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opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 17:24
Run-on XV for first game of 2003 6 Nations (25-17 win home to France) had 10 World Cup final starters and one more on the bench.

Leonard, Thompson, White
Johnson, Kay
Moody, Back, Hill
Gomarsall, Wilko
Hodgson, Greenwood
Luger, Robinson, Cohen

Regan, Rowntree, Grewcock, Dallaglio, Walshe, Christophers, Simpson-Daniel

By the time of the 42-6 hammering of Ireland away in the last game, there were 14 of the World Cup final starters and the 15th (Woodman) on the bench.

Leonard, Thompson, Rowntree
Johnson, Kay
Dallaglio, Back, Hill
Dawson, Wilko
Tindall, Greenwood
Lewsey, Robinson, Cohen

West, Woodman Grewcock, Worsley, Bracken, Grayson, Luger

I think the starting XV against Ireland 2 weeks ago had 12 nailed-on first choice starters for the World Cup.

 
MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 19:00
A bit difficult to read your 12 starters Opti , so in an attempt to I guess the 3 that miss out are:

George (Hartley), Slade (J Joseph), One of Wilson/Curry (Underhill). Personally I'm not sure about the full back position. Daly to wing, will he bring Brown back as he likes his cap numbers high.

You have to think Joe C has a chance from the bench though.

P.S. surely not Cole!



Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Chance to shine in 18/19 with AW's injury!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg

 
SarrieSaint
SarrieSaint (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 19:48
Very interesting post.

Maybe a slight change to the time frame as did we have RWC warm-ups in those days? This season I believe there are a further 3 or 4 games after the 6 Nations but before the RWC starts.

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 20:06
Quote:
shipwrecked
I guess the 3 that miss out are: George (Hartley), Slade (J Joseph), One of Wilson/Curry (Underhill). Personally I'm not sure about the full back position. Daly to wing, will he bring Brown back as he likes his cap numbers high.

Nope - I reckon Faz improvement as captain helps to make George a starter. Plus, I reckon Hartley’s experience and leadership would be a great asset in the last 15 minutes of a knock-out game. Slade has jumped ahead if even a fully fit JJ - England’s skill levels are miles ahead of a year ago, and Jamie George and Slade are leading the way on that front. Slade is a much broader player than JJ.

Yes - Curry’s one of my three, though I actually wonder whether he’s moved back ahead of Sam U.

Kruis and Nowell are the other 2 places up for grabs - just because of the sheer quality of competition in those positions.

 
Brisman
Brisman (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 20:09
Quote:
SarrieSaint
Very interesting post.
Maybe a slight change to the time frame as did we have RWC warm-ups in those days? This season I believe there are a further 3 or 4 games after the 6 Nations but before the RWC starts.
There were World Cup warm ups that year, if I recall correctly, we beat Wales in Cardiff, a second string XV lost very narrowly to France in Marseille before a first choice team beat them soundly in the return at Twickenham.

Earlier that summer England went on a mini tour to New Zealand firstly, where they won, despite being down to 13 men at one point, before comfortably beating Australia a week later.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2019 20:31 by Brisman.

 
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shipwrecked (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 20:15
Quote:
Optimist

Kruis and Nowell are the other 2 places up for grabs - just because of the sheer quality of competition in those positions.

I thought Kruis and George because of the line-out connection. Nowell I get but Ashton isn't his competition for my money. I'd like to see AW back, if he can get fitness and form back. I'm still worried about 15.



Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Chance to shine in 18/19 with AW's injury!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg

 
Montyuk
Montyuk (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 21:15
It would be nice to get some Bath players into the squad. Hoping Joe gets a run out against Italy if fit. Watson probably not going to force his way in to 6Ns so needs a good run for us to get himself into WC... but what do I know 😏

 
B4thB4ck
B4thB4ck (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 21:53
I thought Youngs was hesitant at times v France when the game broke up and receivers were out of position. We need the change 9(s) to have more game time and for Ford to feel part of the team so he doesn't force things when he does get a chance in the last 5 or 10 mins.

My biggest fear re RWC is Farrell getting injured and the only way to mitigate that is to make sure the finishers are bedded in.

 
MESSAGES->author
hemington (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
11 February, 2019 21:57
And what about injuries - some are bound to get long time crocked before the autumn - Mako might possibly be the first.

 
gaz59
gaz59 (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 07:48
Quote:
B4thB4ck
I thought Youngs was hesitant at times v France when the game broke up and receivers were out of position. We need the change 9(s) to have more game time and for Ford to feel part of the team so he doesn't force things when he does get a chance in the last 5 or 10 mins.
My biggest fear re RWC is Farrell getting injured and the only way to mitigate that is to make sure the finishers are bedded in.

Read the Evans article on the Guardian today. Great piece on the kicking strategy and says Youngs was outstanding in his view

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 07:52
I think if you slotted Ford into the team as it is now (with 2 x Vunipolas flying, both flankers looking world-class, Tuilagi as a big lump who can deal with rubbish ball, Slade as second kicker and distributor), he would absolutely thrive and - subject to team instructions - would be capable of cutting teams to shreds. Of course Farrell has been instrumental in putting England where they are, and leaving hiim out is unthinkable, but I imagine Ford is looking on with huge envy and frustration.

 
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shipwrecked (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 08:03
But that is a pretty precise set of criteria Opti and one that can be easily disrupted. Manu . Billy and Mako can easily get injured. I agree that Ford behind a 'go forward' pack can be lethal the problem is we have not seen that for a while. Both JJ and Ford have had their electric running game be found missing. Ford's main skill now is his passing, it used to be his variety.



Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Chance to shine in 18/19 with AW's injury!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 08:28
True - and far from impossible, given their record, that they all get injured together - but I think we’re underestimating the benefits of the two most elusive components since 2003 - balance in the back row and the centres. Teo, Hughes and Hepburn/Moon/Genge mean we can cope with 1 or 2 of them being out.

 
MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 08:57
The balance is a really good point, I think I would feel much more comfortable if we had an additional back up lump at 12, a Joe C type if that was his position. Or to use your thread parameters Mike Tyndall.



Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Chance to shine in 18/19 with AW's injury!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg

 
MESSAGES->author
hasta (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 09:10
Back-up lump at 12 is Te'o

 
cb2
cb2 (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 09:15
I read a page about what you normally need to win a final. Average of 50 odd caps each, most players from the past 6 years but a few from before then and a couple of new bolters. The last WC stats were crazy but, apart from that, the norm is as above. If we keep on picking the same guys, then we are quite near to the average cap mark. We have a few new faces and a couple who have been around for a while. It has the feel of the perfect blend to go into a major tournament.

I think EJ has now pretty much picked his squad. May apart, the starting positions of the centres and back 3 are still up for grabs but the faces are there. It depends on how many he takes. Daly and May for sure but a couple of others will miss out. Does he take Brown in case the weather is terrible or does he take Nowell because he can cover elsewhere? Does he take Watson or Ashton or neither? We will only take 5. Joe is going to miss out, unless he gets picked against Wales.

The centres can be balanced by having Teo, Tuilagi, Slade and JJ. A mix of power, pace and passing.

Last time out:-

England 2015 Rugby World Cup squad

Props

Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 32 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 22 caps)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)

Hookers

Jamie George (Saracens, 1 cap)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)

Second rows

George Kruis (Saracens, 8 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 23 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 39 caps)
Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 24 caps)

Back rows

James Haskell (Wasps, 60 caps)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 28 caps)
Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins, 38 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 18 caps)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 37 caps)

Scrum halves

Danny Care (Harlequins, 52 caps)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 22 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 48 caps)

Fly halves

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 30 caps)
George Ford (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)

Centres

Brad Barritt (Saracens, 22 caps)
Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)

Back three

Mike Brown (Harlequins, 38 caps)
Alex Goode (Saracens, 18 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 15 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)

 
MESSAGES->author
hemington (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 09:47
Wow only 2 front row survive and 1 back row and 1 centre (although JJ might be there if fit).

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 10:00
For a World Cup, I'm increasingly of the view that you need a good stock of your experience on the bench.

Hartley, in particular, would be the perfect bench hooker. In a World Cup, the last 15 minutes of the meaningful group games (ie the two against Tier 1 opposition) and the knock-out stages, are always going to be 5-10 point margins either way. It's incredibly unlikely that there would be clear daylight between any team in more than one of those games going into the final 15 minutes.

So who do you want coming off the bench? The fringe, younger guys? Or the likes of Hartley, Robshaw, Brown, Launch, Ashton. Guys who have seen it all before, understand the rhythms and pace of international rugby and can make the right decisions under extreme pressure. Eddie's been so perverse at scrum-half over a period of time that he'll probably have to revert to Wigglesworth on the bench too. He's shown Care that he doesn't actually trust him, and it's clear he doesn't genuinely rate Robson - which is kind of self-fulfilling.

Someone like Cokanasiga is maybe the exception in that you need someone off the bench to make a difference if you're attacking a small deficit, not just closing out a small lead. But as CB says, if you pick Coka, someone out of Watson, Ashton, Nowell, JJ is going to be mighty disappointed.

 
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hemington (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 10:13
or injured and disappointed.

 
DorsetBoy
Dorset Boy (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 10:33
If Watson is fit and has any form he has to be in the squad, and ideally starting on the right wing if Daly is at 15. May, Watson & Daly could be lethal and 2 of them were starters for the Lions and May would be a starter now.

I think Ashton will miss out as his defence is still an issue, and he really butchered his try opportunities at the weekend.

I'd also rather have Nowell than Brown, though Brown would be on standby. you still have 3 guys then who can play 15 (Daly, Watson & Nowell).

I hope JoCo gets in the squad as he is very different from the other back 3.

Someone needs to get Hughes carrying lower into contact, he is so upright he gets held up too often. He has however done well in the second row in emergency both weeks.

Robson needs game time, he has to start against Italy.

I wonder if Ellis might be a bolter at 6 to cover for Wilson, so the back row options become Wilson, Billy, Underhill, Ellis, Hughes, Curry.

I also agree with Hartley on the bench, but George has to start. A run of matches has shown him really grow into the shirt and he reads the game brilliantly, as well as being a great carrier with soft hands.

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 11:12
It’s a shame Eddie didn’t decide to take on Ben Morgan. With 3 years of Eddie’s fitness improvements, he might have been Nathan Hughes with really good hands.

 
MESSAGES->author
woodpecker (IP Logged)

Re: 2003 v 2019 - how are we shaping up?
12 February, 2019 11:18
Quote:
Optimist
It’s a shame Eddie didn’t decide to take on Ben Morgan. With 3 years of Eddie’s fitness improvements, he might have been Nathan Hughes with really good hands.

Yes Ive always wondered why he went off the radar in the first place, he is a bit tubby, but as you say maybe Eddie could have done something about that


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