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England v Scotland The Calcutta Cup Saturday 6th February 2021

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Post by BigGee Sun 31 Jan 2021, 9:04 am

First topic message reminder :

England v Scotland
The Calcutta Cup

Twickenham Stadium
London

Saturday 6th February 2021
KO 16.45


Well here we go for a 6n opener.

It is going to be a slightly odd one no doubt, playing this game in an empty stadium. It has been said in the past that Twickenham lacks atmosphere a bit, but we won't have seen anything on this scale.

As usual, it will be England's game to lose. Twickenham has been a graveyard for Scottish sides for a long long time. In terms of hope though for us Scots, the last few games have been a lot closer than usual and who can forget the madness of the last time out, the ultimate game of two halves.

England are missing a few players and there has to be some questions about the match prep of some of the Saracens players, who have not played since the autumn. How they get on in this game will be the great question mark hanging over this game and may set the tone for England over the entire championship. I would imagine Scotland will be pleased to be playing them first up in all honesty.

On the other hand, do Scotland, who with Finn Russell back and pulling the strings and looking a stronger proposition than in the autumn, really believe that they can win in London. They are also largely injury free. It would be a massive step forward for them as a team if they could do that. It remains unclear though and the smart money is still going to be on an England win, albeit likely a scrappy one.


Here is my stab at the Scotland team:

1. Sutherland
2. Turner
3. Fagerson Z
4. Cummings
5. Gray J
6. Ritchie - If fit, but Toonie making promising noises on that front
7. Watson
8. Fagerson M
9. Price
10. Russell
11. Maitland
12. Redpath - I think Toonie will roll the dice
13. Harris
14. VDM
15. Hogg

Subs

Keeble
Cherry
Nel
Gray R
Graham -might have been in the side if not playing this sunday
Steele
VDW
Jones H


The big calls for Toonie are at 12 and No.8

Redpath looks ready and I think he should play him. Graham might have to wait a week, as i think playing today might well count against him, so let Matt Fagerson have the first bite of the cherry.

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Post by TightHEAD Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:18 pm

Going to be a tough slog. Can't see those Sarries boys being at the he top of their game. Will go down to the wire.
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Post by lostinwales Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:24 pm

123456789. wrote:I have actually put £10 on Scotland to win this, not out of expectation but out of well educated hope nonetheless. I do think the pattern of the game will be determined in the first 20 minutes. A third of England's team have played no rugby since the Autumn, of them Daly has never quite convinced at full-back and Farrell was slightly off the boil last time out.

Still England have a very very good pack. They are more than capable of exerting a grip on the game and if they do they will win. Our pack is stronger than it has been; Richie Gray, Nel, Kebble and Graham coming off of the bench is not half bad. However England's is better. If we gain parity in the pack, which we probably won't, then we will win. Maybe with some to spare. I'd say that is pretty unlikely though.

A joint team at this point, I suspect would be:

1. Genge
2. George
3. Fagerson
4. Itoje
5. Gray
6. Curry
7. Watson
8. Vunipola
9. Youngs
10. Russell
11. Van Der Merwe
12. Redpath
13. Slade
14. May
15. Hogg

I know I am English and therefore not without bias, but you must have a very high opinion of Fagerson as Stuart is a really good player, just relatively low profile. Redpath over Lawrence is an interesting call (not least because he's not yet capped) and may depend a great deal on playing style. They were effectively in direct competition for an England centre slot and Lawrence was chosen.

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Post by TightHEAD Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:31 pm

Disappointed with Redpath.

England and Bath have developed him.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:32 pm

TightHEAD wrote:Disappointed with Redpath.

England and Bath Sale have developed him.


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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:34 pm

Looking forward to seeing Ollie Lawrence at 12. Think he could be made for that spot.

Thought Odogwu might have made the bench mind.

Not sure on our back row...looks like its lacking a little pace. i guess we're looking to play to the weather and truck it up front.

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Post by EST Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:40 pm

lostinwales wrote:
123456789. wrote:I have actually put £10 on Scotland to win this, not out of expectation but out of well educated hope nonetheless. I do think the pattern of the game will be determined in the first 20 minutes. A third of England's team have played no rugby since the Autumn, of them Daly has never quite convinced at full-back and Farrell was slightly off the boil last time out.

Still England have a very very good pack. They are more than capable of exerting a grip on the game and if they do they will win. Our pack is stronger than it has been; Richie Gray, Nel, Kebble and Graham coming off of the bench is not half bad. However England's is better. If we gain parity in the pack, which we probably won't, then we will win. Maybe with some to spare. I'd say that is pretty unlikely though.

A joint team at this point, I suspect would be:

1. Genge
2. George
3. Fagerson
4. Itoje
5. Gray
6. Curry
7. Watson
8. Vunipola
9. Youngs
10. Russell
11. Van Der Merwe
12. Redpath
13. Slade
14. May
15. Hogg

I know I am English and therefore not without bias, but you must have a very high opinion of Fagerson as Stuart is a really good player, just relatively low profile. Redpath over Lawrence is an interesting call (not least because he's not yet capped) and may depend a great deal on playing style. They were effectively in direct competition for an England centre slot and Lawrence was chosen.

Fagerson has developed into a very capable international tighthead these days - his scrummaging has improved no end and his work around the park has always been good - he should be there or thereabouts when discussing Lions spots for my money.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:42 pm

I'm still concerned about Billy V. being out of shape, as he appeared v. Ealing a couple of weeks ago. If he is not in International-level shape, then the back row loses any edge it might have had. I'm also concerned about injury for a player not in top shape. Hopefully Eddie Jones has seen all good things in training. Would have really liked to see Willis get a run here, but likely Eddie is bringing him along slowly.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:44 pm

Curry is going to be busy I think.

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Post by TightHEAD Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:48 pm

king_carlos wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Disappointed with Redpath.

England and Bath Sale Bath have developed him.


Bath gave him the opportunities.


Last edited by TightHEAD on Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:48 pm

So it looks like Eddie will be hoping Wilson and Curry can make the whole game, and then Billy (if hes not match fit as suspected) will be replaced by Earl.

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Post by TightHEAD Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:49 pm

Billy hasn't been fit for two years
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Post by doctor_grey Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:49 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Curry is going to be busy I think.
Agree, He is going to have to be.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Thu 04 Feb 2021, 3:53 pm

I think the scrum may go to England starting out. It is not as clear cut as it has been for England for the past decade or so. Sutherland has not been ripping up trees in the scrum recently (against Z Fagerson admittedly) and is usually being paired with Berghan, who has struggled, for Edinburgh. Stuart is going to be a good test for him. Williams and Kebble should be a tie at scrum time whilst Z Fagerson should have a shot at getting up on Genge.

Nel though has been destructive at club level. Obano is going to be the pressure point in the last 20 if the game is close and how he scrums may be the decider on whether we can press England at the end.

I doubt the Sarries players are far out of shape. They have had 4 - 6 weeks off to deal with any niggles followed by 2 - 3 weeks in camp and/or building up for the Ealing game. I expect the forwards (B Vunipola, Itoje, George) to be the ones who would struggle more but only Itoje is likely to go 80 and he seems like the type of guy who would stay in shape if he was at a desk job let alone a professional rugby player.

Side note. LiW, Stuart is a good club player in good form, relatively new to international rugby with 8 caps and 1 start. Four of those games are in the 6N and total less than 40 minutes of play according to wiki. Against Scotland, Sinckler played 80 with Stuart on the bench last year. Z Fagerson is trying to lay down a marker for a Lions spot off a year of fine work. Stuart may come good or he may be an okay international TH who can do a job but it is too early to rate him as equivalent or over the established 6N TH's like Francis, Furlong, Sinckler, Porter and Z Fagerson.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:01 pm

Front row England (just)

Marler, Mako and Sinckler big losses for England. Brown and McInally big losses for Scotland. Genge and Fagerson are the most experienced props starting whilst Sutherland and Stuart are very talented props renowned for their scrummaging. Tantalising head to heads. Hooker just shunts it England's way for me.

Second row Evens

If Itoje had minutes and form under his belt this might go to England but Cummings and Gray are on form whilst Itoje hasn't played in two months and Hill is starting out in international rugby. The lineout will be fascinating. I rate Cummings very highly and he has an opportunity to book a Lions spot - if the tour goes ahead of course. England need Itoje to step up with lots of experienced tight five players missing. Usually when they need him to he does but there could well be rustiness there.


Back row Scotland (just)

Billy needs a run of games as we all know. Underhill is remarkably consistent for England and a big loss. If England picked this back row in a normal season with the players selected coming off consecutive 80 minute appearances in European rugby whilst showing form then the quality of the comparative no 8s, at their respective best, would give it to England. That is far from the case though.

Ritchie being fit is a huge boost for Scotland. He is a very good player who always impacts key areas of the game. I fear that Billy will take time to get into the game so England will need a sharp start from Wilson and Curry. Mako/Marler, Sinckler, Lawes and Underhill are usually standouts in fringe defence so I expect Scotland to target the more inexperienced England defenders with the Mish early. The Mullet leading attack and Curry leading defence. Mouth watering.


Half-back Not putting my head above the parapet

A difficult one to call either way in my opinion as it's comparing completely different styles. For either side to play well they will need their 10s to fire. Price and Youngs are players who seem to be simultaneously rated and slated at all times. Marmite scrum-halves as it were. When Ford doesn't start England usually play off 9 more.


Centre Evens

Inexperienced inside centres with different but very exciting attack capabilities. More experienced outside centres who will play key roles leading very different defensive systems out wide. I think Slade and Harris are two players who have rarely played poorly for their countries but have yet to shine consistently in the eyes of many. Slade being effectively picked over Ford is a significant tactical call for England.


Back three England (just)

The experience of England's unit just pips it here. They have their flaws but have also had a lot of success together. Daly and Maitland both have no rugby so in a way cancel that factor out. Duhan is a huge talent but has rougher edges defensively than the other 5 back three players on display. If Hoggy plays well then Scotland tend to follow.

Bench Advantage England (clear in my opinion)

Cowan-Dickie, Lawes and Ford the obvious differences. Earl as well is an excellent bench option. I'm delighted to see Richie Gray back in international rugby. Huw Jones likewise.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:03 pm

Safe to say I'm excited for this one.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:07 pm

The way England targeted that gnarly Georgian front five in the scrum, with Stuart leading the charge will have given him a lot of confidence. I think he has an odds on chance of the Lions with Sinkler and Furlong.
Talking of odds, what's the odds of England second half mauling Scotland with LCD, Williams and also Lawes and Earl coming into the back row for Wilson and BV. Reasonable ? 60% chance of rain in London on Saturday.....

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Post by king_carlos Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:21 pm

TightHEAD wrote:
king_carlos wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:Disappointed with Redpath.

England and Bath Sale Bath have developed him.


Bath gave him the more recent opportunities.
They did but Sale still developed him for years and gave him his start in senior rugby. Sides who sign young talent should be praised when they consequently flourish but it shouldn't be forgotten if another academy developed them for years. May kicked on at Tigers but came from Gloucester. Genge and Mako originally from Bristol. Watson and Joseph with LI. Stuart, Billy and Daly with Wasps. Etc.

There's also an argument that Sale lost far more through Cam moving to Bath than Bath have through him choosing Scotland. He could technically be available for more games due to PRL agreements to release EPS players for training camps outside the international windows.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:23 pm

Separate match I know but if I were French I think i'd be more peeved with Woki being left out than I am with Willis.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:31 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Separate match I know but if I were French I think i'd be more peeved with Woki being left out than I am with Willis.
Extremely surprised particularly as Italy's lock pairing are arguably blindsides out of position. Woki can cause huge issues for opposition lineouts.

I expect Woki to be a player I love watching as a neutral but hate watching in the opposing side for years to come. Penaud and Vincent aren't far off that category as well. The talent coming through recent France U20 sides is ridiculous.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:33 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Separate match I know but if I were French I think i'd be more peeved with Woki being left out than I am with Willis.

What?

I haven't seen much of him but he has a huge future. Having said that I do think his stamina was not where it could have been in the game vs England.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 04 Feb 2021, 4:37 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:The way England targeted that gnarly Georgian front five in the scrum, with Stuart leading the charge will have given him a lot of confidence. I think he has an odds on chance of the Lions with Sinkler and Furlong.
Talking of odds, what's the odds of England second half mauling Scotland with LCD, Williams and also Lawes and Earl coming into the back row for Wilson and BV. Reasonable ? 60% chance of rain in London on Saturday.....

Stuart has not looked out of place at all, which for a prop of his tender years is an achievement in itself. Is not as eye catching as an on form Sinckler but definitely performed better over the ANC.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 04 Feb 2021, 5:12 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:The way England targeted that gnarly Georgian front five in the scrum, with Stuart leading the charge will have given him a lot of confidence. I think he has an odds on chance of the Lions with Sinkler and Furlong.
Talking of odds, what's the odds of England second half mauling Scotland with LCD, Williams and also Lawes and Earl coming into the back row for Wilson and BV. Reasonable ? 60% chance of rain in London on Saturday.....
I think the England replacements can make a big difference. If England have to chance the game a bit, do you think Ford would replace Farrell (heretical, I know)?

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Post by lostinwales Thu 04 Feb 2021, 5:14 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote:The way England targeted that gnarly Georgian front five in the scrum, with Stuart leading the charge will have given him a lot of confidence. I think he has an odds on chance of the Lions with Sinkler and Furlong.
Talking of odds, what's the odds of England second half mauling Scotland with LCD, Williams and also Lawes and Earl coming into the back row for Wilson and BV. Reasonable ? 60% chance of rain in London on Saturday.....
I think the England replacements can make a big difference.  If England have to chance the game a bit, do you think Ford would replace Farrell (heretical, I know)?

Sadly I think the only way Farrell goes off is on a stretcher. To be honest I'd be very keen to see a Ford/Lawrence/Slade axis as it could cause a lot of problems for the opposition.

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Post by tigertattie Thu 04 Feb 2021, 5:56 pm

Ford will come on for Lawrence and Farrell will move over to 12
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Post by Gooseberry Thu 04 Feb 2021, 6:48 pm

lostinwales wrote: I think the only way Farrell goes off is on a stretcher.

Dunno some ref might card him eventually Whistle

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 04 Feb 2021, 7:25 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
lostinwales wrote: I think the only way Farrell goes off is on a stretcher.

Dunno some ref might card him eventually Whistle  
For what?  Farrell is such a calm and level headed young man who has never been carded......

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Post by Cumbrian Thu 04 Feb 2021, 7:53 pm

Perhaps I'm being overly one eyed here, but I think some posts are undervaluing our back-row a little bit.  Curry is arguably one of the best flankers in the world, Billy (if he stays fit and it happens) is likely to be the starting no.8 for the Lions and Mark Wilson is the type of workhorse that knits teams together, he never has a bad game for England.  

I don't think Wilson is particularly slow either, sure he isn't Tom Croft, but he isn't noticeably slower than other blindside flankers out there.

The narrative seems to be the athletic Scottish pack are going to maneuver around the English battleships, but I would argue that the English pack themselves are very mobile too.
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Post by Poorfour Thu 04 Feb 2021, 7:55 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:Stuart is listed on the Bath website at 132kg, a shade under 21 st in old money. I reckon he is at least that weight and he makes Sinkler look relatively small, although he has now lost a bit of tonnage losing that mullet....
Bhatti made no impression and hasn't lasted long at Bath.
Redpath takes after Russell as he loves the high risk offload. He has tried it a few times for Bath, most of which haven't worked.

Sinckler *is* relatively small. I spoke to him at Robshaw's testimonial a few years back and he's definitely in the "broad but compact" camp. Phenomenally strong, though.
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Post by king_carlos Thu 04 Feb 2021, 8:51 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote:Stuart is listed on the Bath website at 132kg, a shade under 21 st in old money. I reckon he is at least that weight and he makes Sinkler look relatively small, although he has now lost a bit of tonnage losing that mullet....
Bhatti made no impression and hasn't lasted long at Bath.
Redpath takes after Russell as he loves the high risk offload. He has tried it a few times for Bath, most of which haven't worked.

Sinckler *is* relatively small. I spoke to him at Robshaw's testimonial a few years back and he's definitely in the "broad but compact" camp. Phenomenally strong, though.
It's funny how some players look smaller than you'd think up close in person and others somehow even bigger.

I remember meeting Serge Betsen and Joe Worsley after a Tigers vs Wasps game it struck me that if you met Betsen on the street he wouldn't look like an international forward at all but Worsley on the other hand had the broadest shoulders I've ever seen in my life. Suddenly his chop tackles made sense to me given each of his shoulders looked evolved enough to have attained their own sentience.

Simon Shaw was an example of that as well after that match. 6'8", 20 stone yet standing next to Ben Kay I'd have sworn he was even bigger. A colossus.

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Post by RDW Thu 04 Feb 2021, 9:34 pm

From a Scotland PoV the only thing to add is my concern about lack of backup at 12, given our starting player is on his first cap! No one is is more than a makeshift option. I suppose the most likely option is Jones at 12, but he's not had much success there in the past. We could move VDW to 10 and Russell to 12 but that would represent a significant change in our lineup. Hopefully this doesn't come back to haunt us.

Lost In Wales - I don't think it's unreasonable to claim Fagerson is ahead of Stuart at international level just now. The latter only has 1 start and 7 appearances off the bench, whereas Fagerson is earning his 35th cap and has rightly been in the conversation for the Lions with many fans and pundits. In the last 2 years he's developed into a top class tigththead and Scotland's first choice. Scrum is going to be a hell of a battle - I don't see much advantage between either team and will likely come down to the ref's interpretation.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Thu 04 Feb 2021, 9:44 pm

You put Harris at 12 and Jones to 13 if Redpath has to come off. I know it's makeshift, but in terms of skillset Harris will be fine there, and his lack of acceleration less of an issue in attack.

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Post by RDW Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:26 am

Another concern I have is May v Maitland. As much as Maitland has plenty experience and rugby nouse, when it comes to wingers nothing beats raw pace. Comparing the two it's not competition, as much as there wouldn't have been much in it 10 years ago! Hopefully we don't see a kick into space from Farrell with the two of them racing for the ball...


Last edited by RDW on Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:27 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by whatahitson Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:27 am

When was the last time the Gray brothers started in the same matchday team?

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Post by RDW Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:29 am

whatahitson wrote:When was the last time the Gray brothers started in the same matchday team?

6N 2018! R Gray's last cap.

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Post by bsando Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:41 am

RDW wrote:Another concern I have is May v Maitland. As much as Maitland has plenty experience and rugby nouse, when it comes to wingers nothing beats raw pace. Comparing the two it's not competition, as much as there wouldn't have been much in it 10 years ago! Hopefully we don't see a kick into space from Farrell with the two of them racing for the ball...

Not too worried about Maitland to be honest, he's still got gas despite his age. I think he holds the record for fastest 100m at Glasgow (correct me if I'm wrong). He is probably at his frailest point in his career though I suppose but he was running tries in for fun last 6N against much younger guys. It would be a pretty unfortunate situation for any winger being in a 40m foot race against May, apart form maybe LRZ. Just gotta hope the back three can cover the Farrell kicking game well.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:43 am

People on here seem to be under rating the England back three, Daly and Watson were the last Lions 1st choice and May is certainty now, if fit. As it is Gatland picking the side it may be the back three this time if it goes ahead, not mine but only Hogg would possibly break it up.

We also have two Lions at half backs, Youngs travelled in 2013 and was selected for 2017 and withdrew over concerns for his brother's wife. So not as bad a pairing as a lot make out, especially with EJ's style of rugby where their threat in the air (hic... Daly) is very significant. Daly did at least catch three on the trot against France in contested high balls, so perhaps he has learnt something as well.

How many Lions or likely Lions are they facing tomorrow?
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Post by RDW Fri 05 Feb 2021, 8:45 am

bsando wrote:
RDW wrote:Another concern I have is May v Maitland. As much as Maitland has plenty experience and rugby nouse, when it comes to wingers nothing beats raw pace. Comparing the two it's not competition, as much as there wouldn't have been much in it 10 years ago! Hopefully we don't see a kick into space from Farrell with the two of them racing for the ball...

Not too worried about Maitland to be honest, he's still got gas despite his age. I think he holds the record for fastest 100m at Glasgow (correct me if I'm wrong). He is probably at his frailest point in his career though I suppose but he was running tries in for fun last 6N against much younger guys. It would be a pretty unfortunate situation for any winger being in a 40m foot race against May, apart form maybe LRZ. Just gotta hope the back three can cover the Farrell kicking game well.

Not sure what difference that Glasgow stat makes given he left Glasgow 6 years ago! He used to be absolutely rapid but at 32 he's definitely teetering over the hill as a winger

I think it was the right decision to pick him, but I'm sure England will be looking to target it.

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Post by lostinwales Fri 05 Feb 2021, 9:00 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:People on here seem to be under rating the England back three, Daly and Watson were the last Lions 1st choice and May is certainty now, if fit. As it is Gatland picking the side it may be the back three this time if it goes ahead, not mine but only Hogg would possibly break it up.

We also have two Lions at half backs, Youngs travelled in 2013 and was selected for 2017 and withdrew over concerns for his brother's wife. So not as bad a pairing as a lot make out, especially with EJ's style of rugby where their threat in the air (hic... Daly) is very significant. Daly did at least catch three on the trot against France in contested high balls, so perhaps he has learnt something as well.

How many Lions or likely Lions are they facing tomorrow?

Too cruel!

I am not sure that the Lions selection is truly representative of the best of the crop over the last few years given Gatland's particular selection methods.

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Post by Noble-Surfer Fri 05 Feb 2021, 9:23 am

Looking forward to what could be a great game - good luck to both teams! From a Welsh fan.

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Post by EST Fri 05 Feb 2021, 11:11 am

Cumbrian wrote:Perhaps I'm being overly one eyed here, but I think some posts are undervaluing our back-row a little bit.  Curry is arguably one of the best flankers in the world, Billy (if he stays fit and it happens) is likely to be the starting no.8 for the Lions and Mark Wilson is the type of workhorse that knits teams together, he never has a bad game for England.  

I don't think Wilson is particularly slow either, sure he isn't Tom Croft, but he isn't noticeably slower than other blindside flankers out there.

The narrative seems to be the athletic Scottish pack are going to maneuver around the English battleships, but I would argue that the English pack themselves are very mobile too.

Tend to agree with this, I certainly don't look at that England BR and think it's weak.

I like that it's got a traditional look about it - big hard barsteward at 6, ball carrying unit at 8 and an all action 7. I get that Curry can play 6, but in that lineup he looks like he's going to have to be play as an out and out 7.

For all that the Scotland BR has a lot of pace and a very high niggle factor, It is very lightweight and you can see it being blown away at the breakdown.


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Post by 123456789. Fri 05 Feb 2021, 11:44 am

RDW wrote:From a Scotland PoV the only thing to add is my concern about lack of backup at 12, given our starting player is on his first cap! No one is is more than a makeshift option. I suppose the most likely option is Jones at 12, but he's not had much success there in the past. We could move VDW to 10 and Russell to 12 but that would represent a significant change in our lineup. Hopefully this doesn't come back to haunt us.

Lost In Wales - I don't think it's unreasonable to claim Fagerson is ahead of Stuart at international level just now. The latter only has 1 start and 7 appearances off the bench, whereas Fagerson is earning his 35th cap and has rightly been in the conversation for the Lions with many fans and pundits. In the last 2 years he's developed into a top class tigththead and Scotland's first choice. Scrum is going to be a hell of a battle - I don't see much advantage between either team and will likely come down to the ref's interpretation.

Worth pointing out on Fagerson, that he is, unlike some recent Scotland picks at prop, not a default option but rather a player who has worked his way ahead of Berghan and Nel to get the starting berth over a number of years.

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Post by RDW Fri 05 Feb 2021, 11:48 am

Good point numbers. He's also only 25 which is basically puberty for a prop! Just seems like he's been around for ages.

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Post by lostinwales Fri 05 Feb 2021, 11:58 am

123456789. wrote:
RDW wrote:From a Scotland PoV the only thing to add is my concern about lack of backup at 12, given our starting player is on his first cap! No one is is more than a makeshift option. I suppose the most likely option is Jones at 12, but he's not had much success there in the past. We could move VDW to 10 and Russell to 12 but that would represent a significant change in our lineup. Hopefully this doesn't come back to haunt us.

Lost In Wales - I don't think it's unreasonable to claim Fagerson is ahead of Stuart at international level just now. The latter only has 1 start and 7 appearances off the bench, whereas Fagerson is earning his 35th cap and has rightly been in the conversation for the Lions with many fans and pundits. In the last 2 years he's developed into a top class tigththead and Scotland's first choice. Scrum is going to be a hell of a battle - I don't see much advantage between either team and will likely come down to the ref's interpretation.

Worth pointing out on Fagerson, that he is, unlike some recent Scotland picks at prop, not a default option but rather a player who has worked his way ahead of Berghan and Nel to get the starting berth over a number of years.

I guess the comparisons should focus on Fagerson vs Genge and Stuart vs Sutherland. Both matchups are tasty.

Interesting how young they are for internationals. The oldest of the four players is Sutherland at 26, the youngest Stuart at 24.

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Post by doctor_grey Fri 05 Feb 2021, 1:48 pm

lostinwales wrote:
123456789. wrote:
RDW wrote:From a Scotland PoV the only thing to add is my concern about lack of backup at 12, given our starting player is on his first cap! No one is is more than a makeshift option. I suppose the most likely option is Jones at 12, but he's not had much success there in the past. We could move VDW to 10 and Russell to 12 but that would represent a significant change in our lineup. Hopefully this doesn't come back to haunt us.

Lost In Wales - I don't think it's unreasonable to claim Fagerson is ahead of Stuart at international level just now. The latter only has 1 start and 7 appearances off the bench, whereas Fagerson is earning his 35th cap and has rightly been in the conversation for the Lions with many fans and pundits. In the last 2 years he's developed into a top class tigththead and Scotland's first choice. Scrum is going to be a hell of a battle - I don't see much advantage between either team and will likely come down to the ref's interpretation.

Worth pointing out on Fagerson, that he is, unlike some recent Scotland picks at prop, not a default option but rather a player who has worked his way ahead of Berghan and Nel to get the starting berth over a number of years.

I guess the comparisons should focus on Fagerson vs Genge and Stuart vs Sutherland. Both matchups are tasty.

Interesting how young they are for internationals. The oldest of the four players is Sutherland at 26, the youngest Stuart at 24.
This is really one of the best parts of the Six Nations for me:  The matchup within the match, so to speak.  There are a number of good ones and I think front row is going to be massive.  Also Russell, Redpath, Harris and Farrell, Lawrence, Slade.  Especially the young'uns at 12. THIS is great stuff!

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Post by Mr Bounce Fri 05 Feb 2021, 4:41 pm

Got to agree with you Doc. Think it could be a cracker.

We could argue until we're blue in the face about Jones' selection but we know what to expect from his selections. Looking forward to seeing Earl coming on and causing havoc, plus the return of Lawes and Obano FINALLY getting capped. Yes please.

I have bought snacks, I have bought drinks. I have friends on WhatsApp standby. I am ready.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 05 Feb 2021, 5:03 pm

Reading Marlers book, very slowly due to a number of reasons, and early doors hes talking about how mind games and set is so important to him. Talk of squaring up the NZ, Johnson and Robshaws standoffs against ireland and wales respectively got me thinking of Jones' mind games and comments from the squad in general. How does the confidence of the forwards and backs match up: george talking about taking teams apart vs Youngs teething problems? Or is it me reading too much into Ben talking down expectations given my clear live of him.

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Post by Poorfour Fri 05 Feb 2021, 5:36 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Reading Marlers book, very slowly due to a number of reasons, and early doors hes talking about how mind games and set is so important to him. Talk of squaring up the NZ, Johnson and Robshaws standoffs against ireland and wales respectively got me thinking of Jones' mind games and comments from the squad in general. How does the confidence of the forwards and backs match up: george talking about taking teams apart vs Youngs teething problems? Or is it me reading too much into Ben talking down expectations given my clear live of him.

Don't bother reading it, get the audiobook. He takes a chapter or so to warm up, but thereafter he's hilarious. His impersonations of various people are particularly good.

Anyway, the trend towards younger props is quite well established - Marler made his debut at 22, as did Mako, and Sinckler at 23. The days when a prop wouldn't be ready for international rugby til 27 or 28 seem to be long gone.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 05 Feb 2021, 6:04 pm

It's hard not to like him. I was really critical after the Samson lee incident, hope he talks about that.

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Post by sensisball Fri 05 Feb 2021, 10:27 pm

The crucial question from an English perspective has to be: is Billy Vinupola anywhere near international match fitness levels? Apparently he is not the best trainer in the gym and needs game time to achieve match fitness. My understanding is that he has played one match against Ealing trailfinders with Saracens, since the autumn internationals. Will this be enough game time for a Calcutta cup game?

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Post by king_carlos Fri 05 Feb 2021, 11:12 pm

sensisball wrote:The crucial question from an English perspective has to be: is Billy Vinupola anywhere near international match fitness levels? Apparently he is not the best trainer in the gym and needs game time  to achieve match fitness. My understanding is that he has played one match against Ealing trailfinders with Saracens, since the autumn internationals. Will this be enough game time for a Calcutta cup game?
A big worry. A third of England's starting XV are Sarries players with no game time under their belts other than Billy's 80 minutes against Ealing. Maitland has no game time either since the ANC so there's an argument that Maitland and Daly could be similarly rusty in the back three.

A hallmark of England under Jones has been starting very fast and looking to use a set-piece play early on to create a try or scoring opportunity in the first few minutes. Whether they will be sharp enough to have that in them is a worry.

I honestly have not idea how to predict England's performance. It wouldn't surprise me if they were very turgid and it equally wouldn't surprise me if a few players have benefited from a rare break and they start very fast.

Farrell for instance due to his durability has played pretty much non-stop for 10 years and was looking a bit knackered to me during the ANC. Sarries have had long seasons due to lots of knockout games, he pretty much always starts for England and has been on successive Lions tours. No breaks in there. He could come out with shovels for hands having not played for two months or he could come out looking refreshed, neither would surprise me. Tough to call.

The England bench is very strong I think. Cowan-Dickie, Lawes and Ford is a lot of quality then Earl and Malins are good impact players in excellent form.

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