England team v SA

STARTERS: 1. Bevan Rodd 2. Jamie Blamire 3. Kyle Sinckler 4. Maro Itoje 5. Jonny Hill 6. Courtney Lawes 7. Sam Underhill 8. Tom Curry 9. Ben Youngs 10. Marcus Smith 11. Jonny May 12. Manu Tuilagi 13. Henry Slade 14. Joe Marchant 15. Freddie Steward

FINISHERS: 16. Nic Dolly 17. Joe Marler 18. Will Stuart 19. Charlie Ewels 20. Sam Simmonds 21. Alex Dombrandt 22. Raffi Quirke 23. Max Malins


I'd have Malins not Marchant. Obviously I'd have a no. 8 playing no. 8.

Curry at 8 rather than SS or Dommers?

Against the saffers?

Eddie has got to be trolling us.

Eddie thought that as the saffers were playing a super quick agile winger against us it would be too obvious for us to do the same

Pleased to see Tuilagi back at centre. Pity for Radwan he isn't playing 

I'm not sure Manu will play just at centre. I think him, Slade and Marchant are going to rotate cover for that right wing slot again. 

Eddie must have liked what he saw back there last week. Who needs wings when you've got inside centres eh.

Curry made absolutely no yards against the limited Tonga and fairish Aussie back rows.

I hope and pray that he is going to be royally eviscerated by Vermeulen and Co., which will hopefully put an end to Stupid Eddie’s experiment. 

Can we please all agree that Curry is a very fine 6 or 7 but he is as much an international quality 8 as is Harry Randall.

BTW - what does Eddie see in Ewels?

I could name any number of better locks in England. For a start Josh McNally at Barf FFS.

The trouble with that is that Eddie will just drop him forever, like he did with Cipriani, ollie Lawrence, Dan Robson, Furbank, Isiekwe, radwan, Ted Hill, Tommy Taylor etc etc.

To help stoopid Eddie, its pretty clear that Jonny Hill ain’t of international quality.

So, put Lawes in the 2nd row, move Curry to 6, and bring in the Dombrantator @ 8, with SS on the bench to cover all 3.


Yes as an Exeter supporter it's a bit bemusing that Jonny Hill is the forward he regularly selects.

And LCD of course who is mint.

Spurious - Agree, LCD is great.

Why has Elrington been called up and not Hepburn or even Ben Moon?

I really rate Hendrickson, who is exactly the sort of midfield bosher that England need when Tuilagi is invariably injured.

What’s happened to Woodburn? Seems to be out of favour.

Rob B does seem to have his favourites (eg. Maunder) when lots of outsiders would say  he’s 3rd choice behind Townsend and SH-C?

Is that Jonny Hill of British and Irish Lions fame?


Better add Warren Gatland to the list of stupid people. 

And Rob Baxter.

Tell me Marshall, is there anyone in world rugby that you don't know more than?

Woodburn had an amazing run at Exeter but he's basically just very quick and it all clicked for him for a few seasons. His defence and positional play were never that great. And he's 30 now.

Not sure about the scrum halves.

Calm down Davos.

Hill was not selected for any of the Lionstest matches, not even the bench. That actually took some doing.

I think Rob Baxter is great. Just saying that he seems to have a bit of blind spot at 9.

Being a great club player doesn't preclude you from being dross at test level. Ask Charlie Hodgson or Owen Farrell.

Must have been really hard for Hodgson. No matter how well he played he was only ever going to be keeping Jonny's seat warm.

Hill is fine and getting better at international level. Think he should have gone to ground last week in his big run as he was always going to get held up, but other than that he did well. He was over eager last year and gave away too many pens. His first one set the tone for the whole England 6 nations campaign. Itoje charges down a kick in the 22 and is tackled just short of the line. Hill flies in off his feet and an almost certain try becomes a penalty to Scotland. 

Agree about Maunder. I miss White at 9 for Chiefs. Forgot how much until last week.

Farrell will be (barring some career ending injury in the very near future) only the third man to get 100 caps for England. He already has 100 test caps.

Any armchair fans who think he is overrated are seriously mistaken.

Before he bulked up, was a yard faster, and he kicked 90% of his goals,  he was what you would classify on an annual appraisal as ‘extremely competent’.

Now he’s waaaay behind both Smith and Ford.

Indeed, a number of Sarries  supporters I know reckon that Malins and even Goode are currently  a better option @ 10.


He was also on every single lions squad member list for leadership. I don't get it entirely but defer to the people that know. he gets in any squad on the planet

It's not just armchair fans, it's everyone outside the Eddie Jones bubble who think he's holding us back.


People who have also played for England and the Lions and get paid to watch and comment on the sport think that he shouldn't be in the team and they are not wrong.

Guscott has played for both and somehow has no idea about rugby.

find me a quote from someone you mention that farrell shouldn't be in the team...

"he gets in any squad on the planet"

Heh. Looney tunes.

Interesting how professional players love Farrell

But overweight armchair fans don't 

Readers can make their own decision on whose position is more valid 



If you want to get picked for England, and stay in the squad, you need to be on the Farrell train as that’s the way Jones runs his ship. Im

I’m sure he trains hard and sets a good example in that respect.

He’s also stultified England’s back line for years. Nothing controversial about that. He’s never been our best 10 and he’s only been our best 12 because of Eddie’s weird views on what he wants in the centre. Mostly it’s his perceived deadeye goal kicking. Once you’ve set that narrative in hand nobody cares he’s an 80% kicker like most other 10s.


He’s an excellent rugby player, but at test level we’ll be better once he’s gone.

Also just to be clear, professional players don’t love Farrell they just can’t say so. The ones who’ve challenged him were binned out the squad irrespective of form.


he ended up with the most votes out of anyone in the leadership group, so that speaks volumes for the respect in which he is held by all the players in the group, not just the England players


gatland last summer during lions



What does Gatz know?!

What do the players know?!

Armchair fans know best 

Much good his wonderful powers of leadership have done.

RWC Final - Lost pathetically 

Lions Tour - Lost without firing a decent shot

Just accept the bloke is now a busted flush


I don't necessarily disagree that he has had his time, the issue I have is with people suggesting he's been shit his whole career, that quite frankly is moronic

and yet just a week before the RWC final he led, superbly, one of , if not the greatest performance by England of all time

Marshall's hottakes on rugby are always amusing.

He clearly just doesn't watch or understand the sport. Which is fine. But at least he should accept international rugby coaches and players probably know more than him.

Farrell's form for sarries this season has been superb. 

the farrell h7 campaign is symptomatic of the footballisation of rugby fanhood - in football, fans like to pick a player as the pariah and convince themselves their team would be much better if only management would listen to the fans, who can see something in the odd test match that management can’t see training the players almost every day

the reality is that critics of farrell invariably are people who rarely played rugby to a decent level, and if they did they were almost certainly forwards

Re your last paragraph, I think I will take the view of Twelve at 01.12 over yours, tbh.

Seeing as how he was a decent player. I'll leave you to guess what position.

Farrell has been great for Sarries this season. I just think that you should pick the best 10 at 10 and the best 12 at 12. I thought that our final try at the weekend showed the value of having proper centres playing at centre. In fact, two of our tries came via good passes from Slade to his fellow centre.

oracle, it's an interesting idea that if you have played a sport, say rugby, to a decent amateur level, you are more qualified to comment on the professional game. 

Interesting that Marsehall is no longer talking about 'stoopid eddie'.


We would have lost that game on Saturday with Farrell at 12.

Davos - I'm just delighted that Eddie finally listened to my advice.

You will indeed remember me saying all of last season that:

1. Puffing Billy and Fatty Daly should be ditched - Job done (no way back now for Daly when he gets fit)

2. Smith, Dombrandt and SS should all be picked - Job done.

Eddie just needs now to finally ditch the idiotic experiment with Curry @ 8,  and I'll then send him my invoice to Pennyhill Park.



I think so. Shame Manu got injured, but Malins played well, and I enjoyed watching Marchant and Slade in the centres. Silky skills against brute force.

Need to bin Ben Youngs too now. 

Marler also needs looking at - he got folded inside out by Koch. 

Heh Marshall really is a 🤡 

Wtaf is Ami on about?

I probably shouldn't engage with trolls but it is fun listening to/laughing at privileged public school boy arm chair fans.



Marler is fine. If Koch can do that to him in the prem then I'll change my mind on that.

I thought that Youngs was past it, but tbh he's played very well in this series (and always seems to play much better for England than the Tigers).

Marler is very rarely bested, and was immense all last season for Quins, so deffo keep him.

Youngs has been brilliant this autumn, however, very telling Eddie took him off early. suggests he has another 9 he trusts at fooking last.

Marler is class, don't drop him. I would drop manu, he's a liability (injuries)

Thing about that one scrum with Marler is that he was packing down with someone at hooker who (a) is inexperienced and (b) was unfamiliar to him given his isolation in the week. Getting lifted like that at loosehead suggests that they weren't compact enough. Marler is usually a beast in the scrum and he'll be fine.

I'm no fan of Mike Brown but this article gives you a good idea of what playing for Jones is like.


The idea that this victory is a great vindication of Jones as a manager is hilarious. The back line that won this game was forced on Jones by Covid and injury, he wouldn't have chosen it.

Not saying he isn't brilliant in some ways, but if your response to this victory is that Jones is a visionary coach rather than that Jones will finally have to stop falling back on old favourites who are past their sell by date, you are a bit slow.

Yes the main point here being England would have lost the game if Farrell had played.


Farrell is, and will likely be for a while, an excellent rugby player. His form for Sarries has been outstanding for years (albeit behind a generally dominant pack).

But the whole myth of his aura, leadership, defence etc that made him undroppable has always been silly. He is capable of some excellent skill (see eg a gorgeous pass away against Wales a few years ago to put Daly in, just awesome). But he is generally a negative influence on a back line that should be extremely dangerous going forward. For that reason, I’ve said for years we shouldn’t pick him. 

It’s a great shame Slade didn’t get a good run as a 12, both for England and Exeter. I really think it’s his natural position.

Anyway, a pleasing win on the scoreboard but yikes it’s ugly watching our forwards get beaten up like that. We win 2/10 of those games max.

Also, the shite kicking game we’ve so often been subjected to (whether by the starters or the bench) is clearly coaching, so whilst EJ has done an excellent job on balance, I think he’s really all over the place re what game he wants us to play. I think he bought into the Sarries mindset a few years ago, which is a shame as we had the players to develop a more all court game internationally. He also seems to change his mind re game plans with no obvious rationale, but maybe that’s part of his genius plan.

Armchair fans saying things like 'if X played we lose' is hilarious.

You can't possibly know that.

Aren't you lot meant to be lawyers?

At least 12 gives a balanced opinion not just a twitter headline.

C’mon Davos, just admit your man-crush on Eddie. It’s really rather sweet watching your heroic defence for yer idol.

There are certain things I like about Eddie and certain things I don't.

Things are nuanced. Who knew?

Heh at "you can't possibly know that". I hope you were bashing the keyboard when you typed that.

Eddie Jones is one of , if not ,the most successful rugby coaches of all time. nobody had to like or agree with him but suggesting he's a shite coach is really really really stupid

Lucky then that noone has done so on this thread.

Got any other non sequiturs?

Top Straw-Manning Rog!

I don't think anyone is saying he is shite - he did a great job post RWC'15, but is now candidly well past his sell-by date.

In fact, I would go so far as to describe calling him great, as an opinion.

And a shyt one at that.


I wonder what this means?

I don't know, if he manages to stick with these new players you could easily do very well at the next World Cup.

I'm not sure there is anyone waiting in the wings who would be better.

Ok now this is weird. You've gone to the other thread and copied that? How odd.

I can certainly assist you with what it means.

You posted (from memory) something like "Eddie is one of the great coaches. In fact that is a fact."

What I posted (and you quoted above) means that it is not a fact. It is an opinion.

Also it's a shyt opinion.

He's a very good coach with some serious flaws. Not a great.

As I pointed out on the other thread, if he was great he would not have presided over the clown car rally that was England's last season.

Now, I think an 8 year old would understand that so hopefully you can manage.

Almost as if rugby teams are cycles. Some teams (England for example) build towards world cups. Other teams (Wales for example) build towards 6 nations in between world cups. 

Last season, in front of no crowds, England won the autumn and then lost a few games in the 6 nations. One of those was close, one was to the referee.

But it's best to look at things over 4 years imo.

Other people will have opinions like 'fatty Daly' and 'england would have lost if X was playing'. These are opinions some people arrive at and defend as if they are fact. These people are idiots imo.

I know spurious has limited sporting knowledge but a man of his alleged intelligence should do some research.

All great coaches in all sports have had bad seasons, or part seasons. Ferguson Woodward Klopp are obvious examples that spring to mind immediately.

There are bad seasons where noone can quite put their finger on it.

And there are joke seasons where even the most part time armchair pundit can tell what's going wrong.

It's hard to think of a comparable example of any high level coach - good let alone great - picking such unfit out of form players when really good form players are available.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense could - and did - see it.

It wasn't just the players he picked in Autumn 20 and Spring 21 - it was the tactics of kicking the leather off the ball that was so dire.

Especially when he picked players who literally were out on their feet after 10 mins of each game, and couldn't chase a sloth.

Well, it might be best to look at it over a 4 year cycle then.

Just a thought.

Ultimately if England exceed expectations at the next world cup (and by doing that I mean getting to the final realistically), then it's all vindicated imo.

If you're looking at a four year cycle, there are 15 matches left before the start of the next RWC.

Youngs will be 34 and Farrell will be 32 by the time that rolls around. Makes even more sense to dispatch them both now and use those next 15 games to properly blood a couple of decent half back combinations, using Mitchell / Quirke and Smith / Malins

As a side thought, how old will Eden, Faf and other big name Saffers be in the next world cup? 

Or the big name NZ?

I know France have a very young team but aside from them, it cant be that every squad is full of 26 year olds.

"Well, it might be best to look at it over a 4 year cycle then.

Just a thought."

Jesus wept. If you're looking at it over a 4 year cycle then you have your refresh at the beginning of that cycle. Ie last year. You don't waste a year with dead wood.

With the players that they have England should have a chance of winning and those brilliant young players should be getting the best possible chance of doing so. That means giving them as much experience as possible so they don't choke in the final like you did last time.

If you want to sit there watching England lose in the final again with a fatuous grin on your face feeling vindicated it's a matter for you I suppose.

I don't think anyone is saying you need 26 year olds. Many of the current England squad will be good for 2 World cups.

I don't think they choked. I think that's very unfair on the saffers who were brilliant and totally outplayed us

I thought the saffers were brilliant in the final too. I don't think England choked. They were unlucky to lose Sinckler to injury at the beginning, and rugby is an impossible game to paly if your set piece isn't functioning. SA could knock on and then win a penalty from the resulting scrum. It just becomes relentless and lead to England's will being broked and an explosion of points in the final quarter. More Sarries than Sarries.

The only thing I would have changed would have been to use the better scrummaging props at the start, which was something Jones had done earlier in the tournament, citing a "horses for courses" approach. I thought that that had been a really sound bit of selection and was surprised that he didn't reverse the props that had been in the semis as Mako at his best is amazing in the loose, but he has never been a scrummaging supremo. I guess that the semi had been such an awesome performance that it felt right to go in unchanged.

Etzebeth and de Klerk will be 32. Not sure de Klerk will make it tbh. 

Spurious once again showing a serious misunderstanding of sport.

It's not a case of 'winner good, everyone else bad'. You can have a good tournament and not win ffs. Only one team can win and there are plenty of good teams. Scotland won't win mind.

32? Better drop them now then. Lol.



Roger and tangent missing the point. Stop trying to understand sport. If England lose its the fault of 'faty Daly' and 'nasty Eddie' bottling it.

That's how ROF rugby opinions work apparently.

Not worth the hassle I've concluded.

Etzebeth will be OK. Faf will probably have slowed down too much by then

Yes, absolutely Davos. Sorry for the analysis and thank you for not pointing out the typos.

Reinach (31) looks to have gone backwards since joining Montpellier - he was awesome in his last 2 seasons at Saints.

Of course the saffers were brilliant. England also were clearly a bit overwhelmed by the occasion. Farrell was headless, Youngs threw some real brainfart passes.

Sinckler was pretty irrelevant to the outcome imo. Just one player. Saturday suggests he would not have fared any better in the scrums than his replacement. (Saturday also shows you can sometimes win when your set piece is under the cosh. But as 12 said, England only wins that game 2 times out of every 10. It's amazing they did win it given SA dominance tbh).

Davos - I've no idea what you're on about in your 11.27 tbh. It bears no real relation to anything I've said. Basically the important thing to recognise here is that you are bar none the least perceptive person who discusses sport on rof. You seem to have this odd idea that nobody should have an opinion about any player or coach. Unless it's you, of course, you're allowed to have plenty of damnfool opinions. Usually that smaller more dynamic players are going to get melted in international rugby.

It must have caused real cognitive dissonance for you watching a youngish, smallish dynamic backline beating the saffers instead of getting melted.