Following on from my last blog about selecting the right combinations, Stuart Lancaster has made a mockery of me and my suggestions. This is vindicated by England winning against Australia and us feeling we’re going somewhere.
The trouble is, for me anyway, that Australia aren’t that good, especially when you can smash their front five and close down their attacking options which we did brilliantly.
The back row’s lack of pace out wide and in support is still something of a problem if we’re ever going to play it wider. Robshaw was magnificent but against New Zealand and possibly Wales too, he and Wood are going to struggle. We shall see but I’d like to see Kvesic given a go with Robshaw with whom he hasn’t played, and also to see if Robshaw is also a 6 that many claim.
The centres clearly didn’t fire, so do we drop immediately or carry on. Twelvetrees has been flagged as the man for ages now, but we’re already talking of trying Burrell or Eastmond. Knee jerk or sense? The only issue I have with this is that how would the incomer play with Tuilagi who will come back in when fit? It’s tricky and I’m glad it’s not my decision. However if I were an opposing centre I’m not sure I’d fancy lining up against Burrell and Tuilagi in the future.
So, now to the real reason for my blog. I’m about to make myself hugely unpopular and ensure that everyone out there thinks I’m either mad or clueless. Mike Brown…. Ok, he had a very good game and is a very good player as well as mentally tough… but
Receiving high praise for your defensive duties is great, everyone loves a secure fullback as it can give you confidence and one who can have a little run out too is also great, but think about these names, Blanco, Gallagher, Cullen, Folau, Burke, Muliaina, Dagg. They are all real attacking threats in the final third and score tries. To date, at international level Mike Brown has shown no sign of having this ability or carrying this threat. It was perhaps well highlighted when Marland Yarde stepped on the gas in the second half and blew the cover away till he was brought down just short. Brown never showed that last year as a wing and just doesn’t have that ability.
Ben Foden was only dropped due to injury and should come back in, he has every ability Brown does as well as pace. I predict that at some stage Brown will be put clear and get caught or will be skinned as the last man. If I’m wrong about this then it’s all to the good for England and I’ll happily admit it, but until then, I’ll be the one not jumping up and down at a good counterattack unless he can finish it off.