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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 Sgt_Pooly Wed 10 Mar 2021, 4:37 am

Mr Bounce wrote:I said it before that Jonny May is not looking "right" at the moment. I for one would like to see Odogwu on the bench covering 11, 13 & 14. If May underperforms in the first half, take him off and let's see what Paolo can do. No point in having him in the squad if he's not being used. Watson can cover 15.

I'd love to see Mitchell on the bench at 9 and Malins to start with Obano on the bench in place of Genge. However I doubt very much that Eddie will make too many changes. It'll probably be the same 23. Again.

May seems to have lost a yard or two of pace over the last year and been skinned by a few of the new boys in recent months (Radwan and now LRZ), maybe he's a bit low on confidence?

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Post by mountain man Wed 10 Mar 2021, 7:26 am

king_carlos wrote:
mountain man wrote:
king_carlos wrote:Welcome mountain man. For the most part it's a cracking wee community on 606v2. Hopefully you enjoy yourself!

I'd still prefer Lawrence get a chance over Odogwu. I don't see Odogwu as a winger at international level (limited kicking game and high ball work worse than Daly) but he definitely has talent as a game breaking 13. Lawrence was strong against Ireland in the ANC before being dumped after the backline got outplayed tactically by Scotland (especially by a marvelous performance from Hogg). I'd hope both Odogwu and Lawrence get caps over the summer. If Joseph were in the squad I'd have him starting personally.

I hope Underhill is recalled though I'd probably have him on the bench with Earl starting personally.

I thought Billy had a good game against Wales after a very poor first two rounds. I think the stats showed Billy making the most metres after contact in the last round which given he's usually got two tacklers hitting him shows he is getting back to what he does well. Even if he is a blunt instrument it's been a very effective one in successful sides. His defensive game in the ANC was excellent and his running game is slowly getting back to where it once was.

Daly's drop off from his best is pretty disastrous at this stage so I really hope Malins gets a chance.

I agree Billy played well against Wales and actually when they weren't conceding penalties England played some excellent rugby. Undeniably shafted by ref and TMO but that's another story!
Odogwu as you say should be 13 for England, whether he'll get a chance though. Italy would have been perfect game and possibly may have but loss to Scots scuppered it I reckon.
Daley never has been and in my opinion never will be a 15. Have him on bench at best as wing/centre cover.

I take you are a fellow Prachett fan?
I still think Daly could be an excellent international 13. He needs club game time though which is an issue with Sarries situation. A good player though woefully out of form. On the last Lions tour only Farrell, Daly and Faletau played 80 minutes of all 3 tests so Gatland clearly rates him, if the Lions tour goes ahead it wouldn't surprise me massively if Daly makes the squad despite his dire form due to versatility and suiting the game plan - twitter might combust but I can still see it!

Yep, big Pratchett fan. Reading Guards! Guards! for the first time in a fair while just now. Right up there with my favourite Discworld novels. Mort is still top of the list for me (a strange favourite to many but I simply love that book and find it wonderful fun to read) then Guards comes in the next tier with Small Gods, Reaper Man and Wyrd Sisters all jostling for second place. Equal Rites and Witches Abroad also hold a close place in my heart. An incredible author who's work almost never fails to cheer me up, even on the darker days.

As it happens I'm just now re-reading Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad and Lord and Ladies. My favourite characters are the witches. I've got all the Discworld books from years ago and after Xmas was putting decorations back into attic and came across the bags holding them all so grabbed my favourites for yet another read. Superb.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 10 Mar 2021, 10:38 am

There wont be many changes to the starting lineup...but if they have Barnes in doing work with them...they might put in a decent performance. They're due a big one.


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Post by lostinwales Wed 10 Mar 2021, 11:03 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:There wont be many changes to the starting lineup...but if they have Barnes in doing work with them...they might put in a decent performance. They're due a big one.


For short stretches in between the inevitable penalties or handling errors they looked very good vs Wales.

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Post by Mr Bounce Wed 10 Mar 2021, 4:54 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:I said it before that Jonny May is not looking "right" at the moment. I for one would like to see Odogwu on the bench covering 11, 13 & 14. If May underperforms in the first half, take him off and let's see what Paolo can do. No point in having him in the squad if he's not being used. Watson can cover 15.

I'd love to see Mitchell on the bench at 9 and Malins to start with Obano on the bench in place of Genge. However I doubt very much that Eddie will make too many changes. It'll probably be the same 23. Again.

May seems to have lost a yard or two of pace over the last year and been skinned by a few of the new boys in recent months (Radwan and now LRZ), maybe he's a bit low on confidence?

My point exactly - he's looked out of sorts and is definitely a confidence player. Surely Daly should have a "rest" though. Malins at 15 and Paolo on the bench at 23.

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Post by Armchairexpert Wed 10 Mar 2021, 9:24 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
whatahitson wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Is he was in then england would play slightly differently, he's already proved he can play at this level after all. Jones made the decision to go with these players and this style, it doesnt mean if and when we start others that style will persist.

Its moot for this tournament though as there are restrictions on call ups.

Eddie will not pick Simmonds, he's had a look at him and he's been discarded. For whatever reason (see above), he doesn't just fancy him.

He's not really a number 8 that's why. Exeter play a different back row to just about any other team. Simmonds is more of an old style openside flanker than anything else.

In attack with his link play, pace and eye for a gap. In defence not so much. He can compete for the ball but you couldn't compare him to Back or Hill could you. He could play the old 6.5 role that Robshaw and Haskell did but with much more speed. A Simmonds and Curry flank combination would work but Eddie's style of aggressive defence does suit Earl and Underhill more.

Of course if Eddie opts for Ted Hill or George Martin at 6 then they'd be space at 8 for Simmonds. Would give the lineout three good jumpers as well.


I think SS is the perfect hybrid player, have him as 6th “finisher” looking like a 6/2 bench but actually coming off the bench to replace the 12 and swapping roles with Billy at 8 to make attacking plays off scrums with Billy in the line as they do off line outs. Eg BV standing directly behind the scrum and running at pace left or right with SS to pick up, link up or go the other way, horrible to defend against. Guess Eddie sort of earmarked Ben Earls for that sort of role but think SS would be better.

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Post by Armchairexpert Wed 10 Mar 2021, 9:28 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:I said it before that Jonny May is not looking "right" at the moment. I for one would like to see Odogwu on the bench covering 11, 13 & 14. If May underperforms in the first half, take him off and let's see what Paolo can do. No point in having him in the squad if he's not being used. Watson can cover 15.

I'd love to see Mitchell on the bench at 9 and Malins to start with Obano on the bench in place of Genge. However I doubt very much that Eddie will make too many changes. It'll probably be the same 23. Again.

May seems to have lost a yard or two of pace over the last year and been skinned by a few of the new boys in recent months (Radwan and now LRZ), maybe he's a bit low on confidence?

My point exactly - he's looked out of sorts and is definitely a confidence player. Surely Daly should have a "rest" though. Malins at 15 and Paolo on the bench at 23.

The sad thing is that having played 3 games with out of sorts Sarries players through lack of game time, the option of bringing in PO with zero game time in about 6 weeks and MM or OL with very little, is not going to do them any favors at all.

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Post by Mr Bounce Wed 10 Mar 2021, 11:13 pm

Very true, but Daly should not be starting.

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 7:32 am

I listened to rugby weekly podcast and Eddie Jones was guest on it and from what I could tell he won't be picking anyone new unfortunately.
Chris Jones tried to bring into conversation S Simmonds etc but Eddie wouldn't bite.
I guess we'll know today what team it'll be for France, I'm hoping Odogwu at least on bench along with Malins (who should be starting 15) but somehow doubt it. As for likes of Marcus Smith, Dombrandt etc there seems no chance at moment. Eddie Jones said ideally at a RWC the team has average age of around 28 with 40 caps plus. Seems unlikely then if he's not picking Smith, Simmonds etc now that there'd get 40 caps by RWC 2023.
I'm desperately afraid for next few years it'll be Youngs at 9, Billy at 8, Daley at 15 with Farrell 10/12. Basically what there is now. And it ain't working!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:36 am

Never can tell with Jones. I consistently guess wrong in his selections. I'd wholeheartedly agree that Daly needs taking out of the firing line if only for his own benefit, and even if that just means moving him to the wing and dropping Watson back to full back.

Youngs place is secure for another 12 months as he had a good game against Wales. Coming back to Jones, its odd in a way as he could have introduced more players, simply said there will be some bedding in period and results will be iffy and he would be getting much less abuse/attention. I've said that France to me was always the game they were targeting and taking the risk at starting slow which didn't pay off for Scotland. There are a couple of areas which I think will prove good questions to the coaches: who starts at blindside flanker, whether Mitchell makes the bench, whether 1 or both Lawrence and Odogwu find themselves in the match day squad and who starts at full back.

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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:39 am

Once a coach starts picking his team to appease the media and 'give himself time', he's done. Finito. Time to pack up and go home.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:45 am

whatahitson wrote:Once a coach starts picking his team to appease the media and 'give himself time', he's done. Finito. Time to pack up and go home.

Thats how Stuart Lancaster got the job

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:50 am

Lancaster got the job by an impressive 6 nations campaign. Still think overall he did a very good job. Looking back in hindsight his issue was the coaches around him, given they were relatively new to their jobs as well. Think there's something to be said for a range of experience, and also a good turnover for fresh ideas. it all got a bit stodgy.

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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:52 am

England lost to Wales because the lineout defence was awful. That's about it. Multiple penalties from Itoje, some from Hill and Ewels, and a weak maul defence allowed Wales to make ground just like Scotland did. Wales denied England any attacking lineouts by avoiding kicking to touch (only one English lineout from a Welsh kick).

On another day, England win that game comfortably. Same for Scotland, they never looked like scoring a try and England nearly won it at the end by charging down a drop goal. Winning those games comes down to the set piece. England don't have to worry about improving to beat the Scotlands and Wales of this world it's about learning to beat the South Africas and New Zealands. So far they've struggled without that set piece platform which will be a worry.

The backs are easy to fix though and can be rotated in close to the world cup. The tight 5 is where the real work needs to be made and so far Jonny Hill isn't up to the job (like most Exeter players Jones has tried for England). The only other concern is Farrell, he is not dealing with captaincy well and is not kicking England from the back foot in to winning positions. Everyone else in the team is fine even Daly you don't drop one of your best players if you can let them play themselves in to form. Vunipola has shown that. Neither Simmonds brother is good enough for England IMO. It's pointless even discussing them just like so many Exeter players (great club, but greater than the sum of its parts).

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:56 am

Lineout defence comes down to Lawes, Kruis and Launchbury being missing. Lawes is very good at disrupting opposition ball even if they still maintain, messy ball makes it very difficult to set up the drive while Launchbury is very good at maul defence almost through sheer bulk, you then have Kruis who is a hybrid of the two.

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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:56 am

Gooseberry wrote:
whatahitson wrote:Once a coach starts picking his team to appease the media and 'give himself time', he's done. Finito. Time to pack up and go home.

Thats how Stuart Lancaster got the job

Yes and the different ways England players speak about Lancaster and Jones says it all. One is a winner, one is a decent coach. Lancaster's insistence on fitness so England could play 'like the All Blacks' smacks of a mindset unduly influenced by the media. Same goes for Robshaw and his lineout call after what happened against South Africa a few years earlier. Lancaster just proves the point. He lost sight of what mattered, if he ever really had it. Underpowering the England pack so Fiji pushed us off our own scrum ball, in the first game of a world cup, at HQ? Unforgivable.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:58 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Never can tell with Jones. I consistently guess wrong in his selections. I'd wholeheartedly agree that Daly needs taking out of the firing line if only for his own benefit, and even if that just means moving him to the wing and dropping Watson back to full back.

Youngs place is secure for another 12 months as he had a good game against Wales. Coming back to Jones, its odd in a way as he could have introduced more players, simply said there will be some bedding in period and results will be iffy and he would be getting much less abuse/attention. I've said that France to me was always the game they were targeting and taking the risk at starting slow which didn't pay off for Scotland. There are a couple of areas which I think will prove good questions to the coaches: who starts at blindside flanker, whether Mitchell makes the bench, whether 1 or both Lawrence and Odogwu find themselves in the match day squad and who starts at full back.

Yeah he does surprise sometimes with some really really left field selections out of nowhere (George Martin the latest), whilst also retaining players when theres a natural opportunity to evolve the squad (early autumn games). He also does change his mind on players, famously Farrell who wasnt initially in his core plans and possibly benefitted from Tuilagi being unavailable for his first six nations. The internet rage inducing ignoring of premiership form players (Simmonds currently). Other times its picking the less obvious option, like Wilson this tournament. Then sometimes what he says in the media (forwards at centre, Curry as a scrum half) just doesn't translate to selections

Theres media talk today of the pack being "shaken up". Hard to know what that really means, especially given the constraints of the current squad. May at flanker? Is it just Jones trolling again?

Whatever the picks are there will be plenty of sausages ready to tear it down if they dont win with a convincing performance. We haven't really seen one of those since the world cup semi final, some good spells but not a game where they've looked comfortable and consistently delivering their apparent plan/executing basic skills. Whoever gets picked I just want to see England play close to the potential of those players.

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:58 am

whatahitson wrote:Once a coach starts picking his team to appease the media and 'give himself time', he's done. Finito. Time to pack up and go home.

True however if England were winning all games then no issue. Now they are not and so calls from fans and media for change will only get louder and more insistent. Last year England didn't play well BUT they won 6N and ANC so papered over cracks somewhat. This year two losses against teams they could/should have beaten and it's not looking good. It's quite possible England will lose against France and Ireland, leaving them 5th in 6N with solitary win against Italy. What then?
As for his "left field" selections, eg Martin who got in match day squad but not played. Does anyone really think he is best flanker available? You wonder what do likes of Simmonds and Dombrandt think when they see this. Yes they are 8s but should be in before Martin.


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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:59 am

Soul Requiem wrote:Lineout defence comes down to Lawes, Kruis and Launchbury being missing. Lawes is very good at disrupting opposition ball even if they still maintain, messy ball makes it very difficult to set up the drive while Launchbury is very good at maul defence almost through sheer bulk, you then have Kruis who is a hybrid of the two.

Yes Lawes made a clear difference when he came on and turned the territorial game in England's favour. For all of Scotland's dominance England could have stolen a win in the last 10 minutes of that match but the whole team has the look of a side that isn't in top shape for obvious reasons. I'm not concerned, those are easy problems to fix. I would have Lawes starting for England but I can see why he doesn't as he adds so much impact from the bench. Either way I've not been impressed by Hill so far.

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:05 am

whatahitson wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:Lineout defence comes down to Lawes, Kruis and Launchbury being missing. Lawes is very good at disrupting opposition ball even if they still maintain, messy ball makes it very difficult to set up the drive while Launchbury is very good at maul defence almost through sheer bulk, you then have Kruis who is a hybrid of the two.

Yes Lawes made a clear difference when he came on and turned the territorial game in England's favour. For all of Scotland's dominance England could have stolen a win in the last 10 minutes of that match but the whole team has the look of a side that isn't in top shape for obvious reasons. I'm not concerned, those are easy problems to fix. I would have Lawes starting for England but I can see why he doesn't as he adds so much impact from the bench. Either way I've not been impressed by Hill so far.

Agree, Johnny Hill very underwhelming so far and THAT penalty last game summed up England! Trouble is Lawes out for 6N, Kruis gone, Launchbury injured. Not been overly impressed with Ewels so far either in 2nd row. Itoje superb as ever despite pens against him. I hope he doesn't change a bit, keep playing on edge.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:12 am

mountain man wrote:
whatahitson wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:Lineout defence comes down to Lawes, Kruis and Launchbury being missing. Lawes is very good at disrupting opposition ball even if they still maintain, messy ball makes it very difficult to set up the drive while Launchbury is very good at maul defence almost through sheer bulk, you then have Kruis who is a hybrid of the two.

Yes Lawes made a clear difference when he came on and turned the territorial game in England's favour. For all of Scotland's dominance England could have stolen a win in the last 10 minutes of that match but the whole team has the look of a side that isn't in top shape for obvious reasons. I'm not concerned, those are easy problems to fix. I would have Lawes starting for England but I can see why he doesn't as he adds so much impact from the bench. Either way I've not been impressed by Hill so far.

Agree, Johnny Hill very underwhelming so far and THAT penalty last game summed up England! Trouble is Lawes out for 6N, Kruis gone, Launchbury injured. Not been overly impressed with Ewels so far either in 2nd row. Itoje superb as ever despite pens against him. I hope he doesn't change a bit, keep playing on edge.

Don't know what's going on with Johnny Hill. He's been colossal for Exeter for the last couple of years but he just doesn't seem to be able to settle into the game at international level. Really disappointed because I thought he'd be an ideal partner for Itoje.

Ewels is steady and just meh. Good at most things, exceptional at nothing. I'd hoped we'd have at least taken a gamble and thrown young George Martin on, he's far from the finished article but he loves to carry and tackle as well as being far more mobile. Could have been what we needed as we tired if not it would have at least been valuable experience.

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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:16 am

mountain man wrote:
whatahitson wrote:Once a coach starts picking his team to appease the media and 'give himself time', he's done. Finito. Time to pack up and go home.

True however if England were winning all games then no issue. Now they are not and so calls from fans and media for change will only get louder and more insistent. Last year England didn't play well BUT they won 6N and ANC so papered over cracks somewhat. This year two losses against teams they could/should have beaten and it's not looking good. It's quite possible England will lose against France and Ireland, leaving them 5th in 6N with solitary win against Italy. What then?

People were still complaining when England were 2 trophies from 2 in 2020 so I'm not sure that losing is the real issue. The media and some fans just love to complain it's that simple really. Some people think the 'next step' for England is to start playing more attractive rugby like the All Blacks because they came second in a world cup. It isn't. It's to keep playing in a way that suits England and Eddie Jones has done that better than any England coach in the professional era. Probably the amateur one as well thinking about it. An aggressive pack and a varied kicking kicking game in open play are the two areas where England can dominate opposition in most eras, not just this. Jones recognised that which is why shielding and blocking was one of the first things he introduced in to the kick chase. The same goes for the counter ruck and eventually the dominant tackles.

The reason Australia and New Zealand are so good is not just their skills it's the fact they have a minimum of 5 Pacific Islanders in their team who can crash the ball up and take out 2-3 defenders at once, make linebreaks, or create space for others. Go back to the world cup and watch Fiji play Australia or Wales and you can see why, individually, these players are huge assets to any tier 1 nation. We know how good England are with Tuilagi and how much worse they are without him. Is Lawrence his replacement? Maybe, I'm not sure. Either way Jones isn't stupid he knows he will need more powerful carriers who will be fit to play in semi finals and finals of world cups but Lawrence and every other player discussed becomes far better in their absence than they actually are. This is why picking them to avoid 'abuse' from fans (I mean, really) is the end for a coach and he may as well not bother.

I think he's told all of us the truth of the situation this week: he cannot control the flow of talent in England and the players coming through are not good enough. I tend to agree no one can replace Tuilagi and Simmonds etc are not better than the incumbents. The Lancaster model of chopping and changing didn't work. Too many players capped, not enough consistency or quality. Jones has capped 10 new players since the world cup in a range of positions that's good squad development all things considered. Hill and Furbank were or are being given first team chances as well (Furbank failed to take his opportunity).

So what if England come 5th? Honestly it wouldn't matter all that much. This team and coach has been there, done it, and has far bigger concerns than winning another 6 nations by bringing forward plans and players for 2023. If England win the world cup will you really be complaining if they come 5th this year?

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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:22 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
mountain man wrote:
whatahitson wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:Lineout defence comes down to Lawes, Kruis and Launchbury being missing. Lawes is very good at disrupting opposition ball even if they still maintain, messy ball makes it very difficult to set up the drive while Launchbury is very good at maul defence almost through sheer bulk, you then have Kruis who is a hybrid of the two.

Yes Lawes made a clear difference when he came on and turned the territorial game in England's favour. For all of Scotland's dominance England could have stolen a win in the last 10 minutes of that match but the whole team has the look of a side that isn't in top shape for obvious reasons. I'm not concerned, those are easy problems to fix. I would have Lawes starting for England but I can see why he doesn't as he adds so much impact from the bench. Either way I've not been impressed by Hill so far.

Agree, Johnny Hill very underwhelming so far and THAT penalty last game summed up England! Trouble is Lawes out for 6N, Kruis gone, Launchbury injured. Not been overly impressed with Ewels so far either in 2nd row. Itoje superb as ever despite pens against him. I hope he doesn't change a bit, keep playing on edge.

Don't know what's going on with Johnny Hill. He's been colossal for Exeter for the last couple of years but he just doesn't seem to be able to settle into the game at international level. Really disappointed because I thought he'd be an ideal partner for Itoje.

Simple: there's a big difference between being an important cog in a great club and being a good test rugby player. Hill might still make it, Jones is giving him a chance, but he's not replacing Kruis as it stands. He's not the only Exeter player to suffer the same fate. Ben Moon, Don Armand, Matt Kvesic (or was he at Gloucester or Worcester when he went on tour?), to a lesser extent Harry Williams, Sam Simmonds. Slade, Nowell, and Luke Cowan Dickie have all stepped up. Exeter has clearly made Hogg and Gray better rugby players. But they've also made Championship players in to European champions. Take a player out of his comfort zone and you see what they're really about (cough, James Ryan, cough). I actually think Jonny Hill could make it in to an England world cup squad but so far he's not doing the business.

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:27 am

Trouble is he bloods new players who aren't the best available. Furbank was frankly hopeless with England, Hill not much better. It's either England set up/coaching or players not up to it.
Yes play the "English" way but for Gods sake if plan A isn't working change it! Undoubtedly Tuilagi biggest absence but England cannot rely on just one player and certainly not one with injury issues. He played Lawrence against Scotland, he got the ball what twice then dropped out of squad altogether. Simmonds, Dombrandt, Marcus Smith etc may or may not be better than incumbents but if they are not given chance how will we ever know. It's not like Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Billy have been playing well is it. Yes better in parts against Wales but we lost!

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Post by whatahitson Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:49 am

mountain man wrote:Trouble is he bloods new players who aren't the best available. Furbank was frankly hopeless with England, Hill not much better. It's either England set up/coaching or players not up to it.
Yes play the "English" way but for Gods sake if plan A isn't working change it! Undoubtedly Tuilagi biggest absence but England cannot rely on just one player and certainly not one with injury issues. He played Lawrence against Scotland, he got the ball what twice then dropped out of squad altogether. Simmonds, Dombrandt, Marcus Smith etc may or may not be better than incumbents but if they are not given chance how will we ever know. It's not like Youngs, Ford, Farrell, Billy have been playing well is it. Yes better in parts against Wales but we lost!

I get the impression that the competitiveness and elite atmosphere of being an England player under Eddie Jones is worth the price of not capping the 'next cab off the rank' from the Premiership. Furbank is a good example why trying certain players like Simmonds (either brother) based on club form may be a waste of the precious test match minutes a coach can hand out before a rugby world cup. Full back is a unique problem position (unlike back row) so it was worth trying Furbank. It means a lot more to play for England now given how difficult it is to get a cap. Being a good Premiership player isn't good enough which is true, it isn't.

Think of it this way. You can be a team of players who are used to being big fish in a medium sized pond but what happens when you need them to be big fish in a huge pond? That's what test rugby is. I'll use a football example. Manchester United under Alex Ferguson knew how to win the English title and dominated domestic football for nearly 30 years. That was their pond. But they didn't do well in European football considering their dominance. On the other hand, a club like Liverpool was often a lot worse than Man Utd in the English pond, but for whatever reason they had a team that has always been able to punch above its weight in the European pond (this metaphor is dragging!).

What does this mean to rugby and England? Well, if you just pick based on the English Premiership, as a coach like Lancaster did, you're not judging them based on their ability to step up to test match rugby. Anyone who's honest can tell that Joe Simmonds isn't going to be a world cup winning 10. It's just not going to happen. There's no point trying him other than maybe on a development tour to really see what he's got up close (and maybe that is the only time you pick someone to 'shut the media up'). Harry Randall on the other hand has talents that look like he could step up. We'll have to wait and see.

For my money, Smith and Dombrandt can become test match players if they work hard and take their England chance when handed it (they will get it eventually). Sam Simmonds is a good player but he's not what England need, and Joe Simmonds isn't in Ford or Farrell's league.

For what it's worth I thought the few moments Lawrence had he looked poor and even clumsy but you can't read too much in to that he will deserve another chance. As for plan B, I don't think that's really how rugby works anymore. It's about trying to manage the game and try your best to implement what you've trained in the week (and for months/years before that) by forcing the opposition to play in a way that suits you and minimises their strengths. England did that to perfection against NZ and the All Blacks played in to England's hands by trying to run practically everything from deep. Then England lost their heads and did a similar thing a week later v South Africa.

I don't think the England way needs an overhaul: a big start, use the kick off as a planned phase play opportunity for an early try, make ground by kicking long and using the pace of May/wingers to win ground/possession/tries from kicks, dominate the lineout and use it as the main attacking platform, dominate the tackle area and smash the attack to halt their progress with powerful flankers, aggressive counter ruck, after the fast start slow down the game where possible (penalties if necessary) to limit ball in play time and maximise fast twitch style of play. That's basically the England gameplan and it has been since day one under Eddie Jones. I don't think they need to add 'trying to play like Fiji' in to the mix, personally, as a 'plan B'. I can't really see how England can add a plan B. They have the Ford/Farrell option at 10. That seems like the plan B to me?


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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:02 am

Agree Joe Simmonds not answer but M Smith is. Randall hopefully will get a chance as England desperately need a 9. Sorry but Youngs time is up, he'll have 1 game in 4 that's good but that's not enough. Robson was good against Italy but that was Italy. When he came on against Scotland he was lost. Ben Spencer deserves a go.
Daley never has been nor ever will be a good 15 let alone International one. Malins or Watson should be there. Maybe keep Daley on bench as cover for centre/wing.

Is Joe Cokinsinga injured? He's another who's dropped off radar completely. May on one wing Joe C on other, blend of pace and power with Watson at 15 and Malins on bench.

Even if England win next two games with same 28 as currently in it's hardly building for future.

May have to stop, I'm boring myself now banging same drum...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:15 am

Alot will depend on if the USA / Canada Summer tour goes ahead if we see the like of Marcus Smith, Dombrandt, Odogwu etc getting games....

Nothing will change in the next two games.

How will people feel if we smash the next to games off the park and put 30 points + on france etc..?

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:25 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Alot will depend on if the USA / Canada Summer tour goes ahead if we see the like of Marcus Smith, Dombrandt, Odogwu etc getting games....

Nothing will change in the next two games.

How will people feel if we smash the next to games off the park and put 30 points + on france etc..?

Happy for win but I and 99% of other fans will know it's just papering over cracks. And there's no chance England will put 30+ on France.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:26 am

Or are England just very unfit..not match fit which makes it look so much worse...and in reality only need to fix 1 or two positions...maybe 3

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:38 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Or are England just very unfit..not match fit which makes it look so much worse...and in reality only need to fix 1 or two positions...maybe 3

Absolutely no excuse not to be 100% fit. They've now had 3 games and been in camp for weeks so should now be peak condition. Against Scots several players looked way off (Saracens except for Itoje) but now should be fully match fit, no excuses.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:39 am

Can you realistically maintain a peak over 7 weeks?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:43 am

mountain man wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Or are England just very unfit..not match fit which makes it look so much worse...and in reality only need to fix 1 or two positions...maybe 3

Absolutely no excuse not to be 100% fit. They've now had 3 games and been in camp for weeks so should now be peak condition. Against Scots several players looked way off (Saracens except for Itoje) but now should be fully match fit, no excuses.

And everyones clearly said...take away the ref, and Englands own penalty issues...they actually played well...better than the first 2.

So they are gaining fitness and getting better.

Do i expect an improvement against v France...funnily enough i actually do. But i still expect the 2-3 positions i want changed, will still prove to be issues. Ie...Daly at 15, and a heavy duty carrier in the backs.


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:49 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Can you realistically maintain a peak over 7 weeks?
In my experience it becomes harder for many, though not all, athletes to maintain peak athletic fitness the older they get and with more games played.  And, I think Rugby more than any other contact sport is a marathon not a sprint.  Not sure every team manages their players that way.

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Post by BamBam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:55 am

Should the team be named today?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 10:57 am

later game on Saturday so it'll be 12 at the latest.

DR, as an aside to the physical peak aspect of it there will naturally be more of a focus on analytics and training to those points for a team which you see as the most important. I always think of England footy team in Euro 96. Venables was pretty open in the view he felt that Holland would be a main threat at the tournament and spent longer deconstructing them. Resulting in the best performance.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:01 am


15 malins
1 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 49 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 91 caps) (C)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 64 caps)
10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 75 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 107 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 65 caps)
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 42 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 46 caps)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 19 caps)
6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 21 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 31 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 59 caps)

FINISHERS
16. Jamie George (Saracens, 57 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 26 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
19. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 11 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 10 caps)
22. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 4 caps)
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 50 caps)


Last edited by No 7&1/2 on Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:02 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by BamBam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:02 am

Thanks 7.5

Can’t be bothered to start a new thread but CVC have completed their acquisition of 14% of the 6N

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/56359501

Prepare for much whinging about the split of the cash

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Post by MichaelT Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:03 am

How is Wilson still in the team? Apart from that - as good as could have hoped for really.

England: Malins; Watson, Slade, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler, Itoje, Ewels, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: George, Genge, Stuart, Hill, Earl, Robson, Lawrence, Daly.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:04 am

I prefer that to the recent choices. Still have a plodding back row but Malins is in. Don't expect him to be that defensively good but no worse than Daly. He will be better in attack.

Nice to see Lawrence back.

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Post by BamBam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:06 am

Clearly doesn't see Earl as a starting option which is a shame. Lawrence back is good if he gets some time on the pitch. Also glad to see LCD starting over George, he's looked a lot better to me, but makes the decision to drop Hill slightly strange

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Post by Mr Bounce Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:07 am

Malins & Cowan Dickie start! YES!

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Post by mountain man Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:09 am

Well it's a start I suppose, glad to see Malins at 15 and Daley finally on bench! No Odogwu though, Lawrence now back in on bench. A 5/3 bench split which is interesting.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:14 am

mountain man wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Or are England just very unfit..not match fit which makes it look so much worse...and in reality only need to fix 1 or two positions...maybe 3

Absolutely no excuse not to be 100% fit. They've now had 3 games and been in camp for weeks so should now be peak condition. Against Scots several players looked way off (Saracens except for Itoje) but now should be fully match fit, no excuses.

There's a difference between fitness and match sharpness. Most of the players pre the Scotland game had played at most two games for their clubs since the end of the ANC. The RFU shot themselves in the foot with the money grabbing competition and then enforcing the rest periods. Two games in what two months pre tournament isn't going to do the trick. 

You are right they should be getting there now but three games in how many weeks isn't exactly getting them match hardened.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:20 am

Charlie Ewels, really? Mr Mediocre. Good job the only area the French team doesn't look exceptional is the second row.

The midfield that has looked so incompetent so far this 6N continues and you know rather than replace one of the two underperformers Farrell will get moved to 10 and Lawrence introduced for another barren spell of not touching the ball in place of Ford. FFS.

LCD deserves his move back into the starting berth. Do feel sorry for George Martin though. No one plays well in front of him and he doesn't get a minute to show what he can do before being dropped. Like poor Tom Dunn all over again.

Robson on the bench again to see if he can finally remember that he knows how to play rugby. Surely the last chance saloon before Mitchell gets a look in off the bench in the final game.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:23 am

Robson is learning from the best in front of him.

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Post by TightHEAD Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:25 am

What's the point of using BillyV to make a metre into contact only to kick the ball away in the next phase. I would rather pick a player like Simmonds to hit a gap at speed or break a half tackle and make 10, 20, 30m oh and score a try now and then!

I'm just not bothered about the next two games, if we lose both maybe Eddie will be moved on. Fingers crossed.
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:33 am

Dear lord...Ewells starts...

Ill be brutally honest...i would rather start the powerful enthusiastic young inexperienced George Martin than Ewells. At least he will be aggressive and have a go.

Lawrence back on the bench? Anyone have any idea what Jones is doing with him...?

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Post by Poorfour Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:36 am

TightHEAD wrote:What's the point of using BillyV to make a metre into contact only to kick the ball away in the next phase. I would rather pick a player like Simmonds to hit a gap at speed or break a half tackle and make 10, 20, 30m oh and score a try now and then!

I'm just not bothered about the next two games, if we lose both maybe Eddie will be moved on.  Fingers crossed.

Well, the counter argument is that at International level defences are so good that those gaps are much rarer, and you need someone like Billy to punch holes in them. Kicking the ball away is also a sound tactical choice when defences are in the ascendancy.

For what it's worth, using Billy as a battering ram worked well against Wales, when England weren't conceding penalties or being handicapped by Gauzere.
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Post by chris_501 Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:39 am

BamBam wrote:Thanks 7.5

Can’t be bothered to start a new thread but CVC have completed their acquisition of 14% of the 6N

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/56359501

Prepare for much whinging about the split of the cash

I hope this isn't coming across as a whinge, but what was the split decided on? Number of professional teams/ players within the nations?

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Post by BamBam Thu 11 Mar 2021, 11:43 am

Directly correlated to the number of nights out each union took the CVC executives on pre COVID

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