England announce Elite Player and Saxons Squads

Martin Johnson has just announced the two England squads for the coming season.

I’ve only scanned the list so far, but spotted Jonny Wilkinson on the end of the EPS list, with Danny Cipriani in the Saxons. Nick Kennedy and Paul Sackey are also dropped to the Saxons.

James Haskell isn’t on either list…

What are your thoughts? Does this actually matter?


Steffon Armitage (London Irish)
Steve Borthwick (Saracens)
George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Ben Kay (Leicester Tigers)
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Tim Payne (London Wasps)
Tom Rees (London Wasps)
Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
Phil Vickery (London Wasps)
Julian White (Leicester Tigers)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Joe Worsley (London Wasps)

BACKS (14)
Delon Armitage (London Irish)
Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Riki Flutey (CA Brive)
Dan Hipkiss (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Olly Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)
Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon)


Richard Blaze (Leicester Tigers)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Nick Kennedy (London Irish)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Matthew Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
Tom Mercey (Saracens)
Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
David Paice (London Irish)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Will Skinner (Harlequins)
George Skivington (London Wasps)
Dan Ward-Smith (London Wasps)
Rob Webber (London Wasps)
Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Woods (Leicester Tigers)

BACKS (15)
Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Shane Geraghty (Northampton Saints)
Topsy Ojo (London Irish)
Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
Paul Sackey (London Wasps)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
David Strettle (Harlequins)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Sam Vesty (Leicester Tigers)
Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps)
Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)
Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)

13 thoughts on “England announce Elite Player and Saxons Squads

  1. It seems to me that “The Hask” and Cipriani are paying the price for their over-sized egos. Can’t imagine Martin Johnson appreciates them strutting around as they do.

  2. And what happened to Andy Goode? I mean, I don’t rate him at all but he put up a half-decent show against Argentina and the Baabaas and at least isn’t permanently injured…

  3. Great shout on Goode Claire! I hadn’t noticed at first glance. Never been a massive fan either but leaving him out of both seems harsh. Maybe he’s set to retire from internationals?

  4. Also, my tuppence on Cipriani:

    I have been such a big supporter of his for the past couple of seasons, all based on some stunning club matches and one excellent England match. However i’m now forced to admit he is not the player he promised to be. His performance recently for the Saxons was embarrassing, such was his lack of commitment to the tackle and the cause in general. I hope either Johnson, Edwards or Tony Hanks is able to speak to him and make him understand what he needs to do to become the player he should be.

  5. It’s amazing the differences in opinion between selectors. It’s taken a dominant performance on a Lions tour for Johnson to pick Shaw and there are 5 players in the elite aquad who couldn’t get into their club teams at the sharp end of last season.

    Think there are a few besides Cipriani who can feel a bit miffed (Moody & Robshaw are far more dynamic than most of the back rows chosen, Strettle, Geraghty, Foden and Cipriani must all have been close). And what on earth has Nick Kennedy done wrong? He comprehensively outlayed Borthwick last season. The pack just looks slow and lumbering to me, hardly any dynamism at all. After what we’ve seen from the Lions, it looks like England will go back to making the game as slow as they possibly can.

    Re Cipriani, people accuse him of being someone who is not dedicated and likes to play the media but I don’t see that. I wish the media would just leave him alone. An elite squad of 32 players get picked and he is the headline. Let the bloke play some rugby. He’s only 22 and he’s been through an horrendous year. It’s a bit early to give up on him and decide he hasn’t lived up to his promise. Instead of beating him with a stick, maybe the coaches should stick an arm round his shoulder. Other countries wouldn’t put such a talent out to grass, they would realise they have a potentially awesome asset and make sure they get the best out of him. It would be criminal if Cipriani spends his entire career behind the likes of Toby Flood.

  6. Spot on Stewart

    This squad is about as forward thinking as platform shoes; I’m all for having some experience in the team to help develop the young boys but to have Kay and Shaw in the second row and Kennedy in the Saxons is a joke if we are taking about the WC.

    Foden, Geraghty, Kennedy, Robshaw; these are the guys of the future, don’t play all of them at once and watch them loose only to use that as an excuse to revert to the old-boys, you have to play one or two at a time with some experienced boys in ordder for them to develop in a more secure environment.

    As for Cipp: Englands handling of him since Ashtons time (dropping him before the scotland game) has been a disgrace, the team have put him in impossible situations and watched him fail, his confidence vanish and then use that as an excuse to drop him. His talent should be coveted, he has the potential to be ten times the player that people like flood have, I love the idea of him being on the squad with Wilko, he could learn a lot.

    The England pack looks very lumbering, not much pace at all. The only two backrow forwards with dynamism are croft and Rees, we desperately need and explosive N8 the sluggish Dean Richards style player is not being used anymore, you need an explosive athlete at the back. The problem is we don’t have one.

    The Borthwick situation is driving me mad, he is useless at best a good team player. Shaw and Kennedy would offer everything form experience to power to lineout work, Borthwick has nothing on either.

    My England Team:
    1 Payne
    2 Mears
    3 Sheridan
    4 Shaw
    5 Kennedy
    6 Croft
    7 Rees
    8 Easter
    9 Care
    10 Cipp/wilkinson depending
    11 Monye
    12 Flutey
    13 Hipkiss
    14 Banahan
    15 Armitage

  7. Agree with Stuart. Many of us have complained about Cipriani’s attitude over the last couple of years (and in my estimation he may have gotten a little bit carried away with his own hype, but seems to have focused on the rugby more recently – I didn’t see the Saxons games though…) but does Johnno really feel like he has anyone with more potential at 10 for the next few years? I can’t believe he sees anything more in Flood, Wilkinson or Goode. His attitude seems to be to punish “big-heads” by dropping them (maybe Haskell’s problem too). What does that achieve? They just become more disillusioned and in the meantime, are missing out on valuable experience mixing it with the best players and coaches (allegedly). Johnno’s job is to develop the best squad, and if he thinks there are attitude problems he needs to tackle them head on, not punish them by kicking them out of the fold.

    On the positive side, good to see Tait and Rees in the elite squad.

  8. I agree with the sentiment on his potential. His best match would be far better than Flood/Goode/probably Wilkinson too but i sat and cringed my way through that Saxons match, watching him shy away time and time again from contact. To be honest his attacking was woeful too.

    I don’t think he has too many off-field distractions but it’s his attitude on the pitch that isn’t up to scratch at the moment.

  9. Cipriani for all his so called talent is just not good enough if you truly are a superstar then his age and the pressure shouldn’t matter it didn’t with Johnny Wilkinson when he cam in at such a young age. People want to give him to many excuses he is just not that good slow in decision making and very week in defence. The weakness in his defence was shown by Wasps who would move him out of the 10 channel so that he didn’t have to make the big tackles. The biggest shock for me out of all the decisions is to not put PAUL SACKEY in the team. He has been the most exciting player for England for ages its a joke. He didn’t have the greatest games in the six nations because he was given possibly the worst ball a winger could get slow behind the gain line and with 2 men on him every time. The one or 2 games Monye took his place in England team England played well and where on top of there opposition namely the France match where I think I saw France play the worst game ever. Because of this UGO MONYE was hailed as some kind of super winger. When it was the World cup and Paul Sackey was receiving sufficient ball at the right time from quality inside of him he shone for England and was magic. People in the six nations expected to much of him people would sling him the ball with 2-3 players on him and expect him to pull a rabbit out of hat so to say. Lets be honest this does not look like a squad or team with any real dynamism that could challenge for the world cup.

  10. Ok, now I’ve openly criticised Johnno for his selections in the past and to be fair I don’t understand a few choices this time round i.e. Kennedy (by far our best 2nd row) dropped to the saxons, inclusion of Tindall in the EPS (has not been playing good rugby for years), Wilko (let the bloke get some proper game time and rebuild his confidence before asking him to save us yet again), Borthwick (not even going to bother commenting). This said, since Johnno took over last July he has produced 5 out of 11 wins. Doesn’t sound like much does it? Well if you remember, when Johnno took over we were a team that had hit rock bottom – we weren’t winning anything, we weren’t playing good rugby, we were scoring try’s, we had no game plan, no confidence in the squad/coaches etc etc and we stood no chance against any team. Of the 6 loses, 3 of them we nearly won (Wales, Ireland, Argentina). In the 6 Nations, we were top try scorers, conceded the last amount of points and finished 2nd. I would agree in saying that the team selection doesn’t look overly dynamic, but at the same time, Johnno is getting results. You don’t have to have the worlds best 15 players in the team to be the best – you have to have 15 players that play the best as a team to be the best (2003 is a great example). As for who is in which squad – remember that these squads get updated constantly and that the chances of the squads staying this way for a full season is near impossible. Personally think its time to start giving a little support towards our team and manager

  11. Tommy please, johnno’s progress is based solely on two games; one against France, who were dreadful, the other against Scotland, who were not much better. 5-11 is not satisfactory for me, nowhere close, it is less than 50%. Our expectations must be higher. As for the 6N finishing, 2nd, I hope you don’t emply that England are the second best team in the NH. They scored lots of points in those two amazing matches which benefited them greatly in a very close year. It is clear from the Lions tour that the talent in Isles is being produced in Wales and Ireland and they are in fact the two strongest teams. France on their day can beat anybody and have talent to burn, but hey that is what France always are.
    The two most disappointing things to come out of this summer is that firstly England young players aren’t good enough to do it at this level, secondly the lions showed us that other than Croft the only England players that are still world class are well beyond their sell by date and will surely not be around for the next world cup.
    I am not saying that he should throw every kid into the mix but he has to try a few; he should use the 9 lions as a backbone for the team, I consider Armitage a world class player as well he was unlucky not go on tour as he plays in a very strong position. That is 10 solid players who will compete at this level outstandingly; most of them have experience also. The other 5 positions should be used as a development platform.

  12. Just out of curiosity, what would you say is satisfactory for you then? I get the impression that people are still stuck in the glory days 2003 and expect England to win every game by 100 points – if England don’t win every game, then it is a poor performance and heads should roll.

    I completely agree that 5 wins out of 11 should not acceptable – but remember the fact (as I’ve already stated) that we were a team that hit rock bottom. It will take time to be the best again.

    As for Wales and Ireland producing the best players at the moment, your right they are. Now put into the equation the fact that in the 6 nations we only lost to wales by 8 points and Ireland by 1 point. Yes we should have won those games, but considering how much better you seem to think both Wales and Ireland are than us, I would consider that quite positive.

    I see from previous statements from you that “Foden, Geraghty, Kennedy, Robshaw; these are the guys of the future”, but yet only Kennedy features in “your england team”. Another one of your comments is “we desperately need and explosive N8 the sluggish Dean Richards style player is not being used anymore, you need an explosive athlete at the back”, but yet you have Easter in “your england team”. Another comment is “I’m all for having some experience in the team to help develop the young boys but to have Kay and Shaw in the second row and Kennedy in the Saxons is a joke”, but yet Shaw is in “your england team” along with Kennedy. Personally think your comments are a little hypocriticial.

    Strangely though, with who Johnno has selected for the EPS, “my team” is very similiar. Wouldn’t say this is my ideal team at all, but it is with the players available within the EPS.

    15. Armitage
    14. Banahan
    13. Hipkiss
    12. Flutey
    11. Monye
    10. Flood/Wilko
    9. Ellis
    8. Easter
    7. Armitage
    6. Croft
    5. Shaw
    4. Crane
    3. Vickery
    2. Mears
    1. Sheridan

    16. Hartley
    17. Wilson
    18. Rees
    19. Care
    20. Flood/Wilko
    21. Tait
    22. Morgan

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