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England - what next?

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Post by hugehandoff Sat 06 Feb 2021, 6:48 pm

First topic message reminder :

Firstly I take nothing away from Scotland who were fantastic and I hope go on to win a grand slam.

For me this dire England performance may well be a blessing in disguise. Us winning the Autumn cup playing such awful rugby only covered up a number of cracks. We have nothing in attack and our discipline is consistently the worst in the world. We are saved by our defence.

Ok we were missing some props which taught us that Genge is not quite there. Plus Stuart very quiet in the loose. Mako making his usual 21 tackles would have helped. No need to panic, but Eddie has to accept that this is not just a blip but a reflection of recent dire performances. You cannot win matches giving away so many penalties and that is a recurring issue. And he chose to start all those rusty Sarries players who all looked off the pace. Why not start Cowan-Dickie?

But the midfield is dire and Farrell a real problem there. Just not good enough. I remember Eddie being ruthless and taking Luther Burrell off after 25 minutes against the Aussies. We needed that ruthless streak today and Ford should have replaced Farrell with 20 to go. Itoje a penalty machine but because he is normally a machine and plays the full 80 Eddie did not react.

Time for England to take a good hard look at this team and shake it up (not panic, but a decent shakeup).

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 27 Feb 2021, 7:05 pm

Well we have Mitchell in the squad now anyway whoch is a plus. Vunipola played much better. Daly was daly. I think I would call up Steward.

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Post by TightHEAD Sat 27 Feb 2021, 7:19 pm

Tomorrow will be a better day......

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 27 Feb 2021, 7:31 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well we have Mitchell in the squad now anyway whoch is a plus. Vunipola played much better. Daly was daly. I think I would call up Steward.

How limited is Eddie by the whole shadow squad thing. Presumably anyone he wants to bring in will have to be on the same strict testing regime for at least a week before being called up.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 27 Feb 2021, 7:36 pm

I dont believe hes limited by the shadow squad. It was never made crystal clear though.

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Post by king_carlos Sat 27 Feb 2021, 7:51 pm

I actually do think there were positives from today's game.

- Youngs and Billy had their best games since the RWC
- The attack functioned well we when kept the ball for multiple phases without giving away a penalty
- The forwards were carrying with much more intent
- This wont be popular but I thought Farrell had a better game

Those positives are completely outweighed by the penalty count though. The discipline in all three rounds so far has been dire and it's getting worse. We just wont beat good sides giving away that many penalties.

Itoje deservedly will get criticism as a player of his quality shouldn't be giving away that many penalties. It's worth noting though that three of the five penalties that really killed England in the final quarter came from fringe players many have wanted to replace the 'out of form' incumbents. Jonny Hill's truly moronic ruck pen, Dan Robson's unnecessary blocking pen and Gengey deciding to have a nice lie down in a ruck having been on the pitch for 4.2 milliseconds. The other two key infringements in that period were Itoje and Ewels in maul defence which has been a consistent source of indiscipline without Kruis available - if he returns to the Premiership next season he'll walk back into the side.

Outside of the indiscipline my biggest concerns would be Daly having his worst game yet for England and the Farrell-Slade centre partnership. Individually Faz and Slade had good games, with both carrying in traffic more and effectively to get go forward in attack. It's still too unbalanced against strong defences though.

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Post by Yoda Sat 27 Feb 2021, 8:50 pm

Well I hope England learn from that. Indiscipline is definitely under your own control. The ref did spoil the game for me however as professional players you have to play to the refs version of the laws. When you are getting pinged off the park its easy for the ref to see transgressions so you have to be cleaner than a nun's sheets. The line out defense is a case in point, got pinged in the first 5 mins for for coming in at the side yet kept on doing it, brainless. We had a purple patch to get back at 24 all and should have been patient and turned the screw. Instead we unloaded the bench and blew our load.

15 plus penalties is now becoming the norm for this side and unfortunately with that comes a reputation. We will lose against France and Ireland and come 5th I'm afraid and it will mostly be down to lack of discipline. This could be a blessing in disguise and force our hand. Hopefully we can assemble a steady and decent coaching setup with clarity of thought as I think we are missing this at the moment. Eddy has been great for England over the last 6 years but everything reeks of staleness at the moment and we need a freshning up.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 27 Feb 2021, 8:57 pm

He probably always meant to include those new players this summer tour. Very doubtful the plans will be there given covid though. I think hes been a touch slow on evolving the half backs. The form of Smith just highlights the question of why he seems so far from selection (he will be called up Monday now of course). Bang the drum again but Daly just looks devoid of any confidence. Bizarre how hes playing ball in hand. I hope hes taken out next game even if only for Malins.

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 27 Feb 2021, 10:05 pm

Yoda wrote:Well I hope England learn from that. Indiscipline is definitely under your own control. The ref did spoil the game for me however as professional players you have to play to the refs version of the laws. When you are getting pinged off the park its easy for the ref to see transgressions so you have to be cleaner than a nun's sheets. The line out defense is a case in point, got pinged in the first 5 mins for for coming in at the side yet kept on doing it, brainless. We had a purple patch to get back at 24 all and should have been patient and turned the screw. Instead we unloaded the bench and blew our load.

15 plus penalties is now becoming the norm for this side and unfortunately with that comes a reputation. We will lose against France and Ireland and come 5th I'm afraid and it will mostly be down to lack of discipline. This could be a blessing in disguise and force our hand. Hopefully we can assemble a steady and decent coaching setup with clarity of thought as I think we are missing this at the moment. Eddy has been great for England over the last 6 years but everything reeks of staleness at the moment and we need a freshning up.
A couple of points, if I may.  With the smaller squad size for England's Six Nations this year, there are limited options for the rest of the tournament.  Yet, might as well try what we have.  

The truly great coaches, apologies for mentioning soccer, but Alex Ferguson comes to mind.  Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin in the NFL, and so on are the rare individuals who can turn over a team roster and still maintain high levels of success.  This is Eddie Jones inflection point.  And it's not easy.  

And by the way, the more I think about it, I really feel for Daly.  He made a lot of simple errors on attack, but at least he was trying like all hell to attack.  And he knows where he failed.  But, I think Daly, May and Watson were really trying to move things forward but for different reasons, Daly's mistakes or limited space for May and Watson, could not convert possession into scores consistently.  Watson's one score was very well taken.

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Post by whatahitson Sat 27 Feb 2021, 11:26 pm

2004-2015:
1 Six Nations
1 World Cup final, 1 exit at the group stage

2015-2021:
3 Six nations, 1 grand slam
1 World Cup final
1 autumn nations cup


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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 6:47 am

Well a slightly better display, but same old issues really.

George - another average performance, surely time for a spell on the bench?
Genge - Not sure this lad has the brains for international rugby, every week he does something stupid in his cameo.
Hill - another who has moments of madness, but some encouraging signs from him at least.
Wilson - pains me to say this, but he's not making the impact he was previously.

Youngs - passing still awful but he had his standard decent 1 game in 10. I really think we should move him on, he's not going to improve.
Farrell - Again, an improvement, but he just doesn't seem to be right. With him involved, the backline isn't going to develop.
Daly - Can we agree he's just not a full back? He's so out of form right now and is making many mistakes.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 6:49 am

nlpnlp wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Im getting a bit bored with all the calls for Simmonds....

Ben Earl is a similar player. As mentioned above...top try scorer in the prem last season.

Id rather have Ted Hill or Tom Willis / Dombrandt or someone brought in over Simmonds, or Steward if not a back rower.

I think dismissing Simmonds because Earl scored 11 tried to his 10 in a season is a bit simplistic.  Taking into account that Simmonds helped Exeter win the Gallagher and Heineken and is European player of the year, I think that gives him a bit more credit than Earl.  Personally I don't see why both could not be in the an England squad at the same time and even in the team at the same time.  I would certainly have both ahead of Billy over the last year.

You aren't Eddie Jones are you?

I'm with GF, I wouldn't have Simmonds near this England side. He's nowhere near physical enough for our "style of play" and I just don't think you get the space he thrives on at International level. He goes into the Alex Goode group of nearly men imo.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 7:58 am

Simmonds is a quality player. Already shown he can play at this level. That said vunipola was my motm yesterday. Back to his best.

Always able to change the style of play though given how many different players we have.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:14 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Youngs - passing still awful but he had his standard decent 1 game in 10. I really think we should move him on, he's not going to improve.

I think there were two iffy passes in the nearly 70 minutes he was on and both still reached the intended target. Played at least as well as the much lauded Welsh options and scored a nice solo try. His replacement Robson had an absolute shocker again, that's two in three. I'm all for succession planning but the anyone but Youngs chat is getting old and is being proved to be not that simple. Mitchell is the other scrum half in the squad and with France and Ireland to come it probably isn't the time for him to start, maybe come off the bench to bed in and see if he has it.

One of Slade or Farrell needs dropping for a ball carrying centre as well as Daly being replaced by someone that can not knock the ball on every other play.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:25 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Well a slightly better display, but same old issues really.

George - another average performance, surely time for a spell on the bench?
Genge - Not sure this lad has the brains for international rugby, every week he does something stupid in his cameo.
Hill - another who has moments of madness, but some encouraging signs from him at least.
Wilson - pains me to say this, but he's not making the impact he was previously.

Youngs - passing still awful but he had his standard decent 1 game in 10. I really think we should move him on, he's not going to improve.
Farrell - Again, an improvement, but he just doesn't seem to be right. With him involved, the backline isn't going to develop.
Daly - Can we agree he's just not a full back? He's so out of form right now and is making many mistakes.
I've been frequently critical of Youngs over the years but (unlike other positions) I do feel strongly that it's important to consider the lack of standout options over the last 6 years Jones has been coach.

Care was a good bench player in internationals but virtually never showed the game management, kicking or composure needed from an international 9 over a long career as largely a reserve player.

Spencer I do rate highly and believe should be in these training squads but at the end of the day he spent 9 seasons at Sarries without truly claiming the starting shirt when he moved on at 28.

Robson just isn't an international scrum-half. His defensive game is diabolical, kicking game as poor as Care and his attacking game whilst excellent at Premiership level has done very little in international rugby. For all the concerns, some justified and some exaggerated about Youngs passing, I've watched Robson a lot at Premiership level for Gloucester and Wasps without anything to convince me he's better in that regard either.

That brings us to the younger options such as Randall and Mitchell who are just coming through now. I'd have had Randall in the 23 when he was fit and I'd have Mitchell or Spencer in the 23 now that Randall is injured but there really haven't been an abundance of scrum-halves available to challenge Youngs in any way whilst Jones has been in charge.

Heinz and Wigglesworth are conservative selections but they were made in lieu of other options. When back row options in Curry and Underhill emerged we saw the conservative selections of Haskell and Robshaw quickly discarded. I do think the same will happen at scrum-half but options need to emerge. At the minute Robson's cameos in games that matter, i.e. his U13s level kicking against Scotland and penalty yesterday, are the best argument available for why Youngs is yet to be usurped.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:27 am

Have to agree youngs played nicely yesterday but hes rightly getting stick as hes been below average for a while. Robson wouldnt have been my pick but given both their form it's not unfair for him to have a start. Mitchell is a scrum half I like alot though. Yesterdays performance was good. The pens are a cause for concern on the surface though I'm not sure the analysis in the cold light of day will mean alot of players are getting dragged over the coals.

Based on that 1 game it's only daly for me looking over his shoulder. I cant believe this is the same player brought in to improve our attack.

Would like to see earl start against France. Wilson only caught the eye with a couple of strong carries but didnt offer much at rucks.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:35 am

Agree with that 7.5.

I'm a big fan of Wilson but as Sarge says he hasn't had the same impact in this Six Nations. Earl is ready to be starting internationals in my opinion.

I have reservations that I've mentioned many times over Malins being a better long term option than Daly but I hope he gets a run of starts to prove himself either way. His attacking potential is similar to what Daly offered at his best but I'm not sure Malins defense is actually more solid. His cameos have been solid though and he's impressed for Bristol.

I rewatched the game this morning quickly (skipping through stoppages, goal kicks, etc) and how lacking the lineout defence is without Kruis or Lawes is stark. Hill has been good in some areas and not great in others but he's nowhere near the solidity of Kruis in defence. This Six Nations has left me hoping that we haven't seen the last of Kruis in an England shirt.

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Post by eirebilly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:46 am

Slade is a very good 13 for me but he is held back by standing outside Farrell. Farrell is playing a more defensive 12 than attacking due to him being out of form. Playing Ford and Slade, you need a ball playing 12. All good individual players but the balance is missing.

Daly, well I rate him but he just looks lost out there right now.

People having a dig at Itoje for giving away 5 penalties. Yes he did but i think 3 of those were very harsh calls.

The borderline penalties conceded yesterday were in my opinion down to Farrell, he did not warm himself to the referee very early in the game and you could see the referee was visibly upset with him. The ref was looking much harder at England than Wales after Farrell peed him off.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:54 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Youngs - passing still awful but he had his standard decent 1 game in 10. I really think we should move him on, he's not going to improve.

I think there were two iffy passes in the nearly 70 minutes he was on and both still reached the intended target. Played at least as well as the much lauded Welsh options and scored a nice solo try. His replacement Robson had an absolute shocker again, that's two in three. I'm all for succession planning but the anyone but Youngs chat is getting old and is being proved to be not that simple. Mitchell is the other scrum half in the squad and with France and Ireland to come it probably isn't the time for him to start, maybe come off the bench to bed in and see if he has it.

One of Slade or Farrell needs dropping for a ball carrying centre as well as Daly being replaced by someone that can not knock the ball on every other play.

It only becomes old when it doesn't become relevant, this certainly isn't the case.

Agree on the succession planning. We've said for years that he should give more playing time to back up options, at least then it doesn't take 2 years to realise they aren't good enough. Same with FB/12 really.

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Post by eirebilly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:04 am

The one thing that annoyed me yesterday was the interviews by Sonia McLaughlan. It was completely unprofessional. Sure she can ask but when clearly told (by Farrell and Jones) that they did not wish to discuss the officiating she should have been professional and stopped, not continued to bait them.

I truly hope she is reprimanded for her unprofessionalism.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:06 am

eirebilly wrote:The one thing that annoyed me yesterday was the interviews by Sonia McLaughlan. It was completely unprofessional. Sure she can ask but when clearly told (by Farrell and Jones) that they did not wish to discuss the officiating she should have been professional and stopped, not continued to bait them.

I truly hope she is reprimanded for her unprofessionalism.

She's taking a real hammering on twitter and not coping well with it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:12 am

Yeah some of it has gone beyond acceptable towards McLaughlan. She ain't a good pitch side interviewer,  seems to just have the set questions and doesnt listen.

She annoyed Gatland a few years ago I seem to remember.

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Post by eirebilly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:14 am

Its a shame that she is being hounded for it, for that I have sympathy for her but it was incredibly poor.
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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 10:06 am

The McLaughlan outrage feels like a classic example of people needing to take a step back and remember it's just sport at the end of the day. Whilst I was angry with the reffing in the first half I've seen posts on social media such "it's the angriest I've ever been". Whilst the questions were poor if McLaughlan has elicited the most anger a person has ever felt in a year when 120k people have died in the UK due to coronavirus then that probably says more about those peoples disconnect from reality than anything else.

For a long time I've wondered what the gain is in shoving a microphone under sports stars noses just after a game. There's few useful questions or answers you'll get in those moments. 99% of the time the questions and answers are pointless and in the rare moments when either the interviewer or interviewee sways from the usual shtick there's an outcry. Laidlaw after the Joubert call in the RWC made comments about the reffing post match and got a lot of grief for instance.

Andy Murray often got grief for being dour in courtside interviews but I never really understand what he's meant to say when he walks of a court having lost a semi-final and gets asked how he feels it went. I think we can all figure that out for ourselves.

Giving the players a chance to shower and chat the game over with teammates before a press conference feels a far more useful means of getting their views on the game. Often the pitch side stuff straight after the match just feels like an excuse for the broadcasters to drag and extra 15-30 minutes out of the coverage.


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Post by Mr Bounce Sun 28 Feb 2021, 10:17 am

People are calling for Kruis back, which is fair, but I think the player England are most missing is Launchbury. He was playing really well in the ANC and was also playing well for Wasps before his injury. He does the "dog" work the Hill seems incapable of and his penalty count is significantly lower than Itoje's. Hoping he recovers soon for the summer matches, whichever they may be.

Centres have been a problem whenever Manu is injured, which is a lot. I would love to see a centre partnership of Lawrence and Marchant. With a decent 10 inside them. Ford, Smith even Umaga (it's clear that Eddie would not pick Joe Simmonds as there's something he doesn't like).

We are missing a bit of power on the wing. It's obvious that May, like many Gloucester team mates is off form. I would love to see a fit and firing Cokanasiga starting again, but it's clear that he's struggling for form. May was outstripped by LRZ which might not do much for his confidence as he's a complicated character.

Farrell needs a rest from international games. He's not on form at all and appears incapable of being a good captain, that much is clear. Captains work well when the team is winning, but also when the team is losing. Farrell seems incapable of doing this. He is dreadful under pressure and hasn't worked out how to chat to the ref properly. This clearly got up Gauzere's nose and rightly or wrongly Gauzere punished him for it by simply being stubborn and not playing by the book.

The Saracens boys need to play better or be dropped. They've had too many chances.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 10:27 am

Ford is coming out of this quite well. Thought the saracens bar Daly had good games. Ford had a mixed bag, kicking from hand was really poor.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 28 Feb 2021, 12:48 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:People are calling for Kruis back, which is fair, but I think the player England are most missing is Launchbury. He was playing really well in the ANC and was also playing well for Wasps before his injury. He does the "dog" work the Hill seems incapable of and his penalty count is significantly lower than Itoje's. Hoping he recovers soon for the summer matches, whichever they may be.

Centres have been a problem whenever Manu is injured, which is a lot. I would love to see a centre partnership of Lawrence and Marchant. With a decent 10 inside them. Ford, Smith even Umaga (it's clear that Eddie would not pick Joe Simmonds as there's something he doesn't like).

We are missing a bit of power on the wing. It's obvious that May, like many Gloucester team mates is off form. I would love to see a fit and firing Cokanasiga starting again, but it's clear that he's struggling for form. May was outstripped by LRZ which might not do much for his confidence as he's a complicated character.

Farrell needs a rest from international games. He's not on form at all and appears incapable of being a good captain, that much is clear. Captains work well when the team is winning, but also when the team is losing. Farrell seems incapable of doing this. He is dreadful under pressure and hasn't worked out how to chat to the ref properly. This clearly got up Gauzere's nose and rightly or wrongly Gauzere punished him for it by simply being stubborn and not playing by the book.  

The Saracens boys need to play better or be dropped. They've had too many chances.
There are terrific points, mate.  As the game went on, it was screaming Launchbury to me, for his dog work and as captain.  I still don't remember Itoje giving away this amount of pens, but in three straight games, something is up. Billy V. was better when he had a longer run up with the ball.  Not great, but improved, and it's clear he does read the headlines and admitted in his own words, he has played 'rubbish'.  Jonny Hill seems to be what he is:  a very good club player, but a level below internationals.  And also with a terrible haircut.  I am also wondering why LCD is not starting ahead of George.  

Centres have been an issue since 2013.  It seems England are always waiting for Tuilagi to return, and going forward should consider when healthy he is a bonus, but look for regular alternatives from players who are centres.  Fly half is a problem.  Whether Lawrence, or whomever, there seem to be a number of younger players pushing for attention.    

I know I am in a decided minority, but was never a Ford fan feeling he got his spot due to daddy and not much competition.  Farrell has lost something, whether physically, emotionally, or simply decision making, and should be dropped, at least for a while after the Six Nations is over.  And he is not a centre.  I doubt he would be considered for a Lions tour based on current form.  Umaga is still very young, so it would seem to make sense for Smith to get his shot, though he might be too slight for the International game, but let's find out.  He is listed at 5' 9" and less than 13 stone.   And just for laughs, who is the last 10 to beat the Springboks?

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Post by Yoda Sun 28 Feb 2021, 1:37 pm

Smith and dombrant in the squad and we need to find an all court 12 quickly. 15 is a problem as is 9 as Robson had a stinker and I'm his biggest fan as a wasps fan not sure he's the answer now. Genge is a liability and needs to grow up skulking around trying to be cool being a sausage. We need clever players who manage games and win over the refs.

On the ref note, two horrendous decisions aside he was looking more carefully our way due to our reputation. If a team consistently gets into 15 pens plus over a few games they get a reputation. Being human the ref had this in the back of his mind and subconsciously would err on the side of history. That reputation that England built hit them hard and some very odd and blatenly wrong decisions become certainty on his mind. We need to manage reputations otherwise we will continue to have Steve Walsh, pascal gauzare moments. So to a certain extent we were the the architects to our own demise.

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Post by whatahitson Sun 28 Feb 2021, 1:58 pm

The first problem is the lineout. Discussing centres and scrum halves when the lineout defence was so useless is just a distraction. Itoje, Hill, Ewels, and the back row weren't up to the job. It was the same against Scotland, we looked so much better when Lawes came on.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 28 Feb 2021, 2:09 pm

doctor_grey wrote:I know I am in a decided minority, but was never a Ford fan feeling he got his spot due to daddy and not much competition.  Farrell has lost something, whether physically, emotionally, or simply decision making, and should be dropped, at least for a while after the Six Nations is over.  And he is not a centre.  I doubt he would be considered for a Lions tour based on current form.  Umaga is still very young, so it would seem to make sense for Smith to get his shot, though he might be too slight for the International game, but let's find out.  He is listed at 5' 9" and less than 13 stone.   And just for laughs, who is the last 10 to beat the Springboks?

You are in a definite minority with that view on Ford. How he managed to lead the attack he did yesterday with that backline I don't know. Just imagine if the forwards hadn't given away so many penalties in good areas of Daly could catch... Saying he got the spot because if his dad is very disrespectful to a player that took Bath to a Prem final and has saved Tigers from relegation twice. Though as a Saints fan that might be why you don't like him. It was blatantly obvious he had the skills from as early as 16 playing for Tigers in the A league and LV (or whatever it was called then).

Umaga isn't an England option despite his continual inclusion by Eddie. He's error strewn and heavily reliant on Gopperth's guiding hand from 12. He needs considerably more game management capabilities or it'll be another Robson style introduction and disaster. Smith I'd like to see looked at but I'd prefer an actual centre be looked at first.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 28 Feb 2021, 3:56 pm

I'm a big Ford fan, it's Farrell that's prevented him getting the plaudits he's deserved through his career. I would like to see him run it a bit more though.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 3:58 pm

He wasnt great yesterday. Out of that much hated 9 -13 I think he was the one off colour.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 4:39 pm

Jones watching the Northampton bath game. Trying to think from that if the replacement is coming from 1 of them: Mercer or isiekwe?

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 28 Feb 2021, 4:57 pm

As I said, I know I am in a minority. As a Saints fan, however, I am incapable of any negative bias - comes with being 'saintly'. I know the gods of Rugby will have indigestion over this, but I have always respected Tigers because, until recently anyway, they could put out a team that was capable of playing any team on their own terms and winning. Talent plus brains. Amongst my favourite players to watch were MJ, Tom Croft, Geordan Murphy. And my old man lives in Market Harborough, just north of the DMZ, kind of a Panmunjom of the Midlands Rugby world.

My feeling about Ford over the years is that he has a lot of skill and and can move a team supremely well when everything else is clicking. Yesterday he kicked away possession in midfield and even when England were actually generating some go forwards and progress, and needed to continue going through the phases, especially with the backs. This seemed bizarre, especially since he has the skill to do much more. And England rarely regained the ball afterwards. But, to be fair, there were a number of bigger issues with England yesterday than him.

I really wonder what England squad will look like for the next set of Internationals. This current group has either gone as far as they can or there is something else going on. And I wonder if the Itoje penalty count is a blip or if something is creeping into his game.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 28 Feb 2021, 5:01 pm

I forgot the comment about Robson. He was poor when he came on in the Scotland game, and well, yesterday.....

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Post by Derek Smalls Sun 28 Feb 2021, 5:08 pm

doctor_grey wrote: And just for laughs, who is the last 10 to beat the Springboks?
Can you mean Neil Jenkins in 1997?

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Post by whatahitson Sun 28 Feb 2021, 5:22 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Youngs - passing still awful but he had his standard decent 1 game in 10. I really think we should move him on, he's not going to improve.

I think there were two iffy passes in the nearly 70 minutes he was on and both still reached the intended target. Played at least as well as the much lauded Welsh options and scored a nice solo try. His replacement Robson had an absolute shocker again, that's two in three. I'm all for succession planning but the anyone but Youngs chat is getting old and is being proved to be not that simple. Mitchell is the other scrum half in the squad and with France and Ireland to come it probably isn't the time for him to start, maybe come off the bench to bed in and see if he has it.

One of Slade or Farrell needs dropping for a ball carrying centre as well as Daly being replaced by someone that can not knock the ball on every other play.

The criticism of Youngs is just a hangover from the world cup final he's a top player and even when he makes mistakes they're being blown out of proportion. He's nailed on to tour with the Lions. Randall is the future, Youngs is the present.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 5:31 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Jones watching the Northampton bath game. Trying to think from that if the replacement is coming from 1 of them: Mercer or isiekwe?
Was there a back row injured to replace?

If a replacement flanker is being brought in then with Underhill and Willis injured it should be Ted Hill for me. A big future ahead of him and he suits the England game plan well.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 5:37 pm

Its lawes.second guessing back rows but yea you're right given Ribbans was there too

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Post by cb Sun 28 Feb 2021, 5:45 pm

For the last two years almost no one except Youngs has spent anytime at 9.  There is almost no other current 9 with international experience. I agree Robson did not play well yesterday but would not it have been better to have given him some more game time.  You can sense that Robson never looks confident on the field.

Youngs wasn't bad yesterday but is limited.

Ford I think is a very good player but seems to have his confidence removed.

I thought Farrell had a better game yesterday as player (but may be not as captain) but I agree with many that Farrell and Slade do not fit together.

May also looks short on confidence.

Daly looks both out of form and short on confidence - turning his back on the quick penalty was terrible.

Watson I thought was very good.

Would it be too radical a change to try to base the team round Marcus Smith?  or better just to improve on what exists - bring back Lawrence (or try Odogwu), bring in Malins?

I presume Jones will not stick in his selection now.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 6:00 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Its lawes.second guessing back rows but yea you're right given Ribbans was there too
Ah yeah. I'd forgotten that Martin was technically replacing Willis. I'd prefer a flanker personally with 4 locks already in the squad.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 28 Feb 2021, 6:24 pm

cb wrote:For the last two years almost no one except Youngs has spent anytime at 9.  There is almost no other current 9 with international experience. I agree Robson did not play well yesterday but would not it have been better to have given him some more game time.  You can sense that Robson never looks confident on the field.

Youngs wasn't bad yesterday but is limited.

Ford I think is a very good player but seems to have his confidence removed.

I thought Farrell had a better game yesterday as player (but may be not as captain) but I agree with many that Farrell and Slade do not fit together.

May also looks short on confidence.

Daly looks both out of form and short on confidence - turning his back on the quick penalty was terrible.

Watson I thought was very good.

Would it be too radical a change to try to base the team round Marcus Smith?  or better just to improve on what exists - bring back Lawrence (or try Odogwu), bring in Malins?

I presume Jones will not stick in his selection now.
I think those points are a combo of current selections for the rest of the Six Nations with the limited squad size and the future.  As I wrote somewhere, Smith is 5'9" and just under 13 stone.  He may turn out great (or not), but I would worry he would be targeted.  To be fair to him, he dodges a lot of hits, but takes the ones he can't avoid well.  

I think May's problem in that game was he received most ball with little room to work with, right on the touch line.  You may be right, and if so, needs a bit of time to regain form.  His kind of talent is rare, except when called into the side of a scrum.   Daly, on the other hand is much better than he showed yesterday and really needs to collect himself.  I thought when he came up with Wasps he was playing at 13.  Is that right?  But for the next match, it would seem Malins should get the start.  

But one of the main problems still comes down to the halfbacks and midfield.  Something has to give.  Youngs was not part of the problem yesterday, but the rest were in one way or another.  It is the group together which struggled.    

The other is the pack, which I think is feeling the loss of Underhill, Lawes, and Launchbury, and under performing in other positions.  And missing Joe Marler, too, who made a family decision which has to be respected.

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Post by majesticimperialman Sun 28 Feb 2021, 7:29 pm

Watching Bath v Northampton. Was wandering if Zac Mercer ever got a chance to play for England. I do not recall him playing at any time. does any else know if he as played for England?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 28 Feb 2021, 8:19 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:Watching Bath v Northampton. Was wandering if Zac Mercer ever got a chance to play for England. I do not recall him playing at any time. does any else know if he as played for England?

Www.google.co.uk

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:08 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:Watching Bath v Northampton. Was wandering if Zac Mercer ever got a chance to play for England. I do not recall him playing at any time. does any else know if he as played for England?

Mercer got a couple of caps in 2018 when he was breaking into senior rugby after being very impressive for the England U20s. His second cap was a start against Japan in a lacklustre performance that was the last we saw of a few players in the starting XV. It's the last time that Care, Lozowski and Mercer played for England whilst Hepburn dropped to the bench the next week against Australia which was his final outing.

Mercer's form dipped last season but he's been steadily playing better and better this year. He bulked up quickly and seemed to slow down a bit but has got that dynamism to his game again now. Sadly he's signed for Montpellier though so will be out of England contention for a few years. He's young enough to return a better player and still potentially have an international career though.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:24 pm

Some interesting stats:

The Wales pack had 39 club appearances this season between them - Wyn Jones (6), Ken Owens (3), Tomas Francis (3), Beard (13), AWJ (2), Navidi (1), Tipuric (6), Faletau (5).

The England pack had 14 club appearances between them this season - Mako (0), George (0), Sinckler (4), Itoje (0), Hill (2), Wilson (4), Curry (3), Billy (1). That 14 is including Billy's run out against Ealing in a friendly as well.

Whilst the Sarries situation factors in significantly the Premiership's decision to cancel rather than postpone/rearrange covid affected game and the strange decision to not bring any Prem rounds forwards when the European fixtures got cancelled has contributed for a lack of game time for all the Premiership based players. Add in the England squad having to bubble and be unavailable for club games throughout the tournament as part of their agreement with Premier Rugby, it's been far from ideal preparation all round.

By contrast the Top 14 deciding to not restart/finish last season after it's postponement but instead jump straight into this season after lockdown lifted there meant that the French front row from their last game all had 10 club appearances under their belts this season.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 28 Feb 2021, 9:50 pm

Carlos, match fitness could well be a real issue for England. Half the England pack hasn't played since the end of the ANC bar Billy and his friendly Vs Ealing. Eddie's gambled on the Sarries contingent and lost.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 28 Feb 2021, 10:12 pm

The England squad in general have limited game time though due to the bubble and cancellations in the Premiership. The Sarries players exacerbate that but it's such a tough situation to manage when so many key players have little game time. Lots of us have called for Ollie Lawrence for instance but he's played 2 times for Worcester this season.

I have sympathy with selecting Mako and Itoje as well despite zero game time. With Kruis, Lawes and Launchbury also out dropping or benching Itoje would cripple the second row.

Marler being unavailable due to the bubble means Mako becomes very important as well. I rate Gengey and I know we disagree somewhat on this but he hasn't been consistent with England yet. In his 9 starts he has often gone missing against stronger opposition such as the AWC final against France and the Calcutta Cup. His bench performances are sometimes good but not always with him being a culprit for one of the really unnecessary pens at the weekend. My uncle (a 30-odd year season ticket holder at Welford Road) described Genge so far as having a Danny Care-esque England career. I couldn't really argue. Sometimes bright from the bench, shines against weaker opposition but frequently goes missing in big games.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 01 Mar 2021, 9:29 am

Now that ive calmed down....

One stat stood out....
Beard has played more games this season that the entire group of Saracens players! That one stat says it all. Jones is using this 6n to play the Saracens group into form and fitness...
Thats unacceptable.

Englands penalties are insane...

England need some power carriers....

Too many players need to up their game!!

Daly needs to go.

The ref DID have a huge influence on the game.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 01 Mar 2021, 9:43 am

king_carlos wrote:

Marler being unavailable due to the bubble means Mako becomes very important as well. I rate Gengey and I know we disagree somewhat on this but he hasn't been consistent with England yet. In his 9 starts he has often gone missing against stronger opposition such as the AWC final against France and the Calcutta Cup. His bench performances are sometimes good but not always with him being a culprit for one of the really unnecessary pens at the weekend. My uncle (a 30-odd year season ticket holder at Welford Road) described Genge so far as having a Danny Care-esque England career. I couldn't really argue. Sometimes bright from the bench, shines against weaker opposition but frequently goes missing in big games.

Completely agree about Genge...he's not showing "baby Rhino" reputation he has built up. He looks like hes more interested in picking fights and giving out niggly rubbish.

Sinkler was a similar character, but he's pretty much sorted that aspect of his game out now. Genge...needs to not get distracted...and try to focus on the core aspects of his game. At the moment i wouldnt select him over Mako or Marler. And even Obano is looking useful.

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Post by Soul Requiem Mon 01 Mar 2021, 10:10 am

The Wales game is pretty much a right off in my opinion, the refereeing was so bad that it renders it null and void. There were some dumb penalties such as the two line out ones, Genge and Hill but overall felt Itoje was hard done by, almost as if Gauzere was basing his decisions on reputation rather than what was happening.

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