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The misconception is that he can play both sides. He's not international standard at lose head. And we have better specialist tight heads. Also he has a big tummy that makes him an Ozzie prop.
Posted 13:40 01st June 2012
@ jamesliveinhope - you're right inasmuch as we are quick to praise and equally quick to vilify. But we have to be realistic and brutal with selections. We cannot take everyone to SA, nor can we have everyone available for the RWC in 2015. So we need to be making tough decisions in a decisive manner.
His main "selling point" was his ability to play both sides of the scrum. But I think most would agree that we have players who are better in both positions, albeit unable to cover the other side. And with the new rules due (when..?), allowing an extra sub for FR cover, his USP is diluted.
We can put out Corbisiero, Cole, Hartley, Webber, Marler and D-J, either to start or on the bench. And all of those props are, in my opinion, better in their chosen specialist position. As such, the requirement for a prop who can cover both becomes redundant.
As is (I hope) clear, I have been a Bath fan for (it seems like) ever. I used to love the fact that we had the best off-loading FR in the Premiership. It was fantastic to watch and be part of and gave us a more expansive game. Then game the ban and all that changed. Mears didn't have the partnership with another off-loading FR player, to compliment him and Stevens hasn't hit the same straps either.
It's a shame, as I used to rate him. But now, not so much.
Posted 16:19 31st May 2012
@APV1 - I'm not saying that Stevens is the best we have, nor am I saying he should be selected.
I'm just saying that there seems to be a "hero or zero" mentality on these boards and his zero status seems to be based purely on RWC 2011 where he was typically playing as emergency cover and out of position.
Posted 10:50 31st May 2012
I have not been too impressed with Steven's scrummaging at the highest levels.... he has proven to be reliable in consistently giving away penalties.... circumstances have certainly conspired against him when he is pressed into service as a loose head prop.
Unfortunately, there are now two or three decent scrummaging loose head props in the England squad.... which means that Stevens is unlikely to feature regularly..... and should the additional prop on the bench become a requirement then Steven's is unlikely to be picked in future match day squads.
There are few really good practitioners at international level on both sides of the scrummage.... However, Ben Franks from New Zealand does spring to mind....
Posted 01:43 30th May 2012
I've found the front row to be England's primary weakness for some time. Well, that and the lack of consistency in selection, esp. in the center pairings; but I think it's good to let the young guys get a chance for a consistent run of test matches. Let Corbisiero or Marler and Cole show what they can do with Hartley in the middle for a good 5-6 tests straight.
Posted 21:06 29th May 2012
He was all right as a cover for 3, but that's it. Plus he commits so many penalties. This is a blessing. For the up coming tour are we allowed two props on the bench or is that policy not coming into effect so soon?
Posted 18:45 29th May 2012
I'd say this is actually quite a good thing as it gives PDJ a chance as backup on the bench and I'd say PDJ is a much stronger scrummager...maybe not so good in the loose but still I'd prefer him to stevens anyway.
Posted 17:42 29th May 2012
@ jamesliveinhope - I absolutely agree with you. However his ability to off-load with Bath isn't enough for me to see past his fallabilities. Marler is as good around the park, although his offload isn't as good I admit. Cole is solid as a rock and Marler and Corbs are no slouches in the set piece either.
Chuck-in DJ and a couple of others and I just don't see a place for him.
If he can improve his set piece and settle as a specialised TH, then he would be back in contention. Until then, I think we have better props available for consideration.
Posted 17:13 29th May 2012
I get a bit cheesed off with the Stevens bashing, the guy is a tighthead, that he can play loosehead is the same as me saying I can run the 100 metres - takes 35 seconds but I'll finish and I'll run all the way.
His problem was in RWC where he seemed to constantly play emergency cover at loosehead and came up short against some of the world's best tightheads.
Academic now but, whilst Cole is the better scrummager I would feel that Stevens still offers more in the open.
The combination of Stevens and Mears at Bath were the main reason for Bath's reputation as an offloading side
Posted 16:39 29th May 2012
I think the IRB are going to introduce a extra frontrow forward to the bench ,its been trialed and works .So having specialist tight and loose heads on the bench cant be faraway For trhe moment though it means PDJ will finally be given a chance to show he can cut it at international leval
Posted 15:47 29th May 2012
I don't think that Stevens, "...has been in fine form since returning to the game in 2011 after serving a two-year suspension." at all! I think he's been quite mediocre compared to the likes of Cole, Corbisiero and Marler. Then look back at the FR greats of yesteryear and he's looking even more ordinary - Sheridan, Vickery, Leonard, etc. He's also proved to be a bit of a penalty liability, as he does seem to get pinged at scrum time quite often.
If we're going to be allowed to have specialists FR on the bench for all three positions, those who "can play both sides" suddenly become less useful and the requirements to be a better specialist becomes more important.
I wish him a speedy recovery and hope there's no lasting issues. But I, for one, am glad he's out of the squad.
Posted 15:10 29th May 2012
'A blow', or 'a bit of luck'? I think I know which most England fans would say...
Posted 14:32 29th May 2012
Blessing in disguise - Stevens is overrated and has not played a good game for England for years. His departure from the squad will reduce the number of penalties against Eng significantly.
Posted 14:32 29th May 2012
Stevens was slightly better v Baabaas where handling skills are more likely to show but still not really a loss and probably only one more bad game from being dropped anyhow.
Posted 14:14 29th May 2012
Let's be honest, is this really that bad a thing?
Posted 14:05 29th May 2012
That should see our penalty count reduced by 50% then.
Posted 13:49 29th May 2012