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The Third Half: Who will Eddie pick in Australia?

This week on The Third Half, the guys discuss Eddie Jones’ England selection dilemmas in the midfield and the back-row

This week on The Third Half, the guys discuss Eddie Jones’ England selection dilemmas in the midfield and the back-row. They also tackle the new law trials, and Sonny Bill Williams’ return to union.

Video credit: The Rugby Revolution

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18 replies on “The Third Half: Who will Eddie pick in Australia?”

Why would you even spare a thought about it. Ozzies are a better rugby team, better 1-on-1, better coach at the helm. And it’s touted as the most interesting clash. What’s wrong with rugby in the NH?

Whilst being relatively optimistic with regards the next 5 years of English rugby I can’t see us getting anything but soundly thrashed by the wallabies. The English love to forget recent history. 6 months ago, with a similar strength team we were beaten by 20 points (at home) by a team playing well within themselves! Do you know the bookmakers actually has England as favourites for that pool game!!! If we hold our own in the set piece, play with some structure and score a few tries whilst witnessing the emergence of one or two exceptional future talents I will be delighted whatever the result. I expect England to lose the tests by an average of 15-18 points per game as a result of the Aussies accuracy in executing their set moves and willingness to exploit turnovers.

Recent history: the same English team which were thrashed by the Wallabies were beaten by Wales 28-25 and have just put 5 tries on them. Australia have also lost a significant number of key experienced players. Whilst it will be an uphill battle I think it will be a lot closer than that.

So that form line means a 15-20 point England win (I jest of course)? I take your point and am not than happy to be proved wrong… Also, I think a great amount can be gained from the tour regardless of the result (the adage of you can gain so much more from a defeat than a win) but I shall be watching with interest and in no way disappointed of we get walloped but unveil a couple of gems (or confirm a couple of retirements)

I feel sorry for the quins lad (long hair back row) who I thought would have been perfect in the SH conditions and I’d have started for the tests along with TH and Billy (at 6)

In regards to your views on Scotland’s squad, surely Peter Horne can be an option at 10? Did pretty well against France!

Looking forward to the Suncorp Brisbane test Aussie V England see quite a few remarks in press in regards to England
Looking forward to the clash and think England are a quality team touring downunder
It’s going to be a tight match going down to the wire I think
England could pull of a suprise in first test
however it’s going to be a cracker of a test series my prediction 2 to I to the Aussies

I think with the personnel that Australia are missing this is England’s best chance of winning down under. With Jones at the helm we have looked more composed, more confident (Ford aside!) in our own ability and willing to take the chances in attack that we wouldn’t have under Lancaster.

I think Jones’s team selection has been based more around attacking than defending, and although it didn’t need much changing, bringing in guys like Clifford, Itoje has put us on the right path. It will also be interesting to see how the Saxons team goes and who, if anyone, will be promoted if someone gets injured?

Whilst I am excited to watch the games, anything but a series win has to be classed as a disaster for Australia.

They are the second rated team in the world playing the fourth on their home turf with a long history of not losing to touring N Hemisphere teams.

If England take 1 game, I reckon that’s progress. If they win two and the series, then that is a fabulous result.

BTW – the media rumour mill seems to have Te’o in the starting side. If true, I am not overly happy about the parachuting in of another rugby league mercenary. Would feel sorry for Burrell, who played well against Wales

I’m a bit torn on Te’o in that I agree – clearly a mercenary. But then again, 12 is a massive issue for England which he could sort without Manu around.

First test I’d go:
Mako, Hartley, Cole, Kruis, Itoje, Harrison, Haskell, Vunipola, Youngs, Farrell, Nowell, Te’o, JJ, Watson, Goode
George, Mullan, Hill, Launchbury, Clifford, Care, Ford, Daly

Real decision for me is Burrell vs Te’o, but I can’t see how either can offer a bench spot so it is start of be dropped. The other call is Ford vs Slade for a bench spot, I don’t think either warrant a start on form and cover the same position really.

Yes – obviously Jones doesn’t care so long as Te’o can help him win.

But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth (if the Aussies had come up with the cash, he might have been lining up in green and gold!) and I think it is a very iffy call given the bloke has no international union experience.

I like your team but would personally switch-

Te’o for Burrell

Youngs for Care – Youngs was awful against Wales, especially at the start and we can’t afford a rubbish start against Aus

Harrison for Haskell and bring in Robshaw – I thought Haskell looked a touch knackered and off the pace against Wales and would be further exposed against Aus

Slade for Ford – neither are in great form but Slade can cover 10,12 and 13

And I’d be slightly tempted to play Genge as one of the replacement props.

Rumoured Maro at 6 instead of Robshaw with Joe in 2nd row.Delighted if true.Eddie quickly spotted Robbo and Wood are no more than plodders and not athletes.Got rid of one with hopefully the 2nd one on his way.With Maro and Joe We starting to get a great pack with only Haskell to be replace with a genuine 7.There are 4 good candidates-Clifford Kosevic Harrison and Wallace

Not happy about the Itoje rumour to 6 – partly because the England camp seem to be leaking team news again – but also because of the possible move

Kruis and Itoje have formed the most effective lock partnership in the Northern Hemisphere, both at club and international level. They are well on their way to becoming world class (whatever Don P says). Breaking that partnership up and moving Itoje to a position he does not normally play (yes I am aware he has played there before) to shoehorn Launchbury in is absolutely unnecessary.

Clearly Saracens believe Itoje’s best position is at lock – otherwise they’d be playing him at blindside.

As for the comment above. To call Robshaw a plodder is absurd. He has started 48 tests for England with a win percentage of 63% (84% in the 6 Nations). Teams he has played in or captained have beaten every other team they have played against at least once, with the sole exception of the draw with the Boks. He has won a Grand Slam. He has won multiple Man of the Match awards. During this time, in which he was mostly played at 7 – a position that he was not naturally suited to – he has faced some of the best number 7s of the past decade and in McCaw perhaps the best ever – and yet has never taken a backward step or looked outclassed. Even in the thumping by Wales he was one of the few English players who could hold their head high on leaving the pitch.

He is anything but a plodder.

However, as with Haskell, the time has come for replacements to be made for them and its good to see Harrison getting game time at 6. I would personally like Ewers involved as well -and I’d imagine there are thoughts about Hughes at bliindside when he qualifies. What we don’t need is to take a brilliant player out of his best position when there is absolutely no need to.

It’s the same muddled thinking that led to Tuilagi being played on the wing or Lawes on the flank

I have no idea whether or not Ewers is slower than Haskell, although I’d be suprised if he was.

He is a more than solid though, he’s a monster. A great work-rate, incredibly strong on the carry and in the tackle, pretty decent at turning ball over, great at hitting rucks and with suprisingly good hands. A Kaino type of blindside, rather than a Robshaw one

Imagine a back five eventually of Kruis/Launchbury, Itoje, Ewers, Clifford and Vunipola – that would take some stopping

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