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

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Fri Jun 30, 2023 9:38 pm

First topic message reminder :

Continued.....

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Post by lostinwales Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:05 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Great squad that. As suggested by the Torygraph.Completely the right idea to have a flanker cover 8 for the tournament, allows Billy to get the run of 80 mins he needs for fitness consistently, but then we have the likes of Earl or Curry adding their carrying from the base as required. Initially surprised by Dan's inclusion but as Borthwick said we need to get back to traditional strengths and I think although we lost a few lineouts etc he's best placed in this squad. Exciting times.

Have you been kidnapped?

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:08 pm

lostinwales wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Great squad that. As suggested by the Torygraph.Completely the right idea to have a flanker cover 8 for the tournament, allows Billy to get the run of 80 mins he needs for fitness consistently, but then we have the likes of Earl or Curry adding their carrying from the base as required. Initially surprised by Dan's inclusion but as Borthwick said we need to get back to traditional strengths and I think although we lost a few lineouts etc he's best placed in this squad. Exciting times.

Have you been kidnapped?

I think I prefer the constant Mallins/Youngs complaining 7.5 over this new improved version if I'm honest.

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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:15 pm

Well...they have to focus on the handling / turnover issues, and sort the defence out.

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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:20 pm

So probables starting team from this lot....

1 Genge
2 George
3 (Sinkler v Stuart??)
4 Itoje
5 (Ribbans v Martin v Chessum??)
6 Lawes
7 Curry
8 (Vunipola v Ludlum??)

9 JVP
10 Ford
11 Daly
12 Farrell
13 Tuilagi
14 (Malins v Arundell?? )
15 Steward

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:24 pm

There's plenty to be positive about now though. Think you saw the improvement from the 6Ns, Malins was winning balls in the air consistently allowing us better territory. You can see the real clear purpose in the squad as well.

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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:28 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:There's plenty to be positive about now though. Think you saw the improvement from the 6Ns, Malins was winning balls in the air consistently allowing us better territory. You can see the real clear purpose in the squad as well.
Ah give it a rest man....

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Post by lostinwales Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:29 pm

Having Billy as sole no.8 seems to be a massive gamble given his injury woes. Not optimistic - not optimistic at all. Just feels like we'll be back to that very risk adverse style which will depend upon the odd moment of inspiration to get scores but will generally lead to fighting losses and lots of talk of encouraging signs and room for improvement, but no real changes.

There is still time for Borthwick to prove me wrong, and it is wrong to base an opinion on one game. I am. or rather was, very hopeful about having someone like him as coach. I just hope it won't be like his England captaincy, where there was so much initial optimism about his intelligence and the master of the lineout thing, but he proved to be uninspiring and was not missed at all when injury ruled him out.

The picture I have stuck in my head from the weekend is Care basically overseeing a defensive ruck on what looked like the half way line. Everything slow, no threat, just eating up time before giving the ball back to Wales when we were already behind on the scoreline.

I just want to see some passion in our game. Scotland showed it at the weekend, why can't we? As it is I can't help feeling I am going to really struggle to find the motivation to watch the games

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Post by mountain man Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:30 pm

Geordie wrote:So probables starting team from this lot....

1 Genge
2 George
3 (Sinkler v Stuart??)
4 Itoje
5 (Ribbans v Martin v Chessum??)
6 Lawes
7 Curry
8 (Vunipola v Ludlum??)

9 JVP
10 Ford
11 Daly
12 Farrell
13 Tuilagi
14 (Malins v Arundell?? )
15 Steward

Stuart
Chessum if fit
Billy at 8 if fit Ludlum 7 Curry bench
Arundell wing if fit

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:30 pm

Malins was far from great, but he was excellent in the air and did win a lot of ball.....

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Post by Yoda Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:33 pm

Geordie wrote:So probables starting team from this lot....

1 Genge
2 George
3 (Sinkler v Stuart??)
4 Itoje
5 (Ribbans v Martin v Chessum??)
6 Lawes
7 Curry
8 (Vunipola v Ludlum??)

9 JVP
10 Ford
11 Daly
12 Farrell
13 Tuilagi
14 (Malins v Arundell?? )
15 Steward

We might see a farrell Lawrence tualagi partnership and perhaps Ludlum at 8 more and more. I always thought he would make a good 8. We may also see someone else at fullback on Saturday to time them game time there, perhaps malins who was pretty good in the air. If we get Watson and Arundel on the wings we could have some serious gas out wide for once.

For all the criticism levelled at borthwick at least he had the balls to cut some dead wood loose. However dropping mercer seems a tad daft now.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:33 pm

Exactly Sarge. The team clearly held stuff back last Saturday as why would you want to show your hand ahead of the WC. I keep coming back to the basic structure and how we will play is now well set. Percentage rugby wins more games.

Also think that a swap to a crash ball centre in either Tuilagi or Lawrence will do wonders. It's good to see the forwards piling in but something a bit wider would add another dimension.

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Post by TJ Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:43 pm

I keep coming back to the basic structure and how we will play is now well set. Percentage rugby wins more games.

thats worked well for you in recent Calcutta cups Shocked Whistle

*runs away*

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:50 pm

Borthwick can't be blamed for Jones' record TJ. Borthwick and his team have obviously come in and identified that we've played too loose previously. Remember we've literally only had 1 game with this coaching team as well. Yes, we played a little too wide in the first half, which exacerbated handling issues caused by the roof, but the positive was that they put that right at half time.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:53 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Borthwick can't be blamed for Jones' record TJ. Borthwick and his team have obviously come in and identified that we've played too loose previously. Remember we've literally only had 1 game with this coaching team as well. Yes, we played a little too wide in the first half, which exacerbated handling issues caused by the roof, but the positive was that they put that right at half time.

...and lost the second half 14 - 0.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 7:57 pm

That's just a one off though WPI. The 1 out of 10 fluke which proves the rule. The handling errors I think I'm correct in saying went down in the 2nd half which I think would have been the main aim.

I'm half thinking what the plan for Daly may be? Don't think Malins has been played at full back by Borthwick just wondering if we fall back to Daly there?

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Post by king_carlos Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:01 pm

If Watson is available then he'll surely start on the right wing. I'd be very surprised if not anyway.

The same squad as rumoured yesterday then. So the same papers still have their leaks.

As said yesterday I'd have taken Pearson over Earl from that remaining training squad. I rate Earl but Pearson seems to have more power which is what we need. It's very unlikely we'll get through the warmups and tournament without a back row replacement though. It'll be interesting to see who that is if it comes around. The Telegraph article yesterday mentioned that Tom Willis is on the standby list, they got the squad correct.

From outside the training squad I'd have liked to see VRR yesterday instead of Rodd. I'd also have picked Quirke and Mitchell ahead of Youngs and Care despite the Quirke having injuries last season. He just looks a fantastic talent to me.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:10 pm

I'd agree on Watson on the right, soot out between Daly, Malins and Arundell on the left?

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Post by king_carlos Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:21 pm

The 23 for the weekend might not tell us that much about who's first choice if there are still players recovering from knocks. For instance Curry, Walker and Billy might not be available. Chessum and Arundell are apparently back in full training but might not start for instance.

It might give an indication of the structure they are moving towards though.

1.Marler 2.George 3.Stuart 4.Itoje 5.Ribbans 6.Lawes 7.Willis 8.Ludlam
9.JvP 10.Ford 11.Daly 12.Farrell 13.Lawrence 14.Watson 15.Steward

16.Dan 17.Genge 18.Sinckler 19.Chessum 20.Earl 21.Youngs 22.Tuilagi 23.Arundell

I'd probably look at something like that.

It gives Ludlam a run at 8 and would see how the dual opensides work alongside a bigger blindside. Which seems the most likely balance if they go down that route with Ludlam or Curry at 8.

I've been a bit of a Ribbans agnostic until recently. I thought he shone intermittently in the Prem but felt he might be stuck in no mans land as an international lock. Maybe not powerful enough to be be a player with fewer involvements but bigger impacts. Or mobile enough to have a huge work rate. He impressed me against Ireland and again on Saturday though. I'd be interested to see how three strong jumpers and maulers in Ribbans, Itoje and Lawes helped with setting a platform and preventing the opposition setting one.

We really need Marler and Stuart to step-up so there's pressure on Genge and Sinckler. Whilst George needs to be near his best and stay fit. Watching George in the warm-ups will be oddly terrifying. He needs game time to get match sharp as he will likely have to play a lot of minutes. Equally, if he gets injured then hooker is truly f***ed.

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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:26 pm

What stats are Ludlum...roughly 6'3 around 17st? SImilar to Jack Willis?

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:47 pm

Geordie wrote:What stats are Ludlum...roughly 6'3 around 17st? SImilar to Jack Willis?
Not sure about Willis, but Ludlum is about 17st and 6' 3".

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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:50 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Geordie wrote:What stats are Ludlum...roughly 6'3 around 17st? SImilar to Jack Willis?
Not sure about Willis, but Ludlum is about 17st and 6' 3".

Thanks Dr. Willis is 6'3 and 17st...two big lads.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Mon Aug 07, 2023 8:58 pm

Geordie wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Geordie wrote:What stats are Ludlum...roughly 6'3 around 17st? SImilar to Jack Willis?
Not sure about Willis, but Ludlum is about 17st and 6' 3".

Thanks Dr. Willis is 6'3 and 17st...two big lads.

I am surprised, but the Saints web site confirms it, he looks heavier than that. I'm 6'3" and 18 stone, and he looks bigger and is obviously more muscular than me. He certainly players like he is heavier when carrying through heavy traffic.
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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 9:33 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
Geordie wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Geordie wrote:What stats are Ludlum...roughly 6'3 around 17st? SImilar to Jack Willis?
Not sure about Willis, but Ludlum is about 17st and 6' 3".

Thanks Dr. Willis is 6'3 and 17st...two big lads.

I am surprised, but the Saints web site confirms it, he looks heavier than that. I'm 6'3" and 18 stone, and he looks bigger and is obviously more muscular than me. He certainly players like he is heavier when carrying through heavy traffic.

This is why he'll more than likely be playing / covering 8. Hes a big lad, carries hard, is mobile and a good alrounder.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 9:38 pm

You may have thought he'd have been given a chance there vs wales.but.hea obviously playing there in training.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Aug 07, 2023 9:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Borthwick can't be blamed for Jones' record TJ. Borthwick and his team have obviously come in and identified that we've played too loose previously. Remember we've literally only had 1 game with this coaching team as well. Yes, we played a little too wide in the first half, which exacerbated handling issues caused by the roof, but the positive was that they put that right at half time.
Yes indeed, the turnover numbers went down in the second half, but so also did England possession. So, I suppose the coaching staff's solution to reduce turnovers was to enable Wales to have the ball more? And then they would turn the ball over more. Not sure why they didn't follow the plan....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 10:49 pm

Well I'm sure that I heard Jones regularly quoted that teams with less possession actually won more, presumably the risk of giving penalties away to turnovers are more numerous that those given away attacking. The other one often quoted is that those teams which kick more win more, and we certainly lost that on Saturday, think Wales had around 10 more ticks than us. So clear things to work on, and I'm sure if Youngs starts he'll be implementing the tactics a little better.

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Post by king_carlos Mon Aug 07, 2023 10:57 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I'd agree on Watson on the right, soot out between Daly, Malins and Arundell on the left?

Daly or Arundell for me. As said several times I reckon that Daly would've played the role that Malins held in the Six Nations had he not been injured. Arundell was then tried for that role against Ireland whilst adding more pace.

I honestly think Arundell might be better suited to the role that Watson filled in the Six Nations where he was used to cover a ton of ground to allow them to manipulate Steward under the high balls and Malins or the halfbacks into the best position to return a kick from. He's a fullback by trade but I don't think he's got the kicking game of Daly or Malins yet. He can cover ground so fast due to his pace though.

Pace is so often forgotten about as an asset in defence as well as attack. JJ was brilliant at his best at using his pace to be able to blitz whilst still covering the outside arc from 13 in Gustard's aggressive defensive systems. Am and Moroni are other fantastic exponents of that now. Reiko Ioane has improved out of sight in that regard too.

Beauden Barrett has done that when playing 15 throughout his career. From the early days as an impact player off the bench around 2015 to being a locked on starter. His positioning might not be at the level of someone like Keenan but he's simply so quick that he can play a bit deeper than most 15s. Being deeper means it's difficult to make him turn when receiving kicks which buys him time. Then he can make up the extra ground he sometimes has to cover by having absurd acceleration.

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Post by king_carlos Mon Aug 07, 2023 11:02 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:
Geordie wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Geordie wrote:What stats are Ludlum...roughly 6'3 around 17st? SImilar to Jack Willis?
Not sure about Willis, but Ludlum is about 17st and 6' 3".

Thanks Dr. Willis is 6'3 and 17st...two big lads.

I am surprised, but the Saints web site confirms it, he looks heavier than that. I'm 6'3" and 18 stone, and he looks bigger and is obviously more muscular than me. He certainly players like he is heavier when carrying through heavy traffic.

I tend to ignore most rugby weight stats for this reason. They're so inconsistent. Some look like a player was measured as an academy player then never updated on any website. Others seem frankly made up.

McGuigan is my favourite example. I've seen him listed from 6'0" and well over 17 stone (slightly bigger that Jamie George) to 5'8" and under 15 stone (slightly smaller than Harry Thacker). I think McGuigan is a really good player but he's definitely closer to the Thacker end having seen him in person a few times when he was with Tigers.

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Post by lostinwales Mon Aug 07, 2023 11:05 pm

I think less possession can be a consequence of winning, especially when you have a really good aggressive defense and a strong kicking game. I don't think aiming for less possession is going to help unless you fix the other stuff.

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Post by Geordie Mon Aug 07, 2023 11:23 pm

But we dont have the defence to play that game yet.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Aug 07, 2023 11:40 pm

Good to be able to mix it up though. Kicking wasn't quite right and I think we'll see more on Saturday to put that right. Defence and the fitness you need to go with that will be being tailored to peak in a few weeks time so no worries.

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Post by king_carlos Mon Aug 07, 2023 11:58 pm

lostinwales wrote:I think less possession can be a consequence of winning, especially when you have a really good aggressive defense and a strong kicking game. I don't think aiming for less possession is going to help unless you fix the other stuff.

Kicking's fine it just needs to be done on the front foot more.

If the error count from basic handling mistakes remains so high then the tactics are fairly irrelevant though. France's attack isn't going to trouble many teams if they make as many unforced errors as England did on Saturday.

That many errors make all other areas look poor. You can't kick on the front foot so kicking looks negative. You can't attack so that looks rubbish. You're giving the opposition tons of scrum put ins, hence the scrum ends up under pressure.

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue Aug 08, 2023 12:14 am

Surprised no one mentioned something that become fairly clear when i re-watched the game again.

England really seemed to struggle with fitness. Not sure exactly what kind of pre season they had but that would be a big concern more than selection.

On a positive note at least you have a good group. Had you got Scotland's group (instead of them) for example I think it would have been best just not to turn up.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Aug 08, 2023 12:23 am

true. Guess the message is clear, be in a better ranking squad when the draw is due.

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Post by Poorfour Tue Aug 08, 2023 12:46 am

Welshmushroom wrote:Surprised no one mentioned something that become fairly clear when i re-watched the game again.

England really seemed to struggle with fitness.  Not sure exactly what kind of pre season they had but that would be a big concern more than selection.

On a positive note at least you have a good group.  Had you got Scotland's group (instead of them) for example I think it would have been best just not to turn up.

A thought that occurred to me this morning (and seems to concur with some comments from ex-internationals) is that Borthwick may not have tapered the training yet. England looked good early on but heavy-legged later in the game, which is consistent with them still having a heavy training workload.

It would explain a lot: Borthwick was concerned about fitness once he took over, so he has been working them hard in training; equally, the rubber doesn't really meet the road until September 9th and Argentina. The fans won't like it, but he can afford to lose all of the warm up games as long as his squad is as ready as they can be to beat Argentina.

Ironically, that's a tactic I associate more with Gatland than any other coach - and I expect Borthwick won't actually sacrifice the entire warm up series on the altar of fitness.

I was reflecting today that there are shades of 2007 about this squad: a core who went to the previous final; a late change of coach; a chaotic build up - but there are enough good players in the squad that if they start to click they could spring some surprises, especially with the draw they have.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Aug 08, 2023 2:27 am

Borthwicks said he felt he couldn't go with an out and out reserve 8 who couldn't play another position as he'd picked 3 of each specialist. Name dropped curry Earl and ludlam who he counts as cover.

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Post by Poorfour Tue Aug 08, 2023 2:47 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Borthwicks said he felt he couldn't go with an out and out reserve 8 who couldn't play another position as he'd picked 3 of each specialist. Name dropped curry Earl and ludlam who he counts as cover.

It's a fair call given the challenges of RWC squads. Slade fell victim to the same need for versatility, I think. My worry is that Ludlam I think could do a job, but Curry didn't work at 8 and Earl is cut from similar cloth.

If Billy picks up an injury, easy enough to send a replacement. The worry will be if he has a hamstring niggle coming out of, say, the Samoa game.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Aug 08, 2023 2:56 am

Normally I'd be a little worried if say Vunipola went down injured im the warm up but they all must have shown up in training. Apparently everyone was swapping around in training sessions.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue Aug 08, 2023 4:08 am

Poorfour wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:Surprised no one mentioned something that become fairly clear when i re-watched the game again.

England really seemed to struggle with fitness.  Not sure exactly what kind of pre season they had but that would be a big concern more than selection.

On a positive note at least you have a good group.  Had you got Scotland's group (instead of them) for example I think it would have been best just not to turn up.

A thought that occurred to me this morning (and seems to concur with some comments from ex-internationals) is that Borthwick may not have tapered the training yet. England looked good early on but heavy-legged later in the game, which is consistent with them still having a heavy training workload.

It would explain a lot: Borthwick was concerned about fitness once he took over, so he has been working them hard in training; equally, the rubber doesn't really meet the road until September 9th and Argentina. The fans won't like it, but he can afford to lose all of the warm up games as long as his squad is as ready as they can be to beat Argentina.

Ironically, that's a tactic I associate more with Gatland than any other coach - and I expect Borthwick won't actually sacrifice the entire warm up series on the altar of fitness.

I was reflecting today that there are shades of 2007 about this squad: a core who went to the previous final; a late change of coach; a chaotic build up - but there are enough good players in the squad that if they start to click they could spring some surprises, especially with the draw they have.  

Fitness was a big area of concern in the 6N and the hard graft might still be in the legs. I'd be interested to know how much match prep they went through pre Wales game or whether it was the bare minimum as they continued to work towards greater goals.

You'd hope Walters as a previous world cup winning S&C coach knows how to prep a squad ready for a tournament.

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Post by mountain man Tue Aug 08, 2023 4:20 am

Hang on. Fitness was one excuse for poor 6N. Now after weeks in camp they are unfit and that was reason for shambles last match?
I don't buy it. Either they were unfit in which case entire coaching and S&C staff need a shoeing or more likely they were just useless and also refusing to change tactics when they obviously weren't working.
So if they were unfit, then players for this week's match be in similar shape so I guess we'll see.

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Post by Geordie Tue Aug 08, 2023 4:27 am

Apparently Gatland said after the game Wales are fitter than England

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue Aug 08, 2023 4:30 am

mountain man wrote:Hang on. Fitness was one excuse for poor 6N. Now after weeks in camp they are unfit and that was reason for shambles last match?
I don't buy it. Either they were unfit in which case entire coaching and S&C staff need a shoeing or more likely they were just useless and also refusing to change tactics when they obviously weren't working.
So if they were unfit, then players for this week's match be in similar shape so I guess we'll see.

Tired not unfit. In pre season there are blocks where you generally work harder at the start and then taper down the training towards match time. The discussion is over whether England have started tapering yet and whether the players are still working hard physically in training and so not fresh for the friendly.

During the season you are trying to maintain fitness not increase it (unless coming back from injury) so that you are fresh as possible to play but remain match fit.

With the world cup still a month away England might still be flogging the players trying to find another couple percent as opposed to focusing on getting the players match fit for what is ultimately a meaningless friendly outside of match fitness.

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Post by doctor_grey Tue Aug 08, 2023 5:22 am

Geordie wrote:Apparently Gatland said after the game Wales are fitter than England
Gatland actually said he saw some England players literally sucking wind late in the first half.  

There is something more to it than this.  These are world class players for the most part.  Maybe the training sessions are too extreme not allowing players to recover properly before the next session or the next game?   Don't know, but to me this ain't as simple a players out of shape. And I also don't think coaches don't know how get a team ready to play a game.

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Post by mountain man Tue Aug 08, 2023 5:28 am

Well something not right if elite athletes with access to best nutrition training recovery etc are not fit
Either coaches didn't learn from 6N assuming they were unfit then, if which I'm sceptical or there is more to it.
I mean they are monitored day and night in training camp so bit odd if no-one noticed they weren't fit or fit enough.

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Post by TJ Tue Aug 08, 2023 5:50 am

From where I sit it certainly seems that England players are too slow / unfit.  Is the blowing because they spend more time running flat out because they are slow while a quicker player can get into position at 90% of flat out?  It might be interesting to see how often other teams outscore at them in the last 1/4 of the match?  could be an indication?  I am convinced Scotland are quicker and fitter.  i do wish we would get some stats on the speed of players because we can only go on what we see but it looks to me like England players are bulkier thus slower than french or Scots counterparts.

too much time in the gym lifting weights and not enough time running?

How often do you see an england player beat an opponant for speed?

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Post by hugehandoff Tue Aug 08, 2023 6:06 am

The fitness issue seems to be a real one and that confuses me. They apparently have a great S&C team and have worked hard over the summer. Maybe they did not taper off in time before last Sat? This Sat should provide a proper indication of where we are.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue Aug 08, 2023 6:17 am

It is worth remembering Gatland is a class A WUM of Eddie Jones standard.

The second has already been said but I'll repeat. We want to be peaking for the world cup not a one off friendly in Cardiff. We also lost to Wales in Cardiff in the build up to the last world cup. Didn't really mean much then either.

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Post by hugehandoff Tue Aug 08, 2023 6:20 am

Depression

I am staggered at how we are where we are. The dreadful management of our national team since 2019 is breathtaking. Winning RWC teams tend to be experienced, all players including subs, with 20 odd caps, with trusted combos, good set piece & defence and an attack that has had the chance to gel.

We will have inexperienced back up hooker, starting 2nd row alongside Maro, maybe a new combo in the back row and goodness knows what in the midfield. Farrell shunted to 12 again or Ollie and Manu together? Not a great time to experiment. Arundel has not had the opportunities to bed in and so he remains a massive risk.

Optimism

We still have lots of experience, but somehow we need to get them all fit, firing and remaining fit. Lawes and Curry will make a difference. Saracens played some great rugby last season and a version of that with Farrell at 10 would be a good start. At their best we have some very good players like Ellis, Maro, Courtney, Owen etc

SB needs to let the boys play with a lot more speed and flair and then we might have a chance of the semis. Otherwise I fear Eddie will be smiling after knocking us out in the 1/4 finals.

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Post by king_carlos Tue Aug 08, 2023 6:26 am

I thought some players seemed to fade disappointingly quickly at the weekend. I'd also say that they've mostly been left out the 33-man squad now. Dombrandt and Blamire were the obvious ones in the forwards. Pearson, whilst I really rate him, did fade as well.

Cokanasiga and Porter in the backs just looked out of place in terms of quality I thought. So fitness is then quite hard to judge. I can't say I thought either looked particularly exhausted. Simply a way off the required standard in each position.

I did think Care looked tired. And, yes, I agree Youngs has looked short of fitness plenty of times for England in recent years too. The two aren't mutually exclusive though.

The other player in the final 33 that I thought tired in the first half was Will Stuart. Given he missed a lot of last season with injury and he's a prop that isn't a massive worry though. In fact, I think playing someone like Stuart into match sharpness with multiple starts over the next few weeks is a significant purpose of the warmups.

Fitness was clearly a huge issue in the Six Nations but as has been discussed to death I think that's just the Prem being a poorer standard now. The players aren't getting week in, week out high level matches to prepare them anymore. Since the double whammy of ringfencing and the lower cap most weekends now seem to be one or two strong games then far too many duds with rotated squads and high score lines but low quality. The jump to the Six Nations is then absolutely gigantic and many players looked exhausted at the end of the first half and then early in the second half.

If the full strength squad look less fit than the opposition come the RWC then that's very much a coaching fault after such a long training block. A largely second string side, many of whom have now been dropped, fading in the first warmup isn't a big concern to me though.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue Aug 08, 2023 6:45 am

hugehandoff wrote:Depression

We will have inexperienced back up hooker, starting 2nd row alongside Maro

The inexperience at hooker is mainly because we had two Lions hookers in prime condition for most of the last four years. At the periods where they weren't available we had Nic Dolly emerge who suffered a horrific knee injury and missed more than 12 months of rugby and squad selection. We also had Blamire emerge but he's not kicked on and brought sufficient improvements to his set piece game. LCD's injury certainly left us high and dry. Walker has been a revelation since moving to Quins though and Dan is an exciting talent for maybe the next world cup.

Second row, Kruis choice to go to Japan and then retire early was a shock. Lawes lost a stone to focus on the backrow. Removes two of the three first choice locks from last time round. Hill and Ewels couldn't step up so we've gone with Ollie Chessum who at 22 would be struggling to have come through sooner and gained experience, Ribbans who's timed suspension and injury in the past to rule himself out of selection and Martin who the England camp were keeping tabs on for a while and who only started playing lock full time recently.

Some of those areas of inexperience are difficult to avoid and some are because we've got good young talent emerging. Hooker is a bit concerning but my only real criticism there would be Walker not getting more game time in the 6N if we saw him as a potential world cup selection.

Backrow is so attritional not many sides keep a settled backrow selection for a length of time.

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