England Announce Squad for Rugby World Cup 2011

After much speculation over the weekend, Martin Johnson has confirmed the 30 man squad that will travel to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup 2011.

The England Head Coach has opted for a 17-13 split between forwards and backs, taking three specialist scrum-halves and hookers. There are however only two specialist fly-halves in Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood, with Richard Wigglesworth expected to provide injury cover. Scrum-half Joe Simpson is the only uncapped member of the squad, whilst Jonny Wilkinson is playing in his fourth Rugby World Cup. The age range stretches from Simon Shaw at 38 to Manu Tuilagi at just 20. The team will be lead by Bath Rugby’s Lewis Moody.

The selections of Tom Wood and Alex Corbisiero are just reward after having impressive debut seasons in the England jersey, while Lee Mears has made a pleasing return to the fold after a long injury layoff. Andrew Sheridan and Ben Youngs have both made the plane despite playing no part in the warm-up matches through injury.

Those players unlucky to miss out include Riki Flutey, Tim Payne, Paul Doran-Jones, Danny Care (injury), Mouritz Botha, Chris Robshaw, Hendre Fourie, Charlie Hodgson, Ugo Monye, Charlie Sharples. The most surprising of these cuts is Riki Flutey, who whilst he has not quite hit the form that saw him win so many accolades on the 2009 Lions tours, was seen as an essential playmaker who could unlock England’s stagnant backline. Monye’s race to be selected was hampered by injury, while Fourie was expected to travel given captain Lewis Moody’s injury problems.

What are your thoughts on the squad? Have the right calls been made?

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lee Mears (Bath Rugby), Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Simon Shaw (Unattached), Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Steve Thompson (London Wasps), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).

Backs

Delon Armitage (London Irish), Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Shontayne Hape (London Irish), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Photos: Onside Images / Patrick Khachfe www.onsideimages.com

42 thoughts on “England Announce Squad for Rugby World Cup 2011

  1. Well I didn’t really expect Banahan to be dropped because Johnno consistently picks him, but I did keep my fingers crossed right to the end. Only 3 out and out wingers in the squad and one of those is Banahan – that’s a worry.

    I agree with the above – Flutey should be in. I think a strong 10-12 combo is necessary at this level and Hape hasn’t really put enough international form together to be considered a very good 12.

  2. My team to play Ireland, and potentially all rwc games – though i doubt it’ll actually look like this come the time

    1. Stevens
    2. Thompson
    3. Cole
    4. Lawes
    5. Palmer
    6. Croft
    7. Wood
    8. Haskell
    9. Youngs
    10. Wilkinson
    11. Armitage
    12. Tindall
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Hartley
    17. Corbisiero
    18. Shaw
    19. Moody
    20. Simpson
    21. Flood
    22. Cueto

  3. Gutted for Flutey and amazed they have left him at home. Simpson, Wilkinson, Flutey and Tuilagi ? At least we might have broken some lines.

  4. Pretty much what was expected. Would have preferred Flutey than Hape but what can you do. Also, Banahan? He doesn’t do the job he is given (i.e.run and go through people). Just the small task of winning the thing now!

  5. It’s a squad focused very much on a strong pack. Nick Evans made some interesting comments about potential success in NZ being dependent on the weather conditions and maybe the squad has been picked with this very much in mind. However it’s been all too predictable especially when looking at the press reports this morning.

    However the tournament is a long affair and injuries will invariably arise. So we may well see Flutey or others arrive on the scene.

  6. Sorry but this team is worrying. As are Johnson’s continuous selections of players who can’t make the grade.

    Banahan over Monye or Sinbad? I can understand power over pace if you are picking a back row forward, but to consistently go for Banahan baffles me. He’s not a bad player, but put it this way, semi-final situation, ball is hoofed upfield and its the oppositions number 12 over an England winger to get the ball/cover back and tackle. Banahan won’t do this, he’ll be out paced 9/10 times.

    3 scrum halves? Surely the sense would have been 2 and using Foden as the Third option? Providing you with more coverage options for your back line?

    Hape & Tindall. What does Johnno see that we dont? Promise perhaps? Hape is a good player. The trouble is he hasn’t progressed to be a quality International union centre. He’s not quite a Riki Flutey or even Mike Catt who can (could in reference to Catt) relieve pressure from the Fly-Half, and he hasn’t shown the linebreaking ability he has, or the hard hitting defence he’d shown in his league days.

    I’m willing to give the team the benefit of the doubt, providing Banahan is kept clear of the matchday squad. (that is unless he is carrying water)

  7. No surprise here. Johnson is an ex Leicester man, and selects a side to play like Leicester.
    Unless we find a way to bring Foden or Ashton into the game, it will be juggernaut rugby, with no plan B (with no flair players selected to bring a change of tactics)
    Can’t see New Zealand and Australia losing any sleep with this selection.

  8. This squad makes me cry

    How can anyone think that Hape, Banahan or Deacon belong anywhere near an international rugby squad?

    Surely the last 2 matches demonstrated that they just cannot make the grade

    2 wingers for a world cup???

    One of whom has scored 1 try in the last 2 or 3 years despite starting almost every game and can be outpaced by most other squad’s props???

    And another who despite being 10 foot tall and 20 stone, cannot manage to score a try from 3 feet despite being opposed by only a 4ft tall Welshman???

    WTF is Johnson playing at?? Do our tactics boil down to just not scoring tries at all?

    Can I use any more questions marks???

    Also, no openside flanker – Moody is a walking injury and not an openside anyway

    And for crying out loud, if Sheridan is not fit, don’t bloody well take him!! He is not that indispensable!

    Instead of taking someone who could be truly dangerous like Sharples, we lose a squad place for the Tim Payne-esque Wilson

    And excepting injuries, what’s the betting that Tuilagi doesn’t get a start?

  9. No surprises here really, bar maybe Flutey.

    Still makes me yawn though.

    Johnson obviously sees something in the aforementioned that we don’t. All we can do now is trust him and hope he’s right.

    To be honest, i think Youngs is key. If we can get him fit, we look dangerous.

    Good point re wingers though. Monye, Strettle, Sharples, Sinbad left at home in place of Cueto and Banahan. Unbelievable.

  10. Oh and while we’re at it.

    1. Sheridan
    2. Thompson
    3. Stevens
    4. Shaw
    5. Lawes
    6. Croft.
    7. Moody
    8. Easter
    9. Youngs
    10. Wilkinson
    11. Cueto
    12. Tindall
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Hartley
    17. Cole
    18. Palmer
    19. Wood.
    20. Simpson
    21. Flood
    22. Banahan

    Would be my team.

  11. PS – Ireland will beat us by 8 points min and then we’ll be going into the RWC with 2 losses in a row

    I can honestly see us losing to both Scotland and Argentina

    1. Woah there Paolo…this team beat Scotland in the 6N and has won 5, lost 2 this year (i think) – we’ll still be competitive at the RWC, there’s only a couple of weak links and i maintain that it’s a better starting XV than at the last world cup and we all know what happened there!

  12. It disappoints me too but at least the spine of the team that beat Australia and won the 6 nations is there, and we played some decent rugby to get those victories.

    However the lack of options is what gets me. I’m pretty sure we’ll see Tuilagi/Simpson/Armitage on the wings for the Georgia & Romania games which wont help us later on if Ashton or Cueto get injured or lack form.

  13. Bit odd how Joe Simpson has been picked over Danny Care. Haven’t seen Simpson play in any of the latest tests for RWC. To be honest I prefer Ben Youngs as a 9 anyway compared to both of them however I just think its kind of strange with some of MJ’s choices.

  14. Yeah Spike, but 12 and 13 both being weak links is a big problem. We certainly have nobody with creativity and flair where we need it most. Not that Flutey’s been great lately, but compared to bloody Hape?!

    I can only conclude that Johnno is content with that and thinks we can outmuscle teams up front. That is just not going to cut it and I expect some embarrassing defeats.

  15. I understand everyones annoyance at the likes of Deacon, Banahan and surely that the plane wont get there with half the cabin taken up by props.

    But im trying to think positivley, Our back line in the 6N and Autumn test looked (at times) very dangerous. I dont want to read too much into the 2nd Wales games, as changing a team so much and the pressure of the squad announcement hanging over their heads.

    Thinking back to the 6N and Autumn tests our problem was the centres, Tuilagi has to start at 13, id love to see Tindall moved back to 12, then Wilko/Flood can control distribution by missing Tindall out giving our back 3 some quality ball. Use him as the battering ram and defender we used to not trying to pass 30m, defence splitting passes he obviously struggles with.

    We are going to get a lot of ball, You cant complain too much about our pack, set piece looks good, as long as we dont end up doing what we did in Cardiff and unleash our back line, we can do things.

    So its time to be positive……….. We can do well in this world cup…….& time for everyone to forget about the selection and get behind this team

    1.Sheridan,2 Hartley,3 Cole, 4 Lawes, 5 Palmer, 6 Croft, 7 Moody, 8 Easter, 9, Youngs, 10 Wilko,11,Ashton, 12, Tindall, 13, Tuilagi, 14 Cueto,15, Foden

  16. We have a good squad altogether, we just have a few weak links and no reserve flair.

    Cueto is fine on the wing for me, he had some good counter attacks throughout the Six Nations and autumn internationals. He may not have the pace of old but he’s a better option than Banahan, and lets not forget the experience he’ll bring to an otherwise inexperienced back 3.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dan’s starting 15.

  17. It’s not the most exciting squad, but it was always going to be this way. Johnno has always had a conservative mindset in selection, and it looks like England are going to New Zealand to play 10-man rugby.

    It won’t be too pretty to watch, but previous World Cups haven’t been the greatest showcase for running rugby (remember the ELVs that were borne out of a dull 2007 installment?). The pragmatic Johnno has picked a squad that will tackle all day, keep the ball tight and take the points when they are on offer.

    I can’t see England beating any of the big three teams, but it’s still going to be a cracking tournament, full of tension and excitement.

  18. Here is my team for Ireland:

    1. Sheridan
    2. Hartley – although I’m warming to Thommo again
    3. Stevens – offers more than Cole around the park
    4. Lawes
    5. Palmer – never used to rate him but now a shoo-in
    6. Croft
    7. Moody – or Tom Wood if Moody’s not fit. People see Wood as a 6, but he’s played a lot at 7.
    8. Easter – can’t really decide between him or the Hask

    9. Youngs
    10. Wilkinson – has to start over Flood with this 10-man gameplan
    11. Cueto
    12. Tindall – would shift him to 12 to get Tuilagi in, even though he can’t pass. Expect Hape will start here though with Tindall at 13
    13. Tuilagi – they have to play him if they are serious about using him in NZ, but I fear that they aren’t
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden – England’s best player

    Any thoughts?

  19. Thinking about it I agree about Stevens rather than Cole, As cole is used to the 30 minute impact role as hes done it so much coming on for Castro, still its a nice decision to make!

  20. Well, the Telegraph seems to think that the Tindall/Tuilagi combo may be used against Ireland. Could be interesting so long as everyone makes it clear to Tindall that he’s not to try and pass the ball

    As for Cueto – how can you pick a winger who can’t score tries? His defense was shoddy against Wales as well.

    The simple question to ask is – if the Aussies or ABs had this option, who would they choose from a line-up of Cueto, JSD, Sharples or Strettle?

    I think we can be pretty certain that it wouldn’t be Cueto

    The pack looks strong, but without a proper openside we will struggle to turnover any ball and if the coaching stays as it is, any ball we do have we be nicked by counter-rucking opponents.

    Just look at the Wales matches and the 6 Nations Ireland match to see our forwards hanging around in the centre of the pitch, watching as yet another ruck gets turned over by the opposition

    Given that both Scotland and Argentina are pretty decent at counter-rucking, it really concerns me

  21. Like the look of your team Hutch but just a couple of changes for me.

    Haskell at eight. Am I the only one who actually think he had a good outing in the eight shirt? Easter has experience but surely if Hask is given a job to do he will do it.

    Armitage on the wing. Never, ever going to happen so long as captain consistent Johnno is leading the charge but I’d like to see it (even if it does mean I agree with Stuart Barnes for once!). I don’t care how many times Cueto has counter attacked or helped build a try, he’s a winger and his try record is nearly as bad as Jason Leonard’s.

    I am remaining optimistic and if I ever falter during any of the matches I will simply stand up, walk ten metres, order a beer and continue drinking, whether it is 9:00 in the morning or not.

  22. Despite my doom-laden posts, I am generally trying to remain positive. God, its difficult though!

    The drinking will help…

    Re Haskell, I’ve always thought that england seem calmer with Easter playing. He is great at tidying up bad situations and he very rarely fails to get on the front foot.

    He also has suprisingly good hands and speed of thought – neither of which could really be said about Haskell

    For all Haskell’s size and power, he never really seems to make the hard yards in the way that Easter or, for example, Sean O’Brien seem to

    Easter for 60 with Le Hasque coming on for the last 20 – that works for me, especially as he can cover the entire back row in a pinch

  23. I am not at all surprised, how could sharples be dropped, only two all and all out wingers. I would have kept Flutey aswell. I think Stevens should start, is Sheridan actually fit and on form

    RE Paola, i reckon Haskell should start, i agree that england seem calmer with Easter, and his restarts have been really good recently, but Haskell always seems to score tries.

      1. Thanks Dave. I hope we do see him in an England shirt again – too much talent to waste. Shame he was so utterly mis-managed by England

        Tigers should be good for him

  24. I keep saying it but now that Jonno has only picked 2 real wingers it appears more dire! Sharples and for Pity’s sake expedite Sarries James Short into the squad! Strong fast finishers!!! Tuilagi? Definitely, this is the perfect back drop for someone of his obvious potential (attitude) to make his mark. Would have like to have seen barritt

  25. And another thing…Sheridan? Not fit and not worth his spot (pound for pound)! Somebody please get the blackmail photos back for Jonno so he doesn’t have to keep picking the “experienced ones”!

  26. Joe Simpson has to start against Ireland. If we are taking him to the RWC, then we have to give him game time before hand – and coming on for the last 10mins of a game does not count. Also hearing lots of rumours about a Tindall/Tuilagi combo being experimented with – so maybe Johnno has had enough of Hape, but had no other out and out 12’s to choose from? Considering injuries, this would be may current ideal team

    1. Stevens
    2. Thompson
    3. Cole
    4. Lawes
    5. Palmer
    6. Croft
    7. Wood
    8. Haskell
    9. Simpson
    10. Wilkinson
    11. Armitage
    12. Tindall
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Hartley
    17. Corbisiero
    18. Shaw
    19. Easter
    20. Wigglesworth
    21. Flood
    22. Cueto

    1. He’s been cleared to play and available for selection this weekend. Sorry for late response, you might already have seen this!

  27. I think Jonno has picked probably the best team he could. Though he should of picked Flutey over Hape. Hape does not have the vision or the skill as Riki does. And even though its not going to happen i think Tindall should be put on the bench, and play a banahan and Tuilagi centre role. Even though they are both outside centres. I think it should be…

    1. Cole
    2. Hartley
    3. Sheridan
    4. Lawes
    5. Palmer
    6. Croft
    7. Moody
    8. Easter

    9. Youngs
    10. Wilkinson
    11. Cueto
    12. Tuilagi/Banahan
    13. Banahan/Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Thompson
    17. Corbiseiero
    18. Shaw
    19. Haskell
    20. Simpson
    21. Flood
    22. Tindall

  28. Or even put flood at Stand off and move cueto out, put banahan on the wing and shift Jonny wilkinson to inside centre with tindall and tuilagi swapping for replacements etc. But i’m not sure on the whole flood wilkinson on the same pitch scenario…

  29. or put tindall Tuilagi as centre get rid of BANAHANHANAHANAHAN (cos hes , to put it kindly, absolute bolloks) and stick Wood in at 7 and name Hartley as capatain

    1. Stevens
    2. Hartley (c)
    3. Cole
    4. Lawes
    5. Deacon
    6. Croft
    7. Wood
    8. Easter

    9. Youngs
    10. Wilko
    11. Cueto
    12. Tindall (if only we had more talent in the squad… 12trees or Barrit)
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Thommo
    17. Corbisiero
    18.Shaw
    19. Le’ Hasque
    20. Simpson
    21. Flood
    22. Armitage

  30. Tough call, dont think Hartley is ready to captain for England just yet, I would still keep Moody, altough if he gets injured then Wood on and Wilko captain.

    Not sure i like the idea of Armitage on the wing, i think Cueto, even though never scores, is still the better choice.

  31. Johnno has gone for the Tindall Tuilagi midfield, Good choice. Though i think flood would make a better inside.

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