On Fri, 15 Mar 2013 01:44:46 -0700 (PDT), Ben L
>> Which game plan will they bring?
>A basic one almost certainly. Back row to disrupt Wales ball. Tuilagi and Barritt to bash the ball up the centre. Farrell to kick goals where necessary. I'd be surprised to see the wings get much quality ball.
>Wales have a powerful, reasonably heavy back row and England lack a bit of bulk at 8 - not least with Croft in at 6 and Wood again deputising at 8. By contrast, England have 5 lineout jumpers where Wales lack options. Notwithstanding that Youngs is struggling to hit the proverbial barn door it makes it more attractive for England to kick for the corners.
>The slight joker in the pack is Croft - if England find the confidence to do it he has the ability to spur the rest of the forwards into playing a more dynamic game and running the Welsh fatties about the park. This would arguably play to England's strengths as their subs bench is strong and they've typically done well from the 55min mark.
>By contrast, Wales will look at Goode and fancy their chances at pinging lots of high ball at him as Jamie Roberts and the gang run onto him. They will also want to get the ball out to their back three, who have been far more potent this tournament than England's lot. And with Faletau running the ball well and plenty of oomph in the scrum they'll be looking to punch holes in England and creating gaps from phase 2/3 ball.
You really think "potent" and "backs" work together for any team this
6Ns, other than round 1, Ben?
The default strategy for all teams seem to be based on hoofing the
ball and hoping for errors or penalties. I wish the poor match
conditions for many of the games was the main reason, but I think it
is more than that.
For England to get out of their rut, a running number 8 is needed, so
I wish Vunipola the younger (the older being 22...) were in the mix.
Sorry to drag up old material, but the Eng v NZ period when NZ first
scored tries from useless kicking, then conceded themselves when they
kicked weakly without a chase and England had the courage to run the
ball back and score themselves shows the two extremes England can
What has changed since then is England (at least when Youngs has been
9) have kicked and chased more effectively), but losing Morgan has
been very significant.
Maybe they can produce more creative stuff when going through the
phases, but the two problems there seem to be Barritt, who simply
can't lead an attacking backline with any depth, it would seem, and of
course the conservative approach of the halfbacks. "Game management"
is apparently what the England coaches wanted an improvement in, and
sadly that is all they have got so far.
Still, another roll of the dice tomorrow, and I'd guess a game decided
by the best set piece team unless there is a pleasant surprise.
All the best