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Good, I can genuinely see this (when lawes comes back for botha in the long run) being the core of our team heading to 2015, Farrel has got what it takes at 10, when youngs regains form or care stops getting in trouble we'll be fine at 9 (not that dickson doesn't do a good job already) and when wood comes back he can replace croft unless croft finds his form from the lions in 2009 in which case our backrow is going to be even more competetive (especially considering kvesic will likely be coming into the england squad over the next 2/3 seasons and haskell will be returning to challenge at 8)
Posted 10:21 10th March 2012
Good points made, Stevens worries me because of the number of penalties he gives away. Attwood is a mystery to me, only a short while ago he and Lawes were touted as the futre 2n row for England the he seemed to drop off the radar.
Moving on to the starting side for France, I would like to have seen brown started at 15. Not to punish Foden but Brown is an in your face full back who 95% of the time always runs the ball back beyond the gain line. Just the type of player to unsettle the French.
Living in hope ?
Posted 16:39 09th March 2012
Have to agree about England's back 3, in my opinion,only Streetle deserves to be there.
Good chance for England v an out of sorts France team.
If England have some dog about their play, they could win this one.
Posted 16:27 09th March 2012
I agree about Stevens. he came on last time out and England were significantly worse off for it. He gives away pens and doesn't even balance it out by doing something good, and he's not great in the scrum. Youngs scored an outstanding try for Leicester last week so lets hope he's in that kind of form when needed this weekend. I also think Dowson has done very little in his 3 games so far. He's not made loads of mistakes but he just looks very lightweight for a No8 at this level. Id also like to see someone like Miles Benjamin get a chance on the wing as he offers something more than just being on the end of moves like Ashton, and to me thats what we need.
Posted 15:20 09th March 2012
APV1 - I would argue that he doesn't actually offer anything of note. Whilst he can cover both sides his work at loosehead is only really passable at international level and he blows hot and cold too regularly for my liking and definitely cold at the moment. If they want a prop that can cover both sides surely Paul Doran-Jones is a much better candidate? He's in good form, works hard, carries well and is a few years younger. I agree Attwood should get a look in, I like the way he plays and I think combined with Lawes it could be a very exciting partnership.
Posted 13:48 09th March 2012
@APV1 - I share your concern over Matt "Pork Pie" Stevens. I've never seen a prop hit less rucks and his set piece hasn't been great. Why not give Marler a go? At least he is good in the loose...
Posted 13:28 09th March 2012
Well cant complain about starting the same 15.I just hope we put in another sterling performance and again show improvment from the welsh game.Again not to fussed if we lose by a close margin espically now France have had the wake up calll against Ireland
Posted 13:23 09th March 2012
@APV1 I think that Graeme Rowntree's faith in him is enough for me.
His problem has always been his ability around the park and his ability to pack down on both sides which has cemented his bum to the bench ever since his debut in 2003/04. He is an impact sub inteded to start making (and finding) holes when oppositions begin to tire. His scrummaging challenge is that being able to play both sides does not make you international standard both sides and I have yet to see him replace Cole (where I believe his true worth in the scrum is)
What is a real shame, is that it looks like we will never see him and Lee Mears on the same team-sheet again, as a Bath fan watching those two carve open defences was a joy.
Posted 12:53 09th March 2012
IMHO Stevens hasn't shown much ability to play on either side of the scrum and was destroyed by France in RWC 11 so don't think he deserves a place on the bench. Not sure Dowson offers anything - Waldrom would have been my choice for the bench. Ashton needs a big came.
Posted 12:26 09th March 2012
@ APV1 - just to play devils advocate - would you be confused over Stevens if he was still turning out for Bath?! Personally, I think he's in there purely because he can cover both sides of the scrum, albeit as a decent tight-head and an underpowered loose-head.
I'm glad Youngs is still involved based on the Leicester v Gloucester game last weekend. He looked sharper than he has for ages, plus it means he's not playing against us tonight at least!! Attwood should be in the second row with Parling, no idea why Palmer is still there! I thought overseas players were only meant to be included in an emergency...surely by that logic Attwood, Skivington, Kitchener, Robson etc should all be ahead of him
Posted 12:08 09th March 2012
I'm certainly no expert, but what does Stevens offer over the other possible candidates? I appreciate that he, in theory at least, can play both sides, but he's not been playing very well so far. Any Saracens fans or FR experts able to help? I'm genuinely confused...
I think Youngs is lucky to be on the bench too. Injuries and misdemeanours have given him another chance. Let's hope that, if he's required, his form has improved.
Whilst from a Bath point of view I'm pleased, but where's Attwood? Do we still need Palmer? Is he the future 2nd row and going to take us through to 2015? I sure hope not!
Posted 10:49 09th March 2012
I think it was probably best to name an unchanged team. Although I would imagine a few players need big games to retain the shirt - Ashton, Foden, Strettle. But to be fair they've not had much ball to play with.
When it clicks this back line has great potential, we've just not seen it yet.
Posted 10:35 09th March 2012