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Le Winner Tales It All - England vs France

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 30 Nov 2020, 6:58 am

First topic message reminder :

The Guardian throws up some interesting points of discussion that have been touched upon already elsewhere. The positives first are that there will be 2000 fans in the stadium at the weekend:plenty of room to spread out but an important step back to normality. It also allows england the chance on some revenge for the 6 nations defeat and to lift some silverware. Despite overall feeling we've missed the chance to create depth in some key areas I think Jones has used these games pretty well. Genge has had some good performances, itoje and Launchbury have to me shown they can work effectively together, Willis and Earl have mins on the pitch, Lawrence looks set for a good career. Hell even if I dont think it's worked Joseph has proved he can cover wing (played there previously for england I know) though hopefully only for emergencies and we know conclusively Furbank isnt good enough.

That leads onto the negative. The balance between club and country has led France to agree to only play players 3 times over the course of these matches. It leave the final now a bit of an imbalance as France for some reason prioritised games over england meaning guys like Dupont and Vakatawa are unavailable. Perhaps they figured may as well let the media hype of 'France are back' reign on rather than risk a massacre at Twickenham. Its shame for the fans (and Amazon the poor multi billion company) but I'm looking forward to it anyway. There will still be fireworks from them I'm sure and in guys like Woki they certainly have quality. That guy could be box office, loads of potential with a slight question on his fitness to perform for 80 mins for me.

I suspect that Jones will go for a very strong team again but while his favourite phrase will be we've picked the strongest 23 it clearly leaves room for tinkering. I have a slight feeling that this may be the match he throws Malins a start.

Expecting a great game tbh. England have stuttered so far but easily been on top throughout their matches. Surely this is the game targeted from the off? Allez les rosbifs.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 02 Dec 2020, 9:57 pm

When May got injured against Wales in the Six Nations Slade filled in at fullback with Daly shifting to the wing and it working well. Slade being able to cover 15 like that would be useful for Jones using the 6-2 split more so it will be interesting to see who's named.

I'm a fan of the 6-2 split but really want to see Marchant and Malins get more chances as well as Willis and Earl so it wouldn't concern me too much either way to be honest.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 03 Dec 2020, 8:41 am

I would really like to see someone else start at 15, even if we still get daly on the wing. Dont think Thorley or Malins have got enough time on the pitch tbh to see whether they're up to Intel or not.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 03 Dec 2020, 9:18 am

Hadnt considered Slade as a full back cover carlos so yeah that does make the 6-2 more viable. Certainly dont expect to see Marchant in the 23 with 3 centres that have consistently been selected ahead of him, and with two others injured hes like 6th choice. Can only think hes been retained because theres some concern around Lawrence still.

Id be very surprised to see that change, or anything else major, for the final. Jones was pretty clear he wanted to give players a run of games together and the team to build. Pretty much all the team changes have been players getting injured or being bought back in from injury. The policy is give what he believed to be his best side a chance to improve as a team and individuals.

If theres parts of the team or individuals that arent showing progress in the way the coaches want them to perform then we could see those changes made for the six nations with the new players given a chance to demonstrate if they can do better or not.

The pack looks pretty set and its hard to imagine theres much that would get torn up there, but the backs not so much. Do agree Daly should be feeling some pressure now, as much as I love his all round play hes still not dominant in contesting high balls which is pretty key to how England are playing.

Also worth remembering that what we as armchair fans want to see from the backs doesnt always chime with what the coaches are asking them to do and develop. After the Ireland game it was Lawrences defence that was praised by Jones, and May talked up how he was working on covering the wide spaces better as more important than his show off try.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 03 Dec 2020, 10:05 am

Old Man wrote:Would Sinckler have made such a difference? He is one player with mobility skills, however not a playmaker. Also The first en minutes of the match SA was the aggressor and had most of the play inside the England ten meter and goal line.
A very important aspect of that final was that many dismissed the SA performances during the RWC based on the match vs Wales which by all accounts was dire.

But they missed the nuances of our strategy and attack, not only during the RWC, but the previous dozen matches under Rassie.

Our fourth quarter performances and comebacks should have been notciced but for some reason wasn’t. And probably still isn’t.

Our strategy was simple in its thought process, soften the opponent physically and eventually their pack will succumb due to fatigue as we could bring fresh legs on at halftime for 3/4 of our pack.

Also, our backline was ignored as a potential threat (by me as well) due to the inexperienced midfield and wings. Yet they have been scoring 75% of our tries under Rassie.

I'd agree with all of that except the first sentence. You may not have seen Sinckler as a playmaker - as I said, Eddie kept it under wraps - but those of us who've followed him at Quins (and paid close attention to the few times he was allowed to do it for England) have. He was a schoolboy 10/15, even though his academy coaches knew he would never be fast enough to be a pro back and were just waiting to see if he filled out enough to play prop. He still passes and (when he's allowed to) kicks like a back. He's very capable of being a playmaker.

As for the rest, Eddie won't have missed the nuances, but I think his tactics for England were wrong - too passive in the first few minutes. My guess is that he was aiming to match Rassie moment for moment, in particular deploying a forwards bench that would stop the pack from succumbing as SA brought theirs on. England and SA were probably the only two teams in the world who could field two completely different packs with no drop off in quality - with the critical difference that Cole isn't an 80 minute player any more, at least not against SA firepower.
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Post by Old Man Thu 03 Dec 2020, 10:11 am

Poorfour wrote:
Old Man wrote:Would Sinckler have made such a difference? He is one player with mobility skills, however not a playmaker. Also The first en minutes of the match SA was the aggressor and had most of the play inside the England ten meter and goal line.
A very important aspect of that final was that many dismissed the SA performances during the RWC based on the match vs Wales which by all accounts was dire.

But they missed the nuances of our strategy and attack, not only during the RWC, but the previous dozen matches under Rassie.

Our fourth quarter performances and comebacks should have been notciced but for some reason wasn’t. And probably still isn’t.

Our strategy was simple in its thought process, soften the opponent physically and eventually their pack will succumb due to fatigue as we could bring fresh legs on at halftime for 3/4 of our pack.

Also, our backline was ignored as a potential threat (by me as well) due to the inexperienced midfield and wings. Yet they have been scoring 75% of our tries under Rassie.

I'd agree with all of that except the first sentence. You may not have seen Sinckler as a playmaker - as I said, Eddie kept it under wraps - but those of us who've followed him at Quins (and paid close attention to the few times he was allowed to do it for England) have. He was a schoolboy 10/15, even though his academy coaches knew he would never be fast enough to be a pro back and were just waiting to see if he filled out enough to play prop. He still passes and (when he's allowed to) kicks like a back. He's very capable of being a playmaker.

As for the rest, Eddie won't have missed the nuances, but I think his tactics for England were wrong - too passive in the first few minutes. My guess is that he was aiming to match Rassie moment for moment, in particular deploying a forwards bench that would stop the pack from succumbing as SA brought theirs on. England and SA were probably the only two teams in the world who could field two completely different packs with no drop off in quality - with the critical difference that Cole isn't an 80 minute player any more, at least not against SA firepower.

I think perhaps we agree on Sickler but use different terminology.

For me playmaker means a nine, ten or fifteen that control the game, decide when to play tactics and strategy and when to exploit moments to open the game up.

Sinckler or any skilled forward for that matter in my view is best described as link players, ably skilled to offload, run, pass break open defences etc.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 03 Dec 2020, 10:45 am

Lets face it. SA were massively up for that game.

Losing Sinckler made a huge difference but it probably would not have been enough. SA did to us what we did to NZ in the semi finals.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 03 Dec 2020, 10:49 am

Jones and Daly really does make me shake my head. We've seen Jones react pretty brutally to other players' weaknesses despite what they bring elsewhere eg Burrell getting 30 mins and never seen again, ashton and solomona presumably cast aside due to defensive issues. Daly weaknesses are there for all to see, we all know he's a better attacker than Brown was but hes shown no improvement since he was moved to 15.

Regarding ashton while I think of it, on the bbc sounds podcast last week he commented that defence doesnt involve any skill whatsoever and its merely bravery. The guy still doesnt get it.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 03 Dec 2020, 11:47 am

It was funny, at about 60 minutes Daly caught a ball against Wales and I exclaimed in shock. Over the next 10 minutes he caught another 4 (I think) in a row. I was going to look back at the gme and see what he was like before that - was he more solid than the prejudged view I now have of him?

First impressions are hard to shake - Farrell is deemed a world class goal kicker, and misses are greeted by commentators with shock. Ford since the end of season game against Wales in 2016 has had appreciably better percentages both at international and club level, but his early struggles mean that if he had missed two fairly easy ones at the start of a game (as Farrell did last week) his "flakiness" as a kicker would be brought up.

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Post by LondonTiger Thu 03 Dec 2020, 11:49 am

Team I predict Eddie to name:

15 Daly
14 Watson
13 Slade
12 Farrell
11 May
10 Ford
9 Youngs

1 Mako
2 George
3 Sinckler
4 Itoje
5 Launchbury
6 Curry
7 Underhill
8 Billy

Bench:
LCD, Genge, Stuart, Ewels, Hill, Earl, Robson, Lawrence

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 03 Dec 2020, 11:54 am

Farrell is a flaky kicker. It generally emerges during what would be considered easy games when theres a lack of pressure. His percentages wouldnt compare that favourably at international level to Ford as a guess.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 03 Dec 2020, 12:52 pm

Old Man wrote:
For me playmaker means a nine, ten or fifteen that control the game, decide when to play tactics and strategy and when to exploit moments to open the game up.

Sinckler or any skilled forward for that matter in my view is best described as link players, ably skilled to offload, run, pass break open defences etc.

I think that's taking too narrow a view of things, and not borne out by the way games are actually played. The role you play in a game is different from the number you have on your back. Is Farrell not a playmaker because he wears 12? Is Mike Brown a playmaker because he wears 15? Is Daly only a playmaker when he wears 15, and not when he wears 13 or 14? Was Brian O'Driscoll not a playmaker? The England side of 2003 fielded Wilkinson/Greenwood/Catt against sides with particularly aggressive back rows, so that Catt could be the playmaker when Wilkinson was under pressure?

To me, it's more about skillset and reading of the game than it is about number. And many international coaches agree - Eddie's selection strategy has consistently favoured having as many players on the pitch as possible who can run the play. Hence Daly being played in a position that he still has big weaknesses in, Farrell being played in his secondary position, Slade at 13 (albeit mainly in the absence of Tuilagi and Lawrence) and Joseph and Marchant (who at the JRWC was the player his team repeatedly turned to when they needed a miracle to happen in attack) being used on the wing.

It's rarer to see in forwards, especially in the NH because we have traditionally asked them to specialise too early, but Sinckler is an exception and I would say his skills put him a level above "any skilled forward". The point I am trying to make is that I believe Eddie was planning to run a good proportion of plays off Sinckler, because an 18 stone prop forward who can throw 20 yard cut out passes presents real problems for a defence. He typically needs two men to stop him, so he holds the defence - allowing him to distribute into space; if you don't keep two defenders on him, he'll make yards. We saw this a couple of times in the 2018 AIs, and very briefly for the try in the semi final (where a quick pop pass while the defence were focused on him set up the run to the line) - but I am near certain that if he'd stayed on we would have seen much more of it.
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Post by Old Man Thu 03 Dec 2020, 1:06 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Old Man wrote:
For me playmaker means a nine, ten or fifteen that control the game, decide when to play tactics and strategy and when to exploit moments to open the game up.

Sinckler or any skilled forward for that matter in my view is best described as link players, ably skilled to offload, run, pass break open defences etc.

I think that's taking too narrow a view of things, and not borne out by the way games are actually played. The role you play in a game is different from the number you have on your back. Is Farrell not a playmaker because he wears 12? Is Mike Brown a playmaker because he wears 15? Is Daly only a playmaker when he wears 15, and not when he wears 13 or 14? Was Brian O'Driscoll not a playmaker? The England side of 2003 fielded Wilkinson/Greenwood/Catt against sides with particularly aggressive back rows, so that Catt could be the playmaker when Wilkinson was under pressure?

To me, it's more about skillset and reading of the game than it is about number. And many international coaches agree - Eddie's selection strategy has consistently favoured having as many players on the pitch as possible who can run the play. Hence Daly being played in a position that he still has big weaknesses in, Farrell being played in his secondary position, Slade at 13 (albeit mainly in the absence of Tuilagi and Lawrence) and Joseph and Marchant (who at the JRWC was the player his team repeatedly turned to when they needed a miracle to happen in attack) being used on the wing.

It's rarer to see in forwards, especially in the NH because we have traditionally asked them to specialise too early, but Sinckler is an exception and I would say his skills put him a level above "any skilled forward". The point I am trying to make is that I believe Eddie was planning to run a good proportion of plays off Sinckler, because an 18 stone prop forward who can throw 20 yard cut out passes presents real problems for a defence. He typically needs two men to stop him, so he holds the defence - allowing him to distribute into space; if you don't keep two defenders on him, he'll make yards. We saw this a couple of times in the 2018 AIs, and very briefly for the try in the semi final (where a quick pop pass while the defence were focused on him set up the run to the line) - but I am near certain that if he'd stayed on we would have seen much more of it.

I think you are taking the numbers too literally, Sinckler in my view won’t play a tactical kicking game, thus not control territory etc.

The reason why is simpe, he is in the coal face, you cannot have the same vision as someone in the backline that has better opportunity to scan the whole field.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 03 Dec 2020, 2:42 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Team I predict Eddie to name:

15 Daly
14 Watson
13 Slade
12 Farrell
11 May
10 Ford
9 Youngs

1 Mako
2 George
3 Sinckler
4 Itoje
5 Launchbury
6 Curry
7 Underhill
8 Billy

Bench:
LCD, Genge, Stuart, Ewels, Hill, Earl, Robson, Lawrence
I have a feeling that Lawrence will start and Willis will keep his place in the 23 ahead of either Ewels or Hill. The starting pack and backs other than 13 seem like they will pick themselves though.

Part of me wonders if Marler will return on the bench but I think Genge has done enough in his cameos and the start against Georgia to keep that spot.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 03 Dec 2020, 2:58 pm

Yeah i think Lawrence will start aswell KC.

And i wouldnt be rushing Marler back. Genge is pushing to be a starter..alongside Stuart on the other side. (We now have 3 LH's , 4 Obano just behind, and 2 ths, 3 with Williams who are ready to start games)

Marler needs to earn that spot now.


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Post by majesticimperialman Thu 03 Dec 2020, 3:47 pm

[quote="GeordieFalcon"]Yeah i think Lawrence will start aswell KC.
And i wouldnt be rushing Marler back. Genge is pushing to be a starter..alongside Stuart on the other side. (We now have 3 LH's , 4 Obano just behind, and 2 ths, 3 with Williams who are ready to start games)

Marler needs to earn hat spot now.[/quote

I do agree with Marler having to earn that spot now.

I do not believe it is a for gone conclusion that a player should walk back in no matter who he is.

No every player should have to earn the right to play for his country.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 03 Dec 2020, 4:23 pm

I am not sure Eddie agrees with you. He'll probably make his decisions based on who's gone better in this mysterious thing called "training" that b*shocked used to deride so much
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Post by nlpnlp Thu 03 Dec 2020, 4:27 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Farrell is a flaky kicker. It generally emerges during what would be considered easy games when theres a lack of pressure. His percentages wouldnt compare that favourably at international level to Ford as a guess.

2 games behind but the kicking stats for Farrell and Ford:

Owen Farrell 85 games
Conversion attempts 208 Conversion scored 160 76.92%
Penalties attempts 218 Penalties scored 183 83.94%

George Ford 68 games
Conversion attempts 73 Conversion scored 51 69.86%
Penalties attempts 58 Penalties scored 44 75.86%

(Statbunker)

My perception as well is that Ford will only take on shorter kicks, whereas Farrell will go for longer range with presumably lower success rate.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 03 Dec 2020, 4:36 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I would really like to see someone else start at 15, even if we still get daly on the wing. Dont think Thorley or Malins have got enough time on the pitch tbh to see whether they're up to Intel or not.
I agree that I'd like a 15 option that's more solid defensively but I'm not convinced Malins is it to be honest. I rate Malins but his strengths are similar to Daly, as are his weaknesses. He might have slightly better positioning when fielding kicks but I don't think his high ball work is anymore dominant that Daly. If Daly were injured then I'd be very happy for Malins to perform a similar role as I think his attacking strengths are similar to Daly. He's a player I rate but I'm not sure that he offers what most fans want in replacing Daly.

England currently lack that sort of fullback like Sanjay, Halfpenny or Kearney that dominates the battle for the ball in the air.

Harry Mallinder is an interesting option in that regard if he can stay fit and string some games together. He also has the passing game to be a playmaker as Daly is.

Longer term I think Josh Hodge or Freddie Steward can come into the picture.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 03 Dec 2020, 4:56 pm

nlpnlp wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Farrell is a flaky kicker. It generally emerges during what would be considered easy games when theres a lack of pressure. His percentages wouldnt compare that favourably at international level to Ford as a guess.

2 games behind but the kicking stats for Farrell and Ford:

Owen Farrell 85 games
Conversion attempts 208 Conversion scored 160 76.92%
Penalties attempts 218 Penalties scored 183 83.94%

George Ford 68 games
Conversion attempts 73 Conversion scored 51 69.86%
Penalties attempts 58 Penalties scored 44 75.86%

(Statbunker)

My perception as well is that Ford will only take on shorter kicks, whereas Farrell will go for longer range with presumably lower success rate.

Reflective of Fords ehakey start to kicking? Still quite surprised they are as disparate. For a fair while now as well it's been daly taking the longer licks. Interesting ta.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 03 Dec 2020, 4:57 pm

king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I would really like to see someone else start at 15, even if we still get daly on the wing. Dont think Thorley or Malins have got enough time on the pitch tbh to see whether they're up to Intel or not.
I agree that I'd like a 15 option that's more solid defensively but I'm not convinced Malins is it to be honest. I rate Malins but his strengths are similar to Daly, as are his weaknesses. He might have slightly better positioning when fielding kicks but I don't think his high ball work is anymore dominant that Daly. If Daly were injured then I'd be very happy for Malins to perform a similar role as I think his attacking strengths are similar to Daly. He's a player I rate but I'm not sure that he offers what most fans want in replacing Daly.

England currently lack that sort of fullback like Sanjay, Halfpenny or Kearney that dominates the battle for the ball in the air.

Harry Mallinder is an interesting option in that regard if he can stay fit and string some games together. He also has the passing game to be a playmaker as Daly is.

Longer term I think Josh Hodge or Freddie Steward can come into the picture.

Agree with all that. I'd be in favour of watson filling in until that all rounder emerges. Malins as you say doesnt look massively convincing but then again below par may still be better than Daly!

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Post by king_carlos Thu 03 Dec 2020, 5:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I would really like to see someone else start at 15, even if we still get daly on the wing. Dont think Thorley or Malins have got enough time on the pitch tbh to see whether they're up to Intel or not.
I agree that I'd like a 15 option that's more solid defensively but I'm not convinced Malins is it to be honest. I rate Malins but his strengths are similar to Daly, as are his weaknesses. He might have slightly better positioning when fielding kicks but I don't think his high ball work is anymore dominant that Daly. If Daly were injured then I'd be very happy for Malins to perform a similar role as I think his attacking strengths are similar to Daly. He's a player I rate but I'm not sure that he offers what most fans want in replacing Daly.

England currently lack that sort of fullback like Sanjay, Halfpenny or Kearney that dominates the battle for the ball in the air.

Harry Mallinder is an interesting option in that regard if he can stay fit and string some games together. He also has the passing game to be a playmaker as Daly is.

Longer term I think Josh Hodge or Freddie Steward can come into the picture.

Agree with all that. I'd be in favour of watson filling in until that all rounder emerges. Malins as you say doesnt look massively convincing but then again below par may still be better than Daly!
I think we'd gain under the high ball with Watson at 15 but lose out in terms of Daly's kicking strength, Watson's attacking from the wing and Daly's distributing. I'm a huge fan of Watson in either position but do think he's a better winger. Worth noting that Watson isn't the strongest one on one tackler either, so we wouldn't gain in that regard defensively.

Watson at 15 would interest me if it allowed Thorley a shot. Just ridiculous pace on either wing with May and Thorley putting pressure on kick chase.

I've said before but I'd make a sneaky prediction at Adam Radwan being involved in a training squad soon. He has that May, Thorley, Rees-Zammit type express pace that's so hard to defend against but has very strong basics in terms of kicking, distributing, defending, etc. He strikes me as exactly the sort of winger Jones likes - rapid and a 'natural footballer' as Eddie would probably call him.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 03 Dec 2020, 6:16 pm

It feels a bit like Thorley got something wrong and is therefore being punished.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 03 Dec 2020, 6:50 pm

lostinwales wrote:It feels a bit like Thorley got something wrong and is therefore being punished.

Whats Jones supposed to do ...pick all the full backs? Drop the ones he thinks are better? Sounds like the same argument as per the back row...you cant have everyone in there at the same time.

He's just not rated by jones as one of the top 2 players he believes is best able to perform the role. You may disagree on that, but he cant really pick the team to avoid upsetting everyone and ask for dispensation to have 30 players on the pitch. It would be a bit different if everyone could agree who the full back should be, but half the forums calling for Malins and above we have peopel saying Watson.

Or take the Wales selection route and pick names out a hat?

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 03 Dec 2020, 7:00 pm

nlpnlp wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Farrell is a flaky kicker. It generally emerges during what would be considered easy games when theres a lack of pressure. His percentages wouldnt compare that favourably at international level to Ford as a guess.

2 games behind but the kicking stats for Farrell and Ford:

Owen Farrell 85 games
Conversion attempts 208 Conversion scored 160    76.92%
Penalties attempts 218 Penalties scored        183    83.94%

George Ford 68 games
Conversion attempts 73 Conversion scored 51      69.86%
Penalties attempts 58 Penalties scored        44      75.86%

(Statbunker)

My perception as well is that Ford will only take on shorter kicks, whereas Farrell will go for longer range with presumably lower success rate.

Daly used to take some of the long ones for Farrell didnt he?

The top kickers a few years back were in the high 80s for test kick percentage, so neithers particularly great. Fords league stats are much better, there was an article during last season from (I think) planter rugby that had him as the premierships top goal kicker and Farrell way down the list trying to push the idea farrell was dispensable

I dont know if its always true but I remember getting the impression that Farrell did flake a few times in tight games, hard to know how real that is without a deep dive into the stats. 80% in the world cup final top Pollards 83.3% doesnt say much on the subject.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 04 Dec 2020, 8:37 am

king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I would really like to see someone else start at 15, even if we still get daly on the wing. Dont think Thorley or Malins have got enough time on the pitch tbh to see whether they're up to Intel or not.
I agree that I'd like a 15 option that's more solid defensively but I'm not convinced Malins is it to be honest. I rate Malins but his strengths are similar to Daly, as are his weaknesses. He might have slightly better positioning when fielding kicks but I don't think his high ball work is anymore dominant that Daly. If Daly were injured then I'd be very happy for Malins to perform a similar role as I think his attacking strengths are similar to Daly. He's a player I rate but I'm not sure that he offers what most fans want in replacing Daly.

England currently lack that sort of fullback like Sanjay, Halfpenny or Kearney that dominates the battle for the ball in the air.

Harry Mallinder is an interesting option in that regard if he can stay fit and string some games together. He also has the passing game to be a playmaker as Daly is.

Longer term I think Josh Hodge or Freddie Steward can come into the picture.

Agree with all that. I'd be in favour of watson filling in until that all rounder emerges. Malins as you say doesnt look massively convincing but then again below par may still be better than Daly!
I think we'd gain under the high ball with Watson at 15 but lose out in terms of Daly's kicking strength, Watson's attacking from the wing and Daly's distributing. I'm a huge fan of Watson in either position but do think he's a better winger. Worth noting that Watson isn't the strongest one on one tackler either, so we wouldn't gain in that regard defensively.

Watson at 15 would interest me if it allowed Thorley a shot. Just ridiculous pace on either wing with May and Thorley putting pressure on kick chase.

I've said before but I'd make a sneaky prediction at Adam Radwan being involved in a training squad soon. He has that May, Thorley, Rees-Zammit type express pace that's so hard to defend against but has very strong basics in terms of kicking, distributing, defending, etc. He strikes me as exactly the sort of winger Jones likes - rapid and a 'natural footballer' as Eddie would probably call him.

Hey stop it! Stop singing the praises of our youngsters. He's not very good.... he's a headless chicken, wouldnt suit the England squad..just leave him at the falcons... Wink

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 04 Dec 2020, 9:53 am

No problems there GF, it is an absolute certainty that EJ ignores everything said on these boards. Very Happy
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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 04 Dec 2020, 10:34 am

Laugh maybe he reads this site and thinks...ha ha ill show them! Heres a little curve ball...

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Post by lostinwales Fri 04 Dec 2020, 11:03 am

Gooseberry wrote:
lostinwales wrote:It feels a bit like Thorley got something wrong and is therefore being punished.

Whats Jones supposed to do ...pick all the full backs? Drop the ones he thinks are better? Sounds like the same argument as per the back row...you cant have everyone in there at the same time.

He's just not rated by jones as one of the top 2 players he believes is best able to perform the role. You may disagree on that, but he cant really pick the team to avoid upsetting everyone and ask for dispensation to have 30 players on the pitch. It would be a bit different if everyone could agree who the full back should be, but half the forums calling for Malins and above we have peopel saying Watson.

Or take the Wales selection route and pick names out a hat?

Oh I get that - I do. In Eddy we trust. It's just that in Thorley's brief opportunity he seemed almost too eager and gave up an unnecessary turn over. I also appreciate that to get a proper foothold players are really having to show something special. Willis has for example, so he's in.

Thorley seemed like the obvious solution to the problem of lacking power in the backline in the absence of Tuilagi and Lawrence, and yet was not used.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 11:04 am

15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 46 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 45 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 87 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 60 caps)
10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 71 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 103 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 63 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 53 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 39 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 42 caps)
5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 68 caps)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 27 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 55 caps)

FINISHERS

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 25 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)
19. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 7 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 6 caps)
22. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 2 caps)
23. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 4 caps)

Overall it doesnt really feel that we've moved on through the autumn much at all. Still expect us to turn over France but theres a number of areas still not clicking.

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Post by Duty281 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 12:36 pm

Yeah would agree that England haven't progressed this autumn, and we haven't learnt much that we didn't know already. With 25 French players missing, it should be a routine win on Sunday. Hopefully it can be a stylish and enjoyable win, not a slog to the finish.

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 04 Dec 2020, 12:48 pm

25 players missing? Jeez. Rumour has it they wanted to play, but then Dragons fans ganged up and drove them away.

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Post by lostinwales Fri 04 Dec 2020, 1:11 pm

Odd replacements for the backs, in that I'd expect either Malins or Marchant but not both.

I wonder if there are any concerns over Daly's ankle?

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Post by Poorfour Fri 04 Dec 2020, 1:24 pm

lostinwales wrote:Odd replacements for the backs, in that I'd expect either Malins or Marchant but not both.

I wonder if there are any concerns over Daly's ankle?

It makes sense to me - they've already got two experienced fly halves and at least 3 kickers on the pitch, so in Malins and Marchant they have players who between them ensure we have cover from 13 outwards (and would allow Slade to move inside to cover 12)
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Post by Recwatcher16 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 1:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 46 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 45 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 87 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 60 caps)
10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 71 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 103 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 63 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 53 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 39 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 42 caps)
5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 68 caps)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 27 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 55 caps)

FINISHERS

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 25 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)
19. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 7 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 6 caps)
22. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 2 caps)
23. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 4 caps)

Overall it doesnt really feel that we've moved on through the autumn much at all. Still expect us to turn over France but theres a number of areas still not clicking.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that that 23, fitness and form allowing, could be the side in the next RWC. That first VX have 813 caps already, with the possibility of another 30 or so each before the Paris jamboree. Does feel like Eddie Jones really is targeting performance in almost exactly three years time.


Last edited by Recwatcher16 on Fri 04 Dec 2020, 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 2:32 pm

You could well be correct. My issue as an england fan is that we need to win every game and not put too much focus on 1 tournament in 3 years. My issue is that I feel we'll still be sat here next year wondering what happens when Youngs, B Vunipola or Daly are out injured.

As said by a number of us an injury can be the opportunity for a player to stake a claim but I'm sure it can be done through planning as well!

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Post by cb Fri 04 Dec 2020, 2:36 pm

There is a bit of paradox here, you could readily get players with 10 caps who have never played 80 minutes international rugby in total.  Perhaps minutes played might be considered as well.

Downside of this series, some new caps but not an awful lot of game time for some players, and perhaps unfair to judge players after just 5 minutes.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 2:46 pm

One thing we do know Furbank isnt good enough.

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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 04 Dec 2020, 3:22 pm

If things aren't clicking then it makes sense to stick with a largely unchanged team.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 04 Dec 2020, 3:49 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You could well be correct. My issue as an england fan is that we need to win every game and not put too much focus on 1 tournament in 3 years. My issue is that I feel we'll still be sat here next year wondering what happens when Youngs, B Vunipola or Daly are out injured.

As said by a number of us an injury can be the opportunity for a player to stake a claim but I'm sure it can be done through planning as well!
The biggest gamble that Jones has taken since the RWC was probably Furbank at 15 and it didn't really payoff. Daly has shown he's a better option since returning and Malins seems to have leapfrogged him as well.

Ewels ahead of Kruis was also a gamble against France, presumably preparing for Kruis heading to Japan, which again didn't payoff.

By and large I think Jones has learnt that a lot of the incumbents are still better than the challengers. New things I think we've learned over the Autumn Nations Cup:

- Itoje is a viable option to run the lineout, hence Itoje-Launchbury is a viable and strong partnership
- Earl and Willis are both very good back rows but Underhill and Curry are definitely still first choice flankers
- Stuart is firmly second choice tighthead
- Genge can challenge Mako and Marler
- Lawrence could be a powerful centre option moving forward

Things we haven't learned about that I wish we had:

- Can Mitchell make an impact challenging Youngs?
- Could Ted Hill partnering Curry and Underhill be a good balance?
- Can Thorley perform May's role on the left wing?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 3:53 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:If things aren't clicking then it makes sense to stick with a largely unchanged team.

Well Jones is talking about this week to peak. I can't remember where I've read it possibly the interview with the Welsh coaches (for England) or with the link up to the league coach they've had in but there was a focus in getting patterns of attack right but also ensuing that passing was better ie shoulder high balls. We've seen plenty of attacks where we've held onto the ball halted through terrible passing (at this level) which stops the attack dead. It just needs an early spell where things click and it should be good. I'm betting on quite a resounding win myself and a performance where we all go where was that 2 weeks ago. If that should happen I'm sure Jones will be saying see did right to stick with these guys.

Its a balancing act to make sure that the next game is won no matter what and to look for continuous improvement though. I'd have loved to have Robson (really ideally Spencer or Mitchell) be coming into this game knocking loudly on the door. Same for a Dombrandt or Simmonds or Lawrence/Marchant. We haven't got that partly down to tactics and partly down to time on the pitch and I'm not sure even a blow out win will make me feel the games have been used well. Greedy I know.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 3:55 pm

king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:You could well be correct. My issue as an england fan is that we need to win every game and not put too much focus on 1 tournament in 3 years. My issue is that I feel we'll still be sat here next year wondering what happens when Youngs, B Vunipola or Daly are out injured.

As said by a number of us an injury can be the opportunity for a player to stake a claim but I'm sure it can be done through planning as well!
The biggest gamble that Jones has taken since the RWC was probably Furbank at 15 and it didn't really payoff. Daly has shown he's a better option since returning and Malins seems to have leapfrogged him as well.

Ewels ahead of Kruis was also a gamble against France, presumably preparing for Kruis heading to Japan, which again didn't payoff.

By and large I think Jones has learnt that a lot of the incumbents are still better than the challengers. New things I think we've learned over the Autumn Nations Cup:

- Itoje is a viable option to run the lineout, hence Itoje-Launchbury is a viable and strong partnership
- Earl and Willis are both very good back rows but Underhill and Curry are definitely still first choice flankers
- Stuart is firmly second choice tighthead
- Genge can challenge Mako and Marler
- Lawrence could be a powerful centre option moving forward

Things we haven't learned about that I wish we had:

- Can Mitchell make an impact challenging Youngs?
- Could Ted Hill partnering Curry and Underhill be a good balance?
- Can Thorley perform May's role on the left wing?

Yup, agree with a lot of that, but that comes round to lack of mins for challengers. Could we have gone less conservative, got the wins and learnt more. IMO, yes.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:03 pm

Surely a fully fit Manu Tuilagi would come straight back in?

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Post by LondonTiger Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:19 pm

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:Surely a fully fit Manu Tuilagi would come straight back in?

Based on the news from Sale we are unlikely to see Manu playing for England again. He is scheduled to be out till the very back end of teh season and they cannot afford him within the cap on full pay. So apparently he hopes to make the Lions next summer then take a big money deal in France or Japan.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:19 pm

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:Surely a fully fit Manu Tuilagi would come straight back in?
Depends if he's playing rugby in England, Trev.

If he recovers as hoped from the Achilles injury he will be fit for the season run in with Sale, presumably targeting a Lions place if fit.

After that, his contract with Sale expires at the end of this season. Sale are right to the cap paying Manu a massively reduced salary - court case to come with Tigers over lost earnings. He presumably won't accept another reduced contract. Premiership clubs can't make a player signed from another Premiership club a marquee player. So for a Prem club to sign him they'd need to fit his wage demands within the reduced cap and find the money to actually pay him.

I reckon he will try to make the Lions tour then sign a bumper deal in France.

Sadly, my prediction would be that we might not see Manu play for England again.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:20 pm

LT beat me to it!

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Post by lostinwales Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:34 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:Surely a fully fit Manu Tuilagi would come straight back in?

Based on the news from Sale we are unlikely to see Manu playing for England again. He is scheduled to be out till the very back end of teh season and they cannot afford him within the cap on full pay. So apparently he hopes to make the Lions next summer then take a big money deal in France or Japan.

If that is the case he'll go down as another unfulfilled talent, which feels crazy considering what he has contributed. At his best an almost uniquely powerful centre.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:40 pm

cb wrote:There is a bit of paradox here, you could readily get players with 10 caps who have never played 80 minutes international rugby in total.  Perhaps minutes played might be considered as well.

Downside of this series, some new caps but not an awful lot of game time for some players, and perhaps unfair to judge players after just 5 minutes.

Jamie Georges first 18 caps were as a replacement. Didnt ruin anything.

What makes people think these players are being judged by the coaches solely on the 5 minutes we see on tv?


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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 04 Dec 2020, 4:54 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
cb wrote:There is a bit of paradox here, you could readily get players with 10 caps who have never played 80 minutes international rugby in total.  Perhaps minutes played might be considered as well.

Downside of this series, some new caps but not an awful lot of game time for some players, and perhaps unfair to judge players after just 5 minutes.

Jamie Georges first 18 caps were as a replacement. Didnt ruin anything.

What makes people think these players are being judged by the coaches solely on the 5 minutes we see on tv?


Dont believe they will be. Furbank for instance would have been judged by a host of things before being blooded and failing from my point of view in am england shirt. Similar to solomona and burell before him. There will be blub form, training, how the player gets on with other players and coaches etc etc.

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Post by lostinwales Sat 05 Dec 2020, 12:51 pm

Mako out with a calf injury. Genge starts with Marler on the bench.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 05 Dec 2020, 1:33 pm

Unlucky for Mako but I dont think that weakens us at all.

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