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6 Nations Round 4 - England v Ireland

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 28 Feb 2022, 4:34 am

First topic message reminder :

England v Ireland

Twickers, London
Saturday 12th March 2022
Kick Off - 1645hrs

England team


Ireland team

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Post by majesticimperialman Tue 08 Mar 2022, 6:25 pm

Regards Tuallagi i really do believe his playing for England is over.

We (England) cannot keep waiting and hoping he will be fit to play. It is a shame but time for England to move on.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 6:42 pm

Meanwhile "injury prone" 37 year old Jonny Sexton has signed a new contract until the end of 2023 for Ireland.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 6:55 pm

Love Sexton. Really focuses the mind when you see a great nearing the end.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 08 Mar 2022, 7:23 pm

Dolly, Isiekwe, Rodd and Underhill cut from the squad along with Bailey, Furbank, OHC, Northmore and Mitchell according to RugbyPass.

Dombrandt is retained, though, so presumably Eddie is expecting him to be ready to play.

ENGLAND SQUAD (26 vs Ireland, Saturday)
FORWARDS (16)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped)
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 5 caps)
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 39 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 7 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 29 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 34 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 64 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 54 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 69 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 91 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 77 caps)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 50 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)

BACKS (10)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 55 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 79 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 13 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 10 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 4 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 46 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 8 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 115 caps)

So - all the backs should make the final squad, and it looks like one prop, one lock and one back row won't make the cut.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 7:43 pm

I hope it isn't true.

I am confident about the game. I think the forwards will win the match if Curry is fit and it sounds as if he will be. But I think it just slows down out development in not giving these wingers a shot.

And Mitchell tbh.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:06 pm

I reckon England are favorites. When did they last lose at home? Anyone know? Scotland maybe. They beat SA, Aus and Wales there recently so it will take a big game for us to win on Saturday. Ireland are good enough but will need a top performance.


Last edited by Collapse2005 on Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by king_carlos Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:18 pm

Delighted that Launchbury is viewed as fit to return. His maul work will be vital against Ireland. A shame that Underhill isn't ready though.

I'd personally pick Barbeary ahead of Simmonds but he'd be the favourite to miss out alongside Chessum and Heyes. Tigers bias but I'd pick Heyes over Stuart. He's already the better player with a higher ceiling IMO.

1.Genge
2.George
3.Sinckler
4.Launchbury
5.Itoje
6.Lawes (c)
7.Curry (vc)
8.Dombrandt

9.Randall
10.Smith

11.Nowell
12.Slade
13.Daly
14.Malins
15.Steward

16.Blamire
17.Marler
18.Stuart
19.Ewels
20.Simmonds
21.Youngs
22.Ford
23.Marchant

That seems most likely.

Same rubbish midfield and lack of pace on the wings but the pack still looks strong. The backs were rock solid defensively against Wales and very good under the high ball which will be important against Ireland.

I'd have Ireland as narrow favourites due to their far superior midfield. Elsewhere the sides look fairly well matched and home advantage usually counts for a lot in the Six Nations which is in England's favour.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:22 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:I reckon England are favorites. When did they last lose at home? Anyone know? They beat SA and Wales there recently so it will take a big game for us to win on Saturday. Ireland are good enough but will need a top performance.
Scotland off the top of my head. Albeit that was covid so more a neutral venue.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:24 pm

king_carlos wrote:Delighted that Launchbury is viewed as fit to return. His maul work will be vital against Ireland. A shame that Underhill isn't ready though.

I'd personally pick Barbeary ahead of Simmonds but he'd be the favourite to miss out alongside Chessum and Heyes. Tigers bias but I'd pick Heyes over Stuart. He's already the better player with a higher ceiling IMO.

1.Genge
2.George
3.Sinckler
4.Launchbury
5.Itoje
6.Lawes (c)
7.Curry (vc)
8.Dombrandt

9.Randall
10.Smith

11.Nowell
12.Slade
13.Daly
14.Malins
15.Steward

16.Blamire
17.Marler
18.Stuart
19.Ewels
20.Simmonds
21.Youngs
22.Ford
23.Marchant

That seems most likely.

Same rubbish midfield and lack of pace on the wings but the pack still looks strong. The backs were rock solid defensively against Wales and very good under the high ball which will be important against Ireland.

I'd have Ireland as narrow favourites due to their far superior midfield. Elsewhere the sides look fairly well matched and home advantage usually counts for a lot in the Six Nations which is in England's favour.
If the above is true I hope he goes Marchant in midfield and Daly wing with Nowell.
And yes for Barbeary and Heyes. Minutes on the pitch would be great for both.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:29 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:I reckon England are favorites. When did they last lose at home? Anyone know? They beat SA and Wales there recently so it will take a big game for us to win on Saturday. Ireland are good enough but will need a top performance.
Scotland off the top of my head. Albeit that was covid so more a neutral venue.

Yeah and before that maybe NZ, basically not too many losses.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:32 pm

7.5

It's come through the RFU website so is definitely correct if that's what you mean by true? Orlando Bailey also training with the 26-man squad as an apprentice player.

I'd probably make those same changes.

On the midfield though. Marchant did very little with his start to be honest and Daly has at least looked strong defensively at 13.

I'd be interested to see Daly at 13 in a better balanced backline. If given some space he can be a dangerous runner, similar to JJ back in 2015 and 2016. Despite plenty of good ball against Wales the backs just couldn't manufacture that space.

Slade just isn't a 12, sadly.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:36 pm

king_carlos wrote:7.5

It's come through the RFU website so is definitely correct if that's what you mean by true? Orlando Bailey also training with the 26-man squad as an apprentice player.

I'd probably make those same changes.

On the midfield though. Marchant did very little with his start to be honest and Daly has at least looked strong defensively at 13.

I'd be interested to see Daly at 13 in a better balanced backline. If given some space he can be a dangerous runner, similar to JJ back in 2015 and 2016. Despite plenty of good ball against Wales the backs just couldn't manufacture that space.

Slade just isn't a 12, sadly.
Oh sorry thought it was a follow on to Poorfours quote on rugby pass. I'm fed up of both Daly and Slade albeit he's really strong defensively at 13 (as was Joseph).

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:38 pm

I do agree that it looked very close to clicking vs wales (quotes from the group) but was still frustrating to watch. Just think we'd look better with some more round pegs in round holes.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 08 Mar 2022, 8:51 pm

king_carlos wrote:Delighted that Launchbury is viewed as fit to return. His maul work will be vital against Ireland. A shame that Underhill isn't ready though.

I'd personally pick Barbeary ahead of Simmonds but he'd be the favourite to miss out alongside Chessum and Heyes. Tigers bias but I'd pick Heyes over Stuart. He's already the better player with a higher ceiling IMO.

1.Genge
2.George
3.Sinckler
4.Launchbury
5.Itoje
6.Lawes (c)
7.Curry (vc)
8.Dombrandt

9.Randall
10.Smith

11.Nowell
12.Slade
13.Daly
14.Malins
15.Steward

16.Blamire
17.Marler
18.Stuart
19.Ewels
20.Simmonds
21.Youngs
22.Ford
23.Marchant

That seems most likely.

Same rubbish midfield and lack of pace on the wings but the pack still looks strong. The backs were rock solid defensively against Wales and very good under the high ball which will be important against Ireland.

I'd have Ireland as narrow favourites due to their far superior midfield. Elsewhere the sides look fairly well matched and home advantage usually counts for a lot in the Six Nations which is in England's favour.

I don't think it's bias, Heyes form has been good recently whilst Stuart has struggled this season. The detraction for Heyes previously has been that he was playing second fiddle to Cole but after starting the last few games he's really started to shine. Hopefully more rotation with Cole until the end of the season. The Tigers fan in me would be quite keen to see Heyes comeback and be the cornerstone in the scrum at the weekend though especially with no sign of Cole returning.

Agree on Launchbury but worry about Dombrandt not being back on time. Would be a lot of eggs in the Simmonds basket, I think I'd agree with the general feeling of give Barbeary ago he seems a bit more robust in the carry.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 08 Mar 2022, 10:15 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I do agree that it looked very close to clicking vs wales (quotes from the group) but was still frustrating to watch. Just think we'd look better with some more round pegs in round holes.

Despite my frustrations I do think the new game plan has shown moments of very nearly clicking as you say. They just can't quite connect it together currently though which is so frustrating. We'll have quick ball from the forwards but the backs look disjointed. Then the backs will look very well structured but the forwards get knocked back causing slow ball. They build lots of pressure and get a lineout close. Then fudge the lineout. Or the same with a scrum.

Key moments going astray.

I know many will disagree but a second row partner for Itoje and TH depth remain bigger concerns for me than the backs looking further ahead than the Six Nations. Even if Manu remains injured I think Farrell, May and Watson returning would improve that cohesion and organisation in the backs immeasurably.

The best sides now are using their bench front rows for huge impact. Kitshoff/Marx/Koch and Gros/Mauvaka/Bamba coming on as a unit can change the game in the second half. Dane Coles and Karl Tu'inukuafe have had some very dynamic bench performances for New Zealand. Tupou is dynamite for Australia.

England meanwhile seem to be using our front row subs later and later, to less and less effect. I just don't get that at all.

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Post by yappysnap Tue 08 Mar 2022, 10:55 pm

king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I do agree that it looked very close to clicking vs wales (quotes from the group) but was still frustrating to watch. Just think we'd look better with some more round pegs in round holes.

Despite my frustrations I do think the new game plan has shown moments of very nearly clicking as you say. They just can't quite connect it together currently though which is so frustrating. We'll have quick ball from the forwards but the backs look disjointed. Then the backs will look very well structured but the forwards get knocked back causing slow ball. They build lots of pressure and get a lineout close. Then fudge the lineout. Or the same with a scrum.

Key moments going astray.

Yes, if you think back to the Wales game then we had created a lot of pressure early, Wales get the yellow card and we opt for a scrum close to their line which was a poor call. Scrums had already been iffy, and it gave them a chance to waste time which ate up the clock and then we lost it anyway!

With more experience and better game management the players might have realised a lineout or tap and go was a better option to keep the pressure on there.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 09 Mar 2022, 7:59 am

yappysnap wrote:
king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I do agree that it looked very close to clicking vs wales (quotes from the group) but was still frustrating to watch. Just think we'd look better with some more round pegs in round holes.

Despite my frustrations I do think the new game plan has shown moments of very nearly clicking as you say. They just can't quite connect it together currently though which is so frustrating. We'll have quick ball from the forwards but the backs look disjointed. Then the backs will look very well structured but the forwards get knocked back causing slow ball. They build lots of pressure and get a lineout close. Then fudge the lineout. Or the same with a scrum.

Key moments going astray.

Yes, if you think back to the Wales game then we had created a lot of pressure early, Wales get the yellow card and we opt for a scrum close to their line which was a poor call. Scrums had already been iffy, and it gave them a chance to waste time which ate up the clock and then we lost it anyway!

With more experience and better game management the players might have realised a lineout or tap and go was a better option to keep the pressure on there.

That's a captain's call though. If you get it right nobody questions it but get it wrong and there's a problem. Given Lawes was captain he might have had concerns about Beard's defensive lineout work as he is a good jumper. Depends also what the halfbacks are saying they'd like as well. If you're backs fancy themselves one on one then a scrum removes any forward support for the backline.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Wed 09 Mar 2022, 9:25 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:I reckon England are favorites. When did they last lose at home? Anyone know? They beat SA and Wales there recently so it will take a big game for us to win on Saturday. Ireland are good enough but will need a top performance.
Scotland off the top of my head. Albeit that was covid so more a neutral venue.

Yeah and before that maybe NZ, basically not too many losses.

The statistic being quoted in the media is that England have had two 6N losses since 2010, one in 2018 against Ireland and last year against Scotland.
The English pack with Launchbury back in the frame looks strong and Ireland will miss their two front rowers. England will target the Irish ruck and Gibson Park's pace with passing the ball. French refs seem to allow more of a contest at the rucks, so will be interesting to watch.

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Post by mountain man Wed 09 Mar 2022, 9:47 am

Forwards be fine if same as Wales game bar maybe Launchbury for Ewels and I think I'd have Barbeary on bench instead of Simmonds who hasn't yet shown his Exter form although of course different pack.
We're still stuck with same backline pretty much which was underwhelming to say the least. Jones always says he is building for RWC2023, that is the goal. Well fair enough but with current centres and wings can't see England challenging RWC.
Guess all we can do is wait for team announcement but I'm expecting nigh on same 15/23.

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Post by nlpnlp Wed 09 Mar 2022, 10:23 am

I think criticism of Slade at 12 is fair, but then he isn't a 12 - Eddie won't for some reason pick Mark Atkinson the best/only 'natural' 12 available to England currently.

Our backline would look quite different if Quirke, Watson, May, Farrell, Tuilagi and Cokanasiga were all fit, in form and available.  

I suspect England's gameplan will be to kick high ball to the diminutive Michael Lowry and hope we can outjump him.  Which means Youngs to start.  A lot will depend on the quality of our kicking, chase and competition in the air.  Unfortunately, the weather forecast looks quite mild for Saturday.  It is defintiely all change from the early 2000's when Ireland played the kick chase game and England played all the rugby.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 09 Mar 2022, 10:40 am

[quote="Recwatcher16"]
Collapse2005 wrote:
The statistic being quoted in the media is that England have had two 6N losses since 2010, one in 2018 against Ireland and last year against Scotland.
The English pack with Launchbury back in the frame looks strong and Ireland will miss their two front rowers. England will target the Irish ruck and Gibson Park's pace with passing the ball. French refs seem to allow more of a contest at the rucks, so will be interesting to watch.

That stat's wrong, though, unless the media have decided that Wales's win in 2012 was Walsh-assisted [1] and therefore not valid.

[1] Apparently a collapsed maul that was clearly heading for the line doesn't warrant a penalty try, and an unclaimed kick to the corner from the resulting advantage was enough of an advantage to blow the full time whistle...
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Post by king_carlos Wed 09 Mar 2022, 2:22 pm

nlpnlp wrote:I think criticism of Slade at 12 is fair, but then he isn't a 12 - Eddie won't for some reason pick Mark Atkinson the best/only 'natural' 12 available to England currently.

Our backline would look quite different if Quirke, Watson, May, Farrell, Tuilagi and Cokanasiga were all fit, in form and available.  

I suspect England's gameplan will be to kick high ball to the diminutive Michael Lowry and hope we can outjump him.  Which means Youngs to start.  A lot will depend on the quality of our kicking, chase and competition in the air.  Unfortunately, the weather forecast looks quite mild for Saturday.  It is defintiely all change from the early 2000's when Ireland played the kick chase game and England played all the rugby.

I'd be very surprised if Keenan doesn't start ahead of Lowry against England.

11.Hansen 14.Conway 15.Keenan

That must be strong favourite to be Ireland's back three? It's a rock solid unit as well.

Maybe Lowe pushing for one wing spot if they really want another carrier but with Henshaw in the centres, Aki likely on the bench that shouldn't be an issue.

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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 09 Mar 2022, 2:36 pm

My guess it it will be Lowe, Keenan and Conway with Hansen on the bench. Lowe is the only left footed back three player in the squad and his huge left boot might see him start. Hansen is a left winger but is right footed so might be pipped for that reason.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 09 Mar 2022, 4:44 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:My guess it it will be Lowe, Keenan and Conway with Hansen on the bench. Lowe is the only left footed back three player in the squad and his huge left boot might see him start. Hansen is a left winger but is right footed so might be pipped for that reason.

I really love the balance of the Ireland side right now, especially the pack. Huge test for us this one, I'm really looking forward to it.

Ireland are clearly a bit more ahead in their planning whatever happens and I'd take a loss much better than losing to Wales.

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Post by miltonkeynesengland Wed 09 Mar 2022, 4:58 pm

They've used the first years of Farrells regime well to get away from Schmidts more proscriptive gameplay. They've bought in new systems and players to develop and are building a lovely balanced team.
They seem to put a lot of faith in being able to generate extremely quick ruck speeds whilst using the minimum of cleaners. That's where we must try to stop them. Disrupt that and the attacking shape can be nullified. If they keep their ruck speed to under 3.5 or god forbid under 3 seconds we'll get a kicking.

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Post by theslosty Wed 09 Mar 2022, 5:11 pm

I'm just about confident enough to make Ireland marginal favourites but I just hope that collectively we keep the hubris to a minimum. We saw in 2019 how an Ireland team that was on top of the world at the time was embarrassed by a really strong England performance in Dublin. This England team has generally been poor since the RWC but I don't believe that their players have become incapable that quickly. I am wary that if there is a time that England might show up it is when they are being slightly written off at home a la the 23-20 win over France at Twickenham last year.

Both sides have injuries and tbh with the likes of Tuilagi, May and Watson out the English backline does not intimidate me. Ireland's injury list is reasonably low but I think Porter and Kelleher are significant losses as the front row is maybe the one area we don't have great depth. It concerns me in particular because in the tournament so far the scrum has been the one area I don't think Ireland have been that strong in. Healy and Kilcoyne are not the forces of old at LH. We are better set at hooker where Sheehan replaced Kelleher really well vs France and is undoubtedly an international level talent. However I'd be tempted to start the underrated Rob Herring for his experience and solidity in the set piece and use Sheehan's explosiveness for impact later on. It's great to have Furlong at TH but there is quite a big drop off when he is subbed off for Finlay Bealham.

I expect Iain Henderson to be back fit and I would start him based on my worry that the tight 5 looks a little light and his very good cameo vs France. The back row of Doris-vdF-Conan is settled so I think Ryan and Beirne are competing for the last starting spot in the back 5. Ryan could be dropped to the bench but while I feel Beirne is arguably the best player in Ireland atm (besides Furlong) I think we need to start a heavy tight 5 as that was probably where the game was lost in Paris. But that's not to say Beirne will be unable to influence the game as he is an excellent bench option as shown in the most recent ABs game where he won several turnovers after coming on at the 50min mark.

If Ireland can achieve scrum parity I think their better discipline and attack make them maybe 10 points better than England for me. However the Twickenham crowd factor is probably worth about 7 points. That leaves me with Ireland by 3.

I also feel Smith is a better goalkicker than Sexton. That might be worth another 3 points to England. But I'll stick with my gut, Ireland to win.
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Post by king_carlos Wed 09 Mar 2022, 5:17 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:My guess it it will be Lowe, Keenan and Conway with Hansen on the bench. Lowe is the only left footed back three player in the squad and his huge left boot might see him start. Hansen is a left winger but is right footed so might be pipped for that reason.

I really love the balance of the Ireland side right now, especially the pack. Huge test for us this one, I'm really looking forward to it.

Ireland are clearly a bit more ahead in their planning whatever happens and I'd take a loss much better than losing to Wales.

Same here. They are a very cohesive and balanced side. I'm really looking forward to the challenge for this England side, even if I worry we might be pipped if the Ireland centres perform to their ability and our mismatched centres perform as they have been.

The immensely talented Doris has added to the back row a lot I think. He seems to suit Farrell's game plan very well and complement JvdF and Conan.

Bierne settling into the row so brilliantly has given them an extra breakdown threat and allows Henderson to be used as an excellent bench option too. It says a lot that Ryan Baird can't make the 23. I think he's a terrific player and I'd personally pick him over Ewels or Isiekwe.

They just look a really good side.

Collapse - That's really interesting about their back three options, thanks. From Hansen's brief appearance I'd say he looks a more rounded player than Lowe but the latter is certainly a dangerous runner and that big boot is a great weapon with the 50/22 rule.

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Post by theslosty Wed 09 Mar 2022, 5:48 pm

Re Ireland's back 3, Farrell has clearly got a lot right lately but the absence of playing time (not even vs Italy) for Rob Baloucoune has bewildered me a tad. He's the best winger in Ireland atm for me with real genuine pace (something that Irish teams sometimes lack) and no obvious weakness to my eyes. Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale (on form the next two best wingers besides RB) have missed this tournament through injury which makes Baloucoune's absence especially odd. In fairness, Hansen has pleasantly surprised a lot of Irish fans so far but in Lowe and Conway we have two 'good' but not world class wingers. Conway in fairness is underrated outside Ireland and Lowe definitely has his strengths but for me Baloucoune is showing the potential to be a level beyond both in that he has linebreaking ability Conway slightly lacks and more solid basics than Lowe.

I just hope that if Farrell does give him a chance soon that he seizes it and is in possession of a starting jersey for the 2023 RWC. If we really want to contend for that competition we need a back 3 that is dangerous in the same way France have Penaud, SA have Kolbe and Mapimpi and NZ have Jordan and Reece.
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Post by Poorfour Wed 09 Mar 2022, 6:50 pm

England are misfiring but in a very specific way.

The pack is still looking strong despite having a lot of inexperienced players and England have generally had the better of both possession and territory. Randall is combining well with Smith, and when Smith has targets to hit he has been challenging defences and his kicking has been good.

There have been a few gaps in defence - which will need to be tightened up if Ireland aren't to exploit them, but that's kind of inevitable with a backline that's been chopped and changed even in the week running up to the game.

Where they've really been weak is in not giving him targets. We saw it against Wales that several times he looked for somewhere to send the ball and there was nothing, so he ended up running it himself. And mostly got away with it - but it's a terrible use of a player that creative.

Eddie's long term plan is an unstructured attack, and if he can pull it off it will be a nightmare to defend against: modern defences are based on reading and responding to patterns in attack, which is why so many tries tend to come from transition / turnover play.

Eddie's gameplan is to try to create that type of situation in phase play, by having players who understand each other and the space well enough to be creating options on the fly. It's a very exciting ambition, but it's going to take time to mature and in the meantime we will probably see periods of England looking clueless in attack interspersed with moments of brilliance. One question for Saturday is whether England can create enough moments when they're in sync to challenge the defence.

Another is whether they can slow Ireland down. Given how much he and Itoje have been doing at the breakdown, I think Dombrandt will be hugely influential in this. If he doesn't make it back from COVID, it could cost them dear.

Against that, Ireland's approach is more conventional but equally is working well enough that they'll exploit any chink in the defensive armour. If they can get parity in the setpiece and speed at the breakdown England will be scrambling.

More likely, it will ebb and flow. Each side will have periods of dominance in possession and territory, and have their chances to score. Ireland will take a good proportion of theirs. England will either need to give Smith a lot of penalties to kick, or a greater range of attacking options to choose between, or it could be a tough game to watch.
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Post by king_carlos Wed 09 Mar 2022, 11:46 pm

I think the plan is less structure from the forwards but still have a consistent structure with the backs that allows them to have one playmaker take the ball flat and another then sitting in behind to pull it back to if it's on wider out.

Having the forwards free of a strict 1-3-3-1 for instance can in theory free the backs to be more spontaneous as the forwards being more spread across the pitch and a mobile pack should mean support to retain the ball or take the offload is never far away.

Against Scotland we largely lacked quick ball to see anything in attack regardless of structure. Against Wales we had quick ball but the players outside Smith sadly had all the organisation of a toddler trying to protect a sandcastle from the sea. Some might argue that's the structures fault but personally, I said it after the game as well, I thought it was pretty poor from Smith given the ball at his disposal. It's an international 10s job to communicate with and organise the players outside him before receiving the ball. Not get the ball then be confused that his own job he didn't do hasn't been done.

Smith is a special talent and 100% deserves the run of starts at 10 but I thought his work on phase play against Wales consistently defined by that lack of organisation/communication and playing way to flat against a good defence was a pretty naive performance. That's absolutely fine for a 10 starting his 3rd Six Nations match. All young players have those performances. For him to kick well in a win against Wales when the pack lost Curry at halftime whilst having that kind of game is impressive in it's own way.

Worth noting as well I think that when Smith was first picked most people felt that having a strict attacking structure would ruin his skills with "we need to build an attack around Smith" a regular statement. Now that it's a freer structure that should suit him it's still the structure's fault though. For all Smith's talent at some point I think it's fair to look at how much good ball England squandered against Wales and think, "isn't making more use of this why we wanted Smith in the team?"

On slowing Ireland down I think Curry is the key there as shown by the breakdown in the second half compared to first half against Wales. Not just his ability to slow opposition ball but also the number of dominant hits he puts in behind the gain line to create opportunities for others. Curry leads the aggressive blitz around the fringes that England's defence relies upon so heavily.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 10 Mar 2022, 4:01 am

Interview with attack coach Martin Gleeson:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2022/03/09/england-attack-coach-martin-gleeson-honing-new-style-rugby-has/

Martin Gleeson is aiming for nothing less than a revolution. The England attack coach has been tasked by Eddie Jones with creating a style of play that has never been seen in the international game’s 151-year history.

Jones, the England head coach, has long believed that shirt numbers should be irrelevant outside the set-piece. Now Gleeson, a former Great Britain and England rugby league international, is attempting to put that formation-free vision into practice, whereby any player can fill in at scrum-half or first receiver, all in the name of quick ball and heads-up rugby.

“We want to try to play a new way of rugby,” says Gleeson, 41. “We have got a vision of how we want to play where we are not copying off anyone else. We want to play a certain way, where we want to generate quick ball, and it does not really matter who is going in at nine.

“Because when you get it right it is hard to defend and you are playing what you see. You are not playing to any predetermined pattern. We can look up and play what’s in front of us at that time and judge accordingly. We want to play where the space is.

“It is harder to implement and there’s a lot of work to do, but once you get it you become more dangerous and hard to defend.”
....

If a foundation was laid during an unbeaten autumn, this Six Nations is being used to add “layers”. The first focus was on improving England’s kick return, and Gleeson says their numbers have “gone through the roof”.

But getting to the opposition 22 is not the problem. Instead, it is England’s red-zone efficiency which is holding them back, with a tally of 1.2 and 1.3 points per visit to the opposition 22 against Scotland and Wales. “On kick return, we made a few breaks off being direct and making short passes to get us on the front foot and playing to the edge if the space was there,” Gleeson says.

“At the moment, we are getting the ball off kick return and getting down in the 22, but that’s the area where we are not taking the next step and capitalising on the work we are doing to get there. We have got a couple of layers we want to add on. If you go too much too early you will get completely lost.”

The instinctive skills of Marcus Smith at fly-half are central to this vision. Coming from a rugby league background, Gleeson loves Smith’s willingness to attack the line, but at the same time his unpredictability poses a challenge for team-mates and opponents alike. “He has his goose step and if someone is not used to that, who is playing outside, then he may overrun him,” Gleeson says. “He has got to get used to the players around him and the players have to get used to him and the way he plays when he gets the ball.”

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 10 Mar 2022, 7:13 am

If they want to redefine rugby Chris Ashton is still playing

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 8:15 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Interview with attack coach Martin Gleeson:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2022/03/09/england-attack-coach-martin-gleeson-honing-new-style-rugby-has/

Martin Gleeson is aiming for nothing less than a revolution. The England attack coach has been tasked by Eddie Jones with creating a style of play that has never been seen in the international game’s 151-year history.

Jones, the England head coach, has long believed that shirt numbers should be irrelevant outside the set-piece. Now Gleeson, a former Great Britain and England rugby league international, is attempting to put that formation-free vision into practice, whereby any player can fill in at scrum-half or first receiver, all in the name of quick ball and heads-up rugby.

“We want to try to play a new way of rugby,” says Gleeson, 41. “We have got a vision of how we want to play where we are not copying off anyone else. We want to play a certain way, where we want to generate quick ball, and it does not really matter who is going in at nine.

“Because when you get it right it is hard to defend and you are playing what you see. You are not playing to any predetermined pattern. We can look up and play what’s in front of us at that time and judge accordingly. We want to play where the space is.

“It is harder to implement and there’s a lot of work to do, but once you get it you become more dangerous and hard to defend.”
....

If a foundation was laid during an unbeaten autumn, this Six Nations is being used to add “layers”. The first focus was on improving England’s kick return, and Gleeson says their numbers have “gone through the roof”.

But getting to the opposition 22 is not the problem. Instead, it is England’s red-zone efficiency which is holding them back, with a tally of 1.2 and 1.3 points per visit to the opposition 22 against Scotland and Wales. “On kick return, we made a few breaks off being direct and making short passes to get us on the front foot and playing to the edge if the space was there,” Gleeson says.

“At the moment, we are getting the ball off kick return and getting down in the 22, but that’s the area where we are not taking the next step and capitalising on the work we are doing to get there. We have got a couple of layers we want to add on. If you go too much too early you will get completely lost.”

The instinctive skills of Marcus Smith at fly-half are central to this vision. Coming from a rugby league background, Gleeson loves Smith’s willingness to attack the line, but at the same time his unpredictability poses a challenge for team-mates and opponents alike. “He has his goose step and if someone is not used to that, who is playing outside, then he may overrun him,” Gleeson says. “He has got to get used to the players around him and the players have to get used to him and the way he plays when he gets the ball.”

I was half listening to the rugby union daily podcast so missed who the Irish guy was but he made a pertinent point that it really can't be all about the WC (and how lovely it must be if thats the case that 4 out of 4 years, or only 1 tournament matters). If England want to build in an uber complicated attack frankly that has to come with wins as well, games can't be put on hold. The sort of view above though explains in part the obsession with bits and pieces players starting rather than specialists. It does also make me scratch my head, the guys being picked as supposed to be clever rugby players and tbf  playing with Smith must be absolute joy. I do think the attack was close to clicking last game but they really do need to show it against Ireland and France. If they don't all the planning and hard work may be for nowt as the knives will properly start to come out.

Oh, just seen there's a slight doubt on Sinckler. I'm confident on Englnad getting the upper hand if we're able to name Jones preferred pack however if we do go out missing Sinckler, Curry and Dombrandt my confidence is massively dented.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:26 am

king_carlos wrote:
Smith is a special talent and 100% deserves the run of starts at 10 but I thought his work on phase play against Wales consistently defined by that lack of organisation/communication and playing way to flat against a good defence was a pretty naive performance. That's absolutely fine for a 10 starting his 3rd Six Nations match. All young players have those performances. For him to kick well in a win against Wales when the pack lost Curry at halftime whilst having that kind of game is impressive in it's own way.

Worth noting as well I think that when Smith was first picked most people felt that having a strict attacking structure would ruin his skills with "we need to build an attack around Smith" a regular statement. Now that it's a freer structure that should suit him it's still the structure's fault though. For all Smith's talent at some point I think it's fair to look at how much good ball England squandered against Wales and think, "isn't making more use of this why we wanted Smith in the team?"

I think that's asking a bit much of one player, whoever they are. If you've picked a fly half to take the ball to the line and make late decisions based on what they see, you can't simultaneously expect them to be organising the other players in the backline.

For one player to do that, you either need a multiphase attack with a player who can alternate as first receiver, or you need the other players in the backline to develop an understanding and make good choices about where to be without needing to be organised constantly.

England were doing the former - when Ford and Farrell were playing together, they would alternate who was first receiver, with Farrell often creating space with forward pods to allow Ford the time to organise the wider attack. Based on the interview with Gleeson they're now trying to do the latter: have players who understand what's expected enough to self-manage, at least part of the time.

The challenge is getting from one to the other. I suspect the plan was to have Farrell at 12 so that they could revert to the multiphase approach, but with him out they don't have that fallback. I suspect the hope was that Slade would be able to do similar but it hasn't happened consistently. But what it comes down to is that England have a backline who just haven't played that much together, and when the gameplan is pretty unstructured the understanding needs time to develop, especially when most of the backline are going from having been told what to do to taking more responsibility for their own decisions.
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Post by mountain man Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:41 am

Smith has been good so far for Eng. Good but not the wonderkid some were expecting. That is only to be expected against Int teams, usually a faster pace and less time and space. He will though given opportunity cut open a team. Some are just unrealistic on what one player can do(maybe with exception of DuPont!).
Smith used to playing with such a big, powerful but also very skillful 12 with Quins. He hasn't had that with England. Yet.
All that said, I'd have him as starting 10 until/if his form takes a big dive. I know Ford is good and lots rate him but for me Smith is the man at 10.

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:45 am

theslosty wrote:Re Ireland's back 3, Farrell has clearly got a lot right lately but the absence of playing time (not even vs Italy) for Rob Baloucoune has bewildered me a tad. He's the best winger in Ireland atm for me with real genuine pace (something that Irish teams sometimes lack) and no obvious weakness to my eyes. Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale (on form the next two best wingers besides RB) have missed this tournament through injury which makes Baloucoune's absence especially odd. In fairness, Hansen has pleasantly surprised a lot of Irish fans so far but in Lowe and Conway we have two 'good' but not world class wingers. Conway in fairness is underrated outside Ireland and Lowe definitely has his strengths but for me Baloucoune is showing the potential to be a level beyond both in that he has linebreaking ability Conway slightly lacks and more solid basics than Lowe.

I just hope that if Farrell does give him a chance soon that he seizes it and is in possession of a starting jersey for the 2023 RWC. If we really want to contend for that competition we need a back 3 that is dangerous in the same way France have Penaud, SA have Kolbe and Mapimpi and NZ have Jordan and Reece.

Yeah Baloucoune is really good and really unlucky not to get picked. Its only really down to the fact that we are stocked on the wing at the moment. I cant remember Ireland ever having so many wing options.

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:47 am

mountain man wrote:Smith has been good so far for Eng. Good but not the wonderkid some were expecting. That is only to be expected against Int teams, usually a faster pace and less time and space. He will though given opportunity cut open a team. Some are just unrealistic on what one player can do(maybe with exception of DuPont!).
Smith used to playing with such a big, powerful but also very skillful 12 with Quins. He hasn't had that with England. Yet.
All that said, I'd have him as starting 10 until/if his form takes a big dive. I know Ford is good and lots rate him but for me Smith is the man at 10.

Yeah he is a great player and in my view England's best 10 now. He has taken his chance well with plenty of confidence however he is definitely very over hyped too which wont help his cause.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:53 am

Smith ain't overhyped. He is that good.

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:58 am

Fair enough

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 10:00 am

Would love to go to this game. I have only been to Twickenham once and it was a great experience. Must get back someday.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 10 Mar 2022, 10:00 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
mountain man wrote:Smith has been good so far for Eng. Good but not the wonderkid some were expecting. That is only to be expected against Int teams, usually a faster pace and less time and space. He will though given opportunity cut open a team. Some are just unrealistic on what one player can do(maybe with exception of DuPont!).
Smith used to playing with such a big, powerful but also very skillful 12 with Quins. He hasn't had that with England. Yet.
All that said, I'd have him as starting 10 until/if his form takes a big dive. I know Ford is good and lots rate him but for me Smith is the man at 10.

Yeah he is a great player and in my view England's best 10 now. He has taken his chance well with plenty of confidence however he is definitely very over hyped too which wont help his cause.

I really don't think he is over-hyped. The praise he has received in rugby circles has been warranted, he's the most exciting talent we've had at Fly Half since Wilkinson. You always get the "next big thing/poster boy" rubbish in the nationals but if you've just got to take these for what they are......tosh.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 10 Mar 2022, 10:02 am

Collapse2005 wrote:Fair enough

I can imagine opposition fans getting sick of hearing about him, I totally see where you're coming from.....The English press is something else.

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Post by mountain man Thu 10 Mar 2022, 10:07 am

Well yes, the media and seemingly British press notorious for building up players then viciously turning on them if they have a bad run.

Like I said, Smith is a brilliant 10 but hasn't reproduced Quins form for Eng. Yet.
But he has talent to and I think he will.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 10 Mar 2022, 10:33 am

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
mountain man wrote:Smith has been good so far for Eng. Good but not the wonderkid some were expecting. That is only to be expected against Int teams, usually a faster pace and less time and space. He will though given opportunity cut open a team. Some are just unrealistic on what one player can do(maybe with exception of DuPont!).
Smith used to playing with such a big, powerful but also very skillful 12 with Quins. He hasn't had that with England. Yet.
All that said, I'd have him as starting 10 until/if his form takes a big dive. I know Ford is good and lots rate him but for me Smith is the man at 10.

Yeah he is a great player and in my view England's best 10 now. He has taken his chance well with plenty of confidence however he is definitely very over hyped too which wont help his cause.

I really don't think he is over-hyped. The praise he has received in rugby circles has been warranted, he's the most exciting talent we've had at Fly Half since Wilkinson. You always get the "next big thing/poster boy" rubbish in the nationals but if you've just got to take these for what they are......tosh.
Well said, boss.

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 11:11 am

Well it looks like Lowe has been selected but Jack Conan has been left out. O'Mahony has been selected at 6. Also as expected Aki starts ahead of Henshaw.

Keenan; Conway, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Healy, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Henderson, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Henshaw.


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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 11:15 am

I expect that POM has been selected for the lineout and to keep England honest there after all their funny business v Wales.

Very decent team.

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Post by lostinwales Thu 10 Mar 2022, 11:20 am

Collapse2005 wrote:I expect that POM has been selected for the lineout and to keep England honest there after all their funny business v Wales.

Very decent team.

Funny buisness? We weren't making Wales throw the ball over the heads of their own players

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 11:24 am

POM always causes issues in the lineout. And sometimes for the TMO in the rucks.

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Post by Collapse2005 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 11:25 am

Laugh

After the game v Italy trust me no one wants to see a red card.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 10 Mar 2022, 11:27 am

I'm happy for Jonny May in a way as Jones would have said he's happy to pack down as hooker just in case.

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