Discussion in 'International Test Matches' started by TRF_heineken, Oct 29, 2018.
Time: 17:00 CAT (SA, GMT+2)
Nervously looking forward to this one
Hoping for a win
Going to be an interesting game, despite playing a three game series at the beginning of the year.
I can't help but think our entire backline strategy hinges on two men, Willie le Roux and Faf de Klerk, neither of who will be available for this test, and Faf won't be available for the whole tour.
Someone's going to have to step up! We are probably fine at 15 at least with a few guys who can do a job a there, but our three scrum halves in the squad have about 8 caps combined and probably under 100 minutes.
Our pack looks great, should be even better than the rugby championship squad with Duane back.
Looking forward to this. FAF and Willie were fantastic in the summer and its a shame they aren't available. It will be tight anyway.
Want to add that I don't think England were that bad in the summer. We played some moments of good rugby but EJs 'no planning at altitude' really hampered us in the first two test. The Boks played at a fierce tempo (FAF was world class in the first test) and we just couldn't keep up.
Well, I think we won't be playing catch-up rugby so much as we did during their tour. Our Defensive structure is now in place, while when they were here, we were just starting with it. So I think we will be more of a cohesive unit than we were.
Plus, it seems like the players from England are dropping like flies, every second day there's an article of someone being injured. So it seems like we will again be playing a second string side...
For me this is our key game of the series. We should beat Japan, we should beat Australia, we will lose to the ABs.
So our benchmark is how we do against a rapidly improving RSA, albeit shorn of a couple of their big stars. May be an uncomfortable afternoon for our pack.
British Irish Lions
Loosehead for England is a real concern: Hepburn only has 2 caps (as a replacement?) but Moon has never played at this level so it’ll be a real baptism of fire for the latter. We should be alright in depth in the other positions and so glad Morgan is back. I wouldn’t say the rest of the 15 is second string. Cover at lock is less strong if Lawes is ruled out.
Agreed, only at loosehead is it maybe a fair bit weaker than it should be. We're missing quality for sure, but we do have strength in depth. It also forces EJs hand to pick other players sometimes.
All this mornings press is very much focused on Rhodes playing this weekend? The 30 year old South African flanker. I've never considered him for England (why would I) but whats he like? I'd much rather see Curry at 7 and Underhill or Shields at 6. Even Mercer at 6 even though he's an 8.
I’ll be the game, so no doubt we’ll lose as I haven’t seen England win in 2018.
My best guess 23:
1. Steven Kitsoff
2. Malcom Marx
3. Wilcow Louw
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Franco Mostert
6. Siya Kolisi
8. Duane Vermulen
9. Embrose Papier
10. Handre Pollard
11. Sibusiso Nkosi
13. Jesse Kriel
14. Aphiwe Dyantyi
15. Damian Willemse
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Trevor Nyakane
18. Frans Malherbe
19. RG Snyman
20. Sikumbuzo Notshe
21. Ivan van Zyl
22. Elton Jantjies
23. Cheslin Kolbe
Pretty much the side I think Rassie will select, considering all factors. Pack will be strong, backline looks pretty good but lacks a lot of experience, I think the average age there is like 23 or so, so we could see some silly mistakes, not really sure what we could do to add experience however with the squad we have. Bring in Aplon to 15 I suppose but I don't think that will happen.
This is the team I'd pick, EJ won't tho.
I've no problem with a Ford Farrell axis as long as we have a ball carrier in the backs to draw the defenders away from the playmakers. Plenty of pace in the back 3. Big Joe brings more power. Daly can be an extra playmaker in attack and join the line with more skill than Brown ever could.
Whilst I love Underhill and Curry as players, I feel like if you pick both to start against this SA pack, we will get demolished. Hepburn is also undersized and among the rest, only Itoje is known for being particularly physical around the park, even then it's mostly athleticism rather than the gritty, aggressive smash that the entire Springbok 8 have. (Underhill is obviously huge in defence, but even he will get battered down with multiple waves of Marx, Etzebeth, Vermeulen, PTSD, Mostert, Kolisi).
I think EJ will go with:
I still think we are lacking physicality and think we will struggle to win the game unless it's a dry day, Farrell has a stormer and our backs expose the inexperience and occasional defensive lapses of the SA back-line without De Klerk and Le Roux.
I definitely don't see a requirement to pick Te'o. Yes you need brawn but we need variety to our play, not route one. He's also not played much rugby in the last year so if anything he could be totally undercooked for such a physical game. We need to move them round the park more, if we just run at them they would love that game. A backline including Teo, Brown and Tuilagi just screams run and smash. We need to be cute as well as physical.
Now, you're a Saracens fan. So tell me what Rhodes is all about please? Don't know enough about him? The only change to the pack I've picked is Rhodes over Underhill so he must be a hell of a physical player to require him to make his debut vs SA. I also think, and you will know this that Kruis and Itoje are our most physical combo in the locks?
I like this squad, it has potential, our forwards are looking great and thats where i think we will have the advantage over our NH opponents on this tour. Its going to be a tough game, but i want revenge on England for the humiliation they caused last year during the EOYT when they destroyed us... I actually think with our improved away form that we might snatch it after a close game.
Just to clarify, my 23 picks were what I am expecting from Jones. Personally, I wouldn't pick Te'o alongside Tuilagi, but from what I've heard/read he is being seriously considered. Apparently Jones sees Tuilagi exclusively as a 13 and Te'o exclusively as a 12. I think Tuilagi will definitely start given the injuries to the Vunipolae and the other options for a bit of finesse in the backs are only really solid/tested at 13 internationally (and arguably at club too). Therefore that leaves Te'o to start at 12 or we go back to the Ford/Farrell axis, which I would find a bit irritating (if not overly surprising) given how well Farrell has played at 10, how mixed Ford has been and how much Jones has gone on about Cipriani being out of the squad because he's 3rd choice fly half (he's not if Farrell is going to play 12 the whole time...).
Rhodes is very good player, difficult to think of an English comparison because we don't tend to breed players like him here - think typical Saffa Blindside like Danie Rossouw or Juan Smith from back in the day. He's 6'6" and 18 stone, physical carrier but won't be making multiple line breaks in most games. Earns most of his money defensively; he puts in a lot of tackles and a lot of big shots and is just the worst kind of player to go up against at the breakdown both offensively and defensively. Also very good in the line out and is just a big man. He compliments Kruis and Itoje well when playing for Sarries, so I think he will go alright with those two. That being said, I think the pack even with him will still struggle physically - Itoje is probably our most physically gifted lock and Kruis is one of the biggest, but in terms of sheer grunt, both of them are significantly lacking vs their SA counterparts. I would rather have Launchbury in there (if fit) ahead of Kruis, who hasn't really been at his best since getting dropped on the Lions tour.
In essence, I think a lot of the above is just the result of the cupboards being bare due to injury and highlights how much of our game has been based around the talents of a few individuals rather than a style of play that can be coached to and achieved by different types of players. Hoping I'm proved very wrong and we come out and smash the Boks, just can't see it happening with this team.
Underhill and curry are plenty physical,
They're not gonna excel in running into brick walls but we shouldn't be sending our backrowers exclusively into brick walls anyway
Yrah I'm surprised anyone would question these two. Most of Underhill's injuries are possibly because he almost destroys the opposing player in ever tackle.
I'd be very surprised if we chuck any rookies into a starting 15 against SA. This is pretty much a must win game and any first caps for starting are likely to given out against Japan. With NZ next week we need people with international experience. We are a year from a world cup the time for chopping and changing is over and most changes should be injury enforced. Unless there is an outright bolter this season. Otherwise you're looking at another Burgess situation where the player is simply not experienced enough.
Also disappointed Cips has been dropped and I'll shocked if we don't go back to Ford/Farrell. I was against Cips being selected in the summer for this entirely reason, why did we do that only to resort back to where were before. We learnt nothing from that other than we can rely on Cips in a pinch, wasted game even though we won.
Pivotal we get a close game here and V NZ to keep world cup hopes a live. Anything less or a superficial close game (ie late score for us in an already lost game). I think we'll be pondering how it all went wrong after such a promising start for EJ.
Tuilagi is a 13, and Te'o is a 12 for sure, doesn't mean we have to start them together. I think Tuilagi will start 13. Slade is also very much a 13 (despite his skillset the idea of him being a 12 has been put to bed now) so the only players we have available at 12 are Farrell or Te'o. The only other potential player we could try 12 is Johnny Williams who is not in the squad. We are actually not missing anyone to play 12. I'd have Cips at 10 maybe instead of Ford but EJ is not a fan, and as I've said before the way Farrell stropped at Cips during the 3rd test in the summer when he set up Mays try was cringe-worthy.
Ford has been playing really well for Leicester this season, and has been playing a lot better than Te'o who just hasn't played at all. I'm surprised anyone would be irritated by the Ford/Farrell axis as it's when we've played our best rugby. The only problem its caused is not having a ball carrier in the backs to drawer defenders away. I'm not debating who is better if we were to pick one btw.
As for experience, I'd rather them in the firing line now than during a WC. But you could argue at a 10/12/13 of Ford, Farrell and Tuilagi is plenty experience. And as for the relative inexperience of Curry and Underhill I wouldn't be concerned, they've been round the EPS for a while now and have a higher development ceiling between now and the WC than someone like Rhodes, who is clearly a talented player but I'm just not sure if we need to call on him for England.
I'm not trying to bash those two players as I rate them both massively. I also wouldn't question their bravery. But, in a Autumn/Winter test match in England against the Boks, size matters. Look at the teams that have been successful in the Champions Cup, The Premiership and The 6 Nations - it's overwhelmingly dominated by the teams with larger, dominant packs.
If those two play, these are the likely match-ups in the pack alongside how the England player stacks up:
Hepburn 6'1, 17st v Kitsoff 6'0, 19st - similar height, 2 stone lighter
Hartley 6'1, 17.5st v Marx 6'2, 18st - similar height, 0.5 stone lighter
Williams 6'3, 20.5st v Louw 6'1, 20st - 2 inches taller, 0.5 stone heavier
Itoje 6'5, 18st v Etzebeth 6'8, 19.5st - 3 inches shorter, 1.5 stone lighter
Kruis 6'6, 18st v |*Snyman 6'9, 18st - 3 inches shorter, similar weight
Underhill 6'1, 16st v PSDT, 6'7, 19st - 6 inches shorter, 3 stone lighter
Curry 6'1, 16st v Kolisi 6'2, 16.5st - similar height, 0.5 stone lighter
Morgan 6'3, 18st v Vermuelen 6'4, 18.5st - similar height, 0.5 stone lighter
*(or if they pick Mostert 6'6, 18st)
I know it's not all about the stats but a few inches and a few stone here and there can make all the difference, according to my ex-girlfriend anyway...
I'm pretty sure SA are always bigger than us. And most nations too... We need to utilise skill to move that big pack round the park. Kick well, pick holes, try to be disciplined (HAHA) so the requirement to scrum is reduced. Play quick from the back of the scrum etc etc. More nous. Physicality at the breakdown will be important, but in Curry and Underhill that is probably the strongest in that regard for England in a while, definitely more durable that Robshaw and Haskell in that area..
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