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Jonathan Joseph brilliance sets up Francois Louw try for great Bath try

@Facepalm, yeah, unfortunately I think Twelvetrees has had his chance. He's done OK but not really excelled. I really think Eastmond and Joseph offer something significantly different and more exciting. Add to that their familiarity with Ford who must be nailed on as first-choice flyhalf...

Farrell at 12 would be OK but completely stifle the creativity that Ford can inject.

Barritt's a warrior and has done us proud, but I'm confused by people thinking it's awesome that he tackles people with his swede. He's been picked for his watertight defence, but the others can manage that side as well as producing more invention in attack.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonathan Joseph brilliance sets up Francois Louw try for great Bath try

How reliable a place-kicker is Ford?
In the words of Larry David, pretty pretty pretty good.
Certainly reliable enough to count as an additional tick in the "pros" column.

Are Eastmond and Joseph too small?
Nope! I think they've demonstrated many times that they're capable of defending against the big lumps and, as can be seen in this video, and from Eastmond's 40m searing break to set up Joseph in the same game, (just to give two examples), they both have ways to get past defenders.

A fit Tuilagi, or indeed Burrell (who didn't deserve to lose his place before and who I still think has a lot to offer), can make a big impact from the bench. Start with this established, settled, creative and dynamic combination, then if necessary bring on the heavy artillery after 50-55 minutes.

(Alternatively, my tip that NOBODY else agrees with is Tuilagi on the wing giving another strike runner option if needed).

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonathan Joseph brilliance sets up Francois Louw try for great Bath try

@RD FYI - Eastmond

"With Bath's backline in such fine form, it begs the question: can the trio of Ford, Joseph and Eastman replicate their form in the Six Nations for England?"

I have been boring everyone I know, including those visiting these esteemed pages, with this suggestion for the past few months. If any England fan can watch the Bath game v Toulouse and *not* agree that transposing all three as a unit into the England starting team is an excellent idea, well they must be clinically insane.

I find it incredibly exciting that England's midfield selection nightmare, which let's face it has been going on for about a decade, can be solved in such a straightforward way.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Bakkies Botha not too concerned about horrible fractured finger

Wayne Rooney makes almost that much in one week.

And that's just from Man Utd, not including any sponsorship and endorsement deals.

He'll have earnt a tenner just in the time it takes you to read this post. (http://ampp3d.mirror.co.uk/2014/02/21/wayne-rooney-earnings/)


1 Month, 1 Week ago

Brian O'Driscoll and Rory McIlroy take part in some trickshots

This could have been brilliant, but I bloody hate these camera trickshot things- so utterly pointless. Show us where he actually hit it, with the ball on the screen the whole time. I bet both of these actually managed a couple of genuine efforts between them, it would be better to see the real-life results instead of deceptively produced trickery.

Over ten years ago, adidas demonstrated exactly how to do these things, when they got Wilkinson and Beckham together to have a crack at each other's games. The best part was when they simply left the cameras rolling and compiled the banter afterwards. And Wilko and Beckham aren't exactly known for their banter, are they.

A load of natural, fly-on-the-wall style footage of two characters like O'Driscoll and McIlroy could have been awesome.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath

Sod the halfwit media. Start with Ford-Eastmond-Joseph. For each match in the six nations, have Burrell, Tuilagi, Barritt, 36 or even Slammin Sam (in that order, fitness permitting) on the bench - bring him on after 50-60 mins and see what difference he makes. Then that's your impact replacement sorted for summer and the RWC.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath

PS Delighted to see "my England back line" scything through Toulouse at the weekend.

Mr Lancaster, just get them in as a 10-12-13 unit - your biggest selection headache solved in an instant.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath

Yep, I remember reading that at the time. Fordyce is actually one of the sports writers that isn't a bell end and I agreed with a lot of this article. On Eastmond, he sort of makes the same point that I do: unfair on Eastmond to try him against incredibly tough oppo with Farrell who was struggling for form at 10, then drop him when you bring in his club teammate at 10.
I didn't really understand the though process there at the time and I hope we get to see that partnership used properly in the 6nationsm

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath

Re centre brought in a while back and not given a look-in again...

By a "while back", I wondered at first if you meant Matt Bananahanahan or even the twice-capped legend that is Ayoola Erinle...

But you mentioned playing with a shakey off form Farrell, so perhaps you're referring to Kyle Eastmond? This is a bloke I desperately want to see given a proper opportunity to do his stuff for England. He offers the creativity and distribution skills that England need, in addition to a lethal step and serious acceleration.

Seriously, despite being one of very few people banging the drum for Mr Burgess, I probably wouldn't pick him in my starting team if I were Stuart Lancaster. Instead I would lift and shift most of the Bath backline into England: 10 Ford, 12 Eastmond, 13 Joseph, 14 Rokodoguni. I would say these guys are all either the best option or certainly in the top 3 in their respective positions; add to that the benefit of familiarity playing alongside each other week-in week-out.

Start with that as a unit, then tweak from there.

As for the press, sports journalists are nearly all wankers. My theory is they're failed sportsmen, with massive chips on their shoulders and an irrepressible inferiority complex. This is why they enjoy taking down the people who have actually made it. Like Alistair Campbell once said about the political journalists - what they really want is to be inside parliament (on the sports field) making the laws (scoring tries), not standing outside in the rain describing what everyone else is achieving.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath

Yes, not sure why I found your first post so objectionable now! In actual fact, if RD had the functionality I would've deleted the trolling accusation.

You're right about the media hype and unrealistic expectations. But so far, I've found Lancaster to be pretty good at telling the pricks in the press to do one and having courage in his own convictions.

1 Month, 1 Week ago