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I do feel for Mike Brown. He deserves his chance and it will come in due course.
However, whilst Foden made a significant error against Italy, I wouldn't drop him just yet.
No of the back 3 have impressed, but that's not their fault. The games haven't gone that way for them to impress. Foden is a solid defender and a potent attacker. He will show his attacking flair soon I'm sure. England just need to gel and start playing positive rugby.
Posted 07:51 23rd February 2012
Looks like Youngs, Flood, Tuilangi on at 50 mins. Key question is whether Barritt moves to 12 or you keep Farrell on the field. I'm hoping that Farrell goes off because he isn't a natural 12.
Posted 22:12 22nd February 2012
Ybgurrrrr, couldn't agree more! Lancaster has gone the same way as Johnson, playing people he knows rather than those in form or with a track record of success. Lancaster says he is being ruthless - where! Lineout has misfired due to Crofts being off form and Hartley not thowing well. Time to get a proper coach!
Posted 22:05 22nd February 2012
@APV1. I was wondering if I was the only one thinking that Tuilagi and Barritt are not mutually exclusive. You're so right. Best solution is to put Farrell at 10. Job done. That would be a well balanced backline indeed, and clears the whole Flood/Hodgson debate. Then you put Cips on the bench to cover 10 and 15 and you have the further option of going for a 5/2 split which helps address.....
...the other elephant in the room...
....the balance of the backrow. Move Robshaw to 6. Get a real fetcher at 7. Armitage has been playing superbly for Toulon. Can't believe he's being overlooked. And you have 2 bench spots for Croft and Dowson (or Woods when he's back) to adjust the balance during the game if needs be. Double job done.
I just hope SL doesn't figure this out before the Fra game :-)
Posted 18:55 22nd February 2012
I would prefer Flood to be no-where near the squad, let alone the 22 or 15. Same for Hodgson. Both have had their day and it's time to put our faith in the youngsters.
Burns. Ford. Cipriani (next year, potentially). Farrell. Heathcote. These are the chaps who shall be competing for the 2015 number 10 shirt (a couple of others, perhaps, too). So let's start their development now.
No-one expects us to beat the Welsh (despite my tenner saying otherwise), so let's not worry about it. Get them playing and let's get rid of the under-performers and older guys.
Parling's a similar story, as is Palmer. Where's Attwood? (Thankfully playing for Bath, but that's not the point!)
The team sheet I listed at 10:35 isn't the team I want, but the team I expect.
I'd like, fitness permitting:
Cole Hartley Corbs
Robshaw Morgan Croft
Strettle Ashton Foden
Youngs, Brown, JTH, Botha, Dowson, Marler and Webber on the bench. I've tried to use the original squad as best I could, with Attwood & Marler in and Parling & Stevens out. I've also considered that Sharples and Wood are injured and everyone else needs some more age-level or Saxons experience first imo (Wade and 12Trees, for example).
I also think people underestimate Barritt's play-making ability. With Tuilagi outside him, he'll be relied on less as a defender and be better able to show his attacking flair. In the last couple of weeks he's had to do the lion's share of tackling, where-as this week the burden will be shared.
My worry is that SL is being judged on results, rather than development. If the emphasis and instructions were to win against Scotland and Italy and show us some development and flair against the others, then we'd see a different line-up. I think there will always be the over-emphasis on results, to the detriment of the future development of English rugby.
Posted 15:26 22nd February 2012
I hope you are right.
I'll start putting the bubbly on ice now if SL does, Wales will love that team.
3 days to go!
Meet you there.
At the Nelson?
Posted 14:43 22nd February 2012
I know Flood is not popular but in my book he is much more of an international 10 than Hodgson. What a time for JW to retire! He'd surely be playing in the 6N this year at least. Like it or loathe it a lot of the England tries in the 6N last year came from moves by Flood (often started by Youngs). Ashton in particular runs good lines off of Flood. Flood or Farrell at 10 for me.
Tuilagi has to start, or play the bulk of the match from the bench. I can't see the Welsh being remotely concerned about our attack otherwise. This is international rugby against one of the best sides in the world, picking a backline primarily because they play together at club level is naive and short sighted. Tuilagi can punch holes in any side on his day, not just play competent rugby. Also, with so many big, athletic backs in the Wales line up, his bulk would be handy.
Parling? If we are building a team for the future what is the point of giving a guy his first cap at 28? Do we ever learn? Alun W-J has had his injuries etc for Wales, yet he has 60 caps at 26. We need to pick good young'uns over good old'uns at this early stage of rebuilding.
Not feeling very hopeful, the only thing going for England is that despite all the hype and press love-ins around Wales, their record at Twickenham is shocking - one game where England got bored when well ahead being their only win since 88. This Welsh side is more substance and less hype than some in recent years, however, so it will take a miracle for England to win. Showing some attacking ability is my only real hope from this one - perhaps if Wales get a few scores up, someone might risk a few passes. We can hope.
Posted 14:30 22nd February 2012
Well i think SL will start with Hodgson -Farral-Barrit as the midfield after all it is an established club combination.Then around 50 mins mark Farral wil move to 10 and Tulangi will come on at 13 so SL can look at that combination after all he will have to look at the different combinations in a match situation and not just on the training pitch.Flood may come on for the final 10 mins depending on the situation so they can also have a look at another combination.Maybe not the best way to do it but it has to be done sooner or later if we are going to get a good midfield with options
Posted 13:57 22nd February 2012
Please give us a serious pasting so that the people in charge of our rugby learn that playing with pace and possession are necessary. I am bored of 20 or so years of you letting us win without ever having to play properly.
Posted 12:58 22nd February 2012
@nbmb001 - That is a bold prediction, I would imagine you might get some good odds on that.
@APV1 - Do you not find it a little disappointing that SL is thinking that way by selecting three fly-halfs ? If he is serious about getting the job he needs to stay true to his statement of developing young talent. I cannot think of anything Flood brings to this match. Farrel already has his mentor with him.
Posted 12:13 22nd February 2012
@ nbmb001 - Ford certainly looks a good prospect, and in fact kept Farrell at 12 for the under 20s. I think next year will be set up nicely for Cipriani to come back in.
@ AVP1 - my sneaky suspicion with Flood is that they might be looking at playing him at 12 outside Farrell. We need a playmaker at 12, and embarrassingly enough Flood is the closest to it in this squad. That probably says more about this squad though!!
Posted 11:48 22nd February 2012
@Headhunter99 Totally agree with you. Flood is completely overrated. If we are brutally honest he has never performed consistently at this level. He is nothing better than than an average club flyhalf. He certainly is not world class as some pundits would have you believe! Lets blood Farrell at 10 and there are other very talented 10s coming through the sytem. Look out for Henry Slade and George Ford in the next 2 years. Sincerely hope that England can perform at a high intensity, with no errors on saturday. If they are still in at 60 mins they have a chance of winning this as Wales will then be under pressure. A very bold prediction but England will win this by 6!
Posted 11:31 22nd February 2012
@ chocol8thunda - nice to have you with us! @ jose_jones - thank you.
I think most of us are in agreement that having 3 10s isn't appropriate. I guess SL's thinking of CH and OF as 10 / 12s...
@ Frank81 & chinstan - that's the team I'd like to see, but I suspect we'll have Botha and Parling starting, as Lawes may not be match-fit yet. He'll then bring on CL as injury cover (he also covers the back row, if necessary), or as an impact.
Flood to start? I hope not, but perhaps.
I think we may have:
With Barritt, Flood, Youngs, Lawes, Dowson, Stevens and Webber on the bench.
It gives us a little more creativity in the mid-field and OF's shown himself to be a decent defender. Decent enough to stop the Boyos running through him? I hope so!
Ashton and Foden, when firing, are nailed-on. But I agree - I'd prefer Brown on the bench for Flood, OF at 10 and BB at 12.
It's going to be a goodun!
Posted 10:35 22nd February 2012
Tut tut, that's no way to talk about the Welsh Chocol8thunda.
Posted 09:23 22nd February 2012
Why on earth has Flood come back into the mix ? Certainly not as goal kicking cover given his recent form, and I think with Hodgeson and Farrel we already have enough cover at 10. Letting Brown go is also a mystery to me as he is the form 15 in the Aviva and can if needed offer a different attacking option to Foden.
Like others I'm now concerned we will see the reemergence of the Youngs/Flood partnership which is not working well at Leicester this season and was poor in NZ in the World Cup.
SL needs to be brave and start with Dixon and Hodgeson/Farrel at 10.
Not to surprised at the forwards, only question will he start either Lawes or Parling with Botha.
Posted 09:18 22nd February 2012
@ Choc,... yes mate,.. I'm Welsh too,.. but grow up!!
Go back to your football board,....
It's international rugby and there may be favourites but never nailed on winners,...
Posted 09:11 22nd February 2012
Suprised at the ommission of Brown as back 3 cover... I assume from this that Tuilagi will start on the bench??
Posted 08:29 22nd February 2012
@ Ben7 Palmer was dropped!
@Danatthecorner agree seems madness! Only thing I can think is that if needed they can move Manu to the wing. Who can cover at 15 though???
My XV remains:
I'm no sure SL will have the balls to select this lot though
Posted 08:26 22nd February 2012
For me it would be the following (assuming we're still not allowed to pick 7s and an form alternative to Ashton - what has Mike Brown done wrong?!)
Posted 07:36 22nd February 2012
yes 3 no 10s is a mistake, Charlie or Owen needed to go and Brown stay, also they need Waldrom, he offerers more than any other loose forward here and needs to play at this level, his best position is 8.
Posted 07:05 22nd February 2012