England bring in Flood at 12 to face the French

England manager Martin Johnson on Thursday announced his team to play France in their quarter-final match at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday, 8 October.


1. Matt Stevens, 2. Steve Thompson, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Louis Deacon, 5. Tom Palmer, 6. Tom Croft, 7. Lewis Moody (c), 8. Nick Easter, 9. Ben Youngs, 10. Jonny Wilkinson, 11. Mark Cueto, 12. Toby Flood, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 14. Chris Ashton, 15. Ben Foden


16. Dylan Hartley, 17. Alex Corbisiero, 18. Courtney Lawes, 19. Simon Shaw, 20. James Haskell, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Matt Banahan

Here is some video of Martin Johnson at the press conference, courtesy of RugbyMedia

22 thoughts on “England bring in Flood at 12 to face the French

  1. Interesting team selection but surley having a proven 12 like hape at 12 would be a better option than flood. I rate flood as an attacking 10 but he will be playing out of position and when has having two “playmakers” on the pitch ever worked out well. We tried this with gagherty and barkley before and johnson has tried this befoie with Wilkinson and flood ONCE and scrapped this after 1 game. Having said all this Johnson’s selection could work well by switching jonny and flood at kick off. Wikinson defending the 12 channel is a much better option and it may upset a predetermined french game plan.

    As for the subs bench bannahan to cover 10-15 Really? he is not a international back and if one of our backs get injured then we will be exposed at which ever position banahan fills.

    Completley agree with the changes made in the scrum though. Palmer was great againgst scotland- Lawes went missing. Easter is our only 8. Haskell although he has been great is a natural 6 and croft is just better at that position.

    We may win this game againsgt the french but if we are thinking of going any further in this competition with this lin-up im afraid we will come up short.

    Tom in London

  2. For me, the wrong calls have been made on Stevens, Thompson and Deacon. The energy that Corbisiero and Hartley brought when they came on against Scotland was huge, and given how Corbisiero fared against Nicolas Mas in the scrum in the Six Nations, I would have put him straight in there.

    Selecting Deacon is something I’ve never understood since the Six Nations, when it’s clear that whilst designed to dominate at the rucks and be solid in the lineout and the scrum, on occasion he has not even able to do that. Lawes and Palmer was the pairing that won England the Six Nations, so why not use it now?

    The one change that is spot on is bringing in Flood for Tindall. HRH’s lack of fitness is a blessing.

  3. I’m still not sure what to make of this selection as it is a little mind blowing considering the form of some players going into the match.

    Starting at the front, Stevens should not be there. Corbisiero played better coming off the bench last weekend after Stevens hemorrhaged penalties time and time again. Lawes will make a good impact from the bench but I wonder if perhaps he would have been better starting and having Deacon as a sub. Easter will be able to control at 8 better than Haskell, although it is desperately unfair on Hask as he has been a great ball carrier for the side.

    It will be interesting to see if Flood and Wilkinson actually stick to their berths in fly half and centre. I imagine that Flood could indeed come inside of Wilkinson when in attack, bringing that familiarity with Youngs and helping to get the back line moving a little more. Plus, Wilkinson’s pass is much better than Tindall’s so we could see Tuilagi being brought into the game much more, either as a bulldozer or as a dummy runner to release Ashton and Foden.

    It has been said in the build up that Wilkinson always played better with another playmaker outside of him (e.g. Catt) so I’m hoping that this is the case this time around.

  4. Have to agree with Ben; Corbisiero and Hartley should have been the starting choice up front, and Deacon has failed to impress. I’d like to have seen Wilkinson at 12 and Flood at 10, but at least the option is there for them to switch as required. Would have liked to see Joe Simpson get more of a look in during this tournament but I guess this is not the best point at which to get him involved!

  5. i think you will find Ben that Lawes was injured for most if not all of the 6 nations and it was infact the deacon and plamer combination that lead in th esecond row. Deacon is a much better Scrumager than lawes and palmer although they are both better than him in the loose.

    Good shout on Stevens though. Experience aside he has been pretty awful and th eyank has looked strong when on th efield and did a good job in th e6 nations when sheridan was injured and Stevens was out.

  6. An interesting selection here. For me Stevens is the right choice to start, as are Thompson and Easter. Hartley and Corbisiero provided an impact off the bench, and that’s why they’re on the bench again. As with Haskell and Lawes coming off the bench. France have looked tired in most of their games, and a lot of them seem to be lacking match fitness, so the bench will be crucial.

    Wilko and Flood will be swapping positions the whole game (much like Yachvilli and Parra will). It could and should work really well, providing our forwards can slow down any attack from the French back row, giving Wilko and Flood time to get in defensive positions. When Wilko is at 12 I expect to see him bringing Tuilagi in a lot more than Tindall or Hape would. I think the option of Hape on the bench would have been better than Banahan. Hape could play 12 or 13, and Tuilagi could move to the wing, and Cueto cover full back. Banahan will struggle to cover any of these positions. I’m guessing that Wiggy is on the bench to cover 9 and possibly 10 in emergency. Banahan at 10 is a horrendous prospect.

    1. Dazza, I agree. To me it looks like Johnno is going to tell the boys to play it really tight for 60 minutes and then try to win with impact subs when the frogs are knackered.

      However personally this worries me as any game is normally won or lost at this level by 60 mins and subs only break up patterns and play. I am hoping to be proved wrong and for Johnno to show why he is England manager and I’m not!

  7. Why why Bananahan???

    Flood 10-12
    Wilkinson 10-12
    Manu 13-11-14
    Foden 15-11-14-9
    Cueto 11-15

    It makes no sense!

  8. Forget Banahan making no sense. What about 4 locks in the 22???

    What on earth is going to happen that we will need Palmer, Deacon, Lawes AND Shaw?

    Why the hell was Wood not included on the bench? He would cover the back row and we’d still be able to move eith Easter or Croft into the second row if we were desperate

    In fact, what has Wood done to Johnson? One of our best players in the 6 nations, all of a sudden he’s been forgotten about, IMO he offers us more than either of Haskell or Moody

  9. Paolo – I think Lawes is on the bench as extra back row cover. If Easter needs replacing Haskell comes on. But if then Croft or Moody need replacing Lawes will have to cover. Also don’t forget there is no fly half cover from the bench, so Lawes is the extra bench man.

  10. Sorry Paolo didn’t read the last part of your comment. Agreed Wood should be on the bench instead of either Lawes or Shaw. Strange decision.

  11. In Johnno’s defence, I have just considered what his other back options on the bench could have been if you consider that Tindall is probably not fit and Armitage is banned. Hape can only play centre and therefore not a good sub and Simpson who could be an emergency wing, but not much more than that. Sadly you have to go with Banahan.

    Wood is the unlucky one, but Johnno is setting his stall up to play a tight, eyes out, ball busting game through the tight five forwards. We’ll know whether this was the right move by about 10am saturday!

    1. Flood is not a gamble. England (when Jonno was skipper) brought in Catt at inside centre against France in the 2003 RWC to protect Jonny and create more options. Flood is a dangerous runner, who has improved his defensive play. He also threw that fantastic pass to Ashton for that great try last week.

  12. fair point about wilkinson working well with Catt outside him. lets hope flood releaves some of the pressure and takes on the reposnibility of kicking.

  13. As much as i admire Moody, MJ made a mistake making him capitain for the tournament, especially with so little game time this year.

    A back row of Croft Haskell and Wood would be my preference, with Easter on the bench.

  14. Wilko can play centre and is excellent in defence and it is proven that Flood and Youngs work together better so why isn’t Wilko 12 and Flood 10 or maybe this is the plan

  15. Wilko-flood is a excellent combo, especially since Flood started his pro career playing outside wilko at newcastle and then on to play outside him at test level before he went to leicester and established himself as an able ten. I still think he is a good choice at 12 especially with our dangerous back three and the enormous presence of tuilagi just outside him.

  16. It’s great to see Flood in there, but I agree with those who say he should be 10 and Wilko 12. Even if Flood stays at 12, that makes a whole lot more sense than playing Tindall there – thank God he is injured!

    Stevens is very lucky – that should be Corbisiero’s shirt. I’m quite glad we’ve stuck with Thompson though – he’s in good lineout throwing form which will be crucial against the French, and he is a bit less prone to losing the plot under pressure than Hartley.

    Deacon must be thanking the Lord that he plays for Leicester, as I can’t think of any other reason why Johnno persists with him. How we can go in to this game without Wood in the 22 is beyond me.

    Could well be a tight game that goes right down to the wire and replacements could prove vital, so it’s quite a worry that our impact sub in the backs could be Banahan. I bet Dave Ellis has toiled for hours with the French team trying to work out how to stop his hard straight predictable running lines!

    Better team selection, but the French are wound up and I’m not at all confident about this one.

  17. Hask is 3rd in the table for number of tackles made in the world cup, it will be interesting to see if Easter has the speed to get to any of the french players more than 2 metres away from him.

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