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England 2023 - Post 6N and beyond - Prep for WC

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Fri 30 Jun 2023, 12:38 pm

First topic message reminder :

Continued.....

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Post by mountain man Thu 06 Jul 2023, 8:02 am

SB seemingly values super high work rate, tight carrying and a strong defence...

Erm, and Dombrandt does? Or have I got wrong end of stick and you were being tongue in cheek?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 06 Jul 2023, 8:41 am

You see, I have seen the high work rate and constant tight carrying by him for England recently, and I think most of the criticism aimed at him is that he's not playing as well as he does for Harlequins, as his eye catching strengths lie elsewhere. It's a little why I harked back to Ben Morgan as I think both of them are wonderful when linking through forwards and backs; we've not really seen that and indeed Jones was using Lawes in the role of popping up in midfield much more.

When I watch Dombrandt with Harlequins honestly some of his offloads are Sonny Bill esque, we just haven't seen a coach with England value that of wnat to play that way consistently. We'd much rather kick the ball to the full back and hope for a knock on.

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Post by Geordie Thu 06 Jul 2023, 8:44 am

Well as Poorfour said above most of it is a timing issue and our lack of attacking structure towards the end under JOnes.

Hopefully SB putting more structure in might just get Dombrandt catching those passes rather than dropping them...and then hes a different player. Especially if he continues his work in the breakdown etc.

BUT this is his last chance to really put a marker down in my opinion.

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Post by mountain man Thu 06 Jul 2023, 8:45 am

I totally agree about Dombrandt and his off loading and running, that is where is strength is not the making hard yards through tight carrying. I just don't see him as that player. Morgan was more of a carrying 8 I'd say but his link play also excellent.

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Post by Geordie Thu 06 Jul 2023, 8:52 am

Well thats where thngs have to change. We've always had the 8 who was a dump truck making yards...now we have different 8's so thats where you need other players making those hard yards. George Martin or Ribbans coming in to the engine certainly adds a load of that over say HIll who isnt really effective there.

Genge carrying, Pearson coming in at 6 maybe (though i think Lawes will be there)

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Post by Poorfour Thu 06 Jul 2023, 11:02 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Borthwick likes explosive carriers but he does like a very physical backrow and maybe that's where Mercer didn't quite measure up. You're right he's not one for making back to back big defensive hits. Neither is Dombrant but he's had the advantage of being around the England squad for a little while.

Dombrandt when he first broke into the Quins' team couldn't do this becuase he still had uni level fitness. Today he can and does.

Comparing 2021 club stats (so as not to penalise players for the disruption of this season) Source: RugbyPass:
Mercer 67 completed tackles in 8 games (8.375/game) @ 89%, 0.75 penalties conceded per game, 24m per game @3 per carry, 0.4 TO won per game, 0.5 conceded
Willis 171 tackles in 16 games (10.69/game) @ 94%, 0.44 penalties conceded per game, 17.8m per game @ 1.9 per carry, 0.7 TO won per game, 0.6 conceded
Dombrandt 194 tackles in 23 games (8.43/game) @ 89%, 0.78 penalties conceded per game, 22.4m per game @ 2.8 per carry, 0.8 TO won per game, 1.1 conceded
Vunipola 107 tackles in 9 games (11.89/game) @ 88%, 1.78 penalties conceded per game, 29.89m per game @ 2.5 per carry, 0.9 TO won, 0.9 conceded

The stats are interesting - Dombrandt and Mercer are pretty comparable; Willis and Vunipola make more tackles, and Billy carries more - but concedes more penalties. Mercer does less at the breakdown than the others, and Dombrandt is the most likely to get isolated - but that reflects the fact that he made 19 clean breaks in 23 games versus 2 for Willis and none for either of the others.

What those stats are saying to me is that Dombrandt and Mercer are pretty similar in most passages of play but Dombrandt offers more at the breakdown and is more likely to make a break. Willis and Vunipola do a bit more tackling, and the difference in yardage is somewhat offset by the penalty count - one additional penalty per game is worth about 30m.
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Post by doctor_grey Thu 06 Jul 2023, 11:32 am

I looked up Mercer on Google just to see how big he is. So....according to the internet, he comes in at 17 st, 7 lbs. and is 6' 3". Not small. Kind of funny is that he doesn't look that big when seeing him on tv. I only saw a couple of Montpellier games this season and I thought he was good but not dominant. So, not really enough to judge anything.

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Post by Geordie Thu 06 Jul 2023, 12:25 pm

Or maybe...Mercer just didnt show up that well in the training camps.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 06 Jul 2023, 12:48 pm

Always possible he just didn't take instructions, looked off the pace etc. Still feels harsh to me when a guy like Vunipola is there with a chance still despite being out of action. Perhaps more indicative that it's style over anything else.

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Post by Mr Bounce Thu 06 Jul 2023, 1:07 pm

I wonder how similar the eventual squad might be to Johnson's 2011 in that players are picked on past glories rather than current form and fitness?

Moody, Tindall and Thompson = Youngs, Billy and Mako. All picked because the coach likes them, but they aren't necessarily the best available anymore.

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Post by Geordie Thu 06 Jul 2023, 1:18 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:I wonder how similar the eventual squad might be to Johnson's 2011 in that players are picked on past glories rather than current form and fitness?

Moody, Tindall and Thompson = Youngs,  Billy and Mako. All picked because the coach likes them, but they aren't necessarily the best available anymore.

i actually think thats not likely in most positions...aside from maybe scrum half which is a mess.

There genuinely could be a big crop of new blood in the actual world cup squad.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 06 Jul 2023, 1:39 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:...Moody, Tindall and Thompson = Youngs,  Billy and Mako. All picked because the coach likes them...

By some accounts, Borthwick had some issues with Billy Vunipola. If he is in line for selection, then it's likely on playing merit, and not any legacy favouritism. There's are also whispers that Val Rapava-Ruskin rubbed Borthwick up the wrong way in some fashion.

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Post by mountain man Thu 06 Jul 2023, 1:41 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:I wonder how similar the eventual squad might be to Johnson's 2011 in that players are picked on past glories rather than current form and fitness?

Moody, Tindall and Thompson = Youngs,  Billy and Mako. All picked because the coach likes them, but they aren't necessarily the best available anymore.

Well Jones definitely did that as well. He picked likes of Farrell, Billy, Daly etc when they were in awful form a couple years ago. Can only think they go by mantra form is temporary class permanent.
Billy if he gets properly fit can be an asset, not sure Mako these days or Youngs are.

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Post by hugehandoff Thu 06 Jul 2023, 2:23 pm

Least surprising comment of the century from Wigglesworth.....we won't play bazball, we want to win not entertain.....hope you all like boxball?

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 06 Jul 2023, 3:04 pm

hugehandoff wrote:Least surprising comment of the century from Wigglesworth.....we won't play bazball, we want to win not entertain.....hope you all like boxball?
That is so seriously funny.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 06 Jul 2023, 3:18 pm

Yeah he's goes on to say (paraphrasing) that winning makes entertaining rugby.

'We are aiming to have the best plan for the players we've got. We will attack well. We don't want to be passive with the attack, we want to go and make sure we cause some problems.'

The quote on the cricket here caught my eye: '...it's funny because they've been lauded, tehn they lose 2 games in an Ashes series and there are questions. That's sport and that's why you have to try to do what you can to win.'

My first thoight was don't be silly Richard you have the players in England to play absolutely any way you want; you've selected players to play your way. Which is fine, just don't pretend.

My second is that it is often universally accepted that you can play expansive sport and entertain, or play dull and win. Rubbish. This cricket team played attritional, traditional cricket and were crap and Wigglesworth calls into question, as some cricket commentators have, the approach almost insinuating it's a naive approach.

It's the view well this is professional sport, its all about winning. No. This is professional sport i.e. it's people paying to watch you and be entertained. Quotes are from the Guardian btw.

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Post by mountain man Thu 06 Jul 2023, 5:19 pm

For some maybe and I know you value entertainment more than winning but I'm sure players, coaches would take an ugly win over a pretty loss every day of week and twice on Sunday.
Obviously better to do both, play great rugby and win. NZ always been best exponent of that but realistically it's all about win.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 06 Jul 2023, 5:26 pm

mountain man wrote:For some maybe and I know you value entertainment more than winning but I'm sure players, coaches would take an ugly win over a pretty loss every day of week and twice on Sunday.
Obviously better to do both, play great rugby and win. NZ always been best exponent of that but realistically it's all about win.

Well the point above is that that's often the argument made but it's balls. Would you take an entertaining loss or a boring loss. That's the question.

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Post by mountain man Thu 06 Jul 2023, 6:23 pm

Somewhat mute point as a loss at end of day. I suppose if had to take loss then an entertaining one better except probably be left with thought how would result panned out if different approach made.

I much prefer a free, running entertaining game but my point is teams, players and coaches will take a dull win every time. No question.

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Post by Geordie Thu 06 Jul 2023, 7:17 pm

mountain man wrote:For some maybe and I know you value entertainment more than winning but I'm sure players, coaches would take an ugly win over a pretty loss every day of week and twice on Sunday.
Obviously better to do both, play great rugby and win. NZ always been best exponent of that but realistically it's all about win.

And yet NZ statistically kicked more than any other team....

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Post by mountain man Thu 06 Jul 2023, 7:25 pm

Yes they do but also sensibly. They look to move it but if nothing on will kick for territory. And invariably make right decision. Same unfortunately cannot always be said for England.

I'll add you don't see NZ kicking away possession away in opposition 22!

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 06 Jul 2023, 7:45 pm

mountain man wrote:Yes they do but also sensibly. They look to move it but if nothing on will kick for territory. And invariably make right decision. Same unfortunately cannot always be said for England.

I'll add you don't see NZ kicking away possession away in opposition 22!
They also kick with the intent to create a counter attack from the return kick. And if takes a few rounds of back and forth, then they are usually patient and wait for the opportunity. To me this is different than simply kicking and attempting to play defense in their part of the field.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri 07 Jul 2023, 6:40 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:...My first thought was don't be silly Richard you have the players in England to play absolutely any way you want...

Not sure we do right now. For instance, we don't have sufficient from row depth to play the South African bomb squad strategy. French rugby plays more off the scrum half than fly half, and we don't have a lot of experience in the Premiership doing that. Maybe some of the younger England nines could develop sufficiently to be in charge of a Test team at the required level in future. Danny Care does it for Quins but hasn't got the physicality.

We probably have a lot of choices in the back row. Still, that's relatively recent, as we had a drought at open-side for several years. While we aren't too badly off for locks, we seemed quite flush a few years ago, and with more variety. Add in the relatively scarcity of inside centres, and I'm not sure we could play any way we wanted to.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 07 Jul 2023, 7:25 am

Really? Didn't think that the sa plan is that complex, England ertajnly play quite close to it.

You could throw out

Marler George Stuart
Chessum Hill
Itoje Pearson
Vunipola
Youngs farrell
May tuilagi Lawrence radwan
Steward

Genge lcd sinckler Martin itoje dombrandt vP slade

And do a tribute act to their style.

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Post by mountain man Fri 07 Jul 2023, 8:24 am

England did try the "bomb squad" tactic of replacing front row wholesale once I think(?) but it didn't work. Basically they dont have players for it.
I also think preplanned substitutions aren't a good thing. So many times we've seen a player going really well suddenly taken off after 50 mins and his replacement doing a worse job. We're not seeing the data the coaches are but it's to clear see some are not tired or injured it was just a timed substitution.

If you have 4 props and 2 hookers of nigh on equal quality (bit like SA) then I see the merit in it. Bring on fresh front row and continue to crush opposition. Otherwise I'd rather sub as and when required.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 07 Jul 2023, 8:46 am

To me that's not really the bomb squad approach. We nearly always replace the entire front row, and it happens earlier with trusted replacements. There are obviously times where fitness is an issue and because of that we play our hooker for the entire game...(jokes). The bomb squad is replacing pretty much the whole pack. Even when we've gone to a 6 2 bench replacements have been prettty late on in comparison to that SA tactic. And yes I hate the preplanned stuff.

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Post by nlpnlp Fri 07 Jul 2023, 10:58 pm

If anybody thinks England have the front 5 players to go down the bomb squad route then they are dreaming.  Look at the world cup final 2019, the Autumn international 2022 - South Africa with whatever front five they had playing destroyed the English scrum, ruck and maul.

People talk about New Zealand kicking a lot - I believe for the last couple of years France have kicked more than anyone else.  England can kick all they like, but when the only reason they have for kicking is to hit the "We kick a lot" statistic - they are not going to get anywhere.  France and New Zealand kick for a reason with a purpose in mind, that is the difference.

England have an incredibly easy world cup draw which should get them to the quarter finals without any difficulty, and to the semi's with any kind of performance.  I think SB is picking a squad to get to the quarters/semis with no hope whatsoever of reaching the final.  Is this what "we" want - a bang average, boring team, to get to the quarter finals with absolutely no hope of winning?   I would rather gamble, pick a Mercer rather than a Billy, a Mitchell rather than a Youngs and at least give it a go at winning.

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Post by lostinwales Sat 08 Jul 2023, 12:10 am

Mr Bounce wrote:I always felt that Morgan was extremely unlikely with fitness and injury. A fit and firing Ben Morgan had a better rugby brain than Billy with a similar run through walls attribute, but neither the fitness or durability to succeed. Watching him and Wade in that first match in Argentina in 2013 was great.

I think both him and Billy at full fitness for a good length of time would have been a fantastic position of strength.

Tom Willis could be a similar sort of player, hopefully without the injury concerns.

Morgan was also surprisingly quick on the rare occasion he made a break. Billy was more consistent and had a higher work rate, but he never outruns anyone

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 08 Jul 2023, 12:51 am

nlpnlp wrote:If anybody thinks England have the front 5 players to go down the bomb squad route then they are dreaming.  Look at the world cup final 2019, the Autumn international 2022 - South Africa with whatever front five they had playing destroyed the English scrum, ruck and maul.

People talk about New Zealand kicking a lot - I believe for the last couple of years France have kicked more than anyone else.  England can kick all they like, but when the only reason they have for kicking is to hit the "We kick a lot" statistic - they are not going to get anywhere.  France and New Zealand kick for a reason with a purpose in mind, that is the difference.

England have an incredibly easy world cup draw which should get them to the quarter finals without any difficulty, and to the semi's with any kind of performance.  I think SB is picking a squad to get to the quarters/semis with no hope whatsoever of reaching the final.  Is this what "we" want - a bang average, boring team, to get to the quarter finals with absolutely no hope of winning?   I would rather gamble, pick a Mercer rather than a Billy, a Mitchell rather than a Youngs and at least give it a go at winning.
Here's my disconnect. mate. How can England give it a go at winning when Borthwick appears, at least to me, to be picking a team and will likely play tactics which are designed to avoid losing, not winning.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 08 Jul 2023, 7:07 am

doctor_grey wrote:
nlpnlp wrote:If anybody thinks England have the front 5 players to go down the bomb squad route then they are dreaming.  Look at the world cup final 2019, the Autumn international 2022 - South Africa with whatever front five they had playing destroyed the English scrum, ruck and maul.

People talk about New Zealand kicking a lot - I believe for the last couple of years France have kicked more than anyone else.  England can kick all they like, but when the only reason they have for kicking is to hit the "We kick a lot" statistic - they are not going to get anywhere.  France and New Zealand kick for a reason with a purpose in mind, that is the difference.

England have an incredibly easy world cup draw which should get them to the quarter finals without any difficulty, and to the semi's with any kind of performance.  I think SB is picking a squad to get to the quarters/semis with no hope whatsoever of reaching the final.  Is this what "we" want - a bang average, boring team, to get to the quarter finals with absolutely no hope of winning?   I would rather gamble, pick a Mercer rather than a Billy, a Mitchell rather than a Youngs and at least give it a go at winning.
Here's my disconnect. mate.  How can England give it a go at winning when Borthwick appears, at least to me, to be picking a team and will likely play tactics which are designed to avoid losing, not winning.    

France kick the most and by a distance.

England if they adopt the Tigers strategy kick for a reason and with more than one tactic to their game. The kick chase was shocking in the 6N, a reason that I think Borthwick changed the wingers round and brought back Watson post injury towards the end of the campaign. The forwards also disappointed in that regard. Tigers often used the tactic of kicking slightly longer then tackling the catcher as soon as he took the ball. The forward following up would attack the ruck with one of the breakdown nuisances lined up to attack the almost inevitable forward carry that follows as the opposition realign. Tigers were good at generating penalties from the tactic or generally being enough of a menace that the opposition kick back.

Tigers teams under Borthwick looked to play in the opposition third and had the confidence to try their hand from further out if they thought it was on.

Borthwick's general tactic is to play in the right areas of the pitch which is very similar to France albeit the kicking tactics are different to achieve it. England don't have the team to play out from their own 22 at international level.

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Post by Geordie Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:00 am

I see the squad sprint times have been released and Cadan Murley is the quickest....wow.

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Post by Poorfour Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:17 am

Geordie wrote:I see the squad sprint times have been released and Cadan Murley is the quickest....wow.

It’s easy to underestimate Murley - I did for several years at Quins because we had more visible back three players like Green and Lynagh coming through - but then the stats started mounting up. The kid just gets on with doing the job, and does it very well. Probably the one gap he has at international level is his lack of height, which gives him a disadvantage under the high ball.

I’ll be surprised (but pleased) if he makes the final squad, but I think he has potential in the next RWC cycle. If not, well, he still has a few more tries to go to beat Chris Ashton’s Premiership record.
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Post by Geordie Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:39 am

I hope he makes the squad Poorfour. He's clearly a top class winger. We need to be putting players in now for their strengths and the problems they'll cause opposition not ignoring rhem because rhey have one area that's not as strong.

Adapt....put Steward on the wing for defensive kicks etc etc...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:42 am

nlpnlp wrote:If anybody thinks England have the front 5 players to go down the bomb squad route then they are dreaming.  Look at the world cup final 2019, the Autumn international 2022 - South Africa with whatever front five they had playing destroyed the English scrum, ruck and maul.

People talk about New Zealand kicking a lot - I believe for the last couple of years France have kicked more than anyone else.  England can kick all they like, but when the only reason they have for kicking is to hit the "We kick a lot" statistic - they are not going to get anywhere.  France and New Zealand kick for a reason with a purpose in mind, that is the difference.

England have an incredibly easy world cup draw which should get them to the quarter finals without any difficulty, and to the semi's with any kind of performance.  I think SB is picking a squad to get to the quarters/semis with no hope whatsoever of reaching the final.  Is this what "we" want - a bang average, boring team, to get to the quarter finals with absolutely no hope of winning?   I would rather gamble, pick a Mercer rather than a Billy, a Mitchell rather than a Youngs and at least give it a go at winning.

Not dreaming. Merely paying attention.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:44 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
nlpnlp wrote:If anybody thinks England have the front 5 players to go down the bomb squad route then they are dreaming.  Look at the world cup final 2019, the Autumn international 2022 - South Africa with whatever front five they had playing destroyed the English scrum, ruck and maul.

People talk about New Zealand kicking a lot - I believe for the last couple of years France have kicked more than anyone else.  England can kick all they like, but when the only reason they have for kicking is to hit the "We kick a lot" statistic - they are not going to get anywhere.  France and New Zealand kick for a reason with a purpose in mind, that is the difference.

England have an incredibly easy world cup draw which should get them to the quarter finals without any difficulty, and to the semi's with any kind of performance.  I think SB is picking a squad to get to the quarters/semis with no hope whatsoever of reaching the final.  Is this what "we" want - a bang average, boring team, to get to the quarter finals with absolutely no hope of winning?   I would rather gamble, pick a Mercer rather than a Billy, a Mitchell rather than a Youngs and at least give it a go at winning.
Here's my disconnect. mate.  How can England give it a go at winning when Borthwick appears, at least to me, to be picking a team and will likely play tactics which are designed to avoid losing, not winning.    

France kick the most and by a distance.

England if they adopt the Tigers strategy kick for a reason and with more than one tactic to their game. The kick chase was shocking in the 6N, a reason that I think Borthwick changed the wingers round and brought back Watson post injury towards the end of the campaign. The forwards also disappointed in that regard. Tigers often used the tactic of kicking slightly longer then tackling the catcher as soon as he took the ball. The forward following up would attack the ruck with one of the breakdown nuisances lined up to attack the almost inevitable forward carry that follows as the opposition realign. Tigers were good at generating penalties from the tactic or generally being enough of a menace that the opposition kick back.

Tigers teams under Borthwick looked to play in the opposition third and had the confidence to try their hand from further out if they thought it was on.

Borthwick's general tactic is to play in the right areas of the pitch which is very similar to France albeit the kicking tactics are different to achieve it. England don't have the team to play out from their own 22 at international level.

Again, they do. They don't have the coaches to implement it.

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Post by mountain man Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:59 am

Borthwick's general tactic is to play in the right areas of the pitch which is very similar to France albeit the kicking tactics are different to achieve it. England don't have the team to play out from their own 22 at international level.

Well it's every teams tactic to play in right area. Going on some games in 6N England don't have team to play into opposition 22. So they kick possession away.

Bit tongue in cheek but it's not far off!

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Post by Mr Bounce Sat 08 Jul 2023, 11:49 am

Geordie wrote:I see the squad sprint times have been released and Cadan Murley is the quickest....wow.

I'm not entirely certain that all players are on that list. For example I'd expect Arundell to be quicker than Slade and Porter.

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 08 Jul 2023, 12:03 pm

Geordie wrote:I see the squad sprint times have been released and Cadan Murley is the quickest....wow.
Where did you see those stats?  I would like to look at it.  

What distance(s) were they sprinting?  Would be interesting if they were running 40s (yards).  Then we could compare to American Football players where the 40 is the standard sprint measure.

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Post by Poorfour Sat 08 Jul 2023, 12:40 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Geordie wrote:I see the squad sprint times have been released and Cadan Murley is the quickest....wow.
Where did you see those stats?  I would like to look at it.  

What distance(s) were they sprinting?  Would be interesting if they were running 40s (yards).  Then we could compare to American Football players where the 40 is the standard sprint measure.

I’ve only seen it on Rugbydump - https://www.rugbydump.com/news/england-backs-sprint-times-released1/

The times they’re quoting, which from the article were taken from them using a stopwatch on the England clip, range from 5.74s to 6.94s, but no distance is mentioned. That makes me think it was probably a 50m sprint rather than gridiron’s standard 40m sprint. Rugby players are generally slower than gridiron players because they need to balance endurance with outright pace, but May’s peak 40m speed was clocked at over 10m/s a few years back, which would give him close to a 4s 40m.

Murley looks like he hasn’t skipped leg day in a couple of years - I’ve seen him up close at the Stoop and his thighs are huge, especially for his overall size. He has a great leg drive in the tackle and scores a lot of tries driving a defender over the line. So not surprising he’s quick - but surprising he’s quite that quick.

Steward was the slowest in the group shown which I think supports my view that he needs to work on his acceleration. He’s got decent pace (and very good momentum) once he’s up to speed but needs room to get there, which will be a weakness against a good kick chase.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 08 Jul 2023, 3:01 pm

Poorfour wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Geordie wrote:I see the squad sprint times have been released and Cadan Murley is the quickest....wow.
Where did you see those stats?  I would like to look at it.  

What distance(s) were they sprinting?  Would be interesting if they were running 40s (yards).  Then we could compare to American Football players where the 40 is the standard sprint measure.

I’ve only seen it on Rugbydump - https://www.rugbydump.com/news/england-backs-sprint-times-released1/

The times they’re quoting, which from the article were taken from them using a stopwatch on the England clip, range from 5.74s to 6.94s, but no distance is mentioned. That makes me think it was probably a 50m sprint rather than gridiron’s standard 40m sprint. Rugby players are generally slower than gridiron players because they need to balance endurance with outright pace, but May’s peak 40m speed was clocked at over 10m/s a few years back, which would give him close to a 4s 40m.

Murley looks like he hasn’t skipped leg day in a couple of years - I’ve seen him up close at the Stoop and his thighs are huge, especially for his overall size. He has a great leg drive in the tackle and scores a lot of tries driving a defender over the line. So not surprising he’s quick - but surprising he’s quite that quick.

Steward was the slowest in the group shown which I think supports my view that he needs to work on his acceleration. He’s got decent pace (and very good momentum) once he’s up to speed but needs room to get there, which will be a weakness against a good kick chase.

It's worth noting that we have no idea whether it was a max speed rep or just one of several sprint sets they were doing to work up their fitness.

Steward is not far off a stone heavier than most of the guys there who weigh around 15 stone whilst Freddie is up at nearly 16.

Steward is unlikely to suffer against a good kick chase because he's so good in the air and his positioning work is solid. He tends to be moving when he comes down with the ball so has the momentum already which mitigates acceleration issues. His size and skill set means he can ride tackles, throw wide passes to wingers or return a lot of kicks with interest.

With someone of that height you will always have an issue with acceleration. Usain Bolt is generally considered the greatest sprinter of all time but has not a great starter. Even breaking the world record he didn't take the lead in the first half of the race and in 2012 left it to the final third to pull away.

Personally I'd like to see Steward keep working on his footwork. We've started to see more but increased agility is more likely to get him out of difficulty than anything else. As Geordan Murphy in the twilight of his career and Mike Brown tended to demonstrate you don't need to be rapid to beat the first defender if you have good feet or a nice swerve in your back pocket. I think he and several of the younger Tigers guys have been training with some of the sprint coaches up at Loughborough University and there's some pretty exceptional ones there.

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Post by carpet baboon Sat 08 Jul 2023, 6:58 pm

Steward to 12. I'm telling you it's the future

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sat 08 Jul 2023, 8:53 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Steward to 12. I'm telling you it's the future

All right Sir Clive calm down. We've been waiting some time for a reliable fullback let's not start shifting him round the backline just yet.

Seb Atkinson and Dan Kelly are both coming through nicely at 12 as well.

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 08 Jul 2023, 10:14 pm

I wouldn't worry about what Steward can't do, he solidified England at 15 in a way we haven't seen on an England team in quite a few years.  OK, not perfect, neither the quickest nor the most agile, but fullback is at least one position we don't have to worry about for now.  And, I think is one thing Eddie Jones got right.  

Regarding the 40 times, I believe about 4.19 seconds is the record.  The shorter the distance the more important the start.  They use the 40 because most players don't run more than 40 yards in any play.  To me, the same could apply to Rugby.  But this is why I am interested in the distance, which I would agree is probably a 50 metre run, which is about 55 yards.   It's only one measure amongst many, but a nice standardised way to compare players.  Would like to see the numbers for the whole squad.

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Post by mountain man Sun 09 Jul 2023, 9:22 am

For Steward to be moved from 15 would take a combination of him having many nightmare games there coupled with someone else being stellar. Can't see it. I can see a case where Arundell might be tried at 15 so Steward temporarily moved to wing but otherwise Steward is as assured of position as Youngs is as starting 9. Hmmm, not greatest analogy but anyway.

FB is at least ONE position in backline that we can rely on to be good and sure of being selected there. And I would think vast majority of Eng fans agree. Same can't be said for just about every other position in backs which goes to show issues there still are.

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Post by mountain man Sun 09 Jul 2023, 10:45 am

As for Eddie's Australia, they've just been hammered by SA 43-12. Wonder how the press interviews are.
NZ beat Arg 41-12.

Old world order still intact it seems.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 09 Jul 2023, 10:56 am

mountain man wrote:As for Eddie's Australia, they've just been hammered by SA 43-12. Wonder how the press interviews are.
NZ beat Arg 41-12.

Old world order still intact it seems.
Actually saw an immediate post-match interview with the esteemed Mr. Jones.  I doubt it was shown on tv but was shown on the stream I receive.  He was polite but not put under any pressure by the interviewer.  And he was also a bit subdued.  He did give the Boks credit for clamping down on the Wallaby attack and dominating the match.  I don't know what went down if he faced a pool of reporters afterwards.

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Post by mountain man Sun 09 Jul 2023, 11:14 am

doctor_grey wrote:
mountain man wrote:As for Eddie's Australia, they've just been hammered by SA 43-12. Wonder how the press interviews are.
NZ beat Arg 41-12.

Old world order still intact it seems.
Actually saw an immediate post-match interview with the esteemed Mr. Jones.  I doubt it was shown on tv but was shown on the stream I receive.  He was polite but not put under any pressure by the interviewer.  And he was also a bit subdued.  He did give the Boks credit for clamping down on the Wallaby attack and dominating the match.  I don't know what went down if he faced a pool of reporters afterwards.

I was thinking more of the nonsense he used to trot out when Eng coach. Used to wind me up as it only put pressure on team. In fairness he always praised opposition and defended Eng players post match, it's more the pre match interviews that got me going. Just wondering if he's doing same now as Aus coach.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 09 Jul 2023, 11:35 am

mountain man wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
mountain man wrote:As for Eddie's Australia, they've just been hammered by SA 43-12. Wonder how the press interviews are.
NZ beat Arg 41-12.

Old world order still intact it seems.
Actually saw an immediate post-match interview with the esteemed Mr. Jones.  I doubt it was shown on tv but was shown on the stream I receive.  He was polite but not put under any pressure by the interviewer.  And he was also a bit subdued.  He did give the Boks credit for clamping down on the Wallaby attack and dominating the match.  I don't know what went down if he faced a pool of reporters afterwards.

I was thinking more of the nonsense he used to trot out when Eng coach. Used to wind me up as it only put pressure on team. In fairness he always praised opposition and defended Eng players post match, it's more the pre match interviews that got me going. Just wondering if he's doing same now as Aus coach.
OK understand. I didn't read any immediate pre-match interviews, nor frankly, did I read any articles in the week leading up to the match. That might have been my way to avoid a dose of Eddie.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 09 Jul 2023, 9:39 pm

There was rumours that he'd had a go at SA for disrespecting Aus by putting out a second string.....that one aged well if true.

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Post by RiscaGame Sun 09 Jul 2023, 11:39 pm

There doesn’t seem to be a rumour of that, as he got asked post game and seemed a bit snappy. Half baked SA team or something.

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