England confirm Senior & Saxons EPS Squads for 2012/2013

Stuart Lancaster has confirmed his 64 man squad for the new season. Charlie Hodgson and Lee Mears have both retired freeing up their spaces in the squad. England take on Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the QBE Autumn Internationals.

England Senior Squad:

Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Palmer (London Wasps)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Matt Stevens (Saracens)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

BACKS (15)
Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

England Saxons Squad:

Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints)
Carl Fearns (Bath Rugby)
James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
Jamie Gibson (London Irish)
Joe Gray (Harlequins)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
David Paice (London Irish)
George Robson (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

BACKS (14)
Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Biggs (Bath Rugby)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
George Lowe (Harlequins)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Rob Miller (Sale Sharks)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

41 thoughts on “England confirm Senior & Saxons EPS Squads for 2012/2013

  1. The biggest name for me is that of George Ford in the Saxons Squad. Wonder if Lancaster will be keeping one eye on him, we desperately need another option at fly half, or to be precise, a more CONSISTENT option at fly half. I still think it’s a year away yet, as the Autumn Internationals and Six Nations are not the place to blood a raw talent.

  2. I’m surprised that Haskell is only in the saxons, I think his physicality is vital to future English success. I thought he had a really good game in the third test and has been impressive in much of his time in NZ.

    But it is exciting to see George Ford finally being noticed, he is going to be around for a long time and I would love to see him get some more game time in Leicester. Unfortunately he can not be considered a genuine option for the England 10 shirt without being first choice at his club!

    1. He might end up in the team yet – I’m still very concerned about Tom Wood’s recovery.

      If Wood is fit though he has to get the place over Haskell – similar levels of physicality combined with pace and lineout ability make him a better option. Plus he can catch a ball and doesn’t have hands like frying pans.

    2. Physicality is important, but Haskell is utterly lacking in many other fields, especially discipline. He’s a good tackler, an average ball carrier and a dangerous penalty machine. Too many times I’ve seen him follow up a good bit of play with a stupid penalty or yellow card. There’s a glut of flankers at England who are better than Haskell.

      1. May I repeat my point about frying pan hands? Seen quite a few occasions when he’s knocked on very easy passes.

        1. Haskell is great at running into things and is an effective tackler but the rest of his game is very poor. Can’t pass, prone to stupid decisions, stands with the backs far too much and is never smart enough to be in the right place at the right time, which is a quality all excellent back row forwards need.

  3. Anyone else think it odd that Strettle and Monye have dropped to the Saxons, but Sharples has walked straight into the elite squad? I know he’s a good winger, but got injured in the six nations, and was then injured for the SA tour. As yet he’s still not proved himself at this level.

    1. It’s probably because he can actually finish off a try. Strettle and Monye can’t even score tries at club level.

      1. But we haven’t seen if Sharples can cut it at international level. But at least Strettle and Monye have had the experience, and being a winger these days is not just about finishing off tries. Just look at where their respectives clubs finished. It’s about playing as part of the team. Both playing in confident club teams. Whereas both Sharples and Gloucester’s season were not great.

  4. Anyone think its odd that Louis Deacon is in the Saxons? Hardly one of the future, or come to think of it the present or the past! What has happened to Attwood to have fallen so far off the radar?

    Non plussed by Dowson & Botha still being at the top table, Haskell whilst limited in the brain dept. stil offers the same options as Dowson but is younger and more experienced. Only 2 fly halves is a surprise, assume Goode is there as a contingency.

    1. Only 2 outhalfs in the saxons as well, so four in total. With only 2 of those being first choice for their club we look very short. I’m struggling to think of many other strong candidates. Ciprani anyone?

    2. It’s not that unusual. The Saxons have long held on to a few experienced players when their time is up at England. It also means that Lancaster can have the ‘best’ elite squad and be able to call up an experienced player from the Saxons to cover. I remember a number of England players finishing up careers in the Saxons

  5. Haskell, Ferns and Burns should be in the Senior squad. Although it makes little difference as these squads never stay the same through the season.

  6. Obviously these squads will change throughout the year, but it does give in insight into SL’s views post SA-tour. It appears Sharples is ahead of monye and strettle in his eyes, and dowson is ahead of haskell.

    Seems strange to me with Sharples being unproven and haskell being streaks ahead of dowson in almost every area. This is course can all change come Autumn. Injuries, form and various other factors will have taken effect by then but it is still interesting to see SL’s current opinions.

    Would like to see the likes of launchbury, wade, may and ford getting a serious look within the next 12 months. All very talented, and young, and all could be key figures by 2015.

  7. Still no coaching anouncement? Hmm. SL has clearly created an attack coach vacancy by naming Farrell as Defence/ backs coach, and catt is available and willing to do it. Interesting…

    1. I hope he doesn’t opt for Catt, we need at least one proven coach. Catt showed nothing this tour to suggest he can be a top rate attack coach.

      1. I absolutley agree, though firmly believe that Catt would make a better stab as Saxons coach than the dire Jon Dullard nee Callard. SL was never formerly replaced when he took on the top job. fingers crossed.

        I wish Louis Deacon would retire.

  8. Anyone else concerned about hooker? If Hartley gets injured next in line is Webber! We really need Grey/Ward/Youngs to step up this year.

    1. Yes Hooker and TH prop. If we loose Cole, we get Stevens, who whilst better on that side is still a bl00dy liability when it comes to discipline. I am also concerned by a lack of grunt in the 2nd row. You know that if Lawes doesnt recover we’ll have Mr Average (Deacon) come in for him. Botha is a fine tackler, but I’ve never seen a player spill so many balls as him.

      1. I think 2nd row kind of depends on the back row as well… So if Croft plays then you don’t play Parling. My favorite pairing for around the park would be Lawes/Palmer but not without Croft at 6 to take the lineout duties. Whatever happens i don’t want Deacon near the team.

      2. Not sure we will see Deacon again. I’m not even sure that SL is a big fan of Lawes, the likely selection looks to be Parling and Botha, maybe Parling and Lawes. Beyond that I suspect SL has a number of selections ahead of Deacon as Palmer can operate a lineout in Parling’s absence and I suspect Kitchener would be the likely replacement for emergencies.

  9. I agree with the coaching situation, would like to see Catt in the saxons, and we could do with a proven attacking coach.

    In terms of hooker and TH I also agree. Is there any other TH’s other than Stevens after Cole?

    We have a lot of second rows so unless we have a serious amount of injuries then we should manage to avoid seeing Deacon start a test match again!

    1. I quite rate PDJ from what i’ve seen of him, but i’ve read a lot about him recently that claims hes not very good. Whats other peoples opinions on him?

      1. He didn’t exactly cover himself in glory in SA but to be fair on him he’s really a tighthead – was brought on to the loosehead, despite not having played there all season.

        He’s a great player for Northampton (although suffers like Cole by being kept out of the 1st team by a foreign player i.e. Mujati) but I’ll reserve judgement on his international abilities until I’ve seen him at tighthead for England.

      2. Pretty good in the loose. He’s hungry and pretty quick. In the scrum though he got utterly destroyed in South Africa, against much weaker opposition. Needs a lot of work in that area.

  10. I think PDJ is a good player, but certainly way off the standard of Cole. Would be ideal if we had at least two players fighting for every position. PDJ seems a bit weak in the scrum, which for a TH is a serious weakness!

    1. At the moment we seem to have an endless supply of wingers, full backs, and scrum halves, who could all step up and fill in. But a lack of fly halves, centres, hookers, props, and locks. Back row we are now doing ok with, but it would be nice to have at least two for every position.

  11. Apologies if someone has already stated this

    but er… S Armitage?????? Really???? Not even in the Saxons????? Madness surely???

    Other than that pretty happy.

    1. I could be wrong but i think the EPS only concerns the players from premiership clubs. The EPS creates standard release dates agreed for by premiership clubs. Players from France would have to negotiate different terms on a club by club basis so he wouldn’t be named… I think.

      England have a policy which states they only select over seas players “in extreme circumstances”. But Lancaster picked Palmer last 6N when we had loads of fit 2nd rows, so the vague policy definition is there so the coaches can still pick anyone they want. Wait till they come together to train, if hes not there we can all get angry then!

    2. More concerned about the omission of in form nick Easter, I thought he was supposed to be picking players on their performance, and I agree both armitage brothers playing exceptionally well at the moment!! But the French clubs won’t release them so I have to agree with Lancaster there. Lawes surprises me how can he have impressed with so little rugby played because of injury. Interesting autumn coming up, can we make Twickenham a fortress again here’s hoping!!!

  12. No major surprises. Dazza i would have to disagree about the abundance of wingers….? Or at least decent ones.

    Ashton on the right wing (by default really, hasn’t set the world alight).
    No one has made the left wing spot their own?

    Full backs and half backs – fair enough. But blindside is by far and away our strongest position right now i’d say?


    Are all excellent 6s.

  13. I agree about the amount of 6s we have! All very good and its hard to narrow down a back row.
    I would argue is seems by the EPS squad that is named, Sharples is first in line if fit for the 11 shirt?

    Back row debate?
    6. Croft
    7. Rodshaw
    8. Morgan/ Waldrom if morgan can’t improve his fitness

    1. Given the presence of Goode and Brown in the squad, I’d say Ben Foden is first in line for the 11 shirt.

      1. Possibly, you may well be right. But I can’t say I’m a huge fan of moving Foden. He is our best full back, I feel like he should play there. Although you may well be right!

        1. Agreed. Let the FB’s fight it out for their spot and the wings fight it out for theirs.

          1. I agree entirely – Foden is by far the best full back in the squad. However, the lack of other wings leads me to think that Lancaster’s idea is to have him in there as a wing.

  14. Very happy to see Anthony Allen in the elite squad – he is consistently excellent for Leicester, England are short of quality centres plus he has experience of playing alongside Tuilagi, Flood, Ford and Twelvetrees

  15. Unfortunately Easter is on the wrong side of his playing career, don’t see how Hartley is in there and T.Youngs in Saxons after a good showing in the autum. Brown should get a proper shot at 15 to show he can transfer club form to country. I wouldn’t say Joseph’s inclusion is on form and how he warrants a place jn the senior squad, and would have rather seen Allen in the senior squad.
    Back row should be robshaw 6, wood 7 and S.Armitage at 8 considering his form at Toulon.

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