Autumn Internationals 2017: Rate the Match England v Samoa


What did you think of today’s match between England and Samoa at Twickenham?

What were the main talking points? Which players played well? Here is your opportunity to share your views and see what others have to say.

Give the match a rating out of ten and then leave your comments below.

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33 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2017: Rate the Match England v Samoa

  1. Rated 7 as I thought we were flat for a good part of the second half and need to learn to put sides away more comfortably. Very pleased to see the ‘new’ guys performing well. Impressed with Simmons who seemed to get stronger as the game went on and Jamie George showed he should be the starting 2. Loz and Slade did well in the centre and Daley had best game for England.
    Very promising depth in most positions now but back row needs some settled combinations

  2. 2 in the world against 16th. Whatever you think of the rankings, we should be expecting this scoreline against second tier competition. If we put another 15-20 points on them we are getting into the realms of “Good”.

    I was very disappointed with the number of turnovers and penalties we gave away in their 22/half. Really poor. Without some of these we would have easily had another 15 points.

    I imagine it will be a pretty tough video session when reviewing the game with Eddie.

  3. Uninspiring for long periods and poor skill levels .I can’t see we’ve made any progress this autumn other than trying a few new players.I feel Ireland Scotland and Ireland will,be very worthy opponents in 6N .Win those 3 will be challenging but need to do so to say we are continuing to improve

    1. Hi Mike. Sorry, I think you missed my reference to the post by Harlequin. Have a reread of it. However thank you for the info. Has been the easier of our alternate years in the past, but Scotland away this year is going to be very hard. Like what the Scots are doing at the moment, but you can score tries against them.

  4. Is there an undercurrent of an EJ backlash beginning? it’s been a strange autumn for we England fans. I’m sure eddie knows what he wants but i don’t think we know what he wants or if what WE want tallies with his designs.
    Was yesterday encouraging, given we had another new centre pairing and untried front and back row combo’s or was it an insipid,disjointed and timid display against a team who played with skill and great heart but should have been blown away?

    Simmonds was excellent, his relative lack of heft was no problem. Francis did well but came on when the opposition were out on their feet and dear old ,underused Roko got his try.
    Other than that and the ever exemplary Launchers, not too much to crow about,Daly excepted.

    A right old curates egg!

    1. From my perspective, no complaints with Eddie. Clearly a key aim of the autumn has been developing depth to the squad.

      Despite my post above (touch harsh?), I thought there was much to be positive about in the England performance. Despite a less experienced midfield (they did play together in Argentina) and a large number of changes to the starting team, there was some good physicality and intensity in the forwards, several line breaks and a good handful of points.
      My complaint is about the number of penalties England conceded, especially in promising attacking positions. This is partly the lack of experience/cohesion from a “new” team but to be fair Samoa were very competitive over the ball.

      There will definitely be words about the 30 mind of drugs in the middle of the game. That was more characteristic of England 4 years ago. But this was a development team.

  5. EJ made it quite clear that he intended to give some of his Lions a rest for the Autumn series. He also said when he took over that he wanted at least three players putting their hands up for each position, which he now has in all but a few positions. (Where is the third scrum half, hooker and tight head)? Giving some new faces a try out and some older ones a rare opportunity to start was bound to lead to one or two of them trying too hard to impress and making mistakes. There is more depth in this England squad now than at any time in the sixty years that I have been following England, and the results are better as well. That in itself can cause problems. I don´t think that there are many nailed down places in the first team, but I am fairly sure that EJ will go back to the tried and tested for the six nations, leavened with a bit of young blood. Given that we have a number of good wings but no nailed down 13 I would love to see Daly given a run out there against Italy. I would have Brown, Watson, Daly, Farrell, Nowell, Ford, Care, Mako, George, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Bill V and Robshaw with Hartley, Williams, Genge, Kruis, Simmons, Slade, Roko and Youngs on the bench, but I am fairly sure that Youngs, and Hartley will start and that Jack Nowell will be in there in place of Roko if fit. I also think that you could pick the bench and seven others and have a team that would run the first choice close, which is encouraging.

    1. Don’t forget that Sinkler is injured, so Williams will likely be 3rd choice TH. On hooker and scrum half I agree. Wasps have Taylor and Robson, both of whom would be my obvious next options.

      Worth noting that Australia went into 2015 without a 3rd choice 2 or 9, it may well be exactly what EJ is looking to do this time around…

      1. I think Lucke Cowan-Dickie may have been pencilled in for the third hooker role – but obviously injuries have been a problem.

  6. I would say JJ is now on the back burner along with Hartley and Cole for 2019.
    Slade had a much better game and distributed BEAUTIFULLY! To mention but a few of his deeds: A break in the 1st five mins that he correctly went to ground after and recycled plus the great scoring pass to Roko. He tackled easily as well as jj in defence.
    They even found another 8 who just needs to put on 3-4 pounds of extra muscle to bring him up to 16.5 stone without loss of speed.

    1. I would have to strongly disagree here; Slade didn’t play well enough to make me think that he is the best 13 we have. His distribution was ok but again we didn’t see enough of the back-3 suggesting he could’ve brought them into play more. He tried a bit too hard, taking the ball himself. Also I don’t think he was as good defensively; the line speed on set piece was pretty poor and Samoa were able to break outside him far too easily.
      As you’ve implied, Slade is a distributor. He is up against Ford and Farrell for a place, I don’t think hes what we need at 13.

      1. Imo JJ is not a wc winning centre. He’s too inconspiuous and invisible. Consistency is the mark of a good player and he doesn’t have it.

          1. Not had enough chance to show it. Needs a run of games before he can be described as inconsistent.

            The more game time he gets down at Exeter the more consistently good he seems. He may be one of those players who needs a run of games to truly get into their stride.

            JJ has had ample opportunity and has dazzled on occasion, although mostly against weaker oppo. Though defensively very sound I think he has a tendency to disappear against top opposition.

            Of course, there would always be the option of playing Daly at 13 and opening a wing spot for the likes of Nowell. I’d like to see it but don’t think EJ does

          2. Jake
            Your logic is flawed. Slade has had about 10 caps and only three of them (excepting the Argentina tour) were as a starter (all at HQ i think). Give the man a break.
            JJ on the other hand must have had 40 by now and he’s as inconsistent as Kim Il Sung.
            If you gave Slade or any player for that matter that amount of caps (40 odd) you’d expect them to reward you with more consistency.

            1. I don’t think it is, he’s got a reputation for being inconsistent so where has that come from? Club form and past international games.
              I really don’t think you can say JJ is inconsistent. Why is he? Because when England play the better teams he has to focus more on defending and doesn’t score as much? Right, so which of the other England players have stepped up in those games and scored buckets of tries? That’s right, none. Unfortunately none of England’s performances against the best teams have been displays of attacking prowess, but they have been built of solid defence, building a lead and then blowing out the other team in the last 20 mins. JJ has been an integral part of this and defence was one area at the weekend that it was apparent – Slade didn’t bring the line up quick enough on set pieces and got beaten on the outside too often. The tries JJ has finished off wouldn’t have been finished off by many others, including Slade, because he lacks the anticipation and pace.
              I think Slade is a good player, but IMO he didn’t play well enough this serious to usurp JJ. Yes given time he may do, but I still think he’s best placed at 10/12 where he can distribute, giving a playing with more speed (JJ) the chance to finish what Slade starts.

              1. I never said Slade was BETTER! There was the implication that he might BECOME so given the same investment in time and caps (40 odd)! Logical right?
                As far as defence goes i think almost ANY international EJ picks at 12 and 13 can offer the same defence-wise. Good defence is EXPECTED of anyone at 12 and 13 on the international stage nowadays. It is the bread and butter. What advances a good 12 and 13 will be their attacking prowess and organisation on a CONSISTENT basis. JJ doesn’t offer that. Maa Nonu definitely had it and so did Tim Horan or Little or Frank Bunce.
                JJ vanishes not just for the odd math but an entire campaign (e.g. The Lions) and has continued into the AI’s. In fact after Scotland he vanished in the 6ns 2017.
                I would have SERIOUS worries about relying on JJ in a WC final on current form! What if he decided to Vanish?
                If you don’t like Slade at 13 are you open to someone else doing a job there?
                I have also read that JJ relies or has on sports psyhologists heavily. That implies that TOO much goes on in his head. Hemce he vanishes (particularly against the best)

                1. Right I think you may just be trolling now. We will agree to disagree; they’re obviously very different players but I would prefer JJs defence, speed and ability to beat the man on the outside.
                  Re The Lions; he was behind JD2 who was playing quality rugby, no one would’ve started for the Lions over him.
                  And on current form? JJs form in the Prem has been good, and he scored against Australia. England didn’t concede a try either so he was involved in that too.
                  It implies? What are you basing that on?

                2. Jake
                  Its harmless debate. No slurs, no rude words, no toys thrown.
                  Debate is just that…back and forth…come on!

              2. Jake
                Srry, but couldn’t resist. Perhaps if AlexD relied on sports ‘psyhologists’, heavily or otherwise, he might vanish too.

                1. Interesting level to stoop to Don P. Thats a new LOW even for you.
                  In the past 7 days we’ve had THE TWICKENHAM GREED-GATE THAT NEVER WAS and now your questioning the MENTAL HEALTH of a fellow blogger.
                  I leave it to the balanced minds of everyone on here to make up their OWN minds about you.

  7. Not sure this series has really changed much for the “starting” 23, and as for the reserves has anyone but Simmonds really stuck his hand up. Ewels did ok, as did Slade and Losowski, but not convinced they’ve upset the perceived order before the internationals started.

  8. Having read the Sunday Times today I can say that I can get down on my knees and give eternal thanks that Messers Jones,Dallaglo and Barnes will not be selecting The England XV for the start of the Six Nations.EJ is probably a little happier with the amount of talent he now has available though a bit of tinkering may be possible for the Italy game nothing less than the strongest possible 23 will be required for the other games.
    Selection at this level is akin to medieval alchemy though the ever present threat of injuries may throw up unexpected opportunities,the trick being to get the best 15 players on the pitch who can play together NOT the best 15 individual players.
    My evaluation would be :-
    Back 3- Bags of talent available,the only real decision to make is who plays full back.
    Inside Backs- Slade has probably done enough to be the back up 13,Lowzoski can cover both 10 and 12 as can Francis,the only real problem being an injury to Ford,moving Farrell inside would unbalance the attack particularlyin the centres.
    Scrum Halves sorted apart from Number Three
    As for the Forwards , Front and Second Rows are sorted, Back Row balance is going to be EJ”s greatest challenge though a lot will depend on BV getting back up to speed,I thought Simonds was impressive though he needs more bulk and Underhill needs to carry more and look where he is putting his head,by my reckoning that’s 4 times he hasn’t finished a match this season due to head knocks.

    Ben Teo will probably come back into consideration but Manu Tuilagi needs to play for an extended period because of his injury susceptibility.

    Finally a bolter for the World Cup-Bath”s Zach Mercer-A seriously good prospect !.

  9. Yes, centres and back row need fixing still, and need a clear third SH & hooker. All else looking fairly settled at moment.

  10. I think a backrow of Robshaw, Underhill and BV looks pretty balanced – so long as Underhill can carry more (can’t see why he shouldn’t be able to!)

    I’d consider making Simmonds understudy for Robshaw at 6. Failing that perhaps Mercer. What we do not need is more locks playing at 6

    I think Slade offers more than Joseph at 13.

    I think the biggest question is the combo in the back 3. If you assume that Brown will be 15 for EJ’s game plan, then you have to perm 2 wingers from Watson, May, Daly, Nowell, Rokoduguni.

    It looks like Rokoduguni won’t be in contention, so we’re left with 4

    Watson is good and reliable but I always think he doesn’t back himself enough and he rarely lights up the pitch in the manner of May or Daly. Nowell goes looking for work far more than the other three, is a very good finisher and very tough to put down. May is super fast and also a superb finisher but he can be a bit headless chicken-like – also I’ve noticed that in time-honoured wing fashion, once he’s made a tackle he rarely attempts to get on his feet and steal or slow down the ball. This is a bonus rather than a necesssity for wingers but it is something Nowell for example does very well.

    I think Daly has to be in the team sheet and if its not at 13 then wing. So he’s one choice. Personally I’d then go for Nowell and his hard work and tough carrying. Watson on the bench.

  11. We will see a back row of 6.Hughes, 7. Underhill, 8. BV emerge at some point… mark my words.

    I’ve spent a LOT of time watching Englands attack. The shape is there, but an additional heavy duty carrying threat is necessary for it to really fire.

    If you look at NZ there 6 & 8 are interchangeable: big carriers ( think vito, kainoet al) who are also pacy, lineout threats and with work rate…Hughes could fill that option.

    I’m not hugely disappointed though. I hate that all the analysis is doom and gloom. If I cast my mind back to 2001 SCW was getting some similar criticism- in 2002 it connected nd England produced its greatest attaching vintage to date. I think that is the road we are on. It is uniquely English to be disappointed with a 95.5% win rate though….

    Lastly, given the fixtures my sense going into the autumn was that it would feel flat. Not any game worth getting excited about. The fact we did a NZ and finished off our nearest ranked peer so ruthlessly in the last ten should surely be something to applaud?

    My starters ( injuries etc aside for the wc will be)

    1. Marler, 2. Hartley, 3. Cole, 4. Itoje, 5. Lawes, 6. Hughes, 7. Underhill, 8. BV, 9. Young’s, 10. Ford, 11. Daly, 12. Farrell, 13. Joseph, 14. May, 15. Watson

    Bench.MV, Sinckler, George, Launchbury, Simmonds, Mercer, Care, Nowell, Slade

  12. Is AlexD ‘rattled’? Pot calling the kettle etc? Perhaps he, like the AB’s, is not ‘out out the woods yet’?

    1. A compliment as always Don. I recognise these quotes and metaphors from things posted by me in the past. Not a problem; i grant you a stay on copyright to use them!
      I beseech you to carry on digging your hole ever deeper!

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