International Scout Notes: September 24th


Ben Foden

There were many excellent performances to choose from as Northampton and Gloucester served up a real rugby treat. George North once again dazzled but it was an England fullback who provided two of the most telling contributions. If it weren’t for the boot of Twelvetrees, this would have been a day to savour for Foden as he danced over the line and then showed excellent hands in assisting in what may turn out to be the try of the season. International inclusion was limited for the Northampton man last year through pure bad luck with injuries taking their toll. However regular starts at club level and playing alongside the weapon that is George North will undoubtedly provide the platform to push on and catch Stuart Lancaster’s eye.

Danny Cipriani

I for one am hoping that it’s not going to be the story of what could have been for Danny Cipriani. The much talked about fly-half’s performance last weekend was a cheery reminder of his capabilities as he came off the bench to mastermind a victory over London Wasps. A lovely inside ball to Cueto, a solid display from the boot and some excellent quick feet for a try of his own meant Sale continued their improved start to season and the former England fly-half notched 21 points. The Autumn Internationals might be too close for a shot at international redemption, but more performances like this may well lead to another opportunity in an England shirt in the future.

Joe Marler

Harlequins endured a frustrating opening period against Worcester as, for all their possession, they failed to put daylight between themselves and their opponents. However, international quality shone through as Danny care raced away and Joe Marler bulldozed his way over the line. The Harlequins prop has been outshone by rivals Vunipola and Corbisiero of late and has some real competition for finding his way back into Stuart Lancaster’s plans. Nevertheless, he has certainly done himself a favour with a powerful performance this weekend. He was a constant psychical presence at the breakdown and dominant in the scrum. It will hard to overlook him come the Autumn should he maintain this form.

Jonny Gray

At just 19 years old, Jonny Gray is already setting the rugby world on fire with Friday night’s Man of the Match showing against reigning RaboDirect Pro12 champions Leinster yet another example of what a talent he is. Once tipped by his older brother, Richie, as the one to watch out of the two of them, the 6ft 6in younger Gray is only three inches shorter than his older brother while weighing the same 19 stones. Joining Glasgow in the summer of 2012 following stand-out performances for Hamilton and Scotland Under-20’s, he has since gone on to collect nine under-20 caps and captain the side in the recent Six Nations.

Eli Walker

Eli Walker endured the most frustrating six months of his rugby life after being selected for Wales squad for the 2013 Six Nations Championships, before suffering a back injury which required surgery meaning he missed out on the remaining league campaign, the Six Nations tournament and the recent summer tour of Japan.

Now he is injury free and ready to pick up where he left off following some intense off-season workouts. He has played in all three of the Ospreys’ opening fixtures in the RaboDirect Pro12 with a two-try starring performance against Edinburgh on Saturday reminding everyone what this fiery winger can do. Now that he is back, Walker is hoping to once again challenge the likes of George North, Alex Cuthbert and teammate Daf Howells, who emerged into the international fold during Walker’s injury layoff, for places in this Autumn’s internationals and the Six Nations Championships.

By Jono Frank and Alex McLeman

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

21 thoughts on “International Scout Notes: September 24th

  1. I’m really hoping that Foden is given the 15 shirt for England in the AIs. I think he is a class above Brown in terms of his all round game and try scoring ability. Goode for me is way off both of them; particularly with Twelvetrees likely to fill an additional playmaker role in the back line.

    I like Marler but I would be very surprised if he gets past Vunipola or Corbs in the match day 23. With performances like this weekend though he is a very effective third choice!

    1. I agree re Foden, and i’m a Quins fan.

      Brown is a good out and out fullback, but Foden’s game is just that little bit better. They are both head and shoulders above Goode in terms of attacking ability.

      I would play Foden as i think he is more adaptable.

      1. 100% with you Andy, Brown is a very solid full back, but I think he’s come up a bit short at international level (no tries in 18 caps and not heads up ball in two hands running that Foden provides, so not as an effective provider).

        I’ll be livid if Goode is ahead of either, but think it’s got to be Foden starting, Brown possibly back into the 23 with Tuilagi out.

        1. But how many of those caps was he played in the correct position for?

          Would also bet that despite no tries, he leads or is the top 2 of the stats for defenders beaten and metres made over those 18 games

          Given his scoring record for the past few years (consistently in the top 10 try scorers in the premiership – has scored more than Foden), I’d suggest that its the way England have used him rather than any ability he is lacking

          1. Yes he’s not always been in his best position, but you hope that guys on the wing will generally have a better strike rate than guys at full back as there are more try scoring opportunities out wide. Foden was also moved to the wing to accommodate Brown at full back on the SA tour, Foden scored from the wing.

            Brown is not a bad player, he does a lot of stuff well, but he’s not demonstrated the cutting edge required of a top class international back 3 player. Foden has.

            It was right to give him a chance at international level, his club form has been consistently good, he’s done OK. If we keep picking him over a proven international finisher (and provider) I’ll be very disappointed.

            1. I was about to reply but it would read exactly as Matt has put before me. Brown is a good player. Foden is a level above.

              1. Wingers should score more than fullbacks (tho Brown has a better try scoring record than the vast majority of premiership wingers) but Brown isn’t a winger. He’s a fullback who was asked to play as a winger. Don’t blame the player for the decision to play him out of position.

                As a fullback, I believe he has a better all-round game than Foden. Foden is the better counter-attacker. For me, Brown has a better boot, slightly better defense and is no slouch in the counter-attacking stakes either.

                Its a moot point because they didn’t, but had England consistently played him at fullback, I believe his return in terms of tries would have been much better.

                As for having a cutting edge, the numbers of metres he’s made and the defenders he’s beaten (against the top teams in the world) prove that he has that edge. If England can’t capitalise on the breaks he makes and the holes he creates, the way that quins do, then that says more about England than it does about Brown

                1. Sorry Pablito, but for me he doesn’t have the vision of Foden. As stated below Foden makes those around him better. I don’t think Brown does

  2. Foden / Brown – a good dilemma to have

    Can anyone who has watched Sarries’ games to far tell me how Vunipola is dealing with the new scrummaging laws?

    1. Pablito I can tell you that Vunipola has not struggled in any way with the new laws. If anything I think they have helped him. I’ve been to our first three games and I don’t recall him specifically giving away any penalties at scrum time. Long may it continue!!

      1. Think the new rules suit him, he wasn’t the most dynamic on the hit and did not bridge the gap quickly. Therefore was in a poor position after the hit more often than not. He just seems much more suited to a test of strength/technique after the hit rather than a test of power on the hit.

        Long may it continue ….. in a white or red/white striped shirt!

          1. Excellent. Thought his technique might be lacking – obviously not

            What a choice Lancaster has at loosehead with Corbs, Vunipola and Marler!

  3. Foden has always to me looked a class above Brown. They’re different players, but I think Foden’s counter attack and finishing is just sublime, and he showed it at the weekend.

    Mako is looking fine under the new scrummaging laws. Most of the decent scrummagers seem to be having a reasonable time of it though Glaws have been dreadful in all three games and Northampton looked a bit worrying against them, though the scrum was generally a mess in that game.

    1. Foden is miles ahead of Brown. If fit then Foden would have been a serious threat to Halfpenny in the Lions tour. Brown is alright if Foden can’t walk but a fit Foden is the best FB England have by miles. I bet Ashton spends each night praying he can play with Foden again.

  4. I know I mentioned him on a previous post, but I think Duncan Taylor could be elevated to starting 12 for Scotland. His game has improved massively since last season. Filling in for Barritt at 12 for Sarries is no mean feat with regards to defence, but he also picks some good lines, has good hands and is deceptively quick for his size.

  5. If he didn’t have to get past the best fullback in the world then Fussel would be an outside bet for Wales. He is getting better and better for the Os and was arguably their best back in their rout of Edinburgh.

    Danny Cipriani – here we go again. One tidy game…. even his own coach said after the match that it’s seeing if Danny can do that in a run of 2 games, let alone consistently for a few seasons, that is the key to him being picked for Sale, never mind England.

  6. Not sure Foden was ready to displace 1/2penny, but easily the best FB in England. Yes Brown constantly makes metres, but what comes of it? Normally nothing as it is all up blind alleys. Foden makes things happen for people around him (evidence Ashton record with and without him) and has the vision to be on the right shoulder for try scoring passes. Brown doesn’t. Brown isn’t going to let anyone down but Foden makes England a much better attacking threat in the back 3. England have really missed him.

Comments are closed.