England back row going into the RWC 2019

Discussion in 'International Test Matches' started by TW27BA, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. TW27BA

    TW27BA Senior Member

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    With the RWC only 7 months away I have never been more optimistic about the players England now have available in the back row.

    Gone are the dark days of the last RWC and of juggling Haskell, Robshaw, Wood, Morgan and Easter to get a dynamic aggressive unit. It never happened.

    Assuming Eddie goes with three of T Curry, Underhill, Wilson and Billy as first choice he is positively spoilt being able to call upon Shields, Simmonds, Mercer, B Curry, Clifford, Ewers, Kvesic as well.

    I'm afraid it appears Ben Morgans ship has sailed, much as I like him over Hughes who I haven't included but am sure will be in the 31 such is Eddies love for the player.

    I don't think there will be any late call up for Chris Robshaw, and Clifford, Ewers, and Kvesic are also huge outsiders IMO. Lawes or Itoje are more likely to fill in at blindside before any of these.

    Are there any late call ups that EJ might consider?


    Edit....
    Apologies...meant to post this in the International test matches section.
    Could a mod move it please
     
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  3. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    Coincidentally, Jack Willis has been cleared to play this weekend. I can’t see him forcing his way into the squad before the World Cup but when on form I’d take him over Shields or Hughes out of the current fit crop.
     
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  4. Mrs. Peter Quinn

    Mrs. Peter Quinn Senior Member

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    SO excited and pleased to see Jack Willis back. He really is a phenomenal talent.
     
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  5. MarkyH

    MarkyH Senior Member

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    I thought Jack Willis would be out for the rest of the season so that is good news, if he can get close to how he was playing by the end of this season (there's plenty of games between now and then) then I'd definitely love to see him in an extended England squad pre world cup, and maybe stake claim over Hughes...
     
  6. Reiser99

    Reiser99 Senior Member

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    I'm going to wait to see how he plays after a long injury. Hopefully no one is whispering to him about making the world cup and just about showing some decent form and fitness to start.
     
  7. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker Senior Member

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    V good news on Willis.

    After the first 4, there’s a bit of a drop off in quality. Of those named probably only B Curry might ever become more than a bit part player.

    The exciting one’s Dombrandt. RWC may be too soon, but I hope it won’t be too long before he’s understudying Binny.
     
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  8. living sacrifice

    living sacrifice Senior Member

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    How many places do we use for back row in the 31 man squad. This is what I see as Jones’ squad:

    6 Willson & shields
    7 curry & Underhill
    8 billy & Hughes

    I know Wilson covers 8 and Underhill 6 etc but you do need two complete back rows as a start. Lawes and Itoje can cover 6 with Wilson at 8 if we really hit some trouble.

    I don’t know if you’d need any more on the plane?
     
  9. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    We had 6 in 2015, I imagine we'll do the same again (unless Eddie has an extra lock and pencils in Itoje/Lawes as extra backrow cover, but I don't think he'd do that)
     
  10. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    No we didn’t? We had Wood, Robshaw, Haskell, Vunipola and Morgan and then Easter was called up when Vunipola got injured.
     
  11. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    Ah, I'm just going off a squad list I read this morning - it didn't mention who was called up extra or whatever
     
  12. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    Fair enough; I can’t see us taking any more than 5 back rowers. NZ made it work last tournament by only taking 3 locks but that was because their lock stocks were pretty crap at the time and they had a surplus of quality back rowers. For us it would be a case of dropping Launchbury for the likes of Hughes.

    I was fairly confident that EJ would take:
    6. Wilson
    7. Curry, Underhill
    8. Vunipola, Hughes
    But Shields’ inclusion over Hughes this weekend has made me question that. I’d imagine/hope that Wilson, Curry and Vunipola are bolted on and then 2 will be selected from Shields, Underhill and Hughes. I’d hope for Shields and Underhill but I can see EJ opting for Shields and Hughes.
     
  13. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker Senior Member

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    What about Simmonds? Might not be in the first choice 23, but feels like a generally useful utility back rower / impact sub to have around the place. in a RWC squad.
     
  14. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    If he can return to form in time then I’d have him as 5th choice ahead of Shields and Hughes but that is quite a big if.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  15. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker Senior Member

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    Yeah, everyone comes with form / fitness caveats, Binny and Underhill especially.
     
  16. TW27BA

    TW27BA Senior Member

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    It would be a travesty if Underhill misses out and isn't injured at the time.
    I too would sooner see Shields in place of Hughes.
     
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  17. living sacrifice

    living sacrifice Senior Member

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    Well we definitely need two players to cover 8. So if EJ sees Hughes as 8 cover he will go.

    If he sees Shields, Willson or Simmons as 8 cover I’d be happier, they can also cover multiple positions as well.

    I might be wrong and he just takes Hughes and another.
     
  18. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    Given that Wilson spent the whole of the AIs at 8 and Simmonds hasn’t played anywhere other than 8 at international level, and both have done much better jobs of it than Hughes, I’d hope that EJ sees them as 8 cover, but who knows with him.
     
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  19. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

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    no chance of hughes going ahead of underhill.
     
  20. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

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    I think it's easy to put too much emphasis on the numbers on the shirts on the players' backs. The important thing is to pick a backrow whose combined skillsets are complimentary of one another and which provide for an effective backrow unit.

    From what I've seen, some have proved themselves as being capable of a) putting in outstanding performances in an England shirt and b) consistently performing to a high standard in an England shirt. These are Wilson, Underhill, Curry and Vunipola.

    These 4 are therefore our first choice selections.

    We have had highly effective back row performances from combinations which include and exclude vunipola, so I don't see it as an issue which of the 4 misses out, and don't see any need to change the starting personnel if any one of the 4 is unavailable.

    We have other players who have demonstrated that they are capable of performing well fairly consistently in an England shirt. These include Robshaw, Simmonds and Shields. These are therefore the current back-up players.

    We have other emerging players such as Dombrandt, Willis, Willis, B Curry, Mercer. At some stage these need to be given an opportunity in order to find out whether they are better options currently as back ups than the back up players that have already been identified. If they prove to be then at some stage they might even push the 4 first choice selections.

    The question is whether they should be given an opportunity before or after the world cup, or whether we play out the rest of the year with robshaw, Simmonds and shields as the (perfectly competent) back up players.
     
  21. TobyBeastTeague

    TobyBeastTeague Senior Member

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    This is a slight side track as obviously he's not in World Cup contention, but I've seen Willis Mk. 2's name thrown around a fair bit now and I'm struggling to really see why other than his name. He seems a decent player but from his performances for the U20s I've seen nothing to suggest that he should already be anywhere near this kind of conversation; he's been pretty underwhelming every time I've seen him. I know it's too early to rule a player out, and that's not at all what I'm doing, but it's definitely too early to be putting so much pressure on a young player to be live up to the standards of his brother.

    It is scary how many quality young back row options we have and it's easy to forget quite how young they are:
    Underhill - 22
    Willis - 22
    Mercer - 21
    Earl - 21
    Dombrandt - 21
    Curry x2 - 20
    Hill - 19!
    We could put out a full team's worth of back rowers (3 starters, 1 sub) who are all already capped at 22 or younger. Shame that it's very likely that some of those name's likely won't get caps and certainly won't be regular starters just because of the amount of talent in the same age group.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
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