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Which Tyler

Rugby IV - Striking Hookers Are Back In Fashion

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

:lol: Incredible game between England and Argentina. With all the players missing I thought England were going to struggle against a pretty much full strength Pumas side but despite some understandable scrappy play at time they were very good. Wilson and Curry on the flanks were great for their first caps and Denny Solomona showed why Eddie Jones wanted him involved with the finish for the winning try. Of course he was dire up till that point with his missed tackles leading to two of the Argentina tries.

 

It was an excellent match. Curry seemed to everywhere, very impressive. 

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Thoroughly enjoyable game, but Gustard must have had a seizure!

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On 2017-6-10 at 10:30 PM, Which Tyler said:

I don't quite know why, but I still haven't gotten into this lions tour - for the first time I can remember.

I can only think it's the uninspiring head coach, with his uninspiring coaching crew, and largely uninspiring squad selection, and then being on Sky, with hideous commentators, and necessitating a dodgy stream and no beers.

I've watched most of each match, and I'm still not pumped.

You're not alone. I haven't even watched highlights of any of the games played so far. Having live games behind a pay wall has largely put an end to my close following of Rugby out side of world cups.

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These midweek games continue to be pretty discouraging. In theory the Highlanders are a tougher challenge than the Blues but given they were missing a number of players to the All Blacks and Maori squads and the Lions have had more time together it really should have been more straightforward but the Lions fluffed their lines again. Not a lot of players pressing their cases.

From the New Zealand point of view overall Sopoaga overall probably didn't have a great game considering he gave away a couple of tries but he caused the Lions defensive system more problems than Mo'unga did with his kicking game which might be something the All Blacks look at.

On a more positive front the England U20s have made the World Championship final again which isn't a bad effort with the number of players they're missing. It really isn't the traditional English side though; they're a bit lacking in power and their set piece is atrocious but they manage to get by with some lovely ballplayers moving the point of attack. I can't see them getting away with it again in the final though.

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Yep, and England U20 side ravaged by injuries, and call-ups to the senior squad.

It's the front row where we're struggling - which IIRC is only really missing 1 first choice player.

As for "not being the traditional English side" though - there's not really any such thing at this level, it's so much more dependant on who's available over 2 school years, this group just hasn't produced any top-end talent at front row. Of course, you could just be going with the "orcs on steroids" stereotype that gets put out about english age-grade sides; which has also never really been accurate. I remember an England Wales U20s match about 5 years ago when the commentators kept going on about how much bigger and more powerful the English pack were compared to the Welsh; just before a graphic came up on screen showing that the Welsh pack were about 60kg heavier!

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On 14/06/2017 at 1:07 PM, Which Tyler said:

As for "not being the traditional English side" though - there's not really any such thing at this level, it's so much more dependant on who's available over 2 school years, this group just hasn't produced any top-end talent at front row. Of course, you could just be going with the "orcs on steroids" stereotype that gets put out about english age-grade sides; which has also never really been accurate.

I wasn't really talking about age grade rugby in particular, more the general stereotype of traditional English rugby being 10 man rugby behind a dominant pack. Having said that, yes, of course U20s rugby is dependent on the talent available but generally speaking the English sides have at the very least a serviceable pack. They've got a decent backrow this year, especially given they're missing 3 key players, but the work in the tight is probably about as bad as I've seen from an England U20s side.

Given that I can't see them avoiding getting mullered by this New Zealand side unfortunately.

Interesting game between New Zealand and Samoa this morning. The score in the first half really flattered the All Blacks, the officials missed a clear knock on from Savea before the first try and the second came from Samoa losing the ball 5m from the New Zealand try line. Samoa were able to cause them quite a few problems. What it did show is how clinical they are given a chance though and I suppose the point of this game was to knock off any rust. They did run in a lot of tries in the second half but I'm not sure how much you can take from the game once Samoa had run out of steam.

Also the Lions are apparently going to call up a few new players to ensure their test team don't have to play midweek for now on. That does make sense but if those players are taken en masse from the Welsh squad currently in New Zealand I suspect that might not go down well with the Lions fanbase. 

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Posted (edited)

As suspected, those players are mostly from the Welsh squad who just happens to be in NZ anyway through random chance.

Warren specifically rules out any English or Irish as they're too far away, and picks 4 Welshmen and 2 Scots: Kristian Dacey, Cory Hill, Trevor Francis, Gareth Davies, Allen Dell and Finn Russell.

 

Davies and Russell deserve it, and should have been there from the start, but the rest?

Hartley/Ford; Launchbury/Gray/Gray; WPNel; Genge can all be mighty pissed off.

Edited by Which Tyler

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12 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

Davies and Russell deserve it, and should have been there from the start, but the rest?

Hartley/Ford; Launchbury/Gray/Gray; WPNel; Genge can all be mighty pissed off.

Yeah, Davies probably should have gone before Laidlaw to be honest and Russell's fine. The others are at best odd. Maybe you can justify Francis at a stretch if they're concerned about Nel's fitness but even if you accept the geographical justification how the hell are Cory Hill and Dacey ahead of Gray and Brown? Just not a good look.

Add to that I actually do agree if you're calling guys up today to play on Tuesday you need to take into account that players flying in from Argentina/Japan may not be ready. The thing is though these aren't last minute emergency call ups, they apparently always knew they were going to do it. Given that if you need to just call guys up earlier in the week.

Anyway, very straightforward win for the Lions against the Maori this morning. Once again the Saturday pack and Murray absolutely squeezed the life out of the opposition, the Maori were never really in the game. Once again they really failed to turn the forward dominance into tries though which is a real concern. Ok conditions weren't ideal but the degree to which they were on top it really should have a 50 point plus win today.

Anyway in terms of selection it's hard to see how they don't pick today's pack to start the first test. That does lead to some awkward selections; Warburton will probably have to bench and you'd think Gatland would like Alun-Wyn Jones involved but if he's not starting he's not really an impact player off the bench. In the backs it's probably going to be Te'o and Davies in midfield although I'd like to see the wingers given some front foot ball occasionally. Looks like Halfpenny at fullback as well. I'd really prefer someone who offers a bit more threat but with Hogg injured and Payne fluffing his lines a bit with his game at fullback it's hard to see them not taking the safe option and, fair play to him, in terms of being a solid presence at the back he was good today.  

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Great result for Lions today. Outstanding from Itoje, O' Mahony and O' Brien (particularly Itoje). Murray was excellent as usual, the only irreplaceable player for me. Sexton competent, Te'o very good, Davies good too. Back three poor. Halfpenny offers not much in attack, (great kicker but if farrell fit don't need him) North looks hesitant in contact still and just sluggish in general. Watson, fast feet and clear potential, not really delivering on it on tour. Really worried about back three in all its permutations, weakest area. Front row in all its forms excellent too. Laidlaw would struggle to make J4 sunday morning pick up games in the south munster league. WTF he is on that tour for I don't understand. Well we don't have to worry about him being near the test squad surely... 

1st test team

1. Mako

2. George

3.Furlong

4.Kruis

5.Itoje

6. O' Mahony (capt)(should have happened back in april)

7. O' Brien

8. Faletau

9. Murray

10. Farrell (sexton)

11. Earls (there, i said it, Gatland will have north)

12. Te'o

13. Davies

14. watson

15. Mike Brown (Call him up, if farrells out, 1/2p)

 

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1 hour ago, Valandil said:

15. Mike Brown (Call him up, if farrells out, 1/2p)

It's a bit of a moot point as they won't be calling him up anyway but Brown's been on a downward trend with his performances for England for a while now, he really didn't have a great game last week against Argentina.

Given the choice I'd probably go with Liam Williams at fullback but they seem determined to play him as a wing. The best performance at fullback on tour for me was probably Watson off the bench in the Crusaders game.

By the way great win for Scotland in Australia this morning and unlike last time the conditions weren't a factor. Russell had a very good game and I like the look of Price at 9 for them.

Leaving aside the two tries off charge downs the Wallabies will be pretty gutted that the second half was 7 all though. They had more than enough chances to win the game. They really haven't had a great time of it since the World Cup.

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Great win over in Oz today. The winning try was a thing of beauty :D

And it wasn't even a full strength Scottish team! 

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Having just written him off that's probably the best game Mike Brown's had for England for a couple of years. He even passed the ball!

Great result for England to win this series with all the players they're missing on the Lions tour.

In terms of who put their hand up Collier was rock solid in the scrum again and Underhill made a number of big hits, which is probably why Jones likes him. I do think the Curry brothers have the potential to be more rounded players than him though. On the downside Slade didn't have a great game which is a shame. I think he's probably the most talented player in English rugby but he can't seem to consistently put in the performances at the moment. I'd like to have seen a bit more of Maunder as well.

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6 hours ago, The Number 10 said:

Great win over in Oz today. The winning try was a thing of beauty :D

And it wasn't even a full strength Scottish team! 

The last win in Australia was satisfying in its own way, but this one is better due to being a proper game of rugby rather than being played in a monsoon. When I first saw the scoreline I misread it initially as saying Scotland had lost by 5 points, I think I'm too too used to narrow defeats by the Australians.

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9 hours ago, williamjm said:

The last win in Australia was satisfying in its own way, but this one is better due to being a proper game of rugby rather than being played in a monsoon. When I first saw the scoreline I misread it initially as saying Scotland had lost by 5 points, I think I'm too too used to narrow defeats by the Australians.

I know. When Australia went 19-17 in front I was convinced that would be the final score. 

It was a very good performance. Both attacking and defending.

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England's win was enjoyable, despite the shocking number of mistakes. The Red Roses played well and I'm looking forward to the U20s. Who are these Lions clowns? 

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Good performance from the Lions midweek side on Tuesday against an admittedly fairly weakened Chiefs side. Still good to see them finally clicking a bit in attack. The fact that the only player the coaches voluntarily gave less than 80 minutes was Daly suggested to me that they didn't expect any of the others to be involved on Saturday. Alun Wyn Jones subbing made me think he probably wasn't starting as well.

So I'm a bit surprised with the Lions team that's been picked. It looks like both Daly and Williams might have played their way into the team and you'd think they might have had a late change of heart with Jones over Itoje as well given you'd think he'd be captain rather than O'Mahony if he was inked in.

Anyway, overall I'm fairly pleased with that. It looks like they're rewarding form on tour and I'm glad to see they've picked a back three with some threat to it. Personally I'd have gone with Itoje but all the second rows in the squad are excellent players and Jones was good against the Crusaders, at least Itoje does offer a bit more impact off the bench. I'd have gone with Sexton and Farrell in midfield as well but Te'o has played well on tour.

Some surprise selections in the All Blacks team as well. The big shock would be Ioane over Savea I suppose. I not too sure about that one, he was good for the Blues but struggled with Murray's kicking for the Maori. If they weren't happy with Savea I'd probably have gone with Naholo. Crotty over Lienart-Brown is an interesting one too, Crotty's an excellent player but I think he's more of a 12 than a 13 and Lienart-Brown was very good in their warm up game.

Not necessarily surprising but Read playing with no rugby under his belt has to be a bit of a gamble. I thought they might go with Perenara ahead of Smith as well. Given clean ball Smith's the best 9 in world rugby but he can struggle a bit if his pack's on the back foot so I thought the more abrasive Perenara might leapfrog him.

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So that didn't go well.

The kick chase off Murray's box kicking was reasonably effective, they caused the All Blacks some problems in the lineout and the back three looked sharp in attack so you'd think that's a solid foundation for the Lions. Unfortunately the pack got dominated outside of the lineout and any plans around putting pressure on New Zealand with their line speed in defence are completely irrelevant if they're consistently making yards around the fringes. There's just no chance the Lions are going to win a game with New Zealand having around 60% of possession. Gifting them three soft tries doesn't help either.

All in all I think the first test was probably the Lions best chance so I think we're facing another poor test series in New Zealand.

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TBH, that match, and result, was about in-line with my expectations.

The kiwis coped with our power up front, which surely was only a surprise to Gatland.
Our power in midfield was making progress into the Kiwi defence, but not quite breaking it - which surely surprised nobody, or maybe made a little more progress than some expected.
Our broken field play from the back 3 was pretty exciting.

We couldn't keep up with the pace, intensity and daring that the AB's put on the game - we won't surprise anyone who actually follows rugby.

The Lions had 3-5* try scoring opportunities, and converted about 50% of them - which sounds about right (and very pleasing that we manufactured that many TBH).
The ABs had 3 try scoring opportunities, and converted 100% of them - which sounds about right.

In reaction Gatland calls for "more physicality" from the lions - which once again, is 100% expected from him.


*Daly in the opening minute, Te'o slipping going for the inside shoulder, Watson trying to force one more offload - personally I'd call 4 good opportunities

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