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England - The Next Episode: Part Deux: Phoenix from the Ashes

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Post by Geordie Tue 16 Apr 2024, 1:51 pm

Net up...Summer Tour to NZ...and a game v Japan

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 17 Apr 2024, 7:28 am

Borthwick is on this week's episode of "The Good, The Bad and The Rugby". He says he chose that podcast largely because he knows Haskell.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0PSg9JEKCR7jrHGaQMqH3H?si=5611d48e1df2467c

There's usually a YouTube version a couple of days later.

Borthwick mentions how, when he was playing, some coaching environments created unnecessary stress which worked against the interests of the team.

He got annoyed with the squad after the Scotland game because he saw them retreat into their shells, and "play small", which he said was actually riskier than sticking to what they had practised.

Borthwick wants to build continuity. He reckons around 26 of the Six Nations squad will be going to the World Cup

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 17 Apr 2024, 9:01 am

In other podcast news, Will Collier is on the Evening Standard pod (this week, Dallaglio is away).

https://open.spotify.com/episode/37BuvLGVHUDtTdA3rwzUcD?si=87e581959c3e41c7

David Flatman says he got a call out of the blue from Phil Keith-Roach, who is widely respected as a scrum coach. He asked Flatman if he knew why Eddie Jones had never given Collier much of a chance. Flats says he thinks Collier is the best prop ignored by England.

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 9:10 am

Probably because he couldnt pass like a fly half or run the 100 in 10secs flat.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 17 Apr 2024, 10:39 am

Geordie wrote:Probably because he couldnt pass like a fly half or run the 100 in 10secs flat.

He mentions how he was always trying to find how to best fit into the England jigsaw. He slimmed down,  improved his Bronco times but then lost his advantage in the scrum, which was his main USP. He's never really figured out why things didn't work with England.

The interviewer, Steve Cording, says that seems to be true for a couple of generations of England players, who got called into tarining squads but were never given much game time. Cording says he's heard life is more transparent under Borthwick. Collier says Borthwick did tell him just to focus on the scrum, and his defence, saying the rest could come. However, he got cut from the squad relatively early, and still isn't entirely sure why.

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 12:30 pm

Whats the squad size normally for a tour to NZ?

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Post by Poorfour Wed 17 Apr 2024, 12:50 pm

Geordie wrote:Whats the squad size normally for a tour to NZ?

Eddie took 33 to Australia in '22:
3 hookers
6 props
5 locks
6 back row

3 SH
2 FH
4 C
4 Wing
3 FB

So maybe the idea of taking an extra prop isn't so realistic - though I'd expect some rebalancing. Maybe one fewer FB for one more FH?
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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 1:00 pm

Yeah especially if the wings (Daly) or centres (maybe Marchant) can cover Full back if required.

What would your squad be PF?

Going on that roughly then...





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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 1:13 pm

A few blanks at the moment...

3 hookers - George, Dan, ?

6 props -
TH: Cole, Stuart, ?
LH: Marler, Genge, Baxter or Obano...or is Marler left behind for a summer off.

5 locks - Itoje, Chessum, Martin, Coles, Isiekwe
6 back row - Earl, CCS, Underhill, Dombrandt, B.Curry, Ted Hill  Wink (had to get Ted in)

3 SH - Mitchell, ?, ?

3 FH - Ford, F. Smith & M. Smith

4 C - Lawrence, Slade, Ojomoh, ?

4 Wing - Waboso, Freeman, Sleightholme, Daly

2 FB - Furbank & Steward

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Post by lostinwales Wed 17 Apr 2024, 1:19 pm

Tuima over Isiekwe. Happy to be wrong but don't think Isekwe is good enough. Tuima might be.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 17 Apr 2024, 2:07 pm

Building on Geordie's view:

3 hookers - George, Dan - Walker has been the other option but clearly isn't fully trusted; many Quins fans think Riley is better
6 props -
TH: Cole, Stuart - is it too early for Opoku-Fordjour? (and if it isn't, how about Jibulu at hooker?)
LH: Marler, Genge, Baxter or Obano...or is Marler left behind for a summer off. - Marler still seems to be in the frame and up for it, in which case I'd prefer Marler/Baxter to Marler/Obano

5 locks - Itoje, Chessum, Martin, Coles - I'm not convinced by Isiekwe either. Not sure who would go in his place yet.
6 back row - Earl, CCS, Underhill, Dombrandt, B.Curry, Ted Hill  ;) (had to get Ted in) ... I could live with that if all of those guy are fit. I wonder if Will Evans' recent efforts would ean him a look in ahead of Curry or Hill?

3 SH - Mitchell - JvP, possibly Warr?
3 FH - Ford, F. Smith & M. Smith

4 C - Lawrence, Slade, Ojomoh - Beard has been the other one he's looked at (since it doesn't look like Marchant will be available)
4 Wing - Waboso, Freeman, Sleightholme - I get Daly's versatility, but he's unlikely to play in the next RWC and I'd like Murley to get his chance if he stays fit.
2 FB - Furbank & Steward
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 17 Apr 2024, 3:51 pm

If Borthwick is selecting then I'd guess:

George, Dan, LCD
Genge, Marler, Obano/Baxter
Cole, Stuart, Heyes
Itoje, Coles
Chessum, Martin
Roots, T Hill
Underhill, Pearson
Earl, Barbeary, CCS
Mitchell, JvP, Quirke
Ford, M Smith, F Smith
Freeman, Daly
Lawrence, Manu
Slade, Beard
IFW, Sleightholme
Furbank, Steward

Beard, Pearson and Barbeary are guesses, I think those positions are open. Potentially Daly would lose out as well but in the short term I can imagine him still getting a spot, especially as there's few versatility options in the squad.

LCD at hooker is pretty open also on terms of that third spot as LCD wasn't fancied in the 6N and is not showing form nor getting any younger. Blake, Blamire and Riley are all younger and playing regularly.

*Edit* missed out CCS somehow. Crowbarred him in. 36 man squad for three game tour doesn't sound to far out there.

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 4:10 pm

Poorfour wrote:Building on Geordie's view:

3 hookers - George, Dan - Walker has been the other option but clearly isn't fully trusted; many Quins fans think Riley is better
6 props -
TH: Cole, Stuart - is it too early for Opoku-Fordjour? (and if it isn't, how about Jibulu at hooker?)
LH: Marler, Genge, Baxter or Obano...or is Marler left behind for a summer off. - Marler still seems to be in the frame and up for it, in which case I'd prefer Marler/Baxter to Marler/Obano

5 locks - Itoje, Chessum, Martin, Coles - I'm not convinced by Isiekwe either. Not sure who would go in his place yet.
6 back row - Earl, CCS, Underhill, Dombrandt, B.Curry, Ted Hill  Wink (had to get Ted in) ... I could live with that if all of those guy are fit. I wonder if Will Evans' recent efforts would ean him a look in ahead of Curry or Hill?

3 SH - Mitchell - JvP, possibly Warr?
3 FH - Ford, F. Smith & M. Smith

4 C - Lawrence, Slade, Ojomoh - Beard has been the other one he's looked at (since it doesn't look like Marchant will be available)
4 Wing - Waboso, Freeman, Sleightholme - I get Daly's versatility, but he's unlikely to play in the next RWC and I'd like Murley to get his chance if he stays fit.
2 FB - Furbank & Steward

Yeah im not convinced he is the answer...but couldnt think of the next one...but yes as LIW says Tuima would certainly be worth a look.

Is NZ the place to be taking the very inexperienced Fordjour? Or Jibulu despite their obvious potential. That would be a big call i think. BUT choices at TH are very scarce...do we take the risk on one of the kids? Theres a few..with Harper, Fasogabon, Fordjour? Hayes doesnt seem to be firing on...Painter is like a flippin oil tanker on the pitch...

Beard is an option...how is Joseph Jr playing...and is Dingwall completely out the picture now?

I forgot about JVP...who will probably travel yes.

I dont think Ted Hill will travel though...maybe its his workrate or something that doesnt appeal.

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 4:13 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:If Borthwick is selecting then I'd guess:

George, Dan, LCD
Genge, Marler, Obano/Baxter
Cole, Stuart, Heyes
Itoje, Coles
Chessum, Martin
Roots, T Hill
Underhill, Pearson
Earl, Barbeary, CCS
Mitchell, JvP, Quirke
Ford, M Smith, F Smith
Freeman, Daly
Lawrence, Manu
Slade, Beard
IFW, Sleightholme
Furbank, Steward

Beard, Pearson and Barbeary are guesses, I think those positions are open. Potentially Daly would lose out as well but in the short term I can imagine him still getting a spot, especially as there's few versatility options in the squad.

LCD at hooker is pretty open also on terms of that third spot as LCD wasn't fancied in the 6N and is not showing form nor getting any younger. Blake, Blamire and Riley are all younger and playing regularly.

*Edit* missed out CCS somehow. Crowbarred him in. 36 man squad for three game tour doesn't sound to far out there.

I think that ship has well sailed now Sam...and to be honest hes going to have to fight for his falcons spot now...his lineout is just not functioning again...and Diamond aint gonna like that when we have some powerful youngsters coming through who CAN hit a lineout.

I agree...i think for this tour Daly will travel...but having Waboso, Sleightholme, Murley etc in there means you have some talented youngsters with an old head if required. Daly can then start to be phased out as the kids get the experience..in the AIs or the next 6n.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 17 Apr 2024, 5:28 pm

Very surprised that nobody has mentioned Langdon at hooker, he i tearing up the opposition in the premiership
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Post by Poorfour Wed 17 Apr 2024, 6:04 pm

Geordie wrote:
Is NZ the place to be taking the very inexperienced Fordjour? Or Jibulu despite their obvious potential. That would be a big call i think. BUT choices at TH are very scarce...do we take the risk on one of the kids? Theres a few..with Harper, Fasogabon, Fordjour? Hayes doesnt seem to be firing on...Painter is like a flippin oil tanker on the pitch...

It's hard to say... but my thinking would be:
a) England don't have anyone at either TH or HK who has really put their hand up for the 3rd spot
b) At TH in particular, at least one of the primary options will be retired by the next RWC
c) A tour with some experienced players is a good place to develop a player who is basically ready
d) The two best times to do that are the first tour of a new RWC cycle when stakes and expectations are lower, or the England tour in a Lions year
e) For a front row player, Japan and NZ are probably a better first opponent than the Boks, Ireland, France or even Scotland.

For Baxter, that's almost a no brainer, because he's so obviously ready.

For Opoku-Fordjour and most of the hooker candidates, it's a little less clear cut because he might benefit from a bit more time to mature physically, but that there aren't many other contenders. As long as they're mature enough not to be at increased injury risk, it might be worth giving them the experience and enduring the hard lessons now to have a more experienced player later.

But who knows? Borthwick has been fairly smart in his choices so far and made some good unexpected decisions.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 17 Apr 2024, 7:07 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Very surprised that nobody has mentioned Langdon at hooker, he i tearing up the opposition in the premiership

Only because I forgot. Would have him in the mix, he was unlucky that suspension ruled him out of the 6N.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 17 Apr 2024, 7:23 pm

Geordie wrote:
Poorfour wrote:Building on Geordie's view:

3 hookers - George, Dan - Walker has been the other option but clearly isn't fully trusted; many Quins fans think Riley is better
6 props -
TH: Cole, Stuart - is it too early for Opoku-Fordjour? (and if it isn't, how about Jibulu at hooker?)
LH: Marler, Genge, Baxter or Obano...or is Marler left behind for a summer off. - Marler still seems to be in the frame and up for it, in which case I'd prefer Marler/Baxter to Marler/Obano

5 locks - Itoje, Chessum, Martin, Coles - I'm not convinced by Isiekwe either. Not sure who would go in his place yet.
6 back row - Earl, CCS, Underhill, Dombrandt, B.Curry, Ted Hill  Wink (had to get Ted in) ... I could live with that if all of those guy are fit. I wonder if Will Evans' recent efforts would ean him a look in ahead of Curry or Hill?

3 SH - Mitchell - JvP, possibly Warr?
3 FH - Ford, F. Smith & M. Smith

4 C - Lawrence, Slade, Ojomoh - Beard has been the other one he's looked at (since it doesn't look like Marchant will be available)
4 Wing - Waboso, Freeman, Sleightholme - I get Daly's versatility, but he's unlikely to play in the next RWC and I'd like Murley to get his chance if he stays fit.
2 FB - Furbank & Steward

Yeah im not convinced he is the answer...but couldnt think of the next one...but yes as LIW says Tuima would certainly be worth a look.  

Is NZ the place to be taking the very inexperienced Fordjour? Or Jibulu despite their obvious potential. That would be a big call i think. BUT choices at TH are very scarce...do we take the risk on one of the kids? Theres a few..with Harper, Fasogabon, Fordjour? Hayes doesnt seem to be firing on...Painter is like a flippin oil tanker on the pitch...

Beard is an option...how is Joseph Jr playing...and is Dingwall completely out the picture now?

I forgot about JVP...who will probably travel yes.

I dont think Ted Hill will travel though...maybe its his workrate or something that doesnt appeal.

I think with Ted Hill it's been his ability to be fit at the right time. If he's fit and firing for Bath I think he's the type of player who might get a go under Borthwick. He can also cover lock in an emergency so means we don't need a fifth lock and can run with the four locks we used in the 6N.

Heyes might not be pulling up trees but he's solid in all areas and there's still hope he'll kick on as he's coming into prime propping age.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 17 Apr 2024, 7:27 pm

Geordie wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:If Borthwick is selecting then I'd guess:

George, Dan, LCD
Genge, Marler, Obano/Baxter
Cole, Stuart, Heyes
Itoje, Coles
Chessum, Martin
Roots, T Hill
Underhill, Pearson
Earl, Barbeary, CCS
Mitchell, JvP, Quirke
Ford, M Smith, F Smith
Freeman, Daly
Lawrence, Manu
Slade, Beard
IFW, Sleightholme
Furbank, Steward

Beard, Pearson and Barbeary are guesses, I think those positions are open. Potentially Daly would lose out as well but in the short term I can imagine him still getting a spot, especially as there's few versatility options in the squad.

LCD at hooker is pretty open also on terms of that third spot as LCD wasn't fancied in the 6N and is not showing form nor getting any younger. Blake, Blamire and Riley are all younger and playing regularly.

*Edit* missed out CCS somehow. Crowbarred him in. 36 man squad for three game tour doesn't sound to far out there.

I think that ship has well sailed now Sam...and to be honest hes going to have to fight for his falcons spot now...his lineout is just not functioning again...and Diamond aint gonna like that when we have some powerful youngsters coming through who CAN hit a lineout.

Blamire made the A squad and the world cup warm up squad. Borthwick rates what he brings but as you say his lineout work is what's holding him back from being an international level hooker. It's about his only weakness.

With players like Seb Blake coming through who offer similar strengths but with a solid set piece he's got a limited time frame to fix it.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 17 Apr 2024, 7:43 pm

Adam Jones's view on the young props to watch (and he should know):

Bomb wrote:Asher Opoku-Fordjour and Bevan Rodd at Sale, a couple at Northampton (Tarek Haffar, Manny Iyogun), and Fin
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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:24 pm

That Tarek Haffar looks an absolute unit...and yet an athlete aswell , hes definitely one to watch...
Havent seen much of Iyogun but he gets huge reviews...

Rodd in an interesting one...but if Jones rates him ...must be something there...

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Post by Cumbrian Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:26 pm

As others have said, I think Baxter going is a no brainer. We need more experience for our young props (with Marler calling it quits next year) and Baxter has shown himself very capable. I appreciate that New Zealand isn't the place to test young props, but how much choice do we really have at loosehead? Does Obano demand selection ahead of some of the younger options? Perhaps he does, but I'd be willing to gamble on someone like Iyogun, or Brantingham as a third option.

There is less choice at tighthead. I think we need at least one anchor and it has to be Cole. Stuart goes with him and I'd either take Heyes or Josh Iosefa-Scott as third choice. I would also be tempted to take an apprentice in Opoku-Fordjour or Fasogbon.

George and Dan are baked in, but I am also surprised that Langdon isn't getting more picks. He may seem like the flavour of the month pick, but he really seems to be coming into his prime. I like his attitude, he seems aggressive, like he won't back down.

Second-row:

Pretty much picks itself, but could do with some of the younger locks stepping up because it is an attritional position. Aside from Tuima, I also like the look of Ewan Richards (Bath) and Arthur Clark (Gloucester), but I appreciate they are a long way off.

Back-row

Take your pick! A reasonable case could be made for all of the guys previously mentioned in the thread. You could also add Guy Pepper, Zach Mercer, Alex Dombrandt and maybe Greg Fisilau but it is a competitive area for us and they would have to demand selection.

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Post by Cumbrian Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:27 pm

Geordie wrote:That Tarek Haffar looks an absolute unit...and yet an athlete aswell , hes definitely one to watch...
Havent seen much of Iyogun but he gets huge reviews...

Rodd in an interesting one...but if Jones rates him ...must be something there...

I've been impressed with him. He has been solid in the scrum, but offers a decent amount around the pitch as well.
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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:29 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Geordie wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:If Borthwick is selecting then I'd guess:

George, Dan, LCD
Genge, Marler, Obano/Baxter
Cole, Stuart, Heyes
Itoje, Coles
Chessum, Martin
Roots, T Hill
Underhill, Pearson
Earl, Barbeary, CCS
Mitchell, JvP, Quirke
Ford, M Smith, F Smith
Freeman, Daly
Lawrence, Manu
Slade, Beard
IFW, Sleightholme
Furbank, Steward

Beard, Pearson and Barbeary are guesses, I think those positions are open. Potentially Daly would lose out as well but in the short term I can imagine him still getting a spot, especially as there's few versatility options in the squad.

LCD at hooker is pretty open also on terms of that third spot as LCD wasn't fancied in the 6N and is not showing form nor getting any younger. Blake, Blamire and Riley are all younger and playing regularly.

*Edit* missed out CCS somehow. Crowbarred him in. 36 man squad for three game tour doesn't sound to far out there.

I think that ship has well sailed now Sam...and to be honest hes going to have to fight for his falcons spot now...his lineout is just not functioning again...and Diamond aint gonna like that when we have some powerful youngsters coming through who CAN hit a lineout.

Blamire made the A squad and the world cup warm up squad. Borthwick rates what he brings but as you say his lineout work is what's holding him back from being an international level hooker. It's about his only weakness.

With players like Seb Blake coming through who offer similar strengths but with a solid set piece he's got a limited time frame to fix it.

The only thing on Blamires defence is that the lineout is not solely about the thrower...and jeez our lineout is awful....MacLeod is back now so it should become a real strength again...so well see how Blamire goes...
If he cant hit his jumpers, hell be on borrowed time despite the rest of his game...

Langdon is a good about...and Seb Blake also...

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Post by Cumbrian Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:35 pm

I think that prop could go onto be an area of strength in a few years.  We've got really promising set of of players who have the raw materials to be exception.  At tight-head we  Afolabi Fasogbon and Billy Sela who are both huge and Asher Opoku-Fordjour seems somewhat of a prodigy.

At loosehead we obviously have Genge who will be around for a few years yet, but with Baxter, Iyogun, Brantingham, Haffar you'd think that we should be able put something together.

I think (hope) that we just need to navigate the next couple of years whist some of them bed in/ mature.
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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:37 pm

Cumbrian wrote:As others have said, I think Baxter going is a no brainer.  We need more experience for our young props (with Marler calling it quits next year) and Baxter has shown himself very capable.  I appreciate that New Zealand isn't the place to test young props, but how much choice do we really have at loosehead?  Does Obano demand selection ahead of some of the younger options?  Perhaps he does, but I'd be willing to gamble on someone like Iyogun, or Brantingham as a third option.

There is less choice at tighthead.  I think we need at least one anchor and it has to be Cole.  Stuart goes with him and I'd either take Heyes or Josh Iosefa-Scott as third choice.  I would also be tempted to take an apprentice in Opoku-Fordjour or Fasogbon..


I think Baxter is ahead of Brantingham at the moment....but Brants is quality and at Saracens hell be some player if he continues developing at the rate he has....

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:40 pm

Forgot about Billy Sela also...

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Post by Cumbrian Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:41 pm

Geordie wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:As others have said, I think Baxter going is a no brainer.  We need more experience for our young props (with Marler calling it quits next year) and Baxter has shown himself very capable.  I appreciate that New Zealand isn't the place to test young props, but how much choice do we really have at loosehead?  Does Obano demand selection ahead of some of the younger options?  Perhaps he does, but I'd be willing to gamble on someone like Iyogun, or Brantingham as a third option.

There is less choice at tighthead.  I think we need at least one anchor and it has to be Cole.  Stuart goes with him and I'd either take Heyes or Josh Iosefa-Scott as third choice.  I would also be tempted to take an apprentice in Opoku-Fordjour or Fasogbon..


I think Baxter is ahead of Brantingham at the moment....but Brants is quality and at Saracens hell be some player if he continues developing at the rate he has....

100% agree that Baxter is ahead, I really like the look of him... he seems to have a huge engine. The thought of him and Brantingam fighting it out for the shirt for the next ten years is encouraging though.
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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 8:49 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
Geordie wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:As others have said, I think Baxter going is a no brainer.  We need more experience for our young props (with Marler calling it quits next year) and Baxter has shown himself very capable.  I appreciate that New Zealand isn't the place to test young props, but how much choice do we really have at loosehead?  Does Obano demand selection ahead of some of the younger options?  Perhaps he does, but I'd be willing to gamble on someone like Iyogun, or Brantingham as a third option.

There is less choice at tighthead.  I think we need at least one anchor and it has to be Cole.  Stuart goes with him and I'd either take Heyes or Josh Iosefa-Scott as third choice.  I would also be tempted to take an apprentice in Opoku-Fordjour or Fasogbon..


I think Baxter is ahead of Brantingham at the moment....but Brants is quality and at Saracens hell be some player if he continues developing at the rate he has....

100% agree that Baxter is ahead, I really like the look of him... he seems to have a huge engine.  The thought of him and Brantingam fighting it out for the shirt for the next ten years is encouraging though.
Absolutely but as you say it could be more, theres a number of Loosies (and tightheads) who look like they've got all the skills and are proper units..


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Post by lostinwales Wed 17 Apr 2024, 9:24 pm

Geordie wrote:Forgot about Billy Sela also...

From the U20's I liked Sela. Not sure if Fasogbon was coming off an injury but he only really had massive size going for him. Early days though

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 9:28 pm

I think Fasogabon was coming off an injury but I agree he didn't shine...so time will tell how he develops...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 17 Apr 2024, 10:03 pm

lostinwales wrote:
Geordie wrote:Forgot about Billy Sela also...

From the U20's I liked Sela. Not sure if Fasogbon was coming off an injury but he only really had massive size going for him. Early days though

Fasogbon had a fairly serious injury if memory serves after he's joined Glaws. I'd hope we'd leave the under 20 guys to play in the JWC. There's some good talent at that level and they'll get more minutes than holding tackle pads for the first team.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 17 Apr 2024, 10:10 pm

Cumbrian wrote:
Second-row:

Pretty much picks itself, but could do with some of the younger locks stepping up because it is an attritional position. Aside from Tuima, I also like the look of Ewan Richards (Bath) and Arthur Clark (Gloucester), but I appreciate they are a long way off.  

Back-row

Take your pick!  A reasonable case could be made for all of the guys previously mentioned in the thread. You could also add Guy Pepper, Zach Mercer, Alex Dombrandt and maybe Greg Fisilau but it is a competitive area for us and they would have to demand selection.


We've got mainly young locks. Itoje is the old man of the group at 29 the Isekwe 25, Coles 24, Chessum 23 and Martin 22. If Ted Hill goes as a 6 that can play lock in an emergency he's 25. Not sure there's a need to blood more players in that department right now.

In the backrow I'm not sure Mercer is going to get a look in. He's pretty absent in defence and often drops into the backfield. Not the confrontational style of backrower that Borthwick has preferred. His got to has been Earl who is generally at the top of metres made and tackles completed for England in every game. Similar with Weise at Tigers, super physical and big work rate both sides of the ball. Mercer doesn't offer that. Fisilau is getting there, Dombrant showed signs of improvement in the 6N but still feels like a sub more than a starter. Barbeary might be closest.

Pepper got a taste of being in the squad for the final week of the 6N so he's definitely one Borthwick has an eye on but this tour might be a year to early unless there's injuries.

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Post by Geordie Wed 17 Apr 2024, 10:18 pm

I dont think any of those will be picked in all honesty Sam.

I think the front row will be

Lh: Marler, Genge, Baxter
Th: Cole, Stuart, Probably Hayes

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 17 Apr 2024, 11:44 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Very surprised that nobody has mentioned Langdon at hooker, he i tearing up the opposition in the premiership

Only because I forgot. Would have him in the mix, he was unlucky that suspension ruled him out of the 6N.
As I was reading through the thread, I was thinking the same thing, Langdon is playing as well as any English Hooker at the moment. Was man of the match in the more recent win over Munster.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 18 Apr 2024, 12:02 am

Cumbrian wrote:
Geordie wrote:That Tarek Haffar looks an absolute unit...and yet an athlete aswell , hes definitely one to watch...
Havent seen much of Iyogun but he gets huge reviews...

Rodd in an interesting one...but if Jones rates him ...must be something there...

I've been impressed with him.  He has been solid in the scrum, but offers a decent amount around the pitch as well.
Haffar really seems to have the goods, but I think he needs to develop a bit more.  I'm sure this time next year we will be talking about him again, and this time, assuming no injuries, he should have a good shot to make it.  He gets better seemingly every day.  

Manny Iyogun has become the favoured starting Loose Head for Saints.  He started and was part of a Saints pack who - I'm so enjoying typing this - put the boots to both Munster and Bulls.  He was originally a back row, so he can move and is a good ball carrier.  He is a good'un, and a very nice young man.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 18 Apr 2024, 12:07 am

Both those earlier podcasts are up on YouTube now.

Steve Borthwick:



Will Collier:


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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 18 Apr 2024, 7:45 am

doctor_grey wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:
Geordie wrote:That Tarek Haffar looks an absolute unit...and yet an athlete aswell , hes definitely one to watch...
Havent seen much of Iyogun but he gets huge reviews...

Rodd in an interesting one...but if Jones rates him ...must be something there...

I've been impressed with him.  He has been solid in the scrum, but offers a decent amount around the pitch as well.
Haffar really seems to have the goods, but I think he needs to develop a bit more.  I'm sure this time next year we will be talking about him again, and this time, assuming no injuries, he should have a good shot to make it.  He gets better seemingly every day.  

Manny Iyogun has become the favoured starting Loose Head for Saints.  He started and was part of a Saints pack who - I'm so enjoying typing this - put the boots to both Munster and Bulls.  He was originally a back row, so he can move and is a good ball carrier.  He is a good'un, and a very nice young man.

I think this season will be to soon for any of thw young looseheads to push into the 23 for the NZ game but we might see one get some game time Vs Japan. Baxter is probably the favourite for that.

Iyogen has improved an awful lot but pushing past Alex Waller wasn't the toughest task in the world, all respect to the long serving Saint he's not an international quality prop. It'll be interesting to see how Iyogen goes against Cole this weekend as Saints scrum folded in the earlier fixture this season as Saints endured a surprising loss against Tigers. No Iyogen in that game mind and Cole only featured from the bench.

Haffar looks like he has the potential to be an exceptional loosehead. For someone so mobile around the park he appears strong at the set piece. Going to be interesting to see how he develops. If memory serves he was on the England A squad as well so Borthwick is keeping an eye on him.

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Post by Geordie Thu 18 Apr 2024, 8:22 am

Yes Sam, Haffar was in the A game v Portugal XV

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Post by Poorfour Thu 18 Apr 2024, 11:56 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
I think this season will be to soon for any of thw young looseheads to push into the 23 for the NZ game but we might see one get some game time Vs Japan. Baxter is probably the favourite for that.

I'm more bullish about Baxter than that. He's been under the radar for most people but he's been on England's radar since Eddie called him up to the training squad when he ws still in the U20s, and I think Quins and England have been managing his development carefully. He's had nearly 50 appearances for Quins but they have clearly been holding him back until they felt his physical and skills development was further along.

He's clearly passed a key milestone in his development in the last couple of months and Quins think he is ready. I'd even go so far as to say that he is now Quins' preferred loosehead. He is playing better than Marler.

As a fan it looked quite sudden because we'd only seen him intermittently, but Adam Jones is very clear that he was physically ready to take UBB to the cleaners (and said they did almost no scrummaging in the run up to the game, just talking technique and getting his head in the right space).

If he is the front runner among the next generation of props (which seems likely), then he's got to start getting international experience sooner rather than later and specifically for a prop NZ is not a bad place to start. NZ typically scrummage for efficiently getting the ball out rather than for dominance.
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Post by king_carlos Thu 18 Apr 2024, 2:01 pm

Poorfour wrote:NZ typically scrummage for efficiently getting the ball out rather than for dominance.

Given the front rows they're likely to shift to for this cycle I'm not so sure there. Lomax, Williams and de Groot are all monstrous.

Whilst Taukei'aho is a much bigger hooker than Taylor or Coles who have held down that position forever now.

You can even go back to Mealamu there. The ABs have tended towards a smaller hooker who's more skilled, particularly out wide where Coles/Taylor excelled as the 1 in a 1-3-2-2, for most of the pro era. Andrew Hore was a cracking player too of course and bulkier than those three, but nearly half his caps were from the bench.

In NZ Super Rugby there does seem to be a shift towards developing those massive front rows too. Apparently there was concerns through the NZRU with how their U20s struggled physically against France. A feeling perhaps that they were developing very skilled and technically coached players, but ones who might not reach the physicality we are beginning to see in top international front rows (a similar concern that prompted the tight-five camps in England of course). Pasilio Tosi and Saulo Ma'u are also in that Uini Antonio type size bracket.

They could very feasibly be fielding a front row with an average weight well over 20 stone a man. That doesn't guarantee a dominant scrum, but it does lend itself to a more aggressive scrummaging style.

Nuggy retiring could be a huge shift in game plan too. For most his career he was the best 9 around in terms of passing. Even in his twilight days, only JGP and Dupont were in the same class for his service. Hence they tended to play quicker from set-piece, use Smith to feed their multiple playmakers or forward runners. The younger 9s are worse in that regard but better runners. Which also tends to lend itself to keeping the ball in scrums and mauls to keep forwards tied in.

I'm very curious to see what direction Razor goes in.

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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 18 Apr 2024, 3:52 pm

Geoff Parling has been named as the new Wallabies line-out coach. Wonder if that will make him the first former Lions player to be involved in coaching against them in a Test.

Telegraph sees it as a good way of developing English coaching talent.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2024/04/18/australia-lions-caoch-geoff-parling-line-out-2025-tour/

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Post by nlpnlp Thu 18 Apr 2024, 5:13 pm

It seems a little bit strange that England are apparently so keen for Asher Opoku-Fordjour to play at loose head rather than tight head where Sale want to play him, when you have the likes of Fin Baxter, Tarek Haffar, Phil Brantingham and Bevan Rodd who is only 23 looking to fill the no 1 shirt.  I know Opoku-Fordjour is small by modern day tight head standards at only 5' 11" and 18 st, but the tight head cupboard looks much more bare than the loose head cupboard, particularly as Borthwick doesn't seem too interested in the likes of Will Collier who will be no longer available shortly and Ehren Painter.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 18 Apr 2024, 6:01 pm

I hadn't realised how big de Groot is. But he's still smaller than Tameifuna.
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Post by king_carlos Thu 18 Apr 2024, 6:10 pm

nlpnlp wrote:It seems a little bit strange that England are apparently so keen for Asher Opoku-Fordjour to play at loose head rather than tight head where Sale want to play him, when you have the likes of Fin Baxter, Tarek Haffar, Phil Brantingham and Bevan Rodd who is only 23 looking to fill the no 1 shirt.  I know Opoku-Fordjour is small by modern day tight head standards at only 5' 11" and 18 st, but the tight head cupboard looks much more bare than the loose head cupboard, particularly as Borthwick doesn't seem too interested in the likes of Will Collier who will be no longer available shortly and Ehren Painter.

I'd be a fan of him playing both sides if he's good enough. Tamaiti Williams is doing that. Trevor Nyakane has covered both sides for the best scrum in the world. Ireland have been listing Healy, Porter and Bealham as able to play either side on every official team sheet since the rules changed to mean going to uncontested scrums in certain circumstances means losing a man.

AFAIK he's predominantly been a LH throughout age grade and academy stuff? That's certainly been the case for England age grades. I can't find any old Wasps U18 teamsheets now. Sale had this injury crisis at TH at the beginning of the season so he filled in there with good success.

Also, it's worth noting that I don't think the senior England coaches have actually commented publicly on wanting him to play one side or the other. All I've seen is a passing comment from Sanderson about Tom Harrison being at Sale to check in with other props (Rodd and Harper I believe), then AOF came up in conversation and Harrison mentioned he thinks LH might be his best position long term, whilst Sanderson felt it would be TH. I'd forgive you thinking there was more than that to it though. One of our esteemed and recently departed colleagues brought it up incessantly as part of his odd obsession with bawling about everything this coaching team has done.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 18 Apr 2024, 6:16 pm

Poorfour wrote:I hadn't realised how big de Groot is. But he's still smaller than Tameifuna.

I love that Big Ben is the same weight as Uini Antonio whilst being half a foot shorter. He's two Harry Randall's. Laugh

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Post by Geordie Thu 18 Apr 2024, 7:50 pm

With regards to Fordjour at LH ...was some of that Down to having two monster tightheads In Fasogabon and Sella available and trying to get all your best on the pitch..so Fordjour goes to LH?

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Post by king_carlos Thu 18 Apr 2024, 9:03 pm

Potentially, yes. Is that perhaps indicative of THs getting bigger in rugby generally though? Hence Fasogbon and Sela trending towards TH as they were well over 6ft tall and fairly gargantuan. Whilst AOF trended towards LH as it suits his build excellently.

As said, I'm a fan of him playing both if he's good enough. I think that positional flexibility is a great thing. It opens up interesting tactical options having a prop who can play both sides. I really love that it seems to be coming back into vogue. Versatility became a dirty word for a while, which I found odd in a sport that has always had it.

Porter was selected for a Lions tour whilst exclusively a TH, then became a world class LH. Cameron Woki switched from a flanker to a lock as France needed him to in order to get their best players on the pitch. The Boks just won a RWC whilst taking positional flexibility to the extreme. A majority of the current ABs backline started their careers in a different position to where they now start for NZ.

There's lots of it afoot, I love it!

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Post by Geordie Fri 19 Apr 2024, 8:01 am

king_carlos wrote:Potentially, yes. Is that perhaps indicative of THs getting bigger in rugby generally though? Hence Fasogbon and Sela trending towards TH as they were well over 6ft tall and fairly gargantuan. Whilst AOF trended towards LH as it suits his build excellently.

As said, I'm a fan of him playing both if he's good enough. I think that positional flexibility is a great thing. It opens up interesting tactical options having a prop who can play both sides. I really love that it seems to be coming back into vogue. Versatility became a dirty word for a while, which I found odd in a sport that has always had it.

Porter was selected for a Lions tour whilst exclusively a TH, then became a world class LH. Cameron Woki switched from a flanker to a lock as France needed him to in order to get their best players on the pitch. The Boks just won a RWC whilst taking positional flexibility to the extreme. A majority of the current ABs backline started their careers in a different position to where they now start for NZ.

There's lots of it afoot, I love it!

Yes in part...but mass alone doesnt beat a real competent scrummager. Fordjour is still 18st + packed in to a 5'11 frame...thats alot of power especially with him being a strong scrummager. Baxter also showed that, a strong scrummager can handle the extra mass coming at him. It also depends what is required of these guys away from scrum time...

As a falcon we have become very used to having front rowers who can play all sides (due to budget) ...and hookers who convert to prop (Rob Vickers) and hookers who cover flanker (Blamire) and flankers who play lock ( Mark Wilson) so versatility is not a dirty word up here.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri 19 Apr 2024, 9:37 am

Geordie wrote:
king_carlos wrote:Potentially, yes. Is that perhaps indicative of THs getting bigger in rugby generally though? Hence Fasogbon and Sela trending towards TH as they were well over 6ft tall and fairly gargantuan. Whilst AOF trended towards LH as it suits his build excellently.

As said, I'm a fan of him playing both if he's good enough. I think that positional flexibility is a great thing. It opens up interesting tactical options having a prop who can play both sides. I really love that it seems to be coming back into vogue. Versatility became a dirty word for a while, which I found odd in a sport that has always had it.

Porter was selected for a Lions tour whilst exclusively a TH, then became a world class LH. Cameron Woki switched from a flanker to a lock as France needed him to in order to get their best players on the pitch. The Boks just won a RWC whilst taking positional flexibility to the extreme. A majority of the current ABs backline started their careers in a different position to where they now start for NZ.

There's lots of it afoot, I love it!

Yes in part...but mass alone doesnt beat a real competent scrummager. Fordjour is still 18st + packed in to a 5'11 frame...thats alot of power especially with him being a strong scrummager. Baxter also showed that, a strong scrummager can handle the extra mass coming at him. It also depends what is required of these guys away from scrum time...

As a falcon we have become very used to having front rowers who can play all sides (due to budget) ...and hookers who convert to prop (Rob Vickers) and hookers who cover flanker (Blamire) and flankers who play lock ( Mark Wilson) so versatility is not a dirty word up here.

To be fair KC did say frame. Short and broad looseheads who are technically very good have been making massive tightheads look silly for years. Marcos Ayerza. Cyril Baille following in that particular French tradition, who was that square shaped scrummaging loosehead they have in the 00s, was it Marconnet? Anyway I digress.

Borthwick does like versatility in his squad. He's certainly promoting it with moving Chessum, Coles, Earl and M Smith between positions as it suits his game plan.

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