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England still winning the RWC at a canter - The quarter finals and beyond

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Oct 08, 2023 12:20 pm

First topic message reminder :

Carried on..............

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri Dec 15, 2023 1:39 pm

Poorfour wrote:Most of us felt that reaching a semi-final was the most probable outcome for England just given the draw and our historic track record against the likely key opponents Argentina, Japan, Fiji, Wales or Australia.

So it comes down to the performances. The three significant ones were against Argentina, Fiji and South Africa.

The Argentina game was shaped by Curry's red card. In a key game and a player down, there's no way England should have been playing expansive rugby. It was tactically astute rugby, and England controlled the game against a team who went into the match with a higher ranking.

The Fiji game was a little more open, and England let them back into the game having built a comfortable lead - but responded and did enough to win.

England put the Boks on the back foot in a way that only Ireland had done better in the tournament, and very nearly weathered the comeback. The winning penalty was awarded in a scrum where both sides had infringed and for Genge putting a knee down, something the Bomb Squad had got away with at an earlier scrum. England still lost, but to lose to the ultimate winners on margins that fine was something that had looked well beyond England during the 6N.

If you choose not to see that as progress, then that's your prerogative. But it ignores a lot that has changed.

As for "alter his approach radically", well I predict right now that not only are you going to be disappointed but that you've already decided you're going to be disappointed whatever happens.

For one thing, I doubt that whatever he does will ever be radical enough for you, even if it works.

For another, Borthwick is not going to throw out the basics he's established, and building an international attack takes time. The coaches have limited time with the players, and the players have limited game time together. Getting the detail, timing and precision of different aspects of an attack working uses up that time, so nearly all coaches build it a bit at a time.

Eddie Jones even chose to forgo scrummaging sessions so that he could build a radical attacking plan, and lost his job when neither the scrum nor the attack worked properly. Borthwick, like most coaches, is unlikely to take that big a gamble.

Argentina was a good performance given the red card but I don't agree that it was shaped as far as tactics were concerned because of that. We played the same kick and hope way that we did for the rest. SA, well the weather meant it was always going to be tight but I didn't think we were ever winning that. I haven't really seen any progress under Borthwick. How many months did he have the players together, was it 4 or 5 can't quite remember, if that isn't enough time for him to develop more than he did he's never going to.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri Dec 15, 2023 1:41 pm

king_carlos wrote:No one's said that the approach will radically change. We think it will evolve as the team improves. Like pretty much all good coaches do in international rugby.

By keeping repeating that we think there will be radical change it gives you the chance to say we were wrong about something no one but you has said will happen though. So presumably that's going to keep getting pedalled too.

Yep the spot on prediction for the RWC that varied through, getting to a SF due to a lucky draw then get hammered. But maybe lose to Japan and Argentina. But probably top the group. Because of the draw. Unless they don't top the group. In which case they wont. If they make the SF they'll get hammered unless they keep it tight, in which case they might win. Then they might also get lucky and win a final, unless they got hammered in the SF. Fiji could also win the QF. Unless they keep it tight and win by being boring. In which case they will win. Unless they lose.

So to sum up. They'll definitely make a SF unless they go out in the groups, or win the tournament. Such genius predicting. It's just amazing that it turned out correct when you effectively predicted that England would take part in a RWC.

Now for the 2024 Six Nations. They'll come 3rd, 4th or 5th. Unless they lose to Italy. Which you've predicted a few times. Then said it shouldn't happen. But it could. But maybe wont. Unless it does... And we wind tediously on.

Like the kid at school who predicted it would snow next week everyday from October to March. Then when it snowed once he thinks he can predict the weather.

Er no, I predicted top of the group and out in the semis. You can pretend I didn't but it's in black and white. I did say that it's sport anything can happen but to come back to it, I said semi final and out, but then again so did the vast majority. I think my other prediction was that it would be terribly boring rugby too. Got that spot on.

I guess I just don't understand why so many of you are happy with this mediocrity.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri Dec 15, 2023 1:48 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:...My prediction is that England as things stand will win 4 times this year...

You aren't really pinning your colours to the mast. A bit further up, you say we could sneak some games, or flatter to deceive by running teams close. That's called having your cake and eating it.

There's reason to be sceptical of Borthwick's ability to turn England into a consistent, top competitive side. However, if there are no selections or results which would make you reconsider your assessment, then you are playing with a stacked deck.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri Dec 15, 2023 1:56 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:...My prediction is that England as things stand will win 4 times this year...

You aren't really pinning your colours to the mast. A bit further up, you say we could sneak some games, or flatter to deceive by running teams close. That's called having your cake and eating it.

There's reason to be sceptical of Borthwick's ability to turn England into a consistent, top competitive side. However, if there are no selections or results which would make you reconsider your assessment, then you are playing with a stacked deck.


No my prediction is 4 wins. Of course it's sport upsets etc happen but you put all that together in a prediction and plump for something. Hence if I was to put money on it it would be 4 wins in the year.

And I've said pretty much from the off with Borthwick that I would have a real issue if the rugby was dross, and that results do not cover that up for me. It would take some excitement for me to want Borthwick to stay, completely separate to the results. Similar to selections, people are getting excited over the wingers we have available for instance, doen't matter who we pick if we are not aiming to pass to them in space but merely ask them to chase kicks and feed off scraps.

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Post by king_carlos Fri Dec 15, 2023 2:17 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:...My prediction is that England as things stand will win 4 times this year...

You aren't really pinning your colours to the mast. A bit further up, you say we could sneak some games, or flatter to deceive by running teams close. That's called having your cake and eating it.

There's reason to be sceptical of Borthwick's ability to turn England into a consistent, top competitive side. However, if there are no selections or results which would make you reconsider your assessment, then you are playing with a stacked deck.


Precisely. This will definitely happen unless, maybe, possibly, perhaps... Hey I was right again.

If anyone isn't enjoying work I recommend you remortgage and put it all on GB winning between 1 and more than 1 medal at the next Olympics. Enjoy your retirement folks. Thank me later.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri Dec 15, 2023 2:22 pm

king_carlos wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:...My prediction is that England as things stand will win 4 times this year...

You aren't really pinning your colours to the mast. A bit further up, you say we could sneak some games, or flatter to deceive by running teams close. That's called having your cake and eating it.

There's reason to be sceptical of Borthwick's ability to turn England into a consistent, top competitive side. However, if there are no selections or results which would make you reconsider your assessment, then you are playing with a stacked deck.


Precisely. This will definitely happen unless, maybe, possibly, perhaps... Hey I was right again.

If anyone isn't enjoying work I recommend re-mortgaging and putting it all on GB winning between 1 and more than 1 medal at the next Olympics. Enjoy your retirement folks. Thank me later.

Well no, as above you make a prediction but I would imagine particularly in sport you don't think it'll 100% happen so you acknowledge you could be wrong. You can predict that Newcastle would beat Hereford, but then there's always a Ronnie Radford. So Yes I said that I thought that England would get as far as the semi but acknowledged that we could fluke further. You had an issue with that then and now; why?

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Post by king_carlos Fri Dec 15, 2023 3:16 pm

For the same reasons that RF lists. You make a prediction, add 75 qualifying statements and then regardless of which come true claim you were right by some form of mental contortion. Having your cake and eating it too.

The same with selection. You banged on about how Slade would be the 13, there was no point debating it until Marchant was 13. Now you're saying Slade will be 13 again. Which you'll of course be completely correct on if he is but will no doubt have 14 qualifying statements around the pessimistic predictions that allow you to claim soothsaying supremacy regardless.

It's boring as s**t. Multiple posters have tried to reason that given you take zero enjoyment from this anymore it might be an idea to take a break rather than endlessly derailing threads with unconstructive and repetitive whining. Yet still we twirl around this pointless circle of someone trying to spark a decent discussion, a poster or two responding in good faith, then in comes the itty bitty harbinger of doom with his sledge hammer of misery offering the latest variation of, "It's going to be rubbish regardless so why discuss it".

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri Dec 15, 2023 3:22 pm

If England had gone out earlier, or made the final my prediction would have been wrong regardless of any context.

Sorry guys if I don't share your optimism. I will try to tone down any criticism so you can enjoy the threads as much as possible.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri Dec 15, 2023 3:58 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Sorry guys if I don't share your optimism.

It's not about optimism or pessimism. The question is what basis you have for being either, as that's what forum debate is about. There aren't really too many optimists about English rugby here. More just people who are willing to give the current crew the benefit of the doubt.

It's evident you don't give Borthwick the benefit of the doubt. You have no doubt he isn't up to the task, and want the RFU to ditch him at the earliest opportunity. Which is fine, and the kind of opinion which usually makes for good cut and thrust.

When you can't envisage any circumstances which would make you revisit that view, then it's not opinion, it's dogma.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri Dec 15, 2023 4:26 pm

Yeah that's true. But the thought is based on past evidence is my only excuse.

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Post by king_carlos Fri Dec 15, 2023 4:51 pm

Martin and Watson both returning with Tigers this weekend. Timely for Tigers and potentially England.

Dan Kelly getting another outing at 13 too. I rate him really highly but he's had a poor season thus far. His defensive leadership, tackling and jackal work are usually top notch from 12. Tigers defensive alignment has been abject in many games and only really improved with Matt Scott getting fit at 13. Kata has impressed more than Kelly at 12 as well. I'm hoping that the experience at 13 does him good in long term as a 12 and helps round his game.

Langdon
Barbeary
CCS
Dingwall
Freeman
Murley
Roebuck
Carpenter

Those are the particular names who weren't in the RWC squad that have been consistently catching my eye. Others have been doing it more intermittently.

Painter is a good example of someone impressing less regularly. I saw some games early in the season when I thought, "Hey, here's the TH who could potentially offer something England rarely find in props". Size isn't everything but international props are generally getting bigger and Painter has a huge frame. Then I've seen games where 35 minutes in I suddenly went, "Oh, s**t, Painter's playing today". Doing his best latter years Carl Fearns impression.

Obano another in that more intermittent category.

Despite Dingwall continuing to really impress me for Saints I do have concerns about him lacking the punch for international rugby. I'd say Kelly at his best form has a bit more than Dingwall in contact. Especially in the carry. Dingwall does seem to be hitting harder in the tackle to be fair. Even then I have similar concerns that Kelly might lack the power to crash over the gain line and not quite have the distribution or kicking to be a more rounded centre.

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Post by Geordie Fri Dec 15, 2023 8:39 pm

What did you think of Stuart's performance v Klitschkoff last week KC?...give him a torrid time.

I agree about painter. Seen some good games but his work around the park is less than Cole...even the close in stuff like fringe tackles are questionable. But this is the first few months Baxter has had with him...so see how he goes over the rest of the season. He'll get fitter...

Murley really needs to be involved...but Roebuck is someone with a bit of size to him...16 stone and 6'2...and still got pace.

You dont mention Atkinson...and big Ted might be back soon Wink

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Post by Mr Bounce Fri Dec 15, 2023 10:04 pm

I still think Ibitoye is worth a look at winger. He may be far from a finished article but he's got a lot of potential. I think he's got a good mix of X factor and finishing about him. Still, probably something missing for Steve and his clipboard.

I think many of us would love to see a clear out a la 2012 following the RWC disaster, but that won't happen. Just a couple of names I don't really want to see in the squad again - Billy Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler and Max Malins are high on that list.

If they're fit, some new names I would like to see in the wider 6N squad are Ted Hill (I know he has caps but he wasn't a regular), CCS, Tom Willis, Zach Mercer, Ehren Painter, Fin Baxter, Gabriel Ibitoye, Tom Pearson, Cadan Murley, Seb Atkinson, Will Joseph and Ben Spencer. I think we'd be lucky to get half of them.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri Dec 15, 2023 11:43 pm

Painter is never going to get round the park like Sinckler or Stuart. Cole in the right defence worked well at international level because he was good at reloading in defence. Painter doesn't have to do anything fancy if he can do the tight work and get back into position quickly. Adding his significant weight to the maul, scum and close to the line would have it's merit.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:46 am

And that's how I see it with Painter Sam i dont expect him flying about hes an old school tight head. I just think he needs a bit of work yet....but it's a big improvement form where he was. A full season under Baxter, work on his fitness and he should be a contender.  Would definitely look at the A game g94 him


Last edited by Geordie on Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:57 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:52 am

He just needs the bite the bullet and cap Opoku-Fordjour.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:58 am

The lads played 3 games or something from the bench...has he even started a prem game?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:13 am

Does it matter?

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:22 am

I think so yes. Coming off the bench in the prem to international scrummaging is a different animal.

I'd like to see him make the starting sale spot his this season.

I'd be amazed if he's looked at...maybe the A game at a push...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:29 am

His scrummaging is excellent. Defence sound. Comfortable with the ball. The only thing I can see against him is he's 19. When you compare his game to Painters,we'll it's not a fair contest. I'd just have him on the bench vs Italy.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:34 am

He certainly looks a hell of a prospect...but if Sanderson won't even start him for Sale yet or have him as his starting Tight head I just can't see him getting an England call.

Maybe as an apprentice if they still happen...but they will be telling him to work on claiming the Sale starting spot his.

Painters game is very different...I'm not sure if he will get an England call either.

I think it'll be the same 3 for the moment. Stuart gave Klitschoff a horrible afternoon last weekend...but I think Sincklers spot is up for grabs.

I'm struggling to think of the EQ tightheads in the prem.

Trevor Davison
Schonnert
Collier
Fasogabon?
Hayes

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:37 am

Ah there's James Harper at sale and Hoyt at Tigers aswell....

That's about 5/6 very young tight heads coming through....and some big units


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Post by Rugby Fan Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:38 am

Telegraph:

On Wednesday at Sale’s sodden Carrington training ground, England scrum coach Tom Harrison popped in to discuss Opoku-Fordjour’s progress, among other matters, with the Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson, although their views are not fully aligned.

“He sees Asher as a loosehead,” Sanderson said. “I disagree. I think we have a lot of looseheads with good mobility and a bit of fast twitch and it’s an easier position to get technically right. Asher can work at tighthead and that is really rare, as rare as teddy bear s---. He could be a good loosehead but similar to others in his position like Bev (Rodd). He could be an exceptional tighthead given his mobility and his ability to stick in the scrum.”

Opoku-Fordjour remains on the outer fringes of Harrison’s radar. Starting tighthead James Harper, who can squat 300kg and bench press 200kg, is a more likely candidate to come into the equation for the Six Nations.

https://sports.yahoo.com/rare-teddy-bear-asher-opoku-143712071.html

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:44 am

Geordie wrote:Ah there's James Harper at sale and Hoyt at Tigers aswell....

That's about 5/6 very young tight heads coming through....and some big units

But who is scrummaging better than Opoku-Fordjour at the moment at tight head?I haven't seem anyone.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:45 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Telegraph:

On Wednesday at Sale’s sodden Carrington training ground, England scrum coach Tom Harrison popped in to discuss Opoku-Fordjour’s progress, among other matters, with the Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson, although their views are not fully aligned.

“He sees Asher as a loosehead,” Sanderson said. “I disagree. I think we have a lot of looseheads with good mobility and a bit of fast twitch and it’s an easier position to get technically right. Asher can work at tighthead and that is really rare, as rare as teddy bear s---. He could be a good loosehead but similar to others in his position like Bev (Rodd). He could be an exceptional tighthead given his mobility and his ability to stick in the scrum.”

Opoku-Fordjour remains on the outer fringes of Harrison’s radar. Starting tighthead James Harper, who can squat 300kg and bench press 200kg, is a more likely candidate to come into the equation for the Six Nations.

https://sports.yahoo.com/rare-teddy-bear-asher-opoku-143712071.html

Oh Jesus christ.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:51 am

Well this weekend will be hugely interesting....up against Leinster...

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:58 am

In fact...Harper starting, Fjdpur on the bench and big Bamber starting again...he's a huge young lock...with a league background...played well last week

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 9:16 am

Always a big test against Leinster. Why are we attempting to move a hugely promising tight head who is taking to the pro game like a duck to water though?

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Post by Margin_Walker Sat Dec 16, 2023 9:28 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Always a big test against Leinster. Why are we attempting to move a hugely promising tight head who is taking to the pro game like a duck to water though?

Not sure anyone's really attempting to move him. He's started this season at TH, but was playing LH all through the U20s campaign last season. Clearly has a background both sides.

Clearly a big prospect, but a teenage prop needs a proper season or two under his belt to properly learn the trade before being thrown in against international front rows.


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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 9:38 am

Didn't France cap Bamba around that sort of age?

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 10:24 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Didn't France cap Bamba around that sort of age?

And where is he now?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 10:41 am

Lyon I think.

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Post by Margin_Walker Sat Dec 16, 2023 11:22 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Didn't France cap Bamba around that sort of age?

He was a similar age when he got 20 mins off the bench against Fiji as Opoku will be at the start of the 6N. By the time Bamba got proper 6N tests he was older. Bamba was also in his second season of Top 14 rugby and starting every week for Brive by the time of his first cap. He was also bigger (not everything, but it helps when looking at overall pack weights etc)

If Opoku plays all season, including multiple Prem/Champ Cup starts and is still getting talked about in the same way, then sure, let's do it. 6N is likely too soon for anything other than an apprentice squad slot imo unless he is really dominating week on week in the prem.

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Post by king_carlos Sat Dec 16, 2023 11:48 am

Geordie wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Didn't France cap Bamba around that sort of age?

And where is he now?

To be fair Bamba was on a very good trajectory before injury. He was a fantastic impact sub for France at one point. Around the time that they were shifting from Camille Chat to Mauvaka as their sub hooker. They'd bring Bamba on simultaneously with other forwards and he'd wreak havoc at the breakdown as well as carrying.

After seeing what SA did in the 2019 RWC with their forward subs a lot of teams started looking at 'role players' such as that off the bench. Bamba was a really good example. They gave him a specific role with 25 to 30 minutes left. In defence he just pressured breakdowns hard. In attack he just carried hard off 9. And did both with insane regularity for a TH given his athleticism and being fresh off the bench. It's easy to forget given France's depth but when he was first unavailable it was viewed as a big loss for them.

Whilst he struggled more with injury they had Antonio develop from a good TH to a world class one. Sipili Falatea also came through as another giant impact sub specialist. Then Aldegheri got a belated chance to show his long term scrummaging prowess from Toulouse due to the injuries. They're just very strong indeed at TH. Bamba would be on the bench at least for a decent number of sides.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 12:15 pm

And was his early introduction a contributing factor to the injuries?

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Post by king_carlos Sat Dec 16, 2023 12:27 pm

Margin_Walker wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Didn't France cap Bamba around that sort of age?

He was a similar age when he got 20 mins off the bench against Fiji as Opoku will be at the start of the 6N. By the time Bamba got proper 6N tests he was older. Bamba was also in his second season of Top 14 rugby and starting every week for Brive by the time of his first cap. He was also bigger (not everything, but it helps when looking at overall pack weights etc)

If Opoku plays all season, including multiple Prem/Champ Cup starts and is still getting talked about in the same way, then sure, let's do it. 6N is likely too soon for anything other than an apprentice squad slot imo unless he is really dominating week on week in the prem.

This is a reason I really like the "tight five camps" the RFU are now running for leading academy players, particularly the bigger ones. Size isn't everything but there are times when I see U18 props in the academy league who are very well coached, good technique in the scrum, good skills around the park, etc. But it just looks so unlikely that they have a frame to end up big enough for the modern game.

Picking on size at a young age can be dirty phrase but I like the idea of identifying the bigger tight five players early and getting them into that sort of specialised coaching pathway. There will always be outliers. Ox Nche is a square and a freakish scrummager. Generally international props are getting bigger though.

There absolutely needs to be a pathway for the later bloomers too. Guys who are fantastic technically at U18 but maybe don't get big enough for the pro game until their mid twenties rather than early twenties. That pathway to me should be things like the lower nat leagues, a properly run Championship and BUCS (which has improved a lot to be fair). Let the slower physical developers play in the good quality lower leagues and simply develop at their rate. Then good scouting should be able to find them when they hit the Championship. That of course requires a funded Championship with joined up thinking through the system though.

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Post by lostinwales Sat Dec 16, 2023 12:37 pm

Geordie wrote:And was his early introduction a contributing factor to the injuries?

My thoughts also.Players take time to 'harden up' even if they can do the athletic bits at a young age. Players that really are the complete package from an early age are very rare.

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Post by king_carlos Sat Dec 16, 2023 12:40 pm

Geordie wrote:And was his early introduction a contributing factor to the injuries?

It'd be complete conjecture for us to try to guess from a distance being realistic. An ankle contusion ruled him out of the 2023 RWC after being in their training squad. Thigh injury ruled him out of 2019. Knee surgery between RWCs.

Margin is right to point out he was first choice at Brive with lots of starts that season before starting and playing significant minutes.

He's not started a senior game. In fact, the only starts I can find for him beyond U18s are 3 starts at LH with England U20s. His first games I can find at TH are these off the bench for Sale.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 1:40 pm

Just going by form he should be being considered.

Mercer has got great write ups from yesterday.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 1:43 pm

Yes I saw Mercer played the full 80 mins but didn't know how he went.

SB wouldn't be doing himself any favours if he ignored him and picked Billy again....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 2:30 pm

He's having an abysmal game today but he was picked when unfit last time so who knows.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:02 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:He's having an abysmal game today but he was picked when unfit last time so who knows.

Who is?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:10 pm

Billy Vunipola.

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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 3:24 pm

Billy shouldn't be anywhere near the England camp. If SB wants a Billy or Jasper Wiese type...then it's Barbeary...otherwise apparently Zac Mercer was very good last night.

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Post by Poorfour Sat Dec 16, 2023 5:01 pm

Ollie Hartley was impressive today. Early days for him yet, but one to watch
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Post by Geordie Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:23 pm

Poorfour wrote:Ollie Hartley was impressive today. Early days for him yet, but one to watch

We've mentioned him quite a few times on here...went to Sarries after wasps collapse. Where was he playing...12 or 15?

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