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England post 2022 6Ns, Aus tour and beyond

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 30 Jun 2022, 9:22 am

First topic message reminder :

sensisball wrote:
With Bath enduring a terrible season how many tries has Cokonasiga scored?

In five starts and four sub appearances he's bagged five tries. One appearance and one try for England.

It's a bench lacking experience but it's the type of players we'd like to have as options come the world cup.

Ignore the front row that pretty much picked itself.

Chessum - covers lock and 6 highly mobile and physical, good lineout option and we've been desperate for a young lock to come through.

Ludlam - covers 8 and 7 which is what the bench needs, club captain so adds much needed leadership here.

JVP - no one likes the current 9 options for last season's Under 20 captain and player of the J6N gets a chance. Best kicking game of the three 9s on tour and likes to play high tempo.

Porter - covers every position in the backs outside of 9 and 10, could probably do a job on the flank as well. Eddie likes a versatility option as they very much help the overall squad come world cup so audition time for Guy.

Arundell - exciting young player, not ready yet but Eddie will be hoping some international game time might speed up his development. Unlikely starter but potential game changer off the bench, always handy to have one of those at a world cup. Porter's inclusion means Arundell won't have to go in early unless there's multiple injuries.

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Post by nlpnlp Mon 04 Jul 2022, 12:49 pm

Launchbury may not be a great jumper, but he is definitely very competent and a safe front of the lineout option.  The elephant in the room is the fact that Billy just doesn’t jump, which then puts pressure onto the rest of the pack.

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Post by Sharkey06 Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:06 pm

I can't think of many other international no8's who don't jump.  Speed to the breakdown isn't one of his strengths either.  If he isn't smashing it out of the park with his carrying, then he seems to be a luxury selection.

Lawes needs to move into the second row and Hill benched, with Chessum coming in at 6 to give us 3 lineout options.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:44 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:I can't think of many other international no8's who don't jump.  Speed to the breakdown isn't one of his strengths either.  If he isn't smashing it out of the park with his carrying, then he seems to be a luxury selection.

Lawes needs to move into the second row and Hill benched, with Chessum coming in at 6 to give us 3 lineout options.

The more I think about it, the more I think that England felt the loss of Dombrandt in that game. Billy is playing at his best level in years, but there is a lot he doesn't do. Dombrandt gives away a little in power, but he's a credible tail jumper (and very good at claiming overthrows from both sides) and these days does a ton of work at the breakdown (in the 6N he was on a par at the top of the breakdown stats with Aldritt despite accumulating fewer minutes).
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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:47 pm

Is this where George Martin will soon take over at 6....? Does the lot.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:48 pm

We could just go back to the days of Jack Rowell...

For
6 Tim Robder
7 Ben Clarke
8 Dean Richards

We can have

6 George Martin
7 Ted Hill
8 Alex Dombrandt

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Post by propdavid_london Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:50 pm

Is Martin fit? He didn't start for Tigers in the prem final though did he? Came off the bench I thought...or was that a tactical decision to have a better player on the bench for impact?

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Post by GeordieFalcon Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:55 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Is Martin fit?  He didn't start for Tigers in the prem final though did he? Came off the bench I thought...or was that a tactical decision to have a better player on the bench for impact?  

Dont think hes fit. Been injured alot this season. Just looking at options.

Still think Jack Willis has a big part to play to be honest. I just cower behind the couch everytime he goes near a flippin ruck!

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 04 Jul 2022, 1:55 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Would be odd to drop our best fly half.
Furbank? He hasn't played. Run



But he will....

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 04 Jul 2022, 2:44 pm

Today's Guardian wrote:Tom Curry ruled out of England tour of Australia with concussion
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jul/04/tom-curry-ruled-out-of-england-rugby-union-tour-of-australia-with-concussion

Not good to have the concussion, but pleasantly surprised the welfare of the player is being looked after. The backup options will be fine.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 04 Jul 2022, 3:20 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Today's Guardian wrote:Tom Curry ruled out of England tour of Australia with concussion
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jul/04/tom-curry-ruled-out-of-england-rugby-union-tour-of-australia-with-concussion

Not good to have the concussion, but pleasantly surprised the welfare of the player is being looked after.  The backup options will be fine.
Handling of Sexton seems to be a bit more opaque.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon 04 Jul 2022, 4:50 pm

Lawes is currently circa 17.5 stone, with Itoje not being a heavyweight, do we think that he is what we need at present. My opinion is no, too light and probably out of practice to play at this level although he did do well for 78 minutes against Ireland.
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Post by lostinwales Mon 04 Jul 2022, 5:58 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:I can't think of many other international no8's who don't jump.  Speed to the breakdown isn't one of his strengths either.  If he isn't smashing it out of the park with his carrying, then he seems to be a luxury selection.

Lawes needs to move into the second row and Hill benched, with Chessum coming in at 6 to give us 3 lineout options.

I do think we need to move on from Billy, but he does do a lot of work for a big guy. The last games he played before Dombrandt (and Simmonds) took over he wasn't great in attack but did do a ton in defense. He's never going to run a back down but he will stop the big runners on the gain line all day long.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 04 Jul 2022, 6:11 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Today's Guardian wrote:Tom Curry ruled out of England tour of Australia with concussion
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jul/04/tom-curry-ruled-out-of-england-rugby-union-tour-of-australia-with-concussion

Not good to have the concussion, but pleasantly surprised the welfare of the player is being looked after.  The backup options will be fine.
Handling of Sexton seems to be a bit more opaque.
Don't.....get.....me.....started.
But you are 100% right.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 04 Jul 2022, 6:18 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Lawes is currently circa 17.5 stone, with Itoje not being a heavyweight, do we think that he is what we need at present. My opinion is no, too light and probably out of practice to play at this level although he did do well for 78 minutes against Ireland.
Not sure if you are talking about Itoje or Lawes that perhaps should sit.  Itoje had a bad game the other day - maybe his worst for England.  Lawes was one of the few 'brighter' spots.  Itoje's normal performance standard is so high I think we can plan on an improvement.  That said, here is the key point:  If he doesn't improve, that is all on EJ.  He must see it in training and either Itoje is worn out, needs time off (not a negative indictment, just a reality of pro sport), and should not play, or he is fine and had a bad day at the office.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 04 Jul 2022, 7:25 pm

https://twitter.com/ek_rugby/status/1543867213332918273?t=XowdNhS0b_tHVgTJ6tcGug&s=19

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 04 Jul 2022, 7:35 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Is Martin fit?  He didn't start for Tigers in the prem final though did he? Came off the bench I thought...or was that a tactical decision to have a better player on the bench for impact?  

He's fit. Recovered from injury towards the end of the season and had a few good games off the bench. Made a really telling impact off the bench Vs Leinster. He likes a big hit and was thrown on with the remit of stopping Doris and Conan getting go forward, did his job very well.

He jumps well at the line out and has a big engine. He was told to go away and work on his carrying before he'd get another call up and whilst that is improving its probably not quite strong enough for inclusion whilst he doesn't offer the versatility of playing lock. He's been spotted up at Loughborough University doing sprint training so we might see a more explosive George Martin which would be good. Post RWC he could become a very handy option.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 04 Jul 2022, 7:43 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Sharkey06 wrote:I can't think of many other international no8's who don't jump.  Speed to the breakdown isn't one of his strengths either.  If he isn't smashing it out of the park with his carrying, then he seems to be a luxury selection.

Lawes needs to move into the second row and Hill benched, with Chessum coming in at 6 to give us 3 lineout options.

The more I think about it, the more I think that England felt the loss of Dombrandt in that game. Billy is playing at his best level in years, but there is a lot he doesn't do. Dombrandt gives away a little in power, but he's a credible tail jumper (and very good at claiming overthrows from both sides) and these days does a ton of work at the breakdown (in the 6N he was on a par at the top of the breakdown stats with Aldritt despite accumulating fewer minutes).

Dombrandt doesn't make anywhere close to the number of hard carrying yards Billy does though. It's why Eddie has always been a fan. Vunipola runs through brick walls for the team, when not chronically out of form is low on error count and still had the footwork to carry further out.

Dombrandt doesn't make those hard yard carries, hasn't shown he can for England and hasn't managed to secure the shirt. As bench impact he may have been useful but with Curry going off it was for the best Ludlam was there. I don't see BillyV currently as an issue. Not one that would be solved by Dombrandt anyway.

Re Chessum at 6 and Lawes into the row, I'd prefer that the other way round Chessum is becoming a very good lock but is only a decent blindside. He plays pretty much the same game in the loose either way it just becomes much more impressive when he does the tight lock work and then still gets round the field. More likely Ollie will be bench impact again though.

If the issue is the 2 and a half lock policy Eddie has adopted then we'll have to mend that on the fly because I'd be surprised if he ditched it now. He's still trying for the power game we seem to have lost the knack for. In theory our pack should be able to bully their way through but ruck discipline needs to be improved as a matter of urgency.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon 04 Jul 2022, 8:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:https://twitter.com/ek_rugby/status/1543867213332918273?t=XowdNhS0b_tHVgTJ6tcGug&s=19
This was very good.

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Post by Yoda Mon 04 Jul 2022, 10:16 pm

I honestly don't think our pack is the problem. They are producing quite alot of quick ball but the midfield balance is just not good. Too little penetration in their play and oppos just easily read the pull back moves. To my mind there is a disconnect and backs seem scared to attack direct. Could be completely wrong but something ain't right.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 04 Jul 2022, 10:43 pm

Yoda wrote:I honestly don't think our pack is the problem. They are producing quite alot of quick ball but the midfield balance is just not good. Too little penetration in their play and oppos just easily read the pull back moves. To my mind there is a disconnect and backs seem scared to attack direct. Could be completely wrong but something ain't right.

The midfield is very similar to the midfield when England went on their big undefeated run. Smith/Farrell/Marchant compares pretty well with Ford/Farrell/Joseph. We have a more physical option but with a similar handling and kicking skillset at 15 to offset nicely. As already mentioned the wing combination isn't really settled but that midfield isn't particularly unbalanced especially not when you compare it to Ford/Farrell/Slade, poor George playing a dodgy achillies and being given a midfield with no running threat and a back three that had no interest in playing inside the 15 line.

I think the team we deployed at the weekend was easily good enough to win. Sort the discipline and stop the moronic penalties and that'll go a large way to fixing a lot of the problems. Tweak the tactics to allow some extra clear out muscle so we resource the breakdown and stop the Aussie antics (hopefully have a ref that pings in the side). Smith plays at his normal level and then we're talking another win on Aussie soil. None of those things really require a change in personnel necessarily.

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Post by yappysnap Tue 05 Jul 2022, 2:44 am

Interesting stats for Hill from the weekend: 5 tackles made, 1 missed. 8m run from 3 runs.

Obviously he's there for other work but still, that's so poor for a team that was a man up for 40 mins.

His previous 4 games give a total of 28 tackles, 3 missed. 2 turnovers won, 3 turnovers conceded and 33m's gained ball in hand.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 05 Jul 2022, 5:34 am

yappysnap wrote:Interesting stats for Hill from the weekend: 5 tackles made, 1 missed. 8m run from 3 runs.

Obviously he's there for other work but still, that's so poor for a team that was a man up for 40 mins.

His previous 4 games give a total of 28 tackles, 3 missed. 2 turnovers won, 3 turnovers conceded and 33m's gained ball in hand.
Hill is basically there to do a lot of the donkey work. Hitting rucks, making his tackles, driving and defending mauls, and so on. Up until recently, many people thought him and his mullet was a weak link, but had raised his game much of this past season. The hair pull should get him a one way pass back home.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:13 am

And the 2 handed push to the face. He was clearly wound up by something.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:18 am

Sky reporting May is out of the second test.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:30 am

Bit of a blow that. Might just nudge Jones to start Arundell though. Just a question of whether Cokanasiga or Nowell (my choice) is dropped.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:42 am

Rather start Freeman, and keep Arundle on the bench.

Those stats form Hill arent really very impressive. Im a big fan of his at club level and whilst he did seem to start "getting it" at this level clearly he wasnt at the races last weekend.

They all need a big kick up the aris ...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:45 am

Why not start Arundell?

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:52 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Bit of a blow that. Might just nudge Jones to start Arundell though. Just a question of whether Cokanasiga or Nowell (my choice) is dropped.

Or both.

I still like the thought of Arundell, Freeman and Steward as a back three. Freeman (16st) is not that much smaller than Cokanasiga and has a much more rounded game. He seems to know when to come around looking for work rather than doing it as a planned move, as a result it is much more of a surprise to the opposition. Arundell is still stick green, it would be useful to have someone like Freeman who is a true 14/15 on the field to help out at the back if Arundell is caught out.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:59 am

Wouldn't be totally against Freeman coming straight in, had a blistering finish to the club season but was disappointing in the Baa Baas which is why I'd give Cokanasiga another go.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jul 2022, 8:59 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Why not start Arundell?

Purely age and experience. Freeman is a bit further down the line and been on fire this season. Give him the shot and let Arundle just have some fun off the bench again.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 9:03 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Bit of a blow that. Might just nudge Jones to start Arundell though. Just a question of whether Cokanasiga or Nowell (my choice) is dropped.

Or both.

I still like the thought of Arundell, Freeman and Steward as a back three.  Freeman (16st) is not that much smaller than Cokanasiga and has a much more rounded game. He seems to know when to come around looking for work rather than doing it as a planned move, as a result it is much more of a surprise to the opposition. Arundell is still stick green, it would be useful to have someone like Freeman who is a true 14/15 on the field to help out at the back if Arundell is caught out.

I'm very much onboard with Freeman and Steward combining in a back three for England. Said it before the summer and I'll say it again, just gives us great options with and without the ball.

In defence of Nowell 46m from 8 carries, 1 clean break and 5 defenders beaten. Only Arundell has better attacking stats and Steward is the only starter close to Nowell's efforts. In defence, 11 tackles and none missed puts him way up there with our best defenders, only Lawes made more tackles and he missed one.

https://www.espn.com/rugby/playerstats?gameId=595431&league=289234

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 9:04 am

If Freeman had had a better game vs Baa Baas or been on the bench last week I'd probably feel the same. Just think that whenever Arundell gets a chance he's taking it. I get that he's inexperienced but reward that bench appearance last week for me. Most metres of any England player.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 9:05 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Wouldn't be totally against Freeman coming straight in, had a blistering finish to the club season but was disappointing in the Baa Baas which is why I'd give Cokanasiga another go.

Interesting, I had Freeman down as one of our better performers Vs the Baabaas. Thought he dealt with the Baabaas kicking game well, had a few nice runs in attack. Solid debut without errors. In a misfiring team he did well.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 9:06 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Wouldn't be totally against Freeman coming straight in, had a blistering finish to the club season but was disappointing in the Baa Baas which is why I'd give Cokanasiga another go.

Interesting, I had Freeman down as one of our better performers Vs the Baabaas. Thought he dealt with the Baabaas kicking game well, had a few nice runs in attack. Solid debut without errors. In a misfiring team he did well.

It was the decision making in attack which let him down for me.

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Post by BamBam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 9:48 am

Maybe we can have Regan Grace in as a wing option soon, I’m sure he’d want to play for a top level country in union after already having been part of the also ran experience in league

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 10:07 am

Thought he qualified for us from residency and as he's signing for Racing he wouldn't be eligible?

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Post by sensisball Tue 05 Jul 2022, 10:17 am

Will be interesting to see how he does at Racing. Big shoes to fill, those of Teddy Thomas.
Sounds like he has been a try scoring machine in English league. I don't know if that means the same as it did 25 years ago when Robinson was tearing it up for Wigan.
Guess we will find out in August. I see Racing have also signed Cameron Wokie. So no lack of pace in their squad!

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Post by BamBam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 11:06 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Thought he qualified for us from residency and as he's signing for Racing he wouldn't be eligible?

Similar to Arundell / Heyes then Wink

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 11:21 am

BamBam wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Thought he qualified for us from residency and as he's signing for Racing he wouldn't be eligible?

Similar to Arundell / Heyes then Wink

Not really. Heyes and Arundell could have been called up by other nations before accepting their England call ups. There was nothing within those Union rules stopping them selecting the player based on where they played. We'll skip over the part that Heyes dad who is his sole Wales connection turned down Wales to opt for England (was born in Wales as that's where Heyes grandfather had a football contract at the time).

Grace could become available to Eddie again. His contract with Racing is for one season. As long as he signs with a Prem side for the season after he could go to the world cup with England or play in the 6N if the deal is announced early enough.

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Post by BamBam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 11:24 am

Be gone with your facts Sam

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 12:02 pm

I don't think Grace has any family ties though, sorry if that wasn't clear.

Ah scrub that, his dad is from Birmingham.


Last edited by No 7&1/2 on Tue 05 Jul 2022, 12:56 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jul 2022, 12:22 pm

Bar Curry (probably for Ludlum) is everyone expecting the same team?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 05 Jul 2022, 12:28 pm

Nope. Can't see Arundell not making it, nor can I see Hill in there.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 05 Jul 2022, 12:33 pm

Charlie Morgan looks at the Lawes conundrum.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2022/07/05/time-england-return-courtney-lawes-second-row/

All being well, Courtney Lawes will become a centurion this Saturday at Suncorp Stadium by winning a 95th England cap to go with his five Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

His pedigree is unquestioned and there is more for him to achieve. But it is a curiosity of the 33-year-old’s fantastic career that his best position has remained a matter of debate.

Although Lawes has been in fine form as a flanker, England are tottering on the verge of what would be his fourth World Cup and there have been calls for Eddie Jones to invigorate the pack by returning his skipper to lock.

As ever, there is a trade-off to consider. Where does Lawes have to be for England to function at their best?
Why Lawes is in the back row: Springbok scars and set-piece focus

Many England supporters are concerned that a stirring semi-final victory over New Zealand in 2019 will be the best it gets for England under Jones.

Others are convinced that is the case, and have been for some time – not least because of what happened the following weekend. Jones retained a second-row partnership of Maro Itoje and Lawes and South Africa bulldozed to glory with a monstrous scrummaging effort.

Dan Cole, an early replacement for Kyle Sinckler at tighthead prop, has been cast as the fall-guy in this piece. It is easily forgotten that Lawes was hooked at half-time. Jones brought on George Kruis in an admission that he needed extra ballast.

Lawes has not started an international at lock since. Indeed, exploring the pattern of his Test starts is fascinating. He made nine of them between 2010 and 2011, exclusively as a lock.

Then, in 2013 at Twickenham, he endured a difficult day in the No 6 jersey. James Haskell replaced him after just 50 minutes as England battled back from a Wesley Fofana wonder try to beat France.

Lawes did not start at flanker again in a Test match until 2018. Between then and the 2019 World Cup final, he mixed and matched before second-row duty, at least from the outset of games, stopped after the decider.

We have to think about the turnover of Jones’ staff here. Matt Proudfoot, previously South Africa’s scrum guru, came on board with England. At the end of the 2020 Six Nations, Steve Borthwick took his set-piece nous to Leicester Tigers.

Borthwick developed Tom Curry as a line-out forward while devising a strategy that leant on two locks plus his tearaway blindside flanker as jumpers. That underpinned England’s surge to the 2019 final because Curry and Sam Underhill were phenomenal in tandem. Proudfoot might have been keen for additional muscle.

Lawes did have to scrummage at lock for a decent stretch of the recent Six Nations encounter against Ireland at Twickenham due to Charlie Ewels’ red card. That did not seem to hold England back. The hosts were dominant, and Itoje ran the line-out neatly as well.

Afterwards, Lawes was asked about returning to the second row. Jones found this hilarious. “Hates it,” laughed England’s head coach. “It’s tough work in the row, I’m not gonna lie,” admitted Lawes.



Jones has conceded that a lack of scrummaging heft is a concern, with the role of blindside flanker freeing up Lawes for more carrying. At the weekend against the Wallabies, Jonny Hill’s yellow card forced Lawes into the second row for three scrums – two on Australia’s put-in and one on England’s.

On both occasions, Itoje scrummaged on the tighthead side with Lawes on the loosehead. While Hill was on the pitch, he stayed on the tighthead side with Itoje backing up the loosehead. Ollie Chessum’s introduction moved Itoje back to tighthead as the young Leicester Tiger occupied the loosehead side. Lawes remained at flanker.

The indication here is that Hill is regarded as England’s strongest scrummaging lock, with Itoje, Chessum and Lawes following in that order.

One can deduce Lawes will not scrummage at lock unless he has to. Australia will pose more of a threat in that area if Taniela Tupou, their hulking tightead prop, is fit for Brisbane.

Assembling three locks – or two and a hybrid like Lawes – also provides deception and variety to the line-out. The line-out platform is extremely important to England and having three jumpers offers different options.

It should also be highlighted that Hill nabbed an Australia throw and was a go-to target himself. He forced a jackal turnover and managed a couple of decent carries.

Despite two unsavoury exchanges with Darcy Swain, the Sale-bound lock was decent in what was his first cap since last autumn. Weighing up a positional change for Lawes is essentially asking whether he adds more value than Hill.

Of course, Jones is in the midst of a tactical revamp. While it is restrictive to pigeon-hole Lawes as a defensive enforcer, a kick-pressure strategy suits deploying two locks with a rangy back-rower.

With a greater focus on keeping the ball in hand, might Jones turn back to the future once more?

The case to move Lawes - and the combinations that could work

Surrendering six attacking rucks, which England did on Saturday, is always likely to damage a team’s prospects.

Breakdown woes tend to have multiple causes, but Lawes has started at blindside flanker for a number of games in which England have been bettered at the breakdowns.

Six Nations losses to Scotland and France in 2018 spring to mind, as does a narrow win over South Africa at Twickenham in 2021 and their recent defeat in Paris. Then again, Curry and Underhill were in tandem with Billy Vunipola for the Autumn Nations Cup final against France in 2020.

Ben Earl came on for Underhill early in the second half and although the hosts eked out a victory, they lost eight of their 100 rucks in the match.

Especially while England wrestle with new attacking systems, opponents will target England at the breakdown whether or not Lawes is at No 6.

According to Opta data there is not a marked difference in England’s ruck success in matches when Lawes starts at blindside flanker compared to matches when he does not since 2016.

However, now that they are clearly attempting to hold on to the ball for longer periods, more mobility might help England.

Wearing No 4 or 5 would not preclude Lawes from a prominent role in attack. He could still play the tip-on passes that have become his trademark.

Industrious, tenacious tackling would be expected as well and two flankers either side of Billy Vunipola could give England enough defensive dynamism to stop the Wallabies from generating momentum as they did so effectively in the first Test.

Another function of the Curry-Underhill double-team was how it protected the link between George Ford and Owen Farrell in defence. Marcus Smith and Farrell represent a similarly vulnerable avenue.

In the absence of Curry, who suffered a tour-ending concussion in Perth, there will have to be a reshuffle anyway. Lewis Ludlam, Underhill and Jack Willis are three more back-rowers in the squad.

None of these men have been prolific line-out jumpers in the Premiership this season. Underhill has not taken one for Bath at all. Ludlam is usually a fourth option for Northampton because Lawes is usually joined by two locks – he last started a Premiership fixture for Saints in the second row in 2019.

Brad Shields is a back-row line-out jumper for Wasps and Willis might have been used less regularly on his return from a serious knee injury.

Nick Isiekwe is also on the trip but Jones has given two hints that Lawes could return to lock, where he has a better win rate as a starter for England [73% vs 61%]



First, Jones teamed up Curry and Underhill for the Barbarians match and kept Lawes on the bench even when Alex Dombrandt withdrew and Callum Chick came in. Then the England head coach spoke about Australia’s tendency to keep kicks in-field to reduce the number of line-outs.

Presuming that Itoje would keep his place if Lawes started at lock and Billy Vunipola would be retained, there is a case for picking Ludlam at blindside flanker, where he excelled against Scotland, and Willis at openside.

That would maintain some Northampton cohesion and introduce an elite jackalling threat with Andrew Brace, known to favour aggressive breakdown defence, due to referee the second Test.

Ludlam and Willis are both line-out jumpers and useful attackers. Underhill, though, is a proven Test performer. Blasting breakdowns has to be a priority for England.

As ever, there are possibilities available to Jones but this selection feels critical because the stakes are so high.







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Post by GeordieFalcon Tue 05 Jul 2022, 2:28 pm

Remember when he was just coming through...many thought the England second row would be Lawes and Attwood for years.

Never materialized.


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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jul 2022, 5:13 pm

Happens in all sports. Some players just don't quite make it to where we think they will for many reasons, sadly.

Zac Guildford looked like he'd have a career more similar to Issy Dagg at one time. Ended up selling his RWC winners medal to fuel a gambling addiction.

Twelvetree's looked made to be an international 12. Just never happened.

Matt Tait's groin injuries.

Tom Rees.

Even someone like Matt Symons looked an absolute gun international lock in the making when a leading player in a Chiefs side playing some of the best club rugby I've seen.

Probably the makings of a 606v2 adaption to, "life is what happens to us while we are making other plans", in that. "Rugby's what happens when 606ers are busy thinking their latest academy graduate will be Richie McCaw".

That said this Tigers fan just happens to reckon Emeka Ilione looks very special...  Laugh

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Post by king_carlos Tue 05 Jul 2022, 5:18 pm

I just don't think Lawes body could hold up to playing lock consistently anymore. There are so many miles on the clock there for such a physical player. His ability to return from injury and almost immediately find top form mask it a bit but he's taken a lot of knocks.

If England were to go with a 6-2 he could be an almost perfect candidate for the 20 shirt. We just don't have the locks for it yet though.

1.Genge 2.George 3.Sinckler 4.Itoje 5.??? 6.Underhill 7.Curry 8.Dombrandt

16.LCD 17.Marler 18.Heyes 19.Chessum 20.Lawes 21.Willis

Something like that could be fantastic in theory if all of our locks partnering Itoje didn't look like sentient question marks.

I really wish George Kruis hadn't retired. It just made perfect sense to my day dreaming mind that he'd reunite with Borthwick at Tigers for a season and play in the RWC.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 05 Jul 2022, 5:44 pm

king_carlos wrote:
Probably the makings of a 606v2 adaption to, "life is what happens to us while we are making other plans", in that. "Rugby's what happens when 606ers are busy thinking their latest academy graduate will be Richie McCaw".

That said this Tigers fan just happens to reckon Emeka Ilione looks very special...  Laugh
My latest academy grad is offside?

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Tue 05 Jul 2022, 5:52 pm

I do not know what Jones has against Dave Ribbans, I would take him over any of the touring locks bar Itoje. 19 stone of grunt with all the other skills needed for a top class lock.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 05 Jul 2022, 6:09 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:I do not know what Jones has against Dave Ribbans, I would take him over any of the touring locks bar Itoje. 19 stone of grunt with all the other skills needed for a top class lock.

Wasn't there some rumours he'd been managing a back issue towards the end of the season with Saints? Might be trying to get that sorted during the summer.

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