Best Of The Weekend: England Salvage Pride

Jonny May

Jonny May

May’s try gives England much needed victory

A tour in which English rugby has been given a massive dose of reality finished with a ray of light in Cape Town. Two weeks of errors being repeated and repeated and repeated gave way to a more disciplined and controlled performance in their final 25-10 victory to give the series a more respectable looking 2-1 finish to South Africa.

It was a game that perhaps lacked the expanse that particularly the first game had enjoyed, but provided an intensity from the visitors that had been missing up until that point. The match started in a miserly manner, with the only points in the first half coming from two Owen Farrell kicks to one from Elton Jantjies. After the interval, Farrell extended the lead, only for his side to give it away when Jessie Kriel barrelled over a few minutes later. It was finely poised, but the captain’s boot kept the scoreboard ticking over and then the moment of magic that England fans had been waiting for sealed the game. Danny Cipriani, the man everybody had been clamouring for, justified his start with a fantastically ambitious kick to the onrushing Jonny May to seal England’s victory late on.

A number of questions still need answering, but Eddie Jones now has a good few months to think on how best to include the likes of Cipriani in his team and how to blood some much-needed options in his side. We now have a one-year rugby cycle before the world cup and the coach needs to show that he himself has learned from the errors of the first six months of 2018 if England are seriously going to get the chariot back on track to challenge at the showpiece event.

What happened elsewhere?

Arguably the series of the summer went right down to the very last play of the game in Sydney. Ireland went in knowing that anything other than a series victory would put their magnificent achievements so far this year into perspective and Australia needed to get their summer off to a flyer by beating the second best team in the world on home turf. It went the way of the visitors courtesy of the evergreen Johnny Sexton’s boot carrying them home 20-16.

France’s habit of letting their heads drop reared its head once more in Dunedin. They were competitive in the opening half and could and perhaps should have been leading. However, the second half was one way traffic with the superb Rieko Ioane running in a hat-trick during New Zealand’s 49-14 win.

Scotland managed to atone for their woeful defeat last weekend by beating Argentina 44-15. I’m sure fans of Gregor Townsend’s side would welcome a little more predictability and consistency.

There were also victories for Japan, who beat Georgia 28-0, and USA, backing up their tremendous result last week with a comfortable 42-17 victory over Canada.

Hero of the week

To my mind, there has been one saving grace to England’s tour of South Arica. Whilst many of his peers have been falling well short of their own high standards, Jonny May has consistently shown his class with ball in hand and his markedly improved defence. It was only right that he scored the decisive try on Saturday.

Villain of the week

France can feel rightly aggrieved after decisions yet again went against them against the All Blacks. Every week they have been on the receiving end of some inconsistencies or indeed some outright unfathomable calls. They can’t allow themselves to fall apart like they do, but I don’t think it is a coincidence that these capitulations have occurred immediately after these moments.

Try of the week

Rieko Ioane has absolutely scorching pace, which, when combined with slick hands and running lines, is always going to end up in a try. His first of his hat-trick was a prime example of this.

Discussion points

What are the next steps for England?

Has Cipriani done enough to convince Jones and get a run?

Will Ireland be able to climb above New Zealand in the rankings any time soon?

What are we going to do with no Northern Hemisphere rugby for a couple of months?

by Joe Large

85 thoughts on “Best Of The Weekend: England Salvage Pride

  1. England were better. Maybe the move to sea level was a factor, or maybe they finally took on board the lessons from the first 2 tests and produced a far more efficient performance. It was a welcome result, though there are still issues around selection and playing style that really have to be resolved. With the WC 15 months away we are still looking for optimum combinations throughout the side. We dont have that many nailed on starters, and the pecking order in a number of positions remains unclear. The poor to indifferent form of several players isnt going to help with that particular conundrum.
    The heat will be turned up in the autumn. Its then that the greater spotlight will be on England, and the greater pressure will be applied if we do badly.

  2. Though the conditions didn’t lend themselves to a free-flowing game, I was pleased to see England go back to basics, keep the penalty count low and grind out the win. Marler proved he can keep a cool head and was a rock in the scrum, Curry was great again and Cips took his chance when it came. Other players were well below par though and have been most of the tour; Youngs and Slade were my two “standout” poor performers.
    Cips, though not involved as much as we would have liked, has earned another game in the 10 jersey. He did all the basics right, and seemed more mature.
    If Ireland beat NZ in the Autumn, and England manage to pull-off a win as well, then we could see Ireland going into 2019 as world no1s. They have good depth in their squad, though lack the x-factor the ABs have. In a tight game, I would back ABs scoring a late try over Ireland just because of the personnel at their disposal.

    1. Can see the Irish possibly winning, but really can’t see us getting close to the AB’s, so think that the AB’s will remain top dogs. Shame in some ways as some of their supporters could do with a lesson in humility!

      1. No was very very very optimistic in my post. France showed they could stay with the ABs for a half, but then either through fatigue or loss of concentration they couldnt hold on for the entire game. Add to the John Lacey of course.
        Agreed, I’m surprised at the number of fans turning a blind eye to this latest reffing blunder.

    2. Ireland have plenty of X-Factor, for what ever reason they are set up to be much more solid and good at the basics, we did that as well as the All Blacks do now whats next to catch them is be able to do the basics more naturally so the Irish players on doubted talent can shine through, with players like Ringrose,Stockdale,Earls, potentially Larmour soon that should be more than enough to cause anyone trouble.

  3. More questions than answers for me.
    If pressed i still couldn’t name England’s best starting xv.
    Jantjies had one of his” oops” days and let us of the hook a few times.
    Erasmus made so many changes and was obviously prepared to risk losing for the sake of looking at fringe players.
    The weather suited us far more than them but we can’t start praying for rain in every game.
    On the plus side, Marler was a rock, May continues to improve, as a whole the pack gave us more go forwards and Curry was superb for his tender years. Cips kick was just what you want from him and he fitted in seamlessly.
    I’m glad the tour is over but the obvious question is where do we go from here?
    Over to you Mr Ed.

  4. I think you may have your hand on your wanger mate………..

    The Irish will get bashed and England don’t have a hope in hell – End of story.

    Joe – Stop dreaming and get your head out of your arse.

    God you bastards live in hope………………..

    1. I have to agree with Dave.

      The fact that we beat the AB’s last time out will only make them angrier. They will have a blood lust.
      We’re 6 /10 in the last 10 tests against South Africa.
      5.5 / 10 against Australia, but New Zealand have proven to be a real nightmare for us.

  5. I’m really impressed by Cipriani’s PR. He’s a good player, but the Ford- Farrell axis has conquered the world since U20s. A couple of games behind a pack going backwards (in which Ford was the key playmaker in most of the tries), and people decide that the solution, rather than changes in the pack (where the games were lost) is to axe that tried and tested partnership.
    On Saturday, Cipriani did well, but not astonishingly well, and people are nominating him for the Nobel prize. England’s problems are with the front and back row, and Cipriani isn’t the answer to that.

  6. Nice to get the win but, I still don’t think we’ve learnt much about who should be given another chance, who should be left out and who needs be kept or brought in?

    So many players were taken but didn’t get any game time so we still don’t know if they can handle themselves in this environment.

    Spencer got a total of about 10-15 minutes over three tests which showed us nothing? Robson, Hill, Earle, Singleton didn’t get any chance to prove themselves and probably won’t in the Autumn series unless others are injured.

    We have so many quality players that deserve a chance and yet we are still playing guys because we know they can “do a job”. How will we know if these others are not better unless they are given a chance to prove it?

    As I say nice to get the win but, I can’t help feeling disappointed overall. I feel England need to have a couple of games against decent opposition just to give some top young players a chance. Maybe some uncapped games so they won’t be counted in the rankings if that’s what we’re worried about. Either way I still feel that more changes need to be made in selection and more form players need to be brought in.

  7. What did we learn from the SA series:
    – attacking play is in good shape
    – me MUST focus on playing smart, cutting out pens and focusing on the set piece and break down
    – Slade lacks test match quality
    – Curry is a good find

    What needs to be the focus in the AIs:

    – give Cipriani another couple of games starting at 10 (maybe vs Japan and SA) and, depending on the results, make the call on the starting 10
    – decide who is going to be the starting 13 – as I see it, Farrell plays 12, Te’o steps into 12 off the bench/if it is decided we need a physical option there. Daly, Joseph, Te’o and Tuilagi seem like the justifiable options. I would hope we see Daly and Tuilagi get some game time there so this position can be nailed down.
    – May, Nowell, Watson, Daly and Brown are all good players for the back three slots. If Daly nails down 13 then the selection becomes easier. If not, we need to decide how these 5 players fit into 4 spaces (one on the bench).
    – Give Curry, Shields and Underhill as much game time as possible
    – allow Spencer and Robson more game time, including starting one against Japan
    – Give Genge, LCD and Williams more game time too

    For NZ and AUS the strongest team possible should be fielded, and then the 6 nations should be the starting team for the WC.

    I expect vs SA in the first AI:

    Marler; Hartley; Williams/Cole; Lawes; Itoje; Shields; Curry; Vunipola; Youngs; Ford; May; Farrell; Daly; Watson; Brown

    Vunipola; George; Sinkler/Williams; Launchbury; Underhill; Spencer; Te’o; Nowell

  8. In terms of nailed on players in the 23, as I see it:

    Marler, Vunipola, Hartley, George, Cole, Itoje, Lawes, Vunipola, Youngs, Farrell, Daly, May, Watson are all pretty guaranteed.

    Brown and Curry are close.

    1. I’d add Launchberry and Nowell to the nailed on spots. Though not at his best this tour, JL is such a solid player all-round that I’d have him in the match-day squad.
      Nowell offers something different to our other outside backs. Industrious, defensively solid and is a decent finisher. I see him fighting it out with Watson, May and Brown for spots on the back-3 with Daly, Tui and JJ vying for an outside centre spot. Slade has blown his chance imo, very poor defensively and has been anonymous in attack.

      1. Trouble is EJ and others have singled Spade out for praise somehow so think he’ll be around for the AIs

      2. Anyone agree that Launchbury and Robshaw offer a lot of the same qualities – graft being the key one – and that having both in the pack is overkill when we could maybe get a gnarly, angry b*****d in for one of them to toughen us up?

        I wouldn’t dare say it to either of their faces but they both have a nice guy thing going on.

        1. God knows what the best combo is for the locks

          Itoje and Lawes/Launchbury don’t seem to work for me.

          Itoje/Kruis is proven to work

          Would Launchbury or Lawes plus Kruis work?

          Personally I’d like to see Atwood bought back. He’s a properly tough lock, a bg tackler and carrier and great in the scrum – something I think England currently lack.

          He was tearing up trees for Toulon when on loan from Bath. Apparently Toulon were prepared to offer some big cash to make the move permanent – which says all you need to know about his abilty.

          Let’s not waste that ability – EJ should get him in and partner him with one from Itoje/Lawes/Launchbury

          1. When we had set pairings of Itoje-Kruis and Launchberry-Lawes, I often preferred the latter because they’re very complimentary. Lawes was explosive, could make big hits and was a lineout weapon, with JL grafting and doing the dirty work. Would like to see that pairing revisited and not wasting Lawes on the flanks.
            Attwood never made it for England but I;m a big fan.

          2. Attwood would be interesting. I’d like to see him put a run together at Bath before judging – the French game may have suited him more than the English, and perhaps has given a false impression.

            Agreed that it’s Itoje plus one. Hopefully he’s one of those that comes away better from this tour and gives the silly penalties a rest. Lawes off the bench feels right.

            1. Sure the French game may have suited him more – but isn’t that what we need in our forwards at the moment?

              We have looked underpowered against both Ireland and South Africa – and the one thing you can say about the French leagues is that the forwards are by no means underpowered!

              If he can thrive in amongst some of those monstrous packs, then surely he’s exactly what we could do with. Doesn’t seem to have done Vermuelen any harm

              Forget the likes of Ashton – it’s players like Attwood and Carl Fearns we should be persuading back to England

              Will Spencer is another one EJ should be looking at

              1. I don’t think Carl will ever come back to England whilst EJ is at the helm. He’s already been shunned by Eddie and has made it clear he wants to qualify for France on residency. A real shame, he’s an absolute monster.

              2. Glad you mentioned Fearns Pablito. Another criminally underused and under appreciated player. Jake Cooper – Wooley fits that category too.

                1. Yeah, he got well and truly shafted by the whole Burgess thing. And then EJ added insult to injury.

                  I believe he’s been told he can’t play for France due to the couple of Saxons caps he has. What a waste.

                  Can’t say I’m as sold on Cooper-Wooley who seems like a good club player but perhaps not international level

    2. Agree on all for the 31 man squad not but Marler and May for the 23. If we’re up against stronger opposition I’d have Genge on the bench for his game changing potential, and I’m still just about of the opinion that Watson’s a better player than May, partnering Nowell on the wing.

      I’m now firmly of the view that Curry is our 7, with his brother covering. Real shame that Willis was injured, probably no time for him now before the WC.

      Mako, Itoje, Curry, Billy, Farrell and Daly are inked in to my 15.

      Tighthead is a real worry. Sinckler off the bench is good news, but is Cole is too inconsistent. Still a penalty liability and not exactly dominant in the scrum. Williams hasn’t pushed himself to the fore as a starter. Kind of hoping someone like Cooper-Woolley has (another) great season and comes in from nowhere, though I’d prefer Cole to prove me wrong.

      Farrell to 10, whichever of T’eo and Tuilagi has fitness and form into midfield and Cips on the bench.

      Huge hopes for Slade haven’t materialised on this tour but his versatility would still sneak him into my squad.

  9. My biggest concern is at 9. Compare Youngs´speed and accuracy of pass and game management with Aaron Smith, Ginea, de Klerk or half a dozen others and you can see instantly why we struggle. Leicester actually looked a better side last year with Harrison playing. If EJ was interested in having a look at Robson he would have done it on this tour, and he hardly gave Spencer any game time either, which suggests he will revert to Youngs starting and Care on the bench..though I would have Care as a starter, particularly if Cips gets another chance at 10. Care is so much sharper and gets us on the front foot far better.
    Despite the stick he got on here, Brown actually played very well on the wing, but he is still a better full back. Slade should now be out of the equation, and Lozowski seems to be another consigned to the bin of history. No idea why Daly is still being messed about instead of being given a chance at 13. I would not be unhapppy with a back line of Care, Cips, Farrell, Daly, May, Nowell and Brown with Watson, Ford and Spencer for cover. The pack, however is a different matter. Provided Mako gets a decent rest we have three pretty good loose heads. At hooker, although George didn´t play badly he has still not made himself indispensible. LCD got very little game time and Singleton none, which I am horribly afraid may leave us going back to Hartley. Maybe Dunne will make a brilliant start to the season. Cole has probably nailed down tight head by staying at home and Williams looks better every time he plays, but Sinkler is not solid enough at this level. Your tight head needs to dominate rather than hang on. We are OK in the second row with Itoje, Launchbury, Lawes, and Kruis. Isiekwe got pulled ridiculously early in the first game which suggests EJ doesn´t think he´s ready. I still worry about the back row though. Billy has played so little rugby in the past two years and is beginning to remind me of Tuilagi with the constant returns followed by new injuries. Without him we look very thin at 8. Hughes simply doesn´t carry well enough for a big man and his body positioning is still poor. Highlight of the weekend was him being driven back ten yards and dumped on his arse by Faf de Klerk who was spotting him six stone and a foot in height. Wilson brings a bit of edge, EJ seems to think Simmonds is too small for eight and won´t give him game time at 7. Ben Morgan, all may not yet be lost! At 6 we have the worthy Robshaw who has not been deemed good enough for the past two Lions tours, Shields who has been rushed in but is playing because he knows NZ don´t want him. He looks to be big and strong with a decent pair of hands but a bit short of wheels, though I hope I´m wrong. At 7, I agree that Tom Curry is a terrific prospect (as is his brother), but with only about 12 games before the WC he will still only have 15 caps, and I don´t think that will be enough against older more experienced practitioners of the dark arts. Other alternaves would be Haskell, who unless he has a miracle potion available has not been the same since his toe injury a couple of years ago, Armand, who won´t be picked, Graham, who probably lives too far from London, Jack Willis,who looks like being out for some time, and Simmonds who should have had some game time on this tour. On this occasion I don´t agree with Dazza. Fifteen months out from a World cup is not a time for major experimentation. We should be picking close to what we believe is the best 23 and giving them time to play together. Unfortunately we have many of the same unresolved problems that we had when EJ took over. A captain who is not worth his place, a shortage of strong scrummaging tight heads who can also get around the park, a back row that looked slightly better balanced last week but without BV is short of ball carriers with real fire who can break the gain line, a lack of back up scrum halves, and unresolved positions at 10, 13 and full back which should have been sorted on this tour. Time is running out, and an uninspired win against a SA side that had too many changes plus the poorest performance by a 10 that I have seen for years does not constitute the first step on the road to a WC win. We are currently sixth in the world, and I fear that the Autumn will show just how far behind the top two or three sides we are.

  10. So after all the initial hysteria EJ seems to have settled the boat!
    EJ learned loads though he could have learned a bit more as is his want it seems.
    1. Curry has turned into the real deal.
    2. May is in the form of his life.
    3. Spencer and/or Robson are needed to inject some life/options at 9
    4. Cips is a viable alternative at 10
    5. Shields possibly to replace Robshaw
    6. Daley is needed at 13 not 15 as most thought and the return of Tuilagi and Teo is urgently needed.

    More players to look at in time: Woodward, Earle, Singleton and one i’d add for his ferocity is Armand as half our forward are too NiCE!

    1. Alternatively..
      1. Curry may eventually be the real deal.
      3. Care in form is still an option. Robson is clearly not trusted, neither is Spencer, or they would both have been given more game time. We cannot win a WC without a world class scrum half and I don´t believe we have one.
      4. Cips may turn out to a better bet as a starting 10 than Ford but should NOT be picked as a full back.
      5. Shields may end up with a shirt with “another Burgess” written on the back. Bringing him in at such short notice cannot be good for morale, and if he was really useful NZ would have given him a bit of game time to hang on to him.
      6. Daley should have played 13 throughout this tour. Tuilagi looked a million miles off international standard at the end of last season. He was never that quick, and after so many injuries needs a whole season of club rugby to get anywhere near back up to speed.
      7. Singleton will revert to being 4 or 5 in the pecking order as soon as Dunne is fit.
      8. Armand will almost certainly not play for England again unless there is an injury crisis.
      9. We are still in a mess (see above).

  11. As I see it in the Ford/Cips debate. Ford is a world class distributor when his pack gives him front foot ball, and he really sets the backline purring. When his pack is going backwards, I think that he disappears. Cipriani can do that bit of magic even when behind a retreating pack, and I think probably game manages just slightly better. Therefore if we had a dominant pack every game, probably Ford would edge it, but when the packs are even or we are the poorer pack, I would probably go Cipriani.

  12. Personally I think that EJ fell between two stools on this tour. He needed to win games to stop the pressure on him and the team and therefore didn’t experiment, but needed to experiment as we really don’t know enough about some of the back ups. In the end he really didn’t do either properly.

  13. I agree with Staggy. I remember posting pre-tour stating I’d rather we’d lost all the matches but learn more about what our best team might be, and find out more about best partnerships/fringe players. Well, this hasn’t really happened has it? We still have the problem of a third 9, the back row combo and 12/13.

    Apart from what everyone has already mentioned, my main concern is that there are now very few opportunities to really test new players. SA, NZ, Japan and Aus in the AIs. Ok so (without too much disrespect to Japan) you’d expect England to win fielding a few changes to the starting lineup, but the other 3 matches will be RWC markers where you want to try playing as settled a side as possible, so I doubt even if a player who hasn’t had a look in just yet (your back rower of preference, or Lozoswki for instance) will get more than half an hour.

    Then it’s 6N. This’ll be tricky because I’d expect key players to be shielded from being overplayed, so there is opportunity for newbies to gain experience. But we also need to build winning momentum (especially against France, considering that last RWC pool match).

    Finally, the RCW pool. You would expect wins against Tonga and USA, and considering the short turn around time between matches, some of the bolters should be able to get game time. Then Arg and France a week apart. We should definitely be playing our best team by this point, and from then on changes dictated by injury.

    My point of all this is, I wish EJ had said at the start of the tour “I’m going to play an experimental side, regardless of results”. As it stands, we’ve done little experimenting, had poor results, and now there’s not that much more time.

      1. Woeful for a while. I don’t see how performing well in Super Rugby can be translated to playing well at international. Yes the players play together consistently but the jump in standard from one to another is huge.

    1. Totally agree. As we were already on a losing streak, I would have been happy to lose all three tests but uncovered some much needed back up for certain positions or, find some good combinations. Disappointed all round really.

    2. Does EJ have that freedom with the RFU to pick a purely experimental side though? The RFU will have wanted ‘results’ evidenced by the fact that Mr. Baron of the RFU will not now unequivocably back EJ post SA (despite the face-saving 3rd test)
      Don’t think the RFU would have allowed such leeway in the first place.
      EJ is no doubt walking a bit of a tightrope!

  14. What are the next steps for England? To get an innovative new coach who understands the issues of breakdown, midfield & therefore the need for England to score tries?

    Has Cipriani done enough to convince Jones and get a run? Well it’s only taken 3 EJ years and the bookies back Cipriani… although they don’t pick the team.

    Will Ireland be able to climb above New Zealand in the rankings any time soon? Maybe, if NZ start falling over, but Ireland too will need to learn how to score some TRIES!

    What are we going to do with no Northern Hemisphere rugby for a couple of months? Discuss SH rugby?

      1. Agree with all the comments about missed opportunities to experiment but I think Eddie’s now very close to knowing his World Cup 23, whether we agree with it or not.

        Blindside and outside centre still in question, but I’d put money (a little) on the rest.

        Watson, Nowell or May
        Watson, Nowell or May

        Watson, Nowell or May

      2. Cathal
        But not in Oz they didn’t & that’s pretty current. Nor through their back line. The AB win you (& Uncle Tom Cobley & all) mention is, to date, a 1 off.. & wasn’t repeated shortly after it in Dublin when NZ stopped dicking around with flankers & lock etc. Ireland have become more like England in midfield. They lack penetration & innovation. Schmidt’s become almost too pragmatic.

  15. Well England saved EJ it seems, for now @ least, but not the other way around. It was a workman like performance whereby England reverted to type & could only overcome an even further inexplicably (?, well politics I suppose) depleted SA side shorn of 2 key players in Pollard & le Roux. The England forwards got the better of SA & so alleviated pressure in the loose & on the midfield. However, it took a KICK by Cipriani to May which gave the board a bit of respectability @ the death. England simply need more innovation & tries across the board if they are to threaten next, or later this (?), year. Jones’ stating that he’s down 25 players is a red herring or likewise that he’s back on track & enjoying the pressure. Is he kidding? You bet. I would be in his posi for all chocolate slabs in NZ. The times posed the extra dilemma EJ & England now face @ fly 1/2 ( Farrell, Cip, Ford) & also & therefore more so @ centre (Farrell, Teo, Slade, Tui). It’s a yr + out from the WC & EJ needs to fix his back line. It’s not just the swapping players about, but he needs to initiate an injection of innovation for them to put into practice. Daly, for e.g, hasn’t even been tried in his club posi. Nor has Woodard been given a run. Criminal IMO, as these 2 seem to have the skill & as importantly, the will to be creative and surely these are precious commodities. And then there’s the forwards’ back row & the captaincy issues to resolve. No wonder EJ is buggering off to Japan for his hols. Don’t blame him, but a few might if he doesn’t come up with solutions instead of rhetoric.

    1. What utter tripe to say EJ’s missing 25 players has no bearing!
      They are, if the stats are to be believed, twenty-five players. Most nations would recoil minus 25 players…..i know little old Vanuatu would or Fiji or Tonga. In fact they wouldn’t be able to get on the bus let alone hire it – their little island RFU’s are so bereft of money and poached players!
      When talking about facts and figures it is wise to not be so glib! 25 is 25 is 25!
      I think one person on here (not me you’ll be relieved to hear) has mentiined the effect of the Lions. The nation most represented on a Lions tour is alwaysadversely affected performance-wise subsequently….FACT! In fact that nation is so for the next 12 months what with the return to domestic commitments!
      And no, we don’t expect to hear the retort about England’s mighty player pool being able to “suck it up!” regardless because they’re bigger! Yawn! Don’t get me onto that one… its entirely debatable!
      Ej now has Wisemantel as his attack coach! I think i stated on here at leat 18 mths ago EJ needed one!
      The 1st SA test was proof of his attacking intent and ability (Wisemantels and indirectly EJs). I said at the time of the 1st test that the tries were of AB quality! I think one disagreeable reply was that the SA defence was poor! My retort….”They can only play against whom they play!”
      EJ is mercurial to say the least with his player selection…. but he does get there by hook or by crook! I’m going out on a limb to say that he does and will get it right eventually….when it matters. Others have agreed on here he has the time! In fact it’s called ‘timing’ for a good reason. Its never goodt to not commit the cavalry too early! Good to keep people hanging on til the last!
      Woodward will get a look in i’m sure… patience…EJs just spooking you and leaving it/him till the last throw!

      1. Alex,the published list had 21 players on it, of whom only about five were nailed down squad members. If EJ needed to rest players it should have been the likes of Mako, Launch, Itoje, Robshaw, Brown, Farrell and George, most of whom have not had a decent break for two years and are core to the squad EJ looks like selecting. If Youngs is really going to be first choice 9 we have no chance of winning a world cup, and playing Brown and Daly out of position throughout this tour was simply obtuse. Don P, I am interested in a NZ view of Shields as a player. Valuable addition or pig in a poke?

        1. The wider point (perhaps not clearly expressed in my original post) is that the players are knackered. You put it better with reference to players chained to the grindstone for two years without a break.
          Ireland are well cosseted, the ABs are well cosseted and the sooner the england players are centrally contracted like their international foes the better for performance and a reduction in the exorbitant injury rate.

          1. AlexD
            …'(perhaps not clearly expressed in my original post)’. Is it ever? 25 into 15 doesn’t go & as Andy points out how many of this 15 would have started in the SA series? 1, 2 or 3 @ most? Besides I never stated that ‘missing 25 players has no bearing’. I stated that it was a ‘red herring’. England had plenty of experienced players in this series, but that’s not their issue. Their issue is that they’ve just lost 6 in a row & the aforementioned series. Are you implying that this is all part of some building master plan? All I can state is that England are lucky that you are NOT their coach. They’re unlucky enough as it is under EJ with his plummeting loss rate thanks.

            1. What tripe again!
              Who are you to say how many players or none in your ever so ‘humble opinion’ would or would not have made EJ’s SA squad/team?
              There may have been plenty he wanted to look at! You can’t second guess the man as by my own admission in recent posts Eddie is nothing but mercurial, inconsistent and downright frustrating at the best of times in the chosen speciality of team selection!
              I know from memory that Willis was on that list which included 2 categories: those that were ‘rested” as well as those ‘injured’. Marchant was on there and if available EJ would have loved his inclusion.
              No one on here, lets face it, has any INSIDER knowledge on the workings of EJs mind or those of his coaching team.
              Are you offering your services Don P to the England team? That would be something. Could you swallow your pride and weather the oppobrium that would come your way from the Kiwi community? That would be a test for any MAN! Its why i like EJ! He’s his own man and prepared to put all on the line!
              There is one vacancy with England – that of defence coach. Get on the blower and ask for EJ C/o Twickers. Its an 0207 listing!
              Personally i take most of the team-naming on here with a pinch of salt (why i don’t or rarely do it)!
              I’m not a coach, have never been one and tend to recognise the greater claimss of those who are! EJ included!

        2. Andy
          Regarding Shields, I follow the Hurricanes when available on TV & IMO he’s not been made captain for no reason. Their pack has a sprinkling of AB’s, but it’s mostly made up of guys who seem @ to punch their weight or above & Shields is 1 of these. He could have been given run in the national side, but there are others like Squire & now Frizzel whom have the edged him out. However, if you listen to him talk, he ‘s calm, sensible & mature, much like his play, with controlled aggression thrown in. Good team player & is possibly unlucky not to have got an AB call up – unlike Toomaga-Allen, who is cut from similar cloth methinks. Def not ‘a pig in a poke’, no. However as to how a ‘valuable an addition’ he will be depends on how England use him. He’s used to playing an all court game (whereby backs are expected to also play like backs @ times) in NZ & I fear this style may not best fit with England. Therefore Shields’ game & thus his effectiveness, may be somewhat curtailed over here.. but we’ll see. You can’t always tell with EJ.

  16. Couldn’t agree more Don!
    But Eddie clearly isn’t safe as every newslet is reporting if he loses matches in the Autumn he is out!
    Have read or heard numerous ex internationals saying there have been persistent rumours of him losing the dressing room! He is also losing the Twickenham people as well apparently!I
    Personally I have very little confidence in him and think he is the root of our problems trying to cast himself as the saviour!

  17. Regds Bolter.
    There’s @ least 1 here he doesn’t agree, although he doesn’t agree with ANYTHING I state anyway. Bound to get it right 1 day then isn’t he? In any event, I doubted EJ’s credibility from way back due to his record with the Reds & Saracens 7 his apparently getting the England job because of Japan’s win v SA in the last WC (well, according to Michael Lynagh’s view @ least). Also Jones’ trash taking on Ireland & Wales was unsettling, unsavoury & indicated a dubious mind set for me. Hard to argue again him though with his record prior to the recent slide though. I doubt whether England will bin him though as they’ll need to find a replacement a yr out from the WC. Besides, @ home this autumn, England could well turn over SA (God knows what team they’ll put out!?) & potentially Oz & surely Japan. NZ should be a harder proposition. Wahatever, if he gets 3 from 4 there’ll be those (like die hard AlexD for instance, not to mention EJ himself of course?) who’ll state that England are back on track.. but IMO, they won’t be. The recent losses must be of serious concern & have surely come @ a worrying time for England. Whether he’s ‘lost’ the dressing room, I don’t know. Seems plausible & Gustard has now done a runner! Mmmm? What I do think though, is that England could have done without all these goings on. Won’t do much for morale in or outside of the team. However, if England do bit the bullet if the November tests don’t go well & drop kick Eddie into touch, they will have a yr to sort it.. if they get the right person in to take over. I mean Oz almost did it last WC.. & got to the final!

  18. The last thing we need to do is go into the rugby equivalent of footballing hysteria!
    Eddie is in stage 2 of 3 (The Rebuild)!
    The only on-line rugby ‘hysteria’ that could be justified would be why the rebuild took until this summer!
    The players for the most part knew or should have known what they were signing up for. If they want to be the best and beat the best then they should suck it up! Eddie should know by now what it takes to become a winner having narrowly missed out in 2003 and been the loser!
    Undoubtedly Eddie has his mitigating factors for the tardiness of the said delay in squad development (phase 2)
    Not needing to possess the brains of an archbishop, i would surmise that EJ had to put results now before development to get his foot cemented over the RFU’s lintel after the disaster of 2015. I’m neither an RFU employee nor a premiership player with insider knowledge but the hypothesis would seem more than likely.
    Nobody likes change. They moan. So it could be said we are in The Moaning Phase (for the punters at any rate)! I hope NO ONE thought it was going to be EASY.
    As for me being the diehard on here….
    A. I’ll take it as a compliment
    B. Someone has to be when supporting Barcelona FC seems to be the go-to option in modern Britain. I’m sure its rugby equivalent exists….probably the ABs. Haha!

  19. AlexD
    Are you having a giraffe? Rebuild phase 2? Jones more or less has the same team that Lancaster had.. with a few add ons. So what rebuild? His ‘style’ (Lancaster’s) has been worked out by the opposition. He needs (for the umpteenth time) to dominate @ breakdown (to get possession) & in midfield (to use this possession) in order to score more TRIES, perhaps through his new Ozzie attack coach? If you think otherwise, good luck fella.

  20. I’ll try again in my clearly halting english and failing that can in extremis resort to Spanish (my second language) but that probably wouldn’t help with you…so here we go in English.
    Eddie started phase 2 in SA. This summer 2018. My earlier post said…”this summer” quite clearly and categorically. Have another look (lines 6-7)!
    We have agreed (most bloggers) directly or indirectly on here that Eddie is late with his personnel revolution/reforms. He could have blasted changes scatter-gun style left right and centre in 2016!
    We’re all with you, we see it and we feel it. Don’t worry don.
    EJ didn’t , however, (go for radical early change that is) and bar our arm-chair guesswork, we’ll never know unless you or I go and knock on his door and ask him. But for heaven’s sake, if its you, be polite to the man Don! Me impeccable!
    What he did in SA was for him (for recalcitrant and uppety Eddie) massive. Eddie’s a complicated man (mixed parentage and more than one language to his name)! Go easy on him!
    To use Sinkler like he did (though not a success) was symtomatic of change. So was his use of Curry – the 1st genuine openside since Neil Back some of the papers have said.
    Cipriani was MASSIVE for Eddie. I’ll keep on inserting the phrase “for Eddie” so that this message comes over crystal! Cips is the prodigal son after 10 yrs in the international desert (could well have been in Egypt with the pharoahs so forgotten was he) and it took eddie, an Australian, to do it (not Lancaster – an englishman)! So give the guy SOME credit.
    Other players failed their cameo roles. E.g Slade and Isiekwe who having been found lacking might now be put out to grass to make way for Daley at 13 (alternatively Tuilagi/ Marchant/Teo) and a Ewers/Kruis/Launch swap for Isiekwe. So the process of elimination (intentional or otherwise) also works by default to weed out the weak and bring in the new.
    So change is happening. Others like Woodward are on his radar otherwise they wouldn’t have been picked and gone to SA. No he didn’t play but he will next time or the time after. I hope your not saying Eddie is a lunatic who A. Picks people for his own entertainment and B. is on his way to the funny farm after he’s finished his debrief with Mr Baron at Twickenham! I know Kiwis and Aussies are competitive but come on Don! I know you don’t wish him ill.
    To conclude, the change is slow and not as slick as you kiwis like and are used to with your All Black player production line.
    Eddie is only just constructing his production line!
    I can’t repeat this any more eruditely or clearly.
    Lo mejor seria expresarme en espanol! “Better in Spanish next time!” If you require it!

  21. AlexD
    Dunno what has yr Spanish or Jones’ nationality/ethnicity to do with anything . Jones has lost 6 in a row & a series in the yr before the nxt WC! You opine about his ‘phases’ of developing this England team, but as you’ve already stated that you’ve not knocked on his door, how do you explain his phased plan for the England team? It’s all your opinion. It lacks substance. Jones is fiddling while England is burning! He hasn’t recognised issues in the loose, midfield & with disiine under pressure. As the Euro negotiator stated; ‘The clock’s a-ticking’.

    1. Don P
      The man himself (EJ) has spoken about ‘phases’ of development and indeed phases numbered from 1 through to 3! Not 6 but 3!
      You will have to do your own research as to when, where and to whom he said it. Its out there in the media somewhere! From recall it was over 18 mths ago when he said it (so earlier on in his tenureship rather than later)

      1. AlexD
        Whatever EJ has/has not said about ‘phases’ somewhere I’m the media, he’s recently lost 6 in a row & a series in SA. Are these losses a planned phase then? And pray, precisely what phase incorporates these losses? Is it the ‘lulling the WC oppo into a false sense of security’ phase perchance? You ‘sound’ like Jacob Rees-Mogg, all dogma & no substance, but presumably, without the pin stripes & the Harrods accent!

        1. There just losses mate.
          Christ what is it with you? They were neither in nor out nor out of any master plan! Losses happen, i know you guys go to bits when they happen. We don’t because its sport…not life and death!
          However, that having been said…good things often come from loss (es). Yes six of them. Good to see that you can count! Change and reform come from them….in fact phase 2! Christ its boringhaving to repeat myself to a complete messianic AB dullard!
          To constantly win is inherantly dangerous for diammetrically opposed reasons!
          Its why NZ have often been found out so often (and hopefully will be again) because their so full of their own guff!!
          Does any of this resonate with you personally perhaps?

          1. AlexD
            1stly, be gr8ful if you’d stop ‘calling’ me ‘mate’. I’m not. 2ndly, perhaps you ought to stop taking ‘Christ’s’ name in vain. Otherwise you may not get into heaven. And besides, I & others here, may be Christian! 3rdly, these aren’t ‘just losses’, they’re a worrying trend. Check blogs of others here. 4thly, could you list the lessons learned from these losses? If you can make it @ least 6, then I’ll know that we can both count. 5thly, please explain ‘you guys (?) go to bits when they (losses) happen’? I’m trying to recall them. 6thly, you must stop using ‘we’ when expressing opinions as you can only ‘speak’ for yrself. It’s ignorant & arrogant to do so. 7thly, I may well be a dullard, but messianic & an AB I’m not. Honest! 8thly, yes you’re correct in stating that you are boring. 8thly, Why is it that ‘constantly winning dangerous for diametrically opposed reasons’? What the hell does statement actually mean? 9thly, when have NZ been beaten so often? I don’t doubt that you hope that it will happen again, with that giant sized chip. 10thly, no, little of what you states resonates with me, or perhaps anyone else, personally or otherwise.

  22. As for “As the euro-negotiator stated “The clock’s a ticking.”
    Thats the marvellous thing.
    It can go on ticking for all i care as they won’ t get their 40bn!
    There’s more pressure on the EU particularly if Boris et al engineer the No Deal option which i firmly hope they do.
    For a kiwi you really do show little to no interest in or sympathy for the uk! Amazing!
    What happened to Gallipoli ANZAC spirit and all that. Are you just another “I’ll live there, take the job and earn the money, but slag it off as much as i can whilst i’m there” punter?
    If the answers yes as i strongly suspect then no wonder you troll this site and seem to espouse pro-EU thinking. You are truly a man with mutiple agendas.
    Mine are clear, transparent, sincere and perfectly in vogue (as it happens)!

    1. Dear AlexD
      Yr rant is irrelevant, inaccurate, distorted & incomprehensible. IOW, drivel. Surely it ‘speaks’ volumes about the imbalance of yr mind set on the ‘clock’ issue. What on earth have the Euro bill, Gallipoli, my ‘agendas’ (like what?), yr ‘in vogue agendas’ (eh? Clear? They’re vague, not in vogue; you don’t state what they are!) got to do with rugby. Many fans here, as well as many rugby commentators, seem to think that the ‘clock IS indeed ticking’, for Jones, as, in the yr prior to the WC, he’s consecutively lost 6 & a series. Or they ALL trolls too for not adhering to yr apparent opinion to the contrary? You appear to be on a minority of almost one with yr outburst. Must be an isolating place. Jones has a yr to fix the wheels, to which you seem oblivious, that have come off. Don’t you think(?), in retrospect, that you make Walter Mitty look good. Actually, you also remind me of a hyena which fell into a vat of Oxo cubes & made a laughing stock of itself. ‘Ha, ha’ indeed.

  23. Don
    I have only been on this site for a few months and didn’t know you were a kiwi. But as someone who is English and is frankly very embarrassed by some of the xenophobic abuse you are getting from one poster I just wanted to say that I respect your opinion and agree with most of what you have said about Eddie and England here. You are quite right in saying that your views are way way closer to the majority than his!!
    Thanks for being here!!

    1. Xenophobia is not white on white – you may have your classification wrong there!
      Thats a very modern ‘snowflake’ attitude to assume ‘racism’ is involved when two people of heaven forbid differing nationalities disagree!
      More like free speech and democracy (robust and fair)

      1. AlexD
        What are you ‘talking’ about now? How does it relate to rugby? Ought you not post on the BDL site instead? Or are you alluding to Xenophon, the Ancient Greek who lead the 10,000 in Persia? Although to the best of my knowledge, HE wasn’t xenophobic, or a, what’s yr term, ‘snowflake’ either? You may be better advised to shelve yr political views, or YOU might get (drop?) kicked off this site! Nart I mean?

      2. AlexD
        How do you know it’s ‘white on White’ ? Aren’t you assuming this? What if 1 isn’t white? Did that ever occur to you? And what would this web site make of yr, e.g., anti Euro & anti NZ tirades do you reckon? Don’t you think that you’re on thin ice fella & that you ought to think carefully before you peddle more of your prejudices? Yr previous ones are all on record, so do yrself & everyone else a favour. Desist.

        1. Don P and Bolter
          There are 3 qualifiers for a charge of racism to be considered let alone stick in any court of law:
          1. Intent
          2. Context/circumstances
          3. Harm done

          With regard to #3 there can by definition be no ‘harm done’ if there is not more at least 2 parties of differing colour!
          E.g If DonP is white there certainly is no nor can have ever been any racism/xenophobia! Period!
          There will, to answer #1 (intent) also have to have been prior KNOWLEDGE that Don P is coloured to cause offence.
          To my knowledge DonP is NOT coloured (he would inform me if he were to support a charge like Bolters you would have thought!)

          Clearly both parties have to be clear and honest with each other with regards to said identity and ethnicity! One would like to think so anyway! Certainly when raising su h a charge like Bolters! Don P merely jumped on the back of it as he and I were in the midst of a spat!
          Anyway how do you (Bolter) know i am not black?
          To have gone down this avenue – The racism game and used the card – is farcical and demeaning. I’m defending myself it could be said against Misappropriated/irresponsible charges of it

          Get back to the rugby without the red herrings!

      3. AlexD
        Xenophobia is ‘dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries’. Nothing to do with your self proclaimed definition of ‘white on white’. Yr anti NZ/ANZAC/Gallipoli & Euro tirade, whereby you advocate Britain’s reneging on paying off it’s obligations, might be best judged by having yr posts forwarded to Would you prefer that I do so & let them decide? As for your craven intention that we get now back to rugby issues, you dragged non rugby, racial issues into this domain yourself you hypocrite! The clock’s ticking for you fella. What do you want to do about it?

        1. No mate!
          Just bored of your anti-English rugby comments which are by your very OWN definition xenopbobic! Hypocrite indeed.
          You have NOTHING good to say about English rugby (haven’t for the two years i’ve had the misfortune to encounter you on here) so if that’s OBJECTIVE or balanced as you claim to Bolter i’m Father Christmas!
          “You are sensitive, a little bit sloppy and struggle to be objective”…..your telling me!
          And that is what is people take oiffence at (the near total inability when in England i might add to pipe down a bit and take a slightly more neutral attitude towards English rugby. If i were living in NZ and earning a crust there i would support the ABs not slag them off.
          I speak for myself, very much so, stridently and many others on here over the years have told you to belt up or at least ALLOW for what is largely diverse and alternative opinion on here.
          Does any of that strike a chord?
          Probably not but therein lies the problem!

          1. AlexD
            I’m quoting published information on the definition of racism, but you keep avoiding & changing the subject. Do you want yr racially orientated blogs forwarded on to TRB or not? Let them decide?

            1. Got that (the definition) – thanks. I think i’ve answered already – as usual – but you”ve come back for a second/third bite as usual to flog a dead horse!
              No xenophobia from me by your/Dons definition. In fact i usually speak very factually on here (intentionally so perhaps BECAUSE OF sensitive souls like you.)
              So quite the opposite – could be called over-compensation in fact!
              You may not like that but tough.
              You just have to reign yourself in a bit more (with the emotional stuff/response) as you have already admitted to Bolter that you are a little “emotional sometimes”
              Have you not?

              1. To clarify, my definition of racism is spot on my understanding of it regulates behaviour verbal and otherwise as it does everyone in this country. Their is however a massive amount of abuse/misuse of ‘the racist card’ and that in this ‘snowflake’ world (to use an americanism) is where the current dangers lie hence where we are in the uk – i would say!
                You were right with the xenophobia definitiion. I was not aware of the nuanced distinction between the separate words. Now that’s balance and honesty for you!
                Just demonstrated it! Take a leaf out would be my advice for what it may or may not be worth!

                1. AlexD
                  In retrospect & to quality the point of my ‘cuppa’ sentence, from the support of, presumably English, others here & elsewhere, it affirms that my appraisal of England’s loss predicament is objective & thus undermines your spurious & general ‘anti-English’ allegations in respect of myself.

    2. Bolter
      Cheers. I can sometimes be defensive & direct. I do find some opinions rather jingoistic, esp from the media. If you viewed the recent S Times headlines highlighting yellows & reds in respect of the NZ/France series instead of the numbers of tries scored, you may understand my POV. It’s not that I intend ‘talking’ NZ up; IMO their record does that, but I also try to be objective & give reasons for my opinions. Of course I may have a point or 2 to make, or I may not. I state this as you might find you DON’T agree with my views @ times, but I do @ times find opposed opinions may miss a point, or are biased to the point that I feel the need to be the world’s bias balance policeman! Also, it may be the way I tell ’em. Anyway, it’s interesting & gratifying to view an English POV that coincides with mine sometimes. It means that we rugger buggers CAN transcend tribalism in our analyses.

  24. AlexD
    I find it neigh on impossible to have any empathy with or sympathy or respect for you, but I’m don’t intend grassing you up. Just thought I’d make you sweat a bit. You seem oblivious to the fact that almost no one responds to yr posts. I’ve been doing you a favour by giving you the attention you seem to crave by humouring yr irrelevant non-rugby rants ranging from yr Spanish, Eddie’s ethnicity, Gallipoli/ANZAC spirit, the £40b Euro bill, Barcelona football club, England’s consecutive 6 loss record being part of some imaginary building phase & so on, almost all of which have nothing to do with rugby! Doesn’t all this rugger irrelevance call into question the state of your mental health! Whilst I may not be everyone’s cuppa all of the time, a few hear like Bolter, Andy & Leon, unlike you, concur with my appraisal of England’s recent slide as indeed do most published rugby pundits/’experts’. Besides, if my posts offended your eye so much, you could have gone biblical & plucked it out, or simply not read them! Good luck with your likely continuing distortions & reframing of reality. In future, you’ll have to get your attention from elsewhere. Good luck with that too. I’ve done my bit. You should be grateful! Oh & don’t forget to keep taking the tablets, or to breath. Tat tah fella.

    1. Wow you definitely don’t LIKE people disagreeing with you do you. In fact its not allowed. Why go on a blog then? It makes no sense!
      As stated before all a bit ‘snowflake’ for my liking!

      1. PLEASE Alex D, and that is in capitals for a reason, can you stop redirecting the conversation from rugby, eat a large slice of humble pie and stop picking every word of every comment – Don P and others – apart. Thankkkk youuuu!!

      2. PLEASE Alex D, and that is in capitals for a reason, can you stop redirecting the conversation from rugby, eat a large slice of humble pie and stop picking every word of every comment – made by Don P and others – apart. Thankkkk youuuu!!


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