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England vs Georgia

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 03 Nov 2020, 8:27 am

First topic message reminder :

I'll be lazy and just half inch the BBC article!

'Back in January, Eddie Jones warned his players of the curse of the beaten World Cup finalists.
The England boss was wary his side could be vulnerable in 2020 after the emotional and mental toll the tournament in Japan had taken.
Jones' concerns looked justified after England were swept aside by a hungry France a matter of days later, a result which scuppered their chances of a Grand Slam.
Given that early setback, it was no surprise to see Jones glowing over a Zoom call on Sunday after England followed the Paris humbling with four straight wins - over the course of almost nine months - to seal a third Six Nations title in five years.
"I prepared the team poorly for the French game," Jones reflected, taking the focus of defeat away from his players, a familiar tactic.
"But their approach to the rest of the tournament has been outstanding, they got on with the job and not looked for any sort of excuse - regardless of what has happened - and played good, tough, hard rugby, which is what you need to do to win the Six Nations."

The title, coming almost a year to the day after the World Cup final defeat by South Africa, further establishes England as one of the dominant forces in the world game.
France, though, were arguably the most impressive side in the tournament and can feel unlucky not to have pipped England to the championship, with Owen Farrell's late penalty in Paris, which grabbed a losing bonus point, ultimately proving decisive.
While no-one can blame England for ensuring they left the Stade de France with something for their efforts, it feels unpalatable that in a great tournament like the Six Nations - where victory is everything and defeat nothing - a side can be rewarded for losing.
Either way, rather than wait until England and France meet again next year, a rematch in the final of the Autumn Nations Cup at the start of December is a real possibility; a clash that could bring priceless profile to the fledgling tournament.


More new faces for Nations Cup?

On that note, it is typical of Jones' mindset that a matter of hours after finally finishing the Six Nations, he was already turning his attention to England's Nations Cup opener against Georgia.
After looking after business in Rome, admittedly in scratchy fashion, what can we expect from England in that fixture, and the Nations Cup as a whole? Selection will be fascinating as Jones juggles with the unprecedented depth he has at his disposal in certain positions.
Wasps' Jack Willis will get a taste of international rugby soon, even though he is in competition with some outstanding flankers, while Exeter's giant lock Jonny Hill has capitalised on Courtney Lawes' injury and George Kruis' unavailability to stake his claim to be a regular partner to the extraordinary Maro Itoje.
It's understood fly-half George Ford will be back fit either for Georgia or Ireland a week later, while it will be intriguing to find out if Jones sees Wasps uncapped pivot Jacob Umaga as a genuine alternative to the Ford and Owen Farrell duopoly at number 10.

England's Autumn Nations Cup fixtures
14 November: England v Georgia, 15:00 GMT at Twickenham
21 November: England v Ireland, 15:00 GMT at Twickenham
28 November: Wales v England, 16:00 GMT at Parc y Scarlets
6 December: Finals weekend - England v TBD, 14:00 GMT at Twickenham

Max Malins is a player who many fans would want to see get a game at full-back, given his brilliance with Bristol since the restart, while Worcester's Ollie Lawrence will be handed his chance to start after making his debut off the bench in Rome.
The playmaking combination of Farrell and centres Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph struggled to fire at the Stadio Olimpico, with England opting to kick a lot of ball in the first half.
With all of England's best performances in the past two years coming with Manu Tuilagi in the midfield, questions linger over how reliant Jones' side are on the Sale man's dynamism and direction.
Tuilagi is out injured for the foreseeable future, so can the 21-year-old Lawrence, himself a power athlete, fill that void? He surely will get some more exposure over the course of November.
"The game is very much about power at the moment," Jones said last month.
"Particularly for outside backs, you need at least one of those powerful players. Previously we have had Manu, so Ollie has an opportunity there to show his worth."


What it means to win your first cap

Lawrence and fellow debutant Ollie Thorley were both given a decent-length run-out off the bench against Italy, but slipping under the radar was a first cap for Bath hooker Tom Dunn, who came on for the excellent Jamie George a couple of minutes from the end of the game.
At the age of 27, Dunn has had to bide his time. Earlier this year, he had been involved in as many as seven England camps without being capped, and was even placed on standby for a matchday squad in January, before being denied a debut when Luke Cowan-Dickie became available again.
So to see a video on England Rugby's in-house channels of Dunn Facetiming home from the stadium after finally winning that elusive cap, fighting back the tears, would have warmed the heart of all England supporters. Good things come to those who wait.'

Despite the stupid comments about unpalatably playing to the rules from the author this does set out some of the choices to be made by Jones. Personally I think the interesting ones come at fly half and full back. I'd like to see Malins at 10 and Watson dropping back with the introduction of Thorley. Slade to get another run at 12 with Lawrence.

I think we'll see Umaga 10 Malins at 15.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 10:45 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Against Georgia who do not have a pair of quality locks, you can get away with a 17.5 stone lock, against Ireland I am not sure. It helps have someone like Stuart balancing out the weight difference but I can remember all the stick that Lawes used to get about being too light for a lock, he has since bulked up to 18.5 stone, but is still a lightweight compared to Launchbury, Hill or Kruis.

A good scrummaging side might just find him out, I would prefer to see him on the bench on Saturday and bring him on later to see how he does. The impact he made this weekend was against Georgia, can he replicate it against a top team?

Yes and no. All other things being equal, a bigger lock is helpful in the scrum, but excellent technique can be a substitute for bulk. Itoje (while a 5 rather than a 4) is never accused of looking underpowered, but in absolute terms he's pretty small for a lock. Ideally you'd want a Johnson and you'd want a Kay (or a Kruis and an Itoje) but a lighter lock with a very strong core and leg drive can hold up well, especially since the back row options are trending towards our bigger options and our props aren't exactly lightweight.
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:27 am

From Various sources its similar..

Itoje - 6'5 , 18st 2
Ewells - 6'6, 17st 9

Not much in it.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:30 am

Itoje is a freak in fairness so plays like a bigger guy, i've never watched him and thought he's a bit short or underpowered.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:39 am

Interesting in that Rugby pass article they make specific mention of Joel Kpoku...6'6 and he's pushing 20st.

I guess it means Isiekwe probably wont get a look in going forward...

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Post by lostinwales on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:45 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Interesting in that Rugby pass article they make specific mention of Joel Kpoku...6'6 and he's pushing 20st.

I guess it means Isiekwe probably wont get a look in going forward...

Also interesting that it doesn't mention Johnny Hill at all

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:45 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Against Georgia who do not have a pair of quality locks, you can get away with a 17.5 stone lock, against Ireland I am not sure. It helps have someone like Stuart balancing out the weight difference but I can remember all the stick that Lawes used to get about being too light for a lock, he has since bulked up to 18.5 stone, but is still a lightweight compared to Launchbury, Hill or Kruis.

A good scrummaging side might just find him out, I would prefer to see him on the bench on Saturday and bring him on later to see how he does. The impact he made this weekend was against Georgia, can he replicate it against a top team?

Ewells has a good rep in the scrum though. Scrum has generally not looked in trouble when hes been in it. Lawes has great strengths in his play, scrum is bottom of the list.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:48 am

Hill has had a couple of suspect technique moments in 2 big games for him very recently. Hea got away with both but both unnecessary and perhaps shows hes trying to hard to impress. If he gets a chance vs ireland and particularly wales they'll be testing his patience.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 11:51 am

[quote="No 7&1/2"]
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Against Georgia who do not have a pair of quality locks, you can get away with a 17.5 stone lock, against Ireland I am not sure. It helps have someone like Stuart balancing out the weight difference but I can remember all the stick that Lawes used to get about being too light for a lock, he has since bulked up to 18.5 stone, but is still a lightweight compared to Launchbury, Hill or Kruis.

A good scrummaging side might just find him out, I would prefer to see him on the bench on Saturday and bring him on later to see how he does. The impact he made this weekend was against Georgia, can he replicate it against a top team?

Ewells has a good rep in the scrum though. Scrum has generally not looked in trouble when hes been in it. Lawes has great strengths in his play, scrum is bottom of the list.[/quote

Once upon a time I might have agreed with you, but he has worked on that side of his game and although not the strongest scrummager he is better than most make out. Saints certainly notice it when he goes off. Lawes and Ribbans are probably the best set we have and you can tell the difference when either of them is not available.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 12:00 pm

Personally I think it's still true at the top level. You can get away with it similar to vunipola but in comparison it's a step down from other guys in my opinion.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 12:20 pm

It was true against South Africa but I can't remember many times the England scrum has struggled outside of that; Kruis could possibly have made a difference from the start but I don't consider Lawes a step down on anyone else.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 12:38 pm

We could go from going ok to dominating though. I know Jones has said that theres only 6 scrums a game and guys like Lawes and Vunipola offer more elsewhere. Logical view.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 1:32 pm

Dominating an occasional scrum is the best you can hope for against the best sides, if their scrum could be totally dominated regularly, they would not be one of the best sides. Picking up a few penalties and putting their 8 and 9 under pressure is doing well in todays game. As previously said, you only get 6 or so scrums a game, probably 20 though if you consider the resets after they have gone to ground as soon as the pressure comes on.

Lineouts are more important in todays game as there are usually 20 or so. The ability to regularly win your own ball and get up to snaffle the odd turnover or disrupt the quality of ball is what I would be looking for. Quicker cleaner ball, more space in front of you to work your plays or maybe a bit of magic. But, hey, what do I know about scrummaging and line out play.


Only about 40 years of playing in the back row, but we didn't have lifting for all but a few years having stopped playing in 2001.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:19 pm

Not saying you dont know what you're on about WPI. Jones agrees that lineouts are more important.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:21 pm

As has been observed by many of us, missing Kruis and Lawes at the same time has highlighted just how good those two are.

In their absence Ewels has been solid for England. He runs the lineout very well, is good in maul defence and also good from the restarts. A set-piece lock basically. Outside of that his job is to hit lots of attacking rucks and make his tackles around the fringes to free up Curry/Underhill/Willis/Earl etc to target the ruck, which again he did. I hope Hill gets chances but I can see what Ewels adds.

I actually see a lot of parallels in the start of Ewels career to Kruis. When Kruis first got chances as Parling's understudy he was solid but most of us felt unremarkable. Then when Jones took over and Parling moved on he got a run of starts and quickly became integral by doing the basics very well. Kruis is more dominant in the tackle than Ewels but the Bath man is nailing his lineout and maul work in attack and defense which is the most vital part of Kruis game to this England side.

Moving forward I hope that Joel Kpoku or George Martin can break through as a lineout lock who can dominate loose exchanges as well. Both have a lot of development still to come though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:24 pm

Another stat that is sadly lacking from the general population. How many rucks secured. You'd think that was a basic stat that would be available quite easily. Would help some discussion. We only tend to notice the ones that guys are slow to and end up as turnovers.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:24 pm

i think thats one reason why Mako was always favoured. He could just about get there in the scrum...but Jones prefers his workrate and defensive stuff and linkman and offensive ability around the park compared to what Marler offered.

Maybe Genge will bring the complete player now.I really want to see him start v Ireland.

Similar to Sinkler at TH in that Sinkler CAN scrum very well...and is also a good linkman. However Sinklers form at the moment is not his best...and i'd love to see Stuart start at TH against Ireland aswell.


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:25 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:From Various sources its similar..

Itoje - 6'5 , 18st 2
Ewells - 6'6, 17st 9

Not much in it.
Guido Petti is in that range as well, one of the best locks in world rugby. Franco Mostert and James Ryan too, both brilliant players.

Being 20 stone isn't prerequisite to being an international lock by any means but that bulk is useful within the game plan that Jones is sticking to where our pack dominating all the tight exchanges is plan A, B and C.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:27 pm

A good big un...and all that Wink

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:28 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:i think thats one reason why Mako was always favoured. He could just about get there in the scrum...but Jones prefers his workrate and defensive stuff and linkman and offensive ability around the park compared to what Marler offered.

Maybe Genge will bring the complete player now.I really want to see him start v Ireland.

Similar to Sinkler at TH in that Sinkler CAN scrum very well...and is also a good linkman. However Sinklers form at the moment is not his best...and i'd love to see Stuart start at TH against Ireland aswell.

Precisely. To reiterate it's easy to get caught up in my preference for guys like marler, launchbury willis etc as criticism towards vunipola lawes and underhill as you concentrate on picking up on comparative weakness to make points as to what you see as more important. Saying lawes isnt as strong in the scrum as launchbury isnt to say lawes isnt good enough for England. It's simply 2 different players who have different plus points. Lock has been a position of strength to us for years.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:31 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:i think thats one reason why Mako was always favoured. He could just about get there in the scrum...but Jones prefers his workrate and defensive stuff and linkman and offensive ability around the park compared to what Marler offered.

Maybe Genge will bring the complete player now.I really want to see him start v Ireland.

Similar to Sinkler at TH in that Sinkler CAN scrum very well...and is also a good linkman. However Sinklers form at the moment is not his best...and i'd love to see Stuart start at TH against Ireland aswell.
Mako at his very best is brilliant in fringe defence as well as a link man. He frequently comes out right at the top of tackle stats with very few missed and his line speed means most those tackles are completed behind the game line, i.e. dominant tackles.

Dominant tackles are usually thought of as Underhill/Curry type hits where carriers end up on their back side. Mako rarely makes those but similar to Jamie George he uses his ridiculous bulk to stop tacklers dead in their tracks with a traditional shoulder to thigh and wrap the ankles. Very effective.

Genge has become noticeably more prominent in that regard for Tigers over the last 18 months. I'd say it's been a point that Jones has told him to go away and work on. Then again Tigers aiming to play approximately 78 minutes of each match without the ball will help tackling practice.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:34 pm

laughing laughing laughing Laugh

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Post by cb on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:42 pm

Weights/size is a funny thing.

Hill and Isiekwe were list as the same height but Hill a few pounds lighter.  I do think Isiekwe is one of the most athletic line-out forwards.

Hill comes across as powerful when carrying etc., Ewells does not.

Ewells is still fairly young and could improve - bit of a slow burn.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 2:56 pm

It also depends if a player knows how to use that weight.

Many big guys have no concept of that (Will Witty once of the falcons and now Exeter is a great example) ...whilst some small guys can use their weight in a way you think they're much heavier.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 3:14 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:It was true against South Africa but I can't remember many times the England scrum has struggled outside of that; Kruis could possibly have made a difference from the start but I don't consider Lawes a step down on anyone else.

I'd agree, and South Africa was a pretty exceptional situation.

Against SA, Eddie should have started with Marler and Kruis, but the big issue was losing Sinckler at 3 minutes which meant that Mtwarira could just attack Cole every time knowing that the poor guy would have to stay on for nearly the full 80. If Kruis had been on, Cole would have had better backup, England would have had more primary possession and not got on the wrong side of the ref, and it could have been a very different story.
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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 3:57 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:From Various sources its similar..

Itoje - 6'5 , 18st 2
Ewells - 6'6, 17st 9

Not much in it.

The difference GF is that Itoje is a freak of nature. That is why in those games Lawes wore 5 and Itoje 6, but at scrum time Itoje packed down in the boiler room. Lawes explained it as some thing like .............he is just unbelievable strong and that it would be stupid not to take advantage of that it in the scrum.

Shape does a lot of it, he is an inch shorter, but much more muscular. Ewells is only a few pounds heavier than me despite me being 3" shorter, I am just built like a block, hips nearly as wide as my shoulders. Think of Dean Richards without the beer belly. Ewells is slim wasted and lean like Lawes; neither look to have as much muscle as Itoje but Lawes is the same sort of weight.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 4:24 pm

Aw yes im well aware of that WPI...

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 5:00 pm

cb wrote:Weights/size is a funny thing.

Hill and Isiekwe were list as the same height but Hill a few pounds lighter.  I do think Isiekwe is one of the most athletic line-out forwards.

Hill comes across as powerful when carrying etc., Ewells does not.

Ewells is still fairly young and could improve - bit of a slow burn.

Ewels is a year younger than Itoje and Hill. I think 10/15 years ago Ewels would have been regarded as an excellent lock but now he's a little old school and doesn't really do the carrying and breakdown work his contemporaries offer. Seems good at the set piece which is why I presume he's in, it appears to be one of the reasons that Launchbury has been left on the fringes of the first team.

Hill is 6ft7 so taller than both Itoje and Ewels according to the Chiefs website which also has him the lightest of the three though that's surprising, if you looked at them side by side you'd guess that Hill was the biggest. He did bulk up over lockdown though so he might be a few lbs heavier than the Chiefs website suggests.

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Post by king_carlos on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 5:09 pm

I've seen Hill listed as 6'7" and 18 stone through to 6'9" and nearly 21 stone. Fair to say the stats can be pretty fickle. Hill is definitely no smaller than Jonny Gray seeing them play side by side, Gray is listed consistently around 6'6" and 19 stone.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 16 Nov 2020, 6:25 pm

king_carlos wrote:I've seen Hill listed as 6'7" and 18 stone through to 6'9" and nearly 21 stone. Fair to say the stats can be pretty fickle. Hill is definitely no smaller than Jonny Gray seeing them play side by side, Gray is listed consistently around 6'6" and 19 stone.

I was surprised that Hill looked noticeably bigger when they were playing for Exeter.

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