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Author Topic: England Selection  (Read 1201 times)

Offline Mugsy

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England Selection
« on: February 15, 2017, 11:21:31 PM »
I love Eddie Jones - his temperament, wisdom, articulate chat and 'ruthless' honesty. His selections tend to excite me as they almost aways seem to reflect my own thoughts on the relative merits of the players he has available to him.
It is clear, for example, that he shares my reservations about Rokoduguni - he is a world class finisher but an international wing needs much more than that. He fails to defend correctly, jamming in to double up on the ball carrier far too often, leaving HIS man with a clear run to the line. Often when he is put in space through the craft of others, he fails to see the pass clearly available to him and dies with the ball. Such weaknesses win and lose matches.

I do disagree with regard to 3 players though, and I'd be interested to hear what others think - whether they disagree with me, or Jones, in any way and would select differently, etc.

Here are mine:
Thomas Waldrom -  What has the man got to do to play in the England 8 shirt when Big Billy is injured? I never miss an Exeter game on BT sport (I never miss any prem game!) and he hardly ever makes a mistake, is always in the right place, makes numerous tackles, carries beyond the gain line almost every time, never gets turned over, scores more tries than any other 8 by miles and has the passing/offloading game of a centre.
You know what I think it is? Body shape prejudice. I think he is perceived not to have a bodybuilder's athletic build and isn't a sprinter. This is flawed logic - Picamoles is heavy-legged and no sprinter yet is outstanding for France, and Dean Richards was the epitome of the awkward-looking lump who was nevertheless always in the right place because he had a sharp rugby brain.

Ben Youngs - I'm sorry but he absolutely should not be wearing the 9 shirt. Dummying a clueless Bok defender a few games ago convinced many people he is our best candidate, but he didn't fool me. He slows down every ruck by pausing with the ball in his hands on the ground, then when he does pass it's a double-movement. Up to the inside shoulder first, then out to the receiver. I don't know who coached him to do that as a youngster and I'm flabbergasted no-one has coached it out of his game since! It allows the defence time to reset and takes away the whole rhythm and momentum of England's play through the phases, and it is very noticeable when Care comes on and starts whipping the ball away from the rucks off the deck in a single flashing movement, that the flow of the game improves. He could take lessons on this basic skill from any of the other 9s in the six nations. Conor Murray is light years ahead of him and will definitely be first choice for the Lions. I'll stick my neck out and predict that Jones will finally see this and will start Care before the competition is over.

...Which brings me to my third, Wasps scrum half Joe Simpson. What a player. Lightning fast, a real warrior, speedy service, is everywhere in defence, consistently takes the right option. Like Waldrom, I can't understand why he's not in that white shirt!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 08:47:57 AM by Mugsy »

Offline Renegade

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »
I like you agree with your views on Jones, he is brilliant for our game and shows what can be achieved with the right attitude, I was sick of hearing how poor the skills were of the English (Northern Hemisphere) players was compared their southern counterparts. The All Blacks apart I think England have a lot to offer and as one of the best world sides at the moment.

On Waldrom I think its a little of what you say but one thing Jones likes is very fit players, I think he thinks Waldrom is overweight and lazy, I would tend to agree. He does really well at premiership level but would need to shed those extra pounds to compete in the international arena.

Ben Youngs was told the same, he went away lost weight and Jones see him fitting into his "structured" game plan rather than Care. When bodies get tired he likes to unleash Care into the broken play and slightly bigger gaps where he causes mayhem. Simpson is a similar type of player to Care and that is who he's up against not Youngs, there isn't another like Youngs at the moment whish is why he's still in there but I do agree with you that he has flaws.

Offline Neil Roseberry

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 12:37:09 PM »
I have every respect for ltaly but l would love to see Jones take a few chances and give one or two players some much-needed game time in a game they have a great chance of winning handsomely and greatly increasing their points difference. My starting XV would be...

15. Mike Brown
14. Anthony Watson
13. Elliott Daly
12. Owen Farrell
11. Tom May
10. George Ford
9. Ben Youngs

1. Joe Marler
2. Jamie George
3. Kyle Sinckler
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Maro ltoje
6. Courtney Lawes
7. James Haskell
8. Nathan Hughes

Offline Mugsy

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 02:17:35 PM »
Renegade, I can see all your arguments there; the lads at Exeter have a standing joke about this perception that Thomas the tank is fat and lazy - in fact they have a scone and cake club! They take turns to bake for him! It's irony, though, as they know he's got a great engine and trains hard every day. All I can say is that when I watch him he's involved at almost every breakdown - you don't see him butterflying from ruck to ruck leaning on the side, he gets stuck in. He also has a craftier Rugby brain than Hughes.
When Youngs' pass from a Welsh goal-line ruck was intercepted by Biggar last week it was because Wales know about the 2-stage delay in his pass and attacked it. If Waldrom had been playing, that ball would never have been passed out - he'd have scored from that range!

Neil, I admire your confidence in England's current fringe players and I like the look of your selection, but personally I would always pick the strongest possible side for top level internationals. It would be just like the 6nations for Italy to play out of their skins and ambush us with a horrible kicking, spoiling, stifling and scrapping style.
As Jack Nowell is one of my favourite players in the world I certainly wouldn't leave him out. And I'd like to see Farrell and Daly at 10 and 12 - two superb distributors - and no side would target a perceived defensive weakness in the 10 channel with Farrell there. They do with Ford, and they would with Cipriani.

The great thing right now is that any of these permutations and many more is a formidable side. It's a good time to be an English Rugby fan!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 12:10:11 AM by Mugsy »

Offline Riddler

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 02:45:00 PM »

Offline Mugsy

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 04:42:46 PM »
 Let me guess a couple of your reasons to dislike Haskell:

*He's not a 7;
*He is more about bodybuilding than Rugby skills;
*There are far better utility back-rowers around who are more likely to win turnover ball - Haskell is not really a jackal;
*He's lost anywhere outside the immediate environs of ruck/maul, so is unlikely ever to be a link in a flowing phase of play or the extra man to make the overlap, like you might see from Pocock, Tipuric or O'Brien.

I grant you all of the above and was amazed when Jones gave him the 7 shirt, but then we haven't produced a world-class one (who plays in England) since Neil Back.
I have to be fair and say he's done some sterling work playing within his own limitations during the Jones era. Mainly just smashing ball carriers round the fringes, but at critical stages in games, turning the tide in England's favour. He also adds a hyperactive energy and strength to the team spirit, which is important.
He certainly ain't the future. But what are your specific dislikes?

« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 09:01:29 AM by Mugsy »

Offline Neil Roseberry

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 10:53:56 PM »
The great thing right now is that any of these permutations and many more is a formidable side. It's a good time to be an English Rugby fan!

Exciting times mate. And for the record, my no 11 should have read as Johnny May (Gloucester) and not Tom the former Falcon. l just cottoned on ha ha.

Offline Mugsy

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 12:01:04 AM »
I realised that fella! Tom May had his very own female fan club at Ryton RFC, who would always be on the bus to Kingston Park from our club for home games during his time there.
Jonny May is a slightly different animal! Not really a 'natural' Rugby player like Tom, but wow, genuine gas. ''Nothing beats pace'', as the mantra goes.
I would never pick him in front of Jack Nowell though! He has the whole game and more.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 12:29:08 AM by Mugsy »

Offline R-dog

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 11:18:50 AM »
I agree with Mugsy Danny Care has a much quicker pass and speeds up the tempo of the game. Against France should have started him and tired their big forwards out. Danny Care get's a lot of stick for his box kick but I Don't think it's that bad?
Thomas Waldrom is quality and yes his nickname is the tank but he is a very clever player and last season he was top scorer in the premiership not just top scoring number 8!

I think England need to accept we don't have flankers like pocock Hooper or Richie McCaw and accept that someone like Haskell who can smash them off the ball might be the right idea?
Plus we have world class second row's that can turn people over which helps! We don't need to rely on 1 player to turnover ball for us

Offline Neil Roseberry

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 10:51:47 AM »
l wish we could relax the overseas-based players policy and allow a limited number of 'wild card' selections like Wales have. ln this modern age where money dictates location, its inevitable that players may be tempted away by the lure of the euro... the Armitage brothers and Abendanon being prime examples.

Steffon Armitage being allowed to slot into our back row would have caused opposition teams all sorts of headaches. He's right up there with Pocock, Tipuric, O'Brien et al in my humble opinion.

(Controversial one here but...) l'd also love to see Danny Cipriani included in the squad. Some of his skills and capabilities are breathtaking and he seems to possess an uncanny ability to unlock most defences. l think his maverick lifestyle off the pitch tends to blacken his favour with those in authority however and he spends more time on the front of papers rather than the back pages. Potential though!!!

Offline Mugsy

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 12:35:24 AM »
Would you relax that ruling Neil?
I think it's among the worst things that could happen to English Rugby. There would be an immediate exodus to the rich French and other clubs with no salary caps, resulting in a vastly reduced standard in our Premiership. It's that level of intensity that is producing the Farrells, Fords, Launchburys and Itojes - blooded into a ferocious competition at very tender ages and quickly becoming 'test ready'.
As I hinted in my post about Haskell, I'd love to see Armitage in our 7 shirt, but he took the King's shilling so sod him. Nick Abendanon often has a whinge about it, but I think he's deluded - he's not England class anyway - nowhere near Mike Brown, Alex Goode, Tom Homer or 3 or 4 others for me.

Cipriani is a funny one. He can be world class and class dunce all in the same game. One minute sublimely unlocking a seemingly-impregnable defensive line, the next doing something completely hatstand. That's not Eddie Jones's style at all. He likes metronomic accuracy from his leaders. One thing I wish Cips would do is lose that horrible RL-inspired tumble pass he sometimes puts out, which I keep seeing his runners fumble and I don't blame them. It's an awful way to pass a rugby ball. When he curls a run up to the tackle line and slides out a flat spin pass across the defence it's a thing of beauty, so why he feels the need to change that for the worse is beyond me. (He's not the only one mind!) League has taught us so much and many of the techniques we've adopted have enriched our code, but that one is just rank bad practice.
I also think Jones does not rate his defence highly enough. He is regularly targeted in the Prem, as is Ford. Commentators like to point out that Cips's tackle count is one of the highest in the league. Well it will be, they're all running down his channel!
To be fair, I think he's a better defender than Ford, and despite all of the above, I would love to see him on the bench and coming on with his Wasps partner Joe Simpson or Care on the hour so he gets a quick service he can do something with.
(Not the Ben Youngs 'Corporal Jones' painfully slow service: ''Push the ball to the floor -2-3-4-5-6; bring the ball to the shoulder -2-3-4; take a step -2-3-4; pass the ball -2-3-4......)''





« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 12:39:41 AM by Mugsy »

Offline Badgerbear77

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 06:28:51 AM »
I like how Jones took Lancaster's squad of players and turned them into winners (I have huge respect for Lancaster by the way.. I think he did a good job considering his lack of experience when he took the job). Jones has also very cleverly sowed the seed for the future underneath that squad with the likes of genge, teo and Clifford coming into the squad and looking part of a rosy future. I can't stand George ford at ten or dan coles at prop. I prefer Jamie George to Hartley. 2nd row is amazing depth... i think we have four real class acts to choose from with launchbury, lawes, kruis abd itoje (not a 6 in mt book).Back row is intriguing.. Robshaw is a 6 in the Richard Hill mould and Billy vunipola has become a world class 8.. when fit... Nathan hughes is some way off that. 7 is interesting haskell has never let anyone down there but is a 6 for me. Clifford may be able to fill that one as I'm not a fan of wood.

9 is Danny care for me but I like to have different types of player to come off bench to change games if possible and Simpson does offer some genuine pace.

10 - think Jones has Farrell playing well in the centre but can he really keep his form at ten to rid us of ford? I like cipriani.. he is maverick yes but I reckon Jones could help him with that balance. His discipline and lifestyle has improved and he turned down money in France to give international rugby a shot. Locally.. maybe not quite easy international class but I love Joel hodgson at falcons... I have been really impressed with him this year and his game management and maverick play balancing well. (Jones don't even know where newcastle is I think!)

Centres... teo looks good and Joseph as well but Jones wants a footy player in there so in my mind moving daly off the wing could work.

Wings. Nowell all day for me.. I'm not a fan of may so probably Watson and I agree with mugsy on rokoduguni being limited. 15 shirt is Mike browns all day... but he hasn't been at his best in this 6 nations at all. Tom homer is ahead of Goode in my eyes too.

So if I was Jones

Marler
George
Sinckler
Lawes
Itoje
Robshaw
Clifford
Vunipola
Care
Farrell
Watson
Daly
Joseph
Nowell
Brown

Genge
Vunipola
Hartley
Launchbury
Haskell
Simpson
Cipriani
Teo

I also wouldn't relax the ruling on overseas players...Armitage looks good in France... never rated him that highly and I think he is a bit over rated.. Abendanon and the other Armitage Broseley are miles away from the squad anyway a d not good enough. They chose money over playing for England... if they want to play come home, simplest... Armitage was touting himself to France...  is he really the character we want in the squad?
Rugby is for everyone, not just the chosen few

Offline Mugsy

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 10:33:34 AM »
I haven't always agreed with everything you've posted - but Jeez, Badge! I could've written that myself, it's so close to my view.
 
Spot-on about Lancaster (who I played against at Wakefield, then again 3 seasons later when he'd moved to Leeds. People perhaps don't realise, but he was a pretty decent openside); I share your unease about Dan Cole (although he went up in my estimation in the Wales win); Itoje ain't a 6 - yet - but he's a quick learner and I'd expect him to become brilliant there given game time. Don't think Jones will continue that experiment unless forced to though. He knows he's got the best young lock in the world and will want to play him there.
Spot-on about the full-back shirt - Brown not at his best currently but, to borrow a cricket saying - form is temporary, class is permanent. Needs to get back to linking play more, creating space for others and dying with the ball less. Goode gets good press but irritates me with that stupid skip he feels the need to perform before running anywhere, and tendency to pass to runners' knees off his left hand. (Also hate the way he chews his tongue like an old man with no teeth, but that's just a personal thing!)
Spot-on about the wings, the centres, the overseas ruling, the English players in France, the half-backs, Cipriani being developed by Jones and the back row. The only thing I'd say differently there is that Woods is a very good player, but he's a definite 6, not 7.
Second row is my only real difference of opinion, you have Lawes in there but I felt he made a couple of poor defensive decisions against Wales and isn't the force he was pre-injury, when he was awesome. I feel Kruis, Itoje and Launchbury are all ahead of him at this time. He'd get in any other team in the world, mind! And Attwood would get in most.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 10:36:07 PM by Mugsy »

Offline Badgerbear77

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 06:46:04 PM »
It's OK to have disagreement.. debate is healthy. I think lawes is a beast but it's wafer thin between the four of them.. At wood only slightly behind.

Mind I also think there are some wonderful 4 nations.players and the lions selection this year will be very interesting!!
Rugby is for everyone, not just the chosen few

Offline Mugsy

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Re: England Selection
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2017, 10:11:24 AM »
Danny Care to start against Italy.
Hate to say I told you so, but.....