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Sat 4th Nov: Third Test: England v Tonga KO 2.30pm @ Headingley (BBC One)


Who will win?  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Who will win?

    • England by 13 points or more
      18
    • England by 7 to 12 points
      21
    • England by 1 to 6 points
      7
    • Tonga by 1 to 6 points
      5
    • Tonga by 7 to 12 points
      5
    • Tonga by 13 points or more
      1

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  • Poll closed on 04/11/23 at 15:00

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3 hours ago, OMEGA said:

Missing from todays team
Makinson, Farnworth. Wardle, King, Percival, Young, Lewis, Dodd?, Walmsley, Oledski, Havard, Farrell, Knowles, KPP, Radley, Smithies, 

Theres definitely some depth developing in the England squad with maybe one or two still to emerge over the coming season. We could still do with another class full back and perhaps another BIG front rower or two.

Quite so.  Thoroughly enjoyed the whole series.  I felt the difference was that England had a purpose, played as a team, creative and enterprising compared to Tonga.  I felt it showed we have the players (and as per your list, the strength in depth, at last) to compete with NRL players but not yet  quite a good enough team to compete with a Kangaroos team comprising NRL players. I think the NRL environment - the team competition, NRL coaches and the competitiveness of the individual Australians is stronger but clearly we are getting there.  More, please, if we can find the money and drive to run a regular and competitive International programme.

One other observation: on TV, the crowds seemed strangely quiet (apart from the drums!) which I'm sure they weren't.  I do feel it would improve the viewing experience if the crowd noise was given more prominence.

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7 hours ago, NRLandSL said:

Says the one who calls a top tier SL prop an average championship player 😂.

He's lucky he plays for Saints, he isn't a top tier prop as proven in this series and I didn't say he was an average championship player I said he wouldn't stand out and I firmly believe that. He's a salary cap player for Saints.

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4 hours ago, OMEGA said:

Missing from todays team
Makinson, Farnworth. Wardle, King, Percival, Young, Lewis, Dodd?, Walmsley, Oledski, Havard, Farrell, Knowles, KPP, Radley, Smithies, 

Theres definitely some depth developing in the England squad with maybe one or two still to emerge over the coming season. We could still do with another class full back and perhaps another BIG front rower or two.

'Missing' is a little aggrandizing, most of them are just players who weren't picked. Squad depth, yes ok, you could suggest that and I think we do have and 4 or 5 of those guys would probably be in the seventeen. Tonga had some good players missing as well, not least Taumololo, but it's the nature of the beast at this stage of the year.

I hope KPP kicks on as we're starting to look a little light in the back row going forward. 

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1 hour ago, Tex Evans Thigh said:

He's lucky he plays for Saints, he isn't a top tier prop as proven in this series and I didn't say he was an average championship player I said he wouldn't stand out and I firmly believe that. He's a salary cap player for Saints.

There's a reason he plays for Saints and England, he hasn't just been handed the shirt. He's Work rate and line speed is phenomenal. He is a great defender and though not the biggest front-rower he always puts in 110% and I've seen him have some stellar games in the past. To refer to him as a championship player is totally outlandish, it's not every front rower who scores in a grand final after all.

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1 hour ago, Tex Evans Thigh said:

I hope KPP kicks on as we're starting to look a little light in the back row going forward. 

I have a bit of confidence with the second row/edge position.

As well as KPP, we have Matty Nicholson going very well, plus noises that Sam Walters will play on the edge for Wigan while Morgan Gannon remains a tremendous prospect.

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1 hour ago, The British Lion said:

What happened to the Tonga who nearly beat us in the semi finals of the World Cup? Great first 2 tests. Samoa have overtaken them maybe.

On the one hand, we were 20-0 up against them after 72 minutes in 2017...

On the other, their best player and inspirational captain that day isn't here and neither is a stadium full of red shirts, Tongan singing and the King of Tonga.

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7 hours ago, The British Lion said:

What happened to the Tonga who nearly beat us in the semi finals of the World Cup? ...

They were suffocated by line speed (offside, really, the referee sprinting up with the defensive line to avoid giving a penalty, the line setting off before the ball had cleared the ruck); slowing down the play-the-ball by a third and fourth man spreading himself on top off the uppermost tacker; extended upright tackling which involves holding the opponent up and pushing and pulling until the referee can remember the word “held”. A pity, really: I’ve been very much looking forward to this Tonga team and their exciting brand of rugby.

This highly praised England team would look very different under rule interpretations closer to the actual laws of the game.

Overly negative and unbalanced, perhaps, but I do like to see two sides play when I watch team sport.

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10 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

This was for a 3rd match in a poorly attended and marketed test series which had already been won.

Leeds should be an automatic pick for games in the North. Till anywhere else pulls larger crowds consistently then its a no brainer. The only banker game the RFL have got.

I think 2 game series may be better? Headingly and Brentford in an deal world 

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5 minutes ago, GeordieSaint said:

You’ve proper got a bee in your bonnet. Great try saver at the end by Welsby. 

It's an observation Geordie, I have said previously that coming from the side he should have the pace to time the tackles, and yes it was a good effort at the end of the game. But there were two other occasions he had to make tackles the one for the try Tonga scored was totally bad technique on his part in attempting to stop him, and his club teammate Hopoate would have scored if it had been left on a one on one situation, Jack was grimly hanging on to his shorts till assisted by some teammates.

As stated previously I think he is a great player and has few equals in SL with ball in hand, but defence at the moment is not a strong point of his especially when someone is running directly at him which was proven more than once last season,  even the most one eyed Saints fan has to concede that.

If he ever got as good as his club coach was defensively he would really be a super star, and if Wellens can't influence him to improve that part of his game no one will, unless Welllens is a bad teacher.

Honestly I would love him to go to Australia and play full back, to get the real assessment of where he is at.

 

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10 hours ago, JohnM said:

 

One other observation: on TV, the crowds seemed strangely quiet (apart from the drums!) which I'm sure they weren't.  I do feel it would improve the viewing experience if the crowd noise was given more prominence.

Hate to say it but this was the first one of the three I watched on tv rather than being there 

I enjoyed it more on tv 

I have never said that about any sporting event 

It felt a bigger event on tv with Chappers and the BBC presentation etc 

Regarding crowd noise ....if it was anything like the first two I have to say it wasn't very noisy 

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2 hours ago, Cerulean said:

They were suffocated by line speed (offside, really, the referee sprinting up with the defensive line to avoid giving a penalty, the line setting off before the ball had cleared the ruck); slowing down the play-the-ball by a third and fourth man spreading himself on top off the uppermost tacker; extended upright tackling which involves holding the opponent up and pushing and pulling until the referee can remember the word “held”. A pity, really: I’ve been very much looking forward to this Tonga team and their exciting brand of rugby.

This highly praised England team would look very different under rule interpretations closer to the actual laws of the game.

Overly negative and unbalanced, perhaps, but I do like to see two sides play when I watch team sport.

Good teams adapt. Tonga didn't. I can understand them being caught out in the opening game but Kristian Woolf has ample experience of the game in this country to know what to expect.

England's line speed was good throughout the tests. That was obviously a huge part of the game plan to try to nullify Tonga. Tonga's line speed was poor overall. There were brief spells of intensity throughout all the games but nothing really cohesive.

They had no obvious game plan. I get the criticism of the ruck speed in the first test. Apparently that was really holding them back. Yesterday was the first time they had quicker ruck speed than England and they were even worse. The idea that ruck speed was holding them down ignores the complete lack of organisation and cohesion within the team. Their spine was poor and that's why despite having a monster pack they couldn't really punish England as they'd like. Their focus on ruck speed was because they knew their limitations as a team.

Not that you can read too much into this from an England perspective. Tonga aren't as strong as people seem to want to believe. They were ordinary in the World Cup. Their demolition of Cook Islands was the only really good game and it was against a team that just wanted to go home (and several players already had). Take a few key players out and they don't have the depth yet. They will soon, but not yet. England had better players available.

Tonga also just never really seemed as motivated as England. It reminded me of the malaise we used to see from New Zealand when they'd come over here post-season for a test and would often flatter to deceive, despite being capable of holding their own against the Aussie's and playing well in World Cups held here.

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Imo the only issue with welsby is this aggressive attitude.  He seems to want to involve himself in every little indescretion, pushing, pulling, gobbing off to the Ref.

If he can cure that attitude (not the fire in his belly) then he has the ability to become of of the greats.

tbf someone knocking him clean out when he runs in the next time might be a quick cure 😂

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23 minutes ago, EagleEyePie said:

Good teams adapt. Tonga didn't. I can understand them being caught out in the opening game but Kristian Woolf has ample experience of the game in this country to know what to expect.

England's line speed was good throughout the tests. That was obviously a huge part of the game plan to try to nullify Tonga. Tonga's line speed was poor overall. There were brief spells of intensity throughout all the games but nothing really cohesive.

They had no obvious game plan. I get the criticism of the ruck speed in the first test. Apparently that was really holding them back. Yesterday was the first time they had quicker ruck speed than England and they were even worse. The idea that ruck speed was holding them down ignores the complete lack of organisation and cohesion within the team. Their spine was poor and that's why despite having a monster pack they couldn't really punish England as they'd like. Their focus on ruck speed was because they knew their limitations as a team.

Not that you can read too much into this from an England perspective. Tonga aren't as strong as people seem to want to believe. They were ordinary in the World Cup. Their demolition of Cook Islands was the only really good game and it was against a team that just wanted to go home (and several players already had). Take a few key players out and they don't have the depth yet. They will soon, but not yet. England had better players available.

Tonga also just never really seemed as motivated as England. It reminded me of the malaise we used to see from New Zealand when they'd come over here post-season for a test and would often flatter to deceive, despite being capable of holding their own against the Aussie's and playing well in World Cups held here.

Thank you for a full, well composed, interesting, analytic response to my moan. With that level of input, perhaps you should post more.

I'm disappointed that the way teams respond to the "flavour" of rule application chosen by the referee should be such a major component of the sport, but it is, and that's my hard luck.

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10 hours ago, Tex Evans Thigh said:

'Missing' is a little aggrandizing, most of them are just players who weren't picked. Squad depth, yes ok, you could suggest that and I think we do have and 4 or 5 of those guys would probably be in the seventeen. Tonga had some good players missing as well, not least Taumololo, but it's the nature of the beast at this stage of the year.

I hope KPP kicks on as we're starting to look a little light in the back row going forward. 

Well we can only pick so many in the squad and my point was about the developing depth of players.

That said a team line up such as 

Welsby, Young, Farnworth, Wardle, Johnstone, Williams, Smith, Walmsley, Ackers, Thompson, KPP, Batchelor, Radley. Subs: Lewis, Knowles, Burgess, Havard.

Would on the face of it be stronger than todays team imo

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36 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

Imo the only issue with welsby is this aggressive attitude.  He seems to want to involve himself in every little indescretion, pushing, pulling, gobbing off to the Ref.

If he can cure that attitude (not the fire in his belly) then he has the ability to become of of the greats.

tbf someone knocking him clean out when he runs in the next time might be a quick cure 😂

He's a big body....I suspect as full backs go he would be one of the toughest ones out there to have a bit if biff with 

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42 minutes ago, EagleEyePie said:

Good teams adapt. Tonga didn't. I can understand them being caught out in the opening game but Kristian Woolf has ample experience of the game in this country to know what to expect.

England's line speed was good throughout the tests. That was obviously a huge part of the game plan to try to nullify Tonga. Tonga's line speed was poor overall. There were brief spells of intensity throughout all the games but nothing really cohesive.

They had no obvious game plan. I get the criticism of the ruck speed in the first test. Apparently that was really holding them back. Yesterday was the first time they had quicker ruck speed than England and they were even worse. The idea that ruck speed was holding them down ignores the complete lack of organisation and cohesion within the team. Their spine was poor and that's why despite having a monster pack they couldn't really punish England as they'd like. Their focus on ruck speed was because they knew their limitations as a team.

Not that you can read too much into this from an England perspective. Tonga aren't as strong as people seem to want to believe. They were ordinary in the World Cup. Their demolition of Cook Islands was the only really good game and it was against a team that just wanted to go home (and several players already had). Take a few key players out and they don't have the depth yet. They will soon, but not yet. England had better players available.

Tonga also just never really seemed as motivated as England. It reminded me of the malaise we used to see from New Zealand when they'd come over here post-season for a test and would often flatter to deceive, despite being capable of holding their own against the Aussie's and playing well in World Cups held here.

I fully agree on the ruck speed.  The focus on this has been a red herring.  The scorelines have actually been inversely proportional to the ruck speed.

In game 1 England had a faster ruck speed and the game was close, game 2, the ruck speed was closer and England win bigger and game 3 Tonga had the faster ruck speed and England have the biggest win of the series.

England had better kick chase and better line speed and they out enthused Tonga over 80 minutes 3 times.  To counter, Tonga just didn't have the spine for any creativity when the power game didn't work.

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

"If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?" — Sam Harris

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3 hours ago, Cerulean said:

They were suffocated by line speed (offside, really, the referee sprinting up with the defensive line to avoid giving a penalty, the line setting off before the ball had cleared the ruck); slowing down the play-the-ball by a third and fourth man spreading himself on top off the uppermost tacker; extended upright tackling which involves holding the opponent up and pushing and pulling until the referee can remember the word “held”. A pity, really: I’ve been very much looking forward to this Tonga team and their exciting brand of rugby.

This highly praised England team would look very different under rule interpretations closer to the actual laws of the game.

Overly negative and unbalanced, perhaps, but I do like to see two sides play when I watch team sport.

This is nonsense, the ruck speed wasn't a problem in any way other than poorly coached, Woolf knows the game over here well enough to understand what the game was going to be, it was just a useful excuse, in the first game Tonga were leaving men in front if the tackle constantly, trying to slow England down.

As for the the last 2 paragraphs, so we weren't playing to the actual laws of the game, what a laughable statement, just makes you look incredibly bitter.

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9 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I fully agree on the ruck speed.  The focus on this has been a red herring.  The scorelines have actually been inversely proportional to the ruck speed.

In game 1 England had a faster ruck speed and the game was close, game 2, the ruck speed was closer and England win bigger and game 3 Tonga had the faster ruck speed and England have the biggest win of the series.

England had better kick chase and better line speed and they out enthused Tonga over 80 minutes 3 times.  To counter, Tonga just didn't have the spine for any creativity when the power game didn't work.

It's an easy excuse to use, and unfortunately people with agendas are using it. The biggest problem for Tonga was abysmal discipline, and the vast majority of penalties were nothing to do with the speed of the tackles.

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1 hour ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Hate to say it but this was the first one of the three I watched on tv rather than being there 

I enjoyed it more on tv 

I have never said that about any sporting event 

It felt a bigger event on tv with Chappers and the BBC presentation etc 

Regarding crowd noise ....if it was anything like the first two I have to say it wasn't very noisy 

Funnily enough, I thought the atmosphere yesterday was good, for an international, and far better than the previous two. It also helped that the Women had played before hand, so the crowd were a little more 'warmed up' for the game, as it were.

I don't know what came across on tv after the game, but live in the stadium there was a panorama of things going on after the whistle, including some really generous applause on each side of the ground for the Tongans. I thought that was a really important thing to happen, as we need to make touring teams as welcome as possible (except during the game!) in the hope that they take their positive experiences back and persuade others of the virtues of touring England/Europe.

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21 minutes ago, dkw said:

This is nonsense, the ruck speed wasn't a problem in any way other than poorly coached, Woolf knows the game over here well enough to understand what the game was going to be, it was just a useful excuse, in the first game Tonga were leaving men in front if the tackle constantly, trying to slow England down.

As for the the last 2 paragraphs, so we weren't playing to the actual laws of the game, what a laughable statement, just makes you look incredibly bitter.

I think there is a strong argument to suggest that Tonga spent more time offside than England throughout the series. It isn't good enough at international level to complain about something that won't change, and refuse to change your own approaches and methods to deal with it.

The idea that any of these games have not been played to the 'actual;' rules is plain odd, IMO.

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