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@ heart_of_oak - not too shabby. But (there's always a but!) I'd have:
Cole, Webber, Marler
Johnson, Armitage, Robshaw (c)
Farrell (IF he can develop, if not Burns / Ford / Heathcote)
Wade, Brown, Foden.
D-J, Hartley, Corbs, Parling, Croft, Morgan, Dickson, Joseph
It's always going to be tough, especially as you need to account for form, fitness, availability and so on. I've tried to look at RWC 2015 and who I'd want in the Red Rose for then.
You're also limited to the number on the bench. I've gone for, rather controversially, a 6 : 2 split (bearing in mind we should have the extra prop then). I'd lose Morgan and put in JTH or Farrell (if not starting) if we wanted a 5 : 3 split.
But ask me next week (or even tomorrow) and I'll have changed my mind again. What I want is a solid, mobile pack and an exciting, attacking back line.
Is that too much to ask?!
Posted 18:06 31st July 2012
APV1 - no place for a fit Tom Wood in your team ? Such are the riches we have at wing forward, I guess. Anyway, my 1st choice team would be as follows :
I'm tempted to go for Armitage (Steffon) in place of Croft but it would depend on the opposition. When he has a good day, Croft is a great wing forward but I've seen him have pretty ineffective games. If he's not on form, it'd be Armitage or Wood to replace him.
I don't suppose that scrum is too controversial but this back line probably will be.
I think this is a back line with more muscle than most back lines Lancaster has put out. But it's still a back line capable of scoring alot of tries. I know everyone will laugh at the idea of Varndell but he's quick and when he's in a good team, he scores alot of tries. Twelvetress and Tuilagi often play together at club level as does Ford. Ford is showing real potential with Leicester. Twelvetrees is also a reasonable goal kicker. Armitage (Delon) can provide full back cover and is good defensively as well as being no slouch.
This is the back line I'd have preferred to see against a physical team like the Boks. It'd probably be a different team alltogether against different opposition. Ashton or Wade could come in if it were felt that sheer speed was going to deliver success and bulk wasn't a factor.
I think inside centre is our problem position right now. I have to admit I've not seen much of Twelvetrees so maybe some Tigers fans can say if he has the potential to be international class.
And now, let the jeering begin....
Posted 15:36 31st July 2012
We have plenty of talent and depth in the 2nd and back rows, amongst the Saxons and EPS aquads. But the glaring omissions are Attwood and Armitage. I know Attwood had a bit of a rep at Gloucester, but he's more like Lawes now - physical and uncompromising - and less penalty-prone. I have no idea what Armitage has done, unless it's just playing in France. But if we can make exceptions for Wilkinson, Haskell and Palmer, I don't understand this logic.
For me it would be:
Lawes & Attwood
Johnson (6), Armitage (7), Robshaw (8) and (capt.).
Parling, Croft and Morgan on the bench.
But we do also need to consider our opposition when considering our selection. If we're playing a team with a weak(-er) pack, then we can have more mobility and less bulk in ours. With a stronger pack, we need more bulk and might have to sacrifice some mobility. If (and I know it's not possible at the moment) we had everyone available, the above seems to be the best of both worlds - bulk and mobility.
Posted 11:49 30th July 2012
How about Wood at 8?
Posted 18:25 29th July 2012
I rate Robshaw and Johnson equally as players but Wood is better than both and plays best at 7 so I drop Robshaw. Wood or another can captain.
Posted 16:14 29th July 2012
Love Tom Johnson, but he's not as good as Robshaw. I say that as a one eyed Quins fan, but I think
It's valid. Johnson played well but
Not as well as Chris, doesn't have the
Leadership capabilities, and is older with an eye to the future.
(Still not old enough to
Rule him out of 2015, but it's a minor factor all the same.)
With all the depth in the backrow at the moment, Johnson
Loses Out, much like that Silly Billy Haskell
Posted 17:20 28th July 2012
Why use Lawes at 8 when we've got trouble fitting the tallent in and greater weakness at lock. Agree with Nhsaints and in general with all that say Lawes Palmer Atwood are the locks to pick from.
I don't agree Robshaw is key. Pick the team first. England's best game on tour was without him. But as we're weak at 8 and he played well he could go there. Could. Everyone's forgotten Johnson already. He's played 8 and played as well if not better in all 3 tests. I would have Wood 7, Johnson 6, Morgan 8. Morgan made some great breaks. He made mistakes and is raw but will improve more than other options.
Posted 15:12 28th July 2012
rugby_rockstar, that seems a rather pessimistic assessment to me. In the latest tour to south africa, I thought the scrum did well. It was in the back line where we struggled. We couldn't match the boks for physicality and didn't have the inventiveness or flair to counter their play.
But in the scrum, we've got a good front row with Cole and Corbisiero, we've got stacks of good wing forwards, several good number eights. You talk about the 2nd row as if we're weak in that area but where's the evidence for that ? OK, so Lawes got injured and I'm sure he'll get injured again. It's the way he plays. But when fit, he's a great lock. Botha was a surprise selection in my view as was Parling. But neither performed badly in the 6 nations. However, just like you, I would like to see a Lawes Attwood 2nd row. I think it brings more physicality to the scrum.
Or maybe we could look at using Lawes as a number 8. I believe he's played there before for Saints. He's damn quick and from number 8, he can break away more quickly than 2nd row, either in attack or defence. For a fly half to see young Courtney charging at them before they've even got the ball would at least give them pause for thought.
We seem to have so many options in the scrum and not many realistic options at all in the back line. It's all rather hopeful there. The only dead cert is Manu. In all other positions, with the possible exception of full back, we struggle.
Posted 12:24 28th July 2012
Let's be clear, Robshaw isn't "not the biggest", he's not the tallest. He's actually 2lb heavier than Tom Wood, but 2 inches shorter. Given that his lineout work is great, he doesn't need to compensate for height. The only question is Robshaw at 8 with Wood at 7 and Croft at 6, or Croft redeveloped for the second row with Robshaw at 8, Armitage at 7 and Wood at 6. (Haskell/ Waldrom on the bench, look at Morgan further down the line if his fitness develops at Glaws)
Posted 11:03 28th July 2012
no denying Robshaw's commitment but he has very little impact as a player against major teams (ie SANZAR). Until he stands up against McCaw, Burger etc he won't feature prominently, and England will continue to lose and Robshaw will get the blame.
Me thinks a tough road for England for a couple of years...
Posted 10:58 28th July 2012
I've always respected Borthwick as a player and captain, especially for Bath and Saracens.
Sadly in his last few years for England he was seriously out of his depth at both.
Posted 10:50 28th July 2012
I agree completely, except that it's hardly best to ask borthwick of all captains about how to take the england role. The challenge we have in the back row is mixing and matching,,,,we've got to have Robshaw, and he's shown he's adaptable but I reckon Wood is a much better carrier of the ball and operates better at the lineout, Croft brings the open play attacking pace of a winger over 40m so it would be nice to have him, Robshaw is now an excellent 7 and gets through mountains of tackles, Callum Clarke would bring more physicality but he sees red too often for northampton to be in the england first XV yet, Armitage has his carrying game but that's about it and he's out of contention, Morgan and Waldrom are both smash and bash ball carriers and don't bring much else to the game and Kvesic is up and coming as a 7...what do we do? Personally I'd put Wood at 7, move robshaw 8 and croft 6 because robshaw has more to his game than any of our current 8's, croft brings the pace the backrow needs and wood could adapt to 7 easily plus he maintains the ball carrying skills we need.
@rugby_rockstar ...Lawes has plenty of time to recover and partner palmer/parling/kitchener in the second row. I'd like to see a Palmer-Lawes second row because that'll buff up the second row a bit and give us a combination of experience and fantastic skill, both are good ball carriers and dominant tacklers too,
Posted 10:23 28th July 2012
Every team needs a captain who leads by example, so he's doing a great job (especially with so many youngsters in the squad). If McCaw can do it for the Crusaders (granted he's hugely more experienced), could Robshaw move to 8 for England, to accomodate Croft and Wood, with Morgan or Waldrom to make an impact off the bench in the second half (unfortunately i'm discounting Armitage because he seems out of favour, possibly due to where he's playing, and he's obviously got other issues at the moment...)?
Posted 18:12 27th July 2012
He earns people's respect with his hard working approach. If everyone put the same effort into their performance then England would be world class. (rather than so/so)
He's not the biggest or most physical though so we either need to find a big fast powerful player to bring balance to the back row or bite the bullet and say sorry Chris, England don't have someone who can compliment you so we're going with Tom Wood and Steffan Armitage instead.
Lancaster could pick Callum Clarke from northampton but as he deliberatley broke Rob Hawkins arm its not the sort publicity England need. That's the sort of physicality you need to bring along though. Either that or a monster front five but we're a little light on physical locks at the moment. Everyone talks about Lawes, but the boks sent him to the injury room in November 2010 and he was injured again this summer. Botha didn't deliver in June either. England have a soft underbelly and it's not being addressed because their are no obvious solutions. I wouldmn't mind seeing lawes and atwood but a shot in the dark. may work, or atwood could be sent off and lawes get injured AGAIN. Face it guys we're in a trough and we'll have to pull off something pretty major to peak in time for 2015.
Posted 15:57 27th July 2012
Posted 15:38 27th July 2012