The debate about 12



  • Just read interesting article quoting Eddie Jones. Said he was traditionally in the second 5/8 camp, but now sees 12/13 as dual centres. Yadda, yadda.
    But one thing which did chime was an observation that the number of times a game a passing sequence of 10-12-13 occurred could be counted on one hand. Hence 12 (and 13) were in essence running backs, to use NFL parlance.
    Passing skills a bonus.
    Not sure I entirely agree but do think there’s some truth in all that.



  • @pakman Can you post the article? Sounds interesting.







  • @pakman said in The debate about 12:

    Just read interesting article quoting Eddie Jones. Said he was traditionally in the second 5/8 camp, but now sees 12/13 as dual centres. Yadda, yadda.
    But one thing which did chime was an observation that the number of times a game a passing sequence of 10-12-13 occurred could be counted on one hand. Hence 12 (and 13) were in essence running backs, to use NFL parlance.
    Passing skills a bonus.
    Not sure I entirely agree but do think there’s some truth in all that.

    Jones ruing the fact that Tompkins - a passing 12 - chose Wales over England.



  • What is Toomua for the Wallabies? Seems to be a second 5/8 and important to the Wallabies. They lose a bit of organization when they have dual centres.
    For the ABs I perhaps dual centres with Laumape and possibly with ALB. (As for Goodhue at 12, not sure, he seems to be more of a second 5/8 at 12 more than at 13, if that makes sense).



  • @nostrildamus said in The debate about 12:

    What is Toomua for the Wallabies? Seems to be a second 5/8 and important to the Wallabies. They lose a bit of organization when they have dual centres.
    For the ABs I perhaps dual centres with Laumape and possibly with ALB. (As for Goodhue at 12, not sure, he seems to be more of a second 5/8 at 12 more than at 13, if that makes sense).

    He's a second 5/8, and was a key component of first 110 minutes of Bled's so far.

    If one follow's Eddie dual centre rationale Laumape fits the bill well at 12. Jack has good left hoof, but for me is Super-level 12 but test-level 13. Love his draw and pass there.

    ALB probably closest to second 5/8 in squad.



  • Yes I read it as a sweeping strategy, a lot depends on what sort of player is at 10 IMO.



  • @nostrildamus said in The debate about 12:

    Yes I read it as a sweeping strategy, a lot depends on what sort of player is at 10 IMO.

    And in today’s game, what sort of fullback you have matters too.

    If you have a playmaker at 10 and a 15 that comes into the line as a playmaker too, then there’s less need for a Snakey type centre or 2nd 5/8 You can have more ball running players in the midfield.

    Remember when the Wallabies tried Nathan Grey at 10, they needed that genuine 2nd 5 because (Giteau, Flatley) to do the majority of playmaking.



  • @ACT-Crusader said in The debate about 12:

    @nostrildamus said in The debate about 12:

    Yes I read it as a sweeping strategy, a lot depends on what sort of player is at 10 IMO.

    And in today’s game, what sort of fullback you have matters too.

    If you have a playmaker at 10 and a 15 that comes into the line as a playmaker too, then there’s less need for a Snakey type centre or 2nd 5/8 You can have more ball running players in the midfield.

    Remember when the Wallabies tried Nathan Grey at 10, they needed that genuine 2nd 5 because (Giteau, Flatley) to do the majority of playmaking.

    And vice versa in Wallabies' case.



  • Also % Eddie has favoured as his first choice combo Tuilagi at 13 and Slade (a genuine playmaker) at 13, plus of course shoehorning another playmaker (Daley) at 15. Is that what he’d really like though or is that just because he really wants Tuilagi on the field in his favoured position?



  • @Catogrande is he strong, fast, and not born in England? Then Eddie probably likes him. Extra 7.84% bonus if he has a great size to weight ratio and PBs to 4 decimal places.



  • The English gave up the idea of having two Midfielders who could both pass in the late 90s. (Guscott/Carling was the last English midfield I can remember with two guys who could act as playmaker). Mike Tindall, Jamie Nonu, Luther Burrell and Manu Tuilagi were bulldozers with passsing skills inferior to most All Blacks Front Five players. Normally they were paired up with a playmaker.

    I think you need four or five power, ball-carriers in your team. These can be Locks, in the backrow, midfield or on the Wing. Laumape gives the ABs the option of a ball carrier at 12, if needed.



  • @sparky

    Good point. But even with the playmakers, EJ seems to prefer them to take Route One. Notice how so many current England midfielders (don't) hold the ball compared to, say Conrad or O'Driscoll. More often than not, it's in one hand which limits the attacking/passing options and telegraphs your intentions to the defence. Dunno if it's the coaching or England tactics

    Jamie Joseph is an exception who's really good at this - but he can't nail down a midfield slot



  • @sparky said in The debate about 12:

    The English gave up the idea of having two Midfielders who could both pass in the late 90s. (Guscott/Carling was the last English midfield I can remember with two guys who could act as playmaker). Mike Tindall, Jamie Nonu, Luther Burrell and Manu Tuilagi were bulldozers with passsing skills inferior to most All Blacks Front Five players. Normally they were paired up with a playmaker.

    I think you need four or five power, ball-carriers in your team. These can be Locks, in the backrow, midfield or on the Wing. Laumape gives the ABs the option of a ball carrier at 12, if needed.

    Jamie Noon? IMO need one centre who is big enough to dent the line. Historically we've done better with same at 12. TBF most power players take a while to sort their passing, and some never do.

    For me ALB and NL ought to be AB 12s, with JG at 13 and Roane as utility 3/4.



  • @Victor-Meldrew said in The debate about 12:

    @sparky

    Good point. But even with the playmakers, EJ seems to prefer them to take Route One. Notice how so many current England midfielders (don't) hold the ball compared to, say Conrad or O'Driscoll. More often than not, it's in one hand which limits the attacking/passing options and telegraphs your intentions to the defence. Dunno if it's the coaching or England tactics

    Jamie Joseph is an exception who's really good at this - but he can't nail down a midfield slot

    Seems as though Slade has supplanted JJ, who is a class act.

    Part of problem is love affair with St. Owen's 'attitude'. He distorts England's back play. Ford at 10 is great off front foot ball. Then Tuilagi at 12 makes sense, and Slade/JJ at centre and you've got lots to make oppo think.



  • @sparky said in The debate about 12:

    The English gave up the idea of having two Midfielders who could both pass in the late 90s. (Guscott/Carling was the last English midfield I can remember with two guys who could act as playmaker). Mike Tindall, Jamie Nonu, Luther Burrell and Manu Tuilagi were bulldozers with passsing skills inferior to most All Blacks Front Five players. Normally they were paired up with a playmaker.

    I think you need four or five power, ball-carriers in your team. These can be Locks, in the backrow, midfield or on the Wing. Laumape gives the ABs the option of a ball carrier at 12, if needed.

    Our two biggest problems over the last God knows how many years have been finding a 7 and what to do in the midfield. We have had guys that had all the skills in the centres but most have not really been given the chance. Jamie Noon was actually quite a creative centre, just not when he was drafted in to the England set up. We've had Greenwood, Catt, Ollie Smith, Stuart Abbott, ~~Jamie ~~ Edit: Jonathan (thanks @bone)Joseph, Farrell (jnr), Slade, Daley, Ollie Barkley, Matt Tait. Sadly very few got an extended look in.



  • @Catogrande

    Some good 7's available to England now though.....

    Thought not sticking with Noon & Tait was a bad move as they looked pretty promising. I remember them opening us up in midfield when we played them years ago - think our 12 & 13 was pretty good too, Tana & Aaron Mauger IIRC.



  • @Catogrande said in The debate about 12:

    @sparky said in The debate about 12:

    The English gave up the idea of having two Midfielders who could both pass in the late 90s. (Guscott/Carling was the last English midfield I can remember with two guys who could act as playmaker). Mike Tindall, Jamie Nonu, Luther Burrell and Manu Tuilagi were bulldozers with passsing skills inferior to most All Blacks Front Five players. Normally they were paired up with a playmaker.

    I think you need four or five power, ball-carriers in your team. These can be Locks, in the backrow, midfield or on the Wing. Laumape gives the ABs the option of a ball carrier at 12, if needed.

    Our two biggest problems over the last God knows how many years have been finding a 7 and what to do in the midfield. We have had guys that had all the skills in the centres but most have not really been given the chance. Jamie Noon was actually quite a creative centre, just not when he was drafted in to the England set up. We've had Greenwood, Catt, Ollie Smith, Stuart Abbott, Jamie Joseph, Farrell (jnr), Slade, Daley, Ollie Barkley, Matt Tait. Sadly very few got an extended look in.

    Agree about 7, but for some years after JW I felt 10 was the issue. Much better now. Ford can be excellent, and Umaga showed enough on Saturday to suggest he will be very good in a white jersey. Farrell (jnr) handy as a closer.



  • @Catogrande said in The debate about 12:

    @sparky said in The debate about 12:

    The English gave up the idea of having two Midfielders who could both pass in the late 90s. (Guscott/Carling was the last English midfield I can remember with two guys who could act as playmaker). Mike Tindall, Jamie Nonu, Luther Burrell and Manu Tuilagi were bulldozers with passsing skills inferior to most All Blacks Front Five players. Normally they were paired up with a playmaker.

    I think you need four or five power, ball-carriers in your team. These can be Locks, in the backrow, midfield or on the Wing. Laumape gives the ABs the option of a ball carrier at 12, if needed.

    Our two biggest problems over the last God knows how many years have been finding a 7 and what to do in the midfield. We have had guys that had all the skills in the centres but most have not really been given the chance. Jamie Noon was actually quite a creative centre, just not when he was drafted in to the England set up. We've had Greenwood, Catt, Ollie Smith, Stuart Abbott, Jamie Joseph, Farrell (jnr), Slade, Daley, Ollie Barkley, Matt Tait. Sadly very few got an extended look in.

    One for you: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2020/02/24/inside-line-englands-positional-fluidity-justifies-eddie-jones/?WT.mc_id=e_DM1300091&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_RIn_New&utmsource=email&utm_medium=Edi_RIn_New20201027&utm_campaign=DM1300091



  • @Victor-Meldrew said in The debate about 12:

    Jamie Joseph is an exception who's really good at this - but he can't nail down a midfield slot

    I'm not surprised. He would be considered a bit of a bruiser in the midfield though eh.



  • @Victor-Meldrew said in The debate about 12:

    @Catogrande

    Some good 7's available to England now though.....

    Thought not sticking with Noon & Tait was a bad move as they looked pretty promising. I remember them opening us up in midfield when we played them years ago - think our 12 & 13 was pretty good too, Tana & Aaron Mauger IIRC.

    Yeah we’ve finally got a few options at 7 😀

    Noon and Tait wee a promising combo but we’re not persevered with. On reflection I feel our problems lay in coaching/management. Noon got used as a battering ram and Tait got shifted around the field. Flood was Ok at 10 but was clearly only keeping the bed warm for Wilkinson. Should they have given Charlie Hodgson a dent run and tried to cover his defensive lapses?

    So often with England (cricket and soccer too), so much emphasis is placed on what a guy can’t do rather than what he can. Like the argument re Glenn Hoddle v David Batty. When questioned why he couldn’t track back and defend like Batty, Hoddle asked why no- one questioned why Batty couldn’t send 45m pin point passes initial the opposition penalty area. Cue no answer whatsoever.



  • @Catogrande said in The debate about 12:

    So often with England (cricket and soccer too), so much emphasis is placed on what a guy can’t do rather than what he can.

    Great point. I recall someone criticising Lineker as, yes, he may score loads of goals but they are easy, simple goals and doesn't score any spectacular ones...

    The other issue is England seem to pick players with the same physical characteristics as other countries and hope they will develop. The AB's have a big Samoan 12 called Nonu? No problems we'll Tualigi. He's big & fast and Samoan, the skills have just got to develop, right?



  • @Bones said in The debate about 12:

    @Victor-Meldrew said in The debate about 12:

    Jamie Joseph is an exception who's really good at this - but he can't nail down a midfield slot

    I'm not surprised. He would be considered a bit of a bruiser in the midfield though eh.

    Too old these days too



  • On the AB side of things, Eddies musings add weight to the selection of JG and ALB seemingly the wrong way around.
    If rush defences are the problem then it makes sense for your faster more elusive centre to play 13. You either skip 12 to outside channels or 12 looks to take a tackle and provide quick ball that the “three quarters “ can use.



  • @Crucial

    Real good point which might help explain how the ABs have struggled in midfield positions since Conrad & Ma'a retired



  • @Crucial said in The debate about 12:

    On the AB side of things, Eddies musings add weight to the selection of JG and ALB seemingly the wrong way around.
    If rush defences are the problem then it makes sense for your faster more elusive centre to play 13. You either skip 12 to outside channels or 12 looks to take a tackle and provide quick ball that the “three quarters “ can use.

    Felt they were trying to do that with Roane in Bled One.



  • The other consideration is just how often is the backline 10,12,13. Maybe from lineouts or a Scrum without a blind. A lot of the time in phase play etc players are all over the place both sides of the field.

    The 13 probably plays a lot as second receiver during a game anyway. So perhaps the roles are more similar then once upon a time.



  • @chimoaus said in The debate about 12:

    The other consideration is just how often is the backline 10,12,13. Maybe from lineouts or a Scrum without a blind. A lot of the time in phase play etc players are all over the place both sides of the field.

    The 13 probably plays a lot as second receiver during a game anyway. So perhaps the roles are more similar then once upon a time.

    Yeah the backiline even from set pieces if often shuffled, to cover defensive weaknesses or try and trick the opposition. Positions outside of things like front row are becoming less and less 'formal' or fixed. Working in shifting pods, trying to generate mismatches etc.



  • My thinking is they are looking at JG as a guy who could provide that punch at 12 like Laumape, has a better passing game, has a kicking game and crucially, is smarter on defence than NL, also seems to be someone they use to try secure our ball at the breakdown alot too.

    That said, I like most, see him and ALB as being the wrong way round.



  • @taniwharugby said in The debate about 12:

    My thinking is they are looking at JG as a guy who could provide that punch at 12 like Laumape, has a better passing game, has a kicking game and crucially, is smarter on defence than NL, also seems to be someone they use to try secure our ball at the breakdown alot too.

    That said, I like most, see him and ALB as being the wrong way round.

    Funny you say that because I thought JG's passing game was poor in AKLD. A bunch of hospital passes, a pass to no one, and one or two good uns



  • @canefan as mentioned elsewhere, that pass to no one to me seemed it was to someone, with BB several paces behind, and CC another 2 or 3m further out, seemed too good of a pass (in that it didnt seem a poor pass, seemed a nice firm flat pass) to be that short of CC if he was the target or far too long if it was for the man it cut out.

    Or maybe JG or BB got the move wrong?

    Usually his passing is better, but as always, could do with improving, still only 25, so plenty of time try to get up to Nonu level passing.



  • In France, as far as I can remember, there is no notion of an inside centre coupled with an outside centre. The French teams, at club or national level, have always played with a right and left centres. They usually don't kick. I have in mind the notable exception of Frank Mesnel who was sometimes used as what could be considered as a 2nd Five.



  • @cgrant said in The debate about 12:

    In France, as far as I can remember, there is no notion of an inside centre coupled with an outside centre. The French teams, at club or national level, have always played with a right and left centres. They usually don't kick. I have in mind the notable exception of Frank Mesnel who was sometimes used as what could be considered as a 2nd Five.

    I know that was right traditionally, but I haven't noticed that in last few years' Heine Cup.



  • When Nonu was first moved to 12 for ABs in 2006 there was a lot of head scratching when Henry and co said they thought it was his best position. If I remember right he was chosen ahead of Mauger (maybe McAllister too?). I don't remember if he had already started playing there with the Canes?



  • @DMX said in The debate about 12:

    When Nonu was first moved to 12 for ABs in 2006 there was a lot of head scratching when Henry and co said they thought it was his best position. If I remember right he was chosen ahead of Mauger (maybe McAllister too?). I don't remember if he had already started playing there with the Canes?

    He went from a purely cart it up 12 and became an all round 12 who could run, distribute and kick (a bit). Lots of doubters



  • @canefan said in The debate about 12:

    @DMX said in The debate about 12:

    When Nonu was first moved to 12 for ABs in 2006 there was a lot of head scratching when Henry and co said they thought it was his best position. If I remember right he was chosen ahead of Mauger (maybe McAllister too?). I don't remember if he had already started playing there with the Canes?

    He went from a purely cart it up 12 and became an all round 12 who could run, distribute and kick (a bit). Lots of doubters

    Always had a step.



  • Think I mentioned elsewhere how much I enjoyed the '08 season, a big reason was his emergence as a 12.



  • @DMX said in The debate about 12:

    When Nonu was first moved to 12 for ABs in 2006 there was a lot of head scratching when Henry and co said they thought it was his best position. If I remember right he was chosen ahead of Mauger (maybe McAllister too?). I don't remember if he had already started playing there with the Canes?

    He only played one test at 2nd 5 in 06. The others were at centre and off the bench stints at centre and on the wing. In 2006 there was a lot of rotation.

    Then in 07 he only had a couple of brief stints off the bench at centre given Mauger and Lucky were the preferred 2nd 5s and Snakey, Mils and Ice the preferred centres.

    Fast forward to after the RWC and Nonu and Snakey assume first choice midfield for the mid-season tests and then into the 3Ns. And as they say the rest is history.



  • @DMX said in The debate about 12:

    Think I mentioned elsewhere how much I enjoyed the '08 season, a big reason was his emergence as a 12.

    Yeah, he had a really shit on field attitude and was a frustrating player to watch. He'd make mistakes and not try to atone (like spilling the ball and then just turning his back and walking off). Definitely became a lot more focused.


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