• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

[2021 Six Nations] England vs France (13/03/21)

TRF_Olyy

English Arrogance
Staff member
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Messages
100,006,895
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Sale

Shouldn't really have to say it but r*pe jokes aren't welcome on here, especially when directed at other users/their family members.
 

Old Hooker

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
4,294
Country Flag

England

I think he's been forced to go early on that - He will have been workign on it anyway; but the issues with putting it into play too early are: A] It may not survive first contact with referees whilst getting new interpretations of the laws (first 2 years of any RWC cycle) - this can be somewhat mitigated by having a couple of ref.s in camp for the last 2 weeks; but may be an issue with non-English ref.s. And B] If you show your hand too early (and too often) then you give opposition analysts more time (and more occassions) to coutner your intended attack.

If you take the last RWC cycle; he did the same thing:
Year 1 he proved that England's poor performance wasn't because of the players; and he improved, and earned, their confidence.
Year 2 he told us all that he'd be beasting the players; every international window would be treated like a RWC (no unenforced call-ups) and the players would be playing whilst knackered in an attempt to improve decision making and margins after having given there all. He was, of course, criticised for doing exactly what he told us he'd do.
Year 3 he evolved the basic game-plan, made a few changes to the balance of the team. He was, of course, criticised for being boring and having lost the dressing room.
Year 4, he introduced new attacking moves and structures, but only generally for 1-2 plays per match; and then 2-3 matches themselves. Suddenly, the criticisms largely disappeared.

This time around, we've had
Year 1 he told us that he saw his main job was to buck the trend of losing RWC finalists, and not suffer a big slump in form/results; trying to rebuild confidence after the comprehensive defeat to the Boks
Year 2 he told us that he'd be concentrating on the core game-plan, and not even looking to attack until after the lions (for reasons, see above). Covid and Sarries relegation (and over-confidence? arrogance?) have resulted in underporfmance of the core game-plan in the first 2 matches; and heaped criticism on Eddie; so that plan has had to be fast-forwarded a little; but still constrained by the smaller Covid squad. We saw some attacking moves against Wales, and several of them against France. They looked rusty, and as if they hadn't been practiced and evolved enough on the training pitch - almost as if they were a first / second draft, rather than the finished article.
ETA: Of course, initially, when drawing up his 4-year plan; he expected to be handing the reigns over to someone else at this point.
Year 3 was expected to be the year of evolving the game-plan and the balance of the team; and the first trials of new attacking patterns, to be fine-tuned, and trialled in full matches in year 4.
That's all predicated on the RWC being the only thing that matters. Whether that should be the case or not is another matter, but lets take it as read.

The 4 year plan makes a lot of sense in some respects and if the aim is the RWC then that's obviously when you want to be peaking. You can keep set piece moves and so on up your sleeve until quite late, but the personnel and overall style need to be engrained long before that, maybe at least 18 months. The other thing this doesn't factor in is self belief and aura, a key factor in any sport - Eng 03 had it as have various NZ teams - the knowledge that you are the best because you have regularly beaten the other contenders and, just as importantly, they know it. I'm not sure we're heading in that direction (COVID not helping here), but that's a much better place to be than capable of 10 / 10 "on your day". Plus we also still have a clear leadership vacuum to address - comes to something when your captain has a deliberate policy not to talk to the ref - can you imagine McCaw or Fitzpatrick doing likewise? You're never going to get anywhere by screaming at decisions but the quiet word on the way to a line out or scrum can still be influential.

I also watched the video, well most of it. Some interesting stuff, but there were a couple of key points early on.

Firstly, if Wibble rugby can easily analyse what a team is doing then so can the ABs, the Boks and everyone else. It should not be a case of layering or being secret squirrel - the most important things are (a) players instinctively knowing what they're supposed to be doing at any given time and (b) executing accurately when under pressure. That only comes with practice - not on the training paddock but in the white heat of tests against good opposition. Of course you continually refine, but even if opponents fundamentally know what's coming, its still hard to stop if executed well with conviction.

Then there was all the stuff about speed of delivery from the ruck. Well no sh*t Sherlock. Youngs is capable of doing that, but he's also quite capable of being incredibly indecisive. They were talking small fractions of a second mattering - by 2023 Youngs will be 34 and will have lost a fraction more edge, that's inevitable. Who would be best suited to that plan? Randall would be my guess, would have been interesting to see if he'd have got any game time had injury not intervened.

Using Japan 2019 vintage to illustrate points was irritating. They played the way they did because that give them the best chance of winning with the players they had, no other reason. They also had an unprecedented and frankly unhealthy amount of time in camp working on both the fitness and style. You can take learnings from that but it would be daft to use that as any form of template. We have other options and our players aren't used to playing that way week in week out although there have been some good league games recently.

And then Amor. He basically said that the style he wants means our players are going to have to run a lot. Which is great, but to do that the conditioning must be biased towards running meaning other aspects will suffer. The 2015 campaign had myriad problems, but one was exactly that - our front five was underpowered precisely because too great an emphasis had been put on the aerobic. With the occasional notable exception RWC knock out games aren't free flowing affairs, they're cagey, nervy and tense. We must be able to flex our style to cope with that in precisely the way that we couldn't against the Boks in the last final.
 

Jakedood

Bench Player
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
734
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Ulster

That's all predicated on the RWC being the only thing that matters. Whether that should be the case or not is another matter, but lets take it as read.

The 4 year plan makes a lot of sense in some respects and if the aim is the RWC then that's obviously when you want to be peaking. You can keep set piece moves and so on up your sleeve until quite late, but the personnel and overall style need to be engrained long before that, maybe at least 18 months. The other thing this doesn't factor in is self belief and aura, a key factor in any sport - Eng 03 had it as have various NZ teams - the knowledge that you are the best because you have regularly beaten the other contenders and, just as importantly, they know it. I'm not sure we're heading in that direction (COVID not helping here), but that's a much better place to be than capable of 10 / 10 "on your day". Plus we also still have a clear leadership vacuum to address - comes to something when your captain has a deliberate policy not to talk to the ref - can you imagine McCaw or Fitzpatrick doing likewise? You're never going to get anywhere by screaming at decisions but the quiet word on the way to a line out or scrum can still be influential.

I also watched the video, well most of it. Some interesting stuff, but there were a couple of key points early on.

Firstly, if Wibble rugby can easily analyse what a team is doing then so can the ABs, the Boks and everyone else. It should not be a case of layering or being secret squirrel - the most important things are (a) players instinctively knowing what they're supposed to be doing at any given time and (b) executing accurately when under pressure. That only comes with practice - not on the training paddock but in the white heat of tests against good opposition. Of course you continually refine, but even if opponents fundamentally know what's coming, its still hard to stop if executed well with conviction.

Then there was all the stuff about speed of delivery from the ruck. Well no sh*t Sherlock. Youngs is capable of doing that, but he's also quite capable of being incredibly indecisive. They were talking small fractions of a second mattering - by 2023 Youngs will be 34 and will have lost a fraction more edge, that's inevitable. Who would be best suited to that plan? Randall would be my guess, would have been interesting to see if he'd have got any game time had injury not intervened.

Using Japan 2019 vintage to illustrate points was irritating. They played the way they did because that give them the best chance of winning with the players they had, no other reason. They also had an unprecedented and frankly unhealthy amount of time in camp working on both the fitness and style. You can take learnings from that but it would be daft to use that as any form of template. We have other options and our players aren't used to playing that way week in week out although there have been some good league games recently.

And then Amor. He basically said that the style he wants means our players are going to have to run a lot. Which is great, but to do that the conditioning must be biased towards running meaning other aspects will suffer. The 2015 campaign had myriad problems, but one was exactly that - our front five was underpowered precisely because too great an emphasis had been put on the aerobic. With the occasional notable exception RWC knock out games aren't free flowing affairs, they're cagey, nervy and tense. We must be able to flex our style to cope with that in precisely the way that we couldn't against the Boks in the last final.
A couple of responses then... one of the big things is the fact that england arent going in saying we can do this, then we do this, then that. It's about having options every play, and teams being unable to cover all of the options, with variety and players hitting from all sorts of angles to create mismatches. No defense is impenetrable, and England are trying to build an arsenal that allows them to "attack any weakness within one phase" as he puts it. So now its about putting it into practice and better spotting when the opportunities come along. Eg the all blacks have a remarkably similar template of attack for 10 years, still knew that it's damn difficult to stop when they were at full pelt
Secondly, you say fitness, but this doesnt have to mean weight loss, or underpowered, you can build your stamina big time while eating big to maintain your weight and strength. EJ also didnt say we're playing like Japan, he said we want to find that right balance of pass run kick, with a strong set piece and the ability to score behind it
Japan 2019 is an example of a team with a great attacking phaseplay, and at no point did they say we are playing like this team, but incorporating their strengths into the English talent pool, doesnt really seem like such a bad move
I'd think you maybe could be right re youngs, though he is starting to look a lot better at this level when he's playing at a higher tempo, we've seen that last two games so lets see if he can develop some sort of consistency from here on. I'd definitely agree that Randall is the heir apparent
 
Last edited:

Old Hooker

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
4,294
Country Flag

England

Totally agree about having options. The ABs of 11 and 15 vintages are great examples - they bided their time, kicked plenty, had some individual stardust but above all they played what they saw and executed the basics brilliantly.

Ref the pace of play. Of course now you’ve got big guys who can run, but I took it that they were looking to develop all that off the ball work and getting into position quickly as a real USP - back to the mantra of fittest team ever. If that’s the case you’ve either got to play smaller guys - more Earl than Binny - or bigger blokes have to shed a bit of bulk which must compromise them a bit unless they’re carrying real excess timber which very few do. The stressing on the work rate and Odogwu laziness was interesting. We need busy intense players but we also need players with rugby smarts.
 

Jakedood

Bench Player
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
734
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Ulster

Totally agree about having options. The ABs of 11 and 15 vintages are great examples - they bided their time, kicked plenty, had some individual stardust but above all they played what they saw and executed the basics brilliantly.

Ref the pace of play. Of course now you’ve got big guys who can run, but I took it that they were looking to develop all that off the ball work and getting into position quickly as a real USP - back to the mantra of fittest team ever. If that’s the case you’ve either got to play smaller guys - more Earl than Binny - or bigger blokes have to shed a bit of bulk which must compromise them a bit unless they’re carrying real excess timber which very few do. The stressing on the work rate and Odogwu laziness was interesting. We need busy intense players but we also need players with rugby smarts.
I get where you're coming from, and its actually an interesting point, but being in position quickly as a forward in a 1-3-2-2 system isnt too difficult as you do have time to get reset if you're in the middle pods, maybe less if you're the flankers on the outside 2 pod. It's the half backs that have to be really fit to be able to get into a position to fling the ball out fast and be able to utilize the pods of forwards effectively, though I'd say it seems Jones expects the whole back line to be incredibly sharp and getting involved in random positions as he showed with Jonny May in the video
So a really high work rate while keeping the USP of being able to bulldoze , and allow a smaller compliment of backs (though I'd say a Lawrence/odogwu at centre/wing would really help the balance a little) is the ideal platform. EJ will certainly not be asking them to cut weight extravagantly mind i'd guess, even though I actually feel Billy plays better with 5kgs off him. F=MA and all that
 

Welsh Exile

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Jan 16, 2020
Messages
1,819

Old Hooker

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
4,294
Country Flag

England

I would certainly agree that the base skill level of NZ players is a lot higher than northern hemisphere's but it's also a lot better than SA, the current world champions, who won with a reasonably reserved game plan.
And have won 3 of the 7 tournaments they’ve taken part in using much the same formula. OK it’s more nuanced and they’ve got the likes of Kolbe that give other options, but fundamentally you know what’s coming - lots of big physical men, followed by lots more. That’s in their culture, it works and they largely stick with it - it’s also arguably more inherently suited to the peculiarities of knockout rugby. If you want to win the RWC you need a game plan that can be flexed to deal with that physical challenge as well as maybe the more open threat of Fra or NZ. That range of challenge and styles is what makes rugby so fascinating.
 

Ragey Erasmus

International
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
7,101
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Bath

Interesting take. He makes some fair points to be fair and some not so fair ones too.

Whilst there is definitely truth in the sense that NZ players have a higher base skill level and play more open rugby, this stinks of the yearly sport among some kiwis of slagging off every other rugby playing nation, particularly in the NH. I have seen some of the rugby in NZ and whilst it is full of flair, there is also a strong element of sides not being able to control the game, lots of back and forth between the try lines with highlight reel stuff before losing possession.

Games that become poor to watch in the NH tend to slow down, games that are poor in NZ just become riddled with errors as they all try to perform miracles.
 

Crash Hamster

Academy Player
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
136
Will have to watch the video at some point, but one question remains:

Where in the 4 year plan does 'being completely unable to pass accurately and swiftly to a man running onto the ball' fit in?
One would hope that by the time players reach international level, they would be competent in things like catching, passing and tackling. Several members of the side have looked woefully short of this limited standard, but have been selected continually.

Yes, it was better in part against Wales and France, but there are still some basic skills which are sadly lacking. I'm a Worcester Warriors supporter, so have been extensively trained to recognise such things.
 

Jakedood

Bench Player
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
734
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Ulster

Will have to watch the video at some point, but one question remains:

Where in the 4 year plan does 'being completely unable to pass accurately and swiftly to a man running onto the ball' fit in?
One would hope that by the time players reach international level, they would be competent in things like catching, passing and tackling. Several members of the side have looked woefully short of this limited standard, but have been selected continually.

Yes, it was better in part against Wales and France, but there are still some basic skills which are sadly lacking. I'm a Worcester Warriors supporter, so have been extensively trained to recognise such things.
Totally fair point, one thing could be again a new system, rugby at this level should not see basic drops as we saw with Daly v Wales multiple times for instance. re passing, sometimes its just adjusting to the increased speed of the game, or players in a new structure being in different positions than they were previously. Could be teething issues, or indicative of a poor skill set, but would need a larger sample size to really see this

I'm certainly not anywhere near a rugby expert, but I do love learning about gameplans and how intricate they must be at international level. This video kinda backs it up, would highly recommend to anyone looking to increase their knowledge of the game at the moment
 

MattGaff

Academy Player
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
214
Country Flag

Wales

Club or Nation

Cardiff

Interesting take. He makes some fair points to be fair and some not so fair ones too.


I think the reporter is angling to get more hits to his page from up these parts. Not the first time you get that narrative coming out of the SH and wont be the last.
 

higgik

Bench Player
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
503
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Saracens

Slade might be out of Saturday's match due to lower leg injury.
 

Latest posts

Top