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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 GeordieFalcon Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:09 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:For me Jones should be considering Malins at 10. Hes much more of a threat there and its his natural position and hes much more experienced there. Him and Randall would offer something completely different. As ever with England we have so many options to play differently but this stats thing about 6 phases and kick doesn't allow us. Can you imagine the england pack then

Randall Malins
May Farrell Ogdogwu Watson
Daly (yuck but Im trying to stay with the squad)

If you are staying within the current squad...then yes id back that completely now. Outside the squad, surely there will be a time when Smith comes in to the equation.

When was the last time we saw George Ford actually make a break or run the ball himself from 10?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:31 am

I'm a big fan of Smith. Yes I'd like to see him. Just can't at the moment.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:51 am

I'd be happy to try a Ford / Lawrence / Slade combo from the current squad. I don't think the centres got any chance to do anything at the weekend.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:56 am

lostinwales wrote:I'd be happy to try a Ford / Lawrence / Slade combo from the current squad. I don't think the centres got any chance to do anything at the weekend.

Yes LIW...but swap them round . Slade the playmaker at 12, Lawrence with a bit more space to run from 13...

Then maybe in the second half...move Lwarence to 12, and Odogwu at 13...then you have a runner in both centre spots.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:58 am

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-9234491/CLIVE-WOODWARD-Englands-defeat-Scotland-worst-seen-play-given-stakes.html

'One way or another I’ve watched every England game since the mid-1970s. I supported England, I was honoured to play for and then coach England, and in the media have covered England around the world.

And that was the worst I have ever seen England play by some margin given what was at stake.

I lost some big games as a player and coach. Games when you underperformed or the opposition had your number. The worst loss and moment of my career was undoubtedly losing to Scotland at Murrayfield in 2000. I’ve been there, it really hurts.

But forget the 11-6 scoreline on Saturday, down on the freezing touchline at Twickenham it felt like a 30-point defeat.

And this was a first-choice England side, at home, supposedly prepared to the Nth degree after two weeks in camp and the best part of two months together in the autumn. A team which on paper looked more than capable of beating Scotland.

Excuses are cheap but with most big losses — whether it be 76-0 to Australia in 1998 or 44-21 to South Africa in the 1999 World Cup —when the dust settles, as well as acknowledging areas you fell short, there is a rationale you can identify to put things into perspective and learn from them.

There was no reason for England not to be at their best. Scotland were magnificent but England, other than a resolute defence which at least earned a losing bonus point, were indescribably bad.

They were off the pace, had no attacking ideas, kicked away what little quality possession they did earn and were ill-disciplined, coughing up nine penalties in the first 23 minutes.

The latter can partly be attributed to the huge pressure Scotland built, but good sides and one as experienced as England find ways to absorb it. It is exactly then that you must not lose it mentally and give away penalties.

I’m afraid this can all be traced back to England’s non-performance in the World Cup final, which many at HQ have tried to brush away.

There was no professional inquest and debrief into a day when England looked all at sea from the moment they arrived 40 minutes late.

As with yesterday, Eddie Jones immediately put his hands up and said he got the preparation wrong, but there is no need to say that. It is a given in professional sport.

What did he get wrong? Why did he get it wrong? Where could England have been better? What needed to be done to ensure it never happens again?

In English rugby we are very good at becoming outraged when the horse has already bolted.

Think of the treatment of Martin Johnson and Stuart Lancaster after the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. Two sides and coaches who got it wrong for different reasons, but the inquests, the committees and the call for investigations came too late.

Eddie is vastly more experienced than Martin or Stuart, but he still needs somebody to challenge and advise him. For me it was Fran Cotton. But there is nobody at Twickenham qualified to undertake the job. Instead, the England hierarchy pointed to a decent campaign and an excellent semi-final win over New Zealand and seemed content with that. Big mistake.

That was a World Cup England should have won, but they blew it and serious questions needed to be asked.

The net result was a 2020 when, in performance terms, they trod water at best. Eddie and the RFU could point to a Six Nations title and an Autumn Nations Cup, but from the outside everybody could see a team struggling with its identity.

England have been a side locked into the most conservative, talent-quashing kicking game plan imaginable, ensuring that they underperformed.

They kept winning, just, but Saturday was the moment of truth. They should have lost to a France third XV in December and now they have been played off the park by Scotland in a Calcutta Cup encounter at home.

This win is a big turning point for Scotland and Gregor Townsend. They have these wonderfully gifted, maverick attacking players in Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, but on Saturday they mixed up that genius talent with a much more varied, pragmatic approach.

It must also be a big turning point for England, who must halt this delusion that all is well and that the team are progressing. They are not and a major rethink is needed across the board.

They have the rest of the Six Nations to do it and must start firing way more shots in attack.

Players with real pace must be introduced into the back row — where I’m afraid Billy Vunipola and Mark Wilson were badly exposed, which surprised me —while much more craft and trust in instinctive skills is needed in the backs.

England must use this defeat. For 20 years after that defeat at Murrayfield my computer screensaver was a picture of the Scotland captain Andy Nicol and his team celebrating that win.

I used the hurt of that defeat for the rest of my tenure as England coach and still the lessons from that day keep my feet on the ground. I hope defeat is hurting this England team as much this morning.

Finally, I must finish by talking about the Scots. I was blown away by the collective contribution of their back row, led by the inspirational Hamish Watson. With Matt Fagerson and Jamie Ritchie they eclipsed the England trio, where only Tom Curry really contested the issue.

Wearing his Lions hat, I wonder what Warren Gatland made of it all. One thing is for sure, if the Lions tour goes ahead Scotland will be much better represented than on recent tours.'

You've got to love Woodward trying to keep himself relevant.

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Post by alive555 Mon 08 Feb 2021, 12:24 pm

err...

"A team which on paper looked more than capable of beating Scotland" Erm

2018 Scotland
2019 Scotland
2020 England
2021 Scotland

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Post by king_carlos Mon 08 Feb 2021, 12:38 pm

2019 the game was drawn but Scotland retained the cup after their fantastic win in 2018 when Barclay and Watson did a number on England at the breakdown. Not long after that Curry and Underhill were brought in with elder statesmen Haskell and Robshaw moved on.

The game on Saturday was almost the culmination of a trilogy of interesting Calcutta Cups for different reasons. First the 2019 38-38 draw which was a true game of two halfs involving some excellent and rubbish rugby from both sides. 2020 saw a game played in biblical conditions with two groups of players trying to cling on. Then 2021 saw Scotland beat England at their own game plan with Stuart Hogg in particular putting in a tactical kicking masterclass.

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Post by rosbif Mon 08 Feb 2021, 12:58 pm

I thought it was a good insight to match from Woodward , England have been playing dire one dimensional rugby with no Plan B and relying on the odd inspirational moment, all the Sarrie players need to be dropped except Itoje and get some young inform speedsters in.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 08 Feb 2021, 1:51 pm

I read it as his normal spiel painting himself in a favourable light to Jones. I may be in a minority (doubt I am once) but Jones is a much better coach than Woodward and has shown he can adapt tactics and personnel and will do again. Woodward still lives off the world cup and somehow managed to dodge any blame for the games afterwards with the general public.

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Post by rosbif Mon 08 Feb 2021, 2:03 pm

Woodward one WC final winner

Jones 2 WC finals Loser both times

Who is the better coach?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 08 Feb 2021, 2:06 pm

Jones.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 08 Feb 2021, 2:56 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I read it as his normal spiel painting himself in a favourable light to Jones. I may be in a minority (doubt I am once) but Jones is a much better coach than Woodward and has shown he can adapt tactics and personnel and will do again. Woodward still lives off the world cup and somehow managed to dodge any blame for the games afterwards with the general public.

Woodward was never a great coach but he was an excellent manager who at his best was good at getting the right people around him and facilitating. Not everything he tried worked but enough did, and that coupled with some excellent talent delivered the RWC. I think one way of reading what happened next is that he started thinking the RWC was all about his coaching rather than an ensemble effort. He didn't achieve anything significant post RWC.

So yes Jones is a far superior coach, but that isn't everything.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 08 Feb 2021, 4:16 pm

Just seen a stat...

Lawrence has played 4 times for England and received the ball 12 times...

Wow..thats shocking.

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Post by eirebilly Mon 08 Feb 2021, 4:20 pm

That is actually quite tragic GeordieFalcon.

Its criminal that such a talent is not really given the chance by his 10's.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 08 Feb 2021, 4:27 pm

Its a poor stat Eire...thats for sure.

Tactics are not right, players dont look right...Farrell is shot, Billy is shot....etc etc

Take them out of the system let them get their mojo back. Meanwhile give others who deserve the chance a shot....and if they are playing better, then Farrell etc dont get back in.


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Post by doctor_grey Mon 08 Feb 2021, 4:51 pm

I don't think we can change the squad for the rest of the Six Nations unless there are injuries. So we need to make the best from what we have. It's a good thing almost all of us agree the back row should be Willis, Curry, and Earl. Ford at 10? Lawrence at 12, Slade at 13. Malins at 15. Odogwu on the bench? Who is the 9?

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Post by Mr Bounce Mon 08 Feb 2021, 5:03 pm

Doc I would give Randall the chance. Youngs is clearly not right. If Jones doesn't select Randall why is he even in the senior squad??

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Post by king_carlos Mon 08 Feb 2021, 7:15 pm

I might be alone here but I'd be happier with Farrell over Slade in the midfield. Slade has been very inconsistent and only shown much in attack behind a dominant pack when partnered with Tuilagi. On ANC form I thought JJ showed he's still a better player if we want experience and an excellent defensive leader, which Slade has also done well to be faiir. I'd be happy with Marchant getting chances ahead of both though.

I'd still be interested seeing Daly at 13. When England have played well under Jones his attacking play has been important but clearly he isn't the long term solution at 15 defensively. That said I'd put Daly in the category of being the least of England's problems at the weekend. He largely dealt with Hogg's outstanding kicking as well as he could with one take right on the touchline and 50 metre return kick with no angle an excellent bit of play. It's easy to say he should have done better as first up tackler in Duhan's try but the bloke is a freak in contact and I honestly wouldn't back any of England's back three players bar Nowell to stop him first up there. I certainly don't think Malins would have stopped him.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:15 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:Doc I would give Randall the chance. Youngs is clearly not right. If Jones doesn't select Randall why is he even in the senior squad??
Good point. I agree, give him a run. To have him feeding Farrell would make no sense, has got to be Ford at 10. I also like the idea of Slade at 12, Lawrence at 13.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 09 Feb 2021, 3:16 am

https://mobile.twitter.com/Toolan82/status/1358215455756804096/photo/1

A good capture of the most frustrating moment in the game for me. Scotland still down to 14 men, England had scored before half-time to bring the deficit down to 2 points despite playing so poorly. That's a 7 on 3 with the ball in our 10s hands, both centres running lines off him and the entire back three lined up outside them. The ball was grubbered straight to Hogg who pumped a good kick back into our half. Completely lacking in ambition.

Lawrence I especially feel for there. Slade has fixed Redpath and Maitland has his back to Lawrence who is running a really good line with a defender not even looking his way.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 09 Feb 2021, 7:20 am

Yes I remember shouting at the TV at that point. Just the refusal to even look at what was in front of him before putting in an awful kick. Unacceptable at amateur level.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 09 Feb 2021, 7:24 am

Mr Bounce wrote:Doc I would give Randall the chance. Youngs is clearly not right. If Jones doesn't select Randall why is he even in the senior squad??

How else is Eddie going to coach the attacking instincts out of him? 

I hope after seeing how Robson floundered at international level that maybe Youngs might get some respect for his level of reliability. He was also the only player to try and inject anything like pace into our attack in the first half. Just a shame it seemed to be coached out of him at half time.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 09 Feb 2021, 7:44 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Yes I remember shouting at the TV at that point. Just the refusal to even look at what was in front of him before putting in an awful kick. Unacceptable at amateur level.
That was you?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 7:47 am

Youngs is reliable. You know exactly what you're going to get.

I wonder how jones is going to approach 8. Universally seen that vunipola was dreadful but with no out and out 8 available. Wilson's only good game has come from that position, curry has covered for the majority when billy isnt there but struggled come the scrum vs France most notably. Earl has played there alot for both bristol and saracens and willis covers regularly for wasps in the latter stages of games.

Seems logical to me that if you're going to play without the ball so much the benefit of vunipola is diminished anyway. Why not get 2 opensides and a blindside who turns the ball over more than anyone else on the pitch at the same time? Personally I like a big ball carrying 8 but without Dombrandt as an option or the smaller but impactful Simmonds the cupboard is a bit bare.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 8:01 am

Ps I'm intrigued to know what stats they use in training. They must have looked at vunipolas and seen at least just under his normal baseline? Looked well off to me just watching the game though. Jones does answer the questions without ever answering the questions though so guess we'll have to wait for a bt sport deep dive on them.

Quotes from the guardian from vunipola: “We are honest with each other and once you have that basis of honesty you can move on and improve,” he said. “We’ve only got a week to do it but that’s probably the best thing for us. I know Eddie’s taken a lot of the flak but it’s on us players to go out and perform and we didn’t.

“I take a lot of the blame because a lot of my work is helping put the team on the front foot and I didn’t do that. That’s part of many things that make the team click and it just didn’t happen. I just didn’t put myself in the right positions. I’ll look at it and see where I can help the team achieve more. This happened last year but we managed to pull it back. It’s massive on all of us to get around each other and make sure whatever we have to fix we do it as soon as possible.”

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 8:31 am

king_carlos wrote:https://mobile.twitter.com/Toolan82/status/1358215455756804096/photo/1

A good capture of the most frustrating moment in the game for me. Scotland still down to 14 men, England had scored before half-time to bring the deficit down to 2 points despite playing so poorly. That's a 7 on 3 with the ball in our 10s hands, both centres running lines off him and the entire back three lined up outside them. The ball was grubbered straight to Hogg who pumped a good kick back into our half. Completely lacking in ambition.

Lawrence I especially feel for there. Slade has fixed Redpath and Maitland has his back to Lawrence who is running a really good line with a defender not even looking his way.

Im not the biggest Farrell fan at all...for many reasons...but i fairness to him, i think normally he would set that move away...

I honestly think the lad is mentally shot. I think he needs a time out to just refresh and i think Jones, needs to give him that time.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 8:33 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:

Wilson's only good game has come from that position, .

Give it a rest man...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 8:47 am

I like to hammer home the message for those of you at the back Geordie.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 09 Feb 2021, 8:55 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Ps I'm intrigued to know what stats they use in training. They must have looked at vunipolas and seen at least just under his normal baseline? Looked well off to me just watching the game though. Jones does answer the questions without ever answering the questions though so guess we'll have to wait for a bt sport deep dive on them.
There are so many different types of analytics used. It can become easy to get lost in the data. But Billy failed the 'eye test' against Scotland and before that Ealing. So regardless which types of analytics helped Eddie decide Billy V. could play well, he may have forgotten the most important one of all.

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Post by Gooseberry Tue 09 Feb 2021, 8:55 am

Given Wilson was the first guy pulled off I think its pretty unlikely he's going to be top of the "solutions" list.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 09 Feb 2021, 9:18 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
king_carlos wrote:https://mobile.twitter.com/Toolan82/status/1358215455756804096/photo/1

A good capture of the most frustrating moment in the game for me. Scotland still down to 14 men, England had scored before half-time to bring the deficit down to 2 points despite playing so poorly. That's a 7 on 3 with the ball in our 10s hands, both centres running lines off him and the entire back three lined up outside them. The ball was grubbered straight to Hogg who pumped a good kick back into our half. Completely lacking in ambition.

Lawrence I especially feel for there. Slade has fixed Redpath and Maitland has his back to Lawrence who is running a really good line with a defender not even looking his way.

Im not the biggest Farrell fan at all...for many reasons...but i fairness to him, i think normally he would set that move away...

I honestly think the lad is mentally shot. I think he needs a time out to just refresh and i think Jones, needs to give him that time.  

All of the Sarries players have had nothing else but rest since the extended end of last season. Training ground runouts, even matches do not give you the physical or mental sharpness needed at international level, especially against a side like Scotland. They didn't just look relatively unfit and slow, but they were always a second behind their opposite number to react. That leads to not reacting i.e. the overlap and playing what you have been told to do regardless of the situation i.e the kick.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 9:38 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:I like to hammer home the message for those of you at the back Geordie.

We get the message...you must have a little poster of Jack on your wall that you say goodnight to before you switch the light out at night. Wink

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 9:39 am

Gooseberry wrote:Given Wilson was the first guy pulled off I think its pretty unlikely he's going to be top of the "solutions" list.

Did i say he was? I was commenting on 7.5's continuous barrage of fake news about him...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 9:46 am

1. Yes Willis is the best blindside in the prem and will give us a real threat at the breakdown.
2. Fake news, a phrase created to discredit the truth. I'll take that!

Just my opinion btw geordie.i dont see him as anything more than a squad filler. As you've seen on here plenty think highly of him.

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Post by Gooseberry Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:04 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Given Wilson was the first guy pulled off I think its pretty unlikely he's going to be top of the "solutions" list.

Did i say he was? I was commenting on 7.5's continuous barrage of fake news about him...

Did I in anyway suggest that I was referring to you or had even bothered to read the other posts on here? Think you need to calm down a little and stop taking rugby/the internet/wilson so to heart.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:10 am

Fake news...a term highlighting...erm fake news...

Look, i know Marks limitations all too well. Deep down, i dont believe he should be in the squad, but i wont agree when i see comments like "he's only had one good game for England" Thats plain rubbish.

Willis may well turn in to a brilliant player for England...but lets be very clear...he has some serious competition from other top class young flankers coming through...just to make the squad!



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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:12 am

Gooseberry wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Given Wilson was the first guy pulled off I think its pretty unlikely he's going to be top of the "solutions" list.

Did i say he was? I was commenting on 7.5's continuous barrage of fake news about him...

Did I in anyway suggest that I was referring to you or had even bothered to read the other posts on here? Think you need to calm down a little and stop taking rugby/the internet/wilson so to heart.

Im perfectly calm thank you... thumbsup

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:23 am

We can bang on about the back row as much as we want but at some point the amount of pressure we've invited on to us since the world cup means they were going to crack at some point. You cannot expect the pack to keep making 20 tackles every single game, it's unsustainable and it showed on Saturday. Willis starting in place of Vunipola for instance would have increased our threat at the breakdown but you still have Tom Curry being expected to do far too much and he was pretty poor himself on Saturday. Until we stop kicking after two or three phases it will continue to happen.

Jones seems to have become obsessed with a tactic that works against Ireland and wants to persevere with it against everyone else. Ireland have their positives but the back row and fluency in attack are not among them so you can absorb the pressure, you cannot do that when you've got Hamish Watson lining up against you.

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Post by BamBam Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:23 am

Well that was an awful start to the competition, but no surprises really. Expecting the Sarries lads to be up to scratch was probably a bit too much to expect, but I'm not sure EJ will drop them

I think one of Billy / Wilson will go. I'd prefer Billy to be dropped and Wilson to move to 8 with Willis at 6, but could also see Curry moving to 8. In the backs, Farrell is still going to start regardless. Putting Ford back at 10 and dropping Slade would make the most sense to me, I can't see Farrell being dropped given he's captain.

We don't actually have that many options, and the problem with it being Italy next is that we're not going to learn that much from whoever gets the nod. Whoever we pick we'll spank Italy, but the final 3 games will be the real test. I don't want to stick with the same XV, batter Italy then get taught a lesson by France etc, we need to pick a team with a view to beating them in a month's time

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Post by demosthenes Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:36 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Yes I remember shouting at the TV at that point. Just the refusal to even look at what was in front of him before putting in an awful kick. Unacceptable at amateur level.

So did I. A strangled shout of 'why?'. And I am a Scotland supporter!

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:39 am

Eddie is going to be ringing the changes according to RUCK. Sinckler and M Vunipola to be added to the squad, no there is something nobody could have expected................. Doh

Does anybody think that the changes to the coaching set up over the last couple of years have set England back and that it was possibly the coaches that were so good and without them EJ is not so effective?
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Post by demosthenes Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:41 am

BamBam wrote:Well that was an awful start to the competition, but no surprises really. Expecting the Sarries lads to be up to scratch was probably a bit too much to expect, but I'm not sure EJ will drop them

I think one of Billy / Wilson will go. I'd prefer Billy to be dropped and Wilson to move to 8 with Willis at 6, but could also see Curry moving to 8. In the backs, Farrell is still going to start regardless. Putting Ford back at 10 and dropping Slade would make the most sense to me, I can't see Farrell being dropped given he's captain.

We don't actually have that many options, and the problem with it being Italy next is that we're not going to learn that much from whoever gets the nod. Whoever we pick we'll spank Italy, but the final 3 games will be the real test. I don't want to stick with the same XV, batter Italy then get taught a lesson by France etc, we need to pick a team with a view to beating them in a month's time

There was one Sarries player who looked sharp and hungry. Unfortunately for England, he was wearing blue - Sean Maitland. So I think that whilst it may be a factor in their individual performances, it isnt the whole answer by a long way.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:42 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Eddie is going to be ringing the changes according to RUCK. Sinckler and M Vunipola to be added to the squad, no there is something nobody could have expected................. Doh

Does anybody think that the changes to the coaching set up over the last couple of years have set England back and that it was possibly the coaches that were so good and without them EJ is not so effective?

Wisemantel was a loss and it doesn't help that Ryles hasn't been able to start. Overall no though, think Proudfoot and in particular Mitchell have done well.

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Post by BamBam Tue 09 Feb 2021, 10:52 am

demosthenes wrote:
BamBam wrote:Well that was an awful start to the competition, but no surprises really. Expecting the Sarries lads to be up to scratch was probably a bit too much to expect, but I'm not sure EJ will drop them

I think one of Billy / Wilson will go. I'd prefer Billy to be dropped and Wilson to move to 8 with Willis at 6, but could also see Curry moving to 8. In the backs, Farrell is still going to start regardless. Putting Ford back at 10 and dropping Slade would make the most sense to me, I can't see Farrell being dropped given he's captain.

We don't actually have that many options, and the problem with it being Italy next is that we're not going to learn that much from whoever gets the nod. Whoever we pick we'll spank Italy, but the final 3 games will be the real test. I don't want to stick with the same XV, batter Italy then get taught a lesson by France etc, we need to pick a team with a view to beating them in a month's time

There was one Sarries player who looked sharp and hungry.  Unfortunately for England, he was wearing blue - Sean Maitland.  So I think that whilst it may be a factor in their individual performances, it isnt the whole answer by a long way.

That's a really good point, and one that passed me by. I guess I'm focusing more on George and Vunipola, being generous you could say that forwards need more in game conditioning than outside backs, as it was their physicality that looked lacking, while Daly wasn't atrocious.

That's being very generous though!

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Post by lostinwales Tue 09 Feb 2021, 11:02 am

Captain or no I don't think any player should get a golden pass if they are not producing.

I can see an argument for keeping the Sarries players in for what should be a decent workout/ warmup session vs Italy, but honestly, Scotland having one of those games aside, Saturday was both abject and part of a trend running through the Autumn.

England's suffocating defence and style does make us very hard to beat, but has been so one track (and so dependent on individual brilliance for tries) that such a game seems inevitable. I worry that we are so predictable that we have now been worked out.

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Post by dummy_half Tue 09 Feb 2021, 11:34 am

BamBam wrote:Well that was an awful start to the competition, but no surprises really. Expecting the Sarries lads to be up to scratch was probably a bit too much to expect, but I'm not sure EJ will drop them


I suspect the Sarries players all tested well in terms of fitness, but there's always been a difference between 'gym fitness' and match sharpness, which can only come from playing at a high intensity. Same reason it takes a player coming off a long term injury a few weeks to get up to speed (I reckon 1 week per month absence is typical).

England's kicking game plan might work well v Ireland and perhaps Wales, but the problem against Scotland is Hogg - can make serious in-roads into a defence ball in hand and has an absolute cannon of a boot (interesting that he's almost the last spiral punter), so we lose the territorial battle.

Of course daft penalties and failing to win your own line-out ball don't help get you any momentum either...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 11:37 am

West and williams drop out for the fit again vunipola and ban free sinckler.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 09 Feb 2021, 11:55 am

As an outsider the team I would pick
Not going to happen but fun to speculate

Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler
Itoje, Lawes,
Willis, Simmons, Curry
Youngs, Ford
Watson, Lawrence, Joseph, Odugwu
Malins

Bench:
For the backs I'd have Randall, Smith, Daly

Not sure about availability in the forwards but probably go with the two starting props against Scotland
Hard on the Sarries boys but Itoje apart they are not at the races

Put out a team that asks questions of the opposition not one that tries to beat them into submission

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 09 Feb 2021, 11:57 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:West and williams drop out for the fit again vunipola and ban free sinckler.

So another unfit Saracen in...nice one Eddie

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 09 Feb 2021, 12:07 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:As an outsider the team I would pick
Not going to happen but fun to speculate

Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler
Itoje, Lawes,
Willis, Simmons, Curry
Youngs, Ford
Watson, Lawrence, Joseph, Odugwu
Malins

Bench:
For the backs I'd have Randall, Smith, Daly

Not sure about availability in the forwards but probably go with the two starting props against Scotland
Hard on the Sarries boys but Itoje apart they are not at the races

Put out a team that asks questions of the opposition not one that tries to beat them into submission

We cant bring additional players in bar the ones ruled out initially so youd have to manoeuvre around Simmonds jospeh and Smith.

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