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[2019 Six Nations] England Squad

Old Hooker

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If we can learn from this i think we can compete for the wc deffinatly just needs work.
Just needs work!

The time for that was last year and the year before. This year should have been all about polishing, but it looks like we’ve got as many questions as we ever had. Injuries haven’t helped, but every team has those. Doesn’t reflect brilliantly on Jones.
 

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The only thing Faz stands out at is his goal kicking. Or stood out. Other goalkickers have caught up with his percentages and 'iceman' success rate at the death. When he first showed up his hit rate was a revelation - now accepted as the norm.
 

Which Tyler

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There is part of me sitting here thinking did we spend too long debating Ford/Farrell and other positions that we kind of neglected scrum-half. Youngs became our most capped scrum half ever at the weekend and whilst he has flashes of brilliance he's had way too many games where he's done just okay. I dunno feels like he's been here a lifetime and never really had to earn the shirt except against and equally misfiring Care and we never looked outside that.
It's not like we haven't spent the last 6-7 years discussing the SH problem. It just doesn't attract the same discussion as FH, as Leicester fans agree that he's a bit crap rather then defend him to the death, there aren't any obvious alternatives and there isn't the media hype that puts people's backs up.
 
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ncurd

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The only thing Faz stands out at is his goal kicking. Or stood out. Other goalkickers have caught up with his percentages and 'iceman' success rate at the death. When he first showed up his hit rate was a revelation - now accepted as the norm.
I think that's false remembering, when Wilkinson showed up it was a revelation. When Faz showed up he was just the next in the line of second comings Grayson, Hodgson, Goode, Flood, Geraghty & Cipriani

In 2012 we bought Farrell whos debut coincided with Wilko's retirement (who spent a fair chunk of that time injured), dropped Floor entirely. Remember Flood had a international 86% kicking record compared to Farrell's current 80.1%. Cips is at 82% (but bare attempted any in his 16 games) and Ford languishes down at 70% (I did some stats once that said you needed a diffrence of roughly 25% to actually effect matches. The Iceman thing came up really when vying for the position against Ford not when he first came on the scene.
 

scotty507

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Just needs work!

The time for that was last year and the year before. This year should have been all about polishing, but it looks like we’ve got as many questions as we ever had. Injuries haven’t helped, but every team has those. Doesn’t reflect brilliantly on Jones.
I do agree with you but i dont think we have to many selection issues now, we now our squad that will be going to the wc. Faz will be our main 10 amd ford second. SH is prob going to be youngs care spencer. Non of them are bad or incapable at this level.

We have shown our attack is strong and our defence is physical, manu slade works and i bet manu JJ does too. Id say it would be nice to have hartley back for his leadership, maybe even if we bench him so he can take hold in the second half when we seem to drop off. Hartly and itoje(to a lesser extent) in the pack will help with how passionate they are and how much they will lead.

Against ireland wales france italy we let in 7 tries. Our defence isnt bad because we had 1 complacent half vs a very good finn russell but now we now how we can be exploited and work on it.

Main issue is faz as captain i think. Great all round player and works well in our attacking shape but needs to adapt more and even more so as captain.

If we had to pick the 23 right now for the world cup im sure we will pick roughly the same 23 bar couple of personal preferences.

They need a really good pre wc training camp to build on the physical defence put in place and adapt it to the faster pace game that caught us out. And put alot pf work into adapting the the situation especially for farrell but id say im happier now that i was pre 6N.

Just ****** off still about the handling of Robson.
 

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I think that's false remembering, when Wilkinson showed up it was a revelation. When Faz showed up he was just the next in the line of second comings Grayson, Hodgson, Goode, Flood, Geraghty & Cipriani

In 2012 we bought Farrell whos debut coincided with Wilko's retirement (who spent a fair chunk of that time injured), dropped Floor entirely. Remember Flood had a international 86% kicking record compared to Farrell's current 80.1%. Cips is at 82% (but bare attempted any in his 16 games) and Ford languishes down at 70% (I did some stats once that said you needed a diffrence of roughly 25% to actually effect matches. The Iceman thing came up really when vying for the position against Ford not when he first came on the scene.

Fair enough, but remembering is subjective remember. I was impressed with his success rate from the touchline and overall consistency when he first came on the scene. The point of the post was that there are others just as good if not better now
 

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I realise this might make me sound mental, but I think the England squad is actually in pretty decent shape!

Or at least, I think we have all the physical components of an excellent team, right the way through the 23. I can't speak to the mental side of it, but look at how the squad has evolved over the past couple of years:

Backs:
For about 2.5 years we ran Ford-Faz-JJ as the midfield, with Daly + another wing, Youngs at SH, and Brown at the back. I thought this was a pretty effective set of backs, for the most part. People's main complaints were Brown at FB, Youngs in general, and Daly not being a proper wing. Potential problems that kept being mentioned were 'why are there no actual ICs in England?' and 'What do we do if JJ goes down?'

Now we have options at FB, very good options at wing, and we have the OC covered very nicely by Tuilagi and a come-of-age Slade.

We've still got no actual IC, but it seems like Tuilagi can cover there in a pinch, and I still think Faz is a very good shout there. (Assuming he can sort out that thing where he tries to one-man blitz defence! I think JJ being defensively excellent covered for Faz in a way I'm not convinced Manu can, but hopefully the fact that we have a defence coach will count for something)

This is why I'm a bit annoyed that Ford-Faz-Manu wasn't used at all in the 6N; you've got two 10s, two pseudo 12s and a 13 there. Stick Slade/JJ on the bench and you can get Ford-Faz-Manu, Ford-Faz-13, Ford-Manu-13, Faz-Manu-13. That's a lot of good options that get presented by just one sub.

Forwards:
About the only parts of the forwards that weren't complained about over the last two years were the locks and Billy. We had no jackalling flankers, our front row was considered simply solid at best, and we had basically no ball carriers when we lost Billy.

Front row was Marler-Hartley-Cole. Now it's Mako-George-Sinkler. That's a massive step up in dynamism, and we haven't seemed weak at scrum time. I would be perfectly happy to see Hartley slot back in as hooker and captain, if only to see if it takes the weight off Faz. But the props are much better carriers and ball handlers than they were before.

Locks have just been great forever.

Our flankers were Robshaw, Haskell, and Wood. The cupboard was so bare Eddie was playing Lawes and Itoje at 6. Now we have, hypothetically, Curry, Underhill and Wilson. Actual, dynamic flankers! Hooray!

Replacing Billy at 8 is still a problem; I think the best option from the recent crop is Wilson. But Billy's role has actually been diminished somewhat; we seem replete with excellent carriers in Manu, Sinks, Curry, Mako, etc.

Tl;dr: I think that every significant issue with the England team (apart from SH and maybe mentality) has been shown to be solvable over the last year.

Which is not to say that my vision will play out. Eddie will probably pick Te'o as hooker and Hughes as fullback for all I know. But the pieces are certainly there.
 

scotty507

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I realise this might make me sound mental, but I think the England squad is actually in pretty decent shape!

Or at least, I think we have all the physical components of an excellent team, right the way through the 23. I can't speak to the mental side of it, but look at how the squad has evolved over the past couple of years:

Backs:
For about 2.5 years we ran Ford-Faz-JJ as the midfield, with Daly + another wing, Youngs at SH, and Brown at the back. I thought this was a pretty effective set of backs, for the most part. People's main complaints were Brown at FB, Youngs in general, and Daly not being a proper wing. Potential problems that kept being mentioned were 'why are there no actual ICs in England?' and 'What do we do if JJ goes down?'

Now we have options at FB, very good options at wing, and we have the OC covered very nicely by Tuilagi and a come-of-age Slade.

We've still got no actual IC, but it seems like Tuilagi can cover there in a pinch, and I still think Faz is a very good shout there. (Assuming he can sort out that thing where he tries to one-man blitz defence! I think JJ being defensively excellent covered for Faz in a way I'm not convinced Manu can, but hopefully the fact that we have a defence coach will count for something)

This is why I'm a bit annoyed that Ford-Faz-Manu wasn't used at all in the 6N; you've got two 10s, two pseudo 12s and a 13 there. Stick Slade/JJ on the bench and you can get Ford-Faz-Manu, Ford-Faz-13, Ford-Manu-13, Faz-Manu-13. That's a lot of good options that get presented by just one sub.

Forwards:
About the only parts of the forwards that weren't complained about over the last two years were the locks and Billy. We had no jackalling flankers, our front row was considered simply solid at best, and we had basically no ball carriers when we lost Billy.

Front row was Marler-Hartley-Cole. Now it's Mako-George-Sinkler. That's a massive step up in dynamism, and we haven't seemed weak at scrum time. I would be perfectly happy to see Hartley slot back in as hooker and captain, if only to see if it takes the weight off Faz. But the props are much better carriers and ball handlers than they were before.

Locks have just been great forever.

Our flankers were Robshaw, Haskell, and Wood. The cupboard was so bare Eddie was playing Lawes and Itoje at 6. Now we have, hypothetically, Curry, Underhill and Wilson. Actual, dynamic flankers! Hooray!

Replacing Billy at 8 is still a problem; I think the best option from the recent crop is Wilson. But Billy's role has actually been diminished somewhat; we seem replete with excellent carriers in Manu, Sinks, Curry, Mako, etc.

Tl;dr: I think that every significant issue with the England team (apart from SH and maybe mentality) has been shown to be solvable over the last year.

Which is not to say that my vision will play out. Eddie will probably pick Te'o as hooker and Hughes as fullback for all I know. But the pieces are certainly there.

I do agree with you. Things need fixing but as i said in my post above we pretty much know the squad/23 we will put out in WC give or take a couple.


Billy is an odd one and has lost abit of his powerful carrying. I wonder if he could fill that 20 shirt, a powerful carrier to bring on at 60 min(if we get Underhill back). Wilson can play 8 well with a very high workrate and is a decent carrier. Underhill curry wilson. Billy.

We dont lack carriers in the pack but bringing on genge, george and billy can bring a real impact agaimst tired legs and could help stop us fading. Just an idea.
 

Tigs Man

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Not his biggest fan.

But I think we really missed Itoje's work in defence and his ability to lead a pack defensively.
 

TBeastT

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Not his biggest fan.

But I think we really missed Itoje's work in defence and his ability to lead a pack defensively.
Mako does an obscene amount of defensive work too
 

Old Hooker

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I think the talent is largely fine, but in the backs I’m still not sure what Plan A is. Up front is better, but there aren’t enough dominant characters to pull things round when things aren’t going to plan. That’s one area where Itoje does score highly. Leadership in general is a weakness.

The table is instructive. We scored 70 points and 10 tries more than anyone else in 5 games. That’s remarkable. What’s even more remarkable is that we contrived not to win 2 of those games. That’s Kevin Keegan era Newcastle.

Wales only conceded 65 points including 7 tries. That’s why they won. We conceded 101 points including 13 tries. A good defence may not win a RWC by itself, but you won’t win a RWC without one. In their 14 match winning streak the maximum points Wales have conceded is 24 - against Tonga when they scored 74. The only other team to get 20 was the Saffers at home. In our last 14 the opposition have scored 20+ 8 times (2 of which have been 38 & 39), including 3 in this 6N. In the days when Ireland were good - 2018 - they only conceded 20 in 2 of their 12 games.

The most worrying thing is a coach finishing the tournament by openly saying his team have long standing mental weaknesses that he’s been unable to fix.

It’s not all bad obvs. But I’d rather be in Gatland’s shoes with a team that seems to be totally on message, committed and more than the sum of its parts. In the way that owners come to resemble their dogs, Eng seem to mirror Jones in that you’re not quite sure whether you’re going to get the sublime or the ridiculous.
 

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One thing I'd say is that based on current form, it would take a very good side to beat Wales. You can't say the same about England. Tbh I think England have got pretty much zero chance of reaching the WC final. I wouldn't put much money on Wales not getting there.
 

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Wales only conceded 65 points including 7 tries. That’s why they won. We conceded 101 points including 13 tries. A good defence may not win a RWC by itself, but you won’t win a RWC without one. In their 14 match winning streak the maximum points Wales have conceded is 24 - against Tonga when they scored 74. The only other team to get 20 was the Saffers at home. In our last 14 the opposition have scored 20+ 8 times (2 of which have been 38 & 39), including 3 in this 6N. In the days when Ireland were good - 2018 - they only conceded 20 in 2 of their 12 games.

The most worrying thing is a coach finishing the tournament by openly saying his team have long standing mental weaknesses that he’s been unable to fix.

Issue is, if you take out the 5 second half tries and the 31 points they scored then it would have been 8 tries and 70 points roughly. For me the second halves against Wales and Scotland were a mental issue, especially with Farrell where he England playing like they had in the first half and relied too much on kicking. Yes there is a mental issue, but I don't think it is from 2015. It's from a team that gets overconfident with a fast start and doesn't have the killer edge to see it through.
 

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I do agree with you. Things need fixing but as i said in my post above we pretty much know the squad/23 we will put out in WC give or take a couple.


Billy is an odd one and has lost abit of his powerful carrying. I wonder if he could fill that 20 shirt, a powerful carrier to bring on at 60 min(if we get Underhill back). Wilson can play 8 well with a very high workrate and is a decent carrier. Underhill curry wilson. Billy.

We dont lack carriers in the pack but bringing on genge, george and billy can bring a real impact agaimst tired legs and could help stop us fading. Just an idea.

Billy’s been useful without being anywhere near top form, but whether he’s been good enough to justify being an automatic selection is debatable. Even if he’s not carrying particularly well, he does attract defenders but on the other hand, I’d argue we looked better with Wilson at 8 in the AIs (and that was also without Mako or Tuilagi as a carrying options).

Assuming we’re playing with a first choice tight 5 and Tuilagi in the centre, I’d be interested to try a back row of Underhill, Curry and Wilson with Billy as an impact sub. It wouldn’t work against all opposition but I think it’s worth looking at if Billy’s form doesn’t improve significantly between now and September.
 

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Issue is, if you take out the 5 second half tries and the 31 points they scored then it would have been 8 tries and 70 points roughly. For me the second halves against Wales and Scotland were a mental issue, especially with Farrell where he England playing like they had in the first half and relied too much on kicking. Yes there is a mental issue, but I don't think it is from 2015. It's from a team that gets overconfident with a fast start and doesn't have the killer edge to see it through.

Yep - I agree with that.

We’ve almost mastered the fast start (we’ve managed it against most of our Tier 1 opponents). Now we need to remember it’s an 80 minute game and turn up for the second half.
 

scotty507

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Billy’s been useful without being anywhere near top form, but whether he’s been good enough to justify being an automatic selection is debatable. Even if he’s not carrying particularly well, he does attract defenders but on the other hand, I’d argue we looked better with Wilson at 8 in the AIs (and that was also without Mako or Tuilagi as a carrying options).

Assuming we’re playing with a first choice tight 5 and Tuilagi in the centre, I’d be interested to try a back row of Underhill, Curry and Wilson with Billy as an impact sub. It wouldn’t work against all opposition but I think it’s worth looking at if Billy’s form doesn’t improve significantly between now and September.
Exactly i think most agree Wilson Tcurry underhill billy makes a find balanced back row in any order. Underhill is a decent 7 not curry over the ball but decent at the breakdown. Even Wilson on the bench would have an impact.

Playerwise i am the happiest ive been in a years, this is a strong balanced team throughout even without the likes of underhill, watson, JJ. And maybe even SSimmonds i wish he had this season to put his hand up.

Just hope the coaches can sort out the defensive issues exposed by a very impressive Scottish comeback.
 

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In 2016 and 2017 we mastered the late score, 2019 we've mastered the fast score. If we can now just combine them with a decent but in the middle, that would be grand.

With regards to Billy, he is always used to carry into heavy traffic. I'd like to see our props used for that more and have Billy hitting the line where the is more space or a mismatch. I don't think it game plan is utilising him to his full potential.
 

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In 2016 and 2017 we mastered the late score, 2019 we've mastered the fast score. If we can now just combine them with a decent but in the middle, that would be grand.

With regards to Billy, he is always used to carry into heavy traffic. I'd like to see our props used for that more and have Billy hitting the line where the is more space or a mismatch. I don't think it game plan is utilising him to his full potential.
Genge and Sinks are both significantly faster and significantly lighter than Billy. I reckon having Billy run at heavy traffic while our props run where there's more space is probably the right way around.
 

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Genge and Sinks are both significantly faster and significantly lighter than Billy. I reckon having Billy run at heavy traffic while our props run where there's more space is probably the right way around.

I'm not convinced there's much in it weight-wise. If someone told me Sinks as heavy as Billy I'd straight up believe it. I'm always surprised how bloody big our pack is; in the Scotland game it was 935 kgs!

Apart from when France fielded that record breaking pack for one game, England had the heaviest pack by miles. They sure don't act like it, though!
 
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