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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 Wed 20 Oct 2021, 4:19 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Ojamoh is the guy I really like, just looks so good, but when Redpath does come back his progress could stall.

Re tightheads no one is currently pressing their claims beyond Heyes (who should be there for me now).

Painter and Street are getting some games in the Prem and are learning their stuff. Could be options in a couple of years. Stuart is only 24 I think and Sinckler late 20s so tighthead we aren't in a bad place. Heyes is 22.

Baxter looked a good prospect but switched to loosehead. The under 20s seemed to have a couple of hefty options do they should get some cup time in a couple of weeks you'd hope. Tigers have 18 year old Tim Hoyt on loan at Notts this season (3 appearances 1 try) in the Championship there's a feeling he could be a good player. I think he's English born and bred but has PI particularly Fijian family, he's a big lad.

https://mobile.twitter.com/nemani_nadolo/status/1314987489896157184

I don't think prop is going to be an area of concern for England, there seems to be a bit of a conveyor belt in terms of development. Loosehead there's the big lad from Newcastle and Baxter now he's switched sides. Ralph Adams-Hale might come good if he can stay fit.

Phil Brantingham...

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 20 Oct 2021, 6:20 pm

Old Man wrote:Thanks for the info. I know Aussie supporters see him as English as he learnt his rugby in the UK, not many of them are concerned that he has been touted to play for England.
His dad would prefer he plays for Oz.

He is still learning his craft and would probably benefit with another year only playing with Quins and not worrying about England, Italy, or Australia. But, I guess, that is not how top level Rugby works any more.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 20 Oct 2021, 6:56 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Ojamoh is the guy I really like, just looks so good, but when Redpath does come back his progress could stall.

Re tightheads no one is currently pressing their claims beyond Heyes (who should be there for me now).

Painter and Street are getting some games in the Prem and are learning their stuff. Could be options in a couple of years. Stuart is only 24 I think and Sinckler late 20s so tighthead we aren't in a bad place. Heyes is 22.

Baxter looked a good prospect but switched to loosehead. The under 20s seemed to have a couple of hefty options do they should get some cup time in a couple of weeks you'd hope. Tigers have 18 year old Tim Hoyt on loan at Notts this season (3 appearances 1 try) in the Championship there's a feeling he could be a good player. I think he's English born and bred but has PI particularly Fijian family, he's a big lad.

https://mobile.twitter.com/nemani_nadolo/status/1314987489896157184

I don't think prop is going to be an area of concern for England, there seems to be a bit of a conveyor belt in terms of development. Loosehead there's the big lad from Newcastle and Baxter now he's switched sides. Ralph Adams-Hale might come good if he can stay fit.

Phil Brantingham...

I've sat on the edge of my seat for many of your tips geordie! Why do so many fall by the wayside.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 20 Oct 2021, 7:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Ojamoh is the guy I really like, just looks so good, but when Redpath does come back his progress could stall.

Re tightheads no one is currently pressing their claims beyond Heyes (who should be there for me now).

Painter and Street are getting some games in the Prem and are learning their stuff. Could be options in a couple of years. Stuart is only 24 I think and Sinckler late 20s so tighthead we aren't in a bad place. Heyes is 22.

Baxter looked a good prospect but switched to loosehead. The under 20s seemed to have a couple of hefty options do they should get some cup time in a couple of weeks you'd hope. Tigers have 18 year old Tim Hoyt on loan at Notts this season (3 appearances 1 try) in the Championship there's a feeling he could be a good player. I think he's English born and bred but has PI particularly Fijian family, he's a big lad.

https://mobile.twitter.com/nemani_nadolo/status/1314987489896157184

I don't think prop is going to be an area of concern for England, there seems to be a bit of a conveyor belt in terms of development. Loosehead there's the big lad from Newcastle and Baxter now he's switched sides. Ralph Adams-Hale might come good if he can stay fit.

Phil Brantingham...

I've sat on the edge of my seat for many of your tips geordie!  Why do so many fall by the wayside.

Why do so many? There's plenty to under 20 stars who just never make the jump up to full internationals. Injury, failure or inability to kick on, the wrong environment lots of reasons. GF doesn't have a bad recommendation rate in recent times from what I remember. Possibly better than mine as I fully expected Billy Twelvetrees to be an England fixture for many years. 

Phil Brantingham is the one I was thinking of, he looked very good for the under 20s but with props it's hard to tell. Painter and Street looked more powerful scrummagers than Heyes in age group and the assumption was they'd go further. Heyes has pretty much got to the same sort of size but being a bit lighter when he was coming through meant that he worked a lot of his technique, well that and having to practice against Ayerza every week. Heyes has flourished, played more club rugby and been capped first, though his carrying still needs a little work. Could go the same way with Hoyt, he's playing Championship rugby at just 18 but whether he'll be able to advance his all round game or just be the naturally big lad we will see.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 20 Oct 2021, 9:03 pm

That's a good post from Sam I think.

Part of following a sport closely enough to want to post as frequently as we do here is that you will see players early that catch the eye and you immediately rate. A few make it but the nature of pro sport is that many don't.

I definitely did that with Ted Hill.

When Aaron Hinckley signed for Exeter I tipped him to be in the England squad soon. Injuries mean he's barely played.

Jordan Olowofela looked an absolute gun at U20 level.

Joel Kpoku I thought would make a big splash when Sarries bounced back up. He can't make the Sarries 23.

Injury plays a huge role in how players progress, as do a load of non rugby factors with guys at a young age. One of the best number 8 prospects I've seen Tigers produce was a guy called Ed Milne that went away to study medicine and play in the Championship instead. Pro sport is shiny from the outside but I can see why a lot of players might look at the realities of it and think, "not for me". Only those good enough to have the option of those decision ever get to make them too!

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Post by yappysnap Wed 20 Oct 2021, 9:51 pm

Hey gents, haven't followed much of England for a couple of years! Who are the ones to watch now? Obviously I know about Smith but do we think he'll get game time? Otherwise who's going to impress?

Also why is Ewels still around?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 20 Oct 2021, 10:27 pm

Wasn't aiming it at geordie nastily just when you think of stars coming through not many are coming from Newcastle who had promise. We cam all point to the stars who should have been and the reasons but there are few at Newcastle who don't do what they should have just wondered if its the academy coaches the main man or something else.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 20 Oct 2021, 10:29 pm

yappysnap wrote:Hey gents, haven't followed much of England for a couple of years! Who are the ones to watch now? Obviously I know about Smith but do we think he'll get game time? Otherwise who's going to impress?

Also why is Ewels still around?

Ewels is a good player. Before he leaves the scenes people will appreciate him!

Quirke will be exceptional. As will Radwan. Injuries permitting those 2 will be talked about for years.

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Post by yappysnap Wed 20 Oct 2021, 10:58 pm

Yea very excited about Quirke, his performance against us was very good on the weekend. Say it quietly but finally we may see the end of Youngs at 9...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 8:30 am

Well we all have our team and all praise the kids coming through from that particular academy...

With Newcastle its a curious one. (Sorry for the Essay)

Many players just dont make the grade...simple as that. Nothing can be done there.

As mentioned above by KC and Sam, injuries are a major hindrance. Scotty Wilson was my big hope for Tight head...but the lad was just obliterated with injuries. Retired at 24...

Another example currently, is two of our other really exciting wingers...Morgan Passman, and Matty Ward. Both have suffered horrendous injuries similar to Zach Kibirige did and are at various stages of recovery. Matty got injured playing for the England U20's v the Falcons U20s....

Zach Kibirige, was another well documented case... he suffered a horrendous injury, and also during that was going through a long drawn out court case. Dean kept him out of the side through this. He got frustrated and moved away to "restart" which i cant blame him at all.

Our academy produce more than its share of England age group players. Once again we have 7 in the current England u18 set up.

With that in mind it makes you wonder if there is a problem with the transition from juniors / academy to the Seniors. But as the juniors do alot of training with the seniors that doesnt make sense. There should be no secrets over the increased physicality, pace etc.

Why have we seen a stream of talent moving on over the years to other clubs? Josh Hodge was the latest recognized name to do that...though that stream has definitely slowed down over the last few seasons. Maybe since Mark Wilson sowed you CAN make the England team player for the Falcons.

So my other thought is Dean Richards. Is he too untrusting of the kids, given that we are generally in a relegation battle, and not giving them an opportunity over older journeymen?
Is it a coincidence that now relegation is suspended, hes suddenly putting more of the kids in and we're mid table?

In honest...i have no idea, as i dont know the ins and outs of the club daily...but its a question many Falcons have asked for a long time.

What i can tell you though is that we have some very impressive talent coming through...and i hope a few of them really do make it through.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 21 Oct 2021, 9:08 am

One of the hardest things is watching exceptional talent fail to achieve its potential through injury. From Quins, Jack Clifford had everything you could ask for in a modern back row... except a shoulder that could stand up to repeated impacts. Sam Stuart looked like he could be a natural successor to Care - but an ACL injury on each knee put paid to that (though it's good to see how Deano has rehabilitated his - and other Quins refugees' - careers at Falcons). George Lowe was an exceptional outside centre in both attack and defence, and could have been ahead of JJ during Manu's wilderness years but for an horrific tip tackle.

But it's the nature of the game that many are called but few are chosen. London Irish tell the kids and parents entering their development group that maybe 1-3% of those kids will get an academy contract and perhaps 1-3% of those will play internationally.

And each step up requires a new set of skills - and often a player who is willing to learn and reinvent themselves to play at that level.

Maybe those are the things we ought to look at when we're considering prospects: how durable are they, and do they learn?

I was always pretty sceptical of the calls for, say, Wade and Cipriani to have more time at international level, because it was apparent from early on that the former was either unable or unwilling to work on addressing his defensive positioning issues, and the latter was unwilling or unable to work on not being the kind of player Josh Lewsey would deliberately KO in training. If you contrast that with, say, May who reinvented himself from the headless chicken of his early appearances to a much more disciplined and effective player, it highlights one of the key indicators of whether a player can step up to the next level or not.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 21 Oct 2021, 9:25 am

yappysnap wrote:Yea very excited about Quirke, his performance against us was very good on the weekend. Say it quietly but finally we may see the end of Youngs at 9...

Youngs will be looking over his shoulder with caution now. Robson and Randall posed some threat but have obvious areas where Eddie likes to see strength and Benny can normally deliver. Quirke though offers an all round game that will mean Benny has to roll back the years and play some vintage rugby to top. For the minute Youngs will be the ideal foil for Quirke though if Quirke keeps playing like he did Vs Quins it'll be Benny from the bench.

Then there's JVP who's coming along nicely at Tigers. If he and Quirke can stay healthy and keep developing as they are doing then England will have a better pair of 9s then in my memory. Better than Youngs and Care and better than Dawson and Bracken (and Healey). Those two are offering hints at having very complete skill sets we just hope they fullfil their potential.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 9:35 am

Finally theres some 9's coming through on the horizon.

Finally Dean has started to give two of our young 9's gametime...they could add further competition down the line.

Like flippin busses.....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 21 Oct 2021, 10:18 am

Cheers for that Geordie. Fresh starts can help, will be interesting to see if Hodge has taken a bad one given the guys potentially blocking him from the first team though!

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 10:22 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Cheers for that Geordie. Fresh starts can help, will be interesting to see if Hodge has taken a bad one given the guys potentially blocking him from the first team though!

Well Hodge is an interesting one.

We were all pretty dismayed when he left....for obvious reasons.

However its actually worked out far better for us...Penny has established himself as a real quality premier league FB, Brown has come in (who apparently has been a revelation in training more than anything else, with his drive for the best and pushing the lads on) and the best yet, Iwan Stephens, who was signed to replace Hodge is looking the real deal....

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Post by lostinwales Thu 21 Oct 2021, 10:35 am

Itoje is OK

https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12040/12439402/maro-itoje-england-lock-provides-fitness-boost-to-eddie-jones-ahead-of-autumn-nations-series

Brown - you always felt that the England back line wouldn't dare feck up with him glowering from FB. I wonder if he can transition into coaching?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 10:49 am

lostinwales wrote:Itoje is OK

https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12040/12439402/maro-itoje-england-lock-provides-fitness-boost-to-eddie-jones-ahead-of-autumn-nations-series

Brown - you always felt that the England back line wouldn't dare feck up with him glowering from FB. I wonder if he can transition into coaching?

Well Flood is coaching part time with us now...and Brown is by all accounts very involved in the training side...so maybe thats the plan...

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 10:50 am

Glad to see Itoje is fit. Hes a class act - maybe even consider him Captain now.

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Post by Cumbrian Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:15 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Finally theres some 9's coming through on the horizon.

Finally Dean has started to give two of our young 9's gametime...they could add further competition down the line.

Like flippin busses.....

Things never quite align do they? In the late 00s and early 2010s we were begging for locks, then came Launchbury, Lawes, Itoje and Kruis but there was a problem with genuine opensides.

Now we have lots of opensides and the second-row stocks are getting thin!

The consistent lack of inside centre competition is almost comforting...
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:38 am

Cumbrian wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Finally theres some 9's coming through on the horizon.

Finally Dean has started to give two of our young 9's gametime...they could add further competition down the line.

Like flippin busses.....

Things never quite align do they?  In the late 00s and early 2010s we were begging for locks, then came Launchbury, Lawes, Itoje and Kruis but there was a problem with genuine opensides.

Now we have lots of opensides and the second-row stocks are getting thin!

The consistent lack of inside centre competition is almost comforting...

Its a strange old world marra. The locks are a curious one. The current crop should get us to the next world cup...but you would hope the likes of Alex Groves or Ben Bamber, or the Kpokus, or Isiekwe, or Tizzard at Quins or George Martin or one or two others can really make the step up and push these guys close.


Last edited by GeordieFalcon on Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Poorfour Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:51 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Itoje is OK

https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12040/12439402/maro-itoje-england-lock-provides-fitness-boost-to-eddie-jones-ahead-of-autumn-nations-series

Brown - you always felt that the England back line wouldn't dare feck up with him glowering from FB. I wonder if he can transition into coaching?

Well Flood is coaching part time with us now...and Brown is by all accounts very involved in the training side...so maybe thats the plan...

We don't have the full story but one of the rumours around Brown's departure was that he wanted a 2-year contract with a transition into the coaching team, and Quins weren't prepared to offer that. (I think they may have offered 1 year and coaching, but not much has come out for definite). My expectation is that he will become a coach, and probably a very good one given time.
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Post by Poorfour Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:53 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Its a strange old world marra. The locks are a curious one. Should get us to the next world cup...but you would hope the likes of Alex Groves or Ben Bamber, or the Kpokus, or Isiekwe, or Tizzard at Quins or George Martin or one or two others can really make the step up and push these guys close.


Meanwhile, North of the border Toonie's press conference listed pretty much every Scottish lock i've heard of and several I haven't as injured. There may be some highland grannies unearthed in the near future...
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:55 am

Poorfour wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Itoje is OK

https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12040/12439402/maro-itoje-england-lock-provides-fitness-boost-to-eddie-jones-ahead-of-autumn-nations-series

Brown - you always felt that the England back line wouldn't dare feck up with him glowering from FB. I wonder if he can transition into coaching?

Well Flood is coaching part time with us now...and Brown is by all accounts very involved in the training side...so maybe thats the plan...

We don't have the full story but one of the rumours around Brown's departure was that he wanted a 2-year contract with a transition into the coaching team, and Quins weren't prepared to offer that. (I think they may have offered 1 year and coaching, but not much has come out for definite). My expectation is that he will become a coach, and probably a very good one given time.

Well stories coming out are that he's already having quite an impact in that regards. Which can only be a good thing for the Falcons.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:56 am

Poorfour wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Its a strange old world marra. The locks are a curious one. Should get us to the next world cup...but you would hope the likes of Alex Groves or Ben Bamber, or the Kpokus, or Isiekwe, or Tizzard at Quins or George Martin or one or two others can really make the step up and push these guys close.


Meanwhile, North of the border Toonie's press conference listed pretty much every Scottish lock i've heard of and several I haven't as injured. There may be some highland grannies unearthed in the near future...

laughing laughing Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Post by lostinwales Thu 21 Oct 2021, 11:58 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Finally theres some 9's coming through on the horizon.

Finally Dean has started to give two of our young 9's gametime...they could add further competition down the line.

Like flippin busses.....

Things never quite align do they?  In the late 00s and early 2010s we were begging for locks, then came Launchbury, Lawes, Itoje and Kruis but there was a problem with genuine opensides.

Now we have lots of opensides and the second-row stocks are getting thin!

The consistent lack of inside centre competition is almost comforting...

Its a strange old world marra. The locks are a curious one. Should get us to the next world cup...but you would hope the likes of Alex Groves or Ben Bamber, or the Kpokus, or Isiekwe, or Tizzard at Quins or George Martin or one or two others can really make the step up and push these guys close.


The problem with locks in particular is that when you get an Itoje you immediately expect every future international to spring fully formed from the U20's.

It will take time but you only need a couple to make it from that list, and (luck with injuries willing) Itoje should be around for years.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 12:27 pm

Funnily enough im not really looking for all of them to become Itoje esque. Clearly few will.

What im looking for a is a real good big'un. a 6'9 beast in the all the dark arts and set piece...yet still mobile to make a real impact around the park.

Brodie Retallick would do Wink

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Post by lostinwales Thu 21 Oct 2021, 1:05 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Funnily enough im not really looking for all of them to become Itoje esque. Clearly few will.

What im looking for a is a real good big'un. a 6'9 beast in the all the dark arts and set piece...yet still mobile to make a real impact around the park.

Brodie Retallick would do Wink

I don't really have enough evidence to say so but suspect that Groves will be the real deal but it will take a few years

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Post by Poorfour Thu 21 Oct 2021, 1:11 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Funnily enough im not really looking for all of them to become Itoje esque. Clearly few will.

What im looking for a is a real good big'un. a 6'9 beast in the all the dark arts and set piece...yet still mobile to make a real impact around the park.

Brodie Retallick would do ;)

Quite. We don't need another Itoje - we've already got one. What we need is a player to complement him - a replacement for Kruis would be my ideal. A lock who excels in the setpiece; if they can carry hard it's a bonus.
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Post by Cumbrian Thu 21 Oct 2021, 1:44 pm

lostinwales wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Funnily enough im not really looking for all of them to become Itoje esque. Clearly few will.

What im looking for a is a real good big'un. a 6'9 beast in the all the dark arts and set piece...yet still mobile to make a real impact around the park.

Brodie Retallick would do Wink

I don't really have enough evidence to say so but suspect that Groves will be the real deal but it will take a few years

I was hoping Bristol might feed him into there squad this season, but they've farmed him out on loan instead. Might be best off out of it the way Bristol are playing at the moment, then again he might learn more from being part of a pack on the back foot...
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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu 21 Oct 2021, 2:21 pm

Wheres Groves gone to? The Championship?

Same as Kpoku to Coventry...might add a bit of steel to their game...the championship seems to toughen them up a bit.

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Post by Cumbrian Thu 21 Oct 2021, 2:55 pm

Hartpury in the Championship, Bristol to a 'Loan Watch' feature that looks at players live Groves and Bailey.

https://www.bristolbearsrugby.com/news/loan-watch-trio-feature-in-hartpury-defeat/
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Post by yappysnap Fri 22 Oct 2021, 12:08 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
yappysnap wrote:Yea very excited about Quirke, his performance against us was very good on the weekend. Say it quietly but finally we may see the end of Youngs at 9...

Youngs will be looking over his shoulder with caution now. Robson and Randall posed some threat but have obvious areas where Eddie likes to see strength and Benny can normally deliver. Quirke though offers an all round game that will mean Benny has to roll back the years and play some vintage rugby to top. For the minute Youngs will be the ideal foil for Quirke though if Quirke keeps playing like he did Vs Quins it'll be Benny from the bench.

Then there's JVP who's coming along nicely at Tigers. If he and Quirke can stay healthy and keep developing as they are doing then England will have a better pair of 9s then in my memory. Better than Youngs and Care and better than Dawson and Bracken (and Healey). Those two are offering hints at having very complete skill sets we just hope they fullfil their potential.

Really impressed with JVP, he's got the complete skill set for a 9 which seems rare now days.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 22 Oct 2021, 3:25 am

JvP and Quirke both look something quite special to me. To have them come through the same school year with the age group sides is pretty incredible. I just desperately hope both stay fit to continue the remarkable upward curve they are on.

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Post by nlpnlp Sat 23 Oct 2021, 12:26 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Wheres Groves gone to? The Championship?

Same as Kpoku to Coventry...might add a bit of steel to their game...the championship seems to toughen them up a bit.

Second row is an area that I worry about for England.  Itoje is outstanding, but Lawes seems to have moved to 6 and in fairness was always better in the loose than the tight.  Launchbury seems to be permanently broken and Hill has much to prove at International level yet.  Ewels is mehhhh.  There was a time when every England club side had a couple of big, robust second rows and England could choose 2 from the likes of Johnson, Kay, Grewcock, Shaw, etc.

When I look at premiership teams now, I don't see many second rows pushing for England selection, just a collection of journeymen.  In fact I don't see many strong forward packs.  We seem to have moved towards more mobile footballers and lost the big, bad gnarly forwards who could beat up opponents (hence the influx of South Africans particularly at my club Sale).

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 23 Oct 2021, 12:35 am

Talking of SA.....I'm currently transiting through Dubai and have just seen the SA squad boarding for Paris. Some rather large fellows!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 23 Oct 2021, 3:36 pm

Interesting listening to Jones' latest comments. What would success look like this autumn. He says they're obviously looking for 3 wins which is always a given. But he has also said that game is now in a more running phase than kicking so they'll be looking to employ that and that he wants improvement across each game. Music to my ears tbh.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 24 Oct 2021, 12:54 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Interesting listening to Jones' latest comments. What would success look like this autumn. He says they're obviously looking for 3 wins which is always a given. But he has also said that game is now in a more running phase than kicking so they'll be looking to employ that and that he wants improvement across each game. Music to my ears tbh.
And a year or so late....

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 24 Oct 2021, 12:16 pm

Sir Geech's England XV to face Tonga:

If he decides to start with Smith, why not pair him with Sale Sharks' 20-year-old scrum-half Raffi Quirke? He's both the right sort of personality and player to combine effectively with Smith. He has that youthful energy, he's an outstanding competitor and has the quick pass which Smith needs, and together they would make a combination which would challenge any defence.

All the best sides in the world have an outstanding scrum-half, whether it's France's Antoine Dupont, New Zealand’s Aaron Smith or South Africa's Faf de Klerk, and the combination of Smith and Quirke is one which could take England through to the World Cup.

If Manu Tuilagi is fit then he gives Smith an invaluable first-phase carrying option at inside centre. England have consistently been at their best when he's playing, but Smith's genius is in making opportunities for big ball-carriers like his clubmate Alex Dombrandt – with whom Smith has a genuine chemistry – off second or third phase ball.

Smith's ability to bring ball-carriers into play should dominate Eddie’s thinking about the forwards, especially as Tuilagi is so often injured. Playing Smith alongside a pack of ball-carrying forwards gives Eddie a whole new range of tactical options.

Henry Slade at outside centre remains the perfect foil for Tuilagi, while there is an opportunity to put together a really potent back three. How about a combination of the experienced Jonny May, the super-quick Adam Radwan and 6ft 5in counter-attacking full-back Freddie Steward, who is steady under the high ball and has a remarkable ability to break tackles from deep. That's a balanced back three that blends youth and experience.

15. Freddie Steward
14. Adam Radwan
13. Henry Slade
12. Manu Tuilagi
11. Jonny May
10. Marcus Smith
9. Raffi Quirke

1. Joe Marler
2. Jamie George
3. Kyle Sinckler
4. Maro Itoje
5. Courtney Lawes
6. Tom Curry
7. Sam Underhill
8. Alex Dombrandt

As for the pack, England and Smith will be looking for ball-carriers to carry off second and third phase in all positions. The front row could be Joe Marler at loosehead, plus Jamie George at hooker and Kyle Sinckler at tighthead.

In the second row Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes are both exceptional ball-carriers who can also play at six if more ballast is needed.

England’s back row could see Tom Curry and Sam Underhill on the flanks, although I'm a huge fan of Ben Earls' powerful carrying. No 8 would, of course, be Smith's partner-in-crime at Quins, the man mountain Dombrandt. His ability to combine with Smith is uncanny and would be central to England's attacking threat.

There are also great forward options off the bench. Ellis Genge, the Vunipolas, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Earls and Joe Launchbury, when fit, are just some of those who come into contention.

But that starting XV as outlined is an England side which has the right balance of youth and experience – whether or not it has the right chemistry is what Eddie will find out this autumn. It’s an exciting prospect.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2021/10/24/combinations-crucial-picking-test-team-england-starting-xv-autumn/

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Post by lostinwales Sun 24 Oct 2021, 6:04 pm

Malins isn't doing his prospects any harm.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 24 Oct 2021, 7:22 pm

Obviously getting the headlines. Wouldn't pick him personally as May for me needs to stay for continuity, Steward as I want that solidity which leaves him or Radwan. There's nothing I've seen of Malins that makes me think Radwan wouldn't equal or surpass him if in the Saracens team though.

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Post by lostinwales Sun 24 Oct 2021, 7:49 pm

I think Malins is perfect bench material although he might squeeze in ahead of Steward.

He is another good reason why we don't have to pick Lynagh yet.

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Post by propdavid_london Mon 25 Oct 2021, 10:46 am

May on one Wing and Radwan on the other would be rapid...and quite likely with Watson now out injured, Cockanasinga a long term sick note and Daly out of the squad. Malins certainly hasnt done his chances any harm - but depends on if Eddie wants to see more of the youngsters - Freeman and Freddie Stuart at 15. (not that Malins isnt a youngster too). Marchant seems to be seen as a wing by Eddie though.

Back line something like - Randall, Smith, May, Tuilagi, Marchant/Atkins, Radwan, Malins
would be exciting for the Tonga game, and then if combinations work then keep them for the sterner tests.


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Post by propdavid_london Mon 25 Oct 2021, 10:47 am

Marchant is more likely to be on bench perhaps for his versatility in covering 13, 11, 14

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Post by king_carlos Mon 25 Oct 2021, 2:26 pm

Worth noting that Daly's injured rather than dropped. Given how good his international performances were at his best I'd be surprised if he's done already.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 25 Oct 2021, 2:55 pm

Fingers crossed he is. Personally I don't think he's ever had as good a game as Goode did against Ireland. The more he played the more the opposition realised they could make easy ground by simply bombing him out of the game too. Then his confidence seemed so shot he continuously messed up simple passes that Mike Brown would have made in his sleep. Good start to his career, middling middle and then frankly below par. Reminds me of Ashton.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 25 Oct 2021, 3:09 pm

Completely disagree. When performing well his link work with the back three and kicking game was key to England being such a good side that made the RWC final.

In 2020 and the 2021 Six Nations he had some shocking performances. Between 2016 and 2019 he was consistently one of England's best players and we were a far better side with him there.

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Post by cb Mon 25 Oct 2021, 4:12 pm

If Smith is inked in at 10 and Dombrandt pencilled in at 8 - who plays 9 & 12?

The conservative selection would be Youngs and Farrell.

More left-sided would be Randall and Manu though Quirke could be considered as well.

Will Atkinson be considered?

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Post by Poorfour Mon 25 Oct 2021, 4:30 pm

king_carlos wrote:Completely disagree. When performing well his link work with the back three and kicking game was key to England being such a good side that made the RWC final.

In 2020 and the 2021 Six Nations he had some shocking performances. Between 2016 and 2019 he was consistently one of England's best players and we were a far better side with him there.

Daly was great in attack and able to spark opportunities that other players could not exploit or even see. He was always very, very suspect in defence and only secure under the high ball if England could manage their supporting lines to create a fairy ring around him and prevent serious competition for the ball.

He looked good when the England forwards were on the front foot and England were going forward. He looked awful when they weren't and he was on the back foot or under pressure. He has a great reading of attacking possibilities but never had a natural fullback's ability to control the defensive game with his off the ball positioning (which I'd say was very different from Goode - who understood the game but lacked the last half metre of pace and athleticism to be effective at international level).

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Post by king_carlos Mon 25 Oct 2021, 5:00 pm

Poorfour wrote:
king_carlos wrote:Completely disagree. When performing well his link work with the back three and kicking game was key to England being such a good side that made the RWC final.

In 2020 and the 2021 Six Nations he had some shocking performances. Between 2016 and 2019 he was consistently one of England's best players and we were a far better side with him there.

Daly was great in attack and able to spark opportunities that other players could not exploit or even see. He was always very, very suspect in defence and only secure under the high ball if England could manage their supporting lines to create a fairy ring around him and prevent serious competition for the ball.

He looked good when the England forwards were on the front foot and England were going forward. He looked awful when they weren't and he was on the back foot or under pressure. He has a great reading of attacking possibilities but never had a natural fullback's ability to control the defensive game with his off the ball positioning (which I'd say was very different from Goode - who understood the game but lacked the last half metre of pace and athleticism to be effective at international level).

I've never argued that Daly is strong defensively. I just can't remember many games I look at and think that Daly's defence lost us the game - I'd be interested for people to name specific matches. I can think of several that I don't think we win without Daly's attacking work.

People point to the RWC final but the truth is that Daly didn't lose that game. Getting absolutely battered by a unit of 14 outstanding Springboks forwards having a near perfect performance did. Swap Daly and Kolbe, I honestly think that result is exactly the same with the Boks forward performance.

Looking good on the front foot and poor on the back foot is the same for the vast majority of back three players. Willie le Roux frequently looks awful on the back foot, still a brilliant full back.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 25 Oct 2021, 5:39 pm

I'd rarely if ever say that 1 player costs a rugby team the game. Too much of a team sport. He was abysmal in that final though. SA targeted him well and tbh he looked shell shocked. I'm pleased he's out however that came about and looking forward to the next guy nailing down the position for the near future.

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