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England v Canada

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 05 Jul 2021, 12:43 pm

First topic message reminder :

Saturday 10th July, 3pm KO.

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
14. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 39 caps)
12. Dan Kelly (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
11. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 1 cap)
9. Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 1 cap)

1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 29 caps)
2. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
4. Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 22 caps)
6. Lewis Ludlow (C) (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, uncapped)

FINISHERS
16. Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks, 1 cap)
17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)
18. Paul Hill (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
19. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 9 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 13 caps)
22. George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
23. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 5 caps)


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Thu 08 Jul 2021, 11:15 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 16 Jul 2021, 11:40 am

AH yes, his leadership and the way he clearly was in charge of the team was very visible...and actual a pleasure to watch. But....he has to start producing on the pitch aswell.
Starting with the AI's!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 16 Jul 2021, 11:43 am

Genge was excellent in the world cup; things went downhill bringing Vunipola back in. Not sure that there are that many young options putting him under too much pressure either. Personally I'd have him behind Marler, or starting depending on whether Marler is available.

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Post by Poorfour Fri 16 Jul 2021, 12:00 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Genge was excellent in the world cup; things went downhill bringing Vunipola back in. Not sure that there are that many young options putting him under too much pressure either. Personally I'd have him behind Marler, or starting depending on whether Marler is available.

And that in turn depends on whether you have a helicopter available...

I think Marler himself probably views his international career as all but over - he's spoken about lacking Mako's skill set and giving way to the young pretenders, but he is still one of the top setpiece and defensive looseheads in the world. The appetite to play is still there, just not the appetite to be away from home for long periods. I can't see him wanting to spend much time in camp in the future... but I can see him answering the phone if a prop goes down at the business end of a series.

Genge looks like he is finally starting to make the adjustments needed to step up to international level, and I thought Mako scrummaged better against South Africa A than I have ever seen him do. I'm not really aware of the other pretenders, but it was interesting to see Fin Baxter convert from TH to LH this season and go very well in the U20 6N. Quins are a bit light on looseheads behind Marler right now, so I will be interested to see if Baxter gets game time next season.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 16 Jul 2021, 12:08 pm

The only loosehead close to breaking in is Obano. There's Rodd and Whitcombe who have shown promise in the Prem but are realistically at least two seasons away. Even then Whitcombe is likely to Genge's understudy so will have to push Genge out at club level first though there's few better learning opportunities than scrumming against Cole in training even if it does mean you get folded up a bit. Rodd needs to be able to scrummage as at the minute he's a bit light in that department but he is only 20.

Marler seems happier to be home with the family and I can't see him accepting a call up again. He made an exception for the world cup but that does very much feel like an exception as opposed to something that will happen again.

I can't see the selection for the next 12 months being anything other than Mako, Genge and Obano really. Well unless Tom West starts rampaging around in the loose to go with his tight game.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Fri 16 Jul 2021, 12:14 pm

Its not all about props rampaging around in the loose though Sam.

Its about doing the nitty gritty stuff first and foremost. Marler does that.

Id rather have a bruisng set piece and defending LH than a showboating Mako any day of the week.

Genge needs to be hammering that aspect in the White shirt.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 16 Jul 2021, 12:42 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Its not all about props rampaging around in the loose though Sam.

Its about doing the nitty gritty stuff first and foremost. Marler does that.

Id rather have a bruisng set piece and defending LH than a showboating Mako any day of the week.

Genge needs to be hammering that aspect in the White shirt.

Genge's work in the tight has been pretty solid. He steadied the scrum when replacing Mako in the 6N. It's the explosive nature of his game that's been the missing aspect for England.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 16 Jul 2021, 4:03 pm

Mako's one of the best defensive props I've ever seen. His chop tackling, line speed and work rate are insane. I think there's a bit of "he's good in attack so must be weak in defence" logic going on to criticise Mako defensively. It's a brush fly-halves and wings get tarred with more often than forwards. A player's good at one so let's presume he's bad at the other rugby logic.

He is undeniably a weaker scrummager than Marler and Genge but England, the Lions and Sarries have won a hell of a lot of games with him at loosehead so he's clearly not the liability some make out. The main reasons for thinking Mako's a liability seem to be Malherbe destroying him with a light England second row behind him. Malherbe has minced most the looseheads he's faced in rugby though. That monster is an incredible scrummager and tighthead in general. Sam often cites Cole usually ruining Mako when Tigers play Sarries but Cole is often a dominant scrummager so hardly that surprising.

I wouldn't have started Mako in the final against Malherbe, wouldn't start him for the Lions against Malherbe and wouldn't start him for England against Malherbe but outside of that I think he's proven enough times that his upsides outweigh the downsides. The only tighthead other than Malherbe I'd be concerned about Mako against is Furlong but even then England beat Ireland at Landsowne Road with Mako starting against Furlong.

For me Marler and Mako are still our best looseheads by clear water. I'm happy with horses for courses selection between the two depending on the opposition, form, etc. Genge is a very good 3rd choice and has developed into a terrific scrummager since working with Hatley and Stankovich but he needs to stop fading in and out of games for England and Tigers before he overtakes Marler and Mako. Those two have 72 caps apiece with years in the tank for a reason - they're quality.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 16 Jul 2021, 4:14 pm

Dunno Mako looked off the pace in the 6N. Maybe playing Prem rugby regularly again will bring him back to his best.

You're right I don't think he's a great scrummager but you're also right in that he's not a massive weakness. He's normally steady. As I said I can't forsee him falling out of the England squad anytime soon. There's no great depth of looseheads immediately knocking on the door.

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Post by Poorfour Fri 16 Jul 2021, 5:49 pm

Mako's fine defensively and is OK in the scrum but occasionally found out by the best technical tightheads (which happens more often at international level).

But I think over the last couple of years Marler's defence has been on another level entirely - it's not so much the technique but his reading of when a really massive hit is required. He made decisive hits very late in both the semi-final and final that literally changed the course of the game - and I have occasionally seen teams launch an attack down his channel and then think better of it and go somewhere else instead. All a bit moot, unless something in his head ticks over and he decides to come out of international exile again, sadly.
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Post by king_carlos Sat 17 Jul 2021, 12:52 am

Marler is a cracking player and seems to keep getting better. He's a player I've rated and been really interested by for a long time. As a rugby nerd I find transformations players such as Marler go through over their career fascinating. Early on Marler was a bullocking ball carrier who was weak at the scrum and solid but unremarkable defensively. Now he's the opposite.

The one caveat I would put on Marler's outstanding form is that it has come whilst well rested and away from international rugby. We've all known for a long time that the players just play too much rugby these days and are rarely at their best. Mako has been rushed back from injury when not match fit many times for instance. Rubbish for the team and player.

I fully expect Marler to play for England again as he's too good to stay in 'exile'. When he returns I'll be intrigued to see if his performances stay at the exceptional levels they have been at for Quins this season once he is back on the international treadmill, his body taking an absolute hammering, playing through niggles, etc etc.

Perhaps a cynical outlook but I simply don't believe the international schedule lends itself to us seeing players or teams at their best. I'm reaching the point where I'd rather a Six Nations every two years if it means the teams being nearer full strength for the tournament. It would never happen as the Six Nations props up several unions financially but from a 'purely rugby' perspective I genuinely think I'd enjoy the tournament more if it was half as often but nearer full strength.

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Post by BigTrevsbigmac Mon 19 Jul 2021, 4:59 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:The only loosehead close to breaking in is Obano. There's Rodd and Whitcombe who have shown promise in the Prem but are realistically at least two seasons away. Even then Whitcombe is likely to Genge's understudy so will have to push Genge out at club level first though there's few better learning opportunities than scrumming against Cole in training even if it does mean you get folded up a bit. Rodd needs to be able to scrummage as at the minute he's a bit light in that department but he is only 20.

Marler seems happier to be home with the family and I can't see him accepting a call up again. He made an exception for the world cup but that does very much feel like an exception as opposed to something that will happen again.

I can't see the selection for the next 12 months being anything other than Mako, Genge and Obano really. Well unless Tom West starts rampaging around in the loose to go with his tight game.

Tom West was unlucky to suffer a knee injury just prior to the summer games. He is getting better and better & certainly pushing Obano in my unbiased Wasps opinion Very Happy

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 20 Jul 2021, 9:03 am

When you look at the build of Marler back a few years and now. He was the original Baby Rhino, stampeding through all in his path, these days he is big Daddy Rhino, too big to do a lot of rampaging, but strong enough to pull down trees. I think he has to walk through doors sideways, he is to broad to go though otherwise.
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Post by Poorfour Tue 20 Jul 2021, 9:48 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:When you look at the build of Marler back a few years and now. He was the original Baby Rhino, stampeding through all in his path, these days he is big Daddy Rhino, too big to do a lot of rampaging, but strong enough to pull down trees. I think he has to walk through doors sideways, he is to broad to go though otherwise.

I wonder how he gets into a helicopter...
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 20 Jul 2021, 10:04 am

Tonga confirmed as the first AI; so its them, Aus and then South Africa. Given that start I would hope a few of the guys who sparked this summer kept the shirt rather than just draft the likes of B Vunipola back straight away.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 20 Jul 2021, 10:07 am

Poorfour wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:When you look at the build of Marler back a few years and now. He was the original Baby Rhino, stampeding through all in his path, these days he is big Daddy Rhino, too big to do a lot of rampaging, but strong enough to pull down trees. I think he has to walk through doors sideways, he is to broad to go though otherwise.

I wonder how he gets into a helicopter...

Chinook...

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 20 Jul 2021, 10:25 am

lostinwales wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:When you look at the build of Marler back a few years and now. He was the original Baby Rhino, stampeding through all in his path, these days he is big Daddy Rhino, too big to do a lot of rampaging, but strong enough to pull down trees. I think he has to walk through doors sideways, he is to broad to go though otherwise.

I wonder how he gets into a helicopter...

Chinook...

Silly thought whenever I see the name Chinook - Chingachgook especially as Marler is renown for having a mohican.
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Post by doctor_grey Tue 20 Jul 2021, 10:41 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
Poorfour wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:When you look at the build of Marler back a few years and now. He was the original Baby Rhino, stampeding through all in his path, these days he is big Daddy Rhino, too big to do a lot of rampaging, but strong enough to pull down trees. I think he has to walk through doors sideways, he is to broad to go though otherwise.

I wonder how he gets into a helicopter...

Chinook...

Silly thought whenever I see the name Chinook -  Chingachgook especially as Marler is renown for having a mohican.
Quite the literary guy, you are...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 20 Jul 2021, 11:27 am

Is Marler actually going to be available for England every game.

If hes not...then it becomes a pointless debate.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 20 Jul 2021, 12:05 pm

Looking ahead to the AI's where we have Tonga, Aus and SA....Bar the likes of Slade, Genge and (dear god why)...Ewells im not sure many from that whole sqaud will be promoted.

Marcus Smith has to...
Randall should be looked at closely aswell.

Radwan showed up well...but we already have the dillema of too many options there.

Dombrandt didnt set the world alight. Chick didnt show up at all...

Obano...meh, didnt make a statement to challenge Marler (if plays for England again) or Mako. Maybe West will once he recovers from his injury

Lawrence, meh...didnt book his starting spot.

Cokasaniga...see Radwan.

Hayes....one to work with, as is his Tigers partner Kelly

Steward would go straight in as my starting 15.

Ludlow - will never be seen of again

Ludlum should be included somewhere but has huge competition.

Genge obviously will be in the squad.....but is still a frustration for me against the big boys

Blamire might sneak a 3rd Hooker spot...but he's not really ahead of Mcguigan at us yet.

I just fear that we will continue with Farrell and Slade at 12 and 13...and despair.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 20 Jul 2021, 1:24 pm

I'd not be quite so pessimistic, GF.

I'd agree with you on the ones who put their hands up. Smith and Randall will I hope be permanently part of the squad going forward. I'd like to see Steward given a chance, especially if Daly can transition to 13 (where we already have an embarrassment of riches).

Genge showed progress towards translating his club form to international level. Blamire and Ludlam showed that they are ready to understudy the established squad members. I also hope that Eddie has another look at Kenningham in the autumn. He missed out this time because of having to self-isolate, but by 2023 I think he has the potential to be challenging Curry.

I don't think either Lawrence or Kelly stood out, but I hope that Eddie perseveres with at least one of them. We need another credible option at inside centre and they are probably closest.

As for Dombrandt, he dropped a couple of passes, which disappointed me, but if you look at his positioning and lines in attack he was bringing more to the 8 position than we've seen from the other contenders. Given Billy is a shadow of his former self and Hughes hasn't translated his club form to international level, Dommers is worth persisting with (unless Simmonds knocks it out of the park for the Lions - which hasn't happened yet). Plus if Smith starts then having an 8 who instinctively knows how to play off him will be important. We saw a little of that in the Canada game and I think it will only get better if they play together more.
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Post by lostinwales Tue 20 Jul 2021, 1:29 pm

I would hope to see Dombrandt.

It may not have been the best ever display vs Candad but he has had a cracking season overall, and seems to have become much more the hard workhorse than the show pony that some considered he used to be. Against him the obvious choices are Billy who seems to be going backwards regardless of playing or not, and Simmonds - which as we have frequently discussed may be more of a leap that Eddy will want to make.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 20 Jul 2021, 2:08 pm

Poor Four
Are you expecting to see 12 Farrell 13 Slade in the AI's.
Whats your thoughts on that?

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Post by Poorfour Tue 20 Jul 2021, 2:25 pm

I never know what to expect with Eddie - but given how often he's used Farrell at 12 it seems likely he'd continue with it. It'd be interesting to see how Farrell and Smith combine - they are both very vocal players and I am not sure how Farrell would react to having someone quite so demonstrative inside him.

13 is a bit more open. I was a bit disappointed that Marchant didn't get any game time as he has been in outstanding form and at the end of the season performed better than Slade (the incumbent in the England shirt) and Radradra (arguably the best in the world) - though admittedly playing on the wing for quite a lot of those games.
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Post by king_carlos Wed 21 Jul 2021, 12:07 am

Overall I feel quietly confident going forward. There are a lot of experienced, quality players in the squad coming into a prime age and plenty of talented youngsters. The Six Nations was largely pish but when you factor in the bubbles/covid meaning the players had practically no game time, plus key injuries it isn't overly surprising. Even in an abject tournament they still put in a strong performance against a very good France side as well.

1.Marler, Mako, Genge
2.George, LCD
3.Sinckler, Stuart, Heyes
4.Itoje, Launchbury
5.Lawes, J Hill
6.Curry, T Hill
7.Underhill, Earl, Ludlam
8.Vunipola, Simmonds

9.Randall, Youngs, Mitchell
10.Smith, Ford

11.May, Radwan
12.Farrell, Manu
13.Daly, Marchant
14.Watson, Cokanasiga
15.Nowell, Steward

If Manu is injured I'd bring Lawrence in as like for like.

If Nowell is injured then Malins would step in as fullback. I'd still pick Nowell as a 15 ahead of Steward but otherwise would be happy seeing Freddie starting.

I really hope that Barbeary starts gravitating back towards hooker at Wasps and fights in as third choice. George and LCD are fantastic players but Barbeary has potential as a carrier that few can match.

Second row remains the biggest headache. Our boiler room feels entirely reliant on Itoje staying fit at current. I'm hoping Martin plays lock more for Tigers and Kpoku makes a splash with Sarries. It wouldn't surprise me if Alex Groves gets some game time with Bristol in the coming season too, he looks a brilliant talent.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Jul 2021, 12:22 am

That could work. Would like to have a younger / less injury prone option at 12… but then we’ve been waiting for that for nearly 20 years now.
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Post by king_carlos Wed 21 Jul 2021, 1:03 am

Poorfour wrote:That could work. Would like to have a younger / less injury prone option at 12… but then we’ve been waiting for that for nearly 20 years now.

It's unpopular and I repeat myself like a broken record but I rate Farrell at 12. As I've said many times, the best rugby I've seen England play since 2003 by an absolute mile has been with Farrell in the side and usually with him at 12.

It's just about balance as always in selection. When Joseph offered a running threat from 13 the partnership with Faz worked. When Manu offered a running threat at 13 his partnership with Faz worked. When Manu offered a running threat at 12 his partnership with Slade even worked very well at times. Te'o played a role in some very good England performances at 13 outside Ford and Farrell and at 12 inside Slade.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 21 Jul 2021, 2:47 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Poor Four
Are you expecting to see 12 Farrell 13 Slade in the AI's.
Whats your thoughts on that?
Pardon me for interjecting, but I was just choking on my vomit.

Having a dominant pack in front and a healthy Tuilagi outside would make me look like a pretty serviceable 12. It is time to see who can step up with time before the RWC.

Not for nothing, but Daly looks better at 13 for the Lions than Slade at 13 for England. Not that Slade is bad, he is a good to very good player. But Daly is showing more, similar to the Conrad Smith role. And he can really kick. Tuilagi was an extraordinary player at 13 and we are not going to see a player like him again for a long time.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Jul 2021, 8:11 am

Farrell has proven to be a good option at 12 - but a move that was viewed as a stop gap has now been the default in three RWC cycles. I just wish we had an alternative option that would enable a different style of play.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 21 Jul 2021, 8:20 am

Farrell has comfortably been our best midfielder for the last what, 4 to 5 years. He's far exceeded my expectations there. As with all teams though it is about the continual regeneration (for the best teams) as new players come to the fore and older players lose a bit here and there. With that will come the movement of tactics. Smith will (if he hasn't already) demand selection in the team and with a few others the tactics and who best to fit with his style comes up.

I think Smith Farrell could work very well personally but I'm excited by Marchant, Kelly, Odogwu and Lawrence coming through as well. Daly....well I'd wait for the announcement at 10 this morning to see it confirmed he'll play at 13 and reassess when we've seen him there for a couple of games. He was certainly dodgy there defensively last game, he has looked better going forward recently but he's still dropped a couple of balls under no pressure. In the WC final I thought he looked nervous throughout and bottled it, lets see if he does the same this weekend.

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Post by MichaelT Wed 21 Jul 2021, 8:57 am

Would love to see a Smith, Tuilagi, Daly midfield for England if Tuilagi got fit again.

Does anyone know if Launchbury and Odogwu will be fit for the start of the season? I assume J Willis is out until the new year?

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Post by lostinwales Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:12 am

king_carlos wrote:... It wouldn't surprise me if Alex Groves gets some game time with Bristol in the coming season too, he looks a brilliant talent.

I agree - he was one of the most important factors in the U20 6N championship - but I think he needs a couple of years (possibly more) to fill out and develop first before being considered for the seniors

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:16 am

Everyone seems to be forgetting about Ribbans
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:19 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Farrell has comfortably been our best midfielder for the last what, 4 to 5 years. He's far exceeded my expectations there. As with all teams though it is about the continual regeneration (for the best teams) as new players come to the fore and older players lose a bit here and there. With that will come the movement of tactics. Smith will (if he hasn't already) demand selection in the team and with a few others the tactics and who best to fit with his style comes up.

I think Smith Farrell could work very well 

I think Smith and Farrell could be the kind of car crash we saw with Cipriani and Farrell. Farrell does not work well spontaneity and I'd also not like to see Smith stuck with the no midfield running option that Ford has had to endure in the 6N. 

The Ford Vs Smith battle should be entertaining next season, Smith is a phenomenal young talent but needs to do what Care did not and evolve past the Quins game plan. Ford provided a bit of a lesson at WR this season in how to manage a game. A game which involved Smith and Care wasting the best part of 10 minutes with a 2 man advantage playing in their own 22 and ended up conceding a penalty and three points at a time Tigers were missing both props so lineouts would have been an issue. Smith has got to learn that cuteness and Nick Evans should the right mentor as he would have never been that foolish.

Farrell has been a solid option at 12 for England in a position we have seriously lacked options for the best part of two decades. When we had a running option at 13 and 15 he worked as the secondary playmaker and defensive leader. At 10 with a Manu/Slade midfield we were less than the sum of our parts though the combination worked on a horses for courses type affair at times. Problem is we're still lacking a genuine 12 option that can overtake him. 

Farrell has not been our best midfielder, Joseph and Manu are better centres they just can't play 12 though Manu is getting more game time there with Sale so might come good there yet. Farrell just provides some midfield balance.

Farrell's form in the 6N was shocking and looks little better for the Lions. Whether England can improve without Farrell is unknown because we just don't get the chance to see it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:27 am

Sam, do you not reckon Smith's game management is actually quite good already? You keep throwing in an example of 1 game against Leicester where it was tight but over the season where Harlequins ended up as champions its hard to see that happening without being able to control games. Remember that beshocked kept saying that Goode was better than Ford as he once played there and Saracens won.

Smith ain't Cipriani, he's a good attacker which is why he's compared but streets ahead in all other aspects for me.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:28 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Everyone seems to be forgetting about Ribbans

Well he's got to start from scratch now. Got banned at the worst possible time for him. McInally and Wells are unlikely to ever get capped again but got chances this summer because Ribbans took himself out the frame. Going to be tough to force his way in for a cap now Itoje and Lawes will be back from the Lions and Launchbury should be fit plus Ewels somehow keeps getting selected.

I think Ribbans is a very good lock it's just the summer was going to be his best chance to push for selection.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:36 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Sam, do you not reckon Smith's game management is actually quite good already? You keep throwing in an example of 1 game against Leicester where it was tight but over the season where Harlequins ended up as champions its hard to see that happening without being able to control games. Remember that beshocked kept saying that Goode was better than Ford as he once played there and Saracens won.

Smith ain't Cipriani, he's a good attacker which is why he's compared but streets ahead in all other aspects for me.

I don't think Smith's game management is bad at all but he's a young player and there's a reason all tier 1 international sides generally have a flyhalf of 25+. Experience counts at the top end. Playing from your own 22 and wasting a two man advantage is criminal and was a significant factor in Quins losing the game. 

It's also a game worth considering as the teams were fairly evenly matched and it pitched Care/Smith Vs Youngs/Ford the golden boys of the press Vs the maligned incumbents.

Smith is not alone in the inexperience stakes. Joe Simmonds inability to dictate where the final was played was a significant factor in Chiefs losing to Quins. They got pulled into overplaying from further out and that gave opportunities to Quins. A young flyhalf it happens.

Smith at this point looks to be the future in the England 10 shirt. I'm just not certain the future starts from this Autumn. I'd like to see him start against Tonga and then be the bench option Vs Australia and SA with a similar approach to the 6N. Start against Italy and then bench the other games. Build him into that international flyhalf

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Post by lostinwales Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:37 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Sam, do you not reckon Smith's game management is actually quite good already? You keep throwing in an example of 1 game against Leicester where it was tight but over the season where Harlequins ended up as champions its hard to see that happening without being able to control games. Remember that beshocked kept saying that Goode was better than Ford as he once played there and Saracens won.

Smith ain't Cipriani, he's a good attacker which is why he's compared but streets ahead in all other aspects for me.

Smith seems such a complete player and he's only going to get better with more experience. I would like us to move towards building the team around him. We may not find a better player than Farrell for a year or two but if the combination of him and Smith does not work then we should move Farrell on. Farrell plus Ford ticks a lot of boxes but individually they have weaknesses. Smith seems much more complete.

If Farrell is still there I can only hope that the move back to the premiership revitalises him, although I would not be surprised if he comes back from the Lions crocked.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:56 am

Slowly slowly catching monkey eh Sam. Pretty much the opposite to Farrell and Ford. I can see the logic but just feel he's ready for a run of games now. I wouldn't be that adverse to seeing him on the bench for those last 2 games in the autumn but I'd expect him to be getting plenty of time on the pitch. Come the 6 nations i just can't see him not starting. He's the best fly half in the league for me.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Jul 2021, 10:33 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Slowly slowly catching monkey eh Sam. Pretty much the opposite to Farrell and Ford. I can see the logic but just feel he's ready for a run of games now. I wouldn't be that adverse to seeing him on the bench for those last 2 games in the autumn but I'd expect him to be getting plenty of time on the pitch. Come the 6 nations i just can't see him not starting. He's the best fly half in the league for me.

He certainly was the best in the league last season though it's worth noting that the three experienced internationals Farrell, Ford and Biggar were somewhat hampered. Farrell didn't play in the Prem. Ford played one and a half games before the 6N (the season starting in late Oct/early Nov) and then had to nurse an achilles injury through to nearly the end of the season, he missed the end of the season as he couldn't manage the injury anymore. Biggar similarly missed most of the season pre 6N and then post 6N was in and out of the Saints team with a couple of minor injuries but is starting Lions 10.

So whilst Smith was the best 10 going with Sheedy and Simmonds second this season just finished there's no guarantee he will be next season. Those three experienced guys will definitely have something to say about it.

Slowly, slowly might be very beneficial in Smith's case. The press is London centric at the best of times and have already started the Smith hype train. I do very much have the concern there'll build him up and then enjoy knocking him down if he makes a mistake, which is likely at some point because he's both young and human it happens. Alleviate some of the pressure and build him up for the long term.

Form will of course play a part for the 6N. If Ford is not playing well and Smith is tearing it up and on the back of a good AI you'd be foolish not to promote him. If both are playing well I'd be looking for 60 mins Ford and 20 mins Smith in a lot of the games and roles reversed for Italy.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 21 Jul 2021, 10:42 am

Hype train vs reporting his form!

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Jul 2021, 10:54 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Hype train vs reporting his form!

His form has been very good but when the press were bigging up selecting Smith and Care over players like Biggar and Murray it seemed a bit much. Very pleased he's now gone on the Lions tour but it's probably better he's gone as a backup or injury cover as now he can go and learn without the constant question of whether he'll start. A young Farrell benefitted from the Lions tour once the initial press furore had passed (what with his dad being on the coaching staff) and came back an improved player. I'm hoping Smith can also use it as a development tool.

The press always like the next young thing, until they make a mistake and then they are out for blood.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 21 Jul 2021, 11:05 am

Ford was first capped by England at 21 - a year younger than Smith - and had fewer games for Leicester and Bath at the time. Smith has played over 100 times for Quins and been the first choice fly half since his debut, while being mentored by Nick Evans.

He's shown he can control a game, because that's what he was asked to do by Gustard for several years. It didn't actually work for Quins as a team, but he played to the game plan. Once the shackles came off, he's played to a different gameplan, and it's been much more effective. Yes, Quins as a whole had a bad game at Welford Road, but they still came away with two bonus points and the difference between the teams was Quins' poor maul defence (much improved by the time they met Exeter) and Smith having a bad day from the tee. It was hardly a resounding thrashing.

The way I see it, Smith is a percentage player but his percentages are different from everyone else's.

He has so many options available to him that it's very hard for a team to close them all down at once. He's happy to run phase play if there's nothing on or take the ball into contact if it's the best option to protect possession, but if the defence bites in too hard he can chip over or kick pass round them, if they drift too fast he can reverse the direction of play, if they're slightly disorganised he can run at them or fix them with a step to release someone else.

Compared to other creative players, he doesn't make many mistakes. He throws the occasional bad pass or shanks the odd kick but rarely, and he makes very few bad decisions.

To make the most of him at international level, you need to build a team that is tougher in defence than Quins, but also able to listen and learn from what he can do. I thought he combined well with Randall, and Dombrandt was starting to translate their club telepathy to the England side. And on current form it's a no brainer to have Marchant in the side, because his reading of the game is very similar. I don't know how he would play with Farrell - but it needs to be tried and we also need to try another option.
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Post by lostinwales Wed 21 Jul 2021, 11:19 am

We have a lot of good players, and any decisions on where the team goes will mean that good players miss out. No reason why some of those missing out cannot be current internationals.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 21 Jul 2021, 11:32 am

Ford was used as a replacement throughout his first 6N campaign. He only became a starter after Flood left for France when competition was pretty much just Farrell. Burns and Cipriani not being realistic long term answers at 10. Smith isn't coming into the the 2015 environment where there's little options he's coming into something more like 2014 where there's two options already. Unlike 2014 we have two flyhalfs with 80+ caps aged 28 and 30. There's no mad urge to rush a young flyhalf in. We can take the time to invest minutes in him and ensure he fulfils his potential so when post RWC comes round he's in a position to be leading the team to the RWC 2027. From the bench in the AIs and pushing the incumbents hard seems a logical point to start with for me.

Re the game at WR Tigers were pretty comfortable until Youngs and Ford were subbed early ahead of the game Vs Montpellier the following week. Makes even more sense in hindsight when you know Ford was managing an injury. Without them controlling the game Quins certainly finished in the ascendancy.

I'm a big Marchant fan, when he's played he's looked quality for England. I'd like to see him more involved in the short term as we desperately need more strike runners in the backline. I'd like to see Dombrandt given another go Vs Tonga. Randall used in a similar way to my suggestion re Smith, start Vs Tonga and then get good minutes Vs Australia and SA. Build up that combination between the two of them as well.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 21 Jul 2021, 11:40 am

"then get good minutes Vs Australia and SA. Build up that combination between the two of them as well."

Randall and De Klerk, probably the last time you would see two players on an full international rugby pitch that are the same size as school boy players

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Post by Yoda Fri 23 Jul 2021, 12:08 pm

Let's not forget the Willis brothers. Both of them will show up well in a white shirt, get through the rough stuff nicely and will be carrying for fun. Still reakon launchbury has a few seasons left too. We have some lovely options in the pack, if only we had the choice in the centres.

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