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England Pre 2023 6Ns and Beyond.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 6:16 am

Continued.......

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 6:47 am

tigertattie wrote:

My apologies. I had no idea how ignorant of Maggie’s achievements you are

MBE for services to rugby
74 England caps
World cup winner
Rugby hall of fame inductee
Masters degree in sports and exercise
Member of the panel for 2019 world rugby awards

So her expert option which you insist in putting in quotes to try and cheapen is quite frankly worth far more than many of the options on here. Mine included.

I've obviously touched a nerve....

Thanks for sharing those great achievements that bare absolutely no relevance to the game yesterday. She's never played at a level anywhere near the men's international game....I don't see what "expert opinion" she can bring.

Anyway......we digress.

Better performance, still a lot to work on. The tempo in defence was great at times but some of the one up tackling close to the line was again awful. I imagine Borthwick will take some positives, especially Lawrence who put in a great display.

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Post by eirebilly_01 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:01 am

Disagree with ye there Sgt_Pooly. The women's game may not match the intensity of the men's game but it is played tactically exactly the same. She has played at the highest level, been very successful and has an excellent understanding of the game.

Women can have expert opinions as well...

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:07 am

2 completely different games for me Billy....just not even comparable. It's all opinions though end of the day, you like what you like.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:39 am

H-C didn't get the ball again. Looked good defensively, made a good recovery tackle. Malins made that lively break and pass, again I'd have expected some of our other wingers to actually be hunting down  the try lime themselves there.

I think we need to start Smith against Wales, it was very 1 tone from Farrell in an attacking sense.

Does or can Borthwick pick Willis to start given he's going to now miss a good chunk of training or does it allow Isiekwe in? Probably the best player on the pitch while he was on for me. Lots of tackles, 2 turnovers I think,  actually pretty integral to how well the maul was going.

I think the performance for Lawrence pretty much guarantees a little run if games now. Dont rate Slade going forward but he offered solidity so run with then 2 for the rest of the tournament for me.

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Post by Geordie Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:45 am

i dont think the knives are out for SMith despite me questioning him on the previous thread.

I think we're just getting frustrated. He should have been brought on at half time to give him a run with that midfield...NOT with Farrell at 12 which doesnt work.

And Farrell was pretty meh aswell...so a massively missed opportunity.

We need to see how he goes with a proper midfield...and that probably wont happen now through the rest of the 6n.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:49 am

yappysnap wrote:
I see the knives are out for Smith now.

9 minutes and he doesn't have an exceptional performance and suddenly he looks like he'll be over taken by others (totally untested btw).

We are a fickle lot aren't we.
Yeah, but.
Smith comes in during garbage time and people are knocking him? A player's performance during the last few minutes of a blow out is comparable to a player's performance mid-match? The funny thing is Farrell didn't do anything spectacular or different than most competent out-halves.

It's not that the knives are out for him it's more like he's now played 20 games and people are wondering when it's going to click. Farrell is boring and conservative but he's reliable at what he does and when at 10 his error rate is low. Smith came on got a chance to attack and immediately went to the same boring grubber tactic Farrell had used all game but tried to thread it through a wall of Italian defenders the blocked kick nearly leading to an Italian break.

He's had chances with and without Farrell. He's had chances with different centre combinations, with his club 9, with his club attack coach and club 8. We're still waiting for a statement performance. Last week Vs Scotland was probably his best 80 mins performance for England and that's a pretty sad indictment of his England career to date. He is only 23 though and how many other tier 1 countries are selecting a 23 year old flyhalf? His time might be more post world cup than the one in France, particularly if Ford comes back from injury and shows good form.

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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 8:40 am

For the Wales match I'd keep same 15 except I'd start Arundell in place of OHC.
Lawrence at 12 gives so much more to England and whole shape of backline better.
Malins was good and the disallowed try was really well worked.
Chessum again another very good game, he gets through some work and is quick for a lock. Must be that massive stride length.
Itoje rediscovered his mojo.
Willis was fantastic considering first England start for 2 years.
I'm not biggest fan of Slade for England but he was fine yesterday, not great but good enough.
Farrell better at 10 than 12 for sure but why did he kick so much in opposition 22, OK once or twice but he must have done it 8-10 times. Smith getting on for 10mins didn't help matters and he's not a 13 either. Bench again for Wales but when he gets on put him at 10.

Overall I'm happy with good win but plenty to work on. They went so off boil in 2nd half that if that was against Ireland they'd get hammered.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 8:47 am

What did you feel on Malins defence again? Couple of pens given away too? H-Cs feels a bit like when May started, didn't really get the ball and got some stick.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 13 Feb 2023, 8:48 am

Seems the Smith-Farrell conversation is going down the same route as the Ford-Farrell debate in 2014/15.

Initially, Lancaster played Ford and Farrell together which is how they had set up at England age grade. Farrell also had experience playing at 12 outside Charlie Hodgson for both club and country.

Still, England fans were impatient. A prosiac fly half is fine when you are winning but the 2012 victory over the All Blacks was becoming a distant memory, and we weren't showing a lot of attacking invention. With Cipriani out of favour, George Ford seemed he could be the one to make a difference.

Farrell struggled with a leg injury in the latter half of 2014. He was dropped to the bench for the Autumn Interenational against Australia, and was then ruled out of the whole 2015 Six Nations. This meant Ford had a series of matches when he ran the show at fly half without Farrell next to him. England had a better shape, and it looked like Lancaster was willing to persist with Ford at 10, without trying to pair him with the Saracens man. Which he did, until that World Cup pool game against Wales, when Ford was swapped out for Farrell.

Now, we are seeing a re-run. Only, this time, it's hard to see how Smith will get any games without Farrell in the squad. Then there's the added complication of George Ford's return. If Farrell is always going to be on the pitch, then Borthwick might be tempted just to go with the playmaker flyhalf his captain knows best, especially since Borthwick knows him from Leicester.



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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:03 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:What did you feel on Malins defence again? Couple of pens given away too? H-Cs feels a bit like when May started, didn't really get the ball and got some stick.

Only watched match once but as I recall Malins defence was OK, no glaring errors that stood out unless I missed them. Again, I don't remember he gave away pens but not saying he didn't.
I thought he was overall good and on last two games deserves to start against Wales. OHC frankly doesn't, I'm not anti him but he really hasn't done a lot so far. Maybe not getting enough ball but what he has had I think any wing could do. Maybe harsh but so far he hasn't impressed.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:09 am

Whoever we go for at 10....we just need some continuity in the backline. We're a few games from the WC and things are a little al over the place.

Early days for OHC but I don't think he's done anything to suggest he's going to make the cut, he looks very much lost. I'm still trying to fathom how he' in the squad tbh.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:13 am

What should he be doing to improve his performances though? Watching both matches I'm not sure he's made the wrong decision at any point, not a major one anyway. He's not been on the end of any moves to finish a chance though. The guy on the opposite wing, has made numerous errors though but has a couple of walk ins.

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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:14 am

Absolutely need continuity at 9 10 12 13 for now. Unless injury rules him out Lawrence has to start at 12. Has to be either Farrell or Smith at 10 but can't see Borthwick changing for Wales so needs to be Farrell 10, Smith bench. Slade again at 13.
Swopping wings not so crucial so as I said I'd replace OHC with Arundell and keep Malins.

The overall shape was so much better yesterday, and if Farrell hadn't tried so many grubbers might have scored a few more tries from open play rather than maul.

Regarding Malins v OHC, at least when Malins has had ball he looks like he might create something, beat a player etc. I honestly cannot say OHC does.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:37 am

mountain man wrote:For the Wales match I'd keep same 15 except I'd start Arundell in place of OHC.
Lawrence at 12 gives so much more to England and whole shape of backline better.
Malins was good and the disallowed try was really well worked.
Chessum again another very good game, he gets through some work and is quick for a lock. Must be that massive stride length.
Itoje rediscovered his mojo.
Willis was fantastic considering first England start for 2 years.
I'm not biggest fan of Slade for England but he was fine yesterday, not great but good enough.
Farrell better at 10 than 12 for sure but why did he kick so much in opposition 22, OK once or twice but he must have done it 8-10 times. Smith getting on for 10mins didn't help matters and he's not a 13 either. Bench again for Wales but when he gets on put him at 10.

Overall I'm happy with good win but plenty to work on. They went so off boil in 2nd half that if that was against Ireland they'd get hammered.

Its not just us
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

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Post by Poorfour Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:46 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
It's not that the knives are out for him it's more like he's now played 20 games and people are wondering when it's going to click. Farrell is boring and conservative but he's reliable at what he does and when at 10 his error rate is low. Smith came on got a chance to attack and immediately went to the same boring grubber tactic Farrell had used all game but tried to thread it through a wall of Italian defenders the blocked kick nearly leading to an Italian break.

He's had chances with and without Farrell. He's had chances with different centre combinations, with his club 9, with his club attack coach and club 8. We're still waiting for a statement performance. Last week Vs Scotland was probably his best 80 mins performance for England and that's a pretty sad indictment of his England career to date. He is only 23 though and how many other tier 1 countries are selecting a 23 year old flyhalf? His time might be more post world cup than the one in France, particularly if Ford comes back from injury and shows good form.

I checked the stats.

Smith's record without Farrell - P9 W6 D0 L3
Smith's record with Farrell - P9 W4 D1 L4.

A 66% winning record isn't Earth-shattering, but for a new fly half playing in an unsettled team under tactics that they weren't coping with, it's not bad. And it's certainly better than the 45% win rate when they've played together.

One thing that was hugely frustrating on Sunday was watching England's attack working pretty well with the weak spot being the accuracy of Farrell's kicking in the red zone. Tactically, they weren't bad options but the weighting and accuracy of them was consistently just off enough to make them unlikely to come off. The crossfield kick was in a very similar situation to the one that Malins scored with against Scotland, but the delivery was nowhere near as good.

I had been hoping and expecting that Smith would be given a decent amount of time on Sunday, ideally with Slade and Lawrence (who looked pretty good together). Until he gets that chance it's pretty hard to judge him.
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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 10:56 am

I'm struggling to see how Smith works his way back into this Poorfour. I'm a big fan of his but he's not produced for whatever reason...the other players just don't seem to be on his wavelength. I could see Borthwick moving onto Ford when he's fit and firing again.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 13 Feb 2023, 11:13 am

lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 11:22 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

Yep absolutely. OK try a grubber through 2-3 times but Farrell did it repeatedly and poorly by kicking too long for even quickest to get to it let alone Jamie George. Maybe not wanting to show hand before harder matches to come?

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Post by lostinwales Mon 13 Feb 2023, 11:49 am

mountain man wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

Yep absolutely. OK try a grubber through 2-3 times but Farrell did it repeatedly and poorly by kicking too long for even quickest to get to it let alone Jamie George. Maybe not wanting to show hand before harder matches to come?

Pinpoint kicks through, like Smith's kick for Malins try, are something to really concentrate the minds of the defense coaches. Stupid kicks take all the pressure off.

I know its too easy to slip into an anti Farrell rant, but the tries we scored were either through a (very much improved) pack performance or Mitchell's moment of inspiration. We did get into the Italy 22 more times than we scored, and none of those tries came about because of things Farrell did.

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Post by majesticimperialman Mon 13 Feb 2023, 12:42 pm

England playes well with Farrell at 10 Lawrence at 12 Slade at 13 What is bothering me is if either Slade or awrence gets injures before the Walles game do they resort back to Smith at 10 abd Farrell at 12?

Couls they noth play some one like Marchant in stead on bringing in smith at 10?

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 13 Feb 2023, 12:55 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:England playes well with Farrell at 10 Lawrence at 12 Slade at 13 What is bothering me is if either Slade or awrence gets injures before the Walles game do they resort back to Smith at 10 abd Farrell at 12?

Couls they noth play some one like Marchant in stead on bringing  in smith at 10?

Instead of Slade yes but not instead of Lawrence.
Lawrence power and breaking the line was central - that is not in Farrells, Marchants of Slades locker

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:03 pm

lostinwales wrote:
mountain man wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

Yep absolutely. OK try a grubber through 2-3 times but Farrell did it repeatedly and poorly by kicking too long for even quickest to get to it let alone Jamie George. Maybe not wanting to show hand before harder matches to come?

Pinpoint kicks through, like Smith's kick for Malins try, are something to really concentrate the minds of the defense coaches. Stupid kicks take all the pressure off.

I know its too easy to slip into an anti Farrell rant, but the tries we scored were either through a (very much improved) pack performance or Mitchell's moment of inspiration. We did get into the Italy 22 more times than we scored, and none of those tries came about because of things Farrell did.

Farrell did get the attack moving better Vs Scotland than Smith did and Smith's cameo was poor.

I'm not happy or confident in either for differing reasons.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:06 pm

mountain man wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

Yep absolutely. OK try a grubber through 2-3 times but Farrell did it repeatedly and poorly by kicking too long for even quickest to get to it let alone Jamie George. Maybe not wanting to show hand before harder matches to come?

It's better for the grubber to be to long than to short though. To short and you risk the defensive cover being able to run into it. To long and they are always turning to get back to it and then it's some sort of clearance to touch and we go again through a lineout or they dot it down and kick it back to us from the touchline.

As I've said before it's an incredibly boring strategy but it allows you to reset and go again. Well against certain teams it does. Against France or Ireland I'm not so sure we'll get away with it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:18 pm

How much of Farrell getting the backline moving was down to Lawrence just being a very good player? I'd say the ambition of some of the moves vs Scotland were better backs wise.I know there are a few Ford fans around, I'm one of them, but he was also part of the drabness of Jones' last few years. If we're wanting a more fluid exciting backline Smith should be part of it.

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Post by Geordie Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:38 pm

Lawrence is a lot more than just a crash ball man...we need to be utilizing his power and speed in space....

Hence at 13...with Kelly or post WC one of the new kids.

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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:44 pm

Good BBC podcast on weekends matches. Well apart from Monye who is utterly clueless, seriously if you didn't know before hand you would swear he'd never played rugby. Tries to litter talk with little phrases and words like "stylistic" and constantly brings in football references. Awful, really bad. I know some here rate him but he is just so annoying. Could hear Jiffy and Barclay getting frustrated at times. Both of those were good, even Jiffy who is usually so pro Wales. Mind you he does say Wales will beat England.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:53 pm

Monye is really bad.....its his droney monotone voice too.

I enjoyed this Maggie girls "expert opinion" on why our defence was better this week.......we conceded less points.....totally eye opening.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 3:58 pm

The girl you speak of is the 39 year old world cup winning Maggie Alphonsi.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:00 pm

So what? Monye is a Lion....what's your point?

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Post by lostinwales Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:01 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
mountain man wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

Yep absolutely. OK try a grubber through 2-3 times but Farrell did it repeatedly and poorly by kicking too long for even quickest to get to it let alone Jamie George. Maybe not wanting to show hand before harder matches to come?

Pinpoint kicks through, like Smith's kick for Malins try, are something to really concentrate the minds of the defense coaches. Stupid kicks take all the pressure off.

I know its too easy to slip into an anti Farrell rant, but the tries we scored were either through a (very much improved) pack performance or Mitchell's moment of inspiration. We did get into the Italy 22 more times than we scored, and none of those tries came about because of things Farrell did.

Farrell did get the attack moving better Vs Scotland than Smith did and Smith's cameo was poor.

I'm not happy or confident in either for differing reasons.

How much is that down to having a proper pair of centers to work with (one of whom was actually on form)? All we have actually proved is that picking players in their best positions works better than trying to shoehorn who we think are the best players onto the pitch.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:05 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:So what? Monye is a Lion....what's your point?

That she's hardly a girl at 39. Also wanted to remind you of her name and just 1 of her accolades as you appear to have forgotten already.

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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:20 pm

I think Alphonsi as a pundit is fine, wouldn't say she's particularly good but not bad either. Given her record as a player she obviously knows what shes on about. I find Nolli Waterman terrible on commentary though, again highly knowledgeable and a RWC winner etc but just annoying and not very good.
I find Wilkinson incredibly boring and he goes off on some seemingly random tangent talking about some play or other. Dull.
Warburton is OK, he's a bit too much Mr Nice Guy who I get impression he just doesn't want to rock any boat or say anything to upset anyone but he's fine.
I don't mind Woodward or Dallagio but I know some hate them. Austin Healy complete and utter ladies front bottom. I'm just thankful he doesn't do Int games.
I actually quite like Sarah Orchard although again some find her screechy and annoying.
John Barclay good, Jiffy good but again lots don't like.

We've had this before but by far best are Andrew Cotter, Flats and Tom Shanklin.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:22 pm

Dallaglio doesn't know half the laws so I find him quite cringeworthy to listen to.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:30 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:What should he be doing to improve his performances though? Watching both matches I'm not sure he's made the wrong decision at any point, not a major one anyway.

Look for work,

That is what is expected of top class wingers at this level.
It is something that is a must in Ireland why Baloucoune is out of favour (+ injuries)
HC looks like a winger waiting for the ball to come to him - not enough at this level

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Post by Margin_Walker Mon 13 Feb 2023, 4:48 pm

The stick OHC is getting is something else. Sure there are other options, and if he drops out of the squad then fair enough. But he's played a game and a half not once been passed the ball in space. Even just a one on one.

He's tracked inside plenty looking for work and not received the ball. I had to laugh when Arundell ambles onto the pitch and instantly gets a walk in on his wing.


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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 5:00 pm

Arundell try was a bit more than a walk in. Given choice between him and OHC, I'd take Arundell every time.

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Post by Margin_Walker Mon 13 Feb 2023, 5:06 pm

mountain man wrote:Arundell try was a bit more than a walk in. Given choice between him and OHC, I'd take Arundell every time.

He didn't have much at all to do and any prem wing would have finished it.

I'd have Arundell too. He's got tools that no one else in that squad has and is a lot of fun to watch. That's said, he's much weaker defensively (albeit you'd take the trade).

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Post by tigertattie Mon 13 Feb 2023, 6:22 pm

mountain man wrote:I think Alphonsi as a pundit is fine, wouldn't say she's particularly good but not bad either. Given her record as a player she obviously knows what shes on about. I find Nolli Waterman terrible on commentary though, again highly knowledgeable and a RWC winner etc but just annoying and not very good.
I find Wilkinson incredibly boring and he goes off on some seemingly random tangent talking about some play or other. Dull.
Warburton is OK, he's a bit too much Mr Nice Guy who I get impression he just doesn't want to rock any boat or say anything to upset anyone but he's fine.
I don't mind Woodward or Dallagio but I know some hate them. Austin Healy complete and utter ladies front bottom. I'm just thankful he doesn't do Int games.
I actually quite like Sarah Orchard although again some find her screechy and annoying.
John Barclay good, Jiffy good but again lots don't like.

We've had this before but by far best are Andrew Cotter, Flats and Tom Shanklin.

Pretty much agree with it all

Waterman just has a monotone voice and a bit cringe. Folk with good radio voices make good commentators, so long as they know what they are taking about.

Cotter has a great voice and flats is just funny. He’s almost a throw back to the amateur era even though he played pro. Looking forward to when Marler gets on commentary.

Jiffy is the only one I’d disagree on. He’s just too smug and one eyed.

I’ll add kaiser to the list. Quite like him and he’s much easier to understand than Betson was.
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Post by mountain man Mon 13 Feb 2023, 6:34 pm

Yes agree on Benjamin Kaiser, very good, very balanced. Betson accent so strong and his English isn't great

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:30 pm

lostinwales wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
lostinwales wrote:
mountain man wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
lostinwales wrote:Its not just us  
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/64620248

That whole BBC podcast was interesting. Monye defended the English performance, saying some parts had obviously improved, and it takes time to bed any new system in. Jiffy couldn't understand why England wouldn't want to put it through the hands more against Italy. He said the range of ambition shown by England would be insufficient to take on the likes of France and Ireland, so it made sense to take more risks at the weekend, to see if they could do it.

Yep absolutely. OK try a grubber through 2-3 times but Farrell did it repeatedly and poorly by kicking too long for even quickest to get to it let alone Jamie George. Maybe not wanting to show hand before harder matches to come?

Pinpoint kicks through, like Smith's kick for Malins try, are something to really concentrate the minds of the defense coaches. Stupid kicks take all the pressure off.

I know its too easy to slip into an anti Farrell rant, but the tries we scored were either through a (very much improved) pack performance or Mitchell's moment of inspiration. We did get into the Italy 22 more times than we scored, and none of those tries came about because of things Farrell did.

Farrell did get the attack moving better Vs Scotland than Smith did and Smith's cameo was poor.

I'm not happy or confident in either for differing reasons.

How much is that down to having a proper pair of centers to work with (one of whom was actually on form)?  All we have actually proved is that picking players in their best positions works better than trying to shoehorn who we think are the best players onto the pitch.


You missed the Vs Scotland bit.

Against Italy Farrell did get a proper midfield, he alone seems to get one. Poor George Ford got lumbered with a midfield of Farrell and Slade at one point, England's most toothless midfield in a decade.

I'm keen on neither option and the Welsh are a wounded beast that love to turn up against the English.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:32 pm

My view of the game from in the stadium was that the main difference between this week and last was the coherence of the starting pack. Chessum and Willis did well, and for Sam's benefit Dombrandt did a lot better with the hard carries - he was clearly targeted at the kick-off, presumably after last week's error, and consistently made good yards from it.

The defence was much better organised and England's speed to the breakdown was excellent. It was clear from the first couple of Italian phases that they were going to get turned over a lot.

In phase play, the pack as a whole (plus Lawrence) were carrying well and England several times managed to tie up the defence with a couple of heavy carries and still have a mixture of forwards and backline options available.

That meant England were repeatedly in strong positions - to which it's clear that the deliberate tactic was to put the ball behind the defence in a contestable way. Farrell didn't do that well.

In the second half, the line speed seemed to falter and everything else with it - England were giving Italy space to play and the tries were a direct result. You're going to lose some mobility with Cole, and Isiekwe and Earl were both less effective than Willis and Dombrandt. (Though Mako did OK apart from one dodgy scrum, I thought, and Walker didn't have a chance to do much but equally didn't do anything wrong).

I think Smith's frustration showed in his grubber, but it must have been galling to be kept on the bench for 70+ minutes only to be put on with Farrell again after all the spark had gone from England. We could see the bench from where we were sat and he was asking to be put on from about 60 minutes as they emptied the bench around him.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:36 pm

mountain man wrote:Yes agree on Benjamin Kaiser, very good, very balanced. Betson accent so strong and his English isn't great

Ben Kayser. He's from Paris not Germany. He's an outstanding pundit, was a more than handy player as well. Clever bloke, spent time learning English growing up because he knew it would open opportunities for him in his rugby career. Gets to practice his English at home quite a bit.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:40 pm

Poorfour wrote:My view of the game from in the stadium was that the main difference between this week and last was the coherence of the starting pack. Chessum and Willis did well, and for Sam's benefit Dombrandt did a lot better with the hard carries - he was clearly targeted at the kick-off, presumably after last week's error, and consistently made good yards from it.

Hug second highest in metres made for England wasn't he? Good return for 55 mins work. His defensive work was a bit better this week. Still over ran a couple, hopefully those settle in a bit because cutting a line off a fellow forward is always going to be a great chance for metres for him.

It's a better performance than week 1 so he's likely to keep the shirt again for the next game. His fitness is an issue, we need him to last 80 mins and just manage one or two of those big trademark busts and he'll have gone a good way to securing that 8 shirt.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:49 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
It's a better performance than week 1 so he's likely to keep the shirt again for the next game. His fitness is an issue, we need him to last 80 mins and just manage one or two of those big trademark busts and he'll have gone a good way to securing that 8 shirt.

I don't know if his fitness is an issue - if he made the second highest metres in 66 minutes (according to the BBC) in addition to all the work he was doing off the ball (I don't have the stats, but he was involved in a lot of breakdowns) it may be that he was asked to empty the tank in the expectation of being subbed.

His fitness was an issue when he first broke into the Quins side, but now he's an 80 minute player who is regularly near the top of our tackle, carrying and breakdown stats. It may be that he needs to raise it a further notch for international rugby, but it looks more to me like he's been told to go flat out for as long as he can.

Or to put it another way: would Billy get through as much work in 80 minutes as Dombrandt is in 66?
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Post by Poorfour Mon 13 Feb 2023, 7:58 pm

Just watched the highlights package and it confirmed something else I suspected in the stadium - Mr Doleman's refereeing was somewhat asymmetric to say the least.

He penalised England a lot early on for not rolling away (including a rather theatrical dive over a player trying to exit by the scrum half), but Italy were on the wrong side in virtually every clip. And the second Italian try had a far more blatant and deliberate obstruction - from two players - than the England one that was chalked off.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:03 pm

Poorfour wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
It's a better performance than week 1 so he's likely to keep the shirt again for the next game. His fitness is an issue, we need him to last 80 mins and just manage one or two of those big trademark busts and he'll have gone a good way to securing that 8 shirt.

I don't know if his fitness is an issue - if he made the second highest metres in 66 minutes (according to the BBC) in addition to all the work he was doing off the ball (I don't have the stats, but he was involved in a lot of breakdowns) it may be that he was asked to empty the tank in the expectation of being subbed.

His fitness was an issue when he first broke into the Quins side, but now he's an 80 minute player who is regularly near the top of our tackle, carrying and breakdown stats. It may be that he needs to raise it a further notch for international rugby, but it looks more to me like he's been told to go flat out for as long as he can.

Or to put it another way: would Billy get through as much work in 80 minutes as Dombrandt is in 66?

It might well have been he's being told to empty the tank but I do wonder how long we can keep asking Chessum and Itoje to play a full 80 mins as they aren't exactly just ruck inspecting and playing guard in attack and defence.

The alternatives don't have his size to take into contact even if they are more mobile. If we can keep him on and the level maintained it would certainly help.

I don't think we're going back to Billy, we're safe from that at least. It's the lads coming back from France in the summer that will be the threat to his place.

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Post by lostinwales Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:19 pm

Another thing I noticed was how prominent Genge was. Not talking about the wonderful little pass for Chessum's try - I mean the leadership bit, right down to having a good chat to the ref at the start of the 2nd half.

I can't help thinking there is only one reason why he's not the captain, and that is because he won't be on the pitch for 80 minutes, but I can't help thinking that is effectively what he's doing anyway.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 13 Feb 2023, 9:20 pm

lostinwales wrote:Another thing I noticed was how prominent Genge was. Not talking about the wonderful little pass for Chessum's try - I mean the leadership bit, right down to having a good chat to the ref at the start of the 2nd half.

I can't help thinking there is only one reason why he's not the captain, and that is because he won't be on the pitch for 80 minutes, but I can't help thinking that is effectively what he's doing anyway.

I wish he was. Would mean Vunipola wasn't on the pitch.

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Post by TJ Mon 13 Feb 2023, 10:22 pm

I just had a bit of a dig around the stats. Not pretty reading for England despite what was a convincing win. I know they don't mean everything

Italy beat 41 defenders and ran 400m compared to Englands 21 defenders and 300m

England tackle % was 81% missing 40 tackles!

Thats the sort of thing that will get them hammered by France and ireland!

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