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@heart_of_oak - I won't agree with you ;-).
On any of that selection, actually, lol.
At most, would be happy to go with Care at 9 and, at some point, possibly Ford.
There's no way I'd take Varndell over Wade or Ashton, I have to disagree with you about his defence.
I also still disagree about Tuilagi, depsite that being the one you're sure about, but we've already had that debate. I'm hoping that they stick with Tuilagi & Joseph throughout the autumn and 6N, that way, at least one of us can be proven right :-).
Posted 10:59 26th July 2012
Good - a debate on the back line. The scrum is ok and will be even stronger when Lawes and co are fit again. Got to say I still prefer a Lawes Attwood 2nd row but Parling hasn't done too bad.
Anyway, the back line...
scrum half - Care, provided not more arse antics
fly half - not sure, Farrell maybe but Sarries have to start attacking. If they stay playing the way they do now for the next few seasons, I think it will eventually impact on Farrell's appearances for England. People will start clamouring for someone more inventive and I think that means Ford rather than Flood.
inside centre - God knows - Twelvetrees ? JTH, Joseph ?
outside - Manu - about the only position I am sure of
left wing - don't know
right wing - don't know
full back - Foden, Brown or Goode
It'll probably create some mirth here but I still rate Tom Varndell. He always scores alot of tries in a season and has done well with the saxons.
Also, I think Delon Armitage should get another go, maybe as a winger rather than full back. I think DA has good defensive qualities unlike Ashton and isn't as injury prone as Strettle.
So I think my back line would be :
I reckon the line could change depending on the opposition. For example, if you needed a good defensive winger, you'd play Armitage. If you needed out and out speed then... Ashton. If you needed a mobile brick wall then it'd be Bananaman.
I am quite sure absolutely no-one will agree with me on this but that's what these sites are for - to promote debate.
Posted 23:39 25th July 2012
They like to build them up and knock em down in England . Farrell is no exception .
On the other in NZ hand TJ Perenara was told he was too young even though he was a stand out 9 in Super rugby . Farrell like T.J.need time and experience. As Sandal stated "hes only 20"
Posted 18:13 25th July 2012
@APV1 - Don't get me wrong, I think Farrell has got talent but as things stand it is never going to be realised in my opinion. You would hope that their fortunes last season, both towards the end of the AP and in the HEC might convince Saracens that there is a better way to skin this particular cat, but somehow I doubt it. It's no coincidence that Ford was the first-choice pivot for the England U20s, and in the few appearances he made for Tigers last season he was far more influential than Farrell was for Sarries over the entire season.
Posted 17:48 25th July 2012
@ lawynd - I thought that Cockers expected England to play the out of form Tigers back into form, why not Farrell..?
I agree, actually, that Sarries haven't been the most inspirational team in recent times. But there's a lot of new recruits there, who might (!) change that.
As sandal mentioned, he's 20 years old and learning his trade. the fact that he can kick well and tackle are excellent news, as they're two boxes ticked. Now he needs to work on the other aspects of the game.
I wonder whether his penchant for kicking everything is just him playing to his current strengths. Once the other aspects of his game improve, perhaps we'll see him passing and running more.
The potential's there, let's just hope it's developed.
Posted 16:32 25th July 2012
Until Saracens change their style of play or Farrell moves to a club that plays rugby the right way, he's not going to progress. And England shouldn't be the ones expected to improve his game, either.
Posted 12:51 25th July 2012
At 20 Farrell is still extraordinarily young and he is in a very complex, demanding position. Sorry to state the obvious, but sometimes it needs to be said.
Posted 12:48 25th July 2012
Owen Farrell is a good honest lad that is still young and learning. I think he has the temperament and ability to be a good player and a good servant for England. However, he is far from the finished article and has plenty about his game to work on. He wasn't alone in finding things extremely tough as most of the players did. The fact that we came close is a sign of how good we could be considering most of the team had not played at that level before. I agree with both rugby_rockstar and makpat. One of THE main issues is quick ball. This is VITAL if we are going to threaten. Scrum halves should move everything out wide and as quickly as possible and then show and go possibly once in each half. If we don't have wingers that chase then forget the box kicks unless we take a leaf out of the SA book in this regard. Quick ball will give a 10 the confidence to stand flat and attack. We didn't do that so have no idea how effective our 12 &13 are, let alone our wingers. Ashton's game is the offload. He needs to come looking for the ball. If he doesn't then he is no use to man nor beast and we may as well have Wade/May there (although they are miles away from test rugby IMO).
Posted 11:11 25th July 2012
@rugby_rockstar Foden was found out of position a couple of times but he defended exceptionally well and made a few decent breaks which unfortunately came to nothing from a lack of support and finished fantastically when required to, he most certainly was not slaughtered by anyone...he appeared less prominently because he wasn't used to playing wing, give him time and he'll learn. Apparently you didn't watch the 3rd test as Ashton was very threatening and got through a mountain of work, Brown didn't get chance to show his full worth.
The Joseph-Tuilagi midfield isn't working currently so why do we not put the better distributer of the two at 12 in joseph and move tuilagi back outside to where he's most useful?
Flood and Ford need to be the tens in the team (at least until Farrel sorts out his attacking with ball in hand or Heathcoate grows into the role or Geraghty hits his old form or Lamb stops being a defensive liability).
Care and Dickson are better with distribution than Youngs by a mile, I'd like to see dickson being allowed to play like he does at northampton with no call to slow it down, which he can do with a decent 10.
We've got to see May at least on the bench as 11, 14, 13 and 15 cover.
We should give Wade a chance at test level...look at how ojo did on his debut (eg: move foden to fullback and bring brown or goode off after 60 minutes).
Haskell is still off so bring wood back at 6 and put johnson on the bench, Robshaw proved any doubters wrong that he could play 7, he was great in the first 2 tests.
Can't wait till Lawes gets back to partner Palmer and/or Parling in the second row. Also I reckon Kitchener deserves a chance.
Posted 11:07 25th July 2012
I'm not convinced that we have good enough specialist wingers to justify starting them above better players, albeit playing out of position on the wing, rather than fullback.
My preferred starting backline is probably (for growth towards RWC 2015):
Scrum half - Youngs (reluctantly)
Fly half - Farrell
Centres - Tuilagi & Joseph
Wings - May & Wade/Foden
Fullback - Brown/Foden
Bench - Care, Flood, Ashton
Posted 10:30 25th July 2012
@rugby_rockstar - unfortunately, moving to Gloucester (as per your example) would alomst certainly kill his international career. Thre is still a huge reluctance from England to pick players from Gloucester. He'd do much better at Harlequins, for example, especially spending some time with probably the best fly-half in the premiership at the moment.
Regarding your other analysis, I also like Tuilagi/Joseph in the centres, I certainly think we should stick with them and give them a whole autumn and 6 nations to gel.
Youngs is ridiculously slow, although he went through a phase when he gave very prompt service. The same could be said 3 all 3 scrum halves though, which is a major concern. All 3 are servicable when they play well, but terrible if they don't. Not a great situation to be in.
Farrell needs to improve his game at 10, but I also think England need to show faith in him, they also need to look at George Ford for the 3rd #10 position.
Disagree with your analysis of Brown, he's been the best (and most consistent) fullback in the premiership for a few years. I'd much rather have a fullback who can read the game, is safe under a high ball, constantly breaks the gain line on counter-attacks and has a massive boot, than a fast player who has to use his pace to make up for the fact that he is always out of position.
Ashton, I'm not sure about. Probably best suited to the bench at the moment. On form, he was very, very good in attack, which England need wherever we can get it.
Foden, I disagree about him being slaughtered by specialist wingers, JP Pieterson is slaughtering pretty much every winger he comes up against in super rugby at the moment, not just Foden. Depending on the opposition, I'd be happy with him starting over Christian Wade, if a more defensive option were required.
On the other wing, I think I'd like to see England try Johnny May.
Posted 10:30 25th July 2012
Things to do list for Owen Farrel
1, stand flatter and run the ball more often to keep defences honest
2, Play an all round ten game at saracens. If the Saracens coaches insist on kick and clap tactics then move to gloucester or something, because he'll never be a serious rival for the England shirt until he starts taking the heat off our midfield by presenting a threat in his own right. this isn't negative criticism, this is about as constructive as you can ask for. He's got to sort this element of his game out to get better. Toby Flood already does it and for me he's the best ten we've got. if we want a 100% goal kicker then maybe we should be looking to include Tom Homer at 15. To be brutally honest I didn't think Ashton, Foden and Brown were anywhere near in the same league as the SA and NZ Back Three players on show in June and a re-think about truely THREATENING strike runners is required. I liked the Joseff / Tuilagi midfield but the rest of the back line was about as scary as blind puppy.
Youngs - painfully slow service - robbing all impetuts from any attacks - so are we expecting him to score two tries EVERY MATCH??? No. Opposing Coaches are on to him now. Therefore with his main strength neutralised, he's just a liability.
Farrell - one dimensional boot. no threat with the ball allowing boks to drift onto the midfield.
Ashton - questionable form anyway. was there to support the ball carrier and take offloads NZ style - hardly saw him in 240minutes of rugby.
Foden - played out of position and did very little, questions about his out and out pace. he's not a winger. he's less than a winger, so specialist wingers slaughter him.
Brown - no real pace at all. 100% commitment but Cueto was committed and he was a waste of time at test level too.
Give me out and out pace on the wings.
Give me a threat at 10
Give me good ball at the ruck.
Posted 09:52 25th July 2012