 different threads.

The Front Row
The Second Row
The Back Row
The 9's and 10's
The Centres
The Back Three

What better place to start than the back row with an extraordinary amount of competition from the four home nations.

I've listed the backrow options for each home nation by players who have featured in the RWC 2019 and 6N 2020 squads who have not yet retired. Feel free to add others into the equation, but for the sake of simplicity I've kept the list of players to these two squad lists.

England

Mark Wilson, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlum, Ted Hill, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels

Ireland

Jack Conan, Jordi Murphy, Peter O'Mahony, Rhys Ruddock, C. J. Stander, Josh van der Flier, Will Connors, Max Deegan, Caelan Doris, Jack O'Donoghue

Scotland

Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Blade Thomson, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson, Luke Crosbie, Cornell Du Preez, Nick Haining, Thomas Gordon

Wales

James Davies, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau

In 2017 Gatland selected 9 back row players in his squad. The following players, Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Peter O'Mahony, C. J. Stander, Justin Tipuric, Billy Vunipola were selected in 2017 and are featured in the players above.

Which nine players would you select from the players above and which three players would you call up in the case of injury?

Then, who do you think Gatland and his potential coaching team will select and which three players would they call up in the case of injury?


This is also an opportunity to look at other home nations players and ask any questions about a player you may not be familiar with. From experience it is very easy to focus on your own nations squad in the lead up to a Lions year so it would be great to learn more about some of the potential talent from other home nations and who may become a potential bolter in the coming year. thumbsup Ale

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Post by bsando on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 12:34 pm

My Lions Backrow


Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, C.J Stander, Peter O'Mahony, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Justin Tipuric

Injury call ups: 

Aaron Wainwright, Josh Van De Flier, Caelan Doris

Gatland’s

Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, C.J Stander, Peter O'Mahony, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau



Injury call ups: Caelan Doris, Jamie Ritchie, Josh van der Flier

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Post by Old Man on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 12:56 pm

How big will the squad be?

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Post by Cumbrian on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 1:02 pm

Flankers are going to very difficult to decide. There are a lot of excellent fetcher/mobile no.7s in Britain and Ireland at the moment and the temptation to shoehorn them into the back-row is very great.

Opensides:

Tom Curry (England)
Justin Tipuric (Wales)
Hamish Watson (Scotland)


Blindsides:

Sam Underhill (England)
Peter O'Mahony (Ireland)


No:8
Billy Vunipola (England)
Toby Faletau (Wales)

Utility:

Josh Navidi (Wales)

Injury:

Alex Dombrandt (England- Always like a bolter!)
Josh Van Der Flier (Ireland)
Caelan Doris (Ireland)
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Post by bsando on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 1:52 pm

Old Man wrote:How big will the squad be?

not sure, I think the 2017 squad was 41 players initially so somewhere in that region I'd imagine.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 1:53 pm

Nice. Curry, ritchie and vunipola would be my starting 3 if fit. Of the other listed above I'd take underhill faletau Watson Tipuric POM and Stander.
Cant see that gatalnd will be taking either of the Scots though.so expect to see moriarty and Navidi there.
Injury cover is too hard to call as is dependant on who else has picked up an injury and the guys left at home.

You've not given me the option of willis. I'd pick him.

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Post by bsando on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 1:57 pm

Well there we go, Alex Dombrandt. I knew next to nothing about him. Is he likely to be a good player for England?

Also if any Irish fans can give me any info on Will Connors, Rhys Ruddock, Jack O'Donoghue, Max Deegan and Jack Conan. And Wales fans James Davies I'd be grateful. I recognise a few of the names from club level but don't know a whole lot about them and their prospects at international level.

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Post by bsando on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 2:02 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Nice. Curry, ritchie and vunipola would be my starting 3 if fit. Of the other listed above I'd take underhill faletau Watson Tipuric POM and Stander.
Cant see that gatalnd will be taking either of the Scots though.so expect to see moriarty and Navidi there.
Injury cover is too hard to call as is dependant on who else has picked up an injury and the guys left at home.

You've not given me the option of willis. I'd pick him.

You can pick Willis, I've only added players from RWC2019 and 2020 6N squads for each home nation. Bolters very much welcome in selections

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 2:08 pm

I suspect neither Vunipola nor Faletau will make it or be first choice if they do unless they get their injury situations under control. Of the two Faletau is more likely to go although he's not my favourite player. Vunipola has not had his usual impact for some time and I am not sure if that is all down to the numerous broken arms.

For all the quality on the flanks I think no.8 might very well be either up in the air or occupied with one of the hybrids (e.g. Curry or Stander).

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 2:20 pm

In which case I'd drop stander out and have willis.

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Post by Cumbrian on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 2:49 pm

bsando wrote:Well there we go, Alex Dombrandt. I knew next to nothing about him. Is he likely to be a good player for England?

Also if any Irish fans can give me any info on Will Connors, Rhys Ruddock, Jack O'Donoghue, Max Deegan and Jack Conan. And Wales fans James Davies I'd be grateful. I recognise a few of the names from club level but don't know a whole lot about them and their prospects at international level.

There was a consensus among England fans before the 6N that Dombrandt should have been in the wider squad, he had/has been putting quite a few eye catching performances since the start of the season. He is a big, powerful player with a surprisingly quick turn of place and an eye for the try line. He is well placed to make an impact for England. Number 8 is a position where England are relatively light in competitive options and I believe that there is a growing undercurrent of feelings among England fans that Billy V's time with England may be finite, he just seems to be getting injured too often. Then again, Eddie might carry on playing Curry there...
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Post by Maine man on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 4:43 pm

One person not mentioned is Dan Leavy. If he's fit and firing, he'll go in my opinion.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Wed 10 Jun 2020, 5:20 pm

I like Dombrandt. He is in the mess that is the young English, capped no. 8s. Clifford, Harrison, Mercer, Beaumont, S Simmonds...all have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. I can see Jones picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him instead. Can't see him being picked ahead of Ireland and Welsh no. 8s who are playing international rugby (Scotland, with our issues with Gatland and at the no. 8 position, I am less confident on whether he would be disqualified). Curry will have to go because English media loves him, same with B Vunipola. Underhill is undersized for a BS so can see Gatland picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him.

The Irish are stacked. Conan or Leavy are the two that I think could establish themselves with a run of health and form. Still reckon Stander has a bit to give and offers the flexibility of playing BS. I can see POM, Stander, VDF (IF fit) and one of Leavy or Conan going.

The Welsh will likely send Tips, Faletau and Wainwright. Wainwright feels like he is getting or going to get the "World-class" treatment at the moment and there will be howls for him to go ahead of Ritchie as the lanky BS with tape around the forehead. Navidi and Moriarty have shots as injury guys.

Scotland never beat Gatland. Would have loved to put him in his place but we failed and for that reason I suspect we will lose the close fought decisions that are the Lions calls. Ritchie and Watson are the two unfortunates to miss out and probably will be injury replacements to play against the Super Rugby sides.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 9:41 am

Cumbrian wrote:
bsando wrote:Well there we go, Alex Dombrandt. I knew next to nothing about him. Is he likely to be a good player for England?

Also if any Irish fans can give me any info on Will Connors, Rhys Ruddock, Jack O'Donoghue, Max Deegan and Jack Conan. And Wales fans James Davies I'd be grateful. I recognise a few of the names from club level but don't know a whole lot about them and their prospects at international level.

There was a consensus among England fans before the 6N that Dombrandt should have been in the wider squad, he had/has been putting quite a few eye catching performances since the start of the season.  He is a big, powerful player with a surprisingly quick turn of place and an eye for the try line.  He is well placed to make an impact for England.  Number 8 is a position where England are relatively light in competitive options and I believe that there is a growing undercurrent of feelings among England fans that Billy V's time with England may be finite, he just seems to be getting injured too often.  Then again, Eddie might carry on playing Curry there...

I would be very surprised if Gatland picked Dombrant, he, like Jones wants his players to have exceptional work rates and fitness. Dombrant by comparison with the others has neither. Great at premiership level but not in SA. He is slow to get out of the tackle and back in a defensive position and just does not do the defensive work the others do. Great ball in hand , makes going forward look easy, scores tries, has good hands, however EJ has dropped him from the squad get togethers, presumably with some words on what he has to work on.

I suspect that his type of back rower is now defunct, in international rugby anyway. A number of these new laws brought in to help restart the game will probably stick, this is going to make the "hybrid" players like Earl and the Curries the favoured ones. Mobility, work rate, good core skills, these are going to be what coaches look for.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 1:05 pm

Hazel Sapling wrote:I like Dombrandt. He is in the mess that is the young English, capped no. 8s. Clifford, Harrison, Mercer, Beaumont, S Simmonds...all have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. I can see Jones picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him instead. Can't see him being picked ahead of Ireland and Welsh no. 8s who are playing international rugby (Scotland, with our issues with Gatland and at the no. 8 position, I am less confident on whether he would be disqualified). Curry will have to go because English media loves him, same with B Vunipola. Underhill is undersized for a BS so can see Gatland picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him.

The Irish are stacked. Conan or Leavy are the two that I think could establish themselves with a run of health and form. Still reckon Stander has a bit to give and offers the flexibility of playing BS. I can see POM, Stander, VDF (IF fit) and one of Leavy or Conan going.

The Welsh will likely send Tips, Faletau and Wainwright. Wainwright feels like he is getting or going to get the "World-class" treatment at the moment and there will be howls for him to go ahead of Ritchie as the lanky BS with tape around the forehead. Navidi and Moriarty have shots as injury guys.

Scotland never beat Gatland. Would have loved to put him in his place but we failed and for that reason I suspect we will lose the close fought decisions that are the Lions calls. Ritchie and Watson are the two unfortunates to miss out and probably will be injury replacements to play against the Super Rugby sides.

Curry is the real deal and getting better all the time now he's filling out and gaining more power. He's still a baby as international players go but the sky seems to be the limit because he's a smart player. Underhill may be 'undersized' but definitely not underpowered, but I would not be upset if he didn't go. Vunipola not going would not actually be a huge surprise as mentioned earlier.

The other no. 8's have indeed fallen into a wasteland. Clifford had a run of injuries and has never reestablished himself. Beaumont is an older style no.8/2nd row who was never really in with a chance. Harrison was rubbish when he did. Still have hopes for Mercer  (and he's still very young) and no idea why Simmonds is no longer in the mix other than he's similar to Earls and Ludlam who are the preferred options.

Wilson is another guy that, rightly or wrongly, is on the way out. Worth however recalling that one of England's more successful Lions tourists was Martin Corry, who was a similar kind of player if less versatile.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 1:32 pm

lostinwales wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:I like Dombrandt. He is in the mess that is the young English, capped no. 8s. Clifford, Harrison, Mercer, Beaumont, S Simmonds...all have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. I can see Jones picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him instead. Can't see him being picked ahead of Ireland and Welsh no. 8s who are playing international rugby (Scotland, with our issues with Gatland and at the no. 8 position, I am less confident on whether he would be disqualified). Curry will have to go because English media loves him, same with B Vunipola. Underhill is undersized for a BS so can see Gatland picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him.

The Irish are stacked. Conan or Leavy are the two that I think could establish themselves with a run of health and form. Still reckon Stander has a bit to give and offers the flexibility of playing BS. I can see POM, Stander, VDF (IF fit) and one of Leavy or Conan going.

The Welsh will likely send Tips, Faletau and Wainwright. Wainwright feels like he is getting or going to get the "World-class" treatment at the moment and there will be howls for him to go ahead of Ritchie as the lanky BS with tape around the forehead. Navidi and Moriarty have shots as injury guys.

Scotland never beat Gatland. Would have loved to put him in his place but we failed and for that reason I suspect we will lose the close fought decisions that are the Lions calls. Ritchie and Watson are the two unfortunates to miss out and probably will be injury replacements to play against the Super Rugby sides.

Curry is the real deal and getting better all the time now he's filling out and gaining more power. He's still a baby as international players go but the sky seems to be the limit because he's a smart player. Underhill may be 'undersized' but definitely not underpowered, but I would not be upset if he didn't go. Vunipola not going would not actually be a huge surprise as mentioned earlier.

The other no. 8's have indeed fallen into a wasteland. Clifford had a run of injuries and has never reestablished himself. Beaumont is an older style no.8/2nd row who was never really in with a chance. Harrison was rubbish when he did. Still have hopes for Mercer  (and he's still very young) and no idea why Simmonds is no longer in the mix other than he's similar to Earls and Ludlam who are the preferred options.

Wilson is another guy that, rightly or wrongly, is on the way out. Worth however recalling that one of England's more successful Lions tourists was Martin Corry, who was a similar kind of player if less versatile.

I am a massive Wilson fan, I think he is the one player who I can say that his value to the team is greater than the sum of his parts. He does so much of the hard graft and unseen work because it doesn't end up in a tackle, it goes unseen, but he has run 30m to plug a gap and forced the opposition to pass it again as there is no way through with him there. For me he would be one of the first players on the squad list and would make a better 8 than any of the other contenders, including BV on recent form. Plus he adds another lineout option that BV does not.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 1:42 pm

M Wilson is there with Stander as a strange choice on the surface but is solid, reliable and can cover BS/no.8. Faletau and B Vunipola are injury prone at the moment and we could see neither of them go. If both go though, I think that a reliable and versatile player who can cover eight and another position will be too tempting not to take.

The line-out element as WPI pointed out can't be ignored. PSDT is likely to be South Africa's third jumper at 6'6 - 6'7. I assume the Lions will want a third jumper who is at least 6'3 to try and counteract that. Whether that is at BS or no. 8 is a question.

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Post by Old Man on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 1:57 pm

Guys do yourselves a favour and read This analysis of Pieter Steph du Toit, it is highly interesting.

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Post by bsando on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 4:46 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:I like Dombrandt. He is in the mess that is the young English, capped no. 8s. Clifford, Harrison, Mercer, Beaumont, S Simmonds...all have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. I can see Jones picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him instead. Can't see him being picked ahead of Ireland and Welsh no. 8s who are playing international rugby (Scotland, with our issues with Gatland and at the no. 8 position, I am less confident on whether he would be disqualified). Curry will have to go because English media loves him, same with B Vunipola. Underhill is undersized for a BS so can see Gatland picking Wilson or Earl ahead of him.

The Irish are stacked. Conan or Leavy are the two that I think could establish themselves with a run of health and form. Still reckon Stander has a bit to give and offers the flexibility of playing BS. I can see POM, Stander, VDF (IF fit) and one of Leavy or Conan going.

The Welsh will likely send Tips, Faletau and Wainwright. Wainwright feels like he is getting or going to get the "World-class" treatment at the moment and there will be howls for him to go ahead of Ritchie as the lanky BS with tape around the forehead. Navidi and Moriarty have shots as injury guys.

Scotland never beat Gatland. Would have loved to put him in his place but we failed and for that reason I suspect we will lose the close fought decisions that are the Lions calls. Ritchie and Watson are the two unfortunates to miss out and probably will be injury replacements to play against the Super Rugby sides.

Curry is the real deal and getting better all the time now he's filling out and gaining more power. He's still a baby as international players go but the sky seems to be the limit because he's a smart player. Underhill may be 'undersized' but definitely not underpowered, but I would not be upset if he didn't go. Vunipola not going would not actually be a huge surprise as mentioned earlier.

The other no. 8's have indeed fallen into a wasteland. Clifford had a run of injuries and has never reestablished himself. Beaumont is an older style no.8/2nd row who was never really in with a chance. Harrison was rubbish when he did. Still have hopes for Mercer  (and he's still very young) and no idea why Simmonds is no longer in the mix other than he's similar to Earls and Ludlam who are the preferred options.

Wilson is another guy that, rightly or wrongly, is on the way out. Worth however recalling that one of England's more successful Lions tourists was Martin Corry, who was a similar kind of player if less versatile.

I am a massive Wilson fan, I think he is the one player who I can say that his value to the team is greater than the sum of his parts. He does so much of the hard graft and unseen work because it doesn't end up in a tackle, it goes unseen,  but he has run 30m to plug a gap and forced the opposition to pass it again as there is no way through with him there. For me he would be one of the first players on the squad list and would make a better 8 than any of the other contenders, including BV on recent form. Plus he adds another lineout option that BV does not.

Yes I think Wilson is fantastic back rower for club and England. He always seems to add a good balance to the pack and he is beast of a player, which is why I'd have him on the plane. Glue for the back row if you will.

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Post by bsando on Thu 11 Jun 2020, 5:06 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
bsando wrote:Well there we go, Alex Dombrandt. I knew next to nothing about him. Is he likely to be a good player for England?

Also if any Irish fans can give me any info on Will Connors, Rhys Ruddock, Jack O'Donoghue, Max Deegan and Jack Conan. And Wales fans James Davies I'd be grateful. I recognise a few of the names from club level but don't know a whole lot about them and their prospects at international level.

There was a consensus among England fans before the 6N that Dombrandt should have been in the wider squad, he had/has been putting quite a few eye catching performances since the start of the season.  He is a big, powerful player with a surprisingly quick turn of place and an eye for the try line.  He is well placed to make an impact for England.  Number 8 is a position where England are relatively light in competitive options and I believe that there is a growing undercurrent of feelings among England fans that Billy V's time with England may be finite, he just seems to be getting injured too often.  Then again, Eddie might carry on playing Curry there...

Cheers for the info Cumbrian, I'll be interested to see if he can crack into the England squad and stamp down a marker. No.8 should be a non problem for England that has some how become a problem. I really don't understand how it has come down to Curry starting at 8 ahead of some of the other players who are out and out 8's. It'll be interesting to see if Jones does keep going down that path as it seems to have ruffled plenty of feathers already but Jones seems the kind of coach who enjoys a controversial decision or two.

Vunipola is only 27 and Duane Vermeulen at 33 was winning a World Cup with the Boks last year so my personal feeling is Vunipola will tour if he is fit and playing well.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 8:03 am

Jones knows what he wants from players. I dont think the door is shut for Dombrandt but he will know what he has to do. Gustard has been pretty clear that he sees his attacking and carrying work as a point of difference and let's face it it doesnt take a great mind to see he could be pretty special there. He cant be far away but if he doesnt get a chance with England I find it hard to imagine gatland will pick him.

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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 10:23 am

For Ireland, there is a possible choice from first team players of:

O'Mahony, Stander, vdF, Leavy, Conan, Ruddock, Murphy

Upcomers/capped: Deegan, Doris, O'Donoghue

Newbies/uncapped: Will Connors, Chris Cloete, Jarad Butler (Connacht Captain)

Lock/6s: Henderson, Beirne
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Post by lostinwales on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 10:42 am

Pot Hale wrote:For Ireland, there is a possible choice from first team players of:

O'Mahony, Stander, vdF, Leavy, Conan, Ruddock, Murphy

Upcomers/capped: Deegan, Doris, O'Donoghue

Newbies/uncapped: Will Connors, Chris Cloete, Jarad Butler (Connacht Captain)

Lock/6s: Henderson, Beirne

We all have a lot of 'possibles' - but who of those do you think are actually likely to go?

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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 11:11 am

lostinwales wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:For Ireland, there is a possible choice from first team players of:

O'Mahony, Stander, vdF, Leavy, Conan, Ruddock, Murphy

Upcomers/capped: Deegan, Doris, O'Donoghue

Newbies/uncapped: Will Connors, Chris Cloete, Jarad Butler (Connacht Captain)

Lock/6s: Henderson, Beirne

We all have a lot of 'possibles' - but who of those do you think are actually likely to go?

None. The British players are better, I reckon.
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Post by Mr Bounce on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 12:45 pm

I am not sure I would include Peter O'Mahoney at the moment. He has looked like he's not been at the races recently and unless he makes a massive improvement I think there are better players available. Look at Wilson, Navidi, Wainwright and Ritchie. All on form and in my eyes far better choices than old Pete.

Class is permanent, but this is about getting the best 23 players out to battle the world champions. There are currently better players than him at 6.

There's so many excellent players at 6 and 7 in the British and Irish sides now. Some big names are likely to miss out.

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Post by Old Man on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 12:57 pm

In the end Gatland will go for combinations and balance in thebackrow

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Post by Maine man on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 8:27 pm

The 9 back rows I'd take:
Wainwright, Watson, Leavy, Curry, Underhill, Tipuric, Ritchie, Stander, Willis (bolter)
I still think Faletau or Vunipola will go.

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Post by nlpnlp on Fri 12 Jun 2020, 10:24 pm

Maine man wrote:The 9 back rows I'd take:
Wainwright, Watson, Leavy, Curry, Underhill, Tipuric, Ritchie, Stander, Willis (bolter)
I still think Faletau or Vunipola will go.

I can't see Gatland picking 9 wing forwards and no specialist no 8s. If fit Faletau and Vunipola will go and if not I am sure he will look at one or two other specialist 8s. There is no point picking 5 opensides for 6 or 7 games, you need 4 at most. Against a large South African side do you pick a side of runners or an 8 who can at least stand up to them in the tight?

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Post by Maine man on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 7:07 am

Stander and Curry (which is a different argument) can play 8. I could see gatland pick an extra 2nd row that can play blindside.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 9:50 am

Maine man wrote:Stander and Curry (which is a different argument) can play 8. I could see gatland pick an extra 2nd row that can play blindside.

You mean as well as Lawes, Itoje and Henderson?

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Post by Maine man on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 1:30 pm

Gatland took five 2nd rows in 2017. Maybe he'll take 6 and utilise one of the above as a blindside. I hope he doesn't as I think there are better blindside players than them

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 5:14 pm

The back row is one of the toughest areas to pick. Based on the premise of the thread, my nine would be:

6. Curry, Stander, Wainwright
7. Underhill, Watson, Tipuric
8. Faletau, Vunipola, Doris

Back-up

Ritchie, Navidi and Dombrandt.

I think in reality Gatland will have 7 back-row specialists (I tend to assume squads of 38):

6. Curry and Wainwright
7. Tipuric and Underhill
8. Faletau and Vunipola

+ Stander

I suspect Itoje, Lawes and Henderson will all go as well, adding a degree of versatility.

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Post by cb on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 6:38 pm

Backrow is a very difficult position to call, and at least for no.8 depends a lot on fitness and form.

From a purely English view, Ted Hill has a lot of potential.

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Post by alive555 on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 11:13 am

Back Row

Tipuric (30)
Wainright (22)
Underhill (23)
Curry (21)
Vunipola (27)
Ritchie (23)
Watson (28)
Stander (30)
+
Navidi (29)



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Post by king_carlos on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 10:56 pm

6.Curry, Navidi, Ritchie
7.Watson, Underhill, Tipuric
8.Vunipola, Faletau, Stander

I think those would be my standout 9 back rows. Leaving O'Mahony out for Ritchie feels harsh but I think Ritchie has had a massive positive impact in all his RWC and 6 Nations appearances.

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Post by lostinwales on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 9:47 am

king_carlos wrote:6.Curry, Navidi, Ritchie
7.Watson, Underhill, Tipuric
8.Vunipola, Faletau, Stander

I think those would be my standout 9 back rows. Leaving O'Mahony out for Ritchie feels harsh but I think Ritchie has had a massive positive impact in all his RWC and 6 Nations appearances.

I think Ritchie is a terrific player, but I don't think he's better than Curry or Navidi. He is the kind of player who should make an extended squad, as given a chance he may well shine brighter.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:00 am

lostinwales wrote:
king_carlos wrote:6.Curry, Navidi, Ritchie
7.Watson, Underhill, Tipuric
8.Vunipola, Faletau, Stander

I think those would be my standout 9 back rows. Leaving O'Mahony out for Ritchie feels harsh but I think Ritchie has had a massive positive impact in all his RWC and 6 Nations appearances.

I think Ritchie is a terrific player, but I don't think he's better than Curry or Navidi. He is the kind of player who should make an extended squad, as given a chance he may well shine brighter.
I certainly rate Curry higher but I think Ritchie was so good this past year to be on par with Navidi, who has been one of the most consistent blindsides around. Albeit the chasing pack at 6 are all behind the exceptional standards that Pieter-Steph du Toit is setting.

One thing in Ritchie's favour as well as O'Mahony's will be that both are good 3rd lineout options. Against the Boks Gatland might view that as vital. Curry is improving in that regard but the majority of back rows being named on the thread aren't strong jumpers.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:12 am

I still think Wilson will be in the mix, he is hugely under rated. I would have him in front of BV on earlier season form and on par or better than Navidi or Stander.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:15 am

Ritchie has a real niggle towards the opposition that I like and 1 of the stand outs for Scotland. For me leading the chase at 6 but I'd have curry as standout at 7 against a group of players that have considerable class. I'm going to throw it out there I dont really taste du Toit that highly. Kolisi is the guy that makes that back row tick.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:30 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Ritchie has a real niggle towards the opposition that I like and 1 of the stand outs for Scotland. For me leading the chase at 6 but I'd have curry as standout at 7 against a group of players that have considerable class. I'm going to throw it out there I dont really taste du Toit that highly. Kolisi is the guy that makes that back row tick.

I actually agree with there; Kolisi and Vermuelan were the stars of that Bok back row, Du Toit is a good player but I tend to think his actual level was highlighted against New Zealand when Savea was immense.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:58 am

I think PSdT is outstanding. The job he does in the South Africa fringe defence is just exceptional. His work rate leading the rush around the fringes to shut down carries off 9 is brilliant. Then his cover defence when the ball goes wider and he drifts is just fantastic as well. Brilliant player IMO.

I think that the difference in forward carries for England against NZ and SA at the RWC actually sums up his affect really well. Against the All Blacks the England forwards did a brilliant job of stepping inside that man leading the rush on the fringe defence. This meant that the forwards were consistently making yards and giving Youngs/Ford/Farrell good ball. Against SA in the final those forward carriers were brought down behind gain line time and time again. That is PSdT job in defence. Leading that brutally physical SA defensive line on the fringe.

I'm not meaning to take anything away from Kolisi and Vermuelen there either. Vermuelen has been one of the leading back rows in international rugby with outstanding longevity. Kolisi is a fantastic captain as well as openside. Also just a brilliant sporting story for him to lift the RWC for South Africa.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:58 am

I think PSdT is outstanding. The job he does in the South Africa fringe defence is just exceptional. His work rate leading the rush around the fringes to shut down carries off 9 is brilliant. Then his cover defence when the ball goes wider and he drifts is just fantastic as well. Brilliant player IMO.

I think that the difference in forward carries for England against NZ and SA at the RWC actually sums up his affect really well. Against the All Blacks the England forwards did a brilliant job of stepping inside that man leading the rush on the fringe defence. This meant that the forwards were consistently making yards and giving Youngs/Ford/Farrell good ball. Against SA in the final those forward carriers were brought down behind gain line time and time again. That is PSdT job in defence. Leading that brutally physical SA defensive line on the fringe.

I'm not meaning to take anything away from Kolisi and Vermuelen there either. Vermuelen has been one of the leading back rows in international rugby with outstanding longevity. Kolisi is a fantastic captain as well as openside. Also just a brilliant sporting story for him to lift the RWC for South Africa.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 11:22 am

Interesting to see so many listing Jack Willis as a bolter.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 11:30 am

It is hard to banish first impressions, and my first of PSdT were not favourable. However he was being played out of position that day I feel (being asked to play openside in defence at least). He has massively improved and is certainly the best of the current crop of hybrid lock/back rowers.

Vermeulen was outstanding on 2/11/19 - though I had not seen that level of performance from him in some time and had thought he was past his best.

Kolisi is an outstanding leader, and a fine player - but I am not sure he would be in the team if not skipper.

All shows though that each of us sees things differently with our own prejudices applied to what we see.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 11:32 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Interesting to see so many listing Jack Willis as a bolter.

I suspect I am the only English poster here not impressed by him yet. Just feel he is what Eddie calls a "highlights reel" player. I feel he gives away as many penalties as he wins turnovers, falls of tackles too easily for my liking and is often slower to get back to his feet than current defence coaches like. Mind I may just be looking to pick holes to be different?

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 11:33 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:I still think Wilson will be in the mix, he is hugely under rated. I would have him in front of BV on earlier season form and on par or better than Navidi or Stander.

Love Mark Wilson as a player - but doubt he will be under consideration.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 11:33 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Interesting to see so many listing Jack Willis as a bolter.
I rate Willis but I think Ted Hill is the brighter prospect with respect to England bolters. The way he dominates contact ball in hand is reminiscent of how Underhill was dominating tackles when he broke through with Ospreys.

If there are a few injuries to established back rows then I think the likes of Aaron Wainwright or Ellis Jenkins from Wales could even force their way in. Jenkins in particular always impresses when I watch Cardiff.

Caelan Doris as well of course. If Gatland wants to play a more open game to avoid getting into an arm wrestle with the Boks pack then he's a very good ball playing number 8 who offers a lineout option in the back row.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 11:38 am

KC - Thats exactly how i feel. i think Hill looks an absolute monster in the making at blindside...and ive even said i would be interested to see what a switch to 8 would make of him. He has ALL the attributes.


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Post by king_carlos on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 12:01 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:KC - Thats exactly how i feel. i think Hill looks an absolute monster in the making at blindside...and ive even said i would be interested to see what a switch to 8 would make of him. He has ALL the attributes.

I'm in a similar view to what Eddie Jones seems to do with regards to the numbers on players backs not mattering as much in the back row as long as there's balance across the pack. As long as your number 8 has control at the base you can work from there. We saw in the 6 Nations how quickly Curry improved in that regard. Someone like Navidi has played a lot of 8 and is now very good at the base as well. If anything with a player like Hill you might want to keep that extra work at the base away so he can concentrate on what he's best at, running very hard at defenders!

My one worry with Hill currently is his speed at getting back to his feet and in the defensive line after making a tackle, similar to my concerns with Dombrandt. That's largely conditioning and positioning though which both have time to learn.

A coach at my club a good few years ago did a fascinating bit of video analysis into Warburton as a tackler and his positioning. He basically showed that Warbs was very good at positioning himself so that he made tackles with his outside shoulder. I.e. if the attack are moving the ball left Warburton would always try to hit with his right shoulder, hence meaning he's less likely to get in the way of the scrum half and clear out if the attack keeps going left. So he could bounce back to his feet and into the defensive line lightning fast. Warburton in his prime was one of the best defensive flankers I've ever seen in the game.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 12:44 pm

king_carlos wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:KC - Thats exactly how i feel. i think Hill looks an absolute monster in the making at blindside...and ive even said i would be interested to see what a switch to 8 would make of him. He has ALL the attributes.


My one worry with Hill currently is his speed at getting back to his feet and in the defensive line after making a tackle, similar to my concerns with Dombrandt. That's largely conditioning and positioning though which both have time to learn.


Wasnt that largely an issue with Billy V when he first came on the scene. His actual fitness and conditioning. That was fixed pretty quickly...so im sure Hill can be (if that is the issue) Dombrandt im less convinced on....need to see how he goes.

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