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England: 8 Nations

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 8:28 am

First topic message reminder :

Not sure if theres already a thread kicking about but seeing as the prem is back I thought it may be nice to argue over the numerous players impressing.

As ever it seems to be scrum half, flankers, centre and full back are where there are chances for people to force their way in. Can't say I've ever been able to call what Eddie Jones thinks but Willis and hill must be tempting him to widen the player pool. A number of scrum halfs have started well also but has the time come for Spencer or Robson? Thought Maunder was very good too and Mitchell showed great flashes.

I'm at a bit of a loss for full back based on the games last week. Furbank looked anonymous and let's face it Daly is a Jones favourite.

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Post by king_carlos on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 5:18 pm

Cumbrian wrote:I dream of a position when England can put three back-rows units that would walk into most other nation's starting team.  I think we have good options but not there... yet(?)
Back rows a position of strength for a lot of nations now to be fair. Even Italy who have been so reliant on Parisse for a long time now have 6.Polledri 7.Negri 8.Steyn. It's a very good international back row.

6.Underhill 7.Curry 8.Vunipola
6.Wilson 7.Ludlam 8.Earl
6.Hill 7.Willis/Simmonds 8.Dombrandt/Mercer

The pecking order seems to be something like that from the 6 Nation selections and going further back before certain individuals were injured. That's taking Lawes out the equation due to his injury and Kruis being unavailable, hence Lawes might have played lock more. He was first choice during the 6 Nations though.

A lot of talent but Wilson/Ludlam/Earl/etc are good players pushing the starters but so are Doris and Conan for Ireland, Wainwright and Basham for Wales. It's a position of strength for many.

Scotland are a good comparison in terms of depth. Watson and Ritchie are outstanding but there's a significant drop off to the talent below at present. By bringing these young back rowers through hopefully Jones can mitigate the hypothetical risk of Underhill or Curry getting an injury just before the next RWC. In 2003 it was vital having Lewis Moody in the group stages whilst Richard Hill was injured.

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Post by Cumbrian on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 5:22 pm

Old Man wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:I dream of a position when England can put three back-rows units that would walk into most other nation's starting team.  I think we have good options but not there... yet(?)

That would be challenging, generally your top teams have very strong backrow players.

Looking at Nz and South Africa they alone, both have major depth in 6, 7 and 8.

That is why it was a dream, and why I said most. Very Happy
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Post by Old Man on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 5:55 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:I dream of a position when England can put three back-rows units that would walk into most other nation's starting team.  I think we have good options but not there... yet(?)

That would be challenging, generally your top teams have very strong backrow players.

Looking at Nz and South Africa they alone, both have major depth in 6, 7 and 8.

That is why it was a dream, and why I said most. Very Happy

Nice dream though. Wink

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 6:00 pm

Yiu could stick with sa as your example. Though I dont really rate him du Toit was named player of the year. Vermeulen is a big lump. Kolisi is the guy back there and a great leader. You could argue only curry walks into that. New zealand.....worst back row they've had in my lifetime.

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Post by Old Man on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 6:09 pm

Vermeulen will most likely hang on for the Lions, then retire from international rugby.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 6:10 pm

It's a big thing. I hope for the players involved we can have full stadia. For the run of the mill stuff it's a shame but for those big games it's a kick in the teeth.

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Post by Old Man on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 6:19 pm

Well, SARU had a pool application for the British and Irish Lions series, you needed to enter to be able to qualify for a ticket, there were three times more entries than tickets available, so series basically sold out.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 6:27 pm

More covid obviously than demand!

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Post by Old Man on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 6:31 pm

Oh, believe me, the Lions are very popular in SA

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 8:21 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:I dream of a position when England can put three back-rows units that would walk into most other nation's starting team.  I think we have good options but not there... yet(?)

That would be challenging, generally your top teams have very strong backrow players.

Looking at Nz and South Africa they alone, both have major depth in 6, 7 and 8.

That is why it was a dream, and why I said most. Very Happy

Some would call it delusion.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 8:24 pm

Old Man wrote:Vermeulen will most likely hang on for the Lions, then retire from international rugby.

If he hangs on then surely he’d be back-up, not a starter?

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Post by Old Man on Sat 10 Oct 2020, 8:36 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Old Man wrote:Vermeulen will most likely hang on for the Lions, then retire from international rugby.

If he hangs on then surely he’d be back-up, not a starter?

I think he will start, but it is difficult to be sure at this stage, there are so many upcoming youngster in SA currently, but you also have the Du Preez contingent etc.

Vermeulen is a big match player, never disappoints, so unless he really loses form I don’t see him easily replaced.

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Post by Cumbrian on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 8:41 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:
Old Man wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:I dream of a position when England can put three back-rows units that would walk into most other nation's starting team.  I think we have good options but not there... yet(?)

That would be challenging, generally your top teams have very strong backrow players.

Looking at Nz and South Africa they alone, both have major depth in 6, 7 and 8.

That is why it was a dream, and why I said most. Very Happy

Some would call it delusion.


Perhaps it is delusional.  However, a couple of years ago would you have called it a delusion if I said a 28/29 year old English lock who had never been more than a club-man at best would walk into the Wales boiler-room? Or if a 25 year old who has spent his career sat behind Brad Barritt would be hailed as the best things since sliced bread by WOL?  Or maybe a centre plucked from the English Championship?  How about a winger who played almost exclusively in the English championship until he was in his mid 20s?  I mean he'd played about what? ten/ fifteen games for Leicester when Wales came calling?  It is all delusion, until it actually happens...

I'll admit that talks of walking into a most international squads was over the top, but England haven't had this sort of depth for generations (if ever).
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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 10:45 am

Cumbrian wrote:Perhaps it is delusional.  However, a couple of years ago would you have called it a delusion if I said a 28/29 year old English lock who had never been more than a club-man at best would walk into the Wales boiler-room? Or if a 25 year old who has spent his career sat behind Brad Barritt would be hailed as the best things since sliced bread by WOL?  Or maybe a centre plucked from the English Championship?  How about a winger who played almost exclusively in the English championship until he was in his mid 20s?  I mean he'd played about what? ten/ fifteen games for Leicester when Wales came calling?  It is all delusion, until it actually happens...

I'll admit that talks of walking into a most international squads was over the top, but England haven't had this sort of depth for generations (if ever).

Yeah some fair points but still delusional, especially if you use WOL to try and back up your point.

Are you referring to Rowlands? If you’re good enough then you get called up I guess. Are you saying you wouldn’t on current form? Wales just don’t produce enough locks or centres right now and haven’t done for a while, hopefully it’s something the WRU are aware of. England used to have similar issues despite having 12 pro clubs. If Rowlands wasn’t capped by Wales he would likely be in the England squad and the fact you’ve called up another South African proves that. You guys keep telling us england have amazing lock depth which is quite wide of the mark. Only South Africa can claim that. They’ve had class locks growing out of their ears for the last decade, so much so that they’re in almost every top flight club in the NH and in other international teams.

Fair points on Tompkins (which I believe a lot of you were furious about as he was deemed good enough to be playing for England) and Holmes. Holmes isn’t on great form right now that’s for sure, I imagine he’s just being given an opportunity and will remain on the fringes for years to come. Wales aren’t short of back 3 players.
Oh okay so Johnny Williams’ team goes down and suddenly he’s just a championship player... He did need a break from rugby if you remember... Also he’s been in the England squad, so again he was one to be deemed good enough. He looks pretty good and like I said we aren’t producing enough quality centres. I’m glad we have him on board, just need to see if he steps up. He has all the skills, he’s resilient  and is a big centre - he should pass the test. Too bad you can’t be happy for him Very Happy.

I am impressed with England’s strength depth in the back-row (and front row), you never had that back in 2015. No chance of you having 3 back-rows who would walk into Wales though, not unless we poach them first. Cardiff probably have as much back-row depth as England when all their players are available. Oh and what do you know, some of the best open-sides playing in England, two at least, are Welsh!

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 1:10 pm

Rowlands wouldn't be in the england squad. Hes not good enough to force his way in with the current locks we have.
Tompkins and Williams are definitely good enough to play at international level. They should be your first choice centres soon enough.
And I wouldnt be swapping back rows with the welsh. Ta.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:12 pm

I wouldn’t be swapping any of the back-row’s with the English, ta mate.

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Post by Cumbrian on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:26 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:Perhaps it is delusional.  However, a couple of years ago would you have called it a delusion if I said a 28/29 year old English lock who had never been more than a club-man at best would walk into the Wales boiler-room? Or if a 25 year old who has spent his career sat behind Brad Barritt would be hailed as the best things since sliced bread by WOL?  Or maybe a centre plucked from the English Championship?  How about a winger who played almost exclusively in the English championship until he was in his mid 20s?  I mean he'd played about what? ten/ fifteen games for Leicester when Wales came calling?  It is all delusion, until it actually happens...

I'll admit that talks of walking into a most international squads was over the top, but England haven't had this sort of depth for generations (if ever).

Yeah some fair points but still delusional, especially if you use WOL to try and back up your point.

Are you referring to Rowlands? If you’re good enough then you get called up I guess. Are you saying you wouldn’t on current form? Wales just don’t produce enough locks or centres right now and haven’t done for a while, hopefully it’s something the WRU are aware of. England used to have similar issues despite having 12 pro clubs. If Rowlands wasn’t capped by Wales he would likely be in the England squad and the fact you’ve called up another South African proves that. You guys keep telling us england have amazing lock depth which is quite wide of the mark. Only South Africa can claim that. They’ve had class locks growing out of their ears for the last decade, so much so that they’re in almost every top flight club in the NH and in other international teams.

Fair points on Tompkins (which I believe a lot of you were furious about as he was deemed good enough to be playing for England) and Holmes. Holmes isn’t on great form right now that’s for sure, I imagine he’s just being given an opportunity and will remain on the fringes for years to come. Wales aren’t short of back 3 players.
Oh okay so Johnny Williams’ team goes down and suddenly he’s just a championship player... He did need a break from rugby if you remember... Also he’s been in the England squad, so again he was one to be deemed good enough. He looks pretty good and like I said we aren’t producing enough quality centres. I’m glad we have him on board, just need to see if he steps up. He has all the skills, he’s resilient  and is a big centre - he should pass the test. Too bad you can’t be happy for him Very Happy.

I am impressed with England’s strength depth in the back-row (and front row), you never had that back in 2015. No chance of you having 3 back-rows who would walk into Wales though, not unless we poach them first. Cardiff probably have as much back-row depth as England when all their players are available. Oh and what do you know, some of the best open-sides playing in England, two at least, are Welsh!

At various times when Rowlands was still available to England he was over looked in favour of:

Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis, Charlie Ewels, Elliott Stooke, Josh Beaumont, Nick Isiekwe, Dave Attwood and Will Spencer.

Some of them like Spencer are tenuous, but they were at least asked to train with England ahead of Rowlands.  

Going to the current situation, I assume the South African you are referring to is David Ribbands.  He and Moon are in the squad because Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Charlie Ewels, Jonny Hill were unavailable for the Barbarians match (that is to say nothing about Kruis, who may yet come back in). Ribbands/Moon are unlikely to be in the squad once they come back in.

Would I have had Rowlands ahead of Ribbands or Moon?  Maybe, and that is a big maybe.  Thing is at 29 he is probably about as good as he is going to get, so whilst he might be ahead of the likes of Kpoku or Isiekwe at the moment, he won’t be in a couple of years and would slip even further down the pecking order.  This isn’t me being salty, it is just a genuine assessment of the way I see the situation at lock.  If he was still available for England he would be fighting for 6th position with a bunch of fringe men and young up and coming players.

Johnny Williams isn’t suddenly a Championship player, he WAS a Championship player.  I was being a bit cheeky with that one because he is a good player.

I think ‘furious’ is overegging the pudding a little, irritated may be a better way of putting it.  He was viewed as a potentially useful squad player, but wasn’t going to get past Farrell, Tuilagi, Joseph, Marchant or Slade.  He was in a pack of players like Ollie Devoto, Cameron Redpath, Piers Francis and Sam James.  He would certainly have been challenged by Ollie Lawrence in the next year or two.

You’re stretching your credibility by suggesting that the Blues have the same depth of back-rows as the whole of England though.  Whilst Wales certainly have good depth at openside, I certainly think you lack big ugly blindsides.  I reckon if somebody like Ted Hill had Welsh heritage your selectors would be on the phone before the word ‘grandparent’ was over.  It is worth pointing out at this point that I said I 'dreamed' of the situation, not that it was actually so.

My point was, if I’d have said that these players would be potential first choice picks for Wales a couple of years ago, you may well have called me arrogant/ delusional.


Last edited by Cumbrian on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:36 pm

These posts are too long guys. Can you make them shorter so people will actually read them?

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Post by Cumbrian on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:43 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:These posts are too long guys. Can you make them shorter so people will actually read them?


Okay. Rowlands wouldn't get into the England squad. Blues don't have more back-row depth than the whole of England. Very Happy
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:44 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:I wouldn’t be swapping any of the back-row’s with the English, ta mate.

All good then!

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 2:47 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:These posts are too long guys. Can you make them shorter so people will actually read them?

Very Happy

Okay.  Rowlands wouldn't get into the England squad.  Blues don't have more back-row depth than the whole of England. Very Happy

I'd agree with that. I'm not sure why Rowlands is being overrated. It's the 'Welsh player playing in England phenomenon' where they become significantly better when they're out of sight, out of mind. Except Rowlands isn't even really Welsh.

I think there's something to be said for how useful certain players are to certain countries. Like Jake Ball, ostensibly English who wouldn't get near the England squad, is vital for Wales as he offers bulk and an option for someone to do the hard jards. There aren't many players like him in Wales and so he becomes very useful for Wales but not all that from an English perspective. Rowlands has the size to be useful for Wales but test match rugby is another matter. Until he's played 10 or so tests it's stupid thinking he's some kind of messiah, there's no evidence of that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 3:01 pm

Does anyone know when exactly the next squad is announced? Tomorrow? We'll have bath Worcester and sale players presumably to come in.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 3:57 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:These posts are too long guys. Can you make them shorter so people will actually read them?


Okay.  Rowlands wouldn't get into the England squad.  Blues don't have more back-row depth than the whole of England. Very Happy

Arrogant and delusional.

You are right we don’t have many big blindsides that teams like England and France favour, where-as SA play a lock there. Wales usually play an open-side there as that’s how many we have... I don’t know a lot about Ted Hill, but what I’ve seen of Dombrandt he’s very good and WQ Wink

Best locks playing in England right now are Rowlands and Ribbans. The best open sides are Young and Thomas. Run

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 4:01 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Does anyone know when exactly the next squad is announced? Tomorrow? We'll have bath Worcester and sale players presumably to come in.

31st October.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 4:20 pm

Nope. Theres one before the 15th for the next training squad.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 4:21 pm

Dombrandt doesnt qualify for wales.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 11 Oct 2020, 4:55 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Dombrandt doesnt qualify for wales.

Sad

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 9:38 am

The thing about our back row options...only 3 players are really proven - Billy, Curry, and Underhill. They got us to world cup final.

As to the others they are hugely hopeful, but need to show what they can do on the pitch at international level.

They'll get a chance this Autumn.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 10:08 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:The thing about our back row options...only 3 players are really proven - Billy, Curry, and Underhill. They got us to world cup final.

As to the others they are hugely hopeful, but need to show what they can do on the pitch at international level.

They'll get a chance this Autumn.

It's like that for most teams I think. Some players look clearly capable of stepping up, but some times others step up and don't do that well.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 10:27 am

Very true Mikey.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 3:01 pm

The English back row depth is like London buses. A few years ago England would have killed to have Warburton, Tipuric, or any number of the reserve Welsh back rowers playing at openside. Not anymore. There's real depth on both sides of the scrum. 8 isn't quite as well stocked but that's the case for every international team, it's become such an attritional position that requires physical dominance not many players are making the grade or staying injury free if they get there.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 3:15 pm

Indeed. We only have vunipola Dombrandt Simmonds mercer curry and Hughes. Morgan as well if you want to include him. Never sure how many options are considered well stocked though.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 4:27 pm

Ben Earl can play 8 aswell and Mark Wilson.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 5:02 pm

I really rate Zach Mercer and think he could be an interesting option. He offers a different skill set to the other number 8s we have. His work rate in defence is strong as with all modern back rows but he's got great hands in attack and runs excellent support lines. He's probably the strongest lineout jumper of the current back row options outside of picking Lawes at blindside.

I always like a mix of squad options that can play to different tactics depending on the opposition - horses for courses.

If we are picking a number 8 with different strengths to Billy then Mercer would just pip it ahead of Simmonds and Dombrandt for me.

Similar if we are looking for a blindside with more physicality, where I'd just pick Hill over Willis. Willis is better at the breakdown but for sheer power in contact I think Hill is hard to overlook in the modern, defence orientated international game. The way he dominates collisions at a young age is akin to Underhill dominating tackles when he first broke through with the Os.

Earl can play 8 is competing with Ludlam for the reserve openside spot in my eyes. On form I'd take Earl I think. Harsh on Ludlam as he's a very good player that's done nothing wrong in his England appearances but Earl's pace, carrying and tackling is an impressive package. Very much an Eddie Jones style back row.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 5:37 pm

Jones is going to have an awful job picking his back row for the 6 Nations. Just so much talent around at the moment.

For me I'd go with:

6.Willis
7.Curry
8.Vunipola

With Underhill on the bench. Still, you could just as easily slot Hill, Earl and Simmonds in there with Mercer on the bench. Riches galore.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 5:42 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:The thing about our back row options...only 3 players are really proven - Billy, Curry, and Underhill. They got us to world cup final.

As to the others they are hugely hopeful, but need to show what they can do on the pitch at international level.

They'll get a chance this Autumn.

Wilson probably counts as proven, too, though unlikely to make the next RWC. And if we're honest, Curry and Underhill would have been viewed as promising but unproven right up until the RWC games against Australia and New Zealand.

But it has to be said that the cupboard is looking significantly less bare than it has of late. Willis does look like he ought to be Eddie's kind of player - very physical, high work rate and making the most of a rule change that really suits his style.

I'd like to see Dombrandt given a run out, too, because he offers something different. He gives away a little to (a fully fit) Billy in terms of power, but what he brings as both a giver and receiver of offloads is similarly difficult for defences to cope with. Eddie didn't like his work rate at the start of the season but he has clearly been putting the effort in in training and is putting in many more hard yards
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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 8:25 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Indeed. We only have vunipola Dombrandt Simmonds mercer curry and Hughes. Morgan as well if you want to include him. Never sure how many options are considered well stocked though.

Hughes is not a test match player, he's been proven to be pants.

Morgan likewise, decent player, but he's a Lancaster 'B student' not the top test match player needed to replace Billy V.

Dombrandt is promising but isn't capped yet.

Simmonds plays in the best team in Europe. Decent, but doesn't look top class. Also probably more of a flanker than an 8. Never shone in test match rugby.

Mercer's done nothing in the game time he's had for England, doesn't look top class at all.

Curry is a great flanker and as evidenced that this is a problem has been moved to 8. That fact also means I rest my case, but thanks for trying.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 8:51 pm

Miaow knows as much about depth in number 8s as for england as midfield ie nowt. No one was shocked.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 8:57 pm

Haha you really are a silly sauage 7.5.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 12 Oct 2020, 8:59 pm

Whys that?

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 10:34 am

rugby racing and beer wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Indeed. We only have vunipola Dombrandt Simmonds mercer curry and Hughes. Morgan as well if you want to include him. Never sure how many options are considered well stocked though.

Hughes is not a test match player, he's been proven to be pants.

Morgan likewise, decent player, but he's a Lancaster 'B student' not the top test match player needed to replace Billy V.

Dombrandt is promising but isn't capped yet.

Simmonds plays in the best team in Europe. Decent, but doesn't look top class. Also probably more of a flanker than an 8. Never shone in test match rugby.

Mercer's done nothing in the game time he's had for England, doesn't look top class at all.

Curry is a great flanker and as evidenced that this is a problem has been moved to 8. That fact also means I rest my case, but thanks for trying.

*sigh I hate replying to these posts...

Hughes and Morgan both had potential back in the day. Hughes was Adequate. Morgan more than that, with a real surprising turn of pace for a fatty. Both had major leg injuries and won't ever trouble the international selectors again.

Dombrandt OK

Simmonds is difficult in that he is superficially very similar to Earls etc. Fast, great hands, great acceleration, great work rate but not particularly big, which meant he could look stupid running into heavy traffic, but great when he has some space. Has a huge workrate. That game vs Italy where he got MoM he made over 20 tackles and scored a couple of tries if memory has served me correctly. Again had an injury at the wrong time as well as being up against Billy for his position. I am sorry he hasn't had more chances as he seems to fit Jones' idea of a flanker, and is now up against some very similar players but he's not far off. There is a reason he's 1st choice no.8 in 'the best team in Europe'

Mercer is very young still. I haven't seen much of him so can't comment on where he is now but he has obviously taken an extra year or two to build on his U20 days. There is no guarantee that players who look good at U20 will make an impact at senior level, and forwards, (normal humans and not the Itoje's or Curry's), do take time to develop. In my mind he was superb at U20, not just because of his physical attributes but in particular because of his leadership. I think, as long as the structures are right, only very good leaders or very bad ones make a real difference. He made a difference for the right reasons.

Curry is just brilliant wherever you put him, and he'll be playing as long as he's standing. No he's not a natural no.8 but he's growing into that role. He won't be a 1st choice at 8 but Eddie is obviously much more about getting the right people on to the pitch than worrying about numbers matching roles.

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Post by king_carlos on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 11:07 am

With England's defense orientated game plan I don't see Curry or Underhill being left out when they are fit. The way those two dominate tackles is remarkable even at international level. On top of that they are both very good at the breakdown and on kick chase.

Since Mitchell came in as defence coach there has been a consistent tactic of lining up either Curry or Underhill to chase box kick alongside the winger. The winger will chase hard and look to compete in the air (May looks for the slap back whereas Watson tries to win the ball in the air) then Curry or Underhill will be lurking just behind either to pounce on loose ball or make a dominant hit if the opposition claim it cleanly. Underhill against NZ in the semi-final was an excellent example of this tactic.

I think any flankers coming in will need to be able to match that kick chase intensity as it's such an important part of England's game. Ludlam has shown he can do that given he's very quick. Earl is also excellent at it given his speed and strong tackling. Simmonds has the strengths to do the same.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 11:45 am

Willis gave a display at the weekend that will have both delighted his fans, showing why he should be in the team, but also supported why Eddie may have doubts. He did a lot of good stuff, but even he was bemused he got MotM - probably because he was acutely aware of just how many penalties he had given away (I counted 5 by 50 minutes). This is an area of his game often raised by doubters (ok I am included in that) and if Eddie has spoken to him, something he has been told to work on. There is also a danger in parachuting in a player based on excellence within a team set up to "feed" that excellence - with the international sphere tending to reduce people's good parts but exaggerate the bad. England already give away too many penalties.

So, while I do believe that Willis should be drafted into the squad after the GP final, I agree with KC that the current management will need a lot of persuading to move away from Underhill and Curry who have both shown they can take their skills into internationals with success.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 11:54 am

Poorfour wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:The thing about our back row options...only 3 players are really proven - Billy, Curry, and Underhill. They got us to world cup final.

As to the others they are hugely hopeful, but need to show what they can do on the pitch at international level.

They'll get a chance this Autumn.

Wilson probably counts as proven, too, though unlikely to make the next RWC.

Yeah he definitely is, but i have not listed him as i think he'll be discarded for the kids. having said that he looks like he's put some serious muscle on over the lockdown period...looks like a bloomin Mr Olympia competitor. He's clearly in insane shape, which is good

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 11:57 am

rugby racing and beer wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Indeed. We only have vunipola Dombrandt Simmonds mercer curry and Hughes. Morgan as well if you want to include him. Never sure how many options are considered well stocked though.

Hughes is not a test match player, he's been proven to be pants.

Morgan likewise, decent player, but he's a Lancaster 'B student' not the top test match player needed to replace Billy V.

Dombrandt is promising but isn't capped yet.

Simmonds plays in the best team in Europe. Decent, but doesn't look top class. Also probably more of a flanker than an 8. Never shone in test match rugby.

Mercer's done nothing in the game time he's had for England, doesn't look top class at all.

Curry is a great flanker and as evidenced that this is a problem has been moved to 8. That fact also means I rest my case, but thanks for trying.

Is this a WUM post?

PS - Simmonds has only played once v Italy i believe...and scored 2 tries and hit 26 tackles or something daft. He deserves a shot v the bigger boys to show he can do it!

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 11:58 am

Move Ted Hill to 8.

6 Curry
7 Underhill
8 Hill


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Post by king_carlos on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 11:59 am

England's penalty count is something that intrigues me. It has often been high whilst Eddie has been coach which suggests it's a tactic. We know this England team are happy to play without the ball as it were so perhaps it's an extension of that. Have a very aggressive defence that concentrates on line speed and slowing the ball to suffocate the oppositions attack, then score from opposition mistakes, but accept that we will give away penalties in the process.

It has largely worked well under Jones but with how much of a weapon the maul is these days it's a risky tactic. England's maul defence with Itoje, Kruis and Lawes has been very good under Borthwick and that will likely continue under Proudfoot. I wonder if Kruis and Lawes being unavailable for the Autumn will lead to a change of tactics?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 12:05 pm

I am slightly surprised theres still people denying how good willis is. I'm not overly bothered who lines up in what short number after curry and willis pull on the Jersey. At the moment they are head and shoulders above the rest.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 12:07 pm

Simmonds actually has 7 caps (with 4 starts). His first 5 tests were all victories and included his MotM performance against Italy in what was his 4th test and second start. He was injured in the victory the following week against Wales and missed the match against Scotland where England's issues at the breakdown were first exposed. He returned to the bench against France and started against Ireland where Eddie recalled Haskell as well.

There was the feeling that he may be a little lightweight - but tbh his performances ranged from decent to excellent. In his four starts he performed better than his opposite number in all but the final one where Stander had a good game.

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 13 Oct 2020, 12:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I am slightly surprised theres still people denying how good willis is. I'm not overly bothered who lines up in what short number after curry and willis pull on the Jersey. At the moment they are head and shoulders above the rest.

I am not denying he is good - just pointing out there are some issues in his play and suggesting this may be why Eddie will not have him straight into the team. His try saving tackle against Bristol was excellent and stopped their fightback -but it should also be noted that they were coming back at the start of the second half due to his penalty count.

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