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[2021 Six Nations] England Squad

Ragey Erasmus

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I think it's interesting to note who the comments come from...

In a rugby environment, there can be one leader, who commands full respect and control, that being EJ. He'll have his "generals" etc, and try to get the team working as he sees is best, but he's in charge. Now Mike Brown doesnt exactly strike me as a man with total respect for authority, and certainly could hold a chip on his shoulder, particularly for the way he was brutally cut from the squad. He says about challenging EJ, but also from what I heard Hask comment on it, and he's again getting this from inside info as he wasnt in the camp, you dont challenge and have a go at your Head Coach in front of everyone else, that shows a total lack of respect and will not go down well. I also think EJ saw him phasing in Daly at this point anyway
Regarding working players hard, Itoje said it well too, great players want to be pushed, to reach their limits, and see how good they can be. EJ pushes them, but a lot of Enlgand insiders talk about how good he is as a man manager for the most part, to get the best out of his players.
Jones is 100% a control freak, going through scenarios in his head endlessly, a bit like Ana Taylor Joy in Queens gambit may be a good reference (though hopefully without the pills), but that doesnt make him a bad coach. he demands excellence of himself, and can therefore also demand it of his players. If he didnt, then he'd have a lot less respect. If there's any issues in camp, I'd suggest there are people able to talk about it, and EJ would rather hear about it than just be unknowing, though again strikes me as intelligent enough to see it himself
Maybe its just a hard rugby camp he runs, and if you cant handle it, you shouldnt be an international. Professional rugby isnt a game for someone who doesnt have that fire in them to compete

Brown is the latest example, I'm talking about over his career. He was the same with Australia and Japan. Also it's not just players, he churns through support staff too. That isn't just a case of "well you need to put up with it to be an international", the success of other international sides without doing that shows that quite clearly is not true at all.

If Jones really is a good man manager and getting the best out of his players then why are they performing so poorly? One of the things they teach at any level is you simply cannot go at it 100% all the time as you burn out. There is a difference between pushing players and staff and burning them out completely. Jones argued it was to improve fitness yet under him we went from always winning the final quarter to virtually never winning it, relying on an ability to get ahead and stay ahead rather than claw anything back, which we used to be able to do when he first arrived. Where is this improved fitness? He's said he wanted to play heads up rugby, where is that? England have had most success running attacks off strike moves from set piece, we have barely developed our attack in open play or off turnover. Since he has been in charge our defence has been getting worse, we are conceding more points and more penalties and it's on a downwards trend, not one that is being fixed. Our ability to score points is on a downwards trend... Is there actually any tangible area of continuous improvement under Jones? Something we can point at now and say that is clearly better than it was before? At the moment all I can think of is our flankers, and that was down to us having a rich vein of flanker talent available rather than Jones.

All of the improvements under Jones were most visible in the first 2 years where we genuinely were a fit side with generally good discipline, rock solid defence and were a real pain in the arse to beat. We were also the comeback kings who couldn't be written off until the game was finished. The "finishers" tag actually seemed to have some merit as they performed a distinct set purpose of upping the tempo at the end rather than simply replacing those on the field. Jones would trust them to finish the job. Now? None of that applies any more. What have we replaced it with?
 
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Jakedood

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Brown is the latest example, I'm talking about over his career. He was the same with Australia and Japan. Also it's not just players, he churns through support staff too. That isn't just a case of "well you need to put up with it to be an international", the success of other international sides without doing that shows that quite clearly is not true at all.

If Jones really is a good man manager and getting the best out of his players then why are they performing so poorly? One of the things they teach at any level is you simply cannot go at it 100% all the time as you burn out. There is a difference between pushing players and staff and burning them out completely. Jones argued it was to improve fitness yet under him we went from always winning the final quarter to virtually never winning it, relying on an ability to get ahead and stay ahead rather than claw anything back, which we used to be able to do when he first arrived. Where is this improved fitness? He's said he wanted to play heads up rugby, where is that? England have had most success running attacks off strike moves from set piece, we have barely developed our attack in open play or off turnover. Since he has been in charge our defence has been getting worse, we are conceding more points and more penalties and it's on a downwards trend, not one that is being fixed. Our ability to score points is on a downwards trend... Is there actually any tangible area of continuous improvement under Jones? Something we can point at now and say that is clearly better than it was before? At the moment all I can think of is our flankers, and that was down to us having a rich vein of flanker talent available rather than Jones.

All of the improvements under Jones were most visible in the first 2 years where we genuinely were a fit side with generally good discipline, rock solid defence and were a real pain in the arse to beat. We were also the comeback kings who couldn't be written off until the game was finished. Now? None of that applies any more. What have we replaced it with?
This is true, and there was a noticeable difference this training camp perhaps because there was nowhere to let loose. There was nothing to do, barr train, whereas normally there'd be quite a few socials etc going on.
I'm not saying he's always right, but that the camp is unhappy is just what people say when people start losing, as if the reason they're unhappy could just be that they're losing. They havent played well, there's a myriad of factors for it, but ultimately the guy deserves a chance to at least see if he can turn it around. May not have been playing well, but they were winners last year, Twice
Tbf, coaches are less likely to stick for ages because the amount of work is incessant for sure, and i feel they're less tolerable towards it, you'd have to be slightly less invested as a supporting coach than a starting player for sure
I just dont think because a team loses that instantly means "there's an unhappy camp, players are covering but obviously dont like him, wan the manager out, blah blah blah"
 

Ragey Erasmus

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This is true, and there was a noticeable difference this training camp perhaps because there was nowhere to let loose. There was nothing to do, barr train, whereas normally there'd be quite a few socials etc going on.
I'm not saying he's always right, but that the camp is unhappy is just what people say when people start losing, as if the reason they're unhappy could just be that they're losing. They havent played well, there's a myriad of factors for it, but ultimately the guy deserves a chance to at least see if he can turn it around. May not have been playing well, but they were winners last year, Twice
Tbf, coaches are less likely to stick for ages because the amount of work is incessant for sure, and i feel they're less tolerable towards it, you'd have to be slightly less invested as a supporting coach than a starting player for sure
I just dont think because a team loses that instantly means "there's an unhappy camp, players are covering but obviously dont like him, wan the manager out, blah blah blah"
That's the thing, it's not "instantly" thinking that. I have been arguing this for a while and this is just yet another point reinforcing what I said. Eg check here right after we won the AN cup:

We have basically put out a team we already know a lot about and simply shown a lot have regressed without really looking at their alternatives. Look at what Robson and Malins brought to the game today, why did we not know they could do this all the way back in the Georgia game? Because for some stupid reason Jones decided he wouldn't see what they could offer, even after the game was easily won. Same with Wales and Ireland. We've got to the end of this and what have we learned? Wales and Ireland have at least some clue of who can and can't step up at the moment. We've only seen that some of our regulars are a bit too comfortable in their places and can perform really badly, repeatedly without any worry. All our strongest positions are the ones where the position can be taken by another player. Our weakest positions are all the ones locked down by Jones favourites with nobody else getting a look in.

Now if I could spot that back in December and I'm no rugby guru then why the hell couldn't Jones?
 

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That's the thing, it's not "instantly" thinking that. I have been arguing this for a while and this is just yet another point reinforcing what I said. Eg check here right after we won the AN cup:



Now if I could spot that back in December and I'm no rugby guru then why the hell couldn't Jones?

But what are you basing the unhappy camp thing on?

I'm also a big fan that "seeing other players" doesnt have to be in matches. Earn your caps, be better than the incumbents. Caps should mean more like that. And just because we havent seen them in a game, doesnt mean the coaching staff havent seen them in training
 

Ragey Erasmus

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But what are you basing the unhappy camp thing on?

I'm also a big fan that "seeing other players" doesnt have to be in matches. Earn your caps, be better than the incumbents. Caps should mean more like that. And just because we havent seen them in a game, doesnt mean the coaching staff havent seen them in training
Are you suggesting the alternatives are worse than the incumbents? How do you "earn" caps when the incumbent can be terrible but remain undroppable? It becomes the "you can't have any caps because you haven't proven yourself internationally" catch 22.

That gets back to my original point. If the alternatives are not better than the incumbent and the incumbents are quite easily the 5th placed squad this year and there are no problems in the camp, that means the conclusion left is that England are churning out really poor players at the moment. Considering the general consensus is that this is one of the most talented generations of rugby talent we have had since 2003, something clearly isn't right in these claims.
 

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Are you suggesting the alternatives are worse than the incumbents? How do you "earn" caps when the incumbent can be terrible but remain undroppable? It becomes the "you can't have any caps because you haven't proven yourself internationally" catch 22.

That gets back to my original point. If the alternatives are not better than the incumbent and the incumbents are quite easily the 5th placed squad this year and there are no problems in the camp, that means the conclusion left is that England are churning out really poor players at the moment. Considering the general consensus is that this is one of the most talented generations of rugby talent we have had since 2003, something clearly isn't right in these claims.
I'll point out a couple of things then... Haskell, Robshaw and Danny Care played every six nations game in 2018. They never played for England again. ( i think, may be wrong re robshaw mind as i know he toured SA). Wigglesworth played 2 more games after that Six Nations. Apparently in 2018, 20 of his world cup squad toured with him (out of 32) and another 8 of his squad were injured or unavailable for that tour, so I'd pay a lot of attention to the summer tour squads, and more likely the one for Autumn with the Lions back
Sometimes, its not the up and comers he wants to see, its can the players nipping at their tails make them better, if they cant raise their game then they're off

I think there'll be a lot of changes come the autumn, and this time next year may feature 5/6 new England players in the 23. It's entirely possible. Jones was ruthless even when it came to dropping Dylan Hartley for goodness sake.
You earn caps by being better over a consistent period of time, and showing that, Odogwu may earn his chance yet
I've a feeling Randall may have gotten some time if not for injury, Jack Willis would have gotten a lot more too... might even have been tempted by a Curry, Underhill, Willis back row at some point, its worth acknowledging some really bright players have been injured in the leadup. But i think this is the turning point, if things dont change by Autumn i think he'll be off
But I see a lot of campaigning for players like Dunn to get more time etc, when in reality, they're 3rd best in their position. If you want the position, you have to improve, and be better than the incumbents. Daly to me was one of Englands better players v Ireland, and he showed his class with a kick up the ass. I just dont think this is all as straightforward as that, and the core of England's player pool like Itoje, Farrell, etc are really hard grafters, high work rate players. They set standards, meaning its tough to say "this is too much work" when others around you are doing just fine
I'm rambling a little now, and Im not saying theres definitely no unhappiness, but EJ seems a straight shooter with players, tells them how it is, and that always seems to lead to a much stronger bond than when you get mollycoddled
 
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Ragey Erasmus

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I'll point out a couple of things then... Haskell, Robshaw and Danny Care played every six nations game in 2018. They never played for England again. ( i think, may be wrong re robshaw mind as i know he toured SA). Wigglesworth played 2 more games after that Six Nations. Apparently in 2018, 20 of his world cup squad toured with him (out of 32) and another 8 of his squad were injured or unavailable for that tour, so I'd pay a lot of attention to the summer tour squads, and more likely the one for Autumn with the Lions back
Sometimes, its not the up and comers he wants to see, its can the players nipping at their tails make them better, if they cant raise their game then they're off

I think there'll be a lot of changes come the autumn, and this time next year may feature 5/6 new England players in the 23. It's entirely possible. Jones was ruthless even when it came to dropping Dylan Hartley for goodness sake.
You earn caps by being better over a consistent period of time, and showing that, Odogwu may earn his chance yet
I've a feeling Randall may have gotten some time if not for injury, Jack Willis would have gotten a lot more too... might even have been tempted by a Curry, Underhill, Willis back row at some point, its worth acknowledging some really bright players have been injured in the leadup. But i think this is the turning point, if things dont change by Autumn i think he'll be off
But I see a lot of campaigning for players like Dunn to get more time etc, when in reality, they're 3rd best in their position. If you want the position, you have to improve, and be better than the incumbents. Daly to me was one of Englands better players v Ireland, and he showed his class with a kick up the ass. I just dont think this is all as straightforward as that, and the core of England's player pool like Itoje, Farrell, etc are really hard grafters, high work rate players. They set standards, meaning its tough to say "this is too much work" when others around you are doing just fine
I'm rambling a little now, and Im not saying theres definitely no unhappiness, but EJ seems a straight shooter with players, tells them how it is, and that always seems to lead to a much stronger bond than when you get mollycoddled
I agree, I'm not arguing Jones should go now but I am saying he needs to show he is going to turn it around and he no longer has the option to throw away another year. Bearing in mind Hartley was dropped after a long term injury and it was actually Gatland who chose George to start first, not Jones. Had that combination not happened, George may not have replaced Hartley.

Winning the summer games will not be good enough (like winning the AN Cup really shouldn't have been good enough). There has got to be some sign of progress, some sign he is going to act on the problems and actually has an idea of how to fix it. If Jones simply does the same old or we only just scrape some wins, I don't think that will be enough. There is a very real possibility we could lose 2 of our 3 games. If that happens, I can't see Jones surviving. It's understandable that teams have peaks and troughs but when that trough is equalling the records for the worst performances by a team in decades, you burn through any credit you had very fast.
 

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I agree, I'm not arguing Jones should go now but I am saying he needs to show he is going to turn it around and he no longer has the option to throw away another year. Bearing in mind Hartley was dropped after a long term injury and it was actually Gatland who chose George to start first, not Jones. Had that combination not happened, George may not have replaced Hartley.

Winning the summer games will not be good enough (like winning the AN Cup really shouldn't have been good enough). There has got to be some sign of progress, some sign he is going to act on the problems and actually has an idea of how to fix it. If Jones simply does the same old or we only just scrape some wins, I don't think that will be enough. There is a very real possibility we could lose 2 of our 3 games. If that happens, I can't see Jones surviving. It's understandable that teams have peaks and troughs but when that trough is equalling the records for the worst performances by a team in decades, you burn through any credit you had very fast.
I can see the fairness in this. If you can see shoots of change, and they scrape wins, its maybe not so bad, but if its with the same old same old, then agreed, he should be on his ass
 

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I suppose the question is how much credit in the bank did that final appearance give him? One dodgy 6 nations I can see him surviving, I doubt they would accept two, would a poor AI series get him out? Summer is a bit of a let off with the lions, it's about giving new/less experienced players game time.
 

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I suppose the question is how much credit in the bank did that final appearance give him? One dodgy 6 nations I can see him surviving, I doubt they would accept two, would a poor AI series get him out? Summer is a bit of a let off with the lions, it's about giving new/less experienced players game time.
It's not just the final, but that will butter the most parsnips being the most recent (unless you count the "Amazon Series"), I'm sure he's still getting credit for the Aussie series, the Grand Slam and the winning streak. I think he owes his job to Italy existing. Not that he deserves credit for beating them, but in a media / sound bite influenced world, two wooden spoons in the past four years would take a lot more defending than two fifth place finishes.
 

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I think it's only Eddie himself that holds that in any regard.
I'd give a bit of credit for the pool win, but I'd wipe it all out again for needing extra time to squak by France seconds in the final.
 

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Considering half of the England team arnt the best in their position (or even 2nd best in some cases) there’s no excuses at all for not refreshing the team before the 6 nations. Especially if (as Jones says) he was going to replace 30% of the squad anyhow.

Why didn’t he do it before the 6 nations and actually put us in a place to win something?
 

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I'd give a bit of credit for the pool win, but I'd wipe it all out again for needing extra time to squak by France seconds in the final.
It was a tournament where he could have tried a few new faces and lost and nobody sane would have had a problem with it.

I could've taken not winning that but coming away with a positive glimpse of the future of English rugby.
 

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I'll say again, he had the ideal chance to blood new players by not picking any Saracens players for this 6N. It was a complete free shot. If the team had done well, everyone would've considered him a genius. If they'd finished fifth, well, er....

As it turns out, both Vunipolae, Daly were very rusty, Farrell and George rusty, Itoje a penalty machine but we would have missed him, how much worse could the side have been with different players in those positions?

Picking them just sends the message that they don't even have to play club rugby to get picked for England, which surely has to breed complacency.

I am generally happy with the 'credit in the bank' argument, but it ceases to apply when the coach makes a spectacular mistake. I feel that the selection of non-playing Sarries for international rugby was a particularly egregious example.
 

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Credit in the bank doesn’t work though within Mako who hasn’t been able to scrum in years, billy who has been useless in years and Daly who’s looked like a fish out of water constantly at 25. None of those deserved credit in the bank.

However bad Itoje and Farrell were they did have credit in the bank although both should have probably been on the bench for the Scotland game.

Farrell though can’t have credit at 10 and 12. He’s a player who is rather limited and I think he really holds our backs back. If Jones hadn’t of invested so much time in Farrell I don’t think he’s be in the squad. He must be one of the least skilled FHs in the premiership. He’s solid but he’s not got any x-factor at all.
 

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I find it hard to believe anything the players in the camp say any more. Given we have heard from multiple people in different teams that Jones is a control freak who drives everyone hard and can't handle dissent plus comments from players who have left the camp, it doesn't add up.

According to the players in camp everything is fantastic, all the Sarries players are great there is no problem. Reality is they are putting in some of the worst performances of any England team, players who have left the camp tell a completely contradictory story and Jones has been unable to retain support staff for any length of time. If everything is great in camp, everyone is happy with Jones and all the players are training well and happy with the tactics then the only conclusion left is that they simply aren't good enough and also the rest of the English players who can't get into the camp also aren't good enough. I don't think that option is the true one so all that's left is stuff is going wrong in camp and the players seem to be going overcompensating in saying the exact opposite.

It simply doesn't add up. Someone somewhere is lying about the state of English rugby.

Agreed, he (Jones) has to go in my opinion. It is ridiculous how quickly he burns through assistants, it can’t be a very nice environment to work in at all. The level of performance in the 6 Nations (and indeed the ANC) was nowhere near acceptable for a squad of players as talented as this.

Sadly I fear this current review by the RFU will be a whitewash, they know they have to be seen to react after that shambles of a tournament but I can’t see major changes occurring.
 
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