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England 2021/22

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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My biggest worry is Quirke plays for a SA team and one that is really struggling pretty badly.
Are we sure he can handle the big occasions that are not against his fellow team mates?
 

Old Hooker

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Think EJ views it as:
  1. Farrell
  2. Lawes
  3. Curry
  4. Itoje
None of those contenders captain their clubs, which is a real trick missed, and there’s way more to the role than not having the red mist descend at the sight of a referee. On field is just the tip of an iceberg including media, build up, commercial….

I’ve said before on here that I’d have Launchbury as captain through to France if he was fit. You’d never complain about him being in the team, he’s respected, pretty calm and he will have learnt so much about all aspects of captaincy from Wasps who have been through some pretty rough times.
 

TRF_Olyy

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My biggest worry is Quirke plays for a SA team and one that is really struggling pretty badly.
Are we sure he can handle the big occasions that are not against his fellow team mates?

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HamJan

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You aren't going to convince many forum members here Farrell has a cool head #iceman
Just expressing an opinion really
If you had watched England you’d know how he starts to speak to the ref once we start to get behind. You’d also see how he starts playing when the pressure is on and his team are giving away penalties.

We all have different opinions but you can’t hide the fact that the pressure gets to Farrell and he is not mentally hard.
I have watched England many times, both live and on TV, many times while Farrell has been captain. I do think (remember, it's only an opinion) that Eddie picked him as captain because he drives standards within the squad, particularly in training, and let's face it, Eddie has watched him closely since 2016, and he knows what he's getting. I don't expect to see a player's revolt like we did in France at RWC 2007, or players on the lash, like we did in NZ at RWC 2011 because he's setting a professional standard for other squad members to follow like a captain should. I'm not saying that he's the only one who could do it, but Eddie obviously likes what he sees.

If you ask me if I thought that Farrell is the best choice as on field captain, I'd say no, but I would say that he has matured a lot since he first took the armband. Do I think he deserves his place in the team based on form since RWC 2019? Probably not. But the media will go barmy in the lead up to the Scotland game and Farrell will be deflecting much of the white noise from Smith, which is exactly what Eddie wants.
 

Ragey Erasmus

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Just expressing an opinion really

I have watched England many times, both live and on TV, many times while Farrell has been captain. I do think (remember, it's only an opinion) that Eddie picked him as captain because he drives standards within the squad, particularly in training, and let's face it, Eddie has watched him closely since 2016, and he knows what he's getting. I don't expect to see a player's revolt like we did in France at RWC 2007, or players on the lash, like we did in NZ at RWC 2011 because he's setting a professional standard for other squad members to follow like a captain should. I'm not saying that he's the only one who could do it, but Eddie obviously likes what he sees.

If you ask me if I thought that Farrell is the best choice as on field captain, I'd say no, but I would say that he has matured a lot since he first took the armband. Do I think he deserves his place in the team based on form since RWC 2019? Probably not. But the media will go barmy in the lead up to the Scotland game and Farrell will be deflecting much of the white noise from Smith, which is exactly what Eddie wants.
With Hartley as Captain, England went unbeaten for nearly 2 years with worse players than we have now. Since Farrell has been captain, WC semi final aside, we have been on a downward trend scoring less, conceding more, giving away more penalties, throwing away leads, failing to claw back leads and all round regressing as a side. This is with a supposedly superior set of players.

Not putting all that on Farrell's shoulders but I can't think of moments you can point to and say "there's evidence of him being a good captain". The people who are recognised as great captains, you can see this on field quite regularly. We just don't see it with Farrell. We don't see him steadying the ship when things start going bad (in fact he often makes it worse), we don't see him getting a handle on discipline, England have rarely been able to wrest control of a game back once it has started sliding. He's never been able to sway refs or influence them our way so the question is just what exactly can people point to he has done as a captain to make it worth him having the position? If all he offers is drive and motivation, he doesn't need to be captain to do that. Captain requires decision making, control over the team, swaying the ref etc and Farrell does none of those.
 

Reiser99

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For me the biggest issue with Farrell's captaincy is that he seems to have no idea what to do when England are losing. I still Jones picked him because he's the player that follows Jones's instructions to the letter. He epitomises what Jones wants in his players. Someone who will execute the tactics over and over again as Jones wants. I've said before one of the most ridiculous statements Jones ever made was saying he wants players to play heads up rugby. Instead we got regimented, percentage, kicking rugby. Then when the tactics haven't worked and England are losing there is absolutely no evidence of England adapting their tactics or adapting to the ref. Instead they double down as though if they keep going they'll prove they were right all along. Farrell again epitomises this. He doesn't try to understand the ref he tries to convince the ref to see things his way as though the ref is in the wrong. Yes all captains try to influence the ref, but the best ones also listen to what the ref is saying and adapt. Further I don't see him as someone who motivates the team when they are losing. I'm sure he says all the right phrases etc..., but if it doesn't affect the game then it's irrelevant. A captain needs to address the issues when a team is losing and lead by example. Farrell just continues to stick to the tactics that weren't working before and hope they come good. The biggest test of character is when things go wrong and for me this is where Farrell has failed time and time again. He might look great (debatable) when we're winning, but he looks like a terrible captain when we're losing.
 

Which Tyler

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I guess he’s mentally tough in the sense that he’s much more fight than flight when the going gets tough. Worse traits than that and iceman was deserved for a good while for his goal kicking, particularly on the important kicks.
That's part of the backlash - it wasn't, or at least, not in the way it was meant when said.

You could argue that he deserved the accolade because even if he'd missed his last 3 kicks at goal, it was unlikely to affect whether he get the next one.
But it was kinda glossed over that the alternative was less likely to have missed those previous 3 in the first place.

Farrell's never been an exceptional kicker - from tee or from hand; but he's lauded as such because we (mostly the press) were desperate for a new Jonny Wilkinson.


It's like his tackling - he'd get lauded for being a defensive genius on the back of some big hits; but it would ignore the 4 he missed due to being in the wrong place to even attempt a tackle - whilst Ford being in the right place, making more tackles and having a higher tackle percentage was villified for not making those same big hits.
 

Old Hooker

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He epitomises what Jones wants in his players. Someone who will execute the tactics over and over again as Jones wants.
I will genuinely cry if he takes this approach with Smith. Of course there has to be a plan and game management but his USP, and what could make him special, is exuberance, vision and the ability not just to see the unexpected but to pull it off. Any coach that neuters that needs frogmarching away pdq.
 

HamJan

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That's part of the backlash - it wasn't, or at least, not in the way it was meant when said.

You could argue that he deserved the accolade because even if he'd missed his last 3 kicks at goal, it was unlikely to affect whether he get the next one.
But it was kinda glossed over that the alternative was less likely to have missed those previous 3 in the first place.

Farrell's never been an exceptional kicker - from tee or from hand; but he's lauded as such because we (mostly the press) were desperate for a new Jonny Wilkinson.


It's like his tackling - he'd get lauded for being a defensive genius on the back of some big hits; but it would ignore the 4 he missed due to being in the wrong place to even attempt a tackle - whilst Ford being in the right place, making more tackles and having a higher tackle percentage was villified for not making those same big hits.
He's 5th in the list of points scored in international matches. Is that exceptional, or are you saying that could be higher if he hadn't missed 75% of his kicks?
 

Crash Hamster

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I will genuinely cry if he takes this approach with Smith. Of course there has to be a plan and game management but his USP, and what could make him special, is exuberance, vision and the ability not just to see the unexpected but to pull it off. Any coach that neuters that needs frogmarching away pdq.

At least Smith should outlast Jones by a considerable margin.

Assuming Jones goes after the World Cup, Smith will be what, 23? 24? Plenty of time for someone new to build a team around him.
 

Which Tyler

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He's 5th in the list of points scored in international matches. Is that exceptional, or are you saying that could be higher if he hadn't missed 75% of his kicks?
He's been primary kicker over a tier 1 side for a decade.
That does more to confirm my point than refute it.

I didn't say he missed 75% of his kicks.

He's an 80% kicker which is pretty unremarkable, and he's no more likely to take more difficult kicks than anyone else.

IIRC the last time Farrell had a better kicking percentage than Ford was Ford's first full season when he was still getting the yips.
Or there's that site that ranks kickers by percentage and difficulty of kicks attempted to give a ranking, which gives the best idea.
Farrell is utterly unremarkable as a frontline kicker, yet it's made out to be an iceman, best of the best, it's a shock when he misses.
 

ncurd

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He's been primary kicker over a tier 1 side for a decade.
That does more to confirm my point than refute it.

I didn't say he missed 75% of his kicks.

He's an 80% kicker which is pretty unremarkable, and he's no more likely to take more difficult kicks than anyone else.

IIRC the last time Farrell had a better kicking percentage than Ford was Ford's first full season when he was still getting the yips.
Or there's that site that ranks kickers by percentage and difficulty of kicks attempted to give a ranking, which gives the best idea.
Farrell is utterly unremarkable as a frontline kicker, yet it's made out to be an iceman, best of the best, it's a shock when he misses.
Should add I did some analysis quite a few year back by assessing kicking percentages, kicks per game and average margin of victory. You need to be around a 10% better kicker for it to matter about winning or loosing matches. Kick % is actually a stat nobody should care about.
 

Which Tyler

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Should add I did some analysis quite a few year back by assessing kicking percentages, kicks per game and average margin of victory. You need to be around a 10% better kicker for it to matter about winning or loosing matches. Kick % is actually a stat nobody should care about.
Yes, but it's often the only stat available (well, other than total points scored, which is even less relevant); and is also why I included kick difficulty in there (measurable, but only for someone with a LOT of time on their hands - like these guys: http://www.goalkickers.co.za/)
 

ncurd

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Yes, but it's often the only stat available (well, other than total points scored, which is even less relevant); and is also why I included kick difficulty in there (measurable, but only for someone with a LOT of time on their hands - like these guys: http://www.goalkickers.co.za/)
Yeah, I can imagine I had way too much time on my hands when I did that one. I was just backing your point that the Farrell's an amazing kicker argument is a red herring.

The actual real issue at the time was when Ford started missing them he'd then miss them all. But that's long been put to bed.
 

Zootalaws

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The amount of hate Farrell gets does annoy me. Okay he might not necessarily deserve to be in the side on current form but he has still put his heart and soul into playing for his country for a decade now. He deserves more respect in my opinion.
Hate? It’s criticism of his current form, not hate. This isn’t a country and western song - he doesn’t get points for love, mate.

He’s out of form, has real liabilities as a captain and the general feeling by the management is that he needs to stay, and as captain, for sentimental reasons. As a kiwi,I find that absurd.

First, be fit. If you’re not fit to play you’re either crocked or not committed, either way, your not fit to captain. Second, if you’ve had long-term issues with tactics and leadership, why are you still captain? His ongoing ding-dongs and disrespect with referees is wearing thin. His poor judgement with his own positioning and gameplay puts a question mark over his ability to captain.

Is England, with the largest adult pool of talent in world rugby, so desperate for players that they can’t play without him?

I admit, he doesn’t float my boat - a gobby glory-hound has never been my idea of international captain material, but you’ve had years and years to groom an understudy. Nobody to blame but yourselves if you can slot in a replacement centre or captain at the drop of a hat.
 

Zootalaws

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Talking of quotes, Itoje’s happily been giving fuel to those who claim the English are arrogant:

My expectation, as an England player, is that whenever we take the field against anyone we should win”.
You’re going to hate the changing-room banter at All Blacks fixtures, then.

He’s not my favourite player, by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s right - you have to go in expecting to win, especially when you’re ranked in the top 5 or so and with a massive multiple-million-pound-per-man budget.
 

Zootalaws

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Due back next weekend, I think - though there's talk that he's had a setback in training (he's been out for ages with a hamstring so I wouldn't be surprised if that's led to a back injury due to being lopsided - it's usually the case)
I can’t believe you guys are still picking him.

His disciplinary record, alone, would see him dropped from any consideration over here. I guess you’re really strapped for talent.
 

Zootalaws

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Eddie's on record many times saying that the pressure on promising young players new to the international scene, from a demanding and fickle media can affect their ability to adapt to test match rugby. There's a lot of hype around Smith today in the same way there was around Itoje five or six years ago, when media and the fans were all demanding that Eddie threw him in at the deep end rather than easing him in. Eddie was insistent then, as he is now, that it's not always in the players best interest to do that.

Since the squad has been announced, the media and public interest has been more about Farrell than Smith, which, to me, is a good thing. Smith can concentrate on his game and Farrell can help to ease the pressure.
Eddie says a lot that proves to be bs, tbf.

How is a player coming from playing full-time professional rugby in one of the most competitive leagues in the world still under-done when it comes to pressure? If they are really that effected by newspapers, there’s a lot of work for sports psychologists in England.

The difference between club and country should be all about quality of opposition and game tempo, not column-inches. If you’re that effected by the media, you’re not emotionally suitable to play in the big leagues.
 

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