Additions to England’s Squad for the Six Nations

James Simpson-Daniel

Martin Johnson is set to name his England squad for the RBS Six Nations at 9.30 tomorrow morning. We’ll have the details here as soon as the news breaks, but there are a few players I’d like to see feature.

Realistically, with the Rugby World Cup now just months away, those not involved in this year’s Six Nations are unlikely to feature in New Zealand. This makes Johnno’s announcement particularly important, and here are a few suggestions to help him get it right.

James Simpson-Daniel
An outstanding performance for Gloucester against Exeter at the weekend could prove very timely for the perennially unfortunate Sinbad. Injuries have blighted his career and although it seems as though he’s been around for ever, he’s still only 28 and could be just what England needs.

He’s exceptionally quick and elusive and highly dangerous in open play, adding that spark that England have often lacked. He’s not shy in defence either, and would provide cover for both wing and centre. Now is the time to get him back in the England setup and see if he can take the World Cup by storm.

Manu Tuilagi
The latest of the Tuilagi clan to be making waves is 19-year-old Manu, and he’s eligible to play for England on the basis that he has lived in the country for more than three years.

Johnno is obviously looking for some ballast in the England midfield, and there’s no denying that Tuilagi is a massive unit. He’s completely untested at international level, he has only had a few outings for the Tigers this season and I’m slightly wary following the Lesley Vainikolo experiment – but centre is the problem position and I think it’s worth a try.

Brad Barritt
I’d be surprised if Johnno does pick Tuilagi, in which case I’d like to see Brad Barritt involved from the outset. He was called up as injury cover during the Autumn, but he’s been one of the form players in the Premiership for the last 18 months or so and deserves a place in the EPS in my view.

He’s a direct-running inside centre, and seems to break the defensive line regularly – something Shontayne Hape hasn’t yet been able to do in an England jersey – which means he should fit the Johnno gameplan.

Phil Dowson
Another player that had a brief glimpse of the England camp in November, Dowson is a phenomenal blindside flanker from the Richard Hill school of back row play. He’s always in the thick of it for Northampton and regularly makes yards with ball in hand.

The squad is a little short of classic blindsides at the moment. Tom Croft is struggling with injury, and Dowson should be next in line in my view – and given half a chance, he could make that number 6 shirt his own.

George Skivington
Skivington is probably a bit of a longshot for a call-up, but I’d rather see him in there than Steve Borthwick or Louis Deacon as cover after Courtney Lawes was helped from the field on Saturday.

He’s been a key figure for the Tigers this season as they’ve struggled with injuries, and completely dominated the lineout in their game against the Saints on Saturday, which might just have caught Johnno’s eye.

Who would you like to see called up to the squad tomorrow?

16 thoughts on “Additions to England’s Squad for the Six Nations

  1. Completely agree with all of those. It’ll also be a disgrace if Johnno recalls Deacon or Borthwick – has he not learnt his lesson and seen the improvement in the England team since he removed both of these players?!!!! Other options to be called into the EPS:

    Front Row

    Matt Stevens. Back from suspension this month and will not have had any game time, but if he is half the player (minus the drugs) he was, i welcome his return and personally would love to see him back in the England set up.

    Joe Marler. Stupid hair cut, but amazing player. Another player who needs as much game time as possible to develop.

    Second Row

    Christian Day. Has partnered Lawes well all season

    George Robson. Has had a brilliant season so far

    Back row

    Tom Wood – possible star of the future

    Chris Robshaw – brilliant player, who also adds leadership to the team

    Fly Half

    Owen Farrell – another possible star of the future. Needs as much game time as possible to help build confidence and experience, which he is slightly lacking at the moment


    George Lowe – fantastic player, though maybe be too small/slight to play international?

  2. I agree that most of those players should get a look-in at some stage, but I think now is too soon. The side is relatively settled and focused on this year’s World Cup. Players like Farrell, Lowe and Marler should be drafted in soon afterwards.

    Wood and Robshaw have a reasonable chance of some involvement…

  3. I personally don’t think its too late, though I do agree that some of the players should maybe be included after the world cup and not before i.e Farrell. Second row could be an issue for us, especially if Johnno recalls the likes of Borthwick and Deacon . Attwood is out banned, Lawes picked up an injury at the weekend and I haven’t seen much of Shaw this season (is he injured?). Personally I feel the likes of Skivington/Day/Robson would be much better options and warrant their inclusion a hell of a lot more than Borthwick and Deacon.

    Also, if its too late, will Johnno really change the centre partnership this close to the RWC? Very possibly not – which means that the likes of Tuilagi, Barritt etc etc won’t get a chance anyway, and he’ll stick with Hape and Tindall – defensively strong, but not much potency in offensive

  4. It looks like there could be a second row problem: Daily Mail reporting that Lawes is out for 3 months, and with Attwood banned, it could be Deacon and Borthwick getting another call up!

  5. Well there goes our hopes of a 6 nations win :(. My opinion might sound like I’m over reacting, but Lawes has been instrumental in Englands development and change of performance, and bringing back the likes of Deacon and/or Borthwick will have a hugely negative effect on us. We need someone that is dynamic, powerful (in both defensive and attack) and has the self confidence to take the game to the opposition – none of which are attributes of Deacon and Borthwick. We all know how much Johnno loves players that play for Leicester, but I would have thought he must have learnt his mistakes by now, and I would hope he at least opts for the likes of Skivington instead, or maybe even Day or Robson. Is that wishful thinking?

    Another problem area i can foresee is Hooker. Hartley is amazing for club, but seems to loose his head when it comes to international duty + his lineout throwing is somewhat of a lottery. I’m expecting Thompson to be given the first shot in the 6 nations, with Hartley on the bench, but what other options do we have?

  6. Did anyone read the article by Mike Catt in the Daily Mail the other day, suggesting Foden as a 13? Have to say, it’s definitely an interesting option, and one I wouldn’t be opposed to England trying – though I think his motives may be slightly more alligned with getting Armitage back in the mix then anything else. Thoughts?

  7. Due to injuries, what about something like this?

    1. Sheridan
    2. Thompson
    3. Cole
    4. Shaw
    5. Palmer
    6. Moody (c)
    7. Wood
    8. Easter
    9. Youngs
    10. Flood
    11. Simpson-Daniel
    12. Hape
    13. Foden
    14. Ashton
    15. Cueto

    16. Wilson
    17. Hartley
    18. Skivington
    19. Dowson
    20. Care
    21. Wilkinson
    22. Tuilagi

  8. Not 100% sure about Barritt but agree with all the others. Johnno’s probably already made his mind up though…

    I’m not even going to start after JSD’s dismantling of Exeter…

  9. Interesting team Tommy, although can’t see Wood pushing Moody to the other side of the scrum. I think they’d bring Haskell in before that.

    Not sure about Foden at 13 either. Has he ever played there before? He’s one of our best players at full-back, so let’s leave him there I think.

    Back will probably be: Youngs, Flood, Cueto, Hape, Tindall, Ashton, Foden. Johnno loves consistency!

  10. I completely agree that Johnno will stick with that formation – I’m simply throwing suggestions out there to see what people think + to try and include players thats should be in the team and solve the issue with centre’s lol. As for Foden playing 13 – don’t think he has, but then look at the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper. He started out as a wing, then moved to full back and now he plays 13 and is superb at it. Foden has, IMO, all the right attributes to play 13. Completely agree aswell in regards to Foden being our best full back, but Cueto is more than capable of taking over, which then opens up the door for JSD to be on the other wing. Of course, none of this will ever happen – i just find it interesting speculating.

  11. Would you have Cueto at full-back over Armitage then?

    You say your backline will never happen – that’s because yours is picked to attack, and Mike Ford is always striving for the best defensive performance ever!

    I’d have Youngs and Flood at half-back, Ashton and Sinbad on the wings, Hape and Tuilagi in the centres and Foden at full-back. That will never happen either!

  12. Completely agree about Fords ethos being defense and not attack. Johnno, please replace him!

    Would i have Cueto at full back instead of Armitage? Damn right i would. Cueto is as solid and secure as they come and the sort of person you want as your last line of defense. He is good under the high ball, he has a good boot on him, he has brain on him and so knows when to kick and when to attack, and his ability to run the ball back at opposition and break the gain line is superb. If Foden was moved (or injured) Cueto would be my man to replace him. As we have all said, Cueto doesn’t have the pace of an international wing anymore, but he definitely warrants his inclusion in the team. Plus, we all know how dangerous Foden is in attack – imagine what he could do if he got his hands on the ball a hell of a lot more, especially with his partner in crime Ashton outside him. Not sure if it’d work, merely suggesting it could be worth a slight experiment – but that will never happen as Johnno and all the other coaches don’t like change lol.

    As for Tuilagi. I would include him in my team, but i think i’d rather (at least to begin with) have him as an impact sub as opposed to in the starting line up.

  13. Was hoping the stability and consistency would carry on into the 6N but it seems not. Pray for no more injuries in the next couple of weeks

    Attwood, what a time to get banned!!!!

  14. George Lowe, Joe Marler and Tom Guest are my picks. I am a quins fan, but I honestly think those 3 sill become the future of English rugby.

  15. Apparently Marler is heading for the Saxons squad, but just a rumour at the moment. Also news that Wood is in for Croft, and Joe Simpson is in as well.

    We’ll have more news shortly!

  16. Wood is almost a like for like replacement for Croft so that makes sense. A good backrow is all about balance and Easter, Moody and Croft is very balanced.

    Great news about Marler and Simmo deserves his shot – lets just hope he can stay injury free!

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