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6 Nations Round 2 - Italy v England

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 08 Feb 2022, 4:20 am

First topic message reminder :

Italy vs England

Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Sunday 13th of February 2022
Kick Off - 3pm


Italy Team

Padovani; Mori, Brex, Zanon, Ioane; Garbisi, Varney; Fischetti, Lucchesi, Petro Ceccarelli, Cannone, Ruzza, Steyn, Lamaro (capt), Halafihi.

Replacements: Faiva, Traore, Pasquali, Sisi, Negri, Pettinelli, Fusco, Marin.


England Team

Steward; Malins, Marchant, Slade, Nowell; Smith, Randall; Genge, George, Stuart, Ewels, Isiekwe, Itoje, Curry (capt), Dombrandt.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Sinckler, Chessum, Simmonds, Youngs, Ford, Daly.


Last edited by Sgt_Pooly on Fri 11 Feb 2022, 4:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by mountain man Mon 14 Feb 2022, 8:23 am

Smith, Randall, Dombrandt all had good games as did George and Genge.
I'm yet to be convinced Will Stuart is good enough at Int level, not brilliant in scrum and lots of handling errors in loose.
Ewels was OK that's it. He's never anything more. Isiekwe had a good game, why he he taken off not Ewels?
Shame about Nowell, for the short time he was on looked strong and I was looking forward to seeing how he went.
In fairness I thought Daly did OK as sub, good under high balls and looked quite sharp. Malins decent not outstanding.

Now we come to crux of it, why the **** was Randall taken off for Ben "box kick" Youngs? Randall was playing well, fast service, right decisions and he and Smith clicked well. Game immediately slowed down and reverted to type ie poor.

Centres OK but not robust enough for remaining games, if Manu is ready he has to be back in. Need a wing with express pace. Radwen deserves a look but doubt Jones will pick him.

Did Jones bring Ford on just to keep him happy with some game time? He's definitely not a centre.

Overall good result with BP and none conceded but yet again subs adversely affected game for England.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Feb 2022, 8:30 am

That's reminded me. What a thing of beauty that Genge pass to George was.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Feb 2022, 8:31 am

Saw that Odogwu scored another brace too. He is a strong ball carrier. Could be the answer too.

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Post by mountain man Mon 14 Feb 2022, 8:34 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:That's reminded me. What a thing of beauty that Genge pass to George was.

Yep. If say Slade had thrown it we'd all have said how good it was. For a prop, that was fantastic. And I loved the little chat the two of them had afterwards.

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Post by hugehandoff Mon 14 Feb 2022, 9:18 am

With a break this weekend who should play for their clubs and who should enjoy a nice rest? Those who should put their feet up maybe Genge, Itoje, Smith, Steward, Slade, Marchant leaving everyone else to return to their clubs? Then we might see Manu, Launchbury, Lawes all return for the Wales training week? If Manu is physically in good shape then worth slotting him back in with Slade I reckon.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 14 Feb 2022, 9:34 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Saw that Odogwu scored another brace too. He is a strong ball carrier. Could be the answer too.

If hes fit an on form...He MUST be in the summer squad for Australia.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 14 Feb 2022, 10:11 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:The thing is there's 2 things that are brought up for Youngs. His box kicking and his experience. In reality his box kicking these last 12 months of so has been average and he does it too much. Randall shanked 1 yesterday and the rest were good. As for experience the last 2 games in the last 20 mins I'd be surprised anyone who didn't know he had over 110 caps would have been able to tell.

And his passing is crap for an international scrum half.

He'll start vs Wales though. Wouldn't be surprised if he lasted the whole 80 mins again too.

The one before half time was good the rest were not. Kicking from a defensive lineout and failing to clear your 22 will cost against good teams. Most international scrum halfs would expect their box kick to be heading towards halfway.

Randall's kicking game is the worse of any home nation 6N scrum half. If he improves it then he'll move his game on a lot.

I would probably say that was Youngs on current form.

I sometimes think you're  having a bit of a chuckle at us Youngs bashers (pretty much all of the forum bar the Tigers fans to some degree) with your blind backing of Youngs, as I honestly don't think you can be serious with some of your points.

Randell's performance yesterday was better than anything we have seen from Youngs in quite some time. His ability to actually pass a ball straight and threaten the fringes was a delight to behold. I was just waiting for Smith to say in his interview how nice it is to play with a scrum half who can pass.......

I would imagine Youngs would start against Wales and I would probably prefer him over Randall in such a game. I just wish the best scrum half in England (Danny Care) wasn't in EJ's bad books.

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Post by Mr Bounce Mon 14 Feb 2022, 11:07 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:Come on Sam - England had a great period of play shortly after Youngs came on - the forwards did a lot of great recycling work then Youngs box-kicks it away and Italy regain possession. Why not recycle and go again? It's because it's in his make up - the way he plays - he simply cannot veer from the game plan he's been told to use. He also spends SO long at the ruck by stopping, looking what's going on, making a decision, by which time defences are set.

Jones should have gone looking for other alternatives a while back, but Youngs is definitely a "Yes" man, hence why he stays in. Every team would give their right arm for a Dupont, but they're once in a generation. Youngs has been great in the past, but he is sliding now, and the others really should be given time to play. Otherwise it'll be Slow Hand Ben with no experienced back up. Again.

Good scrum halves play on instinct. Baby Ben's instinct left him about 5 years ago...

This suggests more than you have a pre conceived notion as to actually watched the game.

England didn't have a meaningful attack until Ford came on and then England played fast from the base and went the length of the field with Youngs at 9.

Eddie drops players who don't stick to the game plan. Randall did the same.

REALLY Sam?? I will happily give any England player good praise if they do something great. Youngs has not played well (be it the speed at the breakdown - which for me is the biggest issue- or his kicking) for some time now - a good couple of years. He was fantastic in the RWC, and really on top of his game from about 2016 onwards, but he has slowed noticeably since then. Eddie's lack of forward planning has left us with a super-experienced 9 who's gradually losing form and pace and a bunch of rookies. When he came on for Randall the intensity dropped noticeably and that box-kick to nothing was the play of someone sticking to a script rather than playing what's in front of him. Is he REALLY the best we've got now??

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Post by Big Mon 14 Feb 2022, 11:15 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:

I would probably say that was Youngs on current form.


Meaning no insult but from what I've seen thus far, it is as much an eyebrow raiser to suggest Randall's kicking is on par with Youngs, as it is to suggest Youngs can distribute the ball even near as well as Randall. Question in my mind though is how much of an issue is Randall's kicking? It seems to me that there is a third option to choosing between Randall for his distribution but having poor kicks, or Youngs for his kicking but worse distribution - and that is to have Randall for his distribution and use Ford for the box kicks (or Smith if he can do them well).

I don't really see why the 9 has to do the box kick, as it is so well telegraphed it shouldn't really matter who does it (as long as it's not your best chaser). I recall Ford picking up SH duties for Tigers last year against Saints during a sin binning, and he launched some of the best box kicks you'll see - so why not let a FH do it? I appreciate that as an England fan I'm probably obliged to view Smith as the messiah, and suggesting picking Ford is probably akin to treason and possibly a hanging offence. But I really don't think there's much between Smith and Ford, and I've seen him land those box kicks, so for me that could be the best half back combo available if Smith can't pick up the slack with those kicks.

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Post by majesticimperialman Mon 14 Feb 2022, 11:24 am

Mr Bounce wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:Come on Sam - England had a great period of play shortly after Youngs came on - the forwards did a lot of great recycling work then Youngs box-kicks it away and Italy regain possession. Why not recycle and go again? It's because it's in his make up - the way he plays - he simply cannot veer from the game plan he's been told to use. He also spends SO long at the ruck by stopping, looking what's going on, making a decision, by which time defences are set.

Jones should have gone looking for other alternatives a while back, but Youngs is definitely a "Yes" man, hence why he stays in. Every team would give their right arm for a Dupont, but they're once in a generation. Youngs has been great in the past, but he is sliding now, and the others really should be given time to play. Otherwise it'll be Slow Hand Ben with no experienced back up. Again.

Good scrum halves play on instinct. Baby Ben's instinct left him about 5 years ago...

This suggests more than you have a pre conceived notion as to actually watched the game.

England didn't have a meaningful attack until Ford came on and then England played fast from the base and went the length of the field with Youngs at 9.

Eddie drops players who don't stick to the game plan. Randall did the same.

REALLY Sam?? I will happily give any England player good praise if they do something great. Youngs has not played well (be it the speed at the breakdown - which for me is the biggest issue- or his kicking) for some time now - a good couple of years. He was fantastic in the RWC, and really on top of his game from about 2016 onwards, but he has slowed noticeably since then. Eddie's lack of forward planning has left us with a super-experienced 9 who's gradually losing form and pace and a bunch of rookies. When he came on for Randall the intensity dropped noticeably and that box-kick to nothing was the play of someone sticking to a script rather than playing what's in front of him. Is he REALLY the best we've got now??  

He is the best in the experienced scrum half's we have. I am not sure what Danny Care did to get himself dropped from the squad, but i would have prefaired him (care) to Youngs for tight matches.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 14 Feb 2022, 11:26 am

Not at all Big, I would put Youngs in general as a better box kicker, he's adequate at it at Int level. I've not seen much evidence of this of late though and Randall kicked as good if not better bar the one straight out.

You would think Youngs kicked like Fourie du Preez judging by some of the Tigers fans......he doesn't, he's decent. He would still be right at the bottom of the pile when put up against most top International sides.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 14 Feb 2022, 11:50 am

Look lets be honest....scrum half wasnt where England was braking down.

At times i thought i was watching the falcons out there....

9 shuffles the ball sideways to the 10.
10 shuffles the ball on to 12....to 13 and then the winger gets the ball stationery having made no ground with half the teams defence about to nail him!

So we've passed the ball all the way from one side of the pitch to the other...with out making a single metre forward....

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 14 Feb 2022, 12:00 pm

The backline didn't look right, I agree GF. It is the first time they've played together though.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 14 Feb 2022, 12:07 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:The backline didn't look right, I agree GF. It is the first time they've played together though.

They are an international team professionals...supposedly one of the top 5/6 in the world who have been in training camp!

Zero excuses in that regards.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 14 Feb 2022, 12:11 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:The backline didn't look right, I agree GF. It is the first time they've played together though.

They are an international team professionals...supposedly one of the top 5/6 in the world who have been in training camp!

Zero excuses in that regards.

I can't agree there GF. No matter how good you are, it takes time to build familiarity with the players around you. A training camp is not even close to what you experience in front of 80k fans and an opposition that wants to smash you.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Feb 2022, 12:26 pm

It's a real cobbled together backline. I dont think having no wingers on the pitch helps though Daly did have one of his better games. Marchant didn't get much ball, Slade well I don't know what he did bar one clearance and kicking to touch. Steward had a couple of good runs but didn't manage to get his pass away. Malins got some good ball and space, and dint use it as well as a hooker did.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 14 Feb 2022, 12:40 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:The backline didn't look right, I agree GF. It is the first time they've played together though.

They are an international team professionals...supposedly one of the top 5/6 in the world who have been in training camp!

Zero excuses in that regards.

I can't agree there GF. No matter how good you are, it takes time to build familiarity with the players around you. A training camp is not even close to what you experience in front of 80k fans and an opposition that wants to smash you.

It was against Italy in a half empty stadium

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 14 Feb 2022, 12:49 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:The backline didn't look right, I agree GF. It is the first time they've played together though.

They are an international team professionals...supposedly one of the top 5/6 in the world who have been in training camp!

Zero excuses in that regards.

I can't agree there GF. No matter how good you are, it takes time to build familiarity with the players around you. A training camp is not even close to what you experience in front of 80k fans and an opposition that wants to smash you.

It was against Italy in a half empty stadium

Yet France only beat them 37-10 at home.....

The opposition is a little besides the point really. You just get a fluid attack the 1st game you throw a new bunch of players together....this isn't that crazy a concept.

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Post by Big Mon 14 Feb 2022, 1:00 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Not at all Big, I would put Youngs in general as a better box kicker, he's adequate at it at Int level. I've not seen much evidence of this of late though and Randall kicked as good if not better bar the one straight out.

You would think Youngs kicked like Fourie du Preez judging by some of the Tigers fans......he doesn't, he's decent. He would still be right at the bottom of the pile when put up against most top International sides.

I haven't suggested world beating kicks from Youngs , I'd say good rather than adequate though - the issue is that Randall's kicks aren't even as good as Youngs.  Just did a fast-forward review of the game to see if I was being unfair on Randall, but honestly I don't think I am being unreasonable in saying his kicking was clearly second best to Youngs in that game.  A couple of Randall's kicks got no real distance, and only a couple of his attempts would have represented a good clearance against a better side.  Youngs by contrast seems to get an extra few yards on average with each kick while keeping it high enough to still be contested, which can make all the difference against better sides.  There was one pointless kick from Youngs' after a maul on about 67 minutes which seemed unnecessary and didn't get great length, but it was still contestable (and contested), and ultimately resulted in England winning the ball back half a dozen yards further up the field.  

Doing that review it was also noticeable that England generally passed to Slade to exit the 22 while Randall was on, suggesting the coaches are also not as keen to put their faith in Randall's box kick.  Still think picking Randall, but having someone else taking the box kicks may be the answer. Also notable that half Randall's box kicks were straight to touch (the first one a good one), while none of Youngs' were - presumably also a coaching decision.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Feb 2022, 1:02 pm

Similar idea to when youngs is on the pitch and his team mates get to thevrucks to make the pass. Its just quicker easier and produces better results.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 14 Feb 2022, 1:10 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:The backline didn't look right, I agree GF. It is the first time they've played together though.

They are an international team professionals...supposedly one of the top 5/6 in the world who have been in training camp!

Zero excuses in that regards.

I can't agree there GF. No matter how good you are, it takes time to build familiarity with the players around you. A training camp is not even close to what you experience in front of 80k fans and an opposition that wants to smash you.

It was against Italy in a half empty stadium

Yet France only beat them 37-10 at home.....

The opposition is a little besides the point really. You just get a fluid attack the 1st game you throw a new bunch of players together....this isn't that crazy a concept.  

We'll agree to disagree

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Post by king_carlos Mon 14 Feb 2022, 1:19 pm

Bristol often have a similar issue with Randall compared to Uren when it comes to exiting their own 22. The length he gets on his kicks is very short indeed.

Exiting through the 10, or another player in the backline, is far less efficient. Passing the ball back another 10 metres loses more territory, then that player usually kicks under more pressure than the scrum-half would as they can't get set for the kick in the same way, even after that the chase has to start from far further back so is far worse. Hence why most international sides first choice for exiting the 22 under pressure is through the scrum-half.

Randall's clearances often barely getting past the 22, let alone up between the 10 metre line and halfway as you'd hope is a legitimate concern to have in an international scrum-half.

Raising that concern doesn't mean I'm saying Youngs is Dupont or Randall is Bergamasco either. I've often just tried to steer clear of the 9 debate recently as it seems to have headed in that sort of direction where it's only reasonable to sit at an extreme. Which is frankly a bit tedious.

I think Quirke looks the better prospect than Randall. I really hope he stays fit and keeps developing.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 14 Feb 2022, 1:23 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Similar idea to when youngs is on the pitch and his team mates get to thevrucks to make the pass. Its just quicker easier and produces better results.

Smith had to play scrum half several times in the last 20 minutes - which he did pretty well but is a shocking waste of talent.

Unless... is Eddie planning to roll back the clock to before Adrian Stoop first took to the pitch? Could he be planning to play Smith and Ford as interchangeable 9 and 10? I wouldn't put it past him and it has a certain appeal for the sheer oddity of it...
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 14 Feb 2022, 2:30 pm

Randall is a stop gap pure and simple.

Till Quirke is fully fit and JVP etc are ready.

Id rather have Mitchell as the stop gap.


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Post by king_carlos Mon 14 Feb 2022, 2:41 pm

I rate Mitchell, have championed him a few times for selection in the past particularly ahead of Robson. He does blow hot and cold though. I see him have absolutely fantastic periods then see him drift out the game for periods.

I rate Randall and Mitchell on a similar level from what I've seen of both. Randall probably has more upsides when going forward but more downsides in game management and playing under pressure. Mitchell has a more rounded game but not quite that electric ability around the fringes, though Mitchell is still very quick to be fair, just not as dangerous as Randall in those areas.

JvP is a talent but needs more time. His best performances are very good but he can still have poor games at the minute if the pack isn't on top. Against Wasps in particular he was very poor for instance. Admittedly Tigers only had one fit back row in the 23 that game and most the side were poor, but JvPs management was all over the shop. All the raw ingredients are there, he just needs more experience. I'm almost certain that if he stays fit he'll will be an international and I'd be surprised if he isn't a very good one as well.

Quirke has looked the most ready to step up from what I've seen at club level but also his fleeting international appearances.

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Post by majesticimperialman Mon 14 Feb 2022, 2:47 pm

[quote="GeordieFalcon"]Randall is a stop gap pure and simple.

Till Quirke is fully fit and JVP etc are ready.

Id rather have Mitchell as the stop gap.


[/quote

If Randall was a stop gap as you say, he did not do to much of a bad job.

Tempo was up. game flowed pretty well too. His box kicks may not of been top class, but for his first six nations start he was alright in my opinion.

Based on the fact this was the first time England kept Italy to scoring nil point's snd pretty much a scratch side with the subs and that they did ok.

I wander if EJ will keep the same players for the Welsh game, give them more game time together.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 14 Feb 2022, 3:05 pm

I think Eddie will keep most of the same players together but don't think they'll line up in the same positions again. Dombrandt and George may have pinched the starting shirts of off Simmonds and LCD but otherwise I'm expecting the likes of Sinckler and Youngs to come back in and the Itoje at 6 to be changed.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 14 Feb 2022, 3:38 pm

Manu, Launchbury and Quirke are back playing for their clubs. Lawes, Hill and May were all maybes for R3. If we can get some combination of those players back it could be a much better side.

1.Marler 2.George 3.Sinckler 4.Itoje 5.Hill/Isiekwe 6.Lawes 7.Curry 8.Dombrandt
9.Youngs 10.Smith 11.May 12.Tuilagi 13.Slade 14.Marchant 15.Steward

16.Cowan-Dickie 17.Genge 18.Stuart 19.Launchbury 20.Simmonds 21.Randall 22.Ford 23.Malins

Maybe something like that if we're fortunate with returnees?

A ball carrier in the centres is the most important change so Manu could make the biggest difference. After that this side is crying out for more quality at second row and wing so any of Lawes, Launchbury, Hill or May returning would be a boost.

I'd be very eager to get Launchbury back against Wales and Ireland even if it's just on the bench. His maul defence is excellent and could be needed against stronger lineouts the led lineout. For Wales specifically, Elias can be pressured throwing in so I'd probably favour challenging them in the air first with multiple strong jumpers. If Wales are securing their own ball then Launchbury's ability to disrupt mauls is very useful.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 14 Feb 2022, 3:53 pm

I am finding myself questioning Marchant's position.

He has been OK defensively but he's either not getting opportunities or he's not taking them

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Post by king_carlos Mon 14 Feb 2022, 4:09 pm

lostinwales wrote:I am finding myself questioning Marchant's position.

He has been OK defensively but he's either not getting opportunities or he's not taking them
I think he's a good 13 but I'd still pick Slade there ahead of him. Whilst Slade has drifted in and out of games in attack from 13 his defense there is absolutely rock solid, our alignment and organisation looks much better with Slade at 13 IMO.

I prefer Marchant as a winger to Malins personally. I think Marchant looks slightly more at home there, is better in contact and actually commits to the kick chase where Marchant is very good to be fair.

If Manu is being used as a 12 then I'd consider Marchant our second best 13 after Slade and a useful wing option. Certainly good enough to keep around the 23 but hasn't done anything yet to demand being a starter with everyone back fit.

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Post by Soul Requiem Mon 14 Feb 2022, 4:31 pm

A lot of the young players seem to be take one step forward and then two steps back; Malins and Marchant were very good against South Africa but haven't carried that momentum into the six nations. Malins constantly looks worried about taking his man out in the air which is not a great trait for a winger, on the flipside he's very good in the air defensively.

Marchant looks like a player who has been messed around, Jones doesn't seem to know how to use him which is a common trend in the backline at the moment. I will say that Nowell going off injured ruined the whole balance of the backline, there was no one there to make the hard yards or squirm through contact to gain that extra metre.

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Post by dummy_half Mon 14 Feb 2022, 5:03 pm

king_carlos wrote:Bristol often have a similar issue with Randall compared to Uren when it comes to exiting their own 22. The length he gets on his kicks is very short indeed.

Exiting through the 10, or another player in the backline, is far less efficient. Passing the ball back another 10 metres loses more territory, then that player usually kicks under more pressure than the scrum-half would as they can't get set for the kick in the same way, even after that the chase has to start from far further back so is far worse. Hence why most international sides first choice for exiting the 22 under pressure is through the scrum-half.

Randall's clearances often barely getting past the 22, let alone up between the 10 metre line and halfway as you'd hope is a legitimate concern to have in an international scrum-half.

Raising that concern doesn't mean I'm saying Youngs is Dupont or Randall is Bergamasco either. I've often just tried to steer clear of the 9 debate recently as it seems to have headed in that sort of direction where it's only reasonable to sit at an extreme. Which is frankly a bit tedious.

I think Quirke looks the better prospect than Randall. I really hope he stays fit and keeps developing.

Absolutely - Youngs is clearly the better kicker but his passing can be erratic and he does tend to slow the game down. At his best he's pretty good at sniping the fringes and excellent at running support lines, but that seems to have bee largely absent from his game for a couple of years. Randall passed better and seemed to inject more tempo into the game plus took a couple of chances sniping around the breakdown, but his box kicking is a bit of a lottery - some good, but seemed to lack distance and quite often skied too short. Randall is at least young enough to work on this and improve, whereas Youngs is very set in his ways. Probably the future is neither of them.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 15 Feb 2022, 7:40 pm

Seems to me scrum half has to be a big area of focus.
Youngs is yesterday's news.
Randall, Quirke, Mitchell, et al, are tomorrow's news.
Today we have a choice between a dynamic playmaker who can't kick and a kicker who is not a dynamic playmaker any more.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 15 Feb 2022, 8:01 pm

doctor_grey wrote:Seems to me scrum half has to be a big area of focus.  
Youngs is yesterday's news.  
Randall, Quirke, Mitchell, et al, are tomorrow's news.  
Today we have a choice between a dynamic playmaker who can't kick and a kicker who is not a dynamic playmaker any more.  

And Danny Care, who is a dynamic playmaker, has significantly improved his kicking and game management, has over 100 games with Smith...

...and with whom Eddie appears to have burned all his bridges.

Maybe one of the reasons Marler has been send home from camp is that Eddie is afraid he'll take him out for a glass of red and go "Beaver, mate. Stop being a *&!@ and pick Danny. No, not that Danny. The other one."
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