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Post by king_carlos Tue 10 Aug 2021, 4:11 pm

First topic message reminder :

GeordieFalcon wrote:Sam Simmonds should be a 12. Wink

With limited distribution and no kicking game... I hate to be a killjoy but he sounds a bit like Manu without the same power! Whistle

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:38 pm

Tuilagi has looked a class act...but can he genuinely stay injury free...?

I like Lawrence, and i think there's definitely alot of promise and much to work with. I think Odogwu is another who could be interesting at 13.

Im actually surprised Cokasaniga was not selected in this training squad...or did i miss that he is injured?


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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:58 pm

Poorfour wrote:Not necessarily coaches with England experience - I just think that going into Head Coach of England (or SA or NZ) as your first international coaching role is a very high risk move for both sides.

The skill set is different from being a club DoR - or rather it's a similar skill set with very different emphasis. You get far less time with the players, have to worry a lot more about selection and forming combinations from players who don't play together often. You need to be able to build a game plan that's simple enough to convey in limited coaching time but effective enough to beat other international teams, to pick specialist coaches who complement what you're trying to do.

And the RWC is sufficiently different as a tournament that it's very easy to get it wrong: once every four years you have unfettered access to the players for 3 months, but you then have to manage how to keep them effective when they're in a foreign environment for a long period and under media scrutiny every day. Of the past 4 England Head Coaches, 3 of them have lost their job because one way or another they lost the plot at the RWC - and one of them made it to the final, so it's not just about results.

The ABs have managed to have pretty good succession over the last 15 years or so and I think England ought to be able to do the same. One thing that Eddie's policy of regularly refreshing his coaching team has done is that the RFU has seen quite a few coaches in assistant roles who now do have relevant international experience.

For what it's worth, I'd see Borthwick as the leading candidate post 2023. Another candidate who's not often talked about is Conor O'Shea, though it's not clear whether he'd want to move out of the Performance Director role. He's managed Italy through a full RWC cycle but also knows the RFU arguably better than anyone still coaching, and is better suited to the Head Coach role than many more hands on coaches.

I'd be happy to see Baxter and McCall coaching at international level at some point, but the assumption that because they've been successful club DoRs they could step straight into the England role and not falter is to my mind a dangerous one.

Anyway, turning to the players, Smith - Tuilagi - Marchant would replicate the model that Quins have with Esterhuizen and which works very well.

I like the logic. Just really not bothered by say messing up a game every 4 years where you could look to say dominance at other times is fine. For instance NZ when they went through their brain farts against France with drop goals etc. I'd prefer England to sweep all before them and potentially fail like that then look stodgy for 4 years and then for the ball to fall kindly in the WC. From your view on Lancaster and Johnson what are views around their failed WCs? Because from lost the plot I tend to agree but I view that as going against what they were doing well in the preceding years. Is your view the pressure got to them and if so would a Jones style consultant lead to the best of both worlds? Like Borthwick. O'Shea I would love to see lead a Lions tour.

And yes nice lineup, with Randall and Quirke would work nicely.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:58 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Tuilagi has looked a class act...but can he genuinely stay injury free...?

I like Lawrence, and i think there's definitely alot of promise and much to work with. I think Odogwu is another who could be interesting at 13.

Im actually surprised Cokasaniga was not selected in this training squad...or did i miss that he is injured?


Picked up an injury i believe.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 28 Sep 2021, 1:07 pm

Poorfour wrote:

Anyway, turning to the players, Smith - Tuilagi - Marchant would replicate the model that Quins have with Esterhuizen and which works very well.

In that case, be prepared for Farrell - Atkinson - Slade

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Post by king_carlos Tue 28 Sep 2021, 1:29 pm

I read somewhere else that Lawrence is missing the training camp due to illness rather than injury.

Youngs has a thigh niggle so won't be at the camp either.

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Post by lostinwales Tue 28 Sep 2021, 2:12 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Tuilagi has looked a class act...but can he genuinely stay injury free...?

I like Lawrence, and i think there's definitely alot of promise and much to work with. I think Odogwu is another who could be interesting at 13.

Im actually surprised Cokasaniga was not selected in this training squad...or did i miss that he is injured?


Knee injury I think *sigh...

Definitely want to see Odogwu at some point but with the injury he had he's not going to be pushing for inclusion for a while.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 28 Sep 2021, 3:04 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Poorfour wrote:

Anyway, turning to the players, Smith - Tuilagi - Marchant would replicate the model that Quins have with Esterhuizen and which works very well.

In that case, be prepared for Farrell - Atkinson - Slade

Or Smith, Farrell, Atkinson for the slowest midfield pairing we've had in years. At least Atkinson will run a line for Smith though.

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Post by Cumbrian Tue 28 Sep 2021, 3:17 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Poorfour wrote:

Anyway, turning to the players, Smith - Tuilagi - Marchant would replicate the model that Quins have with Esterhuizen and which works very well.

In that case, be prepared for Farrell - Atkinson - Slade

Or Smith, Farrell, Atkinson for the slowest midfield pairing we've had in years. At least Atkinson will run a line for Smith though.

Stop it! I'm getting flash backs of Noon and Tindall partnerships!

*shudder* The ghosts of Erinles past...
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 29 Sep 2021, 8:09 am

Well it looks like we won't be having to juggle players across the 3 games.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/sep/28/englands-lions-players-set-to-bypass-rest-agreement-for-autumn-tests

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 8:37 am

So team for Tonga will be pretty much full strength to get them a game under their belt for the 2 tougher games to follow...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 Sep 2021, 8:43 am

That's arguably worse for us long term because there was a really good chance to rotate the squad round the three games and explore different combinations. Now I fear it's all to easy for the coaches just to name what they consider to be their best line up for all three games with maybe a couple of chances handed out Vs Tonga. 

I really hope we don't see players like Blamire, Radwan, Smith, Marchant, Randall, Heyes and Steward. All miss out on game time for the same players we always pick.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 29 Sep 2021, 8:58 am

Well Daly won't be there, so FB will be either Malins or Steward, and I'd put money on Randall being one of the two SH in the squad.

But I know what you mean

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 29 Sep 2021, 9:33 am

It's a possible risk. I keep coming back to the fall out of the 6Ns and some comments coming out of the camp. I don't think I'll be sitting ahead of the Aus game completely happy that all the players I would like to see start are but I also don't think it's going to be the same set as the 6Ns with the same style. I'm fairly confident should form etc be the same running in that we will see changes at 9, 10, 14 and 15. And I think we will see 2 of Farrell, Tuilagi and Slade in midfield.

The pack I think is harder to call, I'd throw my hat in to say Genge will start and so will Dombrandt.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 9:45 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:That's arguably worse for us long term because there was a really good chance to rotate the squad round the three games and explore different combinations. Now I fear it's all to easy for the coaches just to name what they consider to be their best line up for all three games with maybe a couple of chances handed out Vs Tonga. 

I really hope we don't see players like Blamire, Radwan, Smith, Marchant, Randall, Heyes and Steward. All miss out on game time for the same players we always pick.

You never know...he might now be able to field a more mixed side for the tests....newbies and experienced Lions etc...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 Sep 2021, 9:58 am

Currently on form there will be no change to 9 and 10 given Randall has barely featured for Bristol and Smith hasn't played yet whilst Youngs and Ford have been good and very good respectively. Hard to pick those three centres based on form as well. Would have been nice to have been forced into looking at some younger centres as opposed to the easily broken Manu, the not international standard Slade and captain but only steady Farrell.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 Sep 2021, 9:59 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:That's arguably worse for us long term because there was a really good chance to rotate the squad round the three games and explore different combinations. Now I fear it's all to easy for the coaches just to name what they consider to be their best line up for all three games with maybe a couple of chances handed out Vs Tonga. 

I really hope we don't see players like Blamire, Radwan, Smith, Marchant, Randall, Heyes and Steward. All miss out on game time for the same players we always pick.

You never know...he might now be able to field a more mixed side for the tests....newbies and experienced Lions etc...

We live in hope. Squad development is paramount two years from the next RWC.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:05 am

I'm shocked you believe the Leicester half backs will slot in!

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:06 am

I still reckon he'll have his "base/core side" and will maybe tweak here or there for each game...

Something like...
1 Genge / Marler / Mako
2 LCD
3 Sinkler
4 Itoje
5 Hill
6 Curry
7 Underhill
8 Dombrandt

9 (Who knows)
10 Smith
11 May (Radwan off the bench)
12 Farrell
13 Slade
14 Watson
15 Malins v Steward – Id pick Steward but Jones will go Malins I reckon.

Then tweak the starting lineup per game as he requires. I just cant see a huge amount of changes....

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Post by Poorfour Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:15 am

Squidge put out his long awaited "How Harlequins Won the Premiership" video yesterday, which has some interesting implications for England.

The key takeaways for me are:

1) Quins are hard to defend against because their whole system is geared towards giving Smith multiple options to choose between after the defenders commit to their course of play

2) It only works if the whole team are committed and on the same page - including lots of movement in running lines

3) A big factor in making it work may well have been Quins' use of the Protecht mouthguards to manage training loads - something that may be anathema to Eddie (given his love of intense training) or may be something he embraces (given his desire to constantly seek an edge)

4) Smith's role as fly half is different from most of his peers. Care manages the game - Smith's job is to manipulate the space on the pitch and put Quins into places where the opposition aren't.

What's exciting from an England perspective is that you can see how it could work at international level. It doesn't rely on breaking defensive systems so much as using the system's own weaknesses against itself by forcing defenders to make decisions while Quins still have the option to do something that runs counter to it. The two big concerns are: can Smith (or Ford) do it at the pace of international rugby, and will Eddie and England buy into it?

Squidge on Quins
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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:24 am

Poorfour wrote:Squidge put out his long awaited "How Harlequins Won the Premiership" video yesterday, which has some interesting implications for England.

The key takeaways for me are:

1) Quins are hard to defend against because their whole system is geared towards giving Smith multiple options to choose between after the defenders commit to their course of play

2) It only works if the whole team are committed and on the same page - including lots of movement in running lines

3) A big factor in making it work may well have been Quins' use of the Protecht mouthguards to manage training loads - something that may be anathema to Eddie (given his love of intense training) or may be something he embraces (given his desire to constantly seek an edge)

4) Smith's role as fly half is different from most of his peers. Care manages the game - Smith's job is to manipulate the space on the pitch and put Quins into places where the opposition aren't.

What's exciting from an England perspective is that you can see how it could work at international level. It doesn't rely on breaking defensive systems so much as using the system's own weaknesses against itself by forcing defenders to make decisions while Quins still have the option to do something that runs counter to it. The two big concerns are: can Smith (or Ford) do it at the pace of international rugby, and will Eddie and England buy into it?

Squidge on Quins

So who plays that role for England? Youngs?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:24 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:I'm shocked you believe the Leicester half backs will slot in!

You said form. I didn't say they'd slot in just if the selections are being made on form.

In hoping Randall gets a start in a rejuvenated Bristol team this week so he can stake a proper claim as at the minute not so great. Smith should be back soon and Quins are playing well so he should be able to make his case again. The other scrum half options are Robson who we know isn't good enough and Quirke who is a little raw and pulled out of the weekend's game with an injury.

Geordie I really hope we're not picking Smith and giving him that centre combo. He deserves more than that.

PourFour interesting, I'll have to watch that. Youngs can certainly do the tactical bit, not sure he can play at Quins pace but he certainly has done more for Tigers this season in attack. A system like that in regards to multiple ball carriers and let the flyhalf select, would suit both Ford and Smith but not Farrell which is where it might fall apart.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:36 am

Is Randall's lack of game time worse than Youngs lack of form....it's a tough one.

If Smith does start, he's going to have to adapt to Youngs's errr....style shall we call it? And...he most likely will have Farrell outside him, poor kid. It's quite amazing that Ford can still shine when you think about it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:37 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I'm shocked you believe the Leicester half backs will slot in!

You said form. I didn't say they'd slot in just if the selections are being made on form.

In hoping Randall gets a start in a rejuvenated Bristol team this week so he can stake a proper claim as at the minute not so great. Smith should be back soon and Quins are playing well so he should be able to make his case again. The other scrum half options are Robson who we know isn't good enough and Quirke who is a little raw and pulled out of the weekend's game with an injury.

Geordie I really hope we're not picking Smith and giving him that centre combo. He deserves more than that.

PourFour interesting, I'll have to watch that. Youngs can certainly do the tactical bit, not sure he can play at Quins pace but he certainly has done more for Tigers this season in attack. A system like that in regards to multiple ball carriers and let the flyhalf select, would suit both Ford and Smith but not Farrell which is where it might fall apart.

Yeah form. We know Youngs doesn't have any and hasn't for a while. And that Smith is the guy at 10.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:40 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I'm shocked you believe the Leicester half backs will slot in!

You said form. I didn't say they'd slot in just if the selections are being made on form.

In hoping Randall gets a start in a rejuvenated Bristol team this week so he can stake a proper claim as at the minute not so great. Smith should be back soon and Quins are playing well so he should be able to make his case again. The other scrum half options are Robson who we know isn't good enough and Quirke who is a little raw and pulled out of the weekend's game with an injury.

Geordie I really hope we're not picking Smith and giving him that centre combo. He deserves more than that.

PourFour interesting, I'll have to watch that. Youngs can certainly do the tactical bit, not sure he can play at Quins pace but he certainly has done more for Tigers this season in attack. A system like that in regards to multiple ball carriers and let the flyhalf select, would suit both Ford and Smith but not Farrell which is where it might fall apart.

I agree...but i just cant see who else Jones will pick. Theyve been his go to.

Unless he finally realises Marchant can offer the same that Joseph did earlier in his tenure....


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Post by lostinwales Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:42 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Is Randall's lack of game time worse than Youngs lack of form....it's a tough one.

If Smith does start, he's going to have to adapt to Youngs's errr....style shall we call it? And...he most likely will have Farrell outside him, poor kid. It's quite amazing that Ford can still shine when you think about it.

Worst case scenario is this, Smith fails to produce much with Farrell outside him and is discarded as not good enough. I don't think it will happen.

I do think some of the Lions tourists will miss out, at least initially, unless they show exceptional form when they finally get back on the pitch. And then there are the inevitable injuries.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:45 am

Gleeson had a major role to play as well. Our best attacking rugby has never come while Jones is trying to balance himself leading that role with overall head coach.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:49 am

Some sort of running option from midfield is absolutely vital, closely followed by a scrum half that can pass.

Job done.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 29 Sep 2021, 10:59 am

Randall and Smith worked well together over the summer, so I'd like to see them given a chance to build on it. My preference would be Tuilagi and Marchant in midfield.

I guess I am hoping that Eddie puts Youngs and Farrell on the bench to steady the ship if it's needed, but gives a more attacking gameplan a chance.

What sort of patterns did Wasps run under Gleeson? It'll be interesting to see how his style meshes with the players at his disposal.
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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 29 Sep 2021, 11:10 am

Another 9 to think about is Mitchell, playing really well at the moment, his passing has improved and he has the ability and pace to make a lot of breaks. 2 tries in two games and in both he has shown not just his pace over a short distance but over 50m getting up and supporting the break. I am not sure if any of the other 9s are as quick.
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Post by nlpnlp Wed 29 Sep 2021, 1:48 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Is Randall's lack of game time worse than Youngs lack of form....it's a tough one.

If Smith does start, he's going to have to adapt to Youngs's errr....style shall we call it? And...he most likely will have Farrell outside him, poor kid. It's quite amazing that Ford can still shine when you think about it.

Does Ford shine for England?  For a guy with 77 caps, he has been regularly dropped by England - 2021 6 Nations v Scotland, 2019 World Cup QF, etc.  He has never been considered good enough to go on a Lions tour, so isn't seen by the likes of Gatland, Townsend, etc as being in the top 2 or 3 no 10s in the home nations.  England have traditionally had to cover for his deficiencies by playing Farrell outside him at 12, which has its own issues.

I am not saying he isn't a decent club player, but is it time for England to accept that he isn't quite good enough at international level and move on to look at other options?  There are other 10s available in addition to Smith, who might be able to step up if given the opportunity.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 29 Sep 2021, 1:59 pm

I don't think that is quite fair on Ford. Lions selections are very much linked to coaching team and the resulting style of play, and I think its more a case that Ford's strengths are not what they looked for.

Lets face it one particular team has been largely favoured over the last few Lions tours.

I do agree its time to move on, and I wouldn't mind seeing Farrell dumped too.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 2:05 pm

The other day Jones name dropped the 4 10's very much on his radar

Joe Simmonds - Exeter
Charlie Atkinson - Wasps
Finn Smith - Worcester
Marcus Smith - Quins

Now that could be the usual media drivel he talks...but to me they do look like the leading young contenders...and all very talented 10's. Marcus Smith is clearly the front runner...and you would imagine he'll be starting 10 through the AI's.

But the others will push him hard.

Just glad Umaga is not in that lot....never seen such an overhyped player...all about the name.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 29 Sep 2021, 2:28 pm

Interesting seeing Simmonds back in the mix. Atkinson and Finn Smith are more likely to challenge post RWC

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 2:29 pm

yes LIW...all at slightly different stages of development....

I did wonder about Simmonds aswell...but the lad has captained his club to a title and Euro title....he clearly has a lot about him.

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Post by Mr Bounce Wed 29 Sep 2021, 3:12 pm

I wonder if we might see Dombrandt at 6 with Simmonds at 8 for the Tonga game? Food for thought. Ludlam or Underhill at 7. That's quite a back row.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:02 pm

Well if players now dont have to rest....will he play an inexperienced side v Tonga...or just go with the core...and the odd new addition.

Might have changed things a bit....


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Post by king_carlos Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:05 pm

I rate Simmonds but part of me thinks he has similar limitations to Farrell whilst being worse at their respective strengths. Unlike many I really rate Farrell though and think England's best chance of challenging in the next RWC will be with a side including him. As said many times before the best rugby I've seen England play since 2003 by an absolute mile has been under Jones with Farrell at the teams core. I wouldn't discard that so quickly.

Atkinson and Fin Smith look like really talented players but a few years away yet. Fin Smith is actually on loan with Ampthill in the Championship just now. They've got so much time left to keep developing that talent though.

Marcus Smith would be my starting 10 against Australia and South Africa in the Autumn, then hopefully continuing into the Six Nations. He looks a special talent that deserves a run.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:09 pm

So do you play Farrell at 12 then KC...?

10.Smith
12.Farrell
13.Tuilagi / Marchant / A.N.Other?


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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:12 pm

king_carlos wrote:I rate Simmonds but part of me thinks he has similar limitations to Farrell whilst being worse at their respective strengths. Unlike many I really rate Farrell though and think England's best chance of challenging in the next RWC will be with a side including him. As said many times before the best rugby I've seen England play since 2003 by an absolute mile has been under Jones with Farrell at the teams core. I wouldn't discard that so quickly.

Atkinson and Fin Smith look like really talented players but a few years away yet. Fin Smith is actually on loan with Ampthill in the Championship just now. They've got so much time left to keep developing that talent though.

Marcus Smith would be my starting 10 against Australia and South Africa in the Autumn, then hopefully continuing into the Six Nations. He looks a special talent that deserves a run.

And is that because of Farrell or despite....

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Post by king_carlos Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:31 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
king_carlos wrote:I rate Simmonds but part of me thinks he has similar limitations to Farrell whilst being worse at their respective strengths. Unlike many I really rate Farrell though and think England's best chance of challenging in the next RWC will be with a side including him. As said many times before the best rugby I've seen England play since 2003 by an absolute mile has been under Jones with Farrell at the teams core. I wouldn't discard that so quickly.

Atkinson and Fin Smith look like really talented players but a few years away yet. Fin Smith is actually on loan with Ampthill in the Championship just now. They've got so much time left to keep developing that talent though.

Marcus Smith would be my starting 10 against Australia and South Africa in the Autumn, then hopefully continuing into the Six Nations. He looks a special talent that deserves a run.

And is that because of Farrell or in spite....

Given he's been a critical part of so many trophy winning sides with Sarries, England and the Lions I struggle to agree it's in spite of.

His attacking play in terms of distribution at his best has been outstanding. Passes such as the one that cutout Keith Earls (a very good defensive winger) to create a try against Ireland, the ball to Daly that allowed him to round Cuthbert and score a late winner against Wales, the no look pass to Sinckler that sent him clean through against Australia. They are passes that would have many of the same people who disparage Farrell racing for clean underwear if players such as Smith or Cipriani did the same.

He was poor last season no doubt but so were the whole side and in my opinion there were extreme circumstances with covid, the 2019/20 Premiership season being completed when it was, the England side having a strict bubble to placate PRL. It led to the entire England squad being short of Premiership game time. I for instance was desperate for Lawrence to play ahead of Slade during the Six Nations but between the ANC and Six Nations bubbles I think Lawrence played two games for Wuss before April. It was a fuster cluck of circumstances to get a team ready for the Six Nations.

A lot was made of the Sarries players having no club game time but the whole squad had nearly no club game time. Ford played 80 minutes of rugby for Tigers last season prior to the Six Nations finishing. He has currently played 160 minutes after 2 rounds of the Premiership. Ford has double the club game time he got prior to the Six Nations in 2020/21 and it's not even October!

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Post by lostinwales Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:34 pm

I just don't want to give Farrell a free pass based on past form, and I do want Smith to have a chance to be at the centre of something built around him.

Farrell on the bench maybe, but he needs to earning a place in the England squad on merit instead of history.

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Post by Mr Bounce Wed 29 Sep 2021, 4:55 pm

Will Eddie go for a change of Captain? He's not known for being sentimental...

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Post by king_carlos Wed 29 Sep 2021, 5:06 pm

Moulding your game to the game plan and players around you is part of being a successful international though, LIW.

When Dan Carter broke through with Crusaders he kicked relatively little for a Canterbury fly-half. He developed into the best 10 in the world in an ABs side that kicked more than any other side in rugby. Richie McCaw started his career attacking every breakdown looking for turnovers, hence winning the ball a lot but also giving away penalties. For much of his ABs career McCaw evolved to jackal very little instead prioritising slowing opposition ball over searching for turnovers.

The nature of international rugby is that you can't build sides around certain players in the same way clubs can. When Quins decided to play off 10 more with Smith coming through they can go out to sign lots of ball carrying centres in Estherhuizen, Huw Jones, Paul Lasike, Michele Campagnara and Ben Tapuai. Some are better than others, some get injuries, etc but clubs can sign players to perform the role they need. If Manu is injured England can't sign Samu Kerevi or Semi Radrada to offer the same running threat!

Smith, the same as all successful international players, will have to adapt his game to fit international rugby if he's to succeed there. Quins are excellent at manufacturing front foot ball with good attacking play from their forwards around the fringes of the ruck for instance. International defences around the fringes are incomparably better than Premiership defences though so Smith might have to find ways of turning slow ball into quick ball himself if the forwards can't.

As much as I rate Smith (a few posts back I said he's a special player deserving a run) I also can't remember a single successful international side that punted on building their side around a player with 2 caps. Beauden Barrett is a 97 cap, RWC winner with as much talent as any rugby player on the planet and he's frequently played fullback during his international career!

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Post by king_carlos Wed 29 Sep 2021, 5:07 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:Will Eddie go for a change of Captain? He's not known for being sentimental...

I'd bet on Itoje being skipper by the RWC.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 Sep 2021, 6:13 pm

I agree with KC, Farrell will be central to Eddie's plans. I don't particularly like Farrell, especially at 10 where his limitations are glaring at international level, but England have succeeded with at 12 and not by accident. I would have probably dropped Farrell last season because he was so badly out of form but I can't see that being the case once Sarries are up and running again in the Prem.

What really annoyed me is the centre combination for the season just gone. Slade and Farrell both want to be the second receiver in the backline and link with the back three. You can't have that in a backline with wingers who are pace merchants and not keen on coming off their wing looking for work.

England don't have a better 12 than Farrell. We just need to pair him with a better 13 in Manu, Marchant etc. Maybe having Steward at the back who is happy to coming to the line and run an angle off 13 will help give our flyhalf some more options to hold the defence.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 29 Sep 2021, 6:41 pm

I don't get the intense dislike that Farrell often gets, usually along with assertions about him wanting to run the show.

Farrell, I think, is the ultimate system player - which is one reason that coaches like him. He is excellent at executing a gameplan or following through on a call from someone else. What he's less good at is creating off his own bat. Farrell has played best at 10 (at least at International level) when he's had a creative 9 to play with; Lancaster played Care/Farrell a few times and the result was usually very effective. I genuinely expected that he'd play Care/Farrell and Youngs/Ford at RWC 2015 so that you always had a balance of execution and creativity. Instead you got Youngs/Farrell and the rest is history.

I wouldn't have a problem with Farrell playing alongside Smith. Having a second distributor is helpful against fast defences, and England will need a strong game manager somewhere in the 9/10/12 axis. I'd prefer Tuilagi, because I think that creates more attacking options, but I don't have a huge problem with Farrell.

The issue for me was that England in the 6N were too reliant on a number of players who'd not had enough game time against good teams, and missed an opportunity to try out some new players and combination. However, as I've said elsewhere, I think it's Eddie's style to provoke a crisis every so often so this may be a necessary part of the process from his point of view.
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Post by king_carlos Wed 29 Sep 2021, 6:44 pm

9.Randall
10.Smith
11.May
12.Farrell
13.Marchant
14.Watson
15.Steward

21.Youngs
22.Tuilagi
23.Radwan

I'd love to see that against Australia or South Africa.

It's a similar set-up to our backline that worked so well in '16 and '17. Steward offers less of a threat returning kicks than Brown but already offers more of a threat joining the line than Brown did in my opinion. Steward also has a much better passing game than Michael Scissorhands.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 Sep 2021, 8:37 pm

Poorfour wrote:I don't get the intense dislike that Farrell often gets, usually along with assertions about him wanting to run the show.

Farrell, I think, is the ultimate system player - which is one reason that coaches like him. He is excellent at executing a gameplan or following through on a call from someone else. What he's less good at is creating off his own bat. Farrell has played best at 10 (at least at International level) when he's had a creative 9 to play with; Lancaster played Care/Farrell a few times and the result was usually very effective. I genuinely expected that he'd play Care/Farrell and Youngs/Ford at RWC 2015 so that you always had a balance of execution and creativity. Instead you got Youngs/Farrell and the rest is history.

I wouldn't have a problem with Farrell playing alongside Smith. Having a second distributor is helpful against fast defences, and England will need a strong game manager somewhere in the 9/10/12 axis. I'd prefer Tuilagi, because I think that creates more attacking options, but I don't have a huge problem with Farrell.

The issue for me was that England in the 6N were too reliant on a number of players who'd not had enough game time against good teams, and missed an opportunity to try out some new players and combination. However, as I've said elsewhere, I think it's Eddie's style to provoke a crisis every so often so this may be a necessary part of the process from his point of view.

I'm not a fan of Manu at 12. Turns out of the most explosive centres England have ever had in to a mere battering ram. I know you're keen for England to mirror a Quins midfield combination but Manu isn't like the monsters SA deploy at 12. His tendency to come out of the line looking for a big hit would only be exploited more. Eddie had his experiment with Manu at 12 in the 6N pre the world cup. It just didn't really work. Give Manu a little more space or advantage to come steaming in on an angle slightly outside the field of vision of the opposition.

I like the backline KC is suggesting. I'd start that Vs Australia and then maybe swap Marchant and Manu for the SA game. Having Youngs there to come on and just settle the game down and exert control if we need it is a nice plan B should Randall not get much joy.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 29 Sep 2021, 11:10 pm

I wasn't a fan of Manu playing 12, but he's done a decent job there in his recent games for Sale. I'd like to see if it could work.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 30 Sep 2021, 9:07 am

Poorfour wrote:I wasn't a fan of Manu playing 12, but he's done a decent job there in his recent games for Sale. I'd like to see if it could work.

I only caught the Sale game at the weekend and he looked dangerous but also a little obvious. Had there been some more disguise in terms of the Manu option I think he'd have made the LI midfield endure a miserable afternoon. He was too much crash ball.

Have just watched the Squidge vid on Quins. Interesting but after his point on Care being the tactical nous and the need for intelligent kicking all of his examples of intelligent kicking that followed didn't involve Care. It was mainly Smith showing a nice range of kicks. I would certainly hope Eddie can find room in attack for giving our flyhalf options. Might not be at the Quins level but we need more. It's noticeable this season at Tigers that the changes to our attack have been revolving around giving the flyhalf options. Whichever flyhalf we go with, even Farrell our attack needs to have more to hold the defence, if it's Farrell it will just need to be a narrower attack.

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