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English 6 Nations

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 05 Jan 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 No 7&1/2 Thu 24 Feb 2022, 6:59 am

doctor_grey wrote:You think EJ is looking for Slade to play the Farrell role with Tuilagi in the traditional hard running outside centre?  Or rather, Slade in the traditional second receiver role considering we don't want him stopping the attack?  Especially since there is no second playmaking option at fullback, unlike what Scotland can do with Hogg at 15.  
We've got Genge now looping passes outside. All s good. We've just got to get the ball off the scrum half.

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Post by Geordie Thu 24 Feb 2022, 8:21 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:Alfie Bell is the current England U20 lock

Many of these are a wait and see...

Very much so. Chessum Jnr has been on loan at Notts this season, at 19 is taller than Ollie and according to the Notts website 18 stone whilst being built like a twigglet. Could be an interesting one to watch, would give Tigers two very good lineout options if he could emulate his older brother.

I suspect George Martin will remain at 6, his game just suits the position.

There's quite a few good young options but we are sort of waiting and seeing with a lot of them and it'll probably be for after the next world cup. Harry Wells was capped last season but not sure he will be again.

I know Geordie was half joking but I rate Sean Robinson, very underrated player and was in the last year's summer squad before injury if I remember rightly. Eddie might have another look this summer if he wants someone a bit more experienced to add something to the set piece.
i wouldnt swap him for anyone Sam....and i mean that. Hes an absolute warrior for us , leader...and just a fantastic player. Gutted he didnt get his cap in the summer as out of all the falcons...hes the one who would have stood out In my opinion even over Blamires try scoring feats.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 24 Feb 2022, 8:23 am

Nice write up about Ben Youngs from the Guardian:

'When Ben Youngs got married, in 2015, his best man, Tom Croft, pulled together a collection of his favourite things Youngs had come out with in the years they’d been playing together and published them in a book called … Stuff Ben Said. There was the time Youngs asked if Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger “were really twins”, when he said he “had only just learned he had two lungs”, asked whether the “place with all the stone heads was called Easter Egg Island” and the one when he called his brother Tom to ask why his stew was so dry. “Did you add stock?” Tom asked: “Yes, two cubes.” “And did you add water to the cubes?” Pause. “Do I need to?”

Youngs has reached another landmark this week. If all goes as it should do, he’ll play his 115th game for England on Saturday and break the England men’s caps record set by Jason Leonard in 2004 (although he is a way off the 137 games Rocky Clark played for England women).

Youngs isn’t saying so much this time, he did a podcast with the RFU, and an interview on behalf of one of his sponsors, but otherwise he’s not talking to the press before the game. He does not want to make too much of it when a match against Wales awaits and the title is still on the line.

Which fits. Youngs has never demanded attention, has never been in running for World Rugby’s Player of the Year award, has never been picked as the Player of the Six Nations. He doesn’t have Aaron Smith’s pass or Antoine Dupont’s strength, he wasn’t ever as imposing as Conor Murray or as much of a menace as Faf de Klerk. For long stretches of his career there have been plenty of people who would argue with you whether he was the best scrum-half in the country. Danny Care scored and set up more tries, Richard Wigglesworth was a better kicker. Even now there are plenty of people who wish Eddie Jones would unleash Raffi Quirke or Harry Randall to quicken England up.

Youngs used to be pretty sharp. He may have a steady and deliberate way with a pass, marked by those two or three steps he often takes before he throws them, but he has a turn of pace. He has scored 20 tries for England and the only men who have scored more played in the centres or back three. The best, the most memorable of them, may have been the first, against Australia in 2010, when he beat three men with a dummy and a swerve. That was a demonstration of the raw talent that made him the youngest man to play for Leicester in the league and won him an England call-up soon after. He still has that in him, but you don’t see it quite so often.

It is just one skill, now, in what’s become a complete set. Over the years he has grown into a player who does everything well without doing any one thing spectacularly. This means it’s easy to see what he lacks in comparison to some of his rivals, and easy, too, to overlook how good he is. That’s one reason he gets so much stick. Like Owen Farrell, Youngs cops criticism simply because he’s held on to one of England’s pivotal play-making positions for so long, when there are so many untested players to choose from.

Ben Youngs runs in to score against Tonga last November.
Ben Youngs runs in to score against Tonga last November. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
What he does have, and has always had, is the faith of his coaches. By the end of his run, Leonard, a cult hero and crowd favourite, had become a specialist replacement, the old head on the bench England would bring on to shore up their scrum. Youngs, though, is one of the first names on the teamsheet. He was on the bench against Italy last time out, but it was the first time he had been there in the past two years, when he started every time he was fit to play. He is a key player in Jones’s new England, was a key player in Jones’s old England, just like he was in Stuart Lancaster’s side, and, way back before that, in Martin Johnson’s.

England have, by my count, tried 12 others in his position since he made his debut. There have been Care, Quirke, Randall, Wigglesworth, Willi Heinz for a time, Dan Robson, Ben Spencer, Jack Maunder and Alex Mitchell. Before them were Lee Dickson, Paul Hodgson and Joe Simpson, who used to play ahead of Youngs in the England age groups because they thought he was the better prospect. Simpson, who is at Bath, ended up winning one cap, a reminder of how unpredictable a business it is and all the many things that can go wrong along the way – the injuries, the arguments with coaches, the loss of form, the lack of favour.


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Youngs has been through all that, has suffered with depression, and fatigue after he toured with the Lions in 2013 (he twice decided to sit out later tours to spend time with his family). He was dropped by Johnson, Lancaster and Jones but came back, suffered bad injuries in 2012, 2018 and 2019, then came back from those too. He has been in teams that took some beatings: the defeat by Wales in 2013, by them again, and Australia, in the World Cup in 2015, and the loss to South Africa in the final four years later. And here he is at the end of it, about to have more England caps than any man and, more importantly, a lot of respect and affection from the people he works with. He’s a man coaches trust and one who players like and look up to.

“He is the squadfather,” says Ellis Genge. “If you need some advice, you need some advice.”

Just so long as it’s not about geography, anatomy or stew.'

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 24 Feb 2022, 8:38 am

Gotta love Genge quotes.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 24 Feb 2022, 8:43 am

"Over the years he has grown into a player who does everything well without doing any one thing spectacularly"

He doesn't pass well....

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 24 Feb 2022, 8:51 am

doctor_grey wrote:You think EJ is looking for Slade to play the Farrell role with Tuilagi in the traditional hard running outside centre?  Or rather, Slade in the traditional second receiver role considering we don't want him stopping the attack?  Especially since there is no second playmaking option at fullback, unlike what Scotland can do with Hogg at 15.  

I suspect this may be how England go. Tuilagi was at OC last time he was paired with Slade in the centers and was on the wing in their last game together. Englands default system is Farrell at 12, Slade is the most like for like. Also at 13 Tuilagi will be opposite Tompkins, a wet paper bag he can just run through and force Wales to really think about how they cover that. At 12 hes running into a chonkier 12 and closer to support from the forwards, just seems a blunt instrument there.

There seems to be a general assumption from people on here that Slade is a 13 and will always be picked there, which just isn't borne out by what Jones actually does when Farrells not available.

We will see though, as always trying to predict Jones selections probably wont pan out. After all the articles about Youngs I half expect Randall to start.



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Post by lostinwales Thu 24 Feb 2022, 9:09 am

When Tuilagi and Slade are in sync they should switch between 12 and 13 depending on what is going on. They have good chemistry.

I too have been disappointed by Marchant, although he has been shoved around the back line a good deal, and the OC position has seemed very hard to fill, but I do wonder if his demotion has been part due to a lack of chemistry between him and Slade, who is obviously seen as a very important component by Jones

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 24 Feb 2022, 10:25 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:"Over the years he has grown into a player who does everything well without doing any one thing spectacularly"

He doesn't pass well....

Yeah this part remains key for me 'He may have a steady and deliberate way with a pass, marked by those two or three steps he often takes before he throws them, but he has a turn of pace.' The latter is still where his strength lies. When he's having a good game, it's when he's testing the fringes and making breaks from there. Thing with that is that we have Mitchell, randall, Quirke who all do that and more, more consistently. But alas it is what it is, suspect it will take injury for him to be replaced.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 24 Feb 2022, 10:33 am

I think Slade and Tuilagi are probably the archetype of what Eddie wants to do with his centres. Both are talented natural 13s with very different styles. Neither is really ideally suited to 12 - so I am expecting to see a pretty fluid arrangement.

My guess is that Tuilagi will line up at 12 more in defence,so that they can use Slade in his best defensive role, and when England need front foot ball, but when the attack is flowing they will shift around to present the defences with difficult choices. If Tuilagi can last the match, it could be very effective.

I feel for Marchant, who's been dropped after a couple of fairly quiet performances in a mix of positions. He'll be back, I am sure, but for the time being Quins will be happy to have him.
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Post by majesticimperialman Thu 24 Feb 2022, 5:14 pm

I am a bit surprised Randall starting and young's on the bench.
Was expecting it to be the other way round.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 25 Feb 2022, 10:05 am

majesticimperialman wrote:I am a bit surprised Randall starting and young's on the bench.
Was expecting it to be the other way round.

From Eddie's interview it sounds like he intends England to start hard and fast then use Youngs in the second half to control the game. Time will see if it works but that tactic was probably based around Manu lasting at least 50 mins...

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri 25 Feb 2022, 3:42 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:If it was my call, I'd be still be playing Care and JJ.....two top class operators better than the England starting options.

There's a lot of talk right now about how England have never found a replacement for Manu Tuilagi, or a strategy to use when he's unavailable. However, Jones didn't have the opportunity to start him until the 2019 Six Nations. The only part he played in England's world record-equalling 18 match winning streak was a short appearance off the bench against Wales in 2016 - a match we very nearly threw away at the end.

Farrell-Joseph proved a very effective combination, and must rank up there, as one of the most successful England centre partnerships ever. While we might remember Greenwood-Tindall fondly, on account of the World Cup final, our best attacking rugby under Woodward was during the 2001 Six nations, when Catt started alongside Greenwood. Tindall got his place back in 2002 but it still wasn't a nailed-on pairing like Horan-Little, or Smith-Nonu, because Woodward replaced him with Catt in the World Cup semi-final. You can't imagine that happening to any other hallowed duo.

Farrell-Joseph probably aren't remembered so well, because their matches took place against a background conversation about when Tuilagi would return. So, it's not so much that Jones or England are dependent on Tuilagi, it's more that we just can't stop talking about him. It's a bit like the time after the 2003 World Cup final when Jonny Wilkinson didn't play again for England until February 2007.

When Tuilagi became consistently available in 2019, Jones made good use of him, particularly against New Zealand in the World Cup. Since he's become unavailable, the conversation about our dependency on him, seems to have completely forgotten how well we did without him. Arguably, the real centre issue is not what to do about Tuilagi (it's easy: choose him when he's fit) but what to do about Henry Slade.

Slade is the main reason Joseph hasn't started outside Farrell, and yet Farrell-Slade has never looked as assured as Farrell-Joseph, for all Slade's obvious talent. Jones probably prefers Slade, because he is flexible enough to play outside Farrell at 13, or inside Tuilagi at 12, with whoever at fly half.

This sets up exactly the problem, we have now, when you don't have Farrell or Tuilagi, and Slade hasn't really got an established centre role to play with England. A number of pundits think Atkinson hasn't been given a fair shake but, in Jones' mind, Atkinson is an answer to the problem of what to do if Farrell isn't available, which is a situation he doesn't expect will happen too often. Consequently, he wants to use a more regular member of the squad (Slade) to develop experience covering that role.

It looks to me like Jones is trying to solve a simultaneous equation, where he wants Slade to cover Farrell's absence, and needs to find a centre who can work with him in that role. As it's not a role he wants Slade to be playing too often, he'd rather find someone to do that who can also justify a place in the squad in another position. Hence, Daly and Marchant.

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Post by doctor_grey Fri 25 Feb 2022, 6:37 pm

Good points overall.  But regarding JJ in particular, I think he was really underrated.  Good ball handler, runner, defender, and a smart player.  I don't really know how big he is, but seemed to me to play bigger than he looked.  Not meaning to bring Farrell into it in this way, but I always wondered how much better or better recognised JJ would have been with a real inside centre playing next to him.  

But that still brings us back to the now seeming endless conundrum of what to do in the centres.  A good coach adapts his playing style to his available talent.  Clearly there are no Tindalls or Tuilagis hiding in the woodpile.  Let alone Greenwood.  So what next?  Centres need to be able to either run at the defense or move the ball out, at pace.  And make their tackles at the gain line. A JJ-Tuilagi pairing would have been mind-bending for opposition coaches to stop.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:00 am

That JJ and Care are not involved is criminal really and another reason to question Eddie.

Care is a better scrum half than Youngs, I just don't even see an argument there....especially since around 2017/18 were Youngs has got slower (in pass and breaks) and Care has seemingly became more of wise head.

JJ is another I just can't get my head around. He's clearly a better version of Marchant with the latter still learning his trade somewhat, JJ is the finished article. Slade is a decent option and certainly should be around the squad, but JJ is just a better player.

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Post by mountain man Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:21 am

Care been best 9 for several years, as you say criminal not picked but all due to a personal fall out apparently between him and Jones.
He should also have gone on Lions tour to SA.
Joseph was superb but not sure he's player he was.


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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:25 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:That JJ and Care are not involved is criminal really and another reason to question Eddie.

Care is a better scrum half than Youngs, I just don't even see an argument there....especially since around 2017/18 were Youngs has got slower (in pass and breaks) and Care has seemingly became more of wise head.


JJ is another I just can't get my head around. He's clearly a better version of Marchant with the latter still learning his trade somewhat, JJ is the finished article. Slade is a decent option and certainly should be around the squad, but JJ is just a better player.

If you only watch the highlights of games then yes. Care looked good as a finisher for England but never delivered as a starter. His game management is just not good enough. Quirke gave him an absolute schooling earlier this season keeping Quins pinned in their half with Care's poor kicking failing to elevate pressure time and time again. Youngs tends to show up well against him at club level as well.

Care was unfairly ditched as the finisher early in his career. At 35 he's not going to make a return, he's three years older than the scrum half who's mainly labelled "too old". I'm sure he'll continue being a sniping threat and leader at Quins (my fantasy rugby team is counting on it) but his international days aren't coming back.

I'm baffled by the lack of Quirke in the side again, he looks like the heir apparent at 9 and was excellent in the AIs. Big chance for Randall today, if he fluffs his lines he could out pretty quickly. Needs to show more accuracy with his kicking than previously evidenced.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 26 Feb 2022, 11:15 am

Luckily for me I don't just watch the highlights then.....I really disagree on Care, he's currently and has been levels above Youngs for a number of years.

I'd agree somewhat that Youngs probably had a bit more in their younger years but whilst he's got slower and offering less around the fringes, Care has improved his weaknesses and is a much more complete player.

You can always point to games were players struggle (you do this a lot) but Youngs is regularly outplayed at every level yet he still starts. Care is consistently excellent, he's just on a different level to Youngs over the years.

It's perhaps refreshing that EJ has stated that Randall is in the side as his pass is much better than Youngs. It would suggest we want to attack teams rather than box kick them to death.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 26 Feb 2022, 12:05 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:That JJ and Care are not involved is criminal really and another reason to question Eddie.

Care is a better scrum half than Youngs, I just don't even see an argument there....especially since around 2017/18 were Youngs has got slower (in pass and breaks) and Care has seemingly became more of wise head.


JJ is another I just can't get my head around. He's clearly a better version of Marchant with the latter still learning his trade somewhat, JJ is the finished article. Slade is a decent option and certainly should be around the squad, but JJ is just a better player.

If you only watch the highlights of games then yes. Care looked good as a finisher for England but never delivered as a starter. His game management is just not good enough. Quirke gave him an absolute schooling earlier this season keeping Quins pinned in their half with Care's poor kicking failing to elevate pressure time and time again. Youngs tends to show up well against him at club level as well.

Care was unfairly ditched as the finisher early in his career. At 35 he's not going to make a return, he's three years older than the scrum half who's mainly labelled "too old". I'm sure he'll continue being a sniping threat and leader at Quins (my fantasy rugby team is counting on it) but his international days aren't coming back.

I'm baffled by the lack of Quirke in the side again, he looks like the heir apparent at 9 and was excellent in the AIs. Big chance for Randall today, if he fluffs his lines he could out pretty quickly. Needs to show more accuracy with his kicking than previously evidenced.
Think Randall deserves a run of games now. Let him play without the imminent fear of the axe. That said Quirke and van Poortvliet should be going into the summer getting mins. And obviously Youngs should be out to pasture.

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 26 Feb 2022, 12:23 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Luckily for me I don't just watch the highlights then.....I really disagree on Care, he's currently and has been levels above Youngs for a number of years.

I'd agree somewhat that Youngs probably had a bit more in their younger years but whilst he's got slower and offering less around the fringes, Care has improved his weaknesses and is a much more complete player.

You can always point to games were players struggle (you do this a lot) but Youngs is regularly outplayed at every level yet he still starts. Care is consistently excellent, he's just on a different level to Youngs over the years.

It's perhaps refreshing that EJ has stated that Randall is in the side as his pass is much better than Youngs. It would suggest we want to attack teams rather than box kick them to death.
And box kick the fans into an apoplexy of rage combined with sheer, brain killing boredom.

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Post by majesticimperialman Sat 26 Feb 2022, 12:35 pm

RE; Ben Youngs is EJ going to keep playing him untill
next year RWC before saying (look Ben) it is time to retire from international rugby.

You have been a good servant for England, But good bye.

I would like Randall and Quirke to start josling for the 9 shirt.

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Post by king_carlos Sat 26 Feb 2022, 12:56 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Luckily for me I don't just watch the highlights then.....I really disagree on Care, he's currently and has been levels above Youngs for a number of years.

I'd agree somewhat that Youngs probably had a bit more in their younger years but whilst he's got slower and offering less around the fringes, Care has improved his weaknesses and is a much more complete player.

You can always point to games were players struggle (you do this a lot) but Youngs is regularly outplayed at every level yet he still starts. Care is consistently excellent, he's just on a different level to Youngs over the years.

It's perhaps refreshing that EJ has stated that Randall is in the side as his pass is much better than Youngs. It would suggest we want to attack teams rather than box kick them to death.
Interesting that he was released by Scarlets for it at a young age. Definitely a strength now though.

I'm interested to see how Randall goes. He's electric in attack, gets stuck in defensively but I worry over his box kicking. As said before I can't name a single international 9 who's done well long term with that short a distance on his box kicks, especially clearing kicks. Seems very similar to George Horne in that regard.

Care got 84 caps across 3 different head coaches but never held the starting shirt for more than 6 games on the trot. Tells the story really. His game always had great strengths and obvious weaknesses at international level. When he started matches posters on here would very frequently comment the exact same as well. The longer he's out the side the better he gets it seems.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 26 Feb 2022, 3:46 pm

I do think Care got better with age, it took a long time mind to iron out the tactical side of his game.

I can't see Randall nailing the shirt but at least he's been given a start. I really don't think yiu can fully judge a player from bench appearances alone.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 26 Feb 2022, 3:47 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Luckily for me I don't just watch the highlights then.....I really disagree on Care, he's currently and has been levels above Youngs for a number of years.

I'd agree somewhat that Youngs probably had a bit more in their younger years but whilst he's got slower and offering less around the fringes, Care has improved his weaknesses and is a much more complete player.

You can always point to games were players struggle (you do this a lot) but Youngs is regularly outplayed at every level yet he still starts. Care is consistently excellent, he's just on a different level to Youngs over the years.

It's perhaps refreshing that EJ has stated that Randall is in the side as his pass is much better than Youngs. It would suggest we want to attack teams rather than box kick them to death.
And box kick the fans into an apoplexy of rage combined with sheer, brain killing boredom.

But it's the tactics Doc....it's nothing to do with Youngs Whistle

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Post by Geordie Sun 13 Mar 2022, 10:09 am

For all yesterday's heroics n defeat there's still many questions over some players....

The France lineup will be interesting....as we'll probably be without Ewells, Sinckler, Curry to start with.

I'm genuinely not convinced on the Malins experiment...he struggled yesterday when others like Nowell were leading the way.

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Post by EnglishReign Sun 13 Mar 2022, 12:04 pm

Malins has looked poor in just about every department. I know it took May a while to adjust to international rugby but even he showed some spark early on. If that’s the best we can do after May and Watson then we have some real issues!

I’d even start Daly on the wing v France. Maybe:
Youngs
Smith
Daly
Slade
Marchant
Nowell
Steward

Obviously I’d prefer Thorley or Radwan over Daly there but they haven’t had a look in.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun 13 Mar 2022, 1:10 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Luckily for me I don't just watch the highlights then.....I really disagree on Care, he's currently and has been levels above Youngs for a number of years.

I'd agree somewhat that Youngs probably had a bit more in their younger years but whilst he's got slower and offering less around the fringes, Care has improved his weaknesses and is a much more complete player.

You can always point to games were players struggle (you do this a lot) but Youngs is regularly outplayed at every level yet he still starts. Care is consistently excellent, he's just on a different level to Youngs over the years.

It's perhaps refreshing that EJ has stated that Randall is in the side as his pass is much better than Youngs. It would suggest we want to attack teams rather than box kick them to death.
And box kick the fans into an apoplexy of rage combined with sheer, brain killing boredom.

But it's the tactics Doc....it's nothing to do with Youngs Whistle

If that was the tactics, why was it not the tactics whilst Randall was on the field? Because Youngs can't get about quick enough or pass fast enough to playa running game? If that is the case, why is he there as every time he comes on we slow down and the opposition start to claw point s back as they know what is coming and don't have to defend so flat. At least try Quirk of Mitchell in tandem with Randall.
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Post by king_carlos Sun 13 Mar 2022, 2:00 pm

Big positives were Genge and George in the front row yesterday. Itoje since the beginning of the Lions tour has played as well as I've ever seen him, which is saying something. Marchant was very good too. Nowell had a great game.

Simmonds had his best England game too. Dombrandt in his brief period was carrying very well but faded before being subbed, understandable after not training all week to be fair. Definite green shoots at 8 there.

Randall, Smith and Steward I thought were all good in parts, mixed in parts. Steward letting the 50-22 bounce and running back the kick that he got turned over on instead of putting it back in the air and competing were moments of inexperience. Smith at times I thought kicking lacked precision when England were gaining momentum and Ireland's wingers came into the line. He could have put more pressure on at times then but didn't. On the other hand he put up some very good up and unders and kick offs that were perfectly weighted.

For France presuming that Curry, Sinckler and Ewels are out I'd probably go with something like:

1.Genge 2.George 3.Stuart 4.Launchbury 5.Itoje 6.Lawes 7.Underhill 8.Dombrandt
9.Randall 10.Smith 11.Nowell 12.Slade 13.Marchant 14.Radwan 15.Steward

16.Blamire 17.Marler 18.Heyes 19.Chessum 20.Simmonds 21.Youngs 22.Ford 23.Daly

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Post by king_carlos Sun 13 Mar 2022, 2:08 pm

After Marchant's performance yesterday I'd be quite excited to see Smith-Farrell-Marchant as a midfield with quick wingers and this game plan. I think the dual playmakers and a runner at 13 can work with more threat on the wings and the right game plan. Ideally I'd prefer a big carrier in the centre but ones that can make the same impact against international defences as they do at club level are rare.

The tactic of Smith putting up bombs with Marchant and Steward both chasing was simple but extremely effective. Both those chasers are very good in the air, Steward can make a big hit due to his size and Marchant can be dangerous over the ball. A cracking partnership to chase kicks like that.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 13 Mar 2022, 2:34 pm

Think it could be a long evening in Paris. The forwards showed a lot of positives yesterday and the backs worked hard but the attacking play in the backs really lacks penetration. I don't think there's an option we have to change it either there's no magic fix (unless Manu is fit). I think we have the forwards to gain parity, though that might be tougher with Stuart out and the Smith kick and chase is working so we should get territory but our ability in the red zone is shocking so far. Is the only backs try so far Smith's Vs Italy? A Youngs created try off the back of a rolling maul is a sad showing for this backline over four games. Gleeson should be facing some pretty tough questions in the post tournament dissection.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 13 Mar 2022, 3:10 pm

Slade anonymous. The wings not looking to take people on. The chopping and changing I'm midfield. There's positives to take from this campaign. We could well have been 4 from 4 but plenty of scope for improvement. And yes Gleeson will surely be feeling the pressure.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 13 Mar 2022, 5:09 pm

king_carlos wrote:Big positives were Genge and George in the front row yesterday. Itoje since the beginning of the Lions tour has played as well as I've ever seen him, which is saying something. Marchant was very good too. Nowell had a great game.

Simmonds had his best England game too. Dombrandt in his brief period was carrying very well but faded before being subbed, understandable after not training  all week to be fair. Definite green shoots at 8 there.

Randall, Smith and Steward I thought were all good in parts, mixed in parts. Steward letting the 50-22 bounce and running back the kick that he got turned over on instead of putting it back in the air and competing were moments of inexperience. Smith at times I thought kicking lacked precision when England were gaining momentum and Ireland's wingers came into the line. He could have put more pressure on at times then but didn't. On the other hand he put up some very good up and unders and kick offs that were perfectly weighted.

For France presuming that Curry, Sinckler and Ewels are out I'd probably go with something like:

1.Genge 2.George 3.Stuart 4.Launchbury 5.Itoje 6.Lawes 7.Underhill 8.Dombrandt
9.Randall 10.Smith 11.Nowell 12.Slade 13.Marchant 14.Radwan 15.Steward

16.Blamire 17.Marler 18.Heyes 19.Chessum 20.Simmonds 21.Youngs 22.Ford 23.Daly
Good points!  Clearly the best game Genge has played for England, with hopefully more in the offing.  I thought Simmonds was fine, and is probably another of those players who need a run of games to truly bed in at the international level.  But, as you said, promising.  I don't worry about Dombrandt.  Despite symptoms of Covid-19/Omicron being significantly less severe, it can still disrupt the oxygen uptake for a while.  He likely was gassed early on and adjusted until his lungs couldn't work hard enough.  This actually shows the potential of having those two gents on the pitch at the same time for certain circumstances.   That said, hopefully Curry can come back for France.  But not at the risk of further injury.  And hopefully Launchbury has the petrol to give it a go for 50-60 minutes.

For the backs, we need to see more from Slade if he is going to persist in the 12 slot.  Also need to see if Marchant's performance was a one off or if he can maintain it.  To me, it seemed this was the potential which we have been waiting for (I still like JJ, by the way).  Agree about Radwan.  England are going to need some kind of speedy threat, and I think that is Radwan's other name.  Only risk is catching the up and unders in traffic.  But there should be tape from Newcastle so the coaches should already know.

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Mar 2022, 9:08 am

Im not sure Radwan is the solution at the moment. Hes suffering from playing in a team that gives him little ball and any he does get is generally awful. Think his confidence is shot.

If hes been given "work ons" by Jones, i doubt he'll be able to work on them with us....and he probably needs to be looking to move on to a good side to push his international claims.

The 12 spot needs to be addressed in the Summer tour....trial Kelly, Ojomoh, Lawrence...etc and then stick with the one with the most promise.

Ethan Grayson is showing some potential aswell...for the future.

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Mar 2022, 9:21 am

Is it a coincidence that those players whos games are probably more suited to a loose open erratic style...exceled....Marchant, Simmonds, Nowell etc?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Mar 2022, 9:35 am

I think we probably played a bit more to set piece and forward orientated tbh, so perhaps not? Marchant is a quality player, Nowell is a quality player despite his poor showing last week, Simmonds is a quality player. Sometimes you just need a backs to the walls game to step up. That said it's only Marchant out of those who I'd want involved seriously in the future. There are still better wing options than Nowell and Malins kicking around and Simmonds is there as Dombrandt wasn't 100% and partaking in training. Will be interesting to see whether Simmonds performance gets him the nod vs France though.

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Post by MichaelT Mon 14 Mar 2022, 10:40 am

Radwan might not be the answer, but Malins is way out of his depth also and Radwans defence cannot be any worse. Steward is going backwards because there is no other experience in that England back-line to work with. Radwan wont help with that, but again, Malins is not working.

With Curry and Sinckler out, Barbeary needs to be in the squad. Hopefully Underhill is involved, but it would have been better if he had played for Bath this weekend, but I assume it was their bye week which is unfortunate timing.

We are really missing players who will run forward with the ball. May and Watson have been hugely missed, it shows in Englands tries scored record, and it is such a shame. Every England player in the back-line looks like they need a great pass with plenty of space before they can do anything. We need players who will just run forward, and not lose the ball.

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Post by dummy_half Mon 14 Mar 2022, 11:30 am

Seems that Curry and Sinkler will definitely miss next week, plus Ewels suspended.

Presulmably Stuart will step up to the starting tighthead, Heyes to the bench?
Do you start Lawes in the second row, where he was very impressive on Saturday, or keep him at 6? If he starts in the row, you could start Dombrandt and Simmonds at 6 and 8 (either way round) and have Launchbury and Barbeary on the bench. Is Underhill fit enough to come back in at 7, or even Jack WIllis?

The back line is still crying out for another effective ball carrier - Malins has varied from mediocre to invisible the last few weeks, so surely a specialist winger needs a game, and I'm still far from sold on Slade as a 12 but realise that we have few if any alternatives at the moment.

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Mar 2022, 11:34 am

For the back row...just keep Simmonds on and make him feel at home ...

6 Lawes
7 Isiekwe
8 Simmonds.

Very Happy

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Post by lostinwales Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:33 pm

Forwards

Alfie Barbeary
Jamie Blamire
Ollie Chessum
Nic Dolly (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Alex Dombrandt
Ellis Genge
Jamie George
Joe Heyes
Maro Itoje
Nick Isiekwe
Joe Launchbury
Courtney Lawes
Joe Marler
Sam Simmonds
Kyle Sinckler
Will Stuart
Sam Underhill
Jack Willis (Wasps, 3 caps)

Backs

Orlando Bailey
Elliot Daly
George Ford
George Furbank
Ollie Hassell-Collins
Louis Lynagh (Harlequins, uncapped)
Max Malins
Joe Marchant
Alex Mitchell
Luke Northmore
Jack Nowell
Harry Randall
Henry Slade
Marcus Smith
Freddie Steward
Ben Youngs

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Post by lostinwales Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:36 pm

Please play someone other than Malins on the wing.

Please please please.

Given how well things have gone I can't help feeling annoyed that we have not tried one of the young guns who offer a genuine threat on the wing.

Malins is fine in some ways but not offensively, and we could not have done worse.

Good to see Willis training with England but surely it must be too early for him even with the injuries we have had. I guess Underhill comes back in.

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Post by MichaelT Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:41 pm

Is George Martin injured?

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Mar 2022, 1:53 pm

That squad suggests Malins will continue on the wing.

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Mar 2022, 1:57 pm

In fact we pretty much know what the majority of the team will be:

1 Genge
2 George
3 Stuart
4 TBC (Probably Launchbury or Would he go for young Chissum?? i seriously doubt it)
5 Itoje
6 Lawes
7 TBC - Simmonds or Underhill
8 TBC - Dombrandt / Simmonds

9 Randall
10 Smith
11 Nowell
12 Slade
13 Marchant
14 Malins
15 Steward

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Post by Poorfour Mon 14 Mar 2022, 2:31 pm

With Curry out, I could see Eddie going for Willis / Lawes / Dombrandt unless Underhill is looking completely fit (and assuming Dombrandt is back to full fitness - he managed 52 minutes, which was pretty good but Eddie will probably need him to be able to do 80).
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Post by carpet baboon Mon 14 Mar 2022, 2:39 pm

Should Underhill be playing? Hasn't he had a good few concussions recently?

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Post by lostinwales Mon 14 Mar 2022, 3:03 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Should Underhill be playing? Hasn't he had a good few concussions recently?

He has but has obviously been passed fit to play. As with all these guys with a history of concussions it is a worry though

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Post by Geordie Mon 14 Mar 2022, 3:28 pm

I agree, Underhill should be treated very carefully.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 14 Mar 2022, 3:37 pm

The odds of a concussion are no higher in international rugby than club rugby being realistic. It's not an injury that you get reduced risk of recurrence by playing yourself into fitness or form in the Prem. There's always a big risk there with the collisions now but those decisions rightly come down to the medical staff and player rather than the coaches. If the Docs say he's ready and Underhill feels right to go then that's their call to make.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 14 Mar 2022, 4:40 pm

king_carlos wrote:The odds of a concussion are no higher in international rugby than club rugby being realistic. It's not an injury that you get reduced risk of recurrence by playing yourself into fitness or form in the Prem. There's always a big risk there with the collisions now but those decisions rightly come down to the medical staff and player rather than the coaches. If the Docs say he's ready and Underhill feels right to go then that's their call to make.
Please don't get me started about docs allowing players back on the pitch. Tomas Francis, only the most recent example where a player was allowed back on the pitch when he clearly should have been shut down immediately.

I agree if a player is competently and professionally cleared to play, the level doesn't matter. If Underhill is able to play and he has the conditioning to go out there, then let him play for England, if EJ wants him. He is a damn good player.

By the way, watching Jack Willis against Saints yesterday, he made some terrific plays, but still not quite there overall. By the summer, he should be back and better than ever.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 14 Mar 2022, 4:48 pm

Interesting comments from Brian Moore in The Telegraph today:

"What heightened endeavour does not explain is how England dismantled the Irish scrum. After the game Irish fans were quick to point to alleged illegality from England’s Ellis Genge and particularly the angle at which he drove across the scrum. The truth is that his opposite man, Tadhg Furlong, tried several times to illegally shorten and change his bind after the initial engagement and he failed to cope with the pressure sent through Genge. The Leicester Tigers’ captain has slowly, but surely improved in the set piece and this was his finest game in an England jersey.

I also don’t think it was a coincidence that this pressure came after Courtney Lawes moved back into the second row. Going forward, Eddie Jones should consider carefully whether he should maintain the policy of moving either Lawes or Maro Itoje, who was also outstanding, to play at blindside flanker. It is not just a question of what they bring to the back row, it is what the team loses by not playing them in the middle of the scrum and line-out.


Last Saturday the pair gave the equal of any performance I can remember from a second-row pairing. To achieve scrum dominance and line-out parity, whilst being a specialist forward down, was noteworthy. To then contribute so conspicuously around the pitch was outstanding."

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Post by mountain man Mon 14 Mar 2022, 5:13 pm

By the way, watching Jack Willis against Saints yesterday, he made some terrific plays, but still not quite there overall. By the summer, he should be back and better than ever.


That's pretty much what Jones has said, he'll be back to his best in about 6 months. Going on that seems unlikely Willis be picked for France game.

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