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England Pre 2023 6Ns and Beyond.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Feb 13, 2023 5:16 pm

First topic message reminder :

Continued.......

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Feb 14, 2023 11:43 pm

26 men squad for 3 day training this week. Thought that the international window spread to this but Willis is still there. And Will Stuart back, Sinckler not in due to a facial injury.

Forwards
Ollie Chessum

Dan Cole

Ben Curry

Alex Dombrandt

Ben Earl

Ellis Genge

Jamie George

Nick Isiekwe

Maro Itoje

Lewis Ludlam

Will Stuart

Mako Vunipola

Jack Walker

Jack Willis

Backs
Henry Arundell

Owen Farrell

Ollie Hassell-Collins

Ollie Lawrence

Max Malins

Joe Marchant

Alex Mitchell

Henry Slade

Marcus Smith

Freddie Steward

Jack van Poortvliet

Anthony Watson


Interesting to note that Kruis has been coming in weekly to do lineout sessions too. Would be nice to keep the improvement going in that area. Makes such a difference to the scoreboard for one but also how far the opposition think they can push their legality in defence.


Last edited by No 7&1/2 on Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:15 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Poorfour Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:04 am

Let's put this very simply: the pack in the first half was very good; and less good when the subs came on.

I'd say it's worth persisting with the starting 8, so the question is, how can we improve the 5 on the bench?
- Mako is fine for now; I'd still like to see Marler back in the wider squad for the RWC (but I also know that I am in a minority that probably doesn't include Borthwick)
- Walker did OK in the little time he had - probably worth sticking with but will drop behind LCD once he's fit
- Assuming Sinckler, Stuart and Cole are all fit for Wales, I'd prefer to go with the first two.
- I would have Ribbans in place of Isiekwe
- Once Lawes is fit, I'd have him in place of Earl (who hasn't had the impact that he has had at club level).
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Post by Oakdene Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:15 am

Cant see anything but a very convincing England win.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:21 am

Oakdene wrote:Cant see anything but a very convincing England win.

It's in Cardiff and neither side is fully settled. Wales will raise themselves and Gatland will target any weak spots in the English defence - and I suspect will also target anywhere were they've been falling foul of the ref.
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Post by Oakdene Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:22 am

Poorfour wrote:
Oakdene wrote:Cant see anything but a very convincing England win.

It's in Cardiff and neither side is fully settled. Wales will raise themselves and Gatland will target any weak spots in the English defence - and I suspect will also target anywhere were they've been falling foul of the ref.

We were meant to raise ourselves for the Scottish game.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:32 am

George Kruis is back...in a fashion

England’s line-out is being helped by the advice of a former set-piece leader, with George Kruis visiting the camp for strategy meetings.

Telegraph Sport can reveal that the former Saracens lock, who retired last year at the age of 32 following a stint in Japan with Saitama Wild Knights and a farewell appearance for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham, is linking up with Steve Borthwick’s squad once a week.

Maro Itoje, a long-time team mate of Kruis, is an on-field general for England in this area with Ollie Chessum recently explaining that the starting locks, Nick Isiekwe and David Ribbans have formed “a line-out collective”.

Jamie George’s presence at hooker has given the line-out a distinctively Saracens accent, though it has been underpinned so far by the use of Lewis Ludlam as a third jumper to complement Chessum and Itoje.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2023/02/14/england-turn-retired-lock-help-lift-line-out-collective/

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Post by mountain man Wed Feb 15, 2023 1:18 am

Manu left out again as is Youngs. End of line maybe.
Good to see Stuart back, that looked a very nasty injury.

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Post by Mr Bounce Wed Feb 15, 2023 1:23 am

I think that Mitchell did more than enough to convince Steve to keep him.

Think the writing has been on the wall for Manu since 2020. It would have been for Youngs for about the same time were it not for Eddie's stubbornness in not selecting anyone else...

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Post by Geordie Wed Feb 15, 2023 1:29 am

Rugby Fan wrote:George Kruis is back...in a fashion

England’s line-out is being helped by the advice of a former set-piece leader, with George Kruis visiting the camp for strategy meetings.

Telegraph Sport can reveal that the former Saracens lock, who retired last year at the age of 32 following a stint in Japan with Saitama Wild Knights and a farewell appearance for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham, is linking up with Steve Borthwick’s squad once a week.

Maro Itoje, a long-time team mate of Kruis, is an on-field general for England in this area with Ollie Chessum recently explaining that the starting locks, Nick Isiekwe and David Ribbans have formed “a line-out collective”.

Jamie George’s presence at hooker has given the line-out a distinctively Saracens accent, though it has been underpinned so far by the use of Lewis Ludlam as a third jumper to complement Chessum and Itoje.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2023/02/14/england-turn-retired-lock-help-lift-line-out-collective/

Chessum has been very impressive. The finished article could be quite a player.

Theres some other talented young locks coming through who are also huge...post World Cup will be fascinating.

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Post by cb Wed Feb 15, 2023 1:31 am

I thought when Jones played Curry at number 8 we lost a world-class flanker and gained a mediocre 8.  As a stop-gap playing Ludlam there would work but we should have a full-time number 8 in that position (England have improved when people play in their proper positions).

Still keen to see Hill at blindside even if Ludlam is playing very well there.

I think Ribbans has more impact from the bench than Isiewke.

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Post by TJ Wed Feb 15, 2023 1:32 am

Oakdene wrote:Cant see anything but a very convincing England win.

England are going to have to tighten their defense up a lot. 41 missed tackles against Italy and Wales will have a better maul defense. England also showed no real attacking in the backs

I think it will be a tight game and England should edge it but I wouldn't bet my shirt on it

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Post by lostinwales Wed Feb 15, 2023 2:07 am

TJ wrote:
Oakdene wrote:Cant see anything but a very convincing England win.

England are going to have to tighten their defense up a lot.  41 missed tackles against Italy and Wales will have a better maul defense.  England also showed no real attacking in the backs

I think it will be a tight game and England should edge it but I wouldn't bet my shirt on it

Different phases and times. I prefer to think of that period in the first half where Italy were on the attack and were, after several phases, 30m or so back from their starting position.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Feb 15, 2023 3:15 am

cb wrote:
I think Ribbans has more impact from the bench than Isiewke.

Isiekwe has played blindside in both appearances so far. Ribbans won't be doing that so you're pushing Chessum or Itoje to blindside for the final 30 mins after playing 50 mins at lock and those boys aren't exactly quiet in the work they are doing at lock.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Feb 15, 2023 4:22 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
cb wrote:
I think Ribbans has more impact from the bench than Isiewke.

Isiekwe has played blindside in both appearances so far. Ribbans won't be doing that so you're pushing Chessum or Itoje to blindside for the final 30 mins after playing 50 mins at lock and those boys aren't exactly quiet in the work they are doing at lock.

I think the idea is to have Ribbans as a replacement lock and someone else as a replacement flanker, rather than take a flanker off and put a third lock on.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Feb 15, 2023 4:50 am

Rumours that a Welsh player strike could be on the cards for the England game.

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Post by Yoda Wed Feb 15, 2023 5:29 am

Just read about the threatened strike action. I sincerely hope it gets sorted asap, really bad for the game and Wales in general. I wonder what the wages are for members of the wrfu 🧐 Seems like a case of lions led by donkeys.

Has there ever been any games been called off in the five/six nations another than weather, pandemic, or war?

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Post by yappysnap Wed Feb 15, 2023 6:23 am

I'm amazed at how negative people are on here. Games against Italy often have a sense of damned if you do, damned if you don't about them and this is one of them. Looking through the posts here it feels like a lot of people just look for things to be angry about, it's the internet I guess but it's bloody exhausting to read through.

Overall it was a win, Italy games often tell us sweet fa about how the team is going so we'll have to wait and see.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:05 am

I agree that there have been positives from an England perspective. The front five (starters at least) look nailed down now for the rest of the 6 Nations and World Cup. Chessum is outstanding and I saw signs against Italy of Itoje finding his mojo. Jack Willis needs to move to 6, but otherwise should have the jersey glued to his back. Ben Earl should start at 7 (at least until Tom Curry or Sam Underhill return) and I think Dombrandt is making a fine fist at 8. Sam Simmonds should be the designated impact sub, a role he's perfect for. All in all I think the forwards are in decent shape.

Backline is mixed. Much better midfield shape against Italy, although I felt a bit for Marchant getting dropped for Slade. Not sure England needed another kicker in the backline. They kick way too much (predictably under Borthwick). I suspect H-C gets ditched (harshly) to allow Arundell to come in, and Malins has nailed down the right wing (thought the ruled out try he set up beautifully for VP was harsh). Steward is such a talent, but I'd like him to kick less to allow England to retain possession. His strength is such an asset to allow him to ride tackles, and could really open things up for England.

I fancy England to beat Wales. Won't be pretty, and I just think England need to take more risks. It was uncomfortable for me to essentially be agreeing with Sir Clive Woodward after the game, the sort of thing that brings me out in a cold sweat, but I think England need to be more confident in retaining the ball and backing their attack.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:37 am

I'm hoping England retain more ball and back their attack as time goes on and they are more comfortable with the patterns they are running. I'm quite happy with the consistency in selection where possible as that should help with the familiarity and our attack.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:46 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:I'm hoping England retain more ball and back their attack as time goes on and they are more comfortable with the patterns they are running. I'm quite happy with the consistency in selection where possible as that should help with the familiarity and our attack.

Agree. For Wales I'd keep the same XV minus the H-C for Arundell switch, Mitchell for VP and Ludlam for Earls (all bench to XV switches). Continuity is what England sorely need (and Borthwick will give them). As you suggest, I think England fans will need to be patient, however I do think a bit more ambition against Wales would pay immediate dividends. Mitchell alone will give you more of that.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Feb 15, 2023 8:28 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:I'm hoping England retain more ball and back their attack as time goes on and they are more comfortable with the patterns they are running. I'm quite happy with the consistency in selection where possible as that should help with the familiarity and our attack.

Agree. For Wales I'd keep the same XV minus the H-C for Arundell switch, Mitchell for VP and Ludlam for Earls (all bench to XV switches). Continuity is what England sorely need (and Borthwick will give them). As you suggest, I think England fans will need to be patient, however I do think a bit more ambition against Wales would pay immediate dividends. Mitchell alone will give you more of that.

OHC for Arundell I get but the other two are taking out two of best performers and replacing them with ok replacements. Earl has been busy but doesn't seem to be particularly impactful whereas Ludlam has taken lineouts, carried hard and tackled everything he could reach. Mitchell had one good momentum against a tired defence.

If consistency is what we are after I just don't get those changes.

Unless there's someone ripping it up in training I'd stay as is. Smith Vs Farrell is much of muchness and Arundell coming off the bench Vs tired defenders does have a greater chance of causing chaos.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed Feb 15, 2023 9:27 am

Ludlam has been good, but what we've seen is his ceiling. Willis offers a bunch more and Earls in a Sarries jersey has been a star at 7. He needs a shot to start, plus I think long term Underhill and Curry ought to be at 7. 6 belongs to Willis (in my book potential to be a top class 6).

I'm not sure about the assertion that VP had been one of the "best performers". He certainly hasn't been consistent. His box kick is laborious, and his pass needs to be sharper. I like his pace and physicality, and he had an eye for a gap, but I think Mitchell is more naturally spontaneous which is what England need.

Still, overall I'd say Borthwick has been OK. Beating Wales is mandatory for progress though, particularly if England insist on kicking the leather off the ball in all scenarios. I think support for Borthwick will dissolve rapidly if England play a slow and conservative gameplan, ignoring the attacking potential, and still lose.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed Feb 15, 2023 11:50 am

yappysnap wrote:I'm amazed at how negative people are on here.
The pessimism probably reflects frustration at the realization England are on a long journey. On the Evening Standard podcast, Dallaglio said he had kept expecting England to suddenly click, and show the quality we managed against New Zealand during the World Cup. He has now accepted our standards have been in steady decline for several seasons, so the rebuild won't happen overnight, which means writing off our chances at the tournament in France.

Borthwick has no time to discover the best players for the game plan he has in mind, or the best game plan for the players available to England. Every time something doesn't quite click on the pitch, he has to decide whether to give someone else a go, or persevere, which is almost impossible to do on the scant evidence of the matches remaining. For instance, does Borthwick give up completely on Dan Kelly, because there's no time to see him in a proper competitive Test? Lawes and Tom Curry may yet feature this Six Nations, but not seasoned internationals like Daly and Underhill. In the absence of any chance to plan effectively, Borthwick is going to have to make some not-very-educated guesses.

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Post by Geordie Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:01 pm

So whats going on in the wales set up.

Potential strike due to contract disputes? Might even affect the game..

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Post by mountain man Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:02 pm

I'm not negative, I think there were definite positive signs against Italy but we have to be realistic. I'd say it was frustration rather than negative at wasted opportunities. Farrell was at 10 which I think was right call but he kicked far too much especially in Italy 22 and poorly.

There was a marked drop off in intensity in 2nd half as well and against France or Ireland then England would be put to the sword.
The shape of backline so much better with Lawrence at 12, and he finally showed there is life after Manu should that be the case.

England beat Italy which they just had to so assuming it goes ahead and I'd be very surprised if not, it's another massive game against Wales.
England win in Cardiff and Borthwick and team are back on track after loss in first round. Lose and they could end up 5th which would not be good.

Borthwick got 15/23 pretty well spot on for Italy, maybe one or two changes for Welsh game but otherwise same as.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:15 pm

Geordie wrote:So whats going on in the wales set up.

Potential strike due to contract disputes? Might even affect the game..

Interesting twist for the Netflix film.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:27 pm

Yoda wrote:Just read about the threatened strike action. I sincerely hope it gets sorted asap, really bad for the game and Wales in general. I wonder what the wages are for members of the wrfu 🧐 Seems like a case of lions led by donkeys.

Has there ever been any games been called off in the five/six nations another than weather, pandemic, or war?

The one I've heard about was during the Troubles in 1972 (I think), when Scotland and Wales refused to travel to Dublin for their games. England did, and lost badly, prompting John Pullin's famous statement that "We may not be very good, but at least we turn up."

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Feb 15, 2023 7:29 pm

We had the postponement (and a loss of a better chance of a grand slam) to foot and mouth. I'm assuming in this instance it'll just be awarded as a bonus point win though.

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Post by Yoda Wed Feb 15, 2023 8:49 pm

I knew about the foot and mouth and the troubles in the seventies and the French Ireland match being frozen off. Last night I suddenly remembered that the England players went on strike for more money but did fulfill the fixture. I suspect this will happen in Wales and it will be game on. I wonder if Georgia are free on the 25th🤔

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Post by doctor_grey Wed Feb 15, 2023 8:59 pm

I guess this summarises the situation in Wales from a player point of view.  Haven't seen anything from the Regions or WRU as counter point.  Still not sure the underlying issues, though clearly compensation and stability are at the heart of it. An article in today's Guardian:
A number of accounts by unnamed players on the lack of a new funding deal were reported by the Daily Mail on Tuesday.  

One player, described as a Six Nations squad member, said: “I can’t believe I’m five months away from the end of my contract and eight months away from the World Cup and my future isn’t certain yet.

“I can’t apply for a mortgage and I’m on antidepressants. I’m also one big injury away from not having a job in July, yet I’m starting for Wales every week and the WRU is making tens of millions from international matches.”

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Post by Oakdene Wed Feb 15, 2023 9:30 pm

doctor_grey wrote:I guess this summarises the situation in Wales from a player point of view.  Haven't seen anything from the Regions or WRU as counter point.  Still not sure the underlying issues, though clearly compensation and stability are at the heart of it.  An article in today's Guardian:
A number of accounts by unnamed players on the lack of a new funding deal were reported by the Daily Mail on Tuesday.  

One player, described as a Six Nations squad member, said: “I can’t believe I’m five months away from the end of my contract and eight months away from the World Cup and my future isn’t certain yet.

“I can’t apply for a mortgage and I’m on antidepressants. I’m also one big injury away from not having a job in July, yet I’m starting for Wales every week and the WRU is making tens of millions from international matches.”

WRU said that players would be able to sign contracts this month but certainly the Scarlets have come out & said that they can't see that being able to happen.

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Post by Oakdene Wed Feb 15, 2023 9:32 pm

Yoda wrote:I knew about the foot and mouth and the troubles in the seventies and the French Ireland match being frozen off. Last night I suddenly remembered that the England players went on strike for more money but did fulfill the fixture. I suspect this will happen in Wales and it will be game on. I wonder if Georgia are free on the 25th🤔

But they aren't striking for more money in the sense they actually want to be able to sign contracts to ensure they are actually employed beyond this season...

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Post by doctor_grey Wed Feb 15, 2023 9:46 pm

Oakdene wrote:
Yoda wrote:I knew about the foot and mouth and the troubles in the seventies and the French Ireland match being frozen off. Last night I suddenly remembered that the England players went on strike for more money but did fulfill the fixture. I suspect this will happen in Wales and it will be game on. I wonder if Georgia are free on the 25th🤔

But they aren't striking for more money in the sense they actually want to be able to sign contracts to ensure they are actually employed beyond this season...
So, what is really going on? Is the WRU broke? Doesn't seem likely, but then what? Have the WRU issued any statements which shed light on this from their point of view?

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Post by Oakdene Wed Feb 15, 2023 9:48 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
Yoda wrote:I knew about the foot and mouth and the troubles in the seventies and the French Ireland match being frozen off. Last night I suddenly remembered that the England players went on strike for more money but did fulfill the fixture. I suspect this will happen in Wales and it will be game on. I wonder if Georgia are free on the 25th🤔

But they aren't striking for more money in the sense they actually want to be able to sign contracts to ensure they are actually employed beyond this season...
So, what is really going on?  Is the WRU broke?  Doesn't seem likely, but then what?  Have the WRU issued any statements which shed light on this from their point of view?  

Well funding for the regions is being reduced drastically, players are being asked to take pay cuts from £400k to £280k & as it stands not one player whose contract ends this summer has been able to re-sign with the region.

The WRU are struggling financially but they have built a lovely hotel & soon you will be able to do a roof walk on the Principlaity stadium

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Post by Poorfour Wed Feb 15, 2023 10:52 pm

Oakdene wrote:
The WRU are struggling financially but they have built a lovely hotel & soon you will be able to do a roof walk on the Principlaity stadium

...but Warren Gatland will have final say on whether he gets to open the roof or not. Coincidentally, for a small donation (well, not that small actually) you can sponsor a Welsh player before embarking on your walk.
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Post by Oakdene Wed Feb 15, 2023 11:03 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Oakdene wrote:
The WRU are struggling financially but they have built a lovely hotel & soon you will be able to do a roof walk on the Principlaity stadium

...but Warren Gatland will have final say on whether he gets to open the roof or not. Coincidentally, for a small donation (well, not that small actually) you can sponsor a Welsh player before embarking on your walk.

Great comment.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Feb 15, 2023 11:22 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:Ludlam has been good, but what we've seen is his ceiling. Willis offers a bunch more and Earls in a Sarries jersey has been a star at 7. He needs a shot to start, plus I think long term Underhill and Curry ought to be at 7. 6 belongs to Willis (in my book potential to be a top class 6).

I'm not sure about the assertion that VP had been one of the "best performers". He certainly hasn't been consistent. His box kick is laborious, and his pass needs to be sharper. I like his pace and physicality, and he had an eye for a gap, but I think Mitchell is more naturally spontaneous which is what England need.

Still, overall I'd say Borthwick has been OK. Beating Wales is mandatory for progress though, particularly if England insist on kicking the leather off the ball in all scenarios. I think support for Borthwick will dissolve rapidly if England play a slow and conservative gameplan, ignoring the attacking potential, and still lose.

How do you know it's Ludlam's ceiling? He's a regular star for Saints and their captain. He was a regular bench option behind the Kamikaze Kids before the world cup. He's taken on the third jumper role and a lot of the graft work. I think it would be harsh to drop him on the hope that Ben Earl is better when Ludlam has been the pick of the two so far.

JVP's kicking process takes an age but there's no current value in the laws to speed it up (if only refs would actually enforce the 5 seconds). His box kicks land to contest or so the chase can take man and ball on the catcher, which was a regular Tigers tactic normally allowing the openside to be the second man in to contest the breakdown against backs. Mitchell does add more spontaneity but I'm going to guess it'll work better against tired defences (see Danny Care as an example), Mitchell's try assist at the weekend doesn't work against a fresh team (or maybe even just a better one) that come off that line at speed as a unit. See Smith's doomed attempt Vs Scotland for when the blindside defence stays as a unit and smashes you into touch.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Feb 16, 2023 7:43 pm

I think we're back to the place where alot of is felt that Care and Farrell worked more than Youngs and Farrell. vP for me though is a considerable step up from Ben and deserves a real shot. Once Quirke is included again we'll have 3 real quality SHs to go with.

Sounds like Lawes is seriously being considered to start against Wales from the Cockerill comments.

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Post by mountain man Thu Feb 16, 2023 8:03 pm

JvP isn't having quite the impact he did when he first got into team, whether it's tactics but he seems to be taking more time and it's not as effective. Getting ball away from ruck is taking him longer than it should. I'm happy for him to continue in team with Mitchell getting time off bench.
As for Lawes, who does he replace? Both Willis and Ludlam have to start and I can't see him going into 2nd row. Be a good bench option though to cover back and 2nd row.

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Post by Mr Bounce Thu Feb 16, 2023 8:17 pm

mountain man wrote:
As for Lawes, who does he replace? Both Willis and Ludlam have to start and I can't see him going into 2nd row. Be a good bench option though to cover back and 2nd row.

I think the only person Lawes should replace is Isiekwe. He's been out for what seems like several months, and has had pretty much zero game time. I think to rush him back into the starting line up in place of the frankly excellent Willis, Chessum and Ludlam would be a huge backward step. He cannot be considered elsewhere. The youngsters have taken their chances and should not be penalised for that.

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Post by mountain man Thu Feb 16, 2023 8:22 pm

Yes that's what I think, bench in place of Isiekwe.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu Feb 16, 2023 9:00 pm

If Lawes is fit, and Borthwick believes he is a key, then he must start, regardless of how well anyone else is doing. There's no time to experiment with combinations, Borthwick has to see how his guess about his best team actually looks on the field.


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Post by mountain man Thu Feb 16, 2023 9:05 pm

What so you reward someone for playing really well by dropping them and bringing in a player who hasn't had any rugby for a while? Not sure that works from a winning point of view or team harmony. Lawes when fit and firing one of first names on team sheet but I'd say bench for Wales match assuming he's ready.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu Feb 16, 2023 9:30 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:
mountain man wrote:
As for Lawes, who does he replace? Both Willis and Ludlam have to start and I can't see him going into 2nd row. Be a good bench option though to cover back and 2nd row.

I think the only person Lawes should replace is Isiekwe. He's been out for what seems like several months, and has had pretty much zero game time. I think to rush him back into the starting line up in place of the frankly excellent Willis, Chessum and Ludlam would be a huge backward step. He cannot be considered elsewhere. The youngsters have taken their chances and should not be penalised for that.

Willis (26) and Ludlam (27) aren't really youngsters, but I get your point. Ludlam has looked good so far and Willis put in a decent shift (albeit against Italy) last time round....it would be tough on those two if Lawes walked straight back in, even if he is a top class international flanker Wink

I wouldn't be against Dombrandt dropping out and Ludlam moving across to 8, but I doubt that will happen.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu Feb 16, 2023 9:32 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:If Lawes is fit, and Borthwick believes he is a key, then he must start, regardless of how well anyone else is doing. There's no time to experiment with combinations, Borthwick has to see how his guess about his best team actually looks on the field.


This is how I would look at it...Lawes being our best backrow player over the last 2 or 3 years. A rather decent option from the bench though I guess.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu Feb 16, 2023 9:55 pm

No need to talk down the excellence of Willis against Italy sarge. Or the rising status of Italy especially their attack. You can still think Lawes is great and watch the balance of the backrow go to pot when he comes back! Although Ludlam isn't an 8 and we run the risk of more errors like Curry gave the balance of still having 2 proper flankers on the pitch makes a lot of sense and allows Lawes to roam in midfield more.


The more I see of the mess that the WRU is at the moment the more I think its a forfeited match next anyway.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri Feb 17, 2023 2:03 am



Rugby Analyst thinks there are eight definite starts so far, and he gives his picks for the rest of the match day squad. These are his choices, rather than what he believes Borthwick will select.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri Feb 17, 2023 4:04 am

Rugby Fan wrote:

Rugby Analyst thinks there are eight definite starts so far, and he gives his picks for the rest of the match day squad. These are his choices, rather than what he believes Borthwick will select.

So at a guess the tight five, Willis, JVP and Steward? Or is Fazlet in there instead of Willis?

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Post by funnyExiledScot Fri Feb 17, 2023 7:15 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Ludlam has been good, but what we've seen is his ceiling. Willis offers a bunch more and Earls in a Sarries jersey has been a star at 7. He needs a shot to start, plus I think long term Underhill and Curry ought to be at 7. 6 belongs to Willis (in my book potential to be a top class 6).

I'm not sure about the assertion that VP had been one of the "best performers". He certainly hasn't been consistent. His box kick is laborious, and his pass needs to be sharper. I like his pace and physicality, and he had an eye for a gap, but I think Mitchell is more naturally spontaneous which is what England need.

Still, overall I'd say Borthwick has been OK. Beating Wales is mandatory for progress though, particularly if England insist on kicking the leather off the ball in all scenarios. I think support for Borthwick will dissolve rapidly if England play a slow and conservative gameplan, ignoring the attacking potential, and still lose.

How do you know it's Ludlam's ceiling? He's a regular star for Saints and their captain. He was a regular bench option behind the Kamikaze Kids before the world cup. He's taken on the third jumper role and a lot of the graft work. I think it would be harsh to drop him on the hope that Ben Earl is better when Ludlam has been the pick of the two so far.

JVP's kicking process takes an age but there's no current value in the laws to speed it up (if only refs would actually enforce the 5 seconds). His box kicks land to contest or so the chase can take man and ball on the catcher, which was a regular Tigers tactic normally allowing the openside to be the second man in to contest the breakdown against backs. Mitchell does add more spontaneity but I'm going to guess it'll work better against tired defences (see Danny Care as an example), Mitchell's try assist at the weekend doesn't work against a fresh team (or maybe even just a better one) that come off that line at speed as a unit. See Smith's doomed attempt Vs Scotland for when the blindside defence stays as a unit and smashes you into touch.

All fair and well reasoned points. My logic on Ludlam is more linked to my views on Willis, who I genuinely think could be an England great at 6, leaving 7 open (and Ludlam isn't a 7). I agree that Ludlam has been good, but I've seen a fair but of him over the years and whilst he's a consistent grafter, I just don't see him being able to hit the heights of Willis at 6. I think Willis at 6 with Underhill at 7 could be remarkable.

I'm less fussed about JVP and Mitchell. Both could be effective from thr bench for impact (I remember JVP being a handy impact sub for Ben Youngs). I'd just want Mitchell on the pitch for longer, to give a but more spark to England's attack.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri Feb 17, 2023 11:06 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:

Rugby Analyst thinks there are eight definite starts so far, and he gives his picks for the rest of the match day squad. These are his choices, rather than what he believes Borthwick will select.

So at a guess the tight five, Willis, JVP and Steward? Or is Fazlet in there instead of Willis?
Good guess. Jamie George and JVP are in his starting line-up but neither are lock-ins. He's got Lawrence and Arundell as definites. Farrell is on the bench, with Ford starting.

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