Based on the fact that a dozen or so (hopefully more) England players will be away with the Lions in the Summer, and that several players may well be rested, who do people will be the opening line up for the first test in Argentina.
posted this at virtually the same time on the 'England' thread:
I'd also really like to see if Eddie could get the best out of Ben Morgan, and there's always the possibility that Manu will make the tour too.
Does he take another 10 to supplement Lozowski/Slade, and if so is that an old hand such as Freddie/Cipriani, or a real youngster such as Brophy-Clews. And, given that Eddie is never going to promote Wade or Roko is he better off looking at a couple of real youngsters in that position?
Should Genge/Sinckler stay as 'impact' players with the likes of Brookes/Mullan filling the starting place? Going to be fascinating.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 20/03/2017 15:49 by Optimist.
I just can't see how Gatland can ignore Daly. Tours like that are crying out for someone who can cover 2-3 positions. Even as a winger, I'd take him, though cementhead will probably pick Cuthbert.
Brown is a tricky one. I wouldn't like to be his cat if he misses out on both Lions and the England tour, but England simply have to move on from him. The ideal, from an England perspective, would be if at least one of Daly, Watson, Nowell miss out on the Lions, because, for me, one of them has got to be lining up at 15 this autumn.
If squad development is a tour aim (I guess it must be), the overrriding requirement is surely to nurture a group of turnover specialists.
This is where England struggled in all 3 of their close 6 N games -France, Wales, Ireland.
Underhill has a fine reputation here, but is not yet tested at top level. I think, from what I have seen of Zach Mercer that he could develop the skill and he certainly has the more "traditional" virtues of an open-side -pace, support play and tackling. Wasps have Thompson and Sam Jones who Eddie will want to look at, while Exeter's 2 No6s -Armand and Ewers are powerful over the ball too.
He will also want to develop some depth at prop. LH does not look too bad but TH needs some work - so Brooks or Hill may get chances as backup to Sinckler.
Is what I'd like to see but is very young and mostly inexperienced. All depends on whom may get a surprise Lions call up but I am on the fence with Watson/Ford/Daly and you'd suspect there to be more wise heads in there depending on whether Hartley, Robshaw, Haskell, Launchbury, Kruis all get call ups or not.
[quote P G Tips] while Exeter's 2 No6s - Armand and Ewers are powerful over the ball too.
Definitely agree with this, particularly given Exe league position and Ewers should also be nice and fresh after missing most of the year. Did Devoto just fall off the edge of the earth - never seems to get mentioned by anyone any more despite him being 'the next big thing' for so long. Same with Beaumont and H.Mallinder?
James Short would be worth a look he has been scoring tries for fun.
After two Six Nations in charge, Jones runs the rule over his England squad:
Front row: "We don't have three tightheads. We've got Dan Cole doing an exceptional job, we've got Kyle Sinckler coming through. We want Paul Hill to come through, and we want one more in that position to come through. The rest of the front row is pretty good."
Second row: "At lock we're exceptional. At this stage Maro Itoje is essentially a lock who can fill in at the back row. Courtney Lawes is the same and that adds great flexibility."
Back row: "Like always we still need to revise the back row and see how we can improve it."
Half-backs: "We need a third scrum-half, but for fly-halves we're good."
Centres: "We're good at 12 and at 13."
Wingers: "We're outstanding for wings."
Full-back: "We're still looking for other options. We do need a couple of other guys, but I think they are within the squad."
In 2013, besides supplying 11 Lions (after a couple of late call ups), 8 senior players were given the summer off (Robshaw, Waldrom, Haskell, Botha, Care, Flood, Barritt, Ashton).
I doubt Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, Hughes, Wood, Lawes, Care, Brown will be off to NZL but could some of them be rested this summer?
I guess if fit again, Robshaw and Kruis would go and Hughes because he's new to the team.
You would think Clifford, Taylor, Mullan, Catt, Hill, Harrison and Beaumont will go. Sadly, I can see Yarde and May going and blocking more exciting players from progressing.
BATH supporter since 1975
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To be honest OD's selection in the first place (when he was with us) seems at best a very speculative left-field choice. I don't think he's fallen from favour so much as it was a shot in the dark.
I think this is an area where Eddie has shown more wisdom than SCW, and indeed Lancaster. The idea that because someone won't make the next world cup they are of no use building the squad for the next world cup I think has been shown to be foolish. Obviously, it becomes increasingly true as the next world cup approaches, but we've seen Eddie build a successful squad that has a winning mentality and has passed on experience to some of the next generation of players. From here we are in a good place to feed in the rest of the player who will make the cut over time, we might get a Manu who turns up in the months before the world cup, we shouldn't rule him out. I think we will have the experienced players, we'll also have the talent. Getting them will be a balancing act that requires a particular eye, not a set of rules to be applied.
He is going to need a Captain, as most of his experienced players should be in NZ. I am not sure about Wood, but if Robshaw or Haskell do not go with the Lions, I expect one may be needed for leadership.
Haskell is 32 in April. Wood and Robshaw about a year younger.
I really cannot see Haskell maintaining his Tarzan style through to the next World Cup, and let's face it, he isn't going to turn into one of those players who overcomes age by playing the first 10 metres in his head (or if he tries that, then the results should be pretty entertaining to watch). I suppose it's not impossible that he'll get picked by Gatland - he does, after all, have experience of playing in NZ, which might be considered useful.
But Robshaw is the only one of the 3 who has a chance of actually getting better in the next couple of years, so i'd be starting to ditch the other 2 now. There's no reason why Hughes couldn't adapt to playing 6 (or even 7 Haskell-style), so that's a younger option, and however great Eddie is at adapting to the players he's got, England could really, really do with some pace in their back-row as an option.
Optimist Whatever happens, lock isn't going to be a big problem for England. Big Dave Atwood is no slouch either.
He might not be but I doubt he'll be going to Argentina. He's in nowhere land right now. Not one of our top 4 locks and not young enough to invest time in developing. Good news for Bath but not for him if he has England aspirations.
Will be interesting to see if Jones sends mainly untested talent or basically as full strength a team as he can without the players available. We're going to face very weak opposition so its going to be hard to judge how good we are.
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