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[England] Post-6N/Pre-RWC Player Watch

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Orange

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It could still cause some stomach pain. A moderate discomfort.

From "et tu, Brutus" to "oww, Brutus! Wtaf!?".

Genuinely have no idea why gaston complains about thread derailment.
 

ragerancher

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From "et tu, Brutus" to "oww, Brutus! Wtaf!?".

Genuinely have no idea why gaston complains about thread derailment.

I don't think this has been derailed, more indefinitely delayed with a replacement bus service and strikes prepared for the future.
 

Crapspray

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I'm sure we've had this discussion last year. Or at least something similar. (No, not the pointless swords one.)

It was along the lines of "Lancaster is picking NZ forwards with SA backs". We had a mobile pack, with a light tight five, in front of Farrell-Barritt-Tuilagi. Lancaster seemed to recognise this and has, albeit slowly and reluctantly, brought in backs like Ford and Joseph who might be able to match the pack. Which is basically what we then wanted; whereas now we're wondering if the forwards should have changed to suit the backs.

At which point I'd look to Catt as skills coach and try and work out what significant improvements our forward's skills have had. (I think handling has improved, but running lines and body-position remain noticeably bad.) Or, as has been mentioned, how our forwards are going to adapt to a style of play they've only really been introduced to in the last 24 months.

I would say though that the 2011/13/14 U20s forwards have all been able to chuck it about a bit. So perhaps Lancaster's actually looking to 2019 when the likes of Clifford, Itoje, and Hobbs-Awoyemi are coming through, and are able to play a better imitation of NZ. So he wants the cream of the current team to be able to keep up/pitch in.

Of course, we could just say **** it, and play:

1. Vunipola
2. Hartley
3. Wilson
4. Slater
5. Attwood
6. Binny
7. Fearns
8. Morgan


16. George
17. Marler
18. Brookes
19. Beaumont
20. Ewers

Bosh.
 

Ddanno

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I'm sure we've had this discussion last year. Or at least something similar. (No, not the pointless swords one.)

It was along the lines of "Lancaster is picking NZ forwards with SA backs". We had a mobile pack, with a light tight five, in front of Farrell-Barritt-Tuilagi. Lancaster seemed to recognise this and has, albeit slowly and reluctantly, brought in backs like Ford and Joseph who might be able to match the pack. Which is basically what we then wanted; whereas now we're wondering if the forwards should have changed to suit the backs.

At which point I'd look to Catt as skills coach and try and work out what significant improvements our forward's skills have had. (I think handling has improved, but running lines and body-position remain noticeably bad.) Or, as has been mentioned, how our forwards are going to adapt to a style of play they've only really been introduced to in the last 24 months.

I would say though that the 2011/13/14 U20s forwards have all been able to chuck it about a bit. So perhaps Lancaster's actually looking to 2019 when the likes of Clifford, Itoje, and Hobbs-Awoyemi are coming through, and are able to play a better imitation of NZ. So he wants the cream of the current team to be able to keep up/pitch in.

Of course, we could just say **** it, and play:

1. Vunipola
2. Hartley
3. Wilson
4. Slater
5. Attwood
6. Binny
7. Fearns
8. Morgan


16. George
17. Marler
18. Brookes
19. Beaumont
20. Ewers

Bosh.

I ****ing love that team, but would have Ewers in the main squad instead of the bench. Not sure it would last more than 2 matches through injury and citations but who cares.
 

TRF_Peat

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I'm sure we've had this discussion last year. Or at least something similar. (No, not the pointless swords one.)

It was along the lines of "Lancaster is picking NZ forwards with SA backs". We had a mobile pack, with a light tight five, in front of Farrell-Barritt-Tuilagi. Lancaster seemed to recognise this and has, albeit slowly and reluctantly, brought in backs like Ford and Joseph who might be able to match the pack. Which is basically what we then wanted; whereas now we're wondering if the forwards should have changed to suit the backs.

At which point I'd look to Catt as skills coach and try and work out what significant improvements our forward's skills have had. (I think handling has improved, but running lines and body-position remain noticeably bad.) Or, as has been mentioned, how our forwards are going to adapt to a style of play they've only really been introduced to in the last 24 months.

I would say though that the 2011/13/14 U20s forwards have all been able to chuck it about a bit. So perhaps Lancaster's actually looking to 2019 when the likes of Clifford, Itoje, and Hobbs-Awoyemi are coming through, and are able to play a better imitation of NZ. So he wants the cream of the current team to be able to keep up/pitch in.

Of course, we could just say **** it, and play:

1. Vunipola
2. Hartley
3. Wilson
4. Slater
5. Attwood
6. Binny
7. Fearns
8. Morgan


16. George
17. Marler
18. Brookes
19. Beaumont
20. Ewers

Bosh.

*cough* You have some of it, but not all of it; one of the issues is that our Kiwi-esque tight five was complimented by a very SA'esque back row. Big and able at the tight exchanges. That hasn't changed, in fact its only became more so. So making our backs more NZ'esque only exacerbates the mistake. Meanwhile, I'd argue that our backs aren't really more NZ'esque, in that NZ'esque backs have great ball skills so they can really play the width of the park and ours, well, don't. What we seem to be aiming for is one bosh man and four great broken field runners, but with little interest of moving the ball wide off of turnovers to benefit and insufficient playmakers to give them real space to run at. We're not as physical as their backs either. Or as good at kicking the ball either. I'm not sure what our current backline is actually, other than a decent sevens team, but Ford's desire to play a fairly close in game isn't ideal for the other guys who long for inside shoulders, by and large... and a back row that can support them.

It did use to make a lot of sense in defence, but no Farrell and Barritt has removed that too.

Actually SA's back row is a lot more athletic and able around the park to boot.

edit: Oh yes, I'd forgotten the Hartley not ruled out story. How depressing.

"I trust Dylan" - Rowntree. Do you? Do you really?
 

Every Time Ref

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I would add to our list of problems (as Peat's Game Plan Summary seems to have become...) that our support running is consistently woeful. This has 2 main effects - 1) players aren't there to receive the pass following a break and the move breaks down (I hate to suggest I mad Ashton, but you have to give him credit for that in the early days at least); and 2) it's a big part of why our rucking is so poor. I was rewatching Ireland-England from the 6N recently, it was really noticeable how quick into every attacking ruck the Irish forwards were, clearing out powerfully before any Englishman had a chance to get into a good position, or even get to the ball.

Whether it's down to the system or individuals not reading play well enough I don't know, but I think it's one area which could potentially make a huge difference to our effectiveness.
 

Wendigo7

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because it's just not in our skillset to play like that - the NZ style of play has been developed over decades, it's taught from mini's upwards it's just alien to anyone outside of NZ except maybe Australia, and teams that get sucked into trying to play like that fall on their own sword because it's ultimately pointless because you'll never beat a team your copying at their own game.

We have the potential to batter NZ upfront and in the midfield (yes even with nonu and smith their), if we just got our patterns right and went hard at the gain line we'd put any team on the back foot, that doesn't mean we have to be one dimensional but i'm still to see any team other than France beat NZ with glorious running rugby (NB: just for clairty that's not how NZ play).

The fact of it is New Zealand are the most athletic team out there with the absolute best in basic skills, we are not, so why try to copy them?
Totally agree with all your points, particularly that one.

However, I would urge on caution in that I actually think Lancaster is trying to get us to play that way and trying to install the same exact methods from the midis upwards. To do that it takes decades but putting it into place is what he's trying to do and forcing us to play that way even if we aren't totally comfortable in it, eventually the team does get used to it and does play similarly, better or worse.

Which is why I'm still dubious as to whether winning the world cup is important, I'm no fool it obviously is a massive priority but perhaps more a priority is what you've just described. Getting everything into place so a Post 2003 doesn't happen again.
 

TheSaffycen

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Does any successful team not have a jackal/fetcher ?
South Africa-Coetzee or Louw
NZ-McCaw
Aus-Pocock or Hooper
Wales-Tipuric or Warburton
Ireland-SOB or POM depends really

So why would it work with us ? Do we have so much quality else where to over come this ? Because if you don't have a fetcher then France are probably the closest match, and they aint been doing to well recently, they have a monstrous pack and guy who win 90% of collisions. We do have players who can do this, Fearns, Ewers, Vunipola, Garvey, Morgan. Obviously you can't just put them all in one team but wouldn't this work ?
1.Marler 2.Youngs 3.Cole
4.Lawes 5.Attwood
6.Launchbury 7.Ewers 8.Vunipola
16.George 17.Vunipola 18.Brookes
19.Fearns/Garvey 20.Morgan
Over the ball we don't lose much, you still have Cole, Launch, Vunipola. Carrying wise Youngs, Attwood, Ewers and Vunipola. Lineout has 3 locks. Bench would be ridiculous.
 

Tigs Man

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Lol at Wales and Ireland being a successful team.

Lolololololollololololol

Incoming negs.
 

chippieolamus

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I'm sure we've had this discussion last year. Or at least something similar. (No, not the pointless swords one.)

It was along the lines of "Lancaster is picking NZ forwards with SA backs". We had a mobile pack, with a light tight five, in front of Farrell-Barritt-Tuilagi. Lancaster seemed to recognise this and has, albeit slowly and reluctantly, brought in backs like Ford and Joseph who might be able to match the pack. Which is basically what we then wanted; whereas now we're wondering if the forwards should have changed to suit the backs.

At which point I'd look to Catt as skills coach and try and work out what significant improvements our forward's skills have had. (I think handling has improved, but running lines and body-position remain noticeably bad.) Or, as has been mentioned, how our forwards are going to adapt to a style of play they've only really been introduced to in the last 24 months.

I would say though that the 2011/13/14 U20s forwards have all been able to chuck it about a bit. So perhaps Lancaster's actually looking to 2019 when the likes of Clifford, Itoje, and Hobbs-Awoyemi are coming through, and are able to play a better imitation of NZ. So he wants the cream of the current team to be able to keep up/pitch in.

Of course, we could just say **** it, and play:

1. Vunipola
2. Hartley
3. Wilson
4. Slater
5. Attwood
6. Binny
7. Fearns
8. Morgan


16. George
17. Marler
18. Brookes
19. Beaumont
20. Ewers

Bosh.

Nah, he's tied down to Argentina.
 

j'nuh

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Because we can't execute it successfully with the current squad.

I want us to have a go at winning the trophy as well and I want us to stop getting routinely beaten by the SH, but that will be more likely with a game plan that suits us rather than one that apes them mindlessly. New Zealand's current game plan is far from the only successful one ever.
I guess I don't disagree with you in the strictest sense, but I do in spirit.

There are certain team skills that simply must be universal across all game plans: carrying past the gain line, contesting opposition breakdown, winning own rucks, a strong set piece (scrum, lineout, maul), an easy exit strategy etc.

New Zealand do well because they do the basics so well. Some of these basics England seem not to care about. Talking about game plans as being the difference almost feels like deflecting from this fact.
 

Crapspray

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*cough* You have some of it, but not all of it; one of the issues is that our Kiwi-esque tight five was complimented by a very SA'esque back row. Big and able at the tight exchanges. That hasn't changed, in fact its only became more so.
Not sure I entirely agree. Yes, I think England’s back row is too slow and poorly-skilled to play like (or look like) NZ’s, but I think they’re just awful in the tight. I think this was true all the way back in 2012/3, with Cardiff being the egregious example.

So, for me, they’re closer in skill to NZ (though still a long, long way away) than they are to the strength of the Springboks. Number Eight aside, I’d be happy to wager our flankers are the lightest and weakest of any top 8 side. Wood and Robshaw losing weight in the last two years hasn’t pushed them any closer to SA either.

So making our backs more NZ'esque only exacerbates the mistake.
Agreed. But I think Lancaster was facing the accusation of “Kiwi tight-five” after Cardiff 2013 and, with probably majority support (after all, who doesn’t want to delude themselves thinking they might play like the All Blacks?), he decided to change the backs and not the forwards.

Meanwhile, I'd argue that our backs aren't really more NZ'esque, in that NZ'esque backs have great ball skills so they can really play the width of the park and ours, well, don't.
I know I’m basing this on little international evidence, but I think if England had a better passer at scrum-half they could play the width nearly as well. It’s just, as you later say, the back row doesn’t support them. And our pack is poor at providing quick ball. Overall, more don’t than can’t.

What we seem to be aiming for is one bosh man and four great broken field runners, but with little interest of moving the ball wide off of turnovers to benefit and insufficient playmakers to give them real space to run at.
This does seem to have changed in the Six Nations – against both France and Italy when the ball was turned over it was immediately shifted wide (and both times scored off). I think the problem is more our forwards rarely turnover. Both of the aforementioned times were choke-tackles.

I think we could have sufficient playmakers. A more creative 12 would be nice, but Ford and Joseph can do the heavy lifting. The major missing link is probably the scrum-half.

We're not as physical as their backs either. Or as good at kicking the ball either.
No debate on kicking. I think Manu would help on the former point, if fit. Otherwise, only our wingers are noticeably smaller and weaker. Maybe Ford’s naff defence. (Que Slade, Deus ex.)

I'm not sure what our current backline is actually, other than a decent sevens team, but Ford's desire to play a fairly close in game isn't ideal for the other guys who long for inside shoulders, by and large... and a back row that can support them.
The crux of the team’s current issues really. I think your assessment a few pages earlier is probably the closest to a proper explanation of England’s gameplan we’ve seen and, well, it’s pretty sketchy.

England seemed to have reached the world cup having neither managed to shake off the slow, static players of 2012-13 nor brought in sufficient new blood to play the ambitious 2014-15 game. Selection, as always with England, being the catalyst for most of their problems.

I do think a large part of us returning to what we were saying a year ago is because of cold feet; should England have gone the other way and beefed the pack? A chastening loss close to the World Cup didn’t help.

I feel with the type of players filtering through that we’d be better continuing down this road though. If only because England’s tight five (prior to last weekend) was clearly the strongest part of the squad. Assemble the right back row, pray for Manu, and hope Simpson is as good as we’ve hyped him to be.

Of course if England lose to Ireland next weekend I’ll fall in and claim I always wanted a bigger pack.
 

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ncurd

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Just read @TRF_Peat blog and all I could do was nod in almost complete agreement.
 
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Tigs Man

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ncurd

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Butt kisser.

Would you be saying that if he wasn't a mod?

;)
'course not you don't see me saying how great GN10's article is do you? ;)
 

goodNumber10

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'course not you don't see me saying how great GN10's article is do you? ;)

erm last I checked I'm wasn't a MOD (Unless i was empowered overnight, which all things considered is unlikely)
 
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