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6 Nations Round 3 - England v Wales

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6 Nations Round 3 - England v Wales Empty 6 Nations Round 3 - England v Wales

Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 16 Feb 2022, 10:20 am

England v Wales

Twickers, London
Saturday 26th Feb 2022
Kick Off - 1645hrs

England team

Steward; Malins, Daly, Slade, Nowell; Smith, Randall; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler, Ewels, Itoje, Lawes (Capt), Curry, Dombrandt.

Replacements: George, Marler, Stuart, Isiekwe, Simmonds, Youngs, Ford, Marchant.

Wales Team

L Williams; Cuthbert, Watkin, Tompkins, Adams; Biggar (capt), T Williams; W Jones, Elias, Francis, Rowlands, Beard, Moriarty, Basham, Faletau.

Replacements: Lake, G Thomas, Brown, S Davies, Morgan, Hardy, Anscombe, J Davies.


Last edited by Sgt_Pooly on Sun 27 Feb 2022, 4:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by lostinwales Wed 16 Feb 2022, 10:26 am

For once I suspect that this thread will be mostly good natured this championship.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 16 Feb 2022, 10:29 am

I have that vibe also LIW......I've even given Wales the red colour in the team line-up as a sign of good will.

Yaki Da!

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Post by Poorfour Wed 16 Feb 2022, 11:25 am

It's going to be an interesting match between two teams who had disappointing openings and for whom there was a big injury toll but who improved in the second round and now have returning players.

I fancy England to win at Twickenham, because these games in particular have a strong home bias, but it will depend quite a bit on how much Eddie can use the extra week to get the team better in tune with each other. England have shown that they can control possession and territory and create chances, but they need to finish a higher percentage of them.

The other thing that will have to improve for England is use of the bench. Wales' substitutes made a telling difference last week, whereas England's have taken all momentum out of their game two weeks in a row.
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Post by Guest Wed 16 Feb 2022, 11:39 am

Yeah, England all day long for me. Just hoping Wales make it uncomfortable for you and we keep the score respectable.

It’s Wales England so you never know. I don’t actually buy into this ‘teams get up more for England’ nonsense. I think that’s just a convenient way to sweep inconsistency and a poor performance under the carpet for England (sorry!). I actually think the Wales Ireland ding dongs have been bigger over the last 10 years or so. But certainly history suggests that firstly it could go either way and the form book goes out the window, but also that at Twickers England do beat Wales 8 or 9 times out of 10 (or similar).

It’s England’s to lose! Very Happy   thumbsup

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Post by chris_501 Wed 16 Feb 2022, 12:54 pm

Which of the returning players do you think England will bring back into the 23?

Unfortunately I'm not sure Wales have any returning players, but they certainly looked a more solid unit against Scotland, I would expect them to compete better than they did against Ireland.

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Post by Geordie Wed 16 Feb 2022, 1:08 pm

chris_501 wrote:Which of the returning players do you think England will bring back into the 23?

Unfortunately I'm not sure Wales have any returning players, but they certainly looked a more solid unit against Scotland, I would expect them to compete better than they did against Ireland.
The only one needed is Manu.

But if he can stay fit until next weekend is a lottery....

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Post by chris_501 Wed 16 Feb 2022, 1:13 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
chris_501 wrote:Which of the returning players do you think England will bring back into the 23?

Unfortunately I'm not sure Wales have any returning players, but they certainly looked a more solid unit against Scotland, I would expect them to compete better than they did against Ireland.
The only one needed is Manu.

But if he can stay fit until next weekend is a lottery....

I would have thought Lawes would start too?

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Post by Geordie Wed 16 Feb 2022, 1:27 pm

chris_501 wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
chris_501 wrote:Which of the returning players do you think England will bring back into the 23?

Unfortunately I'm not sure Wales have any returning players, but they certainly looked a more solid unit against Scotland, I would expect them to compete better than they did against Ireland.
The only one needed is Manu.

But if he can stay fit until next weekend is a lottery....

I would have thought Lawes would start too?

Possibly, but his inclusion wont change the forwards performance that much as the pack has been ok...its the backs who have been blunt. They lack a heavy carrying option be it...Manu or someone like Cokasaniga when he came on the scene etc etc...

i whinge alot about our constant desperation / reliance on Manu, but in reality...he is THAT big a miss...as we literally have so few players who offer go forward in his ability.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 16 Feb 2022, 4:31 pm

Manu is definitely the most significant potential returnee. The midfield is listless and too easy to defend against at the minute.

Lawes would improve the team a lot. Firstly letting Itoje slide back into the second row. He improves the lineout in attack and defense. He's also a far better carrier than Ewels or Isiekwe which the pack needs at the minute.

England's maul defense has been much worse ever since Kruis departed. With Lawes out as well I'd expect Beard to have a good day out there. Hill would improve things there as well to be fair.

I also think Ludlam is a better back row option on the bench than Simmonds. Ludlam looks like he has the physicality to make an impact in internationals, I just don't think Simmonds does.

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Post by Mr Bounce Wed 16 Feb 2022, 4:55 pm

Don't dismiss Launchbury either for disrupting mauls - I would say that's one of his biggest strengths and something lacking in the current set up.

Changing Ewels for Joe would make a huge difference.

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Post by majesticimperialman Wed 16 Feb 2022, 5:14 pm

What with Manu, Lawes, Launcbery, Ludlam, possibly May all returning for the England v Wales England will have almost a full side.

Are any of Wales injured due back for the game? or will it be the same Wales team that faced Scotland?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 16 Feb 2022, 5:25 pm

Quinnell is back.

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Post by majesticimperialman Wed 16 Feb 2022, 5:27 pm

What about Tom Shanklin, is he back too?

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Post by lostinwales Wed 16 Feb 2022, 5:31 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Quinnell is back.

Which one?

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 16 Feb 2022, 5:54 pm

Word has it that David Duckham is thinking of making a come back. That would put some class in the backs.
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Post by Poorfour Wed 16 Feb 2022, 5:55 pm

lostinwales wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Quinnell is back.

Which one?

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Wed 16 Feb 2022, 6:00 pm

The Oracle wrote:Yeah, England all day long for me. Just hoping Wales make it uncomfortable for you and we keep the score respectable.

It’s Wales England so you never know. I don’t actually buy into this ‘teams get up more for England’ nonsense. I think that’s just a convenient way to sweep inconsistency and a poor performance under the carpet for England (sorry!). I actually think the Wales Ireland ding dongs have been bigger over the last 10 years or so. But certainly history suggests that firstly it could go either way and the form book goes out the window, but also that at Twickers England do beat Wales 8 or 9 times out of 10 (or similar).

It’s England’s to lose! Very Happy   thumbsup

Scotland are a good attacking side, and we managed to keep them quiet last week (N.B. I was at the ground and didn't have the best view, it's possible it was more a case of Scotland not really performing!), and we'll need to be similarly well-drilled at Twickenham to have any chance, as our attack is still very blunt - lots of side-to-side but little cutting edge. If England score two or three tries, I don't see us matching them. On the other hand, if it comes down to goalkicking, I'd take Biggar over Smith.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 16 Feb 2022, 6:08 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Yeah, England all day long for me. Just hoping Wales make it uncomfortable for you and we keep the score respectable.

It’s Wales England so you never know. I don’t actually buy into this ‘teams get up more for England’ nonsense. I think that’s just a convenient way to sweep inconsistency and a poor performance under the carpet for England (sorry!). I actually think the Wales Ireland ding dongs have been bigger over the last 10 years or so. But certainly history suggests that firstly it could go either way and the form book goes out the window, but also that at Twickers England do beat Wales 8 or 9 times out of 10 (or similar).

It’s England’s to lose! Very Happy   thumbsup

Scotland are a good attacking side, and we managed to keep them quiet last week (N.B. I was at the ground and didn't have the best view, it's possible it was more a case of Scotland not really performing!), and we'll need to be similarly well-drilled at Twickenham to have any chance, as our attack is still very blunt - lots of side-to-side but little cutting edge. If England score two or three tries, I don't see us matching them. On the other hand, if it comes down to goalkicking, I'd take Biggar over Smith.

I'm struggling to think of a kick that Smith has missed for England.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 16 Feb 2022, 6:21 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:

I'm struggling to think of a kick that Smith has missed for England.

He missed at least one conversion last week. But he's an excellent clutch kicker - he very rarely misses the kicks that really matter.
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Post by doctor_grey Wed 16 Feb 2022, 7:51 pm

king_carlos wrote:Manu is definitely the most significant potential returnee. The midfield is listless and too easy to defend against at the minute.

Lawes would improve the team a lot. Firstly letting Itoje slide back into the second row. He improves the lineout in attack and defense. He's also a far better carrier than Ewels or Isiekwe which the pack needs at the minute.

England's maul defense has been much worse ever since Kruis departed. With Lawes out as well I'd expect Beard to have a good day out there. Hill would improve things there as well to be fair.

I also think Ludlam is a better back row option on the bench than Simmonds. Ludlam looks like he has the physicality to make an impact in internationals, I just don't think Simmonds does.
Lawes is needed for his leadership.  Curry may get there some day, but it ain’t today.  Not sure the Six Nations is the place for leadership on-the-job training.

Of course, Lawes will also give England someone who can actually track back and chase down a ball carrier on a breakaway.  England’s backs haven’t done this recently.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 17 Feb 2022, 12:57 am

Mr Bounce wrote:Don't dismiss Launchbury either for disrupting mauls - I would say that's one of his biggest strengths and something lacking in the current set up.

Changing Ewels for Joe would make a huge difference.
I said in a previous thread that if Launchbury is fully fit I'd get him on the bench against Wales. His defensive maul work is great and always has been. He's not the strongest jumper for a second row, being solid at best in the air, but his maul work is excellent.

Elias can struggle with his darts so I'd prioritise competing in the air at first against Wales. Hence would probably start Lawes at 6 and Hill or Isiekwe with Itoje in the row for three strong defensive jumpers.

Those three jumpers could be important on our ball as well given Beard is a very good defensive jumper. Adam Beard is just good a rugby really.

If Launchbury is genuinely approaching full fitness then he'd be a massive improvement to the 23 though.

1.Marler 2.George 3.Sinckler 4.Itoje 5.Hill/Isiekwe 6.Lawes 7.Curry 8.Dombrandt

16.Cowan-Dickie 17.Genge 18.Stuart 19.Launchbury 20.Ludlam

That would be a far stronger pack than we've seen from England thus far. The potential extra bench impact especially with the returnees improving depth.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 17 Feb 2022, 4:20 am

That looks like a great pack KC, I'd be very happy with that. Launchbury and Lawes back in the pack would turn parity into one that could dominate.

I know others have praised Ludlam for his physicality, but I really think he flatters to deceive. He's very much arms and legs all the over the place giving the impression he's moving a lot. I'd put him in a similar bracket with Simmonds as not physical enough for Int rugby.

Smith is an outstanding goal kicker.....he's a level up on the "world class goal kicker" Farrell for me.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Thu 17 Feb 2022, 8:55 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:That looks like a great pack KC, I'd be very happy with that. Launchbury and Lawes back in the pack would turn parity into one that could dominate.

I know others have praised Ludlam for his physicality, but I really think he flatters to deceive. He's very much arms and legs all the over the place giving the impression he's moving a lot. I'd put him in a similar bracket with Simmonds as not physical enough for Int rugby.

Smith is an outstanding goal kicker.....he's a level up on the "world class goal kicker" Farrell for me.

I think you underrate Ludlam Sgt. he looks ungainly to say the least, but he tends to absorb the hit and then keep his legs pumping and drives through it. It looks like he is stopped at the hit, but it is a rare thing for him not to make some ground when he starts pumping away. He is built a bit like I was, shorter powerful legs (for his height) long body which gives him upper body strength and mass.

He is also an effective lineout jumper, not in Lawes class (who is at 6), but is probably better than any of our other proper 6/7/8 contenders.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 17 Feb 2022, 9:28 am

I'm not convinced WPI, he just seems like a slight upgrade on Harrison to me. I don't think he's that good at anything in particular, he's just a solid player.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 17 Feb 2022, 9:45 am

I agree with WPI, up until the lineout part.

Ludlam uses his pace so well in defense to have fantastic line speed and be strong chasing. He makes a lot of hits behind the gain line and is good over the ball.

In attack against Scotland England were frequently using him for carries into a set defensive lines we used to use Billy for. Against strong international defences you inevitably have to run at a set defence quite often. Since Billy's decline England have been frequently rubbish at it. Ludlam was carrying noticeably from deep kickoffs into a an set chasing line and from slow ball off 9 when the Scotland defence was set. He did so more effectively than most others have for England recently.

One of those roles that is extremely boring but also very important. The other option is basically just to kick the ball away whenever the defense is set, which many England fans have a deep seated antipathy to. Even then to kick from a decent angle you'll usually carry into the set line once or twice to manipulate the point your kicker has to kick from. It's not flashy but it's necessary.

My one issue with Ludlam is that I struggle to see him offering as much as Underhill did at his best. With Underhill unavailable I think Ludlam has done enough with his great Saints form and his brief England chances to deserve to be in the 23 ahead of other available players though.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 17 Feb 2022, 9:46 am

WPI - Sorry for the following diatribe but on the lineout stuff

I don't disagree that Ludlam is a decent 3rd lineout option for Saints. My disagreement is more that I think the value of that level of jumper gets massively overstated at international level. Unless a back row jumper is of a level where they are better than one of your second rows - think Lawes at 6, Croft, prime Tom Wood - they are basically only going to be used if the opposition are man marking your first two jumpers out the game. It's the role Curry performed in 2019 where England would sometimes throw to him unmarked, usually at the front of the lineout, if Kruis/Lawes/Itoje were being man marked. They'd accept going to the front was a weaker attacking platform but just settled for retaining the ball, then build through phase play.

Ludlam might be a marginally better jumper than Curry but it's just not a threat against international second rows until a back row is far beyond either of their level. Defensive lineouts are so much stronger. It's an area where the jump from club to international level is gigantic. To make a difference a back row jumper needs to be of that Woki, Parisse, Read, etc quality where they will be a primary option ahead of your locks. All options below that whether they are slightly better or slightly worse will just be getting thrown up unopposed when you don't want to risk a tougher throw to a marked jumper for a better platform.

That lineout stuff is a more general gripe I have around talk of 3rd jumpers in international rugby rather than Ludlam specifically though. It especially comes up when playing the Boks. Everyone suddenly mentions, "the need for a 3rd jumper against South Africa", as if Lood de Jager is going to be quaking in his boots when he sees Tom Curry has lineout bindings on!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 17 Feb 2022, 9:49 am

I don't think Ludlam is a great jumper either. Yes, we used him...but he's never going to trouble a top lineout option.....he's just solid, like the rest of his game. I see he's listed as 6'4".....not a chance he is anywhere near that.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 17 Feb 2022, 10:06 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:I don't think Ludlam is a great jumper either. Yes, we used him...but he's never going to trouble a top lineout option.....he's just solid, like the rest of his game. I see he's listed as 6'4".....not a chance he is anywhere near that.
https://editorial01.shutterstock.com/preview-440/10359704aq/f3dfcd0b/Shutterstock_10359704aq.jpg

Having met Genge in person he's pretty much the same exact same height as me, 6'1", and Ludlam is noticeably taller there to be fair so he wont be far off.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 17 Feb 2022, 10:15 am

king_carlos wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:I don't think Ludlam is a great jumper either. Yes, we used him...but he's never going to trouble a top lineout option.....he's just solid, like the rest of his game. I see he's listed as 6'4".....not a chance he is anywhere near that.
https://editorial01.shutterstock.com/preview-440/10359704aq/f3dfcd0b/Shutterstock_10359704aq.jpg

Having met Genge in person he's pretty much the same exact same height as me, 6'1", and Ludlam is noticeably taller there to be fair so he wont be far off.

6'2" at an absolute push.....

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/they-hate-us-and-we-hate-them-its-going-be-war-england-flanker-issues-warning-scotland-ahead-calcutta-cup-showdown-1387109

Lawes looks a full 6/7" taller than him here.

https://www.alamy.com/rugby-union-six-nations-championship-scotland-v-england-murrayfield-stadium-edinburgh-scotland-britain-february-8-2020-englands-willi-heinz-lewis-ludlam-and-ellis-genge-during-the-national-anthem-before-the-match-reutersrussell-cheyne-image374227266.html?pv=1&stamp=2&imageid=436A29A0-2366-4D95-82FC-C4B7C6C2A251&p=1323823&n=0&orientation=0&pn=1&searchtype=0&IsFromSearch=1&srch=foo%3dbar%26st%3d0%26pn%3d1%26ps%3d100%26sortby%3d2%26resultview%3dsortbyPopular%26npgs%3d0%26qt%3denglands%2520lewis%2520ludlam%26qt_raw%3denglands%2520lewis%2520ludlam%26lic%3d3%26mr%3d0%26pr%3d0%26ot%3d0%26creative%3d%26ag%3d0%26hc%3d0%26pc%3d%26blackwhite%3d%26cutout%3d%26tbar%3d1%26et%3d0x000000000000000000000%26vp%3d0%26loc%3d0%26imgt%3d0%26dtfr%3d%26dtto%3d%26size%3d0xFF%26archive%3d1%26groupid%3d%26pseudoid%3d%26a%3d%26cdid%3d%26cdsrt%3d%26name%3d%26qn%3d%26apalib%3d%26apalic%3d%26lightbox%3d%26gname%3d%26gtype%3d%26xstx%3d0%26simid%3d%26saveQry%3d%26editorial%3d1%26nu%3d%26t%3d%26edoptin%3d%26customgeoip%3d%26cap%3d1%26cbstore%3d1%26vd%3d0%26lb%3d%26fi%3d2%26edrf%3d%26ispremium%3d1%26flip%3d0%26pl%3d

A better one......pretty much the same height as Genge.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Thu 17 Feb 2022, 11:07 am

Both Wiki and Saints have him at 1.92 (just about 6'4") and 111kg, ESPN have him at 6'2" and 222lb. He is way above 222lb, less than 16 stone. I would have put him closer to 18 stone.

I did not say he was a "great jumper", just better than the alternatives apart from Lawes who is exceptional. Effective was the term I used which I think is a reasonable description of his ability.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 17 Feb 2022, 11:48 am

Both Wiki and Saints appear to be misleading us! It wouldn't be the first time a club over does a players stats to be fair.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 17 Feb 2022, 1:22 pm

king_carlos wrote:
Mr Bounce wrote:Don't dismiss Launchbury either for disrupting mauls - I would say that's one of his biggest strengths and something lacking in the current set up.

Changing Ewels for Joe would make a huge difference.
I said in a previous thread that if Launchbury is fully fit I'd get him on the bench against Wales. His defensive maul work is great and always has been. He's not the strongest jumper for a second row, being solid at best in the air, but his maul work is excellent.

Elias can struggle with his darts so I'd prioritise competing in the air at first against Wales. Hence would probably start Lawes at 6 and Hill or Isiekwe with Itoje in the row for three strong defensive jumpers.

Those three jumpers could be important on our ball as well given Beard is a very good defensive jumper. Adam Beard is just good a rugby really.

If Launchbury is genuinely approaching full fitness then he'd be a massive improvement to the 23 though.

1.Marler 2.George 3.Sinckler 4.Itoje 5.Hill/Isiekwe 6.Lawes 7.Curry 8.Dombrandt

16.Cowan-Dickie 17.Genge 18.Stuart 19.Launchbury 20.Ludlam

That would be a far stronger pack than we've seen from England thus far. The potential extra bench impact especially with the returnees improving depth.

Marler has been released back to his club this weekend, I wonder if Eddie is concerned about Marler's previous with Wales.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 17 Feb 2022, 1:24 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Marler has been released back to his club this weekend, I wonder if Eddie is concerned about Marler's previous with Wales.

I doubt it. It's much more likely that he knows he will get more out of Marler if he has spent some time with his family, and Marler actively told Eddie that he wanted to play for Quins on the fallow weekend.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 17 Feb 2022, 1:36 pm

Poorfour wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Marler has been released back to his club this weekend, I wonder if Eddie is concerned about Marler's previous with Wales.

I doubt it. It's much more likely that he knows he will get more out of Marler if he has spent some time with his family, and Marler actively told Eddie that he wanted to play for Quins on the fallow weekend.

Everyone wants to play. Marler hasn't had a lot of minutes and had Covid so game time is good for him, he is used to playing a lot of minutes for Quins.

I don't think players are in bubbles like they have been previously so I'd imagine most are back at home for the weekend to see the family.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 17 Feb 2022, 1:50 pm

Poorfour wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Marler has been released back to his club this weekend, I wonder if Eddie is concerned about Marler's previous with Wales.

I doubt it. It's much more likely that he knows he will get more out of Marler if he has spent some time with his family, and Marler actively told Eddie that he wanted to play for Quins on the fallow weekend.
I think that with Marler it's important he gets family time and time away from the environment.  I'd still start Genge against Wales even if Marler was there all week.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 17 Feb 2022, 1:57 pm

I'd put good money on Marler just getting game time and being back in the squad at the start of next week.

He missed R14 of the Premiership for training camp before the Scotland game. He played 31 minutes in two weeks against Scotland and Italy - Jones keeps using his subs pretty late these days for some reason. If he misses this weekend as well he'd have had 31 minutes in a month going into the Ireland game where England's LHs will be up against Furlong. Only makes sense to get him a good run out with Quins.

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Post by mountain man Thu 17 Feb 2022, 2:09 pm

I'd put good money on Marler getting covid again....

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Post by Poorfour Thu 17 Feb 2022, 4:08 pm

mountain man wrote:I'd put good money on Marler getting covid again....

Not until the last round when England visit France. Both times he's caught it have been from French teams.
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Post by Geordie Thu 17 Feb 2022, 4:08 pm

Is all of this just Eddie focused on one thing...building for 2023 WC?

Not showing his hand too early etc...?

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Post by king_carlos Thu 17 Feb 2022, 4:35 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Is all of this just Eddie focused on one thing...building for 2023 WC?

Not showing his hand too early etc...?
I think all teams are building to the RWC at this stage. As for not showing his hand, I think that stuff is a load of pish to be honest. Just nonsense speak that abysmal pundits lob out when they get paid by the word but don't want to follow the game closely enough to actually offer some analysis and insight.

Coaches want to win. Winning keeps them in a job, buys them breathing space to do what they want with tactics and selection. If you're winning by and large no one cares about pragmatic rather than enterprising game plans for instance. If you're losing suddenly every one wants to keep ball in hand more, throw it about.

Press also start building pressure for the next big thing to get picked. Jones was apparently an eejit for years for not selecting Simmonds. Now that Simmonds has struggled to do much as a Lion or England player you don't see the same pundits using their columns to question whether they were wrong. Slink away into the background for a week or two, then start parroting the next easy line.

I think England are just missing too many quality players at the moment and the replacements aren't as good. Add 4 or 5 out of Kruis, Launchbury, Lawes, Underhill, Willis, Farrell, Tuilagi, May and Watson to the squad and it's incomparably better. All could feasibly be available this time next year.

I think the simple truth of this England side with the absentees is that they have some excellent experienced players, a few very talented young players, but also massive holes being filled by good to excellent club players but thus far average to poor internationals. Home advantage is usually significant in the Six Nations so England will hopefully be better the next two rounds but it's a side with a lot of flaws.

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Post by Sharkey06 Thu 17 Feb 2022, 5:35 pm

I am happy so far that we seem to have solved the problems at 8 and 10 with Dombrandt and Smith.

I thought Randall was promissing against Italy - far from perfect - but did some good things.  With Quirke still getting up to full fitness with Sale in the wings (in not on!), there is hope.

However, the indecent haste with which Manu is brought back into the squad highlights the big problem we have.  Even a fit Farrell doesn't solve this issue.  Eddie seems unwilling to look at other natural 12's - Atkinson has been dismissed, Devoto passed over - and there don't seem to be any young up and coming options pushing for selection.  I hope this is just a case of Eddie not showing his hand and we have a world class 12 hidden away somewhere, however, I suspect not.

If England lose at home to an injury ravaged Wales team, then I think Eddie should have some hard questions to answer.  However, assuming Manu manages to stay fit long enough, I think we should have too much for Wales, as I can't see the Welsh pack causing England too many issues.  But I am sure Scotland thought that.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 17 Feb 2022, 6:01 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:Is all of this just Eddie focused on one thing...building for 2023 WC?

Not showing his hand too early etc...?

I've said before that I think Eddie is happy to stick with a previously winning formula until it breaks and then switch for the second half of the RWC cycle. I think there are a couple of main reasons for this:
1) Other teams typically start rebuilding immediately post RWC and I think Eddie likes to see what they are doing before responding
2) The Law variations come in over the summer with the Lions tour and generally trigger a 5 further shift in tactics
3) I think Eddie thinks that 2 years / 5 campaigns is the optimal time to prepare a side for the RWC - long enough to bed in the combinations and fine tune tactics, but not long enough for other teams to work them out.

I would not be surprised if he's been planning at least some of the changes he's now making since he first took on the England job - remember Smith first landed on his radar as training fodder for Japan in 2015, was looked at in 2017 or so and then sent back to Quins until last summer.

In terms of not showing his hand too early, I think he does that with very specific tactics for certain games or teams. In 2018 they tried a number of plays a couple of times (most notably Sinckler at 1st receiver) and then stopped doing it even though it was working. I am pretty sure he had planned to use that in the RWC Final against the Boks - but it was then completely scuppered by Sinckler getting too friendly with Itoje's elbow in the 3rd minute.

But the overall gameplan is out there and being developed in the open.
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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Fri 18 Feb 2022, 2:37 pm

Lawes has been declared fit to play next week against Wales, now we just need May fit and with Lunchbox and Tuilagi the 23 will start to look very different.

Great news the Willis is deemed fit enough to play this week as well.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 18 Feb 2022, 2:51 pm

If we go Lawes Curry Dombrandt I wonder if it'll be Lawes asked to do the donkey work and let Dombrandt roam free? Or more likely we see Simmonds come in for the latter.

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Post by mountain man Fri 18 Feb 2022, 3:24 pm

Lawes Curry Dombrandt at 6, 7, 8 with Simmonds on bench sounds good to me. A fit Manu at 13 as well.

There's hope yet.

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Post by Poorfour Fri 18 Feb 2022, 3:42 pm

mountain man wrote:Lawes Curry Dombrandt at 6, 7, 8 with Simmonds on bench sounds good to me. A fit Manu at 13 as well.

There's hope yet.

I'd imagine Manu will be asked to play 12 in a similar manner to Esterhuizen at Quins, with Slade at 13 and some combination of Malins, Marchant, Nowell and May filling 11, 14 and 23.
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Post by mountain man Fri 18 Feb 2022, 3:54 pm

You'd think that would be logical but this is E Jones.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 18 Feb 2022, 3:58 pm

Poorfour wrote:
mountain man wrote:Lawes Curry Dombrandt at 6, 7, 8 with Simmonds on bench sounds good to me. A fit Manu at 13 as well.

There's hope yet.

I'd imagine Manu will be asked to play 12 in a similar manner to Esterhuizen at Quins, with Slade at 13 and some combination of Malins, Marchant, Nowell and May filling 11, 14 and 23.

I think Manu will be numbered at 12 but he's not got the endurance Esterhuizen has for running through brick walls. Think it will open up more interchange with Slade where the two switch over a fair bit and Manu poses the Welsh backline different threats. I'd put money on a couple of early carries down the 10 channel though, tighten the Welsh defence up a bit before utilising the dual playmakers and looking for Manu in wider areas ideally in one on one tackle situations.

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Post by mountain man Fri 18 Feb 2022, 4:04 pm

I think Slade be 12 and Manu 13. You'd think it should be vice versa but I reckon that's what it'll be.

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