England Elite and Saxons Player Squads

Stuart Lancaster has named the England Elite Player Squad and the Saxons squad for the forthcoming season.

New additions to the senior squad are Dave Attwood, Kyle Eastmond, Matt Kvesic, Marland Yarde, Billy Vunipola and Christian Wade.

What do you make of the squads? Any notable omissions or surprise inclusions?

England Senior EPS (33)

England RugbyForwards
David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Marland Yarde (London Irish)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

England Saxons EPS (32)

Forwards
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Doran Jones (Harlequins)
Will Fraser (Saracens)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Kearnan Myall (London Wasps)
David Paice (London Irish)
George Robson (Harlequins)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Wallace (Harlequins)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)

Backs
Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers)
Joel Tomkins (Saracens)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

29 thoughts on “England Elite and Saxons Player Squads

  1. No surprises really, I would have preferred Kitchener over Attwood – but then I suppose it makes sense with two line out locks and two ‘enforcers’ in the EPS. The team I’d pick if the AIs started tomorrow:
    1. Corbs 2. Youngs 3. Cole 4. Launchbury 5. Parling (c) 6. Croft 7. Wood 8. Morgan 9. Youngs 10. Burns 11. Wade 12. Twelvetrees 13. Tuilagi 14. Ashton 15. Foden
    16. Hartley 17. Vunipola 18. Wilson 19. Lawes 20. Robshaw 21. Care 22. Farrell 23. Brown

  2. Well this is exactly what I wanted to see. The guys who had performed well in the Argentina test have earned their places in the senior team, and I can see them keeping out some of the other players.

    So looking at this squad, here is my squad for the next game.
    1. Corbisiero
    2. T. Youngs
    3. Cole
    4. Launchbury
    5. Parling
    6. Wood (C)
    7. Kvesic
    8. Morgan
    9. B. Youngs
    10. Burns
    11. Yarde
    12. Twelvetrees
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Wade
    15. Foden

    16. Webber
    17. M. Vunipola
    18. Wilson
    19. Croft
    20. B. Vunipola
    21. Dickson
    22. Farrell
    23. Eastmond

    1. Just realised I’ve put Webber on the bench assuming he was in the elite squad, but after a closer look, he’s back in the Saxons??!! I would rather have him than Hartley!

  3. Forgot to say that the Saxons team is going to be exciting to watch with the like of Simpson, May, Sharples Allen, Tomkins and Tait in the squad. That will be a very difficult team to pick!

  4. Hartley in front of webber! He was brilliant in Argentina and the barbarians game before the tour. Someone please tell me why Lancs has made this decision…

    1. Because Hartley is a much better player. Webber is a good player. Hartley would easily have been a test match Lion – something that would never happen to Webber (no disrespect to him).

      Hartley made a huge mistake in the Premiership final, he knows that, but he is still a top class player.

  5. What we all expected, glad Yarde has got the bump up of all of them though. Think he has the best chance of getting the other wing spot across from Ashton, unless they insist on playing Brown on the wing.
    Although Wade and Eastmond on the wings would be something…

    Hope 36 can nail down the 12 shirt.

  6. I suspect the choice of Hartley was down to his past performances, but he’s going to have to do a lot to stay there. Webber was looking good before his injury and the way he’s played since coming back from injury has been encouraging.

    Attwood’s inclusion surprised me a little. Not because he’s a bad player, I thought he was looking promising under Johnson, but Lancaster doesn’t seem to have been interested. I thought Kitchener might have just been included ahead.

    Calum Clarke being dropped was a bit of a surprise too. Lancaster has been so desperate to use him between injuries and bans and all of a sudden he’s just out.

    I’m just glad he’s finally dropped Haskell.

    1. Don’t think Clark has necessarily done anything wrong, but others have pushed forward in the meantime or come back from injuries and that has pushed him down the list again. means everyone has to work for their place in the squad which has to be great news.

  7. Agree with everyone who has gone out, agree with everyone who has come in.

    I think he should have found a space for Webber, would have preferred him to Hartley, but 3 hookers wouldn’t have been excessive.

    I don’t see the point in retaining Goode, 3 specialist FBs and a utility seems excessive. Maybe Brown being far from convincing in Argentina has complicated the matter slightly.

    My team for now:
    1) Corbs
    2) T.Youngs
    3) Cole/Wilson (Wilson on recent form, Cole if he rediscovers his best form)
    4) Launchbury
    5) Parling
    6) Wood
    7) Robshaw (c)
    8) Morgan
    9) B.Youngs
    10) Farrell
    11) Yarde
    12) 36
    13) Tuilagi
    14) Wade
    15) Foden

    16) Hartley
    17) M.Vunipola
    18) Wilson/Cole
    19) Lawes/Attwood (Can’t decide, I’m in a minority that really rate Lawes, but Attwood was great in Argentina)
    20) Croft
    21) Care
    22) Burns
    23) Eastmond

    I’m retaining Robshaw as Captain, he was on great form in the early part of the season, but looked burnt out towards the end of it. Think he’ll be fresh and back to his best. The backrow balance (and breakdown performance) against NZ and Scotland was excellent so don’t see a need to move from that.

    I’m keeping Farrell as I thought he came on really well on the Lions tour (temperamentally as well as creativity)

  8. really happy with both squads. there are a couple names i would swap, but it would be between the two squads, not completely missing someone out.

    there are a few young lads in the saxons who could be considered “bolters”, but looking at their recent performances they are deserving of a call-up.

    Glad to see that all 3 of the candidates deemed to be “genuine opensides” (Kvesic, Fraser and Wallace) are in the mix here. Kvesic had to be the one in the EPS, the kid made 29 tackles in a game!!!!

    Would say that Varndell must still be a little miffed not to be considered, but overall, there arent a huge number of deserving players left out.

    the saxons is very exciting at the moment, its got a good blend of youth and experience. SL is using it as an effective tool to both develop talent, but also provide strong backup to the EPS.

    from the 2 squads, here would be my two 23 man teams (EPS first, Saxons 2nd)

    EPS
    1. Corbisiero
    2. Youngs
    3. Cole
    4. Launchbury
    5. Parling
    6. Wood
    7. Kvesic
    8. Morgan
    9. Youngs
    10. Burns
    11. Yarde
    12. Twelvetrees
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Wade
    15. Foden

    16. Hartley
    17. Vunipola
    18. Wilson
    19. Lawes
    20. Robshaw
    21. Care
    22. Farrell
    23. Brown

    Saxons
    1. Wood
    2. Webber
    3. Thomas
    4. Myall
    5. Slater
    6. Haskell
    7. Fraser
    8. Crane
    9. Simpson
    10. Myler
    11. May
    12. Tomkins
    13. Daly
    14. Nowell
    15. Tait

    16. Paice
    17. (no option here – would call Matt Mullan if needed)
    18. Doran-Jones
    19. Kitchener
    20. Wallace
    21. Wigglesworth
    22. Ford
    23. Joseph

  9. Sorry, but I’m going to be another one who really agrees. My only gripe was that Webber should have got a place as the third hooker as I thought that he deserved it after the summer. However if Hartley’s head is in the right place he is still a good player. My only concern is the “if” in that comment. Also applies to Lawes.

    Regarding Attwood, I thought he played well in Argentina and deserves his place. I think that SL looked at him again after we got a bit of a mauling against Wales. Our locks were good but a bit lightweight in that game. Am all for different styles of player in a squad. It gives SL the chance to change things round if one style isn’t working. I think that we now have good variety from 1 to 15.

  10. I agree mostly with the EPS, although I’m still left wondering what Haskells done wrong! Couldn’t fault his performances in the 6Ns, and I think he is at least deserving of a spot on the bench.

    Also Courtney Lawes? Sorry, but he’s always been a waste of space. One of those players that has been hyped up so much by the pundits, but has never done anything close to justify such praise.

    1. Hask had a decent 6n. did nothing wrong. There are just better players available. He can also be a bit cluless and is possible not a good fit for the “heads up” rugby SL allegedly wants to play

    2. Haskell’s mentality is all wrong, and there are better players. I’ve seen him do a lot of stupid things in an England shirt and he should have been in more trouble over the years than he has been. End of the day, in spite of being used at 7 and 8, he’s only really a 6 and I don’t imagine any would pick him over Croft, Robshaw or Wood. At 7 there is Robshaw/Wood/Kvesic all of whom are better 7s and at 8 there’s Vunipola and Morgan. Who from those 6 is worth dropping for a meat head that’s probably going to do something stupid?

      1. Not sure I agree on Haskell. Very good player – he does a lot of the hard graft, and a strong ball carrier. I’m not sure what you mean by “should have been in more trouble over the years than he has been”? I can’t think of anything controversial that he has been involved in. He may give away one or two penalties more than you’d like, but so does Brussouw apparently so I don’t buy all that.

        1. i think that may have meant to say Haskell hasn’t been as much trouble as he should. in other words, he should cause more problems for other teams.

          he blows a bit hot and cold at times. in the past he was a very strong ball carrier. i think he has suffered this season, as Vunipola and Johnson have been the main carriers for wasps. with vuni going to sarries, hask will have to carry more.
          he is still a very good tackler though, and he has a high work rate, something people seem to praise Lydiate or wood for no end, but it is overlooked because haskell has a bit of an ego.

          i wouldnt pick him over any of the backrowers in the EPS, all deserve to be there above him. but i would say he will be one of the first cabs off the rank from the Saxons.

          there are a couple england players who have huge potential, and are yet to fill it to the full. haskell is probably the top of that list. that being said, he is still a decent 3rd or 4th choice option in any of the backrow spots.

          1. Completely agree here – I think Haskell is a brilliant player and I really like him as a bloke as well, great banter! But I would say the other back row players in the EPS have been better over the last year or so. That said, any injuries and he would be my first choice out of the Saxons.

  11. What a change from the perennial disappointing squad anouncements under Johnson, Ashton and Robinson.

    Whilst I hope and pray 12t is the starting 12, I think Barritt has a key role to play in the squad, i’m glad he’s there.

    Only gripes would be Strettle in the Saxons (he was garbabge in the summer and needs dropping entirely) and both Goode and Brown in the EPS. I did wonder whether SL would demote Goode to the Saxons to give him some decent games at 10 (if that is where SL sees him – following his decison for the Summer tour), but equally Brown has been really poor. He never seems to pass or even look for the pass. Ashton may have had a very different 6N and summer if he had been playing alongside someone else.

    1. Ashton wasn’t playing in the summer, nor was he playing alongside (I assume you mean the fullback/wing relationship, which he would have had with Goode) Brown in the 6N?

      I think Brown is a fantastic player but he needs to be told to pass more once he makes a break, if he continues to play his “normal” way after being told that then he should be demoted…

      1. ..Urr my point being that Ashton might have scored tries in the 6 nations and been in contention for the Lions had his opposite wing looked up. Brown was equally poor in the summer in that regard.

        Foden is our best FB. Solid at the back and makes things happen in attack. Brown is a good club player – not international class.

        1. Couldn’t agree more regarding Foden. He should be nailed on as the starter 15 considering the form of Goode and Brown.

          To be honest if Brown wants any further chance of playing for England, then he really needs to be used as a 15 and not a makeshift winger!

  12. Eastmond played pretty well, against an underpowered Argentina back line to be in with a shout of pushing for twelve surely. That try he scored in the second test was absolutely outstanding.

  13. What I would like to see is this list compared to the last squad announcement. Purely so we could look at who has come up and gone down, could this be arranged rugby blog?

      1. so the difference between now and last year are:

        Dropped from EPS into Saxons:
        Johnson, Waldrom, Webber, Allen, Joseph, Sharples

        Promoted from Saxons to EPS:
        Kvesic, Launchbury, Wilson, T. Youngs, Burns, Twelvetrees, Wade

        Selected straight into the EPS:
        Attwood, B. Vunipola, M.Vunipola, Eastmond, Yarde

        Dropped entirely from EPS:
        Botha, Dowson, Palmer, Stevens, Turner-Hall

        Selected into the Saxons:
        Fraser, Kruis, Myall, Slater, Wallace, N. Wood, Burrell, Daly, Myler, Nowell, Tait, Tomkins

        Dropped entirely from the Saxons:
        Catt, Deacon, Fearns, Gaskell, Gibson, Gray, Mullan, Abendanon, Benjamin, Biggs, Lowe, Miller

        NOTE – Stevens retired from international rugby after the announcement. Wilson was promoted to the EPS, and Mako selected in the Saxons (injuy to Corbs meant Mako jumped straight into the EPS for the AIs)

  14. How does the Hartley get the nod over Webber? the guy is such a liability, and Webber did a solid job over the summer, and even put in a good show as skipper… As for flood and goode? I thought we found better combinations on the tour…

    1. I don’t think anyone really showed up better than Flood. Sure Burns played well, but you’ve got to look at the competition they were playing against. Toby Flood is the most experienced 10 in the squad with a great deal of attacking flair and skill. I think (hope) that Burns will be developing and working his way past Owen Farrell.

      Agree on Goode though. At fullback realistically you only need two options and that’s surely Foden and Brown. Goode is reasonable and does something a bit different, but I’m not really certain that he actually fits

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