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England Rugby 2020/21 Thread

TRF_Olyy

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With the ending of the Six Nations we're now into the next season,

EPS as it currently stands:

ENGLAND SQUAD​

Backs​

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 83 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 13 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 50 caps)
Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
Max Malins (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 3 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 56 caps)
Dan Robson (Wasps, 2 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps)

Forwards​

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 23 caps)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 49 caps)
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 38 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 65 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Jack Singleton (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 35 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 59 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)
Jack Willis (Wasps, uncapped)


It was named as the 6N and AI squad, but be interesting to see if there are any tweaks to it before the Cup kicks off
 

Jashay

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It's hard to judge any of the new (or new-ish) faces from the Italy game. Even if they play well there's always the caveat of 'well, it's Italy'. So whilst I thought Furbank had a better game I'm not sure I can say he's improved. Based on the limited amount of time for that squad I doubt we'll see too many changes that aren't injury related. Still want Dombrandt to get a look in, though.

I did think that Stuart did pretty well with his time, and Earl certainly put himself about.

Going forward, even though I'm resigned to Youngs being in the squad I'd like to see Robson actually start. Having Youngs set the tone for an hour+ means that Robson is only really coming in to finish up; I'd rather see what Robson can do when he can play his own game.

I'd like to see Obano and Willis get game time too.
 

klitarris

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What has Jones got against the Simmonds family? Even if they're not considered first choice I can't believe Sam and Joe aren't in the squad!

I could probably nitpick a couple of other selections, but for me the only other real one is Heinz. I would 100% have Spencer in there instead, he was one of the key reasons Bath were actually looking good post lockdown. At 28 (i think?) he may not be the long term future, but Heinz is even older!!

EDIT: I'll include Dombrandt as well
 

TRF_Olyy

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I can understand Sam not being there, based on the strength of the other options (I would've had him over Ludlam, though) but not having Joe there, even after Ford left the camp injured, is pretty wild
 

klitarris

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I can understand Sam not being there, based on the strength of the other options (I would've had him over Ludlam, though) but not having Joe there, even after Ford left the camp injured, is pretty wild
Totally. Ludlam has been solid in his appearances so far, but nothing spectacular. And doesn't seem to offer any particular strength except work rate.
 

ragerancher

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Totally. Ludlam has been solid in his appearances so far, but nothing spectacular. And doesn't seem to offer any particular strength except work rate.
You'd think that in the modern day, workrate should be deemed a bare minimum requirement and not a feature in itself.
 

living sacrifice

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You'd think that in the modern day, workrate should be deemed a bare minimum requirement and not a feature in itself.
He also has a very low error count, can make very disruptive tackles (not as good as UnderCurry) and is great in support play. I mean I think he’s a great squad player but for me Simmonds offers that and an X factor with his pace.

I really want Billy dropped and some decent 8 options looked at.
 

FLOBALOB

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The current back row offers plenty of bosh and defensive nous but very little in dynamism and attacking flair. That might be ok against NZ but
against most other countries having at least one BR player offering more in attack (Simmonds /Earl) would be far more beneficial to the team as a whole.
 

TRF_Olyy

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The current back row offers plenty of bosh and defensive nous but very little in dynamism and attacking flair
Eh?
Is this gonna be the new "England need a lock in the backrow because...lineout?"

I won't stand around and have you slander Curry like this.
 

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Indeed. I struggle to see how Curry isn’t regarded as ‘dynamic’.

I have my question marks over whether Billy will continue to be the best option moving forward, but there are also question marks over pretty much all of the alternatives.

As much as I love watching Dombrandt and Simmonds, either would require tweaks elsewhere to accommodate them.

It seems that a lot of people think that bringing Dombrandt in for Billy is a like for like swap. It really isn’t. Dombrandt isn’t a heavy carrier. He can do it to some extent, but his game is actually more about spotting mismatches and running good lines to attack weak shoulders etc. If the 8 is not making the hard yards, someone else has to, which changes the way we set-up.

Similarly, Simmonds is a fine player, but doesn’t replace what Billy does, so again requires a change in approach. As good as he may be, is he so good that we change the rest of the back row/pack to accommodate him? I don’t think so and clearly neither does Eddie.

IMO, Mercer probably has the most potential to succeed Billy. He’s a better heavy carrier and better at the dog work than Dombrandt or Simmonds as well as being a better lineout option. He’s also a leader. While he’s another that might be out of favour for now, I can imagine him coming back in to the mix once he’s fit.

The other alternative is essentially 3 flankers, which I am not opposed to given the importance of the breakdown. I’d probably favour Curry, Willis and Earl but I also wouldn’t mind Curry, Willis and Hill.
 

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I’n a big Underhill fan, but in terms of balance of skills, Curry, Willis and Dombrandt would cover all the bases for me (granted 2 of them are utterly unproven internationally). Earl or Simmonds to bench. I don’t particularly want my back rowers smashing down brick walls - leave that to the front 5 which I would really like to see powered up. Whole different debate that sadly my 10.00 meeting is going to get in the way of!
 

Jashay

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The other alternative is essentially 3 flankers, which I am not opposed to given the importance of the breakdown. I’d probably favour Curry, Willis and Earl but I also wouldn’t mind Curry, Willis and Hill.

It's mad how quickly England's back row options have advanced these last few years: If you'd said to me a year ago that you favoured dropping Underhill to improve the breakdown I'd have thought you'd lost the plot!
 

klitarris

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You'd think that in the modern day, workrate should be deemed a bare minimum requirement and not a feature in itself.
I almost went on to say that in my post but didn't for some reason. I agree, high workrate should be present for all professional rugby players, certainly those that get to national level, and particularly those that play in the back row.
 

Old Hooker

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Rugby evolves, but an eternal truism is that it’s easier to play on the front foot. And it’s generally the pack that puts you there.

So what do people think of the current Eng pack? To me, with some very notable exceptions (esp in latter stages of RWC 19) we seldom get beaten up but nor do we regularly hand out major beatings either. Too often it feels like the whole is less than the sum of its parts, some of which are very vaunted indeed.

Harking back to 91 and 03 we had packs that, if not feared by the rest of the world, could be relied on to get a clear upper hand maybe 8 times out of 10. Different style of playing now obviously, but the current crop doesn’t seem to have that aura. One issue is the clear lack of leaders, men with the influence, stature and drive of Johnson and Dayglo or Moore and Leonard, but I think there are other factors at play too.

“World class” whatever that means is regularly applied to the Vunipolae, Sinckler, Itoje and Curry. George is thought of by many as the best in the UK, Marler’s clearly top international class and on his day Underhill’s a match for anyone. Clearly not badly served at lock if an in form Launch can’t even make a match day 23.

Maybe you disagree with me. Thoughts?
 

TRF_Olyy

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I think the only issue with our pack is peoples obsessions with prioritising "nice to haves" over players core roles - i.e. wanting props who can throw 20m out the back offloads over props who can scrummage, not caring about a hookers lineout ability, wanting lineout specialists in the backrow etc.

Hopefully we've grown out of that, and might not be as much of an issue as Mako is looking better after the break than he did before - and he was a big issue in the pack before.

8 is the biggest worry position-wise. Billy not been at his best for a while, and we've barely looked at anyone else (Wilson looked good there last year, but then injured since - Curry shifted there in the 6N for some insane reason). We desperately need to blood someone new there - and someone who's actually played there properly in the past (be that Dombrandt, Earl, Simmonds, Mercer etc. - we've got options we could try)
 

Jashay

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I'm not ready to say the Mako scrum issues have improved; Mako has more England caps than the Italy tighthead has senior matches, outweighed him significantly, and had a better pack behind him... and I'm still not sure he had the upper hand. (Admittedly I'm no scrum expert so I could just be misreading it)

Not too worried about Billy, but I agree that we need to start looking at other options too (or rather, should have already been looking!)

I reckon Lock has the potential to be an issue. Kruis is gone and may not come back. I think we're expecting Lawes to be phased out over the WC cycle. EJ doesn't seem to rate Launchbury... either way they're all uncertain. We've had 4 great locks for so long and it's not impossible that we go down to just Itoje.

We've got a fair bit of raw talent coming through at lock, but sometimes people don't kick on or fit the system. I'm concerned that if we do need to find multiple replacements we won't have the time to give them all a decent look.

Or it could just be that Joe regains favour and Kruis comes back from Japan and we have no problem!
 

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I'm not ready to say the Mako scrum issues have improved; Mako has more England caps than the Italy tighthead has senior matches, outweighed him significantly, and had a better pack behind him... and I'm still not sure he had the upper hand. (Admittedly I'm no scrum expert so I could just be misreading it)

Not too worried about Billy, but I agree that we need to start looking at other options too (or rather, should have already been looking!)

I reckon Lock has the potential to be an issue. Kruis is gone and may not come back. I think we're expecting Lawes to be phased out over the WC cycle. EJ doesn't seem to rate Launchbury... either way they're all uncertain. We've had 4 great locks for so long and it's not impossible that we go down to just Itoje.

We've got a fair bit of raw talent coming through at lock, but sometimes people don't kick on or fit the system. I'm concerned that if we do need to find multiple replacements we won't have the time to give them all a decent look.

Or it could just be that Joe regains favour and Kruis comes back from Japan and we have no problem!
Erm......Ever heard of Jonny Hill, Exeter Chiefs player, been outstanding last 18 months and picked ahead of Launchbury for Englands last game.
 

TRF_Olyy

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picked ahead of Launchbury for Englands last game.
Shithouse though, weren't he?

There's options knocking about, and similarly to the no.8 slot, it's just a case of blooding them in now.
 

klitarris

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Erm......Ever heard of Jonny Hill, Exeter Chiefs player, been outstanding last 18 months and picked ahead of Launchbury for Englands last game.
Wasn't the greatest performance though was it?!

I do agree though, even if Hill isn't the one i don't think we're badly off for locks.
 

FLOBALOB

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Shithouse though, weren't he?

There's options knocking about, and similarly to the no.8 slot, it's just a case of blooding them in now.

Were he? The consensus of opinion (and mine) was that ,ignoring the yellow card, he had a reasonably good game.
 

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