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Next steps for england.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 09 Dec 2020, 7:33 am

First topic message reminder :

Theres a couple of articles on the BBC which to me indicate exactly where england need to step up in the 6 nations. One by Matt Dawson :

'To win a World Cup, you have to be able to adapt under the biggest pressure and on the biggest occasion.

That is what the All Blacks or South Africa would do. That is what England did in 2003.

It is not always going to go your way. Even if you are overwhelming favourites, you will play some games that you know you should win that you will end up losing.

That is why I am even more pleased with England's Autumn Nations Cup sudden-death win in extra time against an inexperienced France side.

England were matched physically up front and if you look at the previous occasions when that has happened they have usually lost the game. This time they dug themselves out of it.

Eddie Jones' side are naturally going to be favourites in most matches for the next two or three years but they are going to play against teams that are not as good on them on paper but can match them if they play out of their skins.

That is what France did. They were missing so many stars who were unable to play because of an agreement with the Top 14 league but there were plenty of good French players with the potential to light it up.

No matter the circumstances, you have got to know how to win games and this was a classic example from England.

England have a chance at the Grand Slam when the Six Nations starts in two months, but they will only win it if they take their opportunities.

They have a good cycle of fixtures, with just two away matches, against Ireland and Wales.

France's performance in Sunday's final showed that the Six Nations is going to come down to them and England.

Les Bleus are the only team in the northern hemisphere that can physically compete with England over 80 minutes.

France's second team were playing at Twickenham, but a full-strength side will travel to south-west London in March for the penultimate round of the Six Nations.

To win that match, England will have to be more accurate than they were on Sunday.

They are only going to get three opportunities against a side like France. They have to score at least two of those chances if they want to win the game.

England scored one try against France, when Luke Cowan-Dickie went over in a maul
In the final, France did not get many chances. You might even argue they had one chance, and they scored one try through Brice Dulin.

That is the standard required. England, on the other hand, should have scored at the end of the first half when they were camped on France's line.

There were two chances when Elliot Daly passed to Anthony Watson on the right wing. The first, Daly passed a bit too early, and the second went to Watson's feet. They should have scored at least one of those.

'England need to recognise prime time to attack'
I want to know what England are doing in training in terms of attack. Time after time there are opportunities that England are not going for.

I do not look at the England side and see a huge threat in the backline even though individually you look at the players and think how good they are. It is all so lateral.

Against France, they went through all their usual kick and chase protocols and there were overlaps they did not want to attack.

On a couple of occasions it could be argued that it paid off because they got three points from the ensuing penalty but other times those decisions could have got them in trouble.

You get into the habit of not being able to complete those processes. If you are in the groove and used to doing it you get ruthless and you finish people off. The attack just does not seem joined up to me.

Rather than keep kicking the ball away, they need to recognise when it is prime time to attack, and England have the skills to be able to do it.

'We've not seen what Farrell has to offer this autumn'
England captain Owen Farrell has so much to offer but we have not seen it this autumn and I do not know why.

He missed four kicks against France, including one that could have ended the game early in sudden death.

All kickers, even at the standard of Owen Farrell, have off days. Most kickers would have either passed the baton on to George Ford or would not have got the ones under pressure.

The fact that he still had the mental capability to kick the penalty that won the game under the most pressure shows the animal that he is.

My concerns around Owen are just that we talk about him being a points machine but he has so much more.

For England he has been a ferocious tackler, distributor, creative player but maybe his role has slightly changed now.' And money and care:

Monye: "If this team are to win the World Cup they have to evolve their game in attack. Do you have the game to chase the game?

"England aren't going to be on top in every game they play from now to 2023. If they are to be the number one team in the world, they need to show more in their attack.

"If their attack could match their defence, this team won't be beaten. At the moment they leave the doors open for teams to get at them. It's not about being the best in the northern hemisphere, it is about beating New Zealand, beating South Africa."

Care: "When you are winning games every week and building momentum, it's because of the nuts and bolts of their game - their set-piece, brutal defence and kicking game - you probably take things like finishing four on threes for granted a little bit.

"They probably train a similar way, exactly how they play - kick chasing, waiting for errors, and they probably haven't spent an awful lot of time developing their attacking game. They are suffering almost from their own success, beating teams without having to do an awful lot."

I mean its blatantly obvious given how good our defence and set piece is (even under pressure by Woki and France) that the attack stick out like a sore thumb. We kicked alot, but kicked poorly. Normally over long and not contesting for the ball a great deal of the time (in the air). 2 things from the articles were that chances were created that should have been finished (France) and how different would we see it had Daly not butchered them. Personally I think we were a little too conservative and slow which led to alot of inaccuracies. We just didnt seem to hit the switch as we've done so well under Jones previously. It was only in the last game where Robson seemed to up the tempo and we started to look a bit more lively.

To me there is a serious question for all the back line bar Jonny May on left wing (watson to me is a question of right wing or full back). That question is there as I'd like a better balance in midfield and a new 9 and 15 but also because I dont see the point in having 2 perceived ball players in midfield playing the current tactics. May as well find our new noon and tindall.

The balance to that is that we've won the lot this year so my complaints are merely about consolidating our place in the pecking order through improvement not standing still. I think the 6 nations is a great chance to pick up a grand slam with the way the fixtures fall this year.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 25 Jan 2021, 8:36 pm

king_carlos wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:Don't blame Marler at all, family comes first.  

Tom West is a bit of left-field pick though.  Mind you, I suppose after Vunipola, Marler, Genge and Obano things start getting a bit stretched. West seems to be part of a group of decent loose-heads who may be able to hold their own at international level.

The interesting thing is that it means that Obano will almost certainly, finally, get capped.
No question.  I think he has the potential too be as destructive as Andrew Sheridan.  You think?
Obano is less destructive than Sheri but more consistent at the scrum. I adored Big Ted, but he was a lot less consistent at the scrum than many seem to remember. At 6'5" he wasn't built for scrummaging and technically sound tightheads frequently got the better of him. When he physically dominated a tighthead he could do some serious damage though. As seen in the 2007 RWC.

I sometimes feel that Rowntree in the '09 Lions documentary talking about Sheri having to be on the bench in the 2nd Test for his impact polished many fans views of him a fair bit. He was on the bench largely to target John Smith moving to tighthead to accommodate Bismark du Plessis though.

An explosive player and a key part of the Toulon side when Sheridan and Carl Hayman (one of the all time greats in my opinion) took club sides apart at scrum time.

My main memory of Sheridans "destructiveness" was him swinging a punch at Julian White, missing, then getting one back that landed clean Laugh Simpler times.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 25 Jan 2021, 9:10 pm

I aleays felt that Sheridan was overrated. Lived off a couple of big performances v a woeful Aussie front row.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 25 Jan 2021, 9:48 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:I aleays felt that Sheridan was overrated. Lived off a couple of big performances v a woeful Aussie front row.

Not the first massive prop to push around other props around but come unstuck against more technical opposition won't be the last. Similar could be said of Mako Vunipola to be fair.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 26 Jan 2021, 9:26 am

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:Apparently nowadays because wingers generally have the ball and run inshort bursts its metres per second that is more relevant.
Now with GPS its easy to measure & May is the quickest. Not, however, as quick as Christian Wade was

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-fastest-rugby-players-on-the-planet-and-the-speeds-theyre-clocking/

But unlike Wade, May can defend and field high balls, and has shown himself to be coachable and able to develop his game over time...

Those of us that watched Wadey week in week out saw a massive difference. Bit of a moot point now but I still believe England missed a trick.

https://rugbyonslaught.com/video-think-christian-wade-cant-tackle-video-will-sicken/



There's a difference between tackling and defence. Wade was fine at tackling, and his defence improved over time but never enough to be reliable at international level. His positioning was always weak, and the issue wasn't the tackles he made but the space he gave up and the tackles he wasn't able to make. Like a lot of fast players he was used to being able to use his speed to compensate for poor positioning, and very few players are fast enough not to come unstuck at the highest level.

Over his career, my view is that his game improved, but at the margins. If you compare May when he won his first caps to how he is now, there's a much greater difference in his positioning and running lines that makes the most of his speed.
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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Tue 26 Jan 2021, 12:04 pm

Poorfour wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:Apparently nowadays because wingers generally have the ball and run inshort bursts its metres per second that is more relevant.
Now with GPS its easy to measure & May is the quickest. Not, however, as quick as Christian Wade was

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-fastest-rugby-players-on-the-planet-and-the-speeds-theyre-clocking/

But unlike Wade, May can defend and field high balls, and has shown himself to be coachable and able to develop his game over time...

Those of us that watched Wadey week in week out saw a massive difference. Bit of a moot point now but I still believe England missed a trick.

https://rugbyonslaught.com/video-think-christian-wade-cant-tackle-video-will-sicken/



There's a difference between tackling and defence. Wade was fine at tackling, and his defence improved over time but never enough to be reliable at international level. His positioning was always weak, and the issue wasn't the tackles he made but the space he gave up and the tackles he wasn't able to make. Like a lot of fast players he was used to being able to use his speed to compensate for poor positioning, and very few players are fast enough not to come unstuck at the highest level.

Over his career, my view is that his game improved, but at the margins. If you compare May when he won his first caps to how he is now, there's a much greater difference in his positioning and running lines that makes the most of his speed.

May has improved massively I agree.
I wonder if Radwan would have got away from Wadey the way he did May recently?
I guess we will never know.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:02 pm

BigTrevsbigmac wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
BigTrevsbigmac wrote:Apparently nowadays because wingers generally have the ball and run inshort bursts its metres per second that is more relevant.
Now with GPS its easy to measure & May is the quickest. Not, however, as quick as Christian Wade was

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-fastest-rugby-players-on-the-planet-and-the-speeds-theyre-clocking/

But unlike Wade, May can defend and field high balls, and has shown himself to be coachable and able to develop his game over time...

Those of us that watched Wadey week in week out saw a massive difference. Bit of a moot point now but I still believe England missed a trick.

https://rugbyonslaught.com/video-think-christian-wade-cant-tackle-video-will-sicken/



There's a difference between tackling and defence. Wade was fine at tackling, and his defence improved over time but never enough to be reliable at international level. His positioning was always weak, and the issue wasn't the tackles he made but the space he gave up and the tackles he wasn't able to make. Like a lot of fast players he was used to being able to use his speed to compensate for poor positioning, and very few players are fast enough not to come unstuck at the highest level.

Over his career, my view is that his game improved, but at the margins. If you compare May when he won his first caps to how he is now, there's a much greater difference in his positioning and running lines that makes the most of his speed.

May has improved massively I agree.
I wonder if Radwan would have got away from Wadey the way he did May recently?
I guess we will never know.
I still wouldn't ask May to join a scrum.......

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:39 pm

And back to injuries giving players the chance to make the shirt their own....underhill is injured willis comes in. Presumably wilson starts for now.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:54 pm

Exeter loosehead prop Alec Hepburn, Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam and their lock David Ribbans have all been added to the shadow squad.

Strange how we are picking these injuries up during a 2 week fallow period?

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 26 Jan 2021, 2:55 pm

Are the England squad already in their training bubble? Did Underhill injure himself there? Who is Hepburn coming in for?

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Post by lostinwales Tue 26 Jan 2021, 3:01 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:And back to injuries giving players the chance to make the shirt their own....underhill is injured willis comes in. Presumably wilson starts for now.

I suspect that Wilson will stay as supersub/ principle cheerleader with Willis starting.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 3:08 pm

England training starts tomorrow. Hepburn is the knock on effect of Marler withdrawing.

Earl as well remember lost.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:35 pm

I'd bet on Earl to start if Underhill doesn't make the Scotland match. He seems like next cab off the rank as far as Jones is concerned.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:48 pm

Just seen that Underhill is confirmed out for the tournament. A shame and hopefully not an injury that plagues him longer term. His form for Bath since the ANC had been a fair way off his best so a longstanding injury he's been nursing perhaps explains that.

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Post by propdavid_london Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:07 pm

Eddie can still put out a decent side - Working on there being no Marler, Mako V, Underhill, Launchbury,
I would'nt mind seeing a pack like this, although Eddie I am sure will stick with his regular selections if they are fit.

Genge (Obano)
George (LCD)
Harry Williams (Will Stuart)
Itoje
Lawes (Jonny Hill)
Willis
Curry
Billy V (Ben Earl)

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:14 pm

king_carlos wrote:Just seen that Underhill is confirmed out for the tournament. A shame and hopefully not an injury that plagues him longer term. His form for Bath since the ANC had been a fair way off his best so a longstanding injury he's been nursing perhaps explains that.

Hooper has said weeks not months?

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Post by lostinwales Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:24 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Eddie can still put out a decent side -  Working on there being no Marler, Mako V, Underhill, Launchbury,
I would'nt mind seeing a pack like this, although Eddie I am sure will stick with his regular selections if they are fit.

Genge (Obano)
George (LCD)
Harry Williams (Will Stuart)
Itoje
Lawes (Jonny Hill)
Willis
Curry
Billy V (Ben Earl)

Interested in why you have Williams starting? Surely it will be Stuart

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:27 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
king_carlos wrote:Just seen that Underhill is confirmed out for the tournament. A shame and hopefully not an injury that plagues him longer term. His form for Bath since the ANC had been a fair way off his best so a longstanding injury he's been nursing perhaps explains that.

Hooper has said weeks not months?

BBC wrote:Underhill, 24, is expected to miss the whole championship, although his exact recovery time has yet to be determined.

The Daily Heil reporting the same.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:38 pm

Ah hooper has updated since that I think. Knock on the hip vs wasps and not expected to miss the whole thing.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:48 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Ah hooper has updated since that I think. Knock on the hip vs wasps and not expected to miss the whole thing.
Good news if so.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:50 pm

https://twitter.com/andNickMullins/status/1354096717042495489?s=19

Judging by the times I think. Was an hour ago rather then the beebs 4.

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Post by Cumbrian Tue 26 Jan 2021, 6:56 pm

It's tempting to see Willis as an automatic pick now, as a direct replacement for Underhill. However, I'd put pretty good money on Eddie going:

06. Lawes
07. Curry
08. Vunipola

He'll probably find a place on the subs bench for Ewels alongside Wilson too, just to make sure the steam whistles out of England fans' ears! Very Happy
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Post by doctor_grey Tue 26 Jan 2021, 10:17 pm

I understand the comments that Billy V. needs game time to get into fighting trim, but will Eddie select him if he appears similarly out of sorts in training as he appeared against Ealing?  I don't think the Six Nations is the right place for a player to find himself.  Scotland will target him relentlessly.  I would.  Would Mark Wilson get real game time?

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Post by Mr Bounce Tue 26 Jan 2021, 10:26 pm

I would be looking to start with Curry Willis and Earl. That much pace and power could be a nightmare for any side to defend against. I somehow doubt Eddie would do that though. I reckon he'll go Curry, Earl, Vunipola with either Wilson or Willis on the bench.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Wed 27 Jan 2021, 7:34 am

If EJs has a 6-2 bench he could have Willis & Wilson on the bench with Randall & Malins.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 27 Jan 2021, 7:40 am

Cumbrian wrote:It's tempting to see Willis as an automatic pick now, as a direct replacement for Underhill.  However, I'd put pretty good money on Eddie going:

06. Lawes
07. Curry
08. Vunipola

He'll probably find a place on the subs bench for Ewels alongside Wilson too, just to make sure the steam whistles out of England fans' ears! Very Happy

The saving grace might be that with Launchbury out Eddie feels he needs Lawes available to cover or start in th second row.

Curry, Willis, Vunipola with a 6/2 split on the bench with Lawes/Wilson/Earl all involved is what I'm half expecting though as you say anything could happen at 6.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:29 am

Echo the concerns about BVP. What is it that Jones thinks he needs him sharp for, getting a Lions call up?

It might suit England better for the long term to have him in the training camps this winter but not playing the tests (its not like he's missing club games) and then go on the summer tour fresh after being left out by the Lions and go into next season fully switched on whilst also having the utility/reserve 8's having a full six nations under their belts.

I guess if he does play start him it would be with a view that they can get away with it for the first couple of relatively easy tests and hopefully have him back to his best by the crunch fixtures at the back end of the tournament. Would be a real sign that Jones doesn't have that much faith in his second string at 8 if he does stick by BVP here.

I'd understand a desire to find him game time at all costs more if it were a world cup year, but its a long way from one.

Course if he actually is fully fit and switched on (reports said he played well in that ealing game, but rather meaningless given the level a tin of custard should look good) then all that really goes out the window. Only those actually in the training camp will know that, but his showings in the autumn don't suggest he will be. Also the autumn showed that a run of games doesn't always bring his best, he was still off by the end of it.


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Post by lostinwales Wed 27 Jan 2021, 10:11 am

I'd argue that Billy's performances did improve over the ANC, and his defensive displays were first rate.

He isn't running through defences like he used to, although that will at least partially be down to him being worked out. There is always a place for the fat boy who reliably trucks the ball up, and there are few bigger. The question is always is he doing enough? And who performs that role if he's not there?

Another broken arm is also a worry.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 27 Jan 2021, 11:23 am

Gooseberry wrote:Echo the concerns about BVP. What is it that Jones thinks he needs him sharp for, getting a Lions call up?

It might suit England better for the long term to have him in the training camps this winter but not playing the tests (its not like he's missing club games) and then go on the summer tour fresh after being left out by the Lions and go into next season fully switched on whilst also having the utility/reserve 8's having a full six nations under their belts.

I guess if he does play start him it would be with a view that they can get away with it for the first couple of relatively easy tests and hopefully have him back to his best by the crunch fixtures at the back end of the tournament. Would be a real sign that Jones doesn't have that much faith in his second string at 8 if he does stick by BVP  here.

I'd understand a desire to find him game time at all costs more if it were a world cup year, but its a long way from one.

Course if he actually is fully fit and switched on (reports said he played well in that ealing game, but rather meaningless given the level a tin of custard should look good) then all that really goes out the window. Only those actually in the training camp will know that, but his showings in the autumn don't suggest he will be. Also the autumn showed that a run of games doesn't always bring his best, he was still off by the end of it.


What second string 8? That's the problem. If Billy doesn't play we're picking a flanker to slot in, either Earl, Wilson or Curry. If Earl or Curry go to 8 the sight of Lawes at 6 will probably follow swiftly after.

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Post by BamBam Wed 27 Jan 2021, 11:36 am

I’d be happy with Earl and Willis starting but can’t see a scenario where Billy doesn’t start, and he’s unlikely to be on the bench

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 27 Jan 2021, 12:37 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
Course if he actually is fully fit and switched on (reports said he played well in that Ealing game, but rather meaningless given the level a tin of custard should look good) then all that really goes out the window. Only those actually in the training camp will know that, but his showings in the autumn don't suggest he will be. Also the autumn showed that a run of games doesn't always bring his best, he was still off by the end of it.
I saw the reports that said Billy played well.  But I watched the game too and offer this:  He appeared OK for the first 10-15 minutes, had a couple of runs, and tackled a couple of guys who ran straight at him.  After that, he seemed a bit disengaged, and started to appear out of sorts.  By the second half he seemed somewhat clumsy.  And Ealing did start running at him.  This is not the fat kid down the street playing for the first or second time.  This is why I am concerned about him playing himself into shape.  Not just for England to get some wins, but wondering if it is really safe or appropriate for him to be out there.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 27 Jan 2021, 7:47 pm

Just go for it....

6 Curry
7 Earl
8 Wiilis

As said above...that's a beast of a back row...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 27 Jan 2021, 7:53 pm

But I suspect lawes will start at 6.

I noticed SA have moved Etzebeth to back row..6 I think.

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Post by BamBam Wed 27 Jan 2021, 7:57 pm

6 in SA is our 7 isn't it? If Du Toit is still at 6 Shocked


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Post by doctor_grey Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:06 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Just go for it....

6 Curry
7 Earl
8 Wiilis

As said above...that's a beast of a back row...
I like it. This would be a ripping back row. Really hard to handle.
And with three players only just out of nappies, too.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:07 pm

Not sure the squad allows Lawes to move into the back row and would be a terrible move considering the options.

6. Curry
7. Willis
8. Billy or Wilson depending on fitness

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:36 pm

Is there enough size and bulk in the back 5?

1Genge
2 George /LCD
3 Stuart

4 Itoje
5 Hill
6 Curry
7 Willis
8 Earl

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:40 pm

I think Itoje and Lawes are by far the two best lineout options England have right now. I think Lawes needs to play, especially considering he played well in his last game for Saints coming back after the ankle injury. I agree the back row has a lot of great options and would be really surprised to see Lawes getting the start there.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:47 pm

To me Lawes and Itoje is too light.

Even Hill and Itoje is really. Just my opinion of course...

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:03 pm

It wasn't too light to do a number on New Zealand back in 2019, maybe too light for SA but that's not a consideration here.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:17 pm

I get the point about weight, but Lawes and Itoje are both listed (on Wikipedia) as 254 lbs.  Not too bad. Launchbury is 278 lbs. I guess it depends on what we need to achieve. I think Itoje and Lawes are the two best in the lineout jumpers we have.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:46 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:It wasn't too light to do a number on New Zealand back in 2019, maybe too light for SA but that's not a consideration here.

True although no Billy drops the weight quite a bit...though you gain elsewhere...

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Wed 27 Jan 2021, 10:03 pm

Johnny Hill is a lump - 295 Lbs

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 11:24 pm

Weight is a small part. Lawes is pretty poor come scrum time (at international level). We can normally get away with it and without Mako the front row will be a better scrummaging unit also. Itoje is the guy come scrum time and carries well.

Personally I'd now go with itoje and hill though. Reward the form of the ais there. I'd be very tempted to play willis curry and earl in the back row. If we're not playing with the ball pick the guys who will work and turnover at will.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 28 Jan 2021, 1:02 am

I would play that back row.  No question.  

Lawes is not that bad in the scrum and from what I have seen is still a better jumper than Hill.  Besides, someone is going to get a hernia trying to lift 295 lbs.!  Do you know if Hill usually plays the full 80 minutes?  295 is a lot of mass to carry around.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 28 Jan 2021, 3:23 am

I've seen Hill listed anywhere from 6'7 and 18 stone to 6'9" and 21 stone. So very much a player to take the stats with a pinch of salt I think.

He played 80 minutes 17 times for Chiefs last season so definitely not an issue for him. In the Champions Cup final Hill played the full 80 with Gray subbed at 58 minutes and in the Premiership final Gray played the 80 with Hill subbed at 55 minutes.

Lawes started at lock in the impressive wins over New Zealand and Australia on the way to the RWC final. He shouldn't have started against the Boks in my opinion but was outstanding against all other opposition and has been consistently excellent for England under Eddie Jones.

I can understand people wanting England to work towards a side that will beat South Africa after the RWC final but there's an element of not throwing the baby out with the bath water for me.

The lesson from the final should be that the starting XV that's needed against one side isn't always the best against another in positions where we have two options of similar quality but with differing strengths. In some positions our best players are simply the best options of course - Itoje and Curry especially in the forwards. Benching Lawes against Scotland with McInally and Brown injured would be a mistake in my opinion as Lawes and Itoje should put huge pressure on their lineout. As well as being excellent jumpers on their own ball they are two of the best defensive lineout locks in rugby.


Last edited by king_carlos on Thu 28 Jan 2021, 2:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Poorfour Thu 28 Jan 2021, 9:27 am

For me, the lesson from the final is 1) do not start against your only peer in the setpiece with your best setpiece lock and loosehead on the bench and 2) do not allow Itoje's elbow anywhere near Sinckler's head.

More generally, South Africa are almost guaranteed to have a monster pack, but the game is likely to evolve between now and the next RWC. We're already seeing a bit of a shift towards having a more out and out 7 in the pack, and there will no doubt be further tactical shifts. Eddie's priorities are likely to be:

1) developing a wider squad with the right balance of experience - he's already spoken about average age 28, average caps 40 as being the target
2) having a mix of players who can execute the gameplan with a few who can change it up when required
3) having specific tactics for the playing styles of key opponents that will be under wraps until the crunch game. That may be in the RWC - as with NZ - or before, as with the 2019 Dublin game that reduced Ireland from genuine contenders to a team who'd been worked out.

Don't expect sudden change. Eddie tends to start from a model that works today, and then try tactics a couple of times and either drop or shelve them until he thinks they're needed. Likewise, he doesn't often try new players until forced, and then tends to make quite firm judgements about whether they have supplanted their predecessors. He's rotated through various options at 13 without ever really settling on one, but was quick to focus on Curry and Daly.
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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 28 Jan 2021, 2:34 pm

Jonny Hill is a big guy but to my untrained eye he's not anywhere near 21st, i'd have him around the 19st mark.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Thu 28 Jan 2021, 3:31 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:Jonny Hill is a big guy but to my untrained eye he's not anywhere near 21st, i'd have him around the 19st mark.

Yes I agree another report has him 111kg which is 17 1/2 stone much nearer the stamp for me. Only 2 1/2 stone difference in reports🙄

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 28 Jan 2021, 3:47 pm

He has to ditch the mullet.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 28 Jan 2021, 3:55 pm

doctor_grey wrote:He has to ditch the mullet.  

I think it is a toss up between him and Stuart for worst haircut, although Hill gets extra points for the beard and no moustache thing.

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