Sunday, 30 November 2014

Bit of a muddle

So, the verdict on England's November campaign? A bit of a mixed bag.

And what did we learn?

That England can push New Zealand and South Africa close(ish)? Nothing new there.

That England can bully the Aussie pack? Ditto.

That George Ford is an international quality outside half? Yes, certainly.

That England haven't a clue what their centre combination should be? Without a doubt.

Not only do England not know who they should be picking, they also appear not to know what type of player they are looking for:

- against the All Blacks and the Boks an out of form kicking 10 (Farrell) played with a running 12 (Eastmond) and a defensive 12 (Barritt) at 13;
- against Samoa an in-form playmaker 10 (Ford) was teamed with the out of form kicking 10 at 12 who partnered the defensive 12 at 13;
- and against the Aussies the in-form playmaker 10 was partnered with another (not so in-form) playmaker at 12 (Twelvetrees) and, again, the defensive 12 at 13.

At no point did the selectors see fit to pair George Ford with a bona fide strike runner in the midfield. OK, so Manu Tuilagi was injured, but at various times both Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph were available but ignored.

Consequently England's back play, much improved during the 2014 Six Nations, is now once more all a bit of a muddle.

1 comment:

Von said...

I think Stuart Lancaster should simply delegate his 10-12-13 selection to Mike Ford. Ford-Eastmond-Joseph is becoming quite a formidable unit and a well-oiled machine. There is a lot to be said for having that familiarity with each other at club level and bringing that en masse into the national team.

With that midfield, we could then have Burgess and Tuilagi on the wings coming into the attacking line to give two extra strike runner options, keeping the oppo guessing at all times.