RWC 2019 Warm-ups: England v Ireland Prediction

Sam Underhill

England return to Twickenham this weekend, with several more of the first-choice lineup set to feature against Ireland.

However, I can’t quite fathom what Eddie is up to with the midfield, reverting to the George Ford and Owen Farrell partnership and 10 and 12 that hasn’t started a match for over a year. That’s not to say I don’t like this option, and with Manu Tuilagi outside at 13, it could cause havoc to the Irish defence – it’s just that this close to the World Cup, I can’t understand why the England captain and key player is being played out of position.

Are we to blame Ben Te’o, who would have been selected but for the bust up with Mike Brown? Is it that Eddie’s team principles have left England to reshuffle in a bid to get their best players on the pitch, or at least to avoid having to pick Piers Francis?

Jonny May and Joe Cokanasiga feature on the wings, which could well be the first-choice pairing, and Elliot Daly gets another run at full-back. Anthony Watson is not in the squad, so does not appear to be in contention to start at 15, which is somewhat confusing.

Billy Vunipola starts at Number 8 once again, but I might rather be protecting the only 8 in the squad and such a pivotal player for England’s front foot gameplan.

Sam Underhill and Tom Curry will be an intriguing combination on the flanks, reminiscent of (although not yet in the same league as) David Pocock and Michael Hooper that were so devastating at the last World Cup. The pair should be able to improve on England’s weak breakdown performance from last weekend.

It’s a strong Ireland team, save for Ross Byrne in the key fly-half position who makes his first start, auditioning to be one of Jonny Sexton’s understudies. Otherwise the likes of Tadhg Furlong, CJ Stander, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose and Jacob Stockdale could well cause problems.

I fancy England to win though: the personnel changes should ensure a significant improvement on last week, and with home advantage in a match with little at stake, hopefully England will prevail.

England by 7

23 thoughts on “RWC 2019 Warm-ups: England v Ireland Prediction

  1. Speaking purely as an English man, i just hope we are far more dynamic than last week.
    On the subject of Teo, i wonder if he announced his jaunt overseas in camp and Ed reacted too swiftly in telling him he may as well leave the camp because his int’l career was effectively over?
    Ireland by 8.

    1. Doubt it Eddie would have taken him to the world cup still as he was still contracted in England when the squad was announced.
      it all seems to hinge on this spat with Brown that everyone is keeping very stchum about

    2. I don’t think that’s the case with Teo as he has signed with Toulon purely as world cup cover. His contract ends when the world cup does.

      1. Makes sense. Rest seem speculative. Why get rid of only effective Tui rival, cover? As logical as leaving a job without 1st securing another!

        1. What DO you mean Don??? Mr Jones would never leave anything to chance , particularly when it it comes to planning for EVERY contingency………..!
          I don’t buy this “spat in training” crap. Even if they had literally spat at each other is that enough to merit leaving both at home?
          Good God, players used to have actual punch ups in training back in the day. What are we led to believe about the current squad, that they all go to a tea dance and a Buddhist prayer meeting after “practice”? No, there is more to this than meets the eye. Someone has challenged Ed’s position and come off the loser. The days of johnno and Madam Macaleese seem like ancient history……….

  2. I think this whole Te’o/Brown spat has been blown hugely out of proportion.
    We all know Mike is, ummm, “passionate” at the best of times, but to be serious enough to drop both of them? Unlikely.

    Brown has been dropped on form alone, and I suspect Te’o’s Toulon contract will run well beyond the end of the World Cup..! He’s made his intentions clear to move to France, and hence he’s no longer in England contention.

    1. Better hope that Tui doesn’t get crocked then Top Cat. Teo is like for like. The others ain’t. Surely his Toulon contract could have been sorted. I mean, it can’t be more comlicated than Brexit can it? Still, there’s always Piers Francis or JJ I suppose.

  3. But IS Farrell out of position? He’s played 12 to Ford’s 10 previously until Eddie benched Ford. Ford’s more innovative. As pointed out, he’s played effectively in a scratchy Leicester side. He was also the season’s top pts accumulator. Maybe Jones is belatedly deploying a variation on NZ’s x2 1st 5’s playmaker system? Also means Slade can ‘replace’ @ Tui 13, or vice versa, maybe later in a game? The Fancis stuff doesn’t make sense. Why pick him only to avoid selecting him? Can only think that Teo ‘chinned’ Eddie, literally or otherwise? Is Coka really 1st choice.. going backwards? Surely Nowell? Don’t understand the obsession with Daly @ 15 either. Or why Watson’s sidelined. No point in trying to fathom Jones here though. He’s just seems enigmatic & limited in his thinking sometimes. Baffling. To ‘protect’ BV requires a viable alternative. Dodgy thinking to ‘cotton wool’ a perceived vital, offensive weapon though? He’s meant to be a tough guy, so what do England do? Save him until the 1/4ers? Might get crocked 1st up thereafter anyway. Who knows? Risk is similar for all players. Can’t predict injury. Don’t know how the flankers will go in tandem, or what
    Jones’s intention is concerning this x2 7’s deployment? We’ll see, but would have been inclined to have had Wilson @ 6.. @ least for a chunk of the game. Presumably the intention though, is to secure quick ball? Ireland do look fairly strong, although Kleyn is also an unknown. England by 7? @ home, quite possibly. Interesting contest. Both coaches could do with the ‘W’.

    1. Eddie is a difficult man to fathom. He was, without doubt, the magic behind the ‘Boks win in France. As a South African I feel for you guys, he seems to be scrambling eggs every time an England team is announced. Don’t know why, I still reckon final is going to be an England ‘Bok affair.

      1. Hi Phil. i wish I shared your conviction about England making the final!
        I can certainly see your boys getting there. Erasmus has done a nice job of melding traditional ‘boks attributes with good wide play and the skills of arguably the best 9 in the world at present.
        A repeat of ’07 would be great (with a reversal of the result!) but i think we will fall at the semis.

  4. Makes sense for Eddie to wheel out Ford/Farrell again to be fair. The combination served him well in his first 2 years and it’s another string to his bow. The fact it hasn’t been tested for a while makes perfect sense to dust off the cobwebs in a warm up game.

    I wonder if he will rest Daly for the Italy game and start Watson at FB? His omission isn’t a complete surprise, he is one of the players recently back from injury and has played 2 games back to back where he was originally a bench player, which leads me to think he wasn’t 100% for those games and was only to receive a cameo from the bench to reintroduce him slowly. Seems to me it’s just a bit of player management.

  5. Think England by 7 is pretty close to the mark, Ireland without Sexton will struggle, he makes the difference imho, might be a different outcome if being played over the water ….

  6. For 2 years Eddie did well with 2 6 1/2’s. Maybe this is a cunning plan playing 2 x 7. He must be thinking this is one more. Genius. Or probably Not.

  7. I’d agree England by circa 7 points. At home and they have had a couple of tests against Wales so I expect to be more in tune with each other. They will no doubt be viewing this as their last real test before the WC and will run out a ‘C’ team v Italy so England will want this win. Ireland might be a bit rusty given they have only played Italy, Sexton is missing and with two tests against Wales in the pipeline I don’t think taking a narrow loss to a near first choice England side at Twickers will concern Schmit that much.

  8. One would imagine that Englands game plan would in theory be simple,though,knowing what to expect and being able to prevent it are two different things entirely.
    The obvious intent will be for Ford to play on the gain line and to send the Big Boys through on a narrow path with the intention of stressing the Irish defence so much that they leave the sides of the defence undermanned.As already demonstrated by Billy,Manu,and Big Joe,you are going to need multiple tacklers to bring these boys down ,let alone stop them,from then on its a matter of getting the timing right once the ball goes out the back,though no defence in the world is going to get anywhere near May when he steps on the gas,EJ seems to have got his wish ,namely heavy duty ball carriers allied with a lot of high class speed merchants.
    The one thing that concerns me is the lack of fast service from Youngs-Is it my impression or has he slowed down?-It is no accident that some of Fords best rugby has been outside the lightning fast Peter Stringer service.
    The selection of Curry and Underhill is intruiging but will have a less detrimental effect on the lineout than the pessemists assume.With my own eyes Ive seen how good Underhill is down at Bath,he certainly has the heft,and if memory serves the Ospreys used him extensively.
    As for a prediction,the old adage applies Forwards win matches,the Backs decide the margin

    1. Nxt thing, you’ll be telling us that defence wins matches. Both are relative. With backs involved in rucks these days for instance & particularly with teams able to win games on 40% possession, this is also due to their (backs) being more proficient. Therefore, these concepts are both somewhat misleadingly simplistic now.

      1. Not really Don-The only thing that matters is what the scoreboard says at 80 mins,how you get there is unimportant,just get there!

        1. Agree. That’s the bottom line JS. A few think loses don’t really matter for various reasons, but they do IMO. For instance, psychologically @ least, whom will be the more confident this afternoon after last yr’s 6N? I just think that wit15 Man rugby league, packed defences these days, the backs need more guile to overcome them, esp in relatively tight games. Of course teams need the fwds to get most of the possession, but I prefer the adage; when you’ve got the ball you’ve got to score (incl tries), when you haven’t, you’ve got to stop the oppo from doing so. See how it pans out later, but with home advantage & nr ‘A’ teams involved, England to prevail? The result matters I think.

  9. How can Jones possibly believe Daly is best 15 ahead of Watson Brown and Goode?How can he leave Armand and Ewers behind?We need a powerful 6 to back up Billy not 2 7’s.England only do well when we dominate up front(said Jones 4 years ago).Still a good win today would be good after a poor performance in Cardiff where we didn’t threaten their line once.

  10. Make that 7, by 27? Bit early really, but the Paddies also rans? Taken to the cleaners. Schmidt past his sell by? Nothing innovative. Turned over almost before the ko! B/row? What b/row? What lineout? Best chucking long for a resultant England try before 1/2 time? All England need do is drive up the guts, Paddies sucked in, chuck it wide, overlap, try. No defence. 21 missed tackles! Mind you v sterner oppo, away, England will need a bit more than R1 & Youngs kicking it all the way to Surbiton instead of Teddington. Based on the 1st 1/2 though, are Ireland a WC threat? Don’t look it. Still, on the bright side, @ least it’s shut Quinlan up a bit. Every cloud.

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