England EPS Squad: The Probables, Possibles and Outsiders

Never has an England squad been met with such excitement or anticipation. Probably. Finally tomorrow, Stuart Lancaster will release his squad for the upcoming Six Nations tournament. Speculation has been rife, but now we will try and establish who is in, and who is out.

Probables (16)

Front Row: Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Matt Stevens, Dylan Hartley
Second Row: Courtney Lawes
Back Row: Tom Croft, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw, Ben Morgan
Half-Back: Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Owen Farrell
Centre: Manu Tuilagi
Back Three: Chris Ashton, Ben Foden, Mike Brown

Possibles (16)

FR: Joe Marler, Paul Doran-Jones, Joe Gray, Jamie George
SR: George Robson, Tom Palmer, Dave Attwood
BR: Andy Saull
HB: Lee Dickson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Hodgson
C: Brad Barritt, Jordan Turner-Hall, Billy Twelvetrees
BT: Charlie Sharples, David Strettle


FR: Nick Wood, David Paice, Rob Webber
SR: Matt Garvey, Mouritz Botha, Steve Borthwick
BR: Calum Clark, Luke Wallace, David Seymour, Thomas Waldrom, Luke Narraway
HB: Ben Spencer, Danny Cipriani
C: Jonathan Joseph, Henry Trinder, Matt Banahan
BT: Christian Wade, Jonny May, Delon Armitage

Let the debate commence.

by Ben Coles

29 thoughts on “England EPS Squad: The Probables, Possibles and Outsiders

  1. A few of the outsiders could well turn up in the main squad: Paice, Garvey, Clark, Waldrom, Trinder or Joseph would not shock me.

    As for Cipriani, he should really be in a category of his own, probably “deluded outsiders”. But, I think he’s on Lancaster’s radar. Just.

    1. One glaring omission for me is Geoff Parling in the second row. A real prospect, OK with injury worries, but I love his drive and involvement. Thought he was immense on his return for Leicester last weekend and I would go for him.

      Half back and centre are the worries for me really. At the RWC, our half backs only performed when coming from the bench. Farrell is the future, but has barely played at 10 this season, and should maybe be listed in the centres. I like Matt Smith, but reckon Trinder will get a call along with Barritt (Saxons with lancaster and Sarries with Farrell = a good combination for him)

      FWIW, and forgive the link, but my squad with thoughts is on my website http://theeggchaser.blogspot.com and I would welcome your thoughts

  2. Looking at that ‘Probables’ list has given me some optimism again, which is always dangerous. There are some decent players there, and a number that could become ‘world class’.

    The rest of the picture is a little more worrying, but hopefully some of them will step up and become great players once they’re given the chance.

    I’m not convinced by Turner-Hall anymore. I used to rate him, but he just seems slow and one-dimensional these days, which is what England need to move away from.

    As for Cipriani on the outsiders list, no chance…might as well put me on there. At half-back.

  3. Luke Wallace should be in there. He is unique in that he is EXACTLY what every international team needs and the only option England have that is that style of player.

    1. I’d disagree. Wallace is the man for the future, but Saull is the most experienced fetcher available right now. If England go down that route, he will start.

      1. True wasn’t thinking of Saull. But I think Wallace has more potential deffo think he should get game time. Doubt he’ll make the squad though.

        1. Saull’s tackling leaves a lot to be desired, in that I’d desire him to make a couple once in a while. The man’s a turnstile.

  4. Hutch: Oddly, having watched JTH this season, I’d say his game has definitely improveds since his injury layoff. He is getting a better balance between the straight up “bosh” and the “offload in every tackle situation” styles of play. I’d like to see him get a chance to prove his worth, but England need to be canny about the centre partnership. Pair JTH (or similar) with a player who can probe for holes in a line and run good angles/lines like Lowe does for us at Quins, and you have a solid basis for attacking throughout the backs.

    Dave: Much as I like Wallace’s explosive entry into the AP, I’d put him into the Saxons at least for one year, rather than dumping him straight into the senior squad. The guy is only 21, so he should be good for two RWC campaigns, so there’s no need to rush him in at this point. Let him build up his experience in the AP and Saxons a little first…

  5. What about Matt Hopper? Barnes in the Sunday Times was talking up his chances at centre, but it’s probably a bit too soon for him in this ‘interim’ period.

    I rate Luke Wallace quite highly and wouldn’t mind seeing him called up, but would have Saull ahead of him at the moment.

    1. It’s safe to say that anyone Stuart Barnes likes should be avoided like the plague – the man is still harping on about Banahan being in the England squad.

  6. I’d like to see Freddie Burns considered, there are quite a lot of good English youngsters out there at the moment, so quite an exciting time for English Rugby. I think this is the most giddy I have been the day before a squad announcement before!

    I agree with Hutch about Hopper too – used to see him down at the Pirates, exciting to watch and his move to the prem hasn’t phased him.

  7. Would have thought that Freddie Burns would have had more chance than Cipriani, but still wouldn’t have him in the EPS – Saxons would be better. Let him develop and see what he’s got.

  8. I think Lee Dickson and Joe Simpson need to be in the squad with no Care or Wigglesworth. Spencer is a real outsider, but again the way he’s been playing, and with a top side. He’s bee playing better than Stringer has for Sarries, no doubt about that.

    Just realised that the three wingers, Ahston, Strettle and Sharples all play at 14. One of them would have to play 11, but have any of them got a decent left handed pass?

    My starting 15 for the Scotland game:

    1. Corbisiero
    2. Hartley
    3. Cole
    4. Robson
    5. Palmer (is he playing in France?)
    6. Robshaw (c)
    7. Saull
    8. Morgan
    9. Youngs
    10. Farrell
    11. Strettle
    12. Twelvetrees
    13. Hopper
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

  9. Would love to see a Possibles vs Probables game as follows (assuming lack of injuiries of course)

    Corbisiero, Hartley, Cole
    Palmer, Lawes
    Robshaw, Morgan, Wood
    Youngs, Flood
    Tuilagi, Farrell
    Ashton, Strettle


    Marler, Grey, Doran-Jones
    Robson, Attwood
    Saull, Waldrom, Croft
    Simpson, Hodgson
    Turner-Hall, Twelvetrees
    Sharples, Wade

  10. My EPS squad:

    P – corbisiero, cole, stevens, marler
    H – hartley, gray, george
    SR – lawes, robson, botha, attwood
    BR – robshaw, wood, croft, morgan, saull
    SH – youngs, dickson, simpson
    FH – flood, farrell, hodgson,
    C – tuilagi, barritt, twelvetrees, smith
    BH – ashton, sharples, JSD, strettle, foden, brown

  11. I think Lancaster should give Twelvetrees a chance to play 12 outside of Farrel. Twelvetrees is on form, has played well for the saxons, playing well for the tigers, I mean single handely scoring 29 points in one match what a player, and he covers 10 and 13 aswell, a true talent.

    Sharples will surely be in at the wing with Ashton now.

    I applauded Lancaster for dropping Care from the team for the six nations, but it now seems a slightly rash decision, although Dickson might now get the shot he deserves.

    1. Care simply had to be disciplined,he painted himself into a corner by his own actions.We cannot blood too many at once but they should all get game time over the Tournament.Exciting times to be a follower.

  12. My 15 would be:
    Cole Hartley Marler
    Attwood Palmer
    Wood Easter Robshaw




    Chuter Corbisero Stevens
    Twelvetrees or Turnerhall

  13. I try to think each component of the team Front/Back row ect. working together as a unit and look at the team from there.
    Front row. Corbisero. Hartley. DoranJones.
    2nd row. Attwood. Palmer.{Lawes}
    Back row. Wood. Croft. Robshaw. {Morgan} Robshaw.capt.
    9 Youngs.
    10 Hodgson {Flood}
    11 Ashton.
    12 Farrell {Tuilagi}
    13 Twelvetrees.
    14 Strettle
    15 Foden

  14. Olney interesting choice but you need big scrummagers. That are mobile around the park now I would like to see.

    Cole, Hartley, Marler
    Lawes, Botha
    Wood, croft, Morgan/robshaw

    9 Youngs
    10 Twelvetrees( controversial I know)
    12 Farrell
    13 Tuilangi
    11 Strettle
    14 Ashton
    15 Foden

    My bench would be

    Barrit (good defender)
    Sharples (awesome finisher)
    Brown (really is a toss up between him and foden)

    Simpson (pace pace pace)

    1. i don’t think it’s a toss up between brown and foden. foden has been in as good as form as brown, if not better in the last month. he is the incumbent and should keep his starting spot. we shall see!

  15. Can someone explain to me the attraction of Croft?

    He played a couple of great games for the Lions but has never reproduced anything close to that form for england

    In my view, he doesn’t link well, doesn’t make the tackles that a blindside should and doesn’t do the dirty work in rucks and mauls. The only plus is his line out work

  16. Please please please please not Charlie Hodgson! The guy is a messer who thinks that making tackles is an optional extra. He has gone missing in action on several occasions when on defensive duties. Apparently he has a talent for unleashing his backline??? How many caps has he got and how many times has he done this?

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