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ENGLAND vs ITALY - 13/02/21 - build up / match thread

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Post by TightHEAD Mon 08 Feb 2021, 10:58 am

First topic message reminder :

ENGLAND vs ITALY - 13/02/21

Kick off - HQ - 14:15

England need to bounce back well, good time for Italy to turn up and disrupt their plans as best they can.

Line ups

England: Daly; Watson, Slade, Farrell,May; Ford, Youngs (Mr Untouchable); M Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler, Itoje, Hill, Lawes, Curry, B Vunipola??.

Replacements: George, Genge, Stuart, Ewels, Earl, Willis, Robson, Malins.

Italy: Trulla; Sperandio, Brex, Canna, Ioane; Garbisi, Varney; Lovotti, Bigi (capt), Riccioni, Lazzaroni, Sisi, Negri, Meyer, Lamaro.

Replacements: Lucchesi, Fischetti, Zilocchi, Cannone, Ruzza, Palazzani, Allan, Mori.


Last edited by TightHEAD on Fri 12 Feb 2021, 1:39 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:17 am

miltonkeynesengland wrote:Wonderful...another flat track bully team. We'll drive Italy about and could look impressive. But when we next meet a team who can front up to us physically we'll look clueless.

Hey, another MKite and one that share my opinions as well.

7 1/2 will be pleased, Wilson out of the 23, despite being better last week than at least 5 of the other starters in the pack.
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Post by miltonkeynesengland Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:21 am

Long live the land of the concrete cows!

It's such an obsession with power. We have to learn how to cope when we can't get away with just bludgeoning teams. Or it will be back to the dark days of Borthwick captaining england when after another loss he'd explain how well we'd trained and how we'd put it right...repeat ad nauseum.


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Post by BamBam Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:21 am

Rather Wilson at 6 than Lawes any time. Lawes is a very good international lock, he might be slightly underpowered against South Africa but I'd be happy with him in the 5 shirt against every other international team. Why we keep shoehorning him in at 6 is beyond me

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Post by miltonkeynesengland Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:27 am

It's to stop us trying any genuine blind sides like Willis or Ted Hill or Dave Ewers a few years ago...I cannot think of any other legitimate reason for trying it

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Post by little_badger Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:27 am

Dropping Lawrence out of sight is incredibly harsh, the whole team were dire and no one gave him the ball!!

Can't understand why on earth we have 6 forwards on the bench, Lawes at 6 and Billy V still in the side when we need to score as many points as possible.

When has Ford, Farrell, Slade actually worked? There's no one to break the line.

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Post by Mr Bounce Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:28 am

I am massively underwhelmed by this selection. The only decent change is Cowan-Dickie for George.
We have some of the best back rows in the squad, so we will start with a lock at 6. Lawes won't let us down but why aren't Willis and Earl being given their chances??

And what's the point of having in form players in the squad (Randall and Odogwu) if they aren't going to be used.

Unfit and off form Sarries players are there because of past glories, not form. Sigh.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:42 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
miltonkeynesengland wrote:Wonderful...another flat track bully team. We'll drive Italy about and could look impressive. But when we next meet a team who can front up to us physically we'll look clueless.

Hey, another MKite and one that share my opinions as well.

7 1/2 will be pleased, Wilson out of the 23, despite being better last week than at least 5 of the other starters in the pack.

He was anonymous but I would prefer to play a flanker at 6 rather than a lock.

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Post by TightHEAD Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:44 am

We need to move on from Eddie Jones.

No progress since the RWC semi final. Quality in form young players not getting a look in.
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Post by Poorfour Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:01 pm

doctor_grey wrote:I am still having problems with some of the Saracens England players not being in shape.  First of all. don't you think players not in shape should not be selected to play for their country or dropped?  The Six Nations is not a place to play oneself back into game shape.  Secondly, I still think of Argentina in the Rugby championship last year playing really well in most of their matches after not playing for over a year.  They posted a video of them training at their homes just to stay in shape.  That is both professional and shows pride in their jersey.  Out of shape shows neither.

Well, it is (probably) a Lions year. Historically, playing Test rugby while being out of shape has been a good way to get selected by Gatland. Though maybe it only works if you're Welsh.
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Post by lostinwales Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:02 pm

Poorfour wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:I am still having problems with some of the Saracens England players not being in shape.  First of all. don't you think players not in shape should not be selected to play for their country or dropped?  The Six Nations is not a place to play oneself back into game shape.  Secondly, I still think of Argentina in the Rugby championship last year playing really well in most of their matches after not playing for over a year.  They posted a video of them training at their homes just to stay in shape.  That is both professional and shows pride in their jersey.  Out of shape shows neither.

Well, it is (probably) a Lions year. Historically, playing Test rugby while being out of shape has been a good way to get selected by Gatland. Though maybe it only works if you're Welsh.

With the Welsh I guess its easier to know what they'd look like wearing a red shirt.

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:19 pm

That team selection is bad in almost every way, the only positives being Cowan-Dickie and Ford coming in, makes you wonder quite how poorly Farrell and Billy need to play in order to get dropped. Dropping Wilson isn't a big deal but replacing him with Lawes instead of Earl or Willis is just plain weird.

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Post by hugehandoff Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:19 pm

Depressing selection, but of course it will provide much needed match practice for the Sarries contingent plus Sicnks prior to the Wales fixture.

But why oh why is he starting Youngs.....if Youngs gets injured, or is playing poorly, we will be exposed. Robson has not had enough game time and should be starting. We also know that the Ford, Farrell and Slade combo is not quite right...Lawrence needed time and the ball to see if he can be part of the answer so this is another wasted opportunity.

And Daly continues.....hope they at least use our backs this time.

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Post by nlpnlp Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:39 pm

It looks like Lawrence is being blamed by Eddie for the poor Scottish result, a trait he has shown over the years - Harrison and Burrell spring to mind, along with countless apprentices like Marcus Smith who get picked early and then drop out of sight. This won't do anythign to boost the confidence of Lawrence.

It must be depressing for players like Sam SImmonds and Alex Dombrandt who can't even get a look in. And the message to Jack Willis - in a game of little consequence I would prefer to pick a lock ahead of you because I have no faith in you.

Eddie is becoming a really negative force on anybody other than his favourite 6 or 7 players who he contineus to pick, come what may.

As has been said many times the definition of madness is doing something over and over even though it doesn't work. How many times have we tried the Ford Farrell 10/12 combo only for Ford to get dropped a few games later because it doesn't work.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:45 pm

I think we should judge Eddie at the end of the 6n.

But in reality he's got a lot to do.
Poor since the WC final...dire v Scotland at home, and now showing too much faithfulness to out of form players when we have real talented pacy replacements.

Too much criticism and he'll probably do a runner anyway...

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:46 pm

I would call the selections disappointing.  To put the most positive spin on the selections, Eddie may be wanting to get the lineup he believes is his best back to game shape and winning ways.  And, I think we all agree a coach should play the players he most believes in.  

However, at this point so many people look at out of shape players as unacceptable, being match-rusty is different.  Selecting players who seem to have hit their ceiling or are regressing is also disappointing.  Especially when younger players are available who should always be pushing the senior squad members.  

This is not just about getting the right players to attack effectively.  It is also about defending, getting turnovers, and discipline.  Against Scotland England missed 29 tackles, gave away 15 penalties, and had only 35% possession, with which they did almost nothing.  

It will be interesting to see if Eddie Jones continues with his kicking strategy or lets the players play.  For him, this is one of the crisis points of his tenure.  Over the next few weeks we will see how he navigates it.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Feb 2021, 12:55 pm

nlpnlp wrote:It looks like Lawrence is being blamed by Eddie for the poor Scottish result, a trait he has shown over the years - Harrison and Burrell spring to mind, along with countless apprentices like Marcus Smith who get picked early and then drop out of sight.  This won't do anythign to boost the confidence of Lawrence.

It must be depressing for players like Sam SImmonds and Alex Dombrandt who can't even get a look in.  And the message to Jack Willis - in a game of little consequence I would prefer to pick a lock ahead of you because I have no faith in you.

Eddie is becoming a really negative force on anybody other than his favourite 6 or 7 players who he contineus to pick, come what may.  

As has been said many times the definition of madness is doing something over and over even though it doesn't work.  How many times have we tried the Ford Farrell 10/12 combo only for Ford to get dropped a few games later because it doesn't work.

Harrison and Burrell weren't good enough for international rugby. They were selected as a bit of a try it and see and neither were up to it. Lawrence wasn't even given a chance to touch the ball though 1 carry in nearly 70 minutes whilst playing in a backline with two and a half playmakers is a horrific display of the malaise in our backline.

Ford and Farrell sort of works when Manu is fit. Manu happily runs lines all day and the general concern that he creates in a defence makes up for Farrell's non-existant running game from 12. Farrell and Slade is one of the worst centre combinations we've had, right up there with Noon and Tindall and that ilk. It doesn't work, neither player wants to make a run and challenge the defence so it's ridiculously easy just to drift and swallow up any move that makes it to the back three. We have no one to hold the defensive line and open up gaps from first phase, best we can hope for is multi-phase forward carrying creates mismatches. The bonus for this weekend is that Italy's much improved defence doesn't realign well if you can get them going backwards though the chance of a line break from England looks unlikely.

Farrell was incompetent last weekend and Robson worse. How either are selected this weekend is baffling. This is without discussing the pack.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 11 Feb 2021, 1:15 pm

As bad as the England selection feels imagine what its like being the Italy coach

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Post by lostinwales Thu 11 Feb 2021, 1:24 pm

it will most likely be an error strewn low scoring game with England never likely to lose but trying their best not to win. Italy will be all over England for most of the first half, but will fail to score. We'll just keep on kicking the ball back. Eventually We'll score some points when Italy have run themselves off their feet.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 11 Feb 2021, 2:27 pm

I do believe we have a consensus.  Apologies if I missed anyone's sentiment:
The RFU wrote:Jones said: “As always, we’ve picked what we think is our strongest 23 to try and win the game.
***********
Soul Requiem wrote:That team selection is bad in almost every way, the only positives being Cowan-Dickie and Ford coming in, makes you wonder quite how poorly Farrell and Billy need to play in order to get dropped.
BamBam wrote:Oh dear lord
No 7&1/2 wrote:That's a horrible team.
GeordieFalcon wrote:I give up.
lostinwales wrote:F**king Ford Farrell, with Slade outside.
Mr Bounce wrote:I am massively underwhelmed by this selection.
hugehandoff wrote:Depressing selection,
formerly known as Sam wrote:Farrell was incompetent last weekend and Robson worse. How either are selected this weekend is baffling. This is without discussing the pack.
AND
TightHEAD wrote:
YOUNGS, FARRELL, WTF Eddie????

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 11 Feb 2021, 2:37 pm

I mean to come back to my disappointment and qualify it from the team the forwards on the bench will get plenty of time or should do as that's the point of the 6 2 switch. Robson and Malins more likely to be held back as too early a switch places you at the risk in case of injury. It's those 2 who need the time though. I think we'll won handily and stand a great chance of topping the table but we could do that and develop those backs with a slightly different focus.

Ignore that. Forgot wales won after that performance!


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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Feb 2021, 2:38 pm

Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Post by king_carlos Thu 11 Feb 2021, 3:02 pm

I like that Cowan-Dickie is starting.

I like that Daly is presumably covering 13. It's been a long time since he played there for England and I still think it might be the best position for him if he can fit into the defensive system there.

Other than that there's not a lot I like. The Ford-Farrell-Slade midfield wont work against top sides. I struggle to think that Mako is fully fit and feel that Stuart is a bit hard done by to be benched although I'm happy that Sinckler is available again. Billy is miles from where he used to be and needs to be.

Lawrence I feel for most. He was good against Ireland last year before injury and has now been dropped for a game in which he was never able to fire a shot. I'd prefer any of Lawrence, JJ or Marchant outside of Ford-Farrell rather than Slade to provide some balance.

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Post by BamBam Thu 11 Feb 2021, 3:10 pm

Laugh brilliant doc

EJ's achieved the impossible, a consensus on a v2 thread

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 11 Feb 2021, 3:27 pm

Does anyone think Jones will release the Shackles for this one...or continue with this strict format that he has fallen on.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 11 Feb 2021, 3:38 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Does anyone think Jones will release the Shackles for this one...or continue with this strict format that he has fallen on.

Shackles. Maybe he just doesn't want anybody picked for the Lions tour (if it happens)

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Post by miltonkeynesengland Thu 11 Feb 2021, 4:13 pm

It might look like the shackles are off as I anticipate our forwards carrying denting and breaking the Italian defence enough to create holes and opportunities. Papering over the rather obvious problem of us being clueless if this doesn't work against other teams

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 11 Feb 2021, 4:43 pm

miltonkeynesengland wrote:It might look like the shackles are off as I anticipate our forwards carrying denting and breaking the Italian defence enough to create holes and opportunities. Papering over the rather obvious problem of us being clueless if this doesn't work against other teams

Spot on

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Post by lostinwales Thu 11 Feb 2021, 4:52 pm

For what its worth

Italy: Trulla; Sperandio, Brex, Canna, Ioane; Garbisi, Varney; Lovotti, Bigi (capt), Riccioni, Lazzaroni, Sisi, Negri, Meyer, Lamaro.

Replacements: Lucchesi, Fischetti, Zilocchi, Cannone, Ruzza, Palazzani, Allan, Mori.

Changes at centre (Brex coming in) and prop. Other than the anglo(and Welsh) italians I don't know much about them. Ioane looked powerful if a bit limited.


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Post by funnyExiledScot Thu 11 Feb 2021, 4:56 pm

I can only add to the consensus. The front 5 looks right, as does the back three, but everything else is a mess.

Sam Simmonds should just retire from international rugby in disgust.

England will certainly win, but I don't think Eddie is getting things right at the moment.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 11 Feb 2021, 4:56 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
miltonkeynesengland wrote:It might look like the shackles are off as I anticipate our forwards carrying denting and breaking the Italian defence enough to create holes and opportunities. Papering over the rather obvious problem of us being clueless if this doesn't work against other teams

Spot on
If Mako was spending his time off with Billy at McDonalds he won't break a piece of paper let alone the Italian defence.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Thu 11 Feb 2021, 4:57 pm

Such a pity Polledri isn't fit to play. He'd be a nightmare for that England back row.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 11 Feb 2021, 6:21 pm

Biggest shock for me in this selection was finding out Mako is only 30, and not stone. Looks 50 in both departments.

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Post by majesticimperialman Thu 11 Feb 2021, 6:35 pm

Ford-Farrell back in the fold this weekend's game. England do seem to play better when they are to gether, But why as lawrence been dropped surely he should pf  been better getting another chance. What as sam simonds got to do to get his chance, Billy Vunapola did not of a great game yet is still included. Surely there should be room for other players to be in the squad.
England are getting a bit predictable in there game play just latley.

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Post by Mr Bounce Thu 11 Feb 2021, 6:36 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Biggest shock for me in this selection was finding out Mako is only 30, and not stone. Looks 50 in both departments.

My friend and I always refer to Mako as the oldest looking 30 year old that's ever lived. His face could easily pass for a 45 year old. Give him some grey and he's in his 60s 😄

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 11 Feb 2021, 7:57 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
miltonkeynesengland wrote:It might look like the shackles are off as I anticipate our forwards carrying denting and breaking the Italian defence enough to create holes and opportunities. Papering over the rather obvious problem of us being clueless if this doesn't work against other teams

Spot on
If Mako was spending his time off with Billy at McDonalds he won't break a piece of paper let alone the Italian defence.  

He doesn't have to be.
Italy are so poor this is little more than a training session.
France beat them without getting out of 2nd gear, if England struggle in anyway they should be embarrassed.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 11 Feb 2021, 8:48 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Biggest shock for me in this selection was finding out Mako is only 30, and not stone. Looks 50 in both departments.

My friend and I always refer to Mako as the oldest looking 30 year old that's ever lived. His face could easily pass for a 45 year old. Give him some grey and he's in his 60s 😄

Probably be collecting his pension before Phil Vickery/ Joking aside Im hoping some of these chaps find their zing again, but the current situation is feeling more like the Johnson era when he couldn't bring himself to drop Borthwick no matter how stodgy England get than it does the promise of the 2017 England. It was largely the same guys playing then, hard to fathom how they have got so flat.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 11 Feb 2021, 10:28 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
miltonkeynesengland wrote:It might look like the shackles are off as I anticipate our forwards carrying denting and breaking the Italian defence enough to create holes and opportunities. Papering over the rather obvious problem of us being clueless if this doesn't work against other teams

Spot on
If Mako was spending his time off with Billy at McDonalds he won't break a piece of paper let alone the Italian defence.  

He doesn't have to be.
Italy are so poor this is little more than a training session.
France beat them without getting out of 2nd gear, if England struggle in anyway they should be embarrassed.
Embarrassment is a difficult emotion. I wouldn't be surprised Farrell will be struggling with it come Saturday evening.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:35 pm

You can't write off Italy so easily. They will test England. I don't expect them to win, but they are capable of causing damage. At the same time I am not sure how ready this version of England is to take advantage of the mistakes that Italy will inevitably make.

They fumble and the ball gets to May then its a try, but I can see some more kicking instead

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Post by Cumbrian Fri 12 Feb 2021, 7:34 am

Late to the party as ever, I'd agree with much of what I have read here.

I kind of get Eddie playing his first choice though, it is almost like he is trying to rehabilitate the team/ game plan. Mind you, for me possibly the most depressing aspect is the bench. It is a notice of intention and leaves little room for experimentation.

Let's face it, any competent team in this championship should be putting this Italy away in the first 50. Where does this team go in that situation? Eddie finally brings Malins and Willis on the field at 65 mins?

Just a side note about Robson, I heard the calls for him and (in earlier times) Simpson and was worried that he may not cut it. To me he had many of the flaws Youngs has.

I know he came on in a difficult situation last week, but he was diabolical as far as I could see (although I was fuming with our all round play at that point!).
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 12 Feb 2021, 8:37 am

Thing is with Robson is that hes still bedding in so people will ignore some issues. Clearly nervous especially that first box kick then calmed and improved. Similarly if Jones had included more guys this time like willis randall Odogwu and Malins and we stuttered there would be more understanding than the current team who should be hitting the ground running.

Let's face it Jones isnt stupid. He will have seen the issues last week as we all did. Poor kicking without assessing the options correctly. With my sensible head on with ford and farrell and a lesser extent slade there should be good communication on when theres something on so better decisons are made. I dont expect no box kicks etc but it has to be done at the right time and executed well.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 12 Feb 2021, 8:51 am

The biggest issue for me 7.5, was the clear 6 on 2 over lap that Farrell butchered.

That one incident should really be giving Eddie lots of thoughts.... school boys would get a telling off for messing that one up.

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

True enough. And it has had an impact. Ford and Farrell back together. Ford is pretty vocal on how much chat there is between the two on the pitch and how much Farrell calls opportunities. We can disagree about that choice of action of course but I think thats the reason.

To me the overall tactic of box kick limits those opportunities that we had there thus piles a little more pressure on. For me i'd have the backline getting their hands on the ball more to create more of those but Jones wants to ensure those opportunities are further up the pitch and the players simply don't f?@" up.

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Post by lostinwales Fri 12 Feb 2021, 9:25 am

It just seems so simple. Run it every time and the defence lines up one way, kick it and they'll adapt accordingly. Mix it up and its easier to create gaps.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 12 Feb 2021, 9:32 am

All teams kick ALOT. We know that.

Kick the ball, defense pushes up rapidly...territory gained...pressure the opposition to make mistakes.

The AB's pretty much won two WC's on the trot doing in. (I simplify it..)

It relies on good kicks...and good chase.

It also relies on being efficient and creative when the opportunity comes to score tries.

We're lacking a bit at the moment.


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Post by doctor_grey Fri 12 Feb 2021, 11:51 am

Interesting an article bringing up up whether Farrell had too much on his plate in the Scotland match only appears after the team selections are announced and Farrell remains in the starting XV:
https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/56026729

I think this means the criticism has gotten back to HQ and Eddie Jones.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:24 pm

I think it would have been difficult to avoid seeing the reaction to the performance.

If he is saying he played like that without any burdens...then thats an even bigger worry.
I mentioned above...but what excuse can he have for not executing a 6 on 2 correctly...?


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by doctor_grey Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:36 pm

Frankly there is no excuse for butchering a 6 on 2. He had decided to kick without looking up. But I agree, I don't think he performed like that due to increased pressure or lack of game time. And I don't think he understands the irony with what he said.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:38 pm

Do you remember where there was a train of thought that Farrell always played better at 10 with Care? And Ford always played better with the more controlling Youngs? Perhaps we just need to get back to that view. Randall and Farrell.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:51 pm

7.5 i genuinely wouldnt be concerned who plays in all honesty...IF the players appeared to play with a bit more freedom to create...make a line break etc.

Maybe we are doing them a disservice with the criticism IF (as we suspect) Eddie is playing an ultra restrictive gameplan at the moment.

When did we last see Ben Young or Ford make a line break ? is that because they are not allowed to...?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:57 pm

Youngs semi did last week.

Looking at the tries for last year youngs had his best game in years. Perhaps he'll replicate it and secure the 9 shirt for another 12 months.

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