England team named to play Ireland

marler robshaw

England have made two changes to their squad for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium.

Tight-head prop David Wilson replaces Dan Cole, who will require three months rest from rugby before further assessment on his neck, while the uncapped George Ford comes onto the bench for Brad Barritt.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We are excited about being back at our home after two games on the road. The Twickenham crowd during the November internationals was superb and I’m sure it’ll be the same again on Saturday.

“We have been forced into one change and we wish Dan Cole all the best for his recovery. However, David Wilson is an experienced international with 31 caps and he showed in his three starts against Argentina last year what he can do.

“It’s great to have George involved. He has settled in well and we are confident in his ability should he get his opportunity from the bench.”

England (v Ireland, RBS 6 Nations, Twickenham Stadium, Saturday, 5pm)

15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 23 caps)
14 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 2 caps)
13 Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 10 caps)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 21 caps)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 44 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 17 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 52 caps)
3 David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 31 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 16 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 27 caps)
6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 25 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 22 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 7 caps)

16 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 12 caps)
18 Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, 3 caps)
19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)
20 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 17 caps)
21 Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)
22 George Ford (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
23 Alex Goode (Saracens, 15 caps)

What do you make of the England team? Will they beat Ireland on Saturday?

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

70 thoughts on “England team named to play Ireland

  1. Great to have such consistency in selection. Doubts about Wilson’s fitness, of course, but Lancaster has backed himself into a corner by playing Cole so much and not giving anyone else a chance. This team should hopefully give Ireland a game.

    1. Agree. Since Castro left tigers Cole has been absolutely flogged and it has shown in his performances. I think the enforced rest could be a blessing in disguise, I want him back to his form of 18 months ago when he was the best in his position.

      Why on earth we didn’t give Thomas more of a go when we were coasting against Scotland was baffling. Ditto re Ford on the bench. Now we have the real possibility of them both being exposed in a high pressure match against top opposition. More confident about Ford tbh.

      1. I never understood what was preventing the workload from being shared between Castro and Cole. Be interested to hear a Tigers perspective, all the reports I read were that Castro wanted to stay but wanted to play more and I don’t understand why this wasn’t possible.

        I agree with you, the start of Cole’s decline coincided with Castro’s departure.

        1. It was a bit of a catch 22 really. Cole was playing so well that they didn’t want to share the workload 50/50 between him and Castro, because Castro wasn’t playing as well. But the irony is that Cole was probably only playing that well because he could give everything for 60 mins, then come off.

          Now, Tigers, much like England, don’t feel that they have adequate back-up to bring on in the big games (Castro was always good enough to come on, no matter what the occasion). With DC now out, both Tigers and England are going to either unearth some excellent replacements, or start to wobble in the set piece against the best sides.

  2. We hear a lot of talk about “experience” and a supposed requisite number of caps per team, with reference to the World Cup, and used as a barometer of success.

    BUT, looking at that team, and using this measure, David Wilson is the third most experienced player in the squad.

    I think that this rather belittles the weight that some people tend to put on the whole Caps=Experience=Success argument.

    On a positive note, irrespective of the number of minutes within these 31 caps, it is still 31 separate international matches that he has propped the scrum, and I do believe that this is useful to have (for a half at least).

    1. I think Wilson is more than capable of holding his own at this level, and is a brilliant back-up for Cole, if not a player that will be pushing him for a start when they’re both fully fit.

      The issue is that Lancaster doesn’t seem to trust Thomas, hence his 5 mins of action in the opening two rounds despite Cole being shattered and tighthead being one of the most physically demanding positions on the pitch. It’ll be fascinating to see on Saturday how long Lancaster leaves Wilson on for (he clearly won’t be ready for 80 mins of international action – Bath took him off after 47 mins last weekend), and what impact Thomas coming on has on the game. Could be crucial in the last 20 if it’s a close game, especially with Healy and McGrath both excellent.

      1. Wilson himself has said he doesn’t think he’ll last longer than 50-60 minutes.

        Fully-fit, I really rate him (but then, I am a Bath supporter). I never did until the last couple of seasons, suddenly he seems to have come into his own and I personally believe he’s been pushing Cole all the way for that 3 shirt. Not as good in the loose, but a better scrummager – probably because Cole has been overworked.

        1. Geat, did you see the Exeter game last week. Wilson really struggled at the scrum, which changed quite noticeably when Perenise replaced him.

          I agree that he is traditionally a solid scrummager, but that 40-odd minutes was quite concerning. One can only hope that the intervening week has been well spent in preparation.

          1. Yes, that’s why I said “fully-fit, I really rate him”. He was clearly lacking in match-fitness, and looked really disappointed with himself when he went off.

      2. I remember last season everyone raving about Thomas. I think given his chance he might surprise a few people. A very good scrummager and pretty mobile as well.

      3. Jamie, my point was not really intended to question Wilson’s ability, more to question the usefullness of the “No of Caps” measure by which success seems to be linked.

        If we weren’t looking at the numbers, would we really believe that in terms of experienced International practicioners, Dave Wilson leads the likes of Robshaw, Lawes, Brown, Wood, Farrell etc, etc

        Perception also plays odd tricks. I would have imagined more than 14 caps for Tom Youngs. It goes to show how far he has come in such a short space of time.

  3. Now if only he’d dropped Goode for Eastmond…

    Given Webber is injured, I’m not going to complain about Tom Young’s inclusion.

    I just hope that someone has taken him aside over the last couple of weeks, given him a banjo, shown him a cow’s arse and explained how to hit one with the other.

    1. Really wish there was a like button on here!!

      I would rather have Watson as cover for the back three than Eastmond. Watson has played wing and full back for Bath regularly, but Eastmond has played predominantly at centre.

      1. Yes but Goode only ever plays fullback for Sarries, so Eastmond is no less versatile. Eastmond on the wing (if required) would be preferable to Burrell! We have cover for fb in Nowell, Should brown get crocked.

        1. We also have wing cover in the shape of Brown, and if necessary May could cover 13 and 15. I just think that Eastmond needs to play more at wing and full back to be considered there for England as cover. The same as Goode would need to play more at 10 to be considered as cover for England in that position. Goode is there because he offers something different to Brown and can change the game. Does Eastmond have Goode’s tactical kicking game? Or his excellently positioning for kick returns?

          1. I don’t know about his kicking but his tackling is far better. Goode has been utter rubbish in the last few matches but am resigned that he is SL’s favourite ala Noon and Robinson, Balshaw and Ashton, Jonno and Tindall.

      2. Personally I wonder if Goode is just keeping the shirt warm for Marland Garde, who will no doubt come back in when fit (any ideas when this will be??). Alex Goode has been a walking disaster for England this year and surely will not be able to justify his place.

  4. Here’s hoping home advantage will give us the edge. Whilst I am always pessimistic about the side I support, this side looks better than the one that did pretty well in the autumn. I really should be more confident of a win, but do feel nervous.

    For England this is knock out rugby. We have to win this otherwise the final 2 rounds will be meaningless (though ripe for experimenting).

    1. I agree totally. From 2004 onward I’ve always found myself nervous/less than confident before England games!

      I’m lucky enough to be going to Italy for the England game and I really, really don’t want that to be a dead rubber.

  5. Echo the points above. I would have no issue with a fully fit Wilson starting, at full strength I think he’s better in the scrum than Cole, carries better than Cole, but offers less in the ruck and tackle area. His fitness may get him through 50-60 mins, but I seriously doubt he’s back to anything close to full scrum strength yet and ideally wouldn’t even be back on the bench yet. Clearly they don’t trust Thomas and we’ll find out on Sat if there was a good reason not to.

    Personally I think they should have been looking for the 3rd best scrummaging tighthead (probably Brookes), ball handling skills are irrelevant if you can’t keep your face out of the dirt. Even an SoS to Stevens for one game may have been a better option than a half fit player.

    On the plus side ‘The Moose’ will now get a run of games, he’s better suited than Cole to the new scrum sequence and I think we have more chance of developing into a dominant scrum with him.

    With Webber out I agree with keeping Youngs

    Sadly we’ll have to suffer the sight of a dressage horse prancing round on the Twickenham turf in a 23 shirt again, no idea how he’s racking up these caps.

    Although Dickson has taken some flak, I think he and Ford may be a good combination. Ford doesn’t seem to be the sort of player that needs to devolve some of the playmaking to a 9 and may make better use of a faster service away from the ruck.

  6. I think there are a few slightly unfair comments regarding Thomas. Surely if the England set up didn’t trust him they wouldn’t pick him?!

    There are good youngsters coming through at TH and they’d surely opt there if that was the case.

    As for Moose, he’s had a game at the weekend, rigorous training with England and i’m sure he’ll be ok.

    The test is whether he knits in well with the England pack, after Cole being there for so long. If that clicks there is nothing stopping him showing how good he is.

    Ireland have stronger front row options on the bench, so discipline will need to be spot on to get anything from this game.

  7. Interesting in that most, altho not all, of the talk is about the fwds, esp wilson. ‘ Will he, won’t he’ stand up… for 80?

    Well Sat will tell, but it’s not just the fr row that should be of concern (esp longer term, not just for this match) as England normally compete up front, back what of that old chestnut, the midfield… & fly1/2?

    Brian Ashton opines that Lancaster has no fly1/2 back up with game time as the WC looms.
    And the wings ain’t scored so far in this 6N. Why not? It’s their job. Could it be that SL is happy with Burrell barging over in the centres, rather than his, or Billy 12’s, being able to distribute out wide to e.g. Jack The Younger?

    It’s an all round game & the fwds need to win the pill (& try more off loading rather than bashing into the nearest oppo) for the backs to use & score TRIES! It’s not rocket science, but, to me,it’s a real issue for England… & they should be using this 6N for the present as well as the future.

    Having said that, (I’ll now say something else), I expect it’ll likely be a closish affair, with home advantage (incl the ref?) likely giving England the edge.

    But, if the Irish win the br/down (a must IMO), kick ALL their goals, DON’T give away penalties & if BOD & GD create space out wide (like v Scotland), they’ll have a shout. Also Sexton will need to vary his game rather more than just kicking for the corners. They must look to take the initiative & go for opportunities out wide. Lots for them to do, but can Smokin’ Joe, that well known German coach, pull it off??

    Possibly, but a tall one.

    1. “And the wings ain’t scored so far in this 6N. Why not? It’s their job.”

      May broke his nose in the first 10 minutes against France. Goode came on at fullback, Brown shifted to the wing, and he scored a try.

    2. We’ve scored 4 tries in 2 games, all from backs, one of which was from the wing, and another set up by a winger. It’s nothing to start celebrating about and I don’t expect the top teams to be quaking in their boots, but it’s progress (in an area that has been dismal thus far under Lancaster).

      England have managed 2.5 times the number of offloads as Ireland in the opening 2 weekends, so maybe Ireland need to focus on stopping England’s offloading game. I think the England pack has managed more than the entire Ireland team. Offloading is developing into a strength, yes more will be nice but all the pack have decent hands and the ability to do more than seek contact. Your prejudice and the facts are again at odds with each other.

    3. I think that england like most counties the easiest position to fill is wing so that is not the problem the problem is midfield. I know burrell scored tries but they are not very creative tries and against worst french side in years and worst scottish team.

      the worst games in six nations this year involved england and france.

      england problem areas are 10, 12, 13.

      farrell is not the answer. ford is. but if you play ford you need attacking 12’s and 13’s.

      Attacking is not the way england play. they play defensive game.

      they don’t have the talented players to play expansive game. it will be real problem come world cup.

      Just look at South africa. Most brutal side up front and very skillful, physical backs. Habana, pieterson, basson and more. No english player is in that league.

      1. A lot of pundits regard France v England as the game of the Six Nations so far. It’s all subjective, I know, but still.

        1. very attritional but england should have had the game wrapped up before half time farrell was very poor and england wasted too many chances. france were dead on there feet at 70minutes. french are very unfit side will only get fully fit come Ireland vs France which i would say will be a cracking match to finish off the 6n.

          1. Again a debatable comment, as it’s widely regarded as Farrell’s best game in an England shirt. If anything cost us the game, it was Youngs’ missed lineout on their 5m line when we were 5 points up.

            1. of course debatable that’s what we’re here for. in my opinion both sides played poor rugby in that game. i would def say england vs scotland could be put down to a very poor pitch at murrayfield.

              1. Well Dean, you are certainly encouraging debate.

                I would generally try to avoid this, but I cannot pick one view out of your posts that I would agree with.

                You are correct – of course – that the Murrayfield pitch was very poor, but I am not certain if you are using this fact to explain a view of some sort.

                If your intent was to use the pitch to justify England not scoring more points or tries, then that is one view that I would certainly agree with.

                I attended the England game in Paris, and I cannot recall seeing a less attritional England game in a very long time.

                Stirring debate. Well done.

        2. Didn’t it set a record for the most amount of time the ball was in play – 46m as opposed to 33 or something. No wonder the french were knackered!

    4. Not really sure how you can justify the comments you’ve made here Don P, yet again.

      The England pack offload more than any in the 6Ns, it’s actually a strength of ours so to try and pull it up as an issue seems bizarre.

      Also, what issue at half back are we talking about now? Farrell has been brilliant in both 6Ns games, taking the ball to the line, passing the ball very flat, and I’ve even seen a line break from him! No he isn’t Quade Cooper, but he’s doing a very good job of getting our back line going this 6 nations.

      I won’t even comment on the winger nonsense – it’s been covered.

    5. It’s an interesting point. My perception is that England under Lancaster do score a lot of backs tries in the centres (12t, Burrell, Manu, Eastmond even Barritt has one!).

      I wonder if there are any stats to confirm? If so is this planned or an example of a breakdown in our plans?

  8. To be honest I don’t care who scores, as long as we do. But your comment Don P makes no sense. 2 matches. 4 tries. All by backs. I wouldn’t have deemed that more successful if we had scored 2 tries, and they were from wingers. Also as Geat mentioned, Brown scored from the wing against France. Oh and Nowell set up the try for Brown against scotland. Pretty damn valuable contribution as far as I am concerned, even if he didn’t touch down himself.

    If anything I am more concerned that the forwards didnt score a load of tries against Scotland in the final quarter given how dominant they were.

    1. Quite correct Henry. Our back three looks very settled and effective thus far. MIdfield looks good and the half-backs are playing very well.

      Of course, it is nonsense to assert that “it is the job of wingers to score”. We all enjoy it when wingers score, and generally, wingers scoring a load of tries is often a barometer of an attractive game, but wingers today have to do a hell of a lot more than score, in order to justify their places.

  9. I think the injury to Cole may well derail England this week. Wilson is not fit and Thomas deemed not ready, or surely he would start with wilson on bench, leaves us weak at the set piece against 2 very strong scrummagers for Ireland.

    Still not sure about midfield options, would rather have a bit more speed and passing ability available to change things – eastmond at 12 and Watson on bench would be my option. May be a little harsh on 36 but think we would be more dynamic that way. Not harsh on Goode tho, I would replace him with Matt Stevens who has more pace and a better step!

  10. If anyone think Farrell played well in the first 2 6N matches then i don’t know what matches they were watching.

    Farrell’s best skill is kicking. look at his kicking stats thus far….poor.

    He and england have played 2 poor sides. Ireland is going to be a massive up in performance needed by all to win the game.

    Ireland go into this game with a lot of confidence from there results and looking at the team I don’t see where england can get them. Ireland will need to have an off day.

    I know its at Twickenham but Ireland has won here before. Irelands biggest weakness is consistency and they seem to have that now.

    As for the English backs and scoring tries. Yes they do score the tries but loads against poorer teams defensively.

    Problem is against the really good defensive teams they (As in Farrell and the Midfield) lack the skill to open these defences up.

    The only Guy Ireland will fear is Mike Brown. Best attacking player England have.

    1. Wow, talk about one-eyed. So England should be written off, becuase they have only played France and Scotland (away). Whereas Ireland are the real deal having beaten Scotland (?) and Wales at home and have proved they’re a consistent outfit after a run of 2 matches? Hmm. I make Ireland favourites but not for any of the reasons you state. England’s front row resources are a worry and I fear a reverse of the last Twickenham match v Ireland.

      1. oh i never said to write of england. But id be much happier with things in Irish camp than english.

        i have watched all games thus far and see ireland at higher level than england.

        England are tough and hard to breakdown but they play power game just like wales. England are like rabbit in headlights when plan A does not work.

        Ireland look like they can play any type of game they want or what type is needed.

        Everybody keeps going on about Dan cole missing and how much of influence it will be.
        after the last 2 years and how england hammered them in scrum (Under different scrum rules) Yes Ireland would like to make statement but it won’t be what they will be working on as a key to the game.

        If you look at all the stats in the wales game looked like wales should have won.

        England waste a lot of chances currently it is about quality not quantity and Ireland look the more dangerous and clinical.

  11. I’ve been thinking…if england were to lose to Ireland and effectively give up any chance of winning 6N it would remove any barrier to SL experimenting in last couple games. Don’t want england to lose obviously but it would be interesting to see who he might play in those circumstances.

    1. This England supporter lives in Wales and wants nothing experimental about the side trying to avenge 30-3 (which I’ve never heard the end of). Plus I’m going to the game with the Welsh wife.

  12. dreading the second half when the substitiutes come on, i can’t help thinking that ireland will dominate the line out when youngs comes on and the scrum with thomas vs healy
    england need to get the points in before about the 60th minute when lancaster makes his subs, and try to hold on to the lead for the last twenty minutes

  13. Geat

    Ok so that’s 1… by an ersatz wing (& I’ve prev stated that MB is the only back whose attitude & skill really stand out), but being a Billy Whizz with stats doesn’t solve England’s issue here… I’ve prev mentioned Mark Cueto e.g, so it’s been a long term thing. The pt is that a team’s wingers should be scoring regularly. If they’re not, then there’s a problem… & for me SL fiddles like Nero.

    England (& any team) need to compare with the teams sth of the Mason Dixon Line methinks… for their sakes.

    But who knows, perhaps it’ll all change on Sat.

    1. Don, given their youth, England under Lancaster compare quite well against the Southern hemisphere.

      Ignoring the 4 wins against Fiji and Argentina, his record reads:

      NZ – won 1, lost 1

      Aus – won 1, lost 1

      SA – lost 3, drew 1

      The 5 losses were by an average of 5.8 points per game – not bad given the scores teams like NZ can rack up and even better if you consider that 2 of the losses were in South Africa and only 5 games into his tenure

      He has only been in charge of England for two years and 27 internationals, so to be equal in wins and losses with both NZ and Aus is not bad going

  14. Matt

    You’re another mathematician. It’s not all just about stats, otherwise you’d no doubt be playing for Ingerland.

    Try looking @ some Super Rugby in the way the offloads occur & no’s of tries scored, then tot up yr sums.

    It’s been a long term issue for England, maybe that’s 1 reason why they’re ranked 4th.

    And see my last 2 posts if you’re inclined… but g’luck tomorrow.

    1. Super Rugby is great for entertainment value. What its not great for is tackling. Most teams seem to view it as an optional extra

    2. Hahaha Don! I have an opinion (that England do like to play a continuity game and keep the ball off the deck) and decided to check the facts to see if was correct or not. I’m not twisting a statistic to support a point of view, just looking at the facts!

      Comparing Super Rugby and 6N is like comparing WWE and boxing. I was however looking forward to watching a bit of WWE (‘Saders Vs Chiefs) before the 6N game, but sadly it was poor quality fair, high error count, poor basic skills and relied on a giant 13 to barge over. Not sure I’ll bother with Bulls Vs Cheetahs (having seen the score).

  15. Pablito

    The SH national teams come out of S15. They’re ranked 1,2 & 3, entertainment notwithstanding.

    Yr mind set needs an overhaul.

  16. Matt

    I think you’re a cowboy, only here for the attention.

    If you’re serious, which I doubt, watch a few Keiran Read offloads & the rest of S15.

    Of course you’re being deliberately disingenuous regds ‘Saders Vs Chiefs. 1 swallow always makes a summer. You know it’s 1st up & that former are forced to rest Carter & Read… or do you?

    Open yr mind a smidgeon instead of concentrating on minutiae to suit yr prejudice & you’ll see what I mean. It’s not just a numbers game, it’s also about quality, which I’d obviously & erroneously given you (& some others) credit of understanding.

    Also, why are you watching S15 as it’s so poor?

    And doesn’t it kind of make you wonder why SH national teams come out of it ranked in the 1st tier of the IRB list? Probably not in yr case.

    Happy hunting v Wales.

    1. I like Super Rugby, I follow the Highlanders (probably the most extreme example of a high temp and constant offloading). It’s great entertainment. But you can’t compare it to 6N where much more emphasis is placed on defensive organisation and line speed. It was just the irony of the ‘giant 13 being used to barge over’ tactic that amused me given use of the very same is such a weakness of English rugby apparently.

      When pressure is on and games are tight the expansive stuff tends to go out the window. (ABs 8 – 7 France, only try from a prop is a perfect example). Super Rugby would also appear to be better than world cups.

      Not sure about the attention bit, if I was posting on a Super Rugby blog why the 6N was so superior, then it could be argued I was only there for the attention ;)

  17. Pablito

    The record, NZ – won 1, lost 1, Aus – won 1, lost 1, SA – lost 3, drew 1, as you say, looks ok on the surface.

    However the 1st win v NZ was when the AB team had the squirts (Brighty – the Welshman?, I think – has said that I’m whining of course, but he can say what he likes – however, to discount the illness is delusional IMO), the win v Oz was by & I think (bit of luck with the England full back being out & Hartley’s obstruction I thought, altho all teams need some at times) & they were @ home.

    For me the SA results are more telling.

    I don’t really rate SL & his coaches I’m afraid, for reasons stated elsewhere, but the looming NZ tour should be the barometer of where England really stand methinks; esp in the context of the WC.

    Time will tell tho.

    Good hunting v Wales.

    1. 1995, they have subsequently come out and said they shouldn’t have played and it did impact them. 2012 they didn’t claim it was the reason for the loss, so it probably wasn’t. Move on from it, we had a great game, you had a poor one.

      We can’t lose the RWC this summer any more than you can win it. It will be a huge test for a lot of young players and I hope a few will come through it and cement their places for 2015.

      I’m quite happy if we keep winning at home (at least to the end of 2015), yes taking a ‘big 3’ scalp away from home is a huge milestone and achievement in the development of a team, but I don’t think it’s vital to have done so going into 2015. Maybe you guys should get SCW onboard, help you out with what it takes to win an RWC away from home ;)

  18. Matt

    I sometimes wonder whether some you guys are serious about yr take on how yr team is doing. It often seems fanciful.

    And what do you mean you can’t compare? You have to in the real world. It’s an English weakness not to. Compare England being 4th in the rankings v the SH then. An accident do you think? And picking 1 e.g. in 95 isn’t necessarily indicative. Why didn’t you pick 87? Would have given an entirely diff slant. Neither being an absolute of course.

    Regds 2012; to say; ‘they didn’t claim it was the reason for the loss, so it probably wasn’t’. it simply erroneous. For the record, you obviously haven’t seen/heard Hansen’s comments to the contrary. As for moving on, I seek the truth that’s all. If you think ‘we had a great game, you had a poor one’, good on you. I’m sure the AB coaches would be delighted if Lancs’ team were of the same opinion… with June looming ever nearer. I sure as hell don’t need to defend NZ’s record, esp over the last yr. Nart mean?

    As for, SCW & just for some objectivity, have you conventiently his team’s NZ w/wash in 05? Past his sell by. And yr unoriginal shot about away from home WC wins (so far) is so passe now. Besides, do you really want to bet that an England side that could only beat the Paddies by 3 @ home, could only score 2 tries v the Scots (9th I think) & lost to Fr by 3 tries to 2 are really WC cands? Dream on. And NZ aren’t quite out ot reckoning just yet methinks.

  19. Blub said…

    ‘Of course, it is nonsense to assert that “it is the job of wingers to score”. We all enjoy it when wingers score, and generally, wingers scoring a load of tries is often a barometer of an attractive game, but wingers today have to do a hell of a lot more than score, in order to justify their places’.

    Unbloodybelieveable! What arrant tosh.

    I’ve never heard such a joker since I was last @ the Grey Horse in Kingston on comedy night!

    If you really are serious (please tell you’re not), no wonder England are 4th in the world. If a winger’s (main, to spell it out to you) job isn’t to score tries, what the hell is it then? Diving into rucks? I thought that was (mainly) the loosies’ job. Of course wingers (as do all players in all positions on the field, esp nowadays; it’s called role/game evolution) have to perform more than 1 or 2 tasks (like, catching, even, sparingly, kicking or how about passing & tackling?), but surely scoring TRIES has to be their main role!?

    Why are they (meant to be) faster than other players for crying out loud? Enjoyment? ”a barometer of an attractive game”? (perleeeease!) If the wingers don’t score them then who will? The fwds? The centres? The basic concept, of which you seem oblivious, is for the team & esp the midfield, to create space out wide for the flyers to… er, funnily enough, score TRIES!

    If you can’t grasp that concept & the fact that TRIES are more often than not worth 7 pts, then ‘hello Walter Mitty’! No wonder England are 2nd tier if your thinking is permeating their game.

    PS And forget the ”We” will you. Speak for yourself. Or are you a royal?

    1. Mate you need to calm down… Its not arrogant tosh, it’s opinion. Of with which I happen to agree. I don’t care who scores the tries. And if a winger sets up and creates a try for another player to finish (i.e. like Nowell did) then that is an excellent contribution from a player as far as I am concerned.

      So before going around labelling other people’s views as ‘unbloodybelieveable’ you actually think about the sense of what you are saying.

      I await your aggressive response.

    2. New Zealand 8 – 7 France

      I doubt anyone Kiwi cares at all that their only try came from a prop ploughing over.

      When games are tight and tense they become less free flowing spectacles. It’s New Zealand struggling to adapt to this at RWC time that is the reason they only have a marginally better record in the professional era than England despite having dominated the world rankings in this period.

      6N rugby is tight and tense rugby, the occasion often bigger than the game, that’s the nature of the beast, you can’t compare it to Super Rugby.

      I’m not thrilled about being only 4th in the world, but I accept that’s about where we are. Yes we need to score point points to progress (not just concede fewer), but there are signs of progress in the attacking game (finally) which is all we can ask for. One step at a time! The pack is pretty much sorted (when fully fit), I would pick a few of them above their AB counterparts, the backs are work in progress, but at least have some evidence of ‘green shoots’ as they were dismal for almost all of 2013 (bar one game against Scotland).

      1. If I had a penny for every time Don P mentioned that England are 4th in the world, I’d be a seriously rich man.

        1. Well at least it’s a factually correct rather than:
          – “England don’t pick youth” although the age profile of the squad is way younger than the ABs and Ford being the 10th U20 representative in the last 2 years to make a match day 23 (shame he’s still waiting for the cap though).
          – “England forwards don’t offload and just run into people” despite being one of the leading packs for offloading (nice offload from Robshaw for the try too!)
          – “The wingers haven’t scored” despite Mike Brown (playing on the wing) having just scored.

          Etc, etc.

    3. Oh dear. That is a fantastic post, Don.

      I find it best to revert to simple, factual responses when one lets ones emotions permeate their written communication. So;

      “If a winger’s (main, to spell it out to you) job isn’t to score tries, what the hell is it then? Diving into rucks?”

      The wingers job is many-fold, Essentially though it is to provide cover in defence, as part of a back 3 (or sometimes 4), and provide an outlet, often but not exclusively in the wider areas of the pitch, to exploit gaps created by others in the team, using their running skills.
      Further – pace is an important part of this job, but evasive running is probably more important. Often though, the two come together. If they score tries, as many of the best wingers do, this is great.
      It is everyone’s responsibility to work at rucks. Wingers do not find themselves in the position to do so as often as others, but if a winger cannot ruck effectively he can be a weak link in the team.

      “how about passing & tackling?”
      Thats right. This has not always been the case of course, but you are right to note that the game has evolved.

      “but surely scoring TRIES has to be their main role!?”
      Can’t agree with that.
      I would say though, and perhaps this is where you are getting a little muddled, that they are very often best placed to score tries, particularly when a defence has been stretched laterally, and space is created in the wider areas.

      “Why are they (meant to be) faster than other players for crying out loud? Enjoyment?”
      See above.
      I would also add that as they tend to have a very fluid positioning in attack, their pace can be very useful in supporting players, who have broken the tackle line in any area of the pitch.
      They will often use their pace to follow up punts by team-mates.

      “a barometer of an attractive game”?”
      Not entirely sure of the question here.
      By “Barometer” I meant a measure by which one could determine whether a game is attractive, or not. This though is very subjective, but it is not uncommon for people to make an assumption between wingers scoring and attractive rugby. It probably comes from the old days when rugby was far simpler (and then the wingers were often not the best passers, ruckers or tacklers).

      ” If the wingers don’t score them then who will? The fwds? The centres?”
      Anyone, Don. Could be the forwards (Furno and Warburton at the weekend for example), it could be the Centres as has actually happened often in this 6N (Scotland, England, Italy and France spring to mind), or indeed anyone else (Allan, Care this past weekend for example)

      “PS And forget the ”We” will you. Speak for yourself. Or are you a royal?”
      No, i’m not a Royal.

      As an aside, what an ironic state of affairs this is whereby, I am told by someone I do not know, and using dubious grammar, how I should construct sentences on a Rugby message board.

      To put your mind at rest, I do not attempt to speak on your behalf. Whomever else I do speak for shall remain unknown, and I have to say I will continue to communicate as I wish, so I would apologise in advance if you find this irritating. It is not my intent.

  20. Henry

    Gor blimey Henry, I thought I was calm. You should see me when I really get angry!

    Maybe you’re just mistaking my passion for anger.

    I can tell you this tho, IMO, yr NH view of wingers’ roles (or in fact yr whole view of how rugby is or ought to played) in light yrs away from the SH views. Of course I can’t actually speak for others, but maybe you can check this out for yrself some time.

    If you really ”don’t care who scores the tries”, all I can say is Gawd help yr team in June. Honestly.

    I don’t actually know what the stats are, but the Kiwi wingers, not always, but pretty often stack ’em high.

    I actually played on the wing 100 yrs ago. My main job was to score tries. If you boil a player’s postional role down to it’s essential or most important component, surely this can’t have basically changed for yonks. To say, as some have, it’s not so, for me, seriously, beggers belief.

    A 1/2 back’s job, e.g., is surely to have an accurate, bullet pass to set the backline up. Not an only role, but if he can’t pass. It all goes per shaped innit?

  21. Blub

    Had to wait yr turn due to the deluge.

    Interesting that you felt it nec to go into overdrive in yr response, but isn’t it a little akin to saying that the sun’s going to rise tomorrow.

    I know that a winger’s role can be many-fold? I played prov rugger there FCOL, albeit 100 yrs ago, as a nipper.

    But like most other players’ roles, to boil it down, when on ‘D’ he needs to defend in whatever form it may take, but when he’s on attack, he needs to score tries.

    All players roles are manifest. E.g. if an all singing, all dancing 1/2 back doesn’t possess an accurate, long, bullet pass to set up his b/line he ain’t worth didley to his team. Well, actually, he might be worth… didley.

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