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Performances, not just results, should be taken into account to assess England, says Stuart Barnes.Back to story
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Robin Gee says...
Lose more than 2 games in the 6 Nations and we will be looking for a new manager And rightfully so
Posted 06:03 1st December 2012
Patrick Agnew says...
In response to Conor O'leary's comment, you claim Lancaster makes the right personnel changes then went on to state Robshaw and Barritt are over-rated - these are 2 of the players who start every game . Robshaw is a good captain, Barritt is hopeless. As is Waldrom, Brown and every english hooker other than Hartley. Bring in youth and game-changers and a southern hemisphere coach who understands the breakdown and doesn't over-coach
Posted 13:38 30th November 2012
Doug Rice-bowen says...
Stuart, I was fortunate to be at Twickenham to wath the Oz game and saw the SA game on television. It is interestin how seeing games live give you a very different perspective. I think we are all missing the point of these 'close' games. The issue is not what happens in the last 5, 10 or 15 minutest but the way England butcher chances on a regular basis. Is it sacralige to suggest that Manu might not actually be the best fit for the team? If we need Barrit so desperately then we must have a creative force in the midfield. I fear we are getting into the same situation with Tuilagi as we were with tindal; he can run hard and make ground but either can not or does not pass. We must be the only test playing nation who likes non passing centres. Stuart what is to be done? On the plus side generally at least we picking the right players and they will develop up to 2015 so all is not doom and gloom. Doug
Posted 16:28 26th November 2012
Mick Collyer says...
Hi Stuart Although there were encouraging signs from the pack against South Africa the whole series has shown up the lack of quality for England at 9,10,12 & 13, none of them would get in any of the big 3 teams. Youngs has gone backwards, Care hasn't got it, Flood is average, Farell Barritt & Tualagi are all 1 dimensional. but what are the options? Goode has impressed at 15,and could play at 10 or 12 when Foden is fit, is Burns ready yet, Twelvetrees and or Allen in the centre? 9 is a big problem though as I cant see any good young talent coming through What re your thoughts Stuart
Posted 14:36 25th November 2012
Henry Steen says...
May I ask Stuart Barnes his opinion why Billy Twelvetrees is not considered for the England 1st 15? He has the size, appears to have the speed and skills and on the face of it would be the ideal 12 for England. What are the weaknesses others see in him that hold him back?
Posted 12:17 22nd November 2012
Mike Trousdale says...
Stuart, I'm a bok supporter. As much as England supporters are frustrated with their side, so are we with ours. Look, I think England are less experienced than our boys at the moment and 70% of the time that's usually the difference. I think our game is a bit more accurate than England's at the moment especially in the lineout, the maul and defence. But I think our boys are starting to suck air a bit. Our boys are tired and are looking forward to that ice bath after the game knowing they got the next 6 weeks off. I agree with Clive Woodward's half time view that England need to play the game faster. The big boys from the highveld like a scrap and like to just barge their way through without thinking like the Aussies do or finishing like the All Blacks do. England need to get under the skin of these big bullies so that they lose concentration for that split second and let someone like Danny Care to take advantage. England need to ruffle their feathers and they need to be 15% fitter than the boks. Once we get tired, we lose our ability to string together our mauls and we begin to kick the ball away aimlessly. Aimless kicking - if ever there was an opportunity to punish the boks, it's on our bad kicking. NZ do it to us now with their eyes closed... one last thing - We give a lot of penalties away. Flood has to nail all his kicks. I hope the Boks dominate, but I think England have enough to win the game if they are clever - there's always a bit of luck up for grabs in every game.
Posted 00:00 21st November 2012
Mick Collyer says...
I agree totally with .Nick Hughes. I said when the squad was announced that 10,12, 13 lacked invention. Tualagi is a 1 trick pony & Barritt is not much better. Both should be replaced with Goode, Allen, Twelvetrees & Joseph considered as replacements. In the pack Launchbury should start, and Lawes if he is fit, what does Parling do apart from run the lineout? Wood should replace Johnson, Waldrom has been awful with Haskell, Morgan, Dowson & Easter all better options.
Posted 14:01 20th November 2012
Jimi Macdonald says...
Stuart - Having been at the game against Fiji and watched closely from home last weekend I am concerned that England¿s perennial centre problem is no closer to being resolved. The balance in the midfield does not seem right. On a number of occasions Manu Tuilagi opted to run laterally with the ball under one arm and try to fend his way past opposition rather than running a good angle (which he is more than capable of) or running straight to fix defenders and move the ball wide to give our wingers the space to take on players one on one. Whilst it was a powerful finish for the try against Australia I felt it could have been finished more easily by fixing players and passing the ball (had he not been awarded the try I imagine Sharples may have felt slightly irritated!). How do you think England can address this problem? Is it a coaching or personnel point?
Posted 11:53 20th November 2012
David Paxton says...
Serious return to form Stuart. At least someone is saying it. I fear after this coming fortnight there will be a clamour to repeat it among the far less ballsy members of the commentariat.
Posted 10:32 20th November 2012
R T says...
On Saturday, too may players not up to the level required for international rugby. Marler will come good but needs to improve his scrummagging. Props need to do their job first, the loose play is a bomus. Corbs a much better be gives us both his injury record is a worry? Youngs will fair better in the tight alongside him but we need Hartley back soon.Cole, solid. Must get Lawes and launchbury in. Armitage needs to come in ASAP, Robshaw is no 7 and for me looks short of real class. Had a shocker against Oz. How many times did he clog the midfield taking the ball stationary? Easter back please. Waldrom isnt good enough. Morgan on the bench. Haskell 6. Care, Flood, Ashton, Barrett,Joseph, Armitage, Goode, with Foden to come back. MIKE BROWN ISNT GOOD ENOUGH! No pace for an international 15 is suicidal. Good rugby brain but no.We need to try the likes of Wade, Burns, from the bench, cant start them against the Boks or ABs.... In my opinion. Rant over. Oh and Lancaster... not good enough.
Posted 10:05 20th November 2012
Peter Rae says...
Results give you world ranking points not performances.....fact!!!!!!
Posted 08:29 20th November 2012
Conor O'leary says...
Stuart, I don't see how you can say England should have beaten Australia. This English team has and is completely over-rated by the English media. Australia aren't what they were, but are still a very good side, well capable of beating England, as seen on Saturday. The calls to question of Lancaster seem ridiculous to me. For once, it feels like to the rest of the world, that your team has someone who knows what they are doing. Lancaster is making all or nearly all of the right personnel changes, and trying to make the necessary tactical changes to make England a force again. And he's bringing through some quality youth, while bringing some depth to your squad. The English media need to wake up and realise how ordinary players like Robshaw and Barritt are. And while Chris Ashton is the best support runner in the world, he doesn't have many other bows to his string. Lay off Lancaster.
Posted 21:17 19th November 2012
James Curtis says...
Couldn't agree more with Mike Green. It's too easy to say what you're saying in hindsight. A young team with a long term plan shouldn't be subjected to such short term evaluation.
Posted 19:38 19th November 2012
Nick Hughes says...
When will England learn that you need more than a blunt-edged bludgeon to break down the Southern Hemisphere teams. Many well respected pundits in the lead up to this game were congratulating Lancaster for his selection of Goode ahead of Brown at full back, seen as a move aimed at bringing creativity to a one dimensional and guileless English midfield (remember Ashton has not scored a try in the last 10 tests). Yes Goode is one of the more inventive and intelligent footballers in the team, but since when did a full back ever add creativity to a midfield? This is a perfect example of England¿s flawed thinking when it comes to the attacking play - Tuilagi is not an outside centre, and probably not a centre either in my view, in the same way Mike Tindall never was. Yes Goode is a very decent full-back, but if you want to exploit his creative and distributive abilities then you need to play him in a position where he can bring these attributes to bear. Goode does have many of the hallmarks of a decent inside centre, though he would likely be judged too lightweight and not potent enough in defence for that position for the majority of English rugby luddites. For too long we have picked centres on account of their ability to make first up tackles to hold firm on the gain line. England management needs to have a fundamental re-think of what they require from their 10, 12, 13 midfield axis, because one thing is for sure a combination of Flood, Barrett and Tuilagi will not trouble sides like the Boks and the Blacks!
Posted 18:25 19th November 2012
Roger Hale says...
Hi Stuart I agree with most of your comments, at the time of writing Marler's fitness is doubtful so Corbiere looks certain to be added to the squad. If Armitage is not added (probably much too bold for Lancaster) I would include Morgan and Burns what are your views, Stuart? I would select the following for Saturday: Cole Vanipola Youngs Launchbury Parling Wood Robshaw Morgan Youngs Flood Goode Sharples Ashton Joseph and Barritt - with the bench being: Corbesiere Wilson Paice Palmer Waldron Care Burns Brown. What do you think, Stuart? Roger Hale
Posted 15:37 19th November 2012
Mike Green says...
Stuart, Stuart, Stuart...I reckon you keep a positive and negative article in waiting for each England match. I can't understand how you can agree with all of Lancaster's selections, policies and tactics pre-match only to write off his ideals after a loss. The difference in Saturday's game was merely a matter of international experience, and it will be a lesson leaned by Lancaster and his players. I think the majority know that England should have won that test on Saturday, but it was a few wrong decisions that ultimately cost them, and in time those decisions will improve. You talk about Quins and Robshaw and their ability to learn quickly so why the loss of faith all of a sudden. I think England are showing good patches of attacking rugby and they will only get better at it with more game time. Once England click in attack they will unlock defences, and i wouldn't be too surprised if they do it against the Boks this weekend. Hopefully they do so you can use the positive prepared article...even if they're a little light in stock within your desk drawer.
Posted 13:16 19th November 2012
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