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England post 2022 6Ns, Aus tour and beyond

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:37 am

First topic message reminder :

Hate to say it and I don't wish him injured but I'm glad Ewels not available!
If you're disappointed with Malins and Daly being selected, imagine how most of us feel about Youngs being there.
In fairness, Malins and Daly been superb this season but please give Radwan and Arundell a run.

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Post by TJ Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:49 pm

Geordie wrote:Honest question...Itoje and Curry...two BIG players. Look shadows of themselves...why?

Dunno whats up with Itoje but IMO Curry is overrated. Itoje is true world class normally

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Post by Geordie Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:51 pm

TJ wrote:
Geordie wrote:Honest question...Itoje and Curry...two BIG players. Look shadows of themselves...why?

Dunno whats up with Itoje but IMO Curry is overrated.  Itoje is true world class normally

Its more frustrating when Ben Earl is in frightening form at 7 for Saracens

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Post by Yoda Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:51 pm

Did anyone else think Billy v looked knackered after 30mins? What has happened to manu too, usually he hits one good tackle. Farrell looked crocked (pundits surprised he was declared fit to play), no idea what they are doing tactics wise but difficult if you can't scrummage or get any front foot ball. We are going to get mullered in the six nations. Fresh coaching team please.

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Post by mountain man Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:56 pm

Curry all autumn shadow of self. Doesn't deserve spot.
As I've repeatedly said where is Ben Earl
Hill, Mako, Billy, Manu, May, Nowell all need to go. Either past it or never had it.

However, scrum smashed so much not sure there any players available to compete with SA. Is there?

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Post by Mr Fishpaste Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:05 pm

Geordie wrote:Honest question...Itoje and Curry...two BIG players. Look shadows of themselves...why?

Answer: Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:21 pm

Mr Fishpaste wrote:
Geordie wrote:Honest question...Itoje and Curry...two BIG players. Look shadows of themselves...why?

Answer: Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi...

Lol.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:24 pm

The RFU really need to look at Jones position now. The promise of tomorrow that they have reinforced over the last 8 years, frankly before is silly. The only thing that matters is winning the next set of games.  With England you should be able to win the next and develop along the way. The fact there seems to be so much stagnation and its boring as hell is abysmal.

Jones gone as of tomorrow and Robertson in please.

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Post by Geordie Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:51 pm

I just don't get Jones selections.

Jack Willis...class act, barely played.
Coles brought in from nowhere
Tizzard not even a minute
Ribbans ignored for how long then suddenly in

Mako...brought back? Why? We know he can't scrummage..Why not give Rodd the valuable gametime.




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Post by Geordie Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:51 pm

Are we missing Sam Underhills power more than we think?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:58 pm

Geordie wrote:Are we missing Sam Underhills power more than we think?

We're missing playing 2 flankers. Could be any combo of them for me.

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Post by Collapse2005 Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:59 pm

Geordie wrote:Are we missing Sam Underhills power more than we think?

No, the players are fine the game plan and coaching is all over the place.

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Post by Yoda Sat Nov 26, 2022 9:06 pm

Bigger problems than just changing players tbh. Yes we could bring in on form players but they will be operating in a stymied environment. I honestly believe that many of the England were so bored tonight that they couldn't get into the game. When your kicking game is inaccurate and you're chasing a lost cause I suspect most people would switch off. We have zero creativity with Manu at 13 and once again had no plan B. We were lucky to lose by 14 as SA took their foot off the gas.

I suspect the RFU will start to listen to fans too late when we vote with our feet and twickers starts to look empty as well as sound empty. The six nations is going to be a hard slog people so prepare yourselves.

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Post by majesticimperialman Sat Nov 26, 2022 9:15 pm

A;though England was for most of the game was outplayed by SA. i do think their needs to be a good look at some of the players in the squad and ask will they be in the squad for the RWC? Id the answer is NO. then t hey should be changes before the Six Nations.

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Post by TJ Sat Nov 26, 2022 9:42 pm

Interesting thing from the Stats today. Smith touched the ball 7 times. Farrell 17. that just sounds weird to me. Your ten should be running the game and getting on the ball

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Post by mountain man Sat Nov 26, 2022 9:56 pm

The biggest problem now is Jones. He's had this group of players for long enough and basically Eng going backwards, literally and figuratively. We know this current squad with one or two others like Lawes will be his 6N and RWC players and frankly quite a few just not good enough at highest level.
Couple that with tactics and playing out of position and Eng chance of winning 6N remote at best and winning RWC even less.
Does anyone really think today's pack can compete let alone beat SA Ireland France?
Then we get to backs.

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Post by Barney McGrew did it Sat Nov 26, 2022 10:30 pm

England were outplayed across the park, but tbh, if SA are up for it, there is no way England can beat that pack. It didn’t help that the error count was so high.

As for Eddie’s secret plan to take the RWC23 by storm – firstly I don’t think you can rely on the oppo always going down to 14 men, and even if they do, if they’re SA, they have more than enough muscle to destroy England anyway.

I do appreciate the comedy value of selecting mud-in-your-eye Mako as 1st choice prop. And, in the 1st half, Steward and Freeman conspiring to make Daly look like a safe pair of hands. Even OF made hard work of kicking at the posts. And who has replaced Curry with an ineffectual doppelganger - when he was binned it didn't seem to make any difference?

One tip I might have for team is if the oppo scrum is giving you a bit of a seeing to, try not repeatedly dropping the high kick, knocking on the pass, forward passes, etc.
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Post by doctor_grey Sat Nov 26, 2022 10:53 pm

TJ wrote:Interesting thing from the Stats today.  Smith touched the ball 7 times. Farrell 17.  that just sounds weird to me.  Your ten should be running the game and getting on the ball
That is truly a weird stat. That speaks volumes. Loudly.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat Nov 26, 2022 11:15 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
TJ wrote:Interesting thing from the Stats today.  Smith touched the ball 7 times. Farrell 17.  that just sounds weird to me.  Your ten should be running the game and getting on the ball
That is truly a weird stat.  That speaks volumes.  Loudly.    

Not really, Smith went off injured on the hour having tried to run off the knock. Farrell was playing during the throw it around try to escape the 22 phase.

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Post by king_carlos Sat Nov 26, 2022 11:32 pm

Geordie wrote:Mako...brought back? Why? We know he can't scrummage..Why not give Rodd the valuable gametime.
This is a selection I defend given Marler has made himself unavailable. Mako is still our third best prop. He hasn't played 9 successive Lions tests in a row by accident. I'd prefer Marler in the squad but it's not happening at the moment.

If it's set-piece you're worried about then Rodd is IMO a worse scrummager. If both were at Sarries there's no way Rodd would be starting for instance and they have a very good set-piece.

Geordie wrote:Are we missing Sam Underhills power more than we think?
We're missing Underhill at his best for sure. Few are better defensively.

We are missing so many of those players being available or near their best though. May, Watson and Tuilagi. Kruis has been a gigantic loss. Launchbury declined after the injuries at just the wrong time.

Had there been better luck with availability of key players then maybe the new attacking structure could have worked more often but it just isn't working. It is very frustrating to watch.


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Post by Rugby Fan Sun Nov 27, 2022 2:11 am

What makes this defeat so dispiriting, is the way Jones was so shell-shocked by the 2019 World Cup final defeat, he seemed to be setting England up to deal with that kind of threat should we encounter it again. In doing so, we looked like ignoring the burgeoning threats of other top teams. Indeed, Ireland and France leapfrogged us, and we've been unable to cope with Scotland when they get their tails up.

Finally, when we face the Boks targetting the same area, and we are further into our development as a team, England lost in almost exactly the same way we did three years ago, barely firing a shot. Worse still, South Africa, Ireland, France and New Zealand all have scrums which can cause us trouble. When fit, Australia aren't too shabby on that front either.

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Post by Geordie Sun Nov 27, 2022 7:31 am

king_carlos wrote:
Geordie wrote:Mako...brought back? Why? We know he can't scrummage..Why not give Rodd the valuable gametime.
This is a selection I defend given Marler has made himself unavailable. Mako is still our third best prop. He hasn't played 9 successive Lions tests in a row by accident. I'd prefer Marler in the squad but it's not happening at the moment.

If it's set-piece you're worried about then Rodd is IMO a worse scrummager. If both were at Sarries there's no way Rodd would be starting for instance and they have a very good set-piece.

Geordie wrote:Are we missing Sam Underhills power more than we think?
We're missing Underhill at his best for sure. Few are better defensively.

We are missing so many of those players being available or near their best though. May, Watson and Tuilagi. Kruis has been a gigantic loss. Launchbury declined after the injuries at just the wrong time.

Had there been better luck with availability of key players then maybe the new attacking structure could have worked more often but it just isn't working. It is very frustrating to watch.

Martin Johnson was lions captain and won a series in 97 doesn't mean he's rhe best lock now  

Mako is a shadow of the player he was. Which made up for the lack of scrummaging prowesss. He can't back that up anymore...and you can't blame him..at his heights he was,exceptional.

Rodd needs to do some serious work to his scrummaging like Marler  and Genge have done to  that aspect of their game. But Rodd started last year against them and did ok..even got two pens against them being smeaky.
Post WC I genuinely Hope Brantingham comes through fast...

I agree Kruis is just a gap we can't seem to replace.  It's also effecting Itojes performances...as,Hill is proving to be far from Kruis level...
We have a big number of young locks coming through though hopefully one of them can take that tight head lock spot.

Curry looks a shadow of himself for England.  

The new coaching will potentially have some very talented kids to work with throughout the team...and they need to be worked with correctly not driven in to the ground

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Post by mountain man Sun Nov 27, 2022 8:16 am

Sorry but how anyone can defend Mako is lost on me. It was blindingly obvious he's just not up to it anymore. He wasn't 3 years ago and definitely isn't now.
However, saying that scrum was no better after entire front row replaced. Basically I'm not sure Eng have players to match SA there no matter who is picked, whether in current squad or not. It's a problem, Eng also struggled against NZ in scrum so matching SA, Ire, France and NZ there is a problem that needs to be worked on asap as come 6N/RWC Eng will lose otherwise.

Then we get to others. Billy no longer cuts it, neither does Manu. May and Nowell not quick enough. Nowell had a break towards end 2nd half in clear field but cut inside as didn't have pace to go outside.

Farrell was obviously injured, his kicking way off and didn't look right. He's also not a 12. Either he plays 10 and only when 100% fit ot not at all.
JvP was OK after last week but really what could he do with pack been dominated both in scrum and breakdown.
Curry hasn't been same player for over a year for me. Needs a break or something but with likes of Earl so brilliant it's criminal Curry still picked.
Hill. FFS. Not the best lock anyway and his consistency is spot on. Consistently gives away STUPID pens. Get rid.
Coles was out gunned as were rest of forwards. Hard to say whether he stays or not.
Freeman was rabbit in headlights at times, didn't press cause to be kept long term.
Christ, even Steward was dropping balls so we know things were bad!

Jones almost certainly going nowhere until after RWC. In which case he will no doubt still pick same old squad so for me Eng have no chance in 6N or RWC as it is.
Depressing but true I think.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Nov 27, 2022 8:41 am

Same interview again from Jones. His fault. Watershed moment. Building even if it's not obvious. Someone from the RFU please grow some...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:04 am

Just grim at the moment. I normally try to latch onto a positive that we've learned so I think Ribbans could be a good player for us and van Poortvliet is class. And then I'm really struggling. Think I said at the start of this that I wanted to see Willis get time, new winger, Joseph getting time and 2 new scrum half's. And I wanted at least 3 wins. I think I have half a tick.

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Post by Geordie Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:15 am

7.5 Willis is a big one for me...10mins or so all series? Really!!


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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:31 am

19 minutes in 2 appearances.

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Post by Geordie Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:40 am

That really is shocking 7.5 for a player of his ability.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun Nov 27, 2022 10:38 am

I have no understanding of what Jones is thinking. There are a number of players that just do not belong in the squad anymore and others that are just so off form they should not make the matchday 23 never mind the starting 15.

To go:

Hill, other than penalties, what else does he bring, not a great carrier, not that good in the lineout, pedestrian at most things in broken play. Ribbans (Saints bias here) is the nearest thing we have to Kruis, big, aggressive, explosive through the line, great off load, a good lineout operator (except when LCD is throwing in). He and Itoje make an excellent paring.

If Mako is the third best scrummaging LH we have then we are up S**t Street. We have 10 months for someone to get some serious learning in.

Little bruv Billy, doing it for Sarries but certainly not for England, slow, predictable, single facet to his game that is now easily stoppable. - Dombrandt

Youngs, great servant of England but should have been retired a long time ago. - Mitchell

Nowell, see Youngs but not for so long. Injuries have made him mediocre and his lack of height is an invite to keep putting up contestable balls he is unlikely to win - Freeman, Radwan, Arundel.

Manu, see Nowell. Just not the player he was, does not break the tackle anymore, lost pace and he was never a distributor.

Bad game:

Everyone.

Sinkler - absent for most of the game apart from scrums where he was average

George - was he there, apart from the set piece, I can't remember seeing him. 40 minutes of nothingness.

Itoje - some good work, but not close to where he can be.

Curry - has someone swapped them around? No, can't be his brother plays a lot better than that.

Coles - had a does of the JvPs, two early pens seem to shatter his confidence. Not helped by Itoje not calling a single lineout to him from memory.

JvP - a lot better than last week, but box kicks too long. They were not contestable.

May - terrible day for wingers, did they gat passed the ball at a time when there were not three defenders around them

Smith - I don't know when he was injured, but the ball seemed to go to Farrell far more often who just hoofed it upfield, again too long to be contested. Not a good game but that is difficult if you are a 10 who doesn't get passed the ball.

Farrell - why was he playing with a dodgy ankle? Even worse, why was he taking the kicks? I assume he is calling the plays and they mostly went to him, apart from a few crash balls to Manu, I do not remember the ball going wide in space.

Freeman - not a good game, but the only ball he got was either contested by a SA or Steward, I can't remember a pass to him and the kicks were all at least 10m too long for him to contest, so he ends up out of position with the SA backs given a big space to run into. Strange that Nowell got a couple of passes.

Steward - average game for him, dropped a couple, challenged Freeman for a ball he was set up underneath to take comfortably.

Of the replacements, only Slade looked up to it, the English "Bomb Squad" were more of a damp squib. Moving Itoje back out to a position everybody knows he can't play was just madness. Youngs, enough said.

Get rid of Jones now, give a new guy 10 months with the promise that if he can turn it around and we have a reasonable RWC he can have a couple more years to see what he can do.

Oh, bring in the Red Roses forwards coach, he has got to be better than what we have now.

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Post by mountain man Sun Nov 27, 2022 10:47 am

Well-Past-It.

Yep pretty much exactly what I think and said so earlier. No-one came away in credit and several way in debt.

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Post by Collapse2005 Sun Nov 27, 2022 10:51 am

Collapse2005 wrote:RIP Dodie.

Thought there was a forward pass for SAs lovely try. Im sure TASanalytics will do a video on it later. Terrible defense from Smith too.

Surprisingly TASanalytics has done a video which includes all the ref decisions that went against England including a forward pass for this try and Faf knocking it on for Ezebeths try. This account is famously SA biased so its an interesting change. Link below for anyone interested.

https://youtu.be/Ll-ZvwvOhUo

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Nov 27, 2022 10:59 am

Collapse2005 wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:RIP Dodie.

Thought there was a forward pass for SAs lovely try. Im sure TASanalytics will do a video on it later. Terrible defense from Smith too.

Surprisingly TASanalytics has done a video which includes all the ref decisions that went against England including a forward pass for this try and Faf knocking it on for Ezebeths try. This account is famously SA biased so its an interesting change. Link below for anyone interested.

https://youtu.be/Ll-ZvwvOhUo


I'm sure it's not the inevitable video after a win to show its really just fair analysis blah blah blah!

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Post by Collapse2005 Sun Nov 27, 2022 11:01 am

That would be my suspicion too

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Post by mountain man Sun Nov 27, 2022 11:19 am

Regardless, SA much much better so if odd decision went their way so be it.
No excuses, England just weren't anywhere near good enough.

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Post by cb Sun Nov 27, 2022 11:57 am

England were truly awful.  Absolutely no silver linings but we wait to see the 'Master' plan.

Sorry to see many reasonable England players, playing so badly but there also seem several who are beyond their sell-by-date.

Steward was very poor by his own high standards

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Post by hugehandoff Sun Nov 27, 2022 12:55 pm

If we stick with Eddie, which is most likely, then we are doomed. Just fast forward to our RWC exit and then we can look forward to a new era. But if the RFU have an ounce of balls, and common sense, they will make that difficult decision now. I would give it to Robertson. But Gatland or ROG would do well.

Eddie is too much of a bully and the culture and atmosphere within the camp is not conducive to the players playing to anywhere near their capabilities. Plus he was a hooker who thinks he knows best with our back play. He doesn't allow his coaches to lead. Selection is totally crazy. Tactics awful.

With a new head coach some of our players could rediscover top form. I would not count anyone out. But without a change at the top then no chance at all.

Yesterday we really needed Marler and Launchbury and Earls/Willis. Launchbury may not have a club currently but he has successfully stood toe to toe with Etzebeth a few times before. Dombrandt really needs to return as well. Take Hill out and shoot him please.

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Post by mountain man Sun Nov 27, 2022 12:57 pm

Take Hill out and shoot him please.

Somewhere painful so it guarantees a slow demise.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun Nov 27, 2022 1:20 pm

mountain man wrote:
Take Hill out and shoot him please.

Somewhere painful so it guarantees a slow demise.

Now, now, he did try at least, no silly beard or mullet.

Just cut off his big toes. A guy I played rugby and worked with had an accident a very long time ago, an RSJ (they actually were RSJs then, not UBs) freakily rolled off the stack and landed on the tip of one foot, unfortunately he was wearing steel toe capped boots, which collapsed and sheared off his toes on the line of the toe cap. It took him an age to learn to walk properly again never mind run or play rugby.

Hill is not an international quality lock, but doesn't quite deserve to be gut shot, or shot at all really. A little toe surgery would cure all his problems.
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Post by Collapse2005 Sun Nov 27, 2022 1:56 pm

You cant blame Jonny Hill. I am 100% convinced Jones sends his players out to actively look for the sort of niggle that Hill gets involved in. It drew a red card for Swain on the Aus tour. Under Jones its been a theme for this side to wind up their opponent rather than concentrate on an actual robust gameplan. Whether its itoje clapping opponent errors or Genge celebrating penalties in his opponents face like he has won the world cup.

England 100% has the players, a new coach, less complicated back moves, better coaching, less focus on niggle, better atmosphere and they will very quickly look like potential world cup finalists again.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Nov 27, 2022 2:06 pm

Looking around the journalists and commentators and I don't think I've seen any backing Jones. Most now openly calling for his head. The RFU doing the normal review over the next 2 weeks.

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Post by mountain man Sun Nov 27, 2022 2:32 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:You cant blame Jonny Hill. I am 100% convinced Jones sends his players out to actively look for the sort of niggle that Hill gets involved in. It drew a red card for Swain on the Aus tour. Under Jones its been a theme for this side to wind up their opponent rather than concentrate on an actual robust gameplan. Whether its itoje clapping opponent errors or Genge celebrating penalties in his opponents face like he has won the world cup.

England 100% has the players, a new coach, less complicated back moves, better coaching, less focus on niggle, better atmosphere and they will very quickly look like potential world cup finalists again.

Sorry but no. How can a penalty to England then being reversed to one to SA and they subsequently scoring a try be defended? Hill was stupid and has a history of it. This isn't niggle to wind up opponent, it's utterly effing stupid. Nothing less.

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Post by Collapse2005 Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:03 pm

Well for sure you can blame it on Hill if you want and to be fair both sides were on a warning but that sort of niggle has been a theme all throughout Jones' tenure, at times its almost as if its a game plan too. The buck stops with the coach and pound to a penny he encourages that sort of stuff.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:16 pm

Yup you never had rugby players like that before Jones. I never saw Hartely, Brown, Armitage etc etc!

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Post by Yoda Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:19 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Well for sure you can blame it on Hill if you want and to be fair both sides were on a warning but that sort of niggle has been a theme all throughout Jones' tenure, at times its almost as if its a game plan too. The buck stops with the coach and pound to a penny he encourages that sort of stuff.

I agree, its clearly encouraged otherwise any sensible coach would drop the player and bollock him for giving away stupid penalties. A new ethos has to be instilled with consequences for anyone who behaves like a d**k. Personally team mates should be telling those who do irritating thinks like celebrating knock ons etc to shut up and concentrate on playing. A coach has a role to play in setting the standard and s**t housing in media and the on field antics of the players is not welcome.

Eddie should follow the example of Gordon Strachan from football game who used to sub any player who got booked for dissent or sh*it housing opponents and then fine them for unprofessional contract. Similar sort of management would focus the minds and set the standard.

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Post by TJ Sun Nov 27, 2022 3:24 pm

mountain man wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:You cant blame Jonny Hill. I am 100% convinced Jones sends his players out to actively look for the sort of niggle that Hill gets involved in. It drew a red card for Swain on the Aus tour. Under Jones its been a theme for this side to wind up their opponent rather than concentrate on an actual robust gameplan. Whether its itoje clapping opponent errors or Genge celebrating penalties in his opponents face like he has won the world cup.

England 100% has the players, a new coach, less complicated back moves, better coaching, less focus on niggle, better atmosphere and they will very quickly look like potential world cup finalists again.

Sorry but no. How can a penalty to England then being reversed to one to SA and they subsequently scoring a try be defended? Hill was stupid and has a history of it. This isn't niggle to wind up opponent, it's utterly effing stupid. Nothing less.

IMo Faff is a master at the windup and had wound up Hill to the point the red mist descended.  If you lose your temper you become less effective.

Martin Johnson is a great example of this.  for the first part of his career he used to lose his temper and get involved in niggle far too much.  Once he learned not to do this his overall game improved tremendously

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Post by mountain man Sun Nov 27, 2022 4:25 pm

Well whether he was under orders or not to do what he did when he did it is indefensible. I mean England had already been awarded a penalty!
Whichever way it look at it he was stupid and could easily been carded.

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Post by Geordie Sun Nov 27, 2022 6:37 pm

The problem is Hill is not a top class lock.

Once a few of the kids are firing he will be moved on very quickly...

For example Ill be interested to see what Exeter do with Alfie Bell ..

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Post by Collapse2005 Sun Nov 27, 2022 7:58 pm

mountain man wrote:Well whether he was under orders or not to do what he did when he did it is indefensible. I mean England had already been awarded a penalty!
Whichever way it look at it he was stupid and could easily been carded.

Youre not wrong, incredibly pointless and if I remember correctly it also resulted in a try for SA and a yellow for Curry and effectively the end of the match.

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Post by Geordie Sun Nov 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Not to mention the smirk on Fafs face....

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon Nov 28, 2022 2:27 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Looking around the journalists and commentators and I don't think I've seen any backing Jones. Most now openly calling for his head. The RFU doing the normal review over the next 2 weeks.
You are right that no-one seems to be backing Jones, though a lot of pundits are resigned to the idea it's too late to make a change. The RFU must greatly regret re-appointing Jones, and yet are obliged by the logic of that decision to see it through to the World Cup.

Charlie Morgan in the Telegraph, and Chris Jones on the BBC podcast both captured the mood well. Here's a bit of Morgan:
Biggest indictment on Eddie Jones is England fans do not care about his team any more
Apathy is the most damning indictment of any side in any sport, but it has certainly taken hold of England fans in 2022 – a year that has felt like a purgatorial holding pattern. Not all boos sound the same, and the ones that echoed around Twickenham on Saturday night were audibly weary rather than impassioned.

That should trigger alarm bells and wake-up calls. South Africa overwhelmed their hosts with a performance that hinted at how the champions have retained their traditional strengths while sharpening different tools and blooding new faces. Kurt-Lee Arendse’s try, from a slicing kick-return engineered by Damian Willemse and Willie le Roux, defined the contest as much as the Springboks’ scrum and maul muscle. Having trod water all year, England sank. On a drizzly evening, redeeming features were scant.

It is some achievement to alienate supporters from individuals as wholehearted and charismatic as Ellis Genge, Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward...

...Anyway, the just-you-wait-until-the-World-Cup outlook is a narrative of convenience. There will be a section of fans that regard it as insulting, because the natural implication is that outsiders could not possibly understand. Yes, England must assemble players from a multitude of clubs and of course they will benefit from a two-month training camp next summer. But you do not hear representatives of South Africa or France speaking about the innate advantages of Ireland’s provincial system. Excuses are too easily within England’s reach....

...On the eve of the autumn international window, Jones discussed the danger of peaking too early in World Cup terms. He has an excellent record in the tournament, but the notion that England would not rather be in the shoes of Ireland, France or South Africa – all of whom have sorted a discernible style and will be adding bells and whistles – was unconvincing. “If you are too cloak and dagger, play, and you don't have good results, the players think: ‘What’s going on here?’ And it's hard to get them to believe.

“And if you show too much, you give the opposition too much, so it's this balancing act at the moment.”

Only the players will know whether they still believe. As for the many apathetic supporters, the balancing act is boring them.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2022/11/27/biggest-indictment-eddie-jones-england-fans-do-not-care-team/

Chris Jones has a similar line, pointing out that Engand have lost their opening matches in the Six Nations for three years running, immediately removing hopes of a Grand Slam, and going a long way to ensure we wouldn't challenge for the title either.. It took a lot of the drama out the main Northern hemisphere tournament for Engand supporters, and left us with little else to hope for. The way we won that hurriedly-arranged Autumn Nations Cup in 2020 was deeply underwhelming. Jones effectively admitted it had been a development blind alley, concluding he needed to overhaul the squad after the 2021 Six Nations flop.

It is disappointing, and baffling, the way exciting players end up looking so dull in England colours. Most teams outside the top four ranked sides have one or two players who excite the crowd. Back three players like Nawaqanitawase, Capuozzo and LRZ, half-backs like Finn Russell, or forwards like the old rampaging Hamish Watson.

While Jones hasn't given much of a chance to somone like Radwan, he has fielded talent like Sam Simmonds, Marcus Smith, Alex Dombrandt, Jack van Poortvliet and Max Malins. Ben Earl has thirteen caps, all as a replacement, but it's hard to recall any of those appearances. It's surely true that there's a gulf between club and test match intensity, however, that can't explain why it's always exciting English talent which doesn't transfer to the international stage. It must be the result of Jones wanting players to stick to his script, and dropping them when they can't or don't.

It does look as though Jones is trying to win the World Cup by stealth. Heavily influenced by the way South Africa put in a late run in thr build-up to the last World Cup, he wants to do something similar again. The thing is, we forget that England made a late run at the last tournament too. In 2018, it looked like the wheels had fallen off, because we finished 5th in the Six Nations, and went down 2-1 in the South Africa series, collapsing after promising starts in two Tests.

The Underhill and Curry pairing, which was a key part of our World Cup run, first came together in the warm-up match against Ireland. We'll never know if Jones saw them as his best flankers, or if he just lucked into the balance late in the day. He had tended to favour bigger men like Lawes, Shields, and Wilson before Shields got injured, so there's a strong case to argue fortune was on his side, rather than expert planning. Similarly, Tuilagi had been unavailable to Jones until the 2019 Six Nations (he had a cameo way back in 2016, but soon got injured).

In short, two main weapons of England's 2019 World Cup campaign only came together in the months leading up to the tournament. We were almost as much an unknown package as South Africa, which helped us to be so effective against New Zealand.

Against those two bonuses, Jones had saddled the squad with some key weaknesses. He didn't know, or didn't value knowing, England's best scrummaging pack. Consequently, Kruis was on the bench for the final, when his later inclusion, along with Marler, went a long way to shoring up the scrum, after it was too late to make a difference.

He had also failed to develop scrum half talent. Ben Youngs was out of sorts, and, if Heinz had been on the bench, there's a chance Jones might have hooked him earlier than the 75th minute. Instead, he had Ben Spencer, who had only just arrived in Japan as a late replacement. Spencer had only even been given three caps off the bench, and his last appearance eight months before, was also only for a handful of minutes. Jones had never developed enough faith in him, or anyone else, to come on early as a substitute for a misfiring Youngs.

Arguably, then, through luck or judgement, Jones held his cards close to his chest four years ago. There's no reason to think we'll fare any better doing the same next year. The scrummaging and scrum half issues remain unresolved, while our back three, back row and centre combinations, so far look less effective than 2019.

It's not even obvious that hitting a late run of form is the way to win a World Cup. France in 1999 and 2011, England in 2007, and Australia in 2015 are other examples of teams pulling out unexpected performances, before hitting the buffers in the final. Being a surprise package, through accident or design, has been no guarantee of success.

I'll always have great hopes for England, and will do so again at the next Six Nations. The hopes are built on the knowledge that we have talented players. My fears are that we will not see that talent displayed.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Nov 28, 2022 7:54 am

And there's still the issue with the WC being prioritised. You can be the best team in the world at the WC, have both scrum half's injured after 10 mins or pick up a red card and its done for you. I'm sure there's some sort saying about eggs and baskets.

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