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A big decision now has to be made, with Launchbury and Lawes both performing like extra flankers I think we need to play another ball carrier in the back row, which means either Robshaw or Wood have to make way for Morgan, what say you Mr Barnes??
Posted 07:19 5th February 2014
Stuart, Sam Burgess is arguably the most powerful rugby player on the planet, and also has good hands, subtle skills and the ability to think on his feet. For the past year he has been completely dominating the apparently peerless Sonny Bill Williams, which no-one else can even dream of. Having played both codes in the centres at a decent amateur level, I have no doubt Sam would be an outstanding number 12. Jean De Villiers, Fofana and Nonu would all struggle against him. Can u imagine Burgess and Tuilagi in the centres? The gain-line would unquestionably be ours. There is no point wasting his power and talent in the forwards, a world-class back-line could be built around him! However, if he didn't cross codes, I would like to see Twelvetrees moved to 13, where he would have more time to make decisions and use his considerable array of talents. International rugby has found that a crash-ball centre is more useful at 12, against the common blitz defence and distribution and decision-making are more useful at 13. In my eyes Burrell and Tuilagi should only be considered at 12 for a more effective back line. As we have seen Tuilagi is astonishing being put through a gap, not running in the line trying to put his winger away! Which is why Leicester and England seem to waste him.
Posted 15:32 4th February 2014
Stuart, I would suggest unlike most others including pundits and ex players that Englands loss to France could be put down to bad game management by Danny Care.Everyone is talking about the fact that he should not have been substituted,and I agree he was causing France problem.However his "tap and go" obsession sometime goes way too far particularly at this level.Care has never impressed in H-Cup where pace and good calls are required, and you can multiply that at test level.To "tap and go" once and get away with it was a big bonus,but it was pure silly to try it again with 3 points on offer at the end of the first half.That equates to a one point winning margin as it would not have altered game play, being the last act of the half,just the scoreboard.Youngs would never have done anything so silly !!
Posted 10:59 4th February 2014
I don't know why England fans are so downcast. I am Irish but felt very sorry for England as I thought they played very positive attacking rugby which, with all due respect, is not something England have done much of for a long time. They were seriously unlucky with the bounce of the ball for the first two French tries and all in all it was a positive performance. Although I do think they still lack real creativity in the centre from open play. Farrell is a great kicker and brave as you like but has limited creativity. One criticism of Lancastor was the taking off of Care, he was a real threat all day and I thought the attack went flat after his removal.
Posted 09:14 4th February 2014
Dear stuart i'm not going to moan about premature substitutions but i am going to moan about the balance of the substitutions. i think stuart lancaster should have dropped Barritt and Goode, he should have picked Ford and Watson, watson can play wing or full back so brown could have stayed at full back rather than going to the wing, Ford could have come on for Farrell if needed or farrell could have moved to inside centre to accommodate Ford at fly half. i, like you feel that the loss against France can only be a good thing in the long run.
Posted 22:16 3rd February 2014
Hi Stuart, you gave a couple of young players their debut against France. How did you think they played and will they get a second game in this tournament? Sam bates, age 12. Exeter Chiefs fan
Posted 20:30 3rd February 2014
Stuart, are you excited by the prospect of this England side when the likes of Tuilagi, Wade, Yarde, Corbisiero and even Parling return from injury? These players would certainly have added significantly to the England performance on Saturday. For the game on Saturday against Scotland do you think having a 'specialist' fly half on the bench would make sense?
Posted 20:02 3rd February 2014
Stuart, Like you I was pleased England tried to be a more balanced attacking team. I thought it ufortunate that Jonny May got injured. That lost England a lot of speed on the wing and forced Lancaster to bring on Goode as Full back with Brown on the wing. The full back is a vital component of the defence and Goode's lack of familairity with the England defence may have caused some of the defensive errors in the game. Certainly, the last French try may not have been scored if Brown had been full back as he has more pace than Goode. Also, Knowle went of with cramp, maybe through lack of test match fitness but possibly running more to compensate for lack of speed and organisation at the back. Putting a natural inside centre on the wing (albeit out of necessity) contributed to the last try. Who would you put in to replace May? I'd like to see Watson given a run.
Posted 16:48 3rd February 2014
As per the NZ game in the autumn the game was lost when Youngs replaced Hartley. Youngs may be good in the loose but the 2 main objects of a hooker are to hook the ball at the scrum and find the jumper at the lineout & Youngs can't do either. The lost 5 metre attacking lineout changed the game. England have persevered with Youngs for to long& have to find another back up hooker to Hartley sooner rather than later.
Posted 14:56 3rd February 2014
Hi and good afternoon Stuart, I agree with your comments that we were unlucky to go down by 16 points to France within the first 20-25 min. But England like South Africa & New Zealand should always be coming out all guns blazing for the first 30min attacking and putting teams under pressure at Ruck situations / Line outs(competting for every one) and winning every scrum with power and skill. The opposition needs to be cleared out properly and Quickly at the rucks and Quick ball needs to be supplied to the Flankers and no8 running onto the ball at pace to break the line or out to the backs/ Not no no stupid Box kicks within your own 22 or half that just gives the ball away and allows the other team to attack at pace / because we don't get the ball back? If your going to kick - kick for touch in the opponents 22, surely ? put them under pressure, What do you think? * I don't rate Twelvetress at all he is not big/strong enough always looks scared and can't pass a ball properly to save his life! Barritt & Tualagi when fit / or Barritt & Burrell best centre partnership.? Vunipola should have started at prop and parling should have come on ? Dickson should have started instead of care and Strettle should have been given chance on the wing? what do you think? with these changes and kicking for high pressure territory and having effective rucks and mauls we should have won by 12 points easly.? Do you agree.
Posted 14:04 3rd February 2014
Stuart. What puzzles me is this big man 13 selection. I see Bastereau, I see Nonu, Roberts and I remember Jauzion and even way back Carling. Run straight, take 10 and 12 or 12 and 7 with you and with decent hands a following wind give to a 13 with gifted feet, vision and some gas. For me, with Eastman, JJ ( I personally think Foden) or as Woodward said on Saturday, May at 13, doesn't this, isn't this a more logical midfield construct? I know 13 is a key defensive channel but both Eastman and Foden are highly sound in that area and in space wouldn't an international 15 rather be confronting Burrel running at him than either of those running round him? I would value your thoughts. Adrian
Posted 12:11 3rd February 2014