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England vs Wales

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Yoda
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England vs Wales - Page 5 Empty England vs Wales

Post by bsando Wed Feb 07, 2024 7:42 pm

First topic message reminder :

England vs Wales

Date: Saturday 10th February 2024
Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 4:45pm
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)

TV Coverage: Live on ITV and S4C (UK) and RTÉ (ROI)

Teams

England

15-Steward, 14-Freeman, 13-Slade, 12-Dingwall, 11-Daly, 10-Ford, 9-Mitchell; 1-Stuart, 2-Marler, 3-George (capt), 4-Itoje, 5-Chessum, 6-Roots, 7-Underhill, 8-Earl
Replacements: 16-Dan, 17-Genge, 18-Cole, 19-Coles, 20-Cunningham-South, 21-Care, 22-Smith, 23-Feyi-Waboso

Wales

Winnett; Dyer, North, Tompkins, Adams; Lloyd, Williams; G Thomas, Dee, Assiratti, Jenkins (capt), Beard, Mann, Reffell, Wainwright.

Replacements: Elias, Domachowski, Griffin, Rowlands, Basham, Hardy, Evans, Grady.


Last edited by bsando on Sat Feb 10, 2024 7:26 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:24 am

When we can have these tactics and come away with a 3 point victory against Italy and 2 points at home to Wales with no bonus points these tactics hardly point the way forward. Yes you don't run everything variation and ambition are key.

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Post by mountain man Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:37 am

You won't agree but England are showing signs of variation and ambition. Being down to 13 men tempers ambition a bit but signs are there. Certainly were in Italy game and yesterday it was so tight England just found a way to win.

Do they need to improve? Yes by a long way but availabilty of players will alter what Eng will do to some extent as well. If Marcus Smith starts at 10 then maybe we'll see a bit more.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:47 am

There was more ambition than last year. But its still not good enough. And he's running out of time given the run he has now. He needs to radically alter his approach but is he able to? Still very much doubt it given we're a year in and moving backwards quickly.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:47 am

He needs to get rid of Wigglesworth.

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Post by Geordie Sun Feb 11, 2024 12:18 pm

I think Barbeary being fit would have been interesting....

I think George Martin being fit would be a big boost but he won't be match fit so probably only a bench option.

Apparently Lawrence may be fit for Scotland also...he would be a welcome return.

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Post by Cumbrian Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:12 pm

I think that we desperately need Lawrence to come back into the midfield when he is fit. We don't really have any punch in the backline, other than Freeman. This might be okay if we had the raw pace outside to frighten people, but we don't at the moment.

I'm not sure about the balance of the back-row. I'm not convinced that Roots is the best option available to us.
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Post by lostinwales Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:14 pm

Cumbrian wrote:I think that we desperately need Lawrence to come back into the midfield when he is fit.  We don't really have any punch in the backline, other than Freeman.  This might be okay if we had the raw pace outside to frighten people, but we don't at the moment.

I'm not sure about the balance of the back-row.  I'm not convinced that Roots is the best option available to us.  

Only Earl is nailed on in the backrow and even then his position isn't fixed

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Post by doctor_grey Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:38 pm

Cumbrian wrote:I think that we desperately need Lawrence to come back into the midfield when he is fit.  We don't really have any punch in the backline, other than Freeman.  This might be okay if we had the raw pace outside to frighten people, but we don't at the moment.

I'm not sure about the balance of the back-row.  I'm not convinced that Roots is the best option available to us.  
If Lawrence is available and match fit, England still won't have any punch in the midfield if he doesn't get the ball. Can't blame Dingwall or Slade for not making much of an attacking impact if they never get the ball.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:41 pm

Ireland have outdone our tries vs Italy in 37 minutes. Nilling them and dominant at the scrum and lineout to boot.

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Post by Geordie Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:48 pm

Cumbrian wrote:I think that we desperately need Lawrence to come back into the midfield when he is fit.  We don't really have any punch in the backline, other than Freeman.  This might be okay if we had the raw pace outside to frighten people, but we don't at the moment.

I'm not sure about the balance of the back-row.  I'm not convinced that Roots is the best option available to us.  

He's not. I think it will depend on if CCS's fitness is able for him to play 80 mins....or even 60.

I still think Chessum at 6 is something Borthwick might consider when Martin is back. But is he the type of 6 that we would need. Again...I'm not convinced

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Post by Cumbrian Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:51 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:I think that we desperately need Lawrence to come back into the midfield when he is fit.  We don't really have any punch in the backline, other than Freeman.  This might be okay if we had the raw pace outside to frighten people, but we don't at the moment.

I'm not sure about the balance of the back-row.  I'm not convinced that Roots is the best option available to us.  
If Lawrence is available and match fit, England still won't have any punch in the midfield if he doesn't get the ball.  Can't blame Dingwall or Slade for not making much of an attacking impact if they never get the ball.  

True enough, but I'm hoping (probably foolishly) that this pattern of play won't continue. I'm hoping that Marcus Smith will be fit for Scotland and that we can give him some runners that will make a dent in the opposition's defensive line.
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Post by Yoda Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:57 pm

It's amazing to think when injuries are back the team could change quite dramatically. Tuilagi, Lawrence, smith, Watson, Martin could all come in and add some punch. Personally I would replace roots with Pearson who looks quicker. However this doesn't fix our disconnection in attack. This was alluded to in the rugby pod with Goode and Jim Hamilton.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:01 pm

Given the lack of ball carriers in the pack.why would.you drop Roots.

Better to bring in a proper 8 keep Roota in there and move Earl to 7.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:24 pm

Difference between playing a winger in Lowe in his try for Ireland vs playing an intelligent jack of all trades player on the wing like Daly.

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Post by Yoda Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Given the lack of ball carriers in the pack.why would.you drop Roots.

Better to bring in a proper 8 keep Roota in there and move Earl to 7.

Because Pearson can carry as demonstrated in the premiership. He's also the same size and weight but faster.

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Post by Yoda Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:45 pm

Tom Pearson 6'3”, 114kg
Ethan Roots 6'2 110kg

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:47 pm

But Roots has played 2 games pretty decently surely if you want to introduce him it would make much more sense to drop Underhill and play him in his preferred position anyway?

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Post by doctor_grey Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:51 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:But Roots has played 2 games pretty decently surely if you want to introduce him it would make much more sense to drop Underhill and play him in his preferred position anyway?
It might. But Borthwick ain't going to play two international neophytes on the flanks.  Simply can't see it.

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Post by Yoda Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:But Roots has played 2 games pretty decently surely if you want to introduce him it would make much more sense to drop Underhill and play him in his preferred position anyway?

Tbf I see your point about Pearson's club position but let's face it six and seven jobs and skills are pretty transferable. In fact 8 is also morphing into a hybrid position. Earl is a good 8 in my opinion and also a good 7 but I bet he could also play 6 just as effectively. Pearson is a highly regarded ball carrier and although plays with a seven on his back he plays more like a traditional six.

If I was in charge I would go Pearson, CCS, earl

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:03 pm

I probably wouldn't have gone with him given the abundance but he's had 2 games and looked decent so just feel he's earnt a run.

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Post by Yoda Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I probably wouldn't have gone with him given the abundance but he's had 2 games and looked decent so just feel he's earnt a run.

It would be harsh to drop him. Our problems aren't necessarily personnel but coherence and connection. We saw how connected Ireland are and how effortless they play. That hasn't happened over night and with the bulk at Leinster they have such good understanding of each others game. We are a limited team at the moment hamstrung by unfamiliarity of new systems. Our second half defence was outstanding yesterday so at least we've made progress in one area.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:46 pm

So, now that the dust has settled……..forward pass for the Dingwall try?! Run


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Post by carpet baboon Sun Feb 11, 2024 8:11 pm

Dingwalls try at one point was a 4 on 2 and England nearly ballsed it up

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Post by doctor_grey Sun Feb 11, 2024 8:15 pm

was close.......

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 7:34 am

Yoda wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I probably wouldn't have gone with him given the abundance but he's had 2 games and looked decent so just feel he's earnt a run.

It would be harsh to drop him. Our problems aren't necessarily personnel but coherence and connection. We saw how connected Ireland are and how effortless they play. That hasn't happened over night and with the bulk at Leinster they have such good understanding of each others game. We are a limited team at the moment hamstrung by unfamiliarity of new systems. Our second half defence was outstanding yesterday so at least we've made progress in one area.

I do think it's a bit of both. There are players that could/should come in that could improve this team that are kicking their heels. But then we also have issues with systems. I don't personally have much of an issue with the defence, it was a little error strewn, but has been anyway for the past year. In fairness to Scotland and Wales while they cut through us like butter at times, we scrambled reasonably well and had that what 20 odd phase of defence which was epic, Scotland, Ireland and France will hand us our arses. Despite the cries of missed tackles I think it's slightly misleading and you'll get that more in blitz defence so nothing really to be worried about. The connection and backing from 13 to wing does seem to be a big issue that the teams above will exploit quite easily.

The backrow for me, well I'd rather tinker and improve it but it's really a priority as such. The midfield is not getting many passes but when they have and there were a couple of overlaps they kicked it away or nearly butchered it (Dingwalls try was a bit too much hard work). You could have Nonu and Conrad Smith in there though and we still wouldn't want them to touch the ball much! Back 3 though just doesn't work in attack if they are feeding off scraps and kicks.

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Post by Yoda Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:04 am

I thought Slade was fine defensively but was blunt in attack, too many cheeky little kicks, the butchered 3-1 for instance. Daly looks like a centre playing wing and hasn't realised when to blitz and when to track the attack and push them towards touch. Dingwall was popping up all over the place and was hitting rucks and driving players through contact but didn't offer ford an outlet in heavy traffic. Steward will also have to learn to vary his attack by bringing other attackers unto the counter attack. We have a midfield that isn't balanced therefore will be found out during matches. Many of the tries conceded have been down dalys wing as he has bitten in and the attack has easily found the edge of defence.

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Post by mountain man Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:29 am

carpet baboon wrote:Dingwalls try at one point was a 4 on 2 and England nearly ballsed it up

For all the criticism Daly gets he did well there, caught a very wobbly pass and passed it on well.

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Post by Geordie Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:56 am

mountain man wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Dingwalls try at one point was a 4 on 2 and England nearly ballsed it up

For all the criticism Daly gets he did well there, caught a very wobbly pass and passed it on well.
Daly has had a jeykll and hyde tournament so far.

Hes actually done some very good stuff matched with some poor. But in this new defensive structure your wingers need to have a strong defence and im not sure thats Dalys game. Coupled with the fact his game is attack and hes not getting the ball in the right spots either...it makes him a bit of cannon fodder for the haters.

Im bored getting slated here and elsewhere for the being the glass half full guy but i do believe it will come it just takes time. People saying we should be matching Ireland...and thats just simply laughable.

The defence is clear but a work in progress, takes time to get it right. Maybe he will have to tweak the personnel.
Attack..this is a crucial one...we need to improve. One positive noone has mentioned as far as i can see is how Steward is being brought in as a crash ball carrier lots more now. If we can get another unit in at centre (Lawrence) that will be very handy. Stewards pace does concern me though. But he excels elsewhere so its a tricky one.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:59 am

mountain man wrote:
carpet baboon wrote:Dingwalls try at one point was a 4 on 2 and England nearly ballsed it up

For all the criticism Daly gets he did well there, caught a very wobbly pass and passed it on well.

But when he got that pass on the wing (granted he would have been surprised) did you think he's going to finish that?or even think he could?

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Post by mountain man Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:05 am

Watching it last night again with hindsight he should have either cut inside or put his shoulder into Welsh defender to barge him out of way but I supppose in heat of moment he just went for corner which is what most would do.
Would another wing scored? Maybe, maybe not.

I'm not defending him for not scoring, just saying how I saw it. And if you recall, I wanted Feyi-Waboso on wing instead of him.

As for Steward and pace, acceleration off mark is a relative weakness but once going he is quick enough. Would more speed be better? Absolutely but he is such a good player and playing really well I wouldn't drop him. For me he was MoM more than Earl. (although Reffell in there but awarding it to losing side again unlikely)

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:11 am

Just think it's important when you're playing such a negative system that when chances do come you have to take them. SA are boring as hell most of the time but they pick wingers who are lethal.

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Post by mountain man Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:22 am

I think it's important in any system to take chances.
Same could be said of Josh Adams who really should have scored or passed to a team mate. His was a better chance than Dalys.

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Post by Geordie Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:40 am

mountain man wrote:Watching it last night again with hindsight he should have either cut inside or put his shoulder into Welsh defender to barge him out of way but I supppose in heat of moment he just went for corner which is what most would do.
Would another wing scored? Maybe, maybe not.

I'm not defending him for not scoring, just saying how I saw it. And if you recall, I wanted Feyi-Waboso on wing instead of him.

As for Steward and pace, acceleration off mark is a relative weakness but once going he is quick enough. Would more speed be better? Absolutely but he is such a good player and playing really well I wouldn't drop him. For me he was MoM more than Earl. (although Reffell in there but awarding it to losing side again unlikely)

Yes i refer more to his off the mark speed. Its slower than a tanker. If you play him...which im more than happy with ....then you do need to support him with some pace around him. Not sure we have that...but we do in the squad and in the prem...

He needs to get in touch with Margot Wells and sort his starting sprinting out.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:07 am

mountain man wrote:I think it's important in any system to take chances.
Same could be said of Josh Adams who really should have scored or passed to a team mate. His was a better chance than Dalys.

But when you're intentionally keeping games tight you get fewer opportunities and they then become more important.

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Post by mountain man Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:24 am

Seeing as England were down to 13 at one point keeping it tight was definitely right thing to do. Did you really expect England to open up and run everything in that match? I didn't. It panned out pretty much as expected, close, tight game.
As I said, Daly starting on wing wouldn't be my choice but I think you do look for any available negative about this England team just to prove your point about Borthwick.

Anyway, I think we wait and see who is available for Scotland game. Hopefully Marcus and Lawrence be there. I think they will make a (positive) difference.

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Post by Geordie Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:26 am

mountain man wrote:Seeing as England were down to 13 at one point keeping it tight was definitely right thing to do. Did you really expect England to open up and run everything in that match? I didn't. It panned out pretty much as expected, close, tight game.
As I said, Daly starting on wing wouldn't be my choice but I think you do look for any available negative about this England team just to prove your point about Borthwick.

Anyway, I think we wait and see who is available for Scotland game. Hopefully Marcus and Lawrence be there. I think they will make a (positive) difference.

George Martin getting a few minutes off the bench aswell would be a big bonus...

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:01 am

mountain man wrote:Seeing as England were down to 13 at one point keeping it tight was definitely right thing to do. Did you really expect England to open up and run everything in that match? I didn't. It panned out pretty much as expected, close, tight game.
As I said, Daly starting on wing wouldn't be my choice but I think you do look for any available negative about this England team just to prove your point about Borthwick.

Anyway, I think we wait and see who is available for Scotland game. Hopefully Marcus and Lawrence be there. I think they will make a (positive) difference.

I never expected england to open up. Again though I get its easier to say I'm wanting them to run everything but I've never said that. And yes thought it would be tight as that's the gameplan and I didn't think Wales would get enough of a set piece foothold to consistently put us under enough pressure.

Fingers crossed the players go off script a little.

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Post by mountain man Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:14 am

I didn't say you said you expected Eng to run everything, hence the ? mark.
Actually I'm not sure anyone on here knows what you want only what you DON'T want and that is Borthwick.

I thought set piece pretty even, I thought England be stronger in both line out and scrum but not a lot in it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:21 pm

I generally say what I want but in relation to this what are you after? I want a new coach obviously as I hate his tactics. We have so many good attacking players, both in the backs and forwards and we just play to notnmake mistakes most of the time. If there's an opportunity that comes with fizzing a pass wide deep in our own half you know it will be booted a mile form field. We get to the 22 and we look to kick to put pressure on a lineout. Etc etc

In terms of players there are a few I want in. The likes of Barbeary Radwan H C Quirke when fit....but with these tactics it doesn't matter. In terms of coaches to replace him. McCall. I'd even go with ROG even with his abysmal discipline. I fear we will see Borthwick sacked during this year and the RFU will read the room and get Baxter. At least he's far more experienced than Borthwick but this is the first year he's really started to play a more open game too so comes with a risk.

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:59 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:I think that we desperately need Lawrence to come back into the midfield when he is fit.  We don't really have any punch in the backline, other than Freeman.  This might be okay if we had the raw pace outside to frighten people, but we don't at the moment.

I'm not sure about the balance of the back-row.  I'm not convinced that Roots is the best option available to us.  
If Lawrence is available and match fit, England still won't have any punch in the midfield if he doesn't get the ball.  Can't blame Dingwall or Slade for not making much of an attacking impact if they never get the ball.  

True enough, but I'm hoping (probably foolishly) that this pattern of play won't continue.  I'm hoping that Marcus Smith will be fit for Scotland and that we can give him some runners that will make a dent in the opposition's defensive line.
We all live in hope. But, this is England 2024 we are talking about....

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Post by mountain man Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:09 pm

I hope we will see Borthwick sacked during this year

There. Fixed it for you.

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Post by hugehandoff Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:52 pm

overall the spectacle was pretty poor. And I thought the same with the Sco V Fra game. Too many scrum resets, arial ping pong, caterpiller rucks, box kicks, TMO replays......all makes for very dull watching....mind you when we had action that was pretty dull too. I am not sure I will shell out on tickets for a while yet. Rugby really needs to sort itself out and I don't think sleepy Bill Beaumont is the man to do it.

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Post by nlpnlp Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:00 pm

I would have thought Underhill was under more pressure than Roots to keep his place after the first 2 matches.  Apart from his at times kami-kazi tackling, Underhills repeated inability to catch or pick up a loose ball shows a worrying lack of basic skills.  Add in the fact Reffell completely schooled him at the breakdown.

Earl is a good player, but he wouldn't get near the Irish or French sides as a no8, but would be there or thereabouts as a no7.  So I hope that Borthwick takes the opportunity to move Earl and gives CCS or Barbeary the no8 shirt.  Throw a hopefully fit Lawrence into the 13 shirt and I would be feeling much more confident about our chances at Murrayfield.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:13 pm

mountain man wrote:
I hope we will see Borthwick sacked during this year

There. Fixed it for you.

I definitely hope that. We've pretty much wasted a year already.

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Post by carpet baboon Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:47 pm

Too be fair when Farrell took over Ireland's performance were not great and a few people bemoaned "jobs for the boys" and wanted Farrell and Catt gone.
Not saying borthwick is as good a coach as Farrell, but give him time to get his ideas bedded in.
Or at least till Ireland win at Twickenham then you can do what you want.

(STEWARD FOR 12)

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Post by dummy_half Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:54 pm

nlpnlp wrote:I would have thought Underhill was under more pressure than Roots to keep his place after the first 2 matches.  Apart from his at times kami-kazi tackling, Underhills repeated inability to catch or pick up a loose ball shows a worrying lack of basic skills.  Add in the fact Reffell completely schooled him at the breakdown.

Earl is a good player, but he wouldn't get near the Irish or French sides as a no8,
but would be there or thereabouts as a no7.  So I hope that Borthwick takes the opportunity to move Earl and gives CCS or Barbeary the no8 shirt.  Throw a hopefully fit Lawrence into the 13 shirt and I would be feeling much more confident about our chances at Murrayfield.

I think he's done an excellent job as an 8 as a stop gap between Billy fading and the new players coming through, but he's clearly a lightweight pacy option for that position, and I would like to see a player with a bit more outright bosh there, allowing Earl to play 7 or be an option off the bench. As with a couple of other recent England players, I have a feeling that he really missed his best position as a 12 - quick enough, has the size and power and some ball skills. Obviously far too late to look at any conversion now.

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Post by lostinwales Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:12 pm

nlpnlp wrote:I would have thought Underhill was under more pressure than Roots to keep his place after the first 2 matches.  Apart from his at times kami-kazi tackling, Underhills repeated inability to catch or pick up a loose ball shows a worrying lack of basic skills.  Add in the fact Reffell completely schooled him at the breakdown.

Earl is a good player, but he wouldn't get near the Irish or French sides as a no8, but would be there or thereabouts as a no7.  So I hope that Borthwick takes the opportunity to move Earl and gives CCS or Barbeary the no8 shirt.  Throw a hopefully fit Lawrence into the 13 shirt and I would be feeling much more confident about our chances at Murrayfield.

That tackle on the poor Welsh prop who got the very definition of a hospital pass was a thing of savage beauty, but yes he's not been at his best. We need someone with the dark arts in there. In the past we have had flankers who have been very good at nullifying guys like Reffell (Robshaw comes to mind). I guess that was Curry's role. It's not really been Underhill's role.

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Post by Geordie Mon Feb 12, 2024 7:43 pm

nlpnlp wrote:I would have thought Underhill was under more pressure than Roots to keep his place after the first 2 matches.  Apart from his at times kami-kazi tackling, Underhills repeated inability to catch or pick up a loose ball shows a worrying lack of basic skills.  Add in the fact Reffell completely schooled him at the breakdown.

Earl is a good player, but he wouldn't get near the Irish or French sides as a no8, but would be there or thereabouts as a no7.  So I hope that Borthwick takes the opportunity to move Earl and gives CCS or Barbeary the no8 shirt.  Throw a hopefully fit Lawrence into the 13 shirt and I would be feeling much more confident about our chances at Murrayfield.

I think most people accept he's a 7 who's been asked to play 8 and really given a good go at it . He's not a Doris but few are but at 7 wow he gives you some player.

Add in Barbeary or CCS (not sure if he's ready to start just yet) and with Underhill and Earl suddenly that's not a bad back row.
Then there's Pearson and Roots in rhe equation though I'm still not convinced Roots is anything but stop gap.

We need to get away from just big engine tacklers in the back row...the best teams have back rowers who do that but also have additional skills...

Van der flier, Savea etc etc..Earl gives you that.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Feb 14, 2024 3:46 pm

Geordie wrote:
mountain man wrote:Watching it last night again with hindsight he should have either cut inside or put his shoulder into Welsh defender to barge him out of way but I supppose in heat of moment he just went for corner which is what most would do.
Would another wing scored? Maybe, maybe not.

I'm not defending him for not scoring, just saying how I saw it. And if you recall, I wanted Feyi-Waboso on wing instead of him.

As for Steward and pace, acceleration off mark is a relative weakness but once going he is quick enough. Would more speed be better? Absolutely but he is such a good player and playing really well I wouldn't drop him. For me he was MoM more than Earl. (although Reffell in there but awarding it to losing side again unlikely)

Yes i refer more to his off the mark speed. Its slower than a tanker. If you play him...which im more than happy with ....then you do need to support him with some pace around him. Not sure we have that...but we do in the squad and in the prem...

He needs to get in touch with Margot Wells and sort his starting sprinting out.

Margot Wells isn't the only sprint coach in the country. A few of the Tiger Cubs use some of the guys at Loughborough University. If it's the company I think it is then GB Bobsleigh, Olympic Sprinters and GB Sevens top try scorer have all worked as consultants.

Steward looked quick enough at the weekend. Losing his footing was the bigger issue (needs to put some proper studs in). He was our most dangerous back and at no point was caught out for a lack of pace despite Wales having pace in their back three. He isn't likely to ever be rapid off the mark because he's 6 foot 5 and 16 stone. As a fullback it's a mix of experience and cohesion with those around him so that he doesn't allow himself to be in the position where he's going from a standing start. For instance he's normally good at ensuring he's moving onto the kick as it comes down even it's a long kick to backfield giving him the option of counter attacking.

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Post by Poorfour Wed Feb 14, 2024 4:32 pm

It's not Steward's speed that's the issue. It's his acceleration and change of direction - losing his footing may be a symptom of trying to get better at that but not having learned the skill fully.

The reason Margot Wells gets cited is that the Mike Brown of 2007 had similar issues to Steward and Wells fixed them. She's a good bet on that basis, especially as Steward and Brown are in the same team these days.

But it's also why a lot of people think he might do well moved to 12. It's a position that makes great use of his size and handling, but needs less outright agility and positional skill than fullback. The ABs switching Jordie Barrett from 15 to 12 made their backline far more dangerous, and Steward is a similar build (if more of an Esterhuizen than a Barrett in style).

While there are a decent number of fullback options who could replace Steward, England has been missing a top class 12 for 20 years now. I don't think it will ever happen, but I would love to see England try it just to see if it's a viable long term project.
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