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What's up with England's ball-carrying forwards?

Peat

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Why did we play Wood at 8? Were Morgan and Vunipola injured or not in the team at that time?

Morgan was injured, Vunipola hadn't broken through at that point (although people were saying this was the ideal time for his promotion, maybe prematurely).
 

Crapspray

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Also, Waldrom was brought in after the Scotland game and was benched against Ireland and France, before being dropped for Croft against Italy and Wales.

Lancaster would rather play:

6. Lawes
7. Robshaw
8. Wood

19. Haskell
20. Waldrom

or

6. Croft
7. Robshaw
8. Wood

20. Haskell

than bring actual carriers into the starting pack.

As rats said, carriers and fetchers can gtfo.
 

Geordiefalcon

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Well Ben Morgan aint a bad carrier in fact he was outstanding this AI. And now he looks fitter...looks like he can perform to that level consistently the 8 spot should be his for years....ability wise he is way ahead of Billy in my opinion.

I would also say that whilst I have been hugely critical of Lancaster not selecting carriers...many haven't brought their game to this level.

Ie Joe Marler is a terrific carrier at Prem and European levels....yet we never see a jot of it for England...likewise Hartley.

Davy Wilson has a crazy turn of speed on the hoof...but how often do we see them pin their ears back.

Who do we have in the pack area...who play in Prem teams that are top class performers who can also carry? There isn't actually many.

Garvey at 6 for Bath? Haskell at 6 / 7 for Wasps?
 

ratsapprentice

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Kvesic, Ewers and LCD are all strong carriers.

I disagree that Hartley is a good carrier European level.

If I was building a pack from the ground up, I'd like to have 1 strong carrier in the front, second and back rows.
Preferably with 2 in the back row.

The problem with just having one guy as a ball carrier is that you dampen his potential effect by not offering the opposition any other ball carriers to distract them.
 

j'nuh

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Kvesic, Ewers and LCD are all strong carriers.

I disagree that Hartley is a good carrier European level.

If I was building a pack from the ground up, I'd like to have 1 strong carrier in the front, second and back rows.
Preferably with 2 in the back row.

The problem with just having one guy as a ball carrier is that you dampen his potential effect by not offering the opposition any other ball carriers to distract them.
Kvesic has a strong leg drive that will net him an extra meter or two. He's a freakish athlete. I can't remember who was saying it, but apparently whereas most other rugby players would eat fast food occasionally, Kvesic wouldn't touch the stuff, he's that invested in his physical training. For his size, he's powerful as hell. But as a forward that is closer to 16st than 17, I think it's simply for a lack of weight that he isn't really a carrier that will burst through tackles. And unlike Tipuric, he doesn't really have the pace to carry like a back. (Unfortunately. I still wonder if a summer spent sprint training would bring out this side in him. He doesn't necessarily need it in his game, but it would be nice to have.) Still, his build is perfect for fetching and helping out in the tight. He's also good for pick-and-going. I just wouldn't emphasise him as a go-to carrier, like I would Ewers or Morgan.
 

Geordiefalcon

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Sorry yes I forgot about Ewers who I would have in the Squad at the least.
 

Kripke

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Kvesic, Ewers and LCD are all strong carriers.


The problem with just having one guy as a ball carrier is that you dampen his potential effect by not offering the opposition any other ball carriers to distract them.

Dis the truth. I think in a pack you need 3 decent to good carriers as a way to protect your single best carrier. Short of having this, you'd just need to be very tactically intelligent and elaborate about engineering carrying situations, and not make completely obvious where the ball will be and who will have it. Lancaster is not this man, hence I think he needs more carriers.

This was optimal when we had Tom Youngs, Ben Morgan and Mako Vunipola. It would have been even better with a carrying second row.
Right now we have Ben Morgan, David Attwood, and.... ? Joe Marler is a .5 of a carrier, its certainly not why he's in the team. Courtney Lawes has become a .5 of a carrier. Joe Launchbury in the loose is a good carrier. David Wilson can carry when he has a run-up. Dylan Hartley is the worst Carrying hooker on the international stage. So we're not in terrible shape but we do need an extra ball carrier. The most sensible place to find this would be at blindside. Goodbye, Tom.


I would extend the principle more generally to our backline attack. You need a couple of people able to break the gain-line and beat defenders so as to avoid a situation we have with Tuilagi where he is the threat and teams can focus energy on nullifying him. This is pretty much what happened in South Africa in 2012 where Tuilagi was the only real threat and wasn't even used well.
We're in better shape now that we have A strong back three, and George Ford at 10.
 

j'nuh

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I don't necessarily think they have to be in the pack. Tuilagi is our second most important carrier after our 8. It's a massive loss when he's not there.
 

Kripke

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I don't have data to support this but I believe the pack spends more time with the ball which is why it's better to have carrying forwards than backs. Structurally it doesn't make much sense to have to ship the ball out every time you want a ball carrier
 

The Jones Boy

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Half back is one half of the critical area, the other is having a quality sniffer like McCaw.
If you want your forwards to get momentum you must secure the ball at the ruck quickly and nobody does that like a quality sniffer.
McCaw is ancient but he's still the King of the sniffers, Pocock was awesome for a while for Aussie, Broussow was excellent for the staffers until he went out of favour, Neil back was brilliant for England.
You need someone quick and agile with no particular care for their personal well being to get into areas 'quickly' and contest for the ball, they must sniff it out.
That problem resolved the other key element in the mixture is the halfback must pass the pill on QUICKLY.
We used to have a bloke at halfback for more years than i care to remember, his name was Justin Marshall, he ALWAYS took a step before passing the ball either way and it telegraphed everything the All Blacks back line were going to do, or which forward was going to carry. He was internationally renowned and lauded and the truth is he was slow and rubbish and we never won a world cup with his slow delivery at the base of the ruck.
THAT is how vital quick ball from the halfback truly is...
Get a sniffer of quality to secure the ball quickly, get some good hard running forwards to blow the enemy out of the ruck pronto and a halfback who shifts the ball IMMEDIATELY (preferably accurately) and ANY forward runners and ANY back line will ignite.
England circa 2003 had Neil Back and Richard Hill securing and blowing out and Dawson chucking it at pace, look what happened...
1987 the AB's had Michael Jones sniffing, Alan Whetton blowing out the rucks and David Kirk chucking...
2011- well you know who was there
The saffers were dangerous when Joost van der westhuizen was on form...
A young Mike Phillips (gosh that seems a long time ago) behind the ginger sniffer...
These combinations are what get the forward ball carriers on the attack pronto and that means hard questions for the defenders.
This opens up opportunities for the roll on and then the attacking teams start to smell blood in the water and some capitalise and others get white line fever and blow a gasket.
Bottom line is, no sniffer and no seriously quick half back then no momentum.
 
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