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

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ncurd

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erm last I checked I'm wasn't a MOD (Unless i was empowered overnight, which all things considered is unlikely)
Hence why I didn't say your article was great....actually it was pretty good to it's just Peat's was pretty much entirely in line with my opinions.
 

goodNumber10

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Hence why I didn't say your article was great....actually it was pretty good to it's just Peat's was pretty much entirely in line with my opinions.

 
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TRF_Peat

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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.

But how you go about those team skills depends on the game plan. Do you have one person shadowing the ball carrier to contest isolated opposition rucks, or do you rely on every player being able to do it? Do you want to jackal and go digging for the ball, or do you want to focus mainly on counter-rucking while on your feet to slow down the ball with less risk of a penalty?

Do you tell your support runners to look for offloads, or do you tell them to be ready for the ruck and forget about them?

Do you have your forwards come around the corner, or playing off of one of their own? Or even picking and going? Would you look to maul it in the loose? Or are you constantly playing one out, two out, trying to keep the ball moving and stretch their defence?

And so on.

This is a search for understanding. Understanding what England hope to achieve and why they do things is a first step to considering whether they should be attempting things. The game plan is what England hope to achieve.

I would suggest that not every team is equally good at every team skill, and so the game plan should seek to maximise strengths and minimise weaknesses. New Zealand don't look to maul or scrum for penalties as a rule, and there's more to that than having a very good backline. Ireland put a huge emphasis on the kick chase to help disguise the fact they're not so hot getting over the gain line.

Would be interesting to consider what team skills England do well/not well mind.

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.

Does the national side have to play a certain way to get minis to adopt it and do you think this current team is capable of adopting it to a successful standard?

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.

True. Well, woeful might be overstating it, but it certainly doesn't seem to be a strength.

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.

Depends what iteration you're talking about I guess. Croft/Robshaw/Wood was awful in the tight, tis true. Haskell/Robshaw/Vunipola are much better and quite Bok-esque to me. Wood's weight loss doesn't help him, I'd agree, and I hope he shows more than he has or he won't be of much use at all. Robshaw's pretty big and handy in the tight for an openside though.

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.

Possibly. I don't think I've noticed it being a difference from set-piece though, and Ford prefers to stick quite near the fringes anyway. Farrell might benefit though.

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.

True and cause for hope.

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.

I don't think of Joseph as a playmaker but could be wrong. For me though, a playmaker is a guy with the ability to look at a defensive line and spot where he can put the ball for this team mates to run onto. I don't thin Joseph does that; he creates space for others, but doesn't set out to.

I would personally like to see a more creative full-back more than a more creative 12.

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.)

Manu would help hugely. Manu and Rokoduguni would allow us to meet the All Blacks head on in the backs. I don't get why no Rokoduguni. I really don't. Ford's defence can be hidden better than they currently do I think, although long term it's bound to come up as a selection issue. If not with Farrell, then with Slade, if not with Slade... Theo Brophy-Clews is meant to be the best thing in LI's academy and is a fly-half, Matt Protheroe signed pro terms with Gloucester straight out of school and is a fly-half, both will be bigger men than Ford (they're both taller now); sooner or later he's going to bump into a fly-half of near equal talent as a playmaker who can actually defend. Protheroe is Welsh and only here on residency mind, but oh well. Like that bothers us.

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.

It doesn't have to be a bigger pack. More emphasis on a quick back row and, uhm, something, maybe a miracle in the centres, and most of it works quite well. Maybe a playmaking 15. Or maybe it's a big pack and an impassable backline.

Ultimately I want England to pick an idea and gamble everything on it, at least in the starting XV (nice to have plan B on the bench if you can). You get criticised for having no plan B, but if the choice is a strong plan A and no plan B, or ok plans A and B, the former wins you more imo. And maybe that involves dropping a player we rate very highly because they can't offer what the team needs - but needs must.

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

Thanks, always nice to have an audience - trying to keep it regularly updated at the moment so keep popping by.

Saffycen - Didn't quite follow your gist there - do you think we can't compete with others jackals?
 
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Every Time Ref

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

Yeah good blog, one question though Peat - why does your "countdown" go upwards?
 
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TheSaffycen

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@TRF_Peat
If you're talking about the post I made with the different countries 7 then no I wasn't saying ours couldnt compete. The point I made was more about the idea of not having a jackal or poacher. I was trying to guess where Lancaster had the idea of a back row without one, or if someone else has implemented this with any success. I think if Kvesic/Fraser/someone else I'm bound to forget has potential.
 
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Ddanno

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Yeah but the Express.

But I can smell his desperation from SE London, so agreed!

Not happening though. He's gone.
 

Ddanno

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Yeah, that sounds like he thinks he's still got a hope. Crossing my fingers that the AP SGM rumour is correct and he gets drop kicked to an admin job with Ritchie and the Frog mofo.

Edit: that's a wrestling drop kick, in case anyone wondered.
 
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j'nuh

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See, if England were quickly closing in on the top pack, then the experience argument might hold water. Under the right guidance, you expect an inexperienced team to improve faster than an experienced team, as there comes a point where experience delivers diminishing returns.

But in reality, England improved fast for the first year, slowly for the second and we started to plateau some time in the third year. We got worse throughout the fourth. This isn't the trend of an inexperienced team on the rise. More experienced teams completely outstripped our progress. Ireland and Australia, in particular, have left us for dirt in the last two years.
 

Tigs Man

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I mean while I'm gratified that I thread I started has reached 120 pages...isn't this the wrong place for this? :)

But also...WOW

Yeh for some reason just read this as 6N's and assumed it was post WC (on phone)
 

tsof

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In all these squad predictions/players to watch type discussions happening everywhere, it's dawned on me that one name has been missing (for understandable reasons) as a future England player...... Step forward Matt Symons.
 

Tigs Man

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In all these squad predictions/players to watch type discussions happening everywhere, it's dawned on me that one name has been missing (for understandable reasons) as a future England player...... Step forward Matt Symons.

He's been mentioned a few times.
 

TRF_Peat

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Zombie thread is being put to sleep. Locked.
 
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