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ljkeane

Rugby: A New Dawn

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On 10/31/2020 at 7:49 PM, williamjm said:

There will be some concern about the injuries to Russell and Hastings with the Autumn internationals (or whatever they're called this year) coming up, I'm not sure who would be the fly-half if they were both injured, maybe Duncan Weir?

Going back to this both Russell and Hastings are out of the Autumn Internationals. Which is a bit of a blow for Scotland. I think Weir was the travelling reserve for the Wales game so I'd assume he's next in line.

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

Going back to this both Russell and Hastings are out of the Autumn Internationals. Which is a bit of a blow for Scotland. I think Weir was the travelling reserve for the Wales game so I'd assume he's next in line.

Weir is a competent fly half with plenty of experience but he's not the same attacking threat that Russell (or Hastings) are so I think this does weaken the team.

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An historic win for Argentina against New Zealand today, 25:15. I've got to find some extended coverage but the update feeds I've been following suggests an inspired attitude by the Pumas on both attack & defense, and ill discipline & poor handling on part of the All Blacks. Well done Pumas, its been a long time coming.

Edited by ithanos

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Great game. Honestly I thought Argentina were going to struggle with their less than optimal preparation against a New Zealand side already with games under their belts but Argentina were fantastic. Having talked about Australia's poor tackling costing them in one of the earlier games this morning the Pumas' tacking was really good and the All Blacks got ragged in the face of it pretty early in the game and never recovered.

A bit of a concerning game for Wales last night. I know Pivac wants to change how they play to a more attacking style and that might take a bit of time but they need to get some front foot ball to play that way and they got completely blown away up front. Lowe was good in his first game for Ireland.

On the England game today I'm not a huge fan of the side Jones has picked again. I really think he needs to start picking a more dynamic balance in the backrow. I've got no problem with having a look at Willis but don't pick a second row alongside him. In general I'd like to start seeing a bigger ball carrier at six. I know Curry and Underhill are both excellent  but I think Jones needs to make the tough choice and just pick one at openside.

Finally it's a bit disappointing to see France Fiji called off due to covid in the other group. I think that was likely to be the best game in that side of the tournament.

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1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

RIP Christophe Dominici.

One of the greats, and only 48!

Wow, that's terrible. It sounds like it may have been suicide too. :frown5:

When I think of French flair it's always Dominci and Bernat-Salles carving up the All Blacks in 1999 that comes to mind.

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Well that went a bit wrong for Argentina.

The All Blacks played a lot better and they'd obviously had a bit of tactical adjustment to negate the Argentinian defence. The kicking game in behind Argentina and short passing worked pretty well.

Having said that despite New Zealand playing well I think Argentina have to look at themselves a bit. Ledesma carries a lot of the blame for ringing all the changes, especially in the tight five. They clearly didn't want to play in their own half but with the set piece going wrong and, apparently, only one kicking option in Sanchez they just set themselves up to spend the entire game defending. They did still defend pretty well until they conceded the soft tries at the end which in all likelihood cost them the chance of winning the tournament next week.

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England are a bit of a chore to watch at the moment. They're obviously difficult to play against and they never really looked liked losing today but it'd be nice if they played some rugby now and then. It doesn't feel like there's been much progression since the World Cup.

Wales were ok. They did have a lot of injuries today so it was always going to be tough but, again, they never really looked like beating England. They could do with showing some progression too.

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So England win the Autumn Nations Cup. It's not really a great look for them how much difficulty they had putting away a reserve French side though. It really exposed the limitations of their gameplan when the can't bully the opposition. On the other hand it was a cracking effort from that largely inexperienced French team and a good demonstration of the depth they have at the moment.

With the end of the international rugby season for 2020 it does seem like a good time to start picking theoretical Lions sides. I'm struggling to remember a few of the games from the start of the year but I'll give it a go.

1. Vunipola. A strong position with several good options but Vunipola's the front runner.

2. George. Pretty nailed on I think.

3. Furlong. Sinckler's probably the form player at the moment but Furlong's got enough credit in the bank that if he comes back next year and hits his best form it should be his shirt.

4. Itoje. Very nailed on.

5. Ryan. It'll be very competitive trying to win the position alongside Itoje in the second row but I think Ryan's probably the frontrunner at the moment.

6. Doris. Not a strong position at the moment. You could play Curry there like England do but I think it'll need a more physical presence there against the Springboks. Doris plays 8 more often but he has played 6.

7. Curry. A very strong position. There are four or five players who I'd have no concern about starting there and a bunch of others who could be good given the chance. Still, I think Curry's probably the stand out flanker in world rugby at the moment.

8. Vunipola. He's not quite the force of nature he was a few years ago with ball in hand but he's still the best ball carrier available and I think it'll be needed.

9. Price. Another weak looking position. Murray hasn't been playing well for a while, Youngs might be an option if they want to kick the leather of the ball (not out of the question) but not otherwise and none of the Welsh nines really stands out at the moment.

10. Ford. I think it might end up being Farrell but Ford's definitely playing better rugby at the moment. Russell's talented but I don't think there's any chance of Gatland trusting him.

11. May. He's steadily worked his way into being probably the best winger in NH rugby.

12. Farrell. I'm not a huge fan but there's not really another stand out option at the moment so if he's not at 10 he'll probably be 12.

13. Tuilagi. Pretty nailed on if he's fit I think.

14. Liam Williams. I think he's pretty nailed on to be somewhere in the back three.

15. Hogg. He could do with ironing the occasional mistake he's prone to but he is the most dangerous option there.

 

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So the Champions Cup has been hit pretty badly by covid this week with 3 cancellations and one game up in the air with Toulon having, fairly reasonably I think, concerns about playing Scarlets. With this many games off you'd have to worry about how the tournament's going to go over the next few months and even if it's ok from here the potential of losing the current champions and probably pre tournament favourites in Exeter due to a cancelled game would be a blow.

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I've not been paying a huge amount of attention to the build up to the Six Nations because I've been thinking it wasn't going to happen with the French travel restrictions etc. It is going to happen though and it apparently starts this weekend! I really have lost all sense of time.

England have dropped Ford to the bench and gone with a Lawrence and Slade centre partnership for the Scotland game. In terms of the shape of the team I think that's the right thing to do. I think the Ford - Farrell combination has run it's course and we need to pick a more dynamic ball carrier in midfield. Although in terms of the actual selections I think I might have kept Ford and gone with an actual 12 rather than Lawrence (maybe Devoto). In the forwards Wilson comes in for the inured Underhill and Stuart for the suspended Sinckler.

 

Edited by ljkeane

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So, er, yeah, that was an absolutely terrible performance by England. There were pretty much no redeeming features. It was error strewn and littered with needless indiscipline, the attack was horrendous, the kicking game was rubbish, the set piece was poor, the defence wasn't that bad but it wasn't up to their usual standard. All in all that's just what I needed to cheer me up as an England fan stuck at home with nothing else to do.

It's made worse by the fact that I don't even think Scotland were at their best. They wasted a number of the chances England gave them to score and Finn Russell threw in a stupid penalty for them to get yellow carded but they kept the pressure on England and comfortably deserved the win. Congratulations to them on getting their first win at Twickenham for a long time.

In the other game France, admittedly against a depleted Italy side, looked a bit ominous. Antoine Dupont is very good at rugby.

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That was a shocking and embarrassing performance. Time to go, Jones, the Mourinho of international rugby.

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19 minutes ago, Hereward said:

That was a shocking and embarrassing performance. Time to go, Jones, the Mourinho of international rugby.

I know a guy that played for Eddie Jones for a bit. He's apparently very prescriptive in how he wants his teams to play. I think you see that with his England teams. In situations were Jones has obviously sat down and given them 10 phase moves to run in certain circumstances they can look really good in attack. When they have to think on the hoof for themselves they don't.

The thing for me today is there was just nothing. I thought they were going to come out hot in the second half because that'd be the point Jones tells them to run the plays they've been working on for weeks in the bubble and just nothing happened, even with Scotland being down to 14. If he's not even coming up with anything effective with months to think about it was weeks to work on it I don't really see the point.

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On 2/4/2021 at 11:27 AM, ljkeane said:

I've not been paying a huge amount of attention to the build up to the Six Nations because I've been thinking it wasn't going to happen with the French travel restrictions etc. It is going to happen though and it apparently starts this weekend! I really have lost all sense of time.

I think the English team also seemed to have been surprised that the Six Nations was starting this weekend.

1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

So, er, yeah, that was an absolutely terrible performance by England. There were pretty much no redeeming features. It was error strewn and littered with needless indiscipline, the attack was horrendous, the kicking game was rubbish, the set piece was poor, the defence wasn't that bad but it wasn't up to their usual standard. All in all that's just what I needed to cheer me up as an England fan stuck at home with nothing else to do.

It's made worse by the fact that I don't even think Scotland were at their best. They wasted a number of the chances England gave them to score and Finn Russell threw in a stupid penalty for them to get yellow carded but they kept the pressure on England and comfortably deserved the win. Congratulations to them on getting their first win at Twickenham for a long time.

I definitely wasn't expecting such a one-sided game. Other than the actual scoreboard which was closer than it should have been Scotland seemed to dominate just about every other stat. Scotland need to work on their finishing a bit and there were some silly mistakes but other than that it was a very consistent all-round performance. Cameron Redpath had a great debut where he always seemed to be involved, he looks like a good addition to the side.

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I think that's the least effective I've ever seen an England team be. Scotland were comfortable all through the match.

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Scotland were poor - which is way better than England managed.

 

Hopefully for their sake, a lot of that was lack of self-belief; which that match should have done wonders for.

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22 hours ago, williamjm said:

Cameron Redpath had a great debut where he always seemed to be involved, he looks like a good addition to the side.

Yeah, he's a good player. I know a few people who were involved in age group/schools rugby in Cheshire and the North West while he was at school and he was someone that was always talked about as a serious talent. Scotland have a few good centres.

The game today in Cardiff was comfortably the best of the weekend even with the early red card. Ireland offered loads more in attack with 14 men than England did ever did with 15. Decent performance from Wales too. They looked good ball in hand but they do need to sort out their lineout.

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