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    England v Wales

    Hopefully a Draw but I suspect England playing at home and full of confidence will sneak a close encounter - neither team will fear the other - Mr. Poite could be the deciding factor for Home Team

    Wales:
    15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jon Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins
    Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Liam Williams

    #2
    Given the way the Welsh scrum improved throughout the France game, they and Poite could murtherise the inexperienced English scrum. One thing I think we can say with confidence is, if the Welsh get 60% of the ball and the set piece dominance Ireland enjoyed, England will struggle to keep them out.

    Hoping for a draw, then a narrow Welsh win and, if England win for it to be narrow. Think it should be another good game.

    Comment


      #3
      Last hurrah for a lot of these Welsh players but don't think that'll be enough.

      Comment


        #4
        I kind of fancy Wales for this. They're pretty much at full strength and, if they can get parity up front, have a backline that will score tries against England.

        Comment


          #5
          Im thinking that this game will be very close. Wales could well win it and a small points win by Wales would suit Ireland better wouldnt it.
          When their numbers dwindled from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect Hungry

          Comment


            #6
            Dry Run for world cup Game...Englanders seeking revenge for thrashing last year....Gatlands predicable game plan (bish and then bash)...dodgy ref...all the prospects of a cracker and hopefully a close game, hate to say it but another Wales win puts them in prize location for a 3 in a row and we would never hear the end of it from the Welsh ...its too much to bear, but cant bring myself to hoping for an English win so novenas are all for a draw.

            Comment


              #7
              SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: Stuart, I know time is tight and you have a huge game against Wales so thank you for agreeing to this interview.
              England played some brilliant rugby against Ireland, the pack is becoming a real force and the backs are starting to look the part. England have developed over the past two years, so have you changed the way you pick the team?
              STUART LANCASTER: I want the Twickenham crowd to be excited just like you, but it takes time. Two years ago, I had a vision of an attack-minded game but after the 2011 World Cup, 15 new players came into the squad.
              The starting point was just trying to get some stability in place — the fundamentals of the set-piece, defence, attitude. When you bring players together it takes time to get an understanding.
              Yes, you want to play exciting rugby, but the last thing you want is to put in a player who isn’t ready for the intensity and the scrutiny of Test rugby. The way we’re starting to play now is the way I want to play.
              WOODWARD: I believe a team will reflect the head coach, his personality, his demeanour, how you think, how you want to play. Would you say that is true?
              LANCASTER: Yes… but I would say a rugby side reflects the whole management team. The management team reflects the head coach but also provides strengths to his weaknesses. Mike Catt’s inclusion as attack coach has been important. I had only met him once before he came on the summer tour to South Africa (in 2012) but he brings a creativity and layer of experience that was missing.
              WOODWARD: You put a lot of trust in your management team. I remember talking to you a couple of years ago, saying I was surprised you hadn’t gone for Andy Farrell, that you should break the bank, potentially upset his club Saracens. You looked at me and walked away. Then a week later he arrived...
              LANCASTER: I couldn’t say anything at the time! As a group of coaches, our biggest challenge has been to get the team to win in the here and now, but also build for the future.
              WOODWARD: The most striking change from 12 months ago is the pace and athleticism in the team. Was that a conscious change in the wake of the Cardiff defeat?
              LANCASTER: We want to play a quick, high-tempo game and we are developing our conditioning levels to a point where we can play at that pace for 80 minutes.
              The training facility at Pennyhill Park now has an indoor space next to the gym — that was a big step forward. It’ll be even better in July, when we’ll have a 40metre x 40metre indoor pitch beside the gym.
              January, February, March can be pretty grim outside, but now we are able to put a lot of work into developing technique and skills — even in the worst weather.
              WOODWARD: Sounds brilliant. We put in plans for a similar structure after 2003, designed to be a ‘pressure dome’. You talk of working on conditioning, but when I watch now, I’m always questioning the use of substitutions. I look at my watch and bang on the hour mark, a host of changes are made.
              LANCASTER: Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have a defined policy on substitutions. We have to respond to things that others don’t know about. At Murrayfield, Jonny May felt his calf muscle was about to go — so we had to take him off.
              We’re not obsessed with stats. My mind is focused on watching the game and I’m not worrying about statistics. In your book you talk about information overload during your first international in charge and I know exactly what you mean.
              WOODWARD: So, can you see the same XV starting and walking off the pitch in modern international rugby?
              LANCASTER: I think we’re almost losing the ability to be conditioned to play for 80 minutes, particularly in the front row. Dan Cole is an exception but most front-rowers rarely play 80 minutes. The French load their bench with forwards so that they can bring on fresh bodies to attack the set-piece.
              The other thing is you have to trust your bench, and give them a chance. Didn’t you ever feel the need to give substitutes an opportunity to play?
              Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric, Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams.
              WOODWARD: I never felt any compulsion to get anyone on the field for the sake of it. Our big thing was unless a player was able to go the full 80 then he wasn’t in the team and the players had to know that.
              LANCASTER: We’re working towards that and I’d like to think that in 18 months’ time we’ll be there.
              WOODWARD: How do you deal with criticism? I feel I’ve been honest with my opinions in the Daily Mail and when I was in your shoes I used to call even the negative media ‘positive feedback’. How much are you affected by the media?
              LANCASTER: I’ve definitely got more thick-skinned over the last two years. When I first started, I took it personally and you know how much time and head space the media take up in this job.
              But now I try to compartmentalise; take on board what you call ‘positive feedback’ but really listen to the areas where the team can do better, particularly from people I trust and respect.
              WOODWARD: So what about one of my bugbears, not picking players who are at clubs in France? Surely the England head coach should pick the best 15 players he can?
              LANCASTER: I disagree. I understand the positives for players who go abroad but my biggest worry is the threat to the long-term health of the English club game. I want Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury to be watched by English fans playing for English clubs.
              Manu grew up playing on the wing. We will consider that option for the World Cup
              WOODWARD: But what if you wake up one day and read that Lawes and Launchbury have signed for Toulon?
              LANCASTER: I would hope that my relationship with them and their relationship with their clubs mean they wouldn’t take that option.
              There’s a really strong incentive for all English players to stay in England with a home World Cup around the corner. I look at the average age of our team at 24 and believe the 2019 World Cup is easily in reach for the majority. That sense of longevity should be a big driver to stay in England.
              Once you’ve got the financial recompense of playing with England, as well as the endorsements, it’s probably not financially dissimilar (to a big-money move). And you have all the benefits of staying.
              WOODWARD: Manu Tuilagi is returning from injury and giving you a long-term selection headache given the form of your centre pairing. I’m fascinated that you think he can play on the wing — do you really think he’s quick enough?
              LANCASTER: Manu played all his age-grade and academy rugby on the wing. Would we play him there? A lot of it will come down to the balance of a World Cup squad. In 2001, two years out from the World Cup, did you have lots of scenarios in your mind when you were picking teams?
              WOODWARD: Two of my back three, Jason Robinson and Ben Cohen, were 100 per cent in the starting team, but the other wing was wide open. Josh Lewsey came from nowhere — so it can change.
              LANCASTER: I agree you have to be open-minded enough to let late-comers in. There are still 17 games to go.
              My computer thinks I'm gay
              What's the difference anyway
              When all the people do all day
              Is stare into a phone

              Comment


                #8
                WOODWARD: Talking of late-comers, where does Danny Cipriani come in?
                LANCASTER: I’ve probably coached Danny more than anyone because I saw a lot of him when I was Saxons coach. What’s changed with Danny is the work Steve Black (the mentor who works with Jonny Wilkinson) is doing with him. His all-round game and his all-round attitude to training has improved. If he can continue that development...
                WOODWARD: What if you feel a player should be in your side on ability but you know the squad aren’t going to be best pleased when he comes round the door?
                LANCASTER: The squad have seen so many come in that they trust my judgment. But Danny has to earn the right based on what he’s doing now, not in the past.
                That means not just being an attacking threat, but having an all-round game. I’ve given him some pointers to work on.
                WOODWARD: This England team is fiercely competitive. Do you ever feel the need to draw a line? Players such as Owen Farrell and Mike Brown have shown that they have a bit of fire about them, which I like, but do you ever feel the need to control that?
                LANCASTER: You want players to have a competitive edge but I have spoken to them about getting caught up in anything that can be a distraction or influence the referee. Having those competitive animals is important but I have to ensure they are focused.
                WOODWARD: So, on to our friends from Wales. How significant is this match? It is the last game at Twickenham against Wales before the World Cup pool match, and who can forget what happened in Cardiff last year?
                LANCASTER: I’ve had enough people stop me in the street who still remember... it’s the type of game we need in order to find out where we are at.
                WOODWARD: And what about the Lions dynamic? Warren Gatland was either very clever or very dumb in saying he picked Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree to learn about England’s players and coaches.
                LANCASTER: I saw it as a positive for them to develop as coaches and to gain an insight into players from other countries.
                One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn quickly is the difference between countries you’re playing against because I’d never played international rugby.
                Determination: The Welsh side is confident they can do the business over England for a second year running
                WOODWARD: Was there any briefing from you about not giving everything away?
                LANCASTER: No, Warren even invited me into training. Plus Andy’s as honest and straight as they come so he wasn’t going to hold anything back. There’s a professional understanding that in sharing like that we’re all going to gain a bit, but we’re all going to lose a bit.
                WOODWARD: Can you stop the Wales gameplan, infamously named ‘Warrenball’?
                LANCASTER: There is more to it than big power athletes running at you. A big part of Wales’s DNA is the defensive system. They are reasonably unique for a Northern Hemisphere side in the way they defend with the scrum-half in the line and both wingers up all the time.
                WOODWARD: When you have to deal with new systems, how do you help the players to make the switch from their club rugby to international rugby? Is there a play book?
                LANCASTER: Every time we come back we’re one rung further up the ladder. We have a ‘This is England’ black book, which helps. Players also have access to apps allowing them to connect with England during club time without us distracting them.
                WOODWARD: I’ve heard that Courtney Lawes was late for a meeting and his ‘fine’ was to clean everyone’s boots. Where does leadership come from in your team?
                LANCASTER: We’re still evolving that leadership group but it comes from them. When you won the World Cup you had a really well established leadership group.
                WOODWARD: Our leadership was so strong the guys went on strike!
                LANCASTER: I’ve looked closely at the All Blacks and how they have developed. In 2004, they went through a transitional period and brought in guys such as Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.
                WOODWARD: How do you see this summer’s trip to New Zealand with a first Test without your Premiership finalists?
                LANCASTER: We are likely to have 10 or so players missing, but these things were settled before I arrived. It’s the most competitive rugby environment, so it’s the perfect place to visit a year out from the World Cup.
                I spent a few days there last summer and watched New Zealand play Australia in Wellington. Not having played international rugby, and never having been to New Zealand, it was crucial to get an understanding of the DNA of the country. If Farrell is in the Premiership final then somebody such as George Ford is going to have to play at 10.
                WOODWARD: Or Cipriani…
                LANCASTER: Or Cipriani!
                WOODWARD: It is a wonderful country until you get on the pitch. Can you escape from rugby?
                LANCASTER: Not at the moment. There might be times I give the illusion to my wife that I’m not thinking about rugby but I probably am. But she’s a qualified PE teacher and fitness instructor and the kids love sport.
                The balance is something I need to get right but it’s an all-encompassing job. In the back of your mind you’ve always got the clock ticking down to the World Cup.
                WOODWARD: How much responsibility do you feel to deliver?
                LANCASTER: You saw in 2003 what England being successful does. Euro 96, Ashes 2005, the English sporting public are the best in the world in the way they get behind a team, so we desperately want to do it.
                But you know how tough it’s going to be: New Zealand were the best team in the world and won it by a point, you were the best team in the world and won it in extra- time. It’s bloody tough to do. And we’ve got those two pool games against Australia and Wales.
                WOODWARD: They are the two biggest pool games in the history of the World Cup.
                LANCASTER: No pressure, then!
                WOODWARD: Trust me, you’ve got the best seat in the house. How much store do you put in home advantage? It wasn’t until the Olympics that I really saw its significance at a major sporting event.
                LANCASTER: The Olympics was the turning point for me, followed by the Twickenham crowd when we beat New Zealand in 2012.
                I clearly saw there should be a deliberate purpose to develop home-field advantage. And the Millennium Stadium experience last year also sticks in my mind. The power of the nation behind that Welsh team made them a formidable force.
                In rugby — where emotion, intensity and commitment can give you an extra one per cent — that can make the difference.
                WOODWARD: What would be success at this World Cup?
                LANCASTER: Ultimately success is winning it and we can’t shy away from that. But it’s also sustaining success beyond the World Cup, to the Australia tour in 2016, getting more players on the New Zealand Lions tour.
                What motivates me is building teams and helping people to get better. We’ll have to see what happens but I would love to carry on and keep doing it.
                WOODWARD: And finally, Stuart, how would you like to be remembered?
                LANCASTER: Just that I was involved in a team which played in a way the country could connect with, and feel proud of supporting. That would supersede results for me.
                WOODWARD: It has been a real pleasure meeting you. Good luck against Wales but I’m confident you won’t need it — you have the whole of England supporting you.
                My computer thinks I'm gay
                What's the difference anyway
                When all the people do all day
                Is stare into a phone

                Comment


                  #9
                  I think the Welsh might take a pasting, to be honest. They looked pretty disinterested against us, and don't have the power to match the England pack. Wales are a team on the slide, I think.
                  "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                  "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                  "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                  Comment


                    #10
                    England by 14. They're looking very good this year. I'm starting to get horrible anxieties about how well they might do at the WC next year, they're not the complete package yet but getting there.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Lancaster showed he can get a plan together for who he's playing. See the Ireland game. Last year England were caught on the hop, that won't happen again. Wales are better than what they were against us, but as Balla says, feel they're on the way down rather than up.
                      England to win, by 7-10
                      Nulla semper amicus, servivit mihi, in iniuriam mihi neminem quem non persolvi

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Lancaster has doen a superb job, cleared out everyone and started fresh.
                        My computer thinks I'm gay
                        What's the difference anyway
                        When all the people do all day
                        Is stare into a phone

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I think England have a better set of forwards than Wales, and have a better bench, however Jon Davies adds a giant amount to their attacking play.

                          England at home, Wales hockeyed a disinterested French so its hard to get a hold of where they are really at. England look the more settled and more to offer.

                          England win I predict
                          I am the million man.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Unlike us, who had a winger who couldn't outrun a lock, Wales can stretch them and exploit a few holes in the Tan defence. If they get into an attrition game they will be blown away though.

                            Though wanting one side or d'other to win is like trying to choose between Beelzebub and Shaytan.
                            Please support Milford Hospice. Click here to donate.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by fitzy73 View Post
                              Unlike us, who had a winger who couldn't outrun a lock, Wales can stretch them and exploit a few holes in the Tan defence. If they get into an attrition game they will be blown away though.

                              Though wanting one side or d'other to win is like trying to choose between Beelzebub and Shaytan.
                              Wales, when dominated at the breakdown can't stretch anyone, if Lancaster watches the game against them we played he'll know what's needed to close them down. Once they get a head of steam they are a juggernaut, but keep them on the hind foot and they struggle with the escape game
                              I am the million man.

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