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English 6 Nations

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 05, 2022 2:52 pm

First topic message reminder :

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jan/05/six-nations-rugby-covid-rob-baxter

A potential answer to a potential problem. Baxter has said that if there is a risk of cancellations or playing in front of 1 man and his dog you may as well play all the games in England.

I suppose an interesting suggestion. If they could agree a slice of revenue from whichever grounds would host along with some teams giving up home advantage would people want to see this? It doesn't reduce the risk at all, merely increases it surely, gives England an advantage. It's unlikely the Government will bring in further restrictions as their hands are tied by the back benchers so reduces the risk of last minute changes. Just a big melting pot of cross contamination.


'Rob Baxter, Exeter’s director of rugby, believes that playing this season’s Six Nations in one country has “got to be better than cancelling it”.

The tournament is due to kick off in Dublin and Edinburgh on 5 February but currently finds itself shrouded in uncertainty. Under current Welsh Government restrictions imposed due to the pandemic and, specifically, the omicron variant, Wales would have to play scheduled home games against Scotland, France and Italy behind closed doors. Scotland are in a similar position for games at Murrayfield, while it has been reported that Wales could consider moving their home against Scotland, France and Italy to England.

Financial implications of behind-closed-doors home games for the Welsh Rugby Union would be significant. They faced an identical situation for last season’s tournament, with the shutters being down for matches against Ireland and England. Full crowds were, however, allowed at the Principality Stadium for Wales’ recent Autumn Nations Series before fresh restrictions took effect from Boxing Day.

Capacity crowds are currently allowed in England, provided spectators can prove full vaccination status or provide a negative lateral flow test. Against such a backdrop, playing the whole competition – it takes place across five weekends between early February and mid-March – in one country with permitted crowds has also been mooted in some quarters.

“The whole beauty of the Six Nations has been that change of environment, that change of weather conditions, going to play in Scotland, Wales, Ireland – those are the great challenges,” said Baxter. “That’s what makes the Six Nations such a great competition to win. You’ve seen French teams in that one week they can beat anyone in the world in Paris, and then the next week it doesn’t go quite so well in Cardiff. That’s the beauty of the tournament, that’s what from a rugby perspective I am sure we would all want to see happen.

“That said, we can’t all sit here and pretend the world is in an ideal place at the moment. For the national bodies, their responsibility goes beyond the professional sport, it goes right down to grassroots rugby, so if playing the tournament provides a level of income that cancelling it or no crowds doesn’t create, then we’ve got to look at the next best scenario. If the next best scenario is playing it in one country, where you can have sellout crowds, you can raise some revenue and you can keep that income stream going for all the bodies, then it’s got to be better than cancelling it.


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“I think with every sporting body, it’s revenue that is the biggest thing that has been damaged, so anything that can keep revenue online has got to be preferable to just binning things for a season,” Baxter added. “We’ve all had to try and find a way to keep going, to try and keep revenue coming in. It’s the same with any business, you’ve got to explore those options.”

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:17 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Just watched Eddies interview on the newbies and he has actually said they see Chessum in the same role of Courtney Lawes.....so athletic lock and 6.

He certainly fills that role now. He's been filling out quite nicely and if he continues bulking out like his frame and age suggests he can he'll probably end up more in the row than at 6. He's a better lock than 6 currently. He does carry well and he's physical but he's not got the big impacts in the locker than Lawes has, hopefully being with England will help his development, it did George Martin.

Incidentally I noticed his younger brother is training with the Tigers first team at the minute and isn't what you'd call small. Looks taller than Wells already and the Notts website where he's on loan has him down at 115kg he's only 18. Hopefully he emulates his brother and we see a very ginger lock combination at Tigers.

Well of the few times I've seen Chessum I've been very impressed and i do think he's a lock more than a 6 and he really should be able to put a few lbs on aswell.

Whats he..6'7 or 6'8? Big lad.
He could make a very interesting lock combo with George Martin!!
Don't forget Launchbury and Kruis both played quite alot of their early days at 6...before settling at lock.

And yes the stories I've heard is that the younger brother is rated very highly.  I'd heard he was already taller than Ollie...which would make him very big indeed but maybe that's not factually true just yet...

Edit
Ollie listed as 6'7 and 118 kg (18 stone 6)
Lewis no height listed but 115kg (18 stone 1)

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Post by doctor_grey Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:57 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Just watched Eddies interview on the newbies and he has actually said they see Chessum in the same role of Courtney Lawes.....so athletic lock and 6.
Eddie sees Cheesum as a potential England legend and one of the great representatives of England...and Northampton Saints?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:57 am

Jones talking on the rugby pod cast basically said it will be Farrell at 12 outside Smith as a steady hand on the tiller to run the game. Also touched upon having 3 scrum halfs in the squad and potentially giving more time on the pitch to Randall and Quirke.

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Post by king_carlos Wed Jan 19, 2022 12:59 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Jones talking on the rugby pod cast basically said it will be Farrell at 12 outside Smith as a steady hand on the tiller to run the game. Also touched upon having 3 scrum halfs in the squad and potentially giving more time on the pitch to Randall and Quirke.
Suddenly I'm terrified of seeing Farrell and Slade in the centres together again. It just wastes both of them.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:00 pm

Its pretty much confirmed i think...

10 Smith
12 Farrell
13 Slade


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Post by lostinwales Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:21 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Its pretty much confirmed i think...

10 Smith
12 Farrell
13 Slade


I don't want to lose games to prove a point, much rather win all of them, but this combo is terrible.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:30 pm

As much as i criticize Farrell...i agree with what KC and 7.5 have said in that Farrell has been there during some of best games.

So he can do it.

Is the captaincy and the rigid structure Jones implemented over the last few seasons played a big part in Farrells poorer performances.

Maybe if we attack freely a bit more...Farrell can come to the fore a bit more as a "fulcrum" with Smith (and Slade) providing the fireworks.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:33 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:   I am amazed George Ford is not in the squad the way he is leading Leicester tiger at the moment.

Owen Farral may be captain ogf the team but his lack of game time , should surely be a factor as to him making the squad or not.

Ford's form and Leicester's success are not in doubt. But it may well be that Leicester's style is not the style that Eddie wants for England.

Ford is a multi-phase player - he's expert at moving the defence around until there's space to exploit. Smith can do that almost as well, but adds an extra dimension on playing heads up rugby: he makes decisions later than Ford and has more options at his disposal. And he disrupts defences just by being in the defenders' eyeline - as with Quirke's try in the autumn.

Farrell is a game-manager; he plays the percentages and puts the ball in the right part of the field. He's also tough enough to relieve pressure on the 10 when he's playing 12.

I have my doubts about whether Farrell and Smith will really bring out the best in each other, but because of Farrell's injury we haven't really seen it tried. But Ford and Smith won't fit in the same XXIII, especially not when you have Farrell, Malins, Furbank or Bailey to cover 10 and other positions.

Eddie knows that he can bring Ford back in and he will be able to play to a high level. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the call and the shirt if Smith is injured or out of favour, or to see him in the wider RWC squad. But I doubt they will ever appear on the same teamsheet and this squad is about building a team that has Smith at 10 and a range of cover options.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:44 pm

lostinwales wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Its pretty much confirmed i think...

10 Smith
12 Farrell
13 Slade


I don't want to lose games to prove a point, much rather win all of them, but this combo is terrible.

Even worse then you think who will be the 9.

Can work though. Scotland beat us by kicking the leather off it and some unusual circumstances. I think this combo given plenty of ball by the pack will do pretty well.

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Post by king_carlos Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:10 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Its pretty much confirmed i think...

10 Smith
12 Farrell
13 Slade


I don't want to lose games to prove a point, much rather win all of them, but this combo is terrible.

Even worse then you think who will be the 9.

Can work though. Scotland beat us by kicking the leather off it and some unusual circumstances.  I think this combo given plenty of ball by the pack will do pretty well.
Also one of the best individual performances you'll see from Hogg that day. His tactical play was spectacular.

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Post by lostinwales Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:43 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:As much as i criticize Farrell...i agree with what KC and 7.5 have said in that Farrell has been there during some of best games.

So he can do it.

Is the captaincy and the rigid structure Jones implemented over the last few seasons played a big part in Farrells poorer performances.

Maybe if we attack freely a bit more...Farrell can come to the fore a bit more as a "fulcrum" with Smith (and Slade) providing the fireworks.

I'd be happier saying that he has done it in the past. I think the game is changing, the boxes he ticks can be managed by other players, and the negatives of playing him need to be considered.

There was a joy about the way that England played in the Autumn which carried them a long way. I don't think they had any right to beat SA but they did, and that is a lot to do with the confidence in the team. Quite likely I am being silly but maybe with Farrell at the helm we become too serious and too brittle.

I also wonder about his form.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:24 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Its pretty much confirmed i think...

10 Smith
12 Farrell
13 Slade


I don't want to lose games to prove a point, much rather win all of them, but this combo is terrible.

Even worse then you think who will be the 9.

Can work though. Scotland beat us by kicking the leather off it and some unusual circumstances.  I think this combo given plenty of ball by the pack will do pretty well.

Moan about it all you like but we don't have a better one currently.

I really dislike that midfield, it hamstrung Ford and Smith will be left with similar difficulties. Only benefit for Smith is that Steward will be at fullback to straighten the line though the concern is that they just run him into brick walls because the opposition know what's coming.

We've got to get Marchant in there somewhere.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:41 pm

Well we do. Several.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:02 pm

Interested to see whether Malins gets the nod on the wing. We could in effect have 4 playmaker in the team along with the howitzer boot of Steward.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:17 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well we do. Several.

If your suggesting Randall is one, i disagree there...Quirke on the other hand...now i hope hes fully fit and gets a good run out.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:22 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Interested to see whether Malins gets the nod on the wing. We could in effect have 4 playmaker in the team along with the howitzer boot of Steward.

I think Malins will be one of the wings. May and Malins in fact.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:23 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well we do. Several.

If your suggesting Randall is one, i disagree there...Quirke on the other hand...now i hope hes fully fit and gets a good run out.

Pretty much any English qualified scrum half has a better pass than Youngs. And I think that's the best core point to get the best from Smith. The fact others also have a better sniping game is a bonus.

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Post by lostinwales Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:40 pm

Hassal Collins may get a look in but I'd expect Marchant and Malins to fill the other wing slot and a seat on the replacements bench, which way around will depend on the day.

I know Farrell is due a run out this weekend but I am uneasy with him starting on Feb 5 if that is what happens

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Post by Poorfour Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:54 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Interested to see whether Malins gets the nod on the wing. We could in effect have 4 playmaker in the team along with the howitzer boot of Steward.

Put Marchant on the other wing and you have another one - and arguably the biggest backline brains trust you could assemble. That's a lot of very smart players.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:44 pm

Poorfour wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Interested to see whether Malins gets the nod on the wing. We could in effect have 4 playmaker in the team along with the howitzer boot of Steward.

Put Marchant on the other wing and you have another one - and arguably the biggest backline brains trust you could assemble. That's a lot of very smart players.

Given Eddie's love of the kick chase if be surprised if May was overlooked. Malins, OHC and maybe Marchant are competing for the other wing. I'm still hoping Marchant is pencilled in at 13.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:55 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Well we do. Several.

But we don't.

Randall's kicking game is a mess.
Robson is a less talented Randall, same kicking game issue.
Mitchell has consistency issues at club level, great one week and dire the next. Tends to go missing in big games.
JVP is a bit raw round the edges, needs more top level club games to iron out his game.
Quirke can't seem to stay fit, has been playing with a lot of strapping on his leg for some time. Given his all action game, particularly in defence, that's got to be a concern going forward.

Youngs passing has been pretty good this season. His form reliable and his attacking game refound. Add in the box kicking and good positioning in defence. He's going to be dethroned at some point, and possibly soon, but right now isn't going to be it.

We need Quirke to get fit and stay fit long enough to display  consistently good game management against quality opposition. He's managed just 5 games for Sale this season. JVP 13, Youngs 10, Mitchell 14 etc.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Jan 19, 2022 6:18 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Well we do. Several.

But we don't.

Randall's kicking game is a mess.
Robson is a less talented Randall, same kicking game issue.
Mitchell has consistency issues at club level, great one week and dire the next. Tends to go missing in big games.
JVP is a bit raw round the edges, needs more top level club games to iron out his game.
Quirke can't seem to stay fit, has been playing with a lot of strapping on his leg for some time. Given his all action game, particularly in defence, that's got to be a concern going forward.

Youngs passing has been pretty good this season. His form reliable and his attacking game refound. Add in the box kicking and good positioning in defence. He's going to be dethroned at some point, and possibly soon, but right now isn't going to be it.

We need Quirke to get fit and stay fit long enough to display  consistently good game management against quality opposition. He's managed just 5 games for Sale this season. JVP 13, Youngs 10, Mitchell 14 etc.


You like what he brings. I think its mediocre. That's ok. Soon we'll both be able to move on.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Jan 19, 2022 6:47 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Given Eddie's love of the kick chase if be surprised if May was overlooked. Malins, OHC and maybe Marchant are competing for the other wing. I'm still hoping Marchant is pencilled in at 13.

I'd like to see Marchant at 13 too, but I can only see it happening in case of injury, as against SA.

Marchant's no slouch at the kick chase either - he may not be as fast as May, but his timing is superb. My favourite ever "kick chase" is when Smith pushed a penalty attempt wide of the posts and Marchant leapt like a salmon to claim it in mid air and score a try. (That he did it against a dumbfounded pre-relegation Saracens only makes me love it more.)
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed Jan 19, 2022 7:22 pm

The comments by EJ are quite something.....

"Marcus could be an absolutely brilliant 10, but he needs to have a guy next to him who is going to run the game for him - and that is where Owen fits in"

What an utter load of tosh. Smith has proved he can run a game perfectly well, but he needs runners off him......not some overseer who offers little to no running threat. Farrell's kicking form hand is nothing to get excited about and his kicking from the tea is arguably worse than Smith's.

I'm not a Farrell fan.....I foresee a Borthwick scenario yet again, where a players "leadership" far outweighs his contribution on the pitch.

We have the potential to build a backline around one of the most exciting talents since JW, yet EJ wants to babysit him with a player with no form to warrant a selection in the squad, never mind the starting XV.

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Post by Sharkey06 Wed Jan 19, 2022 7:55 pm

If not Farrell at 12 then who? Based on the SA game it would be Slade, but he seems to have settled into the 13 slot. There just aren't many options when Manu is injured.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:32 pm

Poorfour wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Given Eddie's love of the kick chase if be surprised if May was overlooked. Malins, OHC and maybe Marchant are competing for the other wing. I'm still hoping Marchant is pencilled in at 13.

I'd like to see Marchant at 13 too, but I can only see it happening in case of injury, as against SA.

Marchant's no slouch at the kick chase either - he may not be as fast as May, but his timing is superb. My favourite ever "kick chase" is when Smith pushed a penalty attempt wide of the posts and Marchant leapt like a salmon to claim it in mid air and score a try. (That he did it against a dumbfounded pre-relegation Saracens only makes me love it more.)

Yeah I remember that try. Marchant is a quality option but I can't see May not being one of the starting wingers.

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Post by king_carlos Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:43 pm

Marchant is very good in the air and more than quick enough to play wing so we'd lose nothing with him as part of the kick chase IMO.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Jan 19, 2022 9:25 pm

Depends on two things, innit? One, is May still as lacklustre as he was in the autumn. Two, has Eddie noticed.
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Post by Mr Bounce Wed Jan 19, 2022 9:52 pm

Eddie clearly has his favourite "go-to" players in Itoje and Curry who are world class.

There are also his "good but not great" players that he just cannot leave out of a team despite them playing badly/being half-cocked. These are the ones who Eddie just HAS to pick for whatever reason and the main culprits appear to be Farrell, Youngs, Slade, May and to a lesser extent Daly (who he's hinting at bringing back in). They will be in or around the squad despite having a leg hanging off, or even after letting 14 tries in against France. For some reason they're undroppable, despite there being faster, fitter but less experienced players available who would suit the more expansive gameplan better.

Eddie knows, but he ain't telling. We shall see.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Jan 19, 2022 9:58 pm

Poorfour wrote:Depends on two things, innit? One, is May still as lacklustre as he was in the autumn. Two, has Eddie noticed.

I suspect Eddie will want one of the back three to have some experience. I wouldn't mind a Malins, Marchant, Steward option other than I'd much prefer Marchant in the 13 shirt.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:19 am

Mr Bounce wrote:Eddie clearly has his favourite "go-to" players in Itoje and Curry who are world class.

There are also his "good but not great" players that he just cannot leave out of a team despite them playing badly/being half-cocked

For all the talk that Jones likes to shake things up in his squad, his record with England demonstrates him being very loyal. If players show improvement under his watch (e.g. Jonny May); respond well to his coaching (e.g. Haskell, Hartley, Marler); or do exactly what he wants, no questions asked (e.g Ben Youngs); then Jones will generally stick by them. He might even have persevered with Haskell and Hartley, if injury hadn't ultimately ended their careers.

A lot of players have come and gone from his squads, without picking up more than half a dozen caps, often less. Two stalwarts he did actively discard are Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown. Jones was always looking for better back row options, so it wasn't a big surprise to see Robshaw go. Meanwhile, Daly's switch to full back was the writing on the wall for Brown.

To drop regular players like the Daly, Ford and the Vunipolas is actually out of character for Eddie Jones, as far as his England career goes. He's done it in the past, when he has firmly decided on a better player. Maybe Steward is already nailed down at full back, and Smith at fly half but it's too early to know which loosehead will regularly be in the squad with Genge and Marler, or who is going to hold down the No.8 spot.

Jones appears to want to change the age and chemistry of his squad. Part of the reason to keep some reqular selections away from camp, is to make sure the squad doesn't fall back into old routines, and the new boys get a chance to do find their feet. If the results and performances are good, then perhaps discarded players will not be recalled.


Last edited by Rugby Fan on Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:54 am

Saw a random twitter post saying that one of Jones quotes used to be that players on average are capped 7 times. And as of now Jones caps his 8.6. I like that stat.

Jones did say in his interview that he likes to change the identity of the squad every 2 years or so and so I'd be surprised should we move back to the Vunipolas etc. I'd expect only a disastrous showing by players this tournament or injuries will mean going backwards.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:34 am

Papers reporting that Farrell on started full training this week....will he be fit enough?

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Post by Gooseberry Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:38 am

doctor_grey wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Just watched Eddies interview on the newbies and he has actually said they see Chessum in the same role of Courtney Lawes.....so athletic lock and 6.
Eddie sees Cheesum as a potential England legend and one of the great representatives of England...and Northampton Saints?

Only if he has Courtney Lawes next to him to run the game coffee

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Jan 20, 2022 8:39 am

He's due to play for Saracens this week Geordie. Jones (as I suspect all coaches) does take a few risks on player fitness so I suspect he will play no matter what unless his leg falls off. Scotland will be weighing the same risks for Redpath.

On that point the Guadian:

't has been 10 years since Owen Farrell played his first Test for England, against Scotland at Murrayfield back at the start of the 2012 Six Nations. By the dog years in which rugby players measure their Test careers, that’s a lifetime or so ago. Ben Youngs is the only other player from that match who is still playing international rugby. Most of the rest moved on a long time ago, into second careers in or outside the sport. Farrell, 20, fresh faced and whippet thin, played at inside-centre that day. The Scottish fans booed him all game. It didn’t make any difference, he kicked eight points, and England won by seven.

Owen Farrell will resume the England captaincy during the Six Nations
Eddie Jones banks on Owen Farrell as captain despite lack of gametime
Read more
If Eddie Jones’s plan works out, Farrell will be back there at Murrayfield in a fortnight’s time. It is, even by Jones’s standards, a particularly mulish bit of thinking. Farrell, who spent most of last year struggling to find his best form, hasn’t played a single minute of competitive rugby since he injured his ankle playing against Australia last autumn.

There are other regular players – Sam Underhill, Elliott Daly, Manu Tuilagi – who have been left out of the 36-man squad because they are still working their way back to match fitness after more recent injuries. But for Farrell, it doesn’t matter, he’s pencilled in, as captain, for the first game of the tournament.

Meanwhile another of Jones’s old favourites, George Ford, can’t get in the squad even though he was picked as Premiership player of the month once in October and then again in December.

The inconsistency is all the more conspicuous because England got on just fine without Farrell when they beat South Africa last autumn, with another survivor, Courtney Lawes, as captain, and a rearranged midfield of Marcus Smith, Tuilagi, (who was replaced by Joe Marchant after he went off injured), and Henry Slade, who played his best Test yet.

After that match, everyone was asking exactly how Farrell was going to slot into the team when he was fit again. A couple of months later, Jones’s answer suggests it was never a question at all. He wants Farrell outside Smith, a combination that looked a little hit and miss in the one Test they played against Australia.

“Every brilliant 10 in the history of the game has been accompanied by a stable 12, and that’s the combination I think we need to have,” Jones told the BBC, “and Owen brings that at 12, his reading of the game, his ability to take pressure off of Marcus is going to be so important, Dan Carter was always at his best when he had Aaron Mauger at 12, Stephen Larkham was at his best when he had Rod Kafer at 12, he couldn’t run out of sight on a dark night, but he read the game, and did all the organisation for him, and freed the 10 up to play the game.”

But with Farrell, it’s never just about what he does on the pitch. So much of what makes him a great player, so many of his best qualities, are hidden from public view. It’s one reason why those who have played with him are often so much quicker to talk him up than some of England’s fans, who sometimes seem, even now, oddly indifferent to him after all these years.

England’s Owen Farrell goes off injured against Australia
Farrell has not played any competitive rugby since his injury against Australia. Photograph: Tony Obrien/Reuters
It’s in the way he carries himself around the squad, the rigorous and punishing dedication to the job, and the exacting standards he sets for himself and expects of everyone else. In all that, he sounds a lot like Jones himself.

Neither of them loses a lot of time worrying about what anyone else thinks. But you get the sense there has been more debate about Farrell’s role, and in particular his captaincy, in these last few months than Jones has ever let on in public. Given that Jones has been rebuilding the team and has put particular emphasis on redeveloping their leadership group, it would be odd if he and the other coaches hadn’t been talking about it behind the scenes.

Operation Dead Meat: Ruthless Eddie Jones wields the knife again for England
Robert Kitson
Robert Kitson
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In his recent book, Leadership, Jones describes Farrell as a “developing” captain, even though he has already led England in 34 Tests and, if he carries on with the job this year, will have done it more often than anyone except for Will Carling. In the book, Jones talks about how Farrell’s “aggressive and belligerent” style of play gets in the way when he’s “trying to forge a positive relationship with a tricky referee”. He backed away from that when I asked him about it in an interview last December: “I don’t think there’s a captain that doesn’t need to improve, John Eales, Sean Fitzpatrick, they were heavily criticised in their first years.”

But it’s clear he wants him to work on his man management. Jones has had to do that too. He has said that he identifies with Farrell. “I like the guys that have come up the tougher way, who maybe don’t fit the stereotype, who have got to keep battling, have got to keep proving themselves, because they’re the loyal players, they’re doing it because they want to be good, not for someone else,” he told me.

And of course they also remind him of himself. And as he says, he has had to learn “that when you grow up in a tough environment those softer skills aren’t so appreciated, so you don’t tend to develop them, it’s something that only comes later in your life, when you realise you have got to do that.”

Jones clearly has an affinity with Farrell. But by picking him as captain again now, you wonder if he has pushed it a little too far.'

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Post by lostinwales Thu Jan 20, 2022 9:16 am

I know a lot of us are on a anti Farrell run, but the comments on changing culture are interesting because as captain (and as an incredibly driven player with a very important voice in training and on the pitch) you would have thought that Farrell is the one who has been absolutely at the centre of the culture Eddie is apparently looking to change.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu Jan 20, 2022 9:27 am

Manu apparently had a set back also...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu Jan 20, 2022 9:56 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Manu apparently had a set back also...

Shocked that's a shocker. Feel for the guy but on the upside it might mean Tigers don't have to face him next week. Hopefully he recovers and can play a part later in the tournament.

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Post by MichaelT Thu Jan 20, 2022 10:10 am

I am sure I read that Tuilagis set back was a surprise to Sale when the squad was announced? unless there has been something else said since

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Post by lostinwales Thu Jan 20, 2022 10:43 am

So.. Andy Christie. Did England miss a trick there or is he just one of many promising back rows without the kind of USP that would have got him into the England squad?

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jan 20, 2022 10:48 am

England have to give up on Manu.

Unfortunate but Eddie needs to plan the World Cup with an effective combination at centre without him and in my opinion without Farrell.

It is the one obvious position England are below what is required

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Jan 20, 2022 10:55 am

Christie wasn't really on the radar for me. Raises the question of better compensation to the youth teams again though.

Can't move on from Tuilagi as he's too good. And no, our midfield options are fine.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:09 am

Compared to the other leading nations England are inferior in that department

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:14 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Christie wasn't really on the radar for me. Raises the question of better compensation to the youth teams again though.

Can't move on from Tuilagi as he's too good. And no, our midfield options are fine.

You can if he never plays! I know im like a broken down record player but you cant build a team around players who are never fit!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:17 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Compared to the other leading nations England are inferior in that department

Not really.

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Post by lostinwales Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:19 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Compared to the other leading nations England are inferior in that department

That is a matter of opinion, in part driven by our general negative opinion of Farrell. That opinion (that in all honesty I share) does not seem to be shared by the coaches who, for instance, took him on the Lions tour.

I don't think we are far away from having a very competitive center combo. The makeshift Slade/Marchant combo stood up exceptionally well against the SA midfield who must be ranked amongst the best in the world. On the rare occasions when Tuilagi manages to play he shows he still has it, which is no mean feat considering how he plays and how much the game has changed over the last 10 years.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:21 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Christie wasn't really on the radar for me. Raises the question of better compensation to the youth teams again though.

Can't move on from Tuilagi as he's too good. And no, our midfield options are fine.

You can if he never plays! I know im like a broken down record player but you cant build a team around players who are never fit!

I know your point and if he was average then yes. He's a world class player when he players though. And it's rugby anyone can go down injured at any point. You could pick any player and have them unavailable the next match. That said I don't think Englands gamble of playing him with a heavily strapped leg vs SA was the brightest move.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:37 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Christie wasn't really on the radar for me. Raises the question of better compensation to the youth teams again though.

Can't move on from Tuilagi as he's too good. And no, our midfield options are fine.

You can if he never plays! I know im like a broken down record player but you cant build a team around players who are never fit!

I know your point and if he was average then yes. He's a world class player when he players though. And it's rugby anyone can go down injured at any point. You could pick any player and have them unavailable the next match. That said I don't think Englands gamble of playing him with a heavily strapped leg vs SA was the brightest move.

I appreciate injuries happen all the time and Manu is a one off in the world...what a player we have missed the benefit of having in our side.

But we just cant rely on him...and for all his ability i just dont get the point in praying he makes one England game a season...

World Cup is next year....We need to focus the upcoming tournaments now and what is available to build a consistant lineup that is potent in attack and defence...

And post WC...
Seb Atkinson
Max Ojomoh
Dan Kelly
Ollie Lawrence
Ollie Hartley
Etc etc etc

Can be checked out by the new coaches...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:42 am

Interesting side bet then:

How many players who start against Scotland will make it through the tournament without going off through injury including concussion?

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Post by lostinwales Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:54 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Interesting side bet then:

How many players who start against Scotland will make it through the tournament without going off through injury including concussion?

Off the top of my head I'd say 12

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