Rugby Football 22-23


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Stuart Lancaster took over an old and ailing team and made it very good, before he lost his way prior to the 2015 World Cup. Eddie Jones took over, built on Stuart's foundations, and created something that was almost-great. That cannot and should not be taken from him.

But now it's same old, same old, with the players of 2019 preferred to the galaxy of up-and-comings, no one able to think, no flexibility. Worse still, even when England were crap, they always had a big, roughie toughie pack. Now our pack is a bunch of pussies. Old pussies, mostly. I don't know if we've got a front five capable of competing. Even Itoje is looking ordinary. What we have got, is enough players for three or four back rows. Ironically, Stuart Lancaster didn't have any flankers to choose from, apart from Robshaw, Robshaw and Robshaw.

Perhaps the exodus of English players to France will be halted, now players know they're in with a chance of selection. Richard Cockerill has taken over for now, once a member (the B) of the famous ABC club...a lifetime ago. He has done well in Scotland.

I agree, Donnylad, please, PLEASE not Diamond. I wouldn't buy a used car from him; I wouldn't buy a NEW car from him. Or from Eddie, to be honest. They are both political animals and manipulators. I agree too about O'Gara. Avoid.
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There does seem to be a bit of an exodus of England players to France, Cowan-Dickie, Marchant and Simmonds in the last few days. Is it because they think they wouldn't get picked by Jones to play for England, because the Premiership isn't all it's cracked up to be and may be in serious financial trouble, or because of the money they can earn in France. Perhaps it's a bit of all three.

Ronan O'Gara has ruled himself after signing a long extension at La Rochelle, nice part of France.


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The Heineken starts this weekend, and we'll see how the English clubs match up against the French ones, the Irish provinces, and now the S African franchises. I think the reduced pay-cap has reduced the bench strength, at least. Older players will go for money alone, and there's an exodus from N Zealand following each world cup. It's sad when the likes of Marchant leave, because he's one of the brightest talents around, and young.

Mercer, however, is returning, and I think the others all start their French contracts after the world cup next autumn. So, potentially, a couple of seasons improving their rugby education, broadening the experience of life, and return, as better players, in time for the next WC.