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Thought on England etc post 6 Nations
notasoutherner (IP Logged)
12 April, 2018 15:10
My summing of England by on-field position post 6 Nations:

1. Vunipola was largely ineffective most of the championship. Not quite sure why. The weaker aspect of his game – scrummaging – was fine but his carrying was unusually ineffective. Marler was suspended at the start of the tournament and played OK when he came on as sub later in the tournmanet. Would have liked to have seen the injured Ellis Genge get game time had he been fit. Alec Hepburn has been playing well for Exeter and deserves more international exposure.
2. The debate rumbles on. England need the guile and all round play of George. And Cowan-Dickie has been very strong for Exeter this season. There are a number of very good hookers coming through in the Premiership. Hartley has had his day.
3. Dan Cole has also had his day in the modern game. He is a good scummager but does little around the field. His days of turning the ball over passed a while ago. We should focus on the likes of Sinkler (made an impression when coming on as sub) and Harry Williams together with other good young tight heads developing in the Premiership.
4. Allow Itoje to play his natural game. He was OK but quiet by his standards in the tournament. From all accounts he had a stormer for Saracens last week and was man of the match! Lots of good second rows coming through.
5. Lawes has looked a bit tired of late. That said, I think he was one English player who played reasonably well in each game. I think we should stick to second rows being second rows.
6. Cannot fault Robshaw in his work rate and of all the English forwards he was about the only one to effect turnover ball in the tournament. How would the Don Armand (Exeter No.6) have fared. He has been the Premiership form 6 all season. Jack Willis (a young no.6 playing for Wasps) looks an excellent prospect.
7. England do not currently have an out and out 7. The young Sale 7, Tom Curry was injured (his twin brother Ben is good too) and Jack Clifford (Harlequins) likewise. Sam Underhill looked good when he came against Scotland only to be Yellow carded within minutes and his try-saving effort against Wales was a highlight of England’s campaign. Sam Simmonds is too small for No. 8 and should be played at 7. He has remarkable pace for a back-row forward. England should focus on these young guys and develop their potential rather than continuously tinkering with more experienced players who are not out and out 7s.
8. England missed Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes is not in great form and got injured too often in the tournament. When fit, both will do a very good job for England.
9. It was a shame Ben Youngs was injured as he has regained his form this season. Youngs as a starter and Care as a finisher is a good combination. Dan Robson of Wasps has got to be blooded. He is the form English no. 9 in the Premiership and has the ability to change a game.
10. The debate rumbles on. Ford is very good when England are on the front foot with the forwards in dominant form – less so on the back foot. As with many developing players, Ford’s free-running, daring-do approach has regressed over the past 2-3 years. Stats show he made far more breaks and was much more of a threat at fly half in his early career. If he is to be England’s no. 10, let him play his own natural game. There are excellent alternatives including Farrell, Lozowski and dare I say Cipriani
11. You cannot fault Jonny May’s pace and finishing prowess but I don’t think he is the most intelligent of rugby players. When Daly came back from injury, he oozed class and rugby nous. Personally, I think Daly is wasted at 11 and should either be 13 or 15.
12. The mid-field has been a debate for many years. I like Te’o but he is in his early 30s. Tuilagi is coming back to form with Leicester and assuming he remains injury free, must be a contender. Farrell has never let England down at 12 and Lozowski can play 12.
13. A disappointing tournament for one of my favourite players, Joseph. England never really got going sufficiently to provide the half yard of space Joseph requires to skin the opposition. I would like to see Daly given a go at 13 if Joseph is out of form. Some say Nowell would do a good job there and they may be correct.Henry Slade has real class as does Henry Trinder. Neither should be ignored.
14. England have a host of players who could play 14 including Watson, Nowell, Solomona, Wade and several up and coming youngsters.
15. Time for a change. Mike Brown has been excellent for England over the years but he is predictable and lacks the pace to frighten opposition. For me, Watson is a far more exciting prospect and I would not be averse to playing Daly at 15.

I think England’s two biggest problems are:

1. The fact that the International game in England has little or no control/influence on the Premiership
2. England probably has too many high-level players to select from

That apart, for me, we should focus less on the captaincy, ensure the front row is good around the field, the back-row is more balanced and contains players who are a threat at the breakdown and the mid-field is creative. England have oodles of pace. It needs to use it. And finally (you will be pleased to read), we should stop over-coaching and allow players to think for themselves on the field. I am sick and tired of hearing (not just from England) about “sticking to our game plan”, “focussing on our processes” etc. I want players to surprise opponents and to react to what they confront on the field. Sport is about how to outfox the opposition and finding a way to win not about following game plans or conducting processes!

On other matters:
• Do away with the TMO. It seems to provoke more debate than ever and slows the game down. Let the match officials get on with it and insist that the touch judge (sorry referees assistant) provides positive and less mono-syllabic input.
• Do away with player appeals/back-chat. Penalise them with a free kick initially, 10 metres concession, penalty or indeed yellow card. Don’t mind which but whatever it takes to prevent us going down the route of football
• Do away with penalising the team with the ball going forward when the maul goes down. It is dull, boring and against the ethics of the game
• Penalise offside at kick-offs
• Penalise offside at the ruck. Players not in the ruck are meant to stand behind the hindmost foot
• Penalise players taking out opposition beyond the ruck or for holding on to players on the floor thereby preventing them from re-joining the game

The laws already exist for much of the above but…. I am sure my friend Richard, Hampshire Society Ref of too many years standing ( and still reffing in advanced years – good on ‘im), will contribute here!!

Here endeth the 5th Epistle according to ……

Re: Thought on England etc post 6 Nations
headingleytyke (IP Logged)
12 April, 2018 15:38
Well said
My summing of England by on-field position post 6 Nations: (IP Logged)
12 April, 2018 15:44
Nice detailed analysis - interesting to see if Eddie Jones agrees.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2018 20:16 by almostatyke.

Re: Thought on England etc post 6 Nations
Mark_C (IP Logged)
13 April, 2018 08:23
Not sure about Watson at fullback - he got flummoxed by the high ball more than once.

Miserati - and Proud to be!

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