England name EPS injury replacements

England today drafted four replacements into the Elite Player Squad preparing for the RBS 6 Nations.

The players called up are Northampton Saints flankers Tom Wood and Phil Dowson, Leicester Tigers lock George Skivington and Bath Rugby full back Nick Abendanon.

Wood and Dowson are injury replacements for Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers) and Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby). Skivington comes in for Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) and Abendanon takes over from the suspended Delon Armitage (London Irish).

All four have joined the England squad training in Portugal this week as has Hendrie Fourie (Leeds Carnegie) who is being assessed by the England medical staff today after sustaining a calf injury at the weekend.

There are also seven changes to the England Saxons squad preparing for games against Italy A at Worcester on Saturday and Ireland A in Belfast on February 4.

Gloucester Rugby prop Nick Wood, London Irish hooker James Buckland, Worcester Warriors lock Graham Kitchener, Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi and Gloucester Rugby full back Olly Morgan are named as injury replacements for Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), Rob Webber (London Wasps), Dan Ward-Smith (London Wasps), Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks) and Alex Goode (Saracens).

Harlequins lock George Robson replaces the suspended David Attwood (Gloucester Rugby) and Harlequins full back Mike Brown takes over from Abendanon following his promotion to the senior EPS.

19 thoughts on “England name EPS injury replacements

  1. Kitchener over Kennedy? Are you having a laugh? Nick caused O’Connell and Mick O’Driscoll all sorts of problems at Thomond Park on Saturday, two of the best locks in Europe in one of the most intimidating atmospheres for an away side in the world, and he doesn’t even make the Saxons?! Ridiculous.

  2. It seems as though Johnno and his selectors are finally reading The Rugby Blog. Dowson, Wood and Skivington is ideal, and they were obviously impressed by the case put forward for Abendanon by Stuart J.

    Pretty happy with the changes, although as Ben says, Kennedy must have done something to upset the management. Does he hang out with Olly Barkley?

  3. IMO all 5 of these players should have been included in the EPS from the start, so I’m actually quite chuffed that Johnno has promoted them (even if it is for injury cover). The only question left is whether Johnno will actually use any of them? My gut instinct is telling me they won’t get anywhere near the team to play wales :(.

    Personally (only using who we have available in the EPS, and not including those that are injuried or trying anything to experimental i.e. playing players out of position) i’d go with the following – at least for the first game and see how they get on:

    1. Sheridan
    2. Thompson
    3. Cole
    4. Skivington
    5. Palmer
    6. Dowson
    7. Wood
    8. Easter
    9. Youngs
    10. Flood
    11. Cueto
    12. Hape
    13. Banahan
    14. Ashton
    15. Flood

    16. Hartley
    17. Wilson
    18. Shaw
    19. Haskell
    20. Care
    21. Wilkinson
    22. Flutey

    Thoughts?

  4. Tommy, I think it’s a big ask to expect Flood to play at both fly half and full back. Covering both positions is going to seriously hinder his chances of playing either to international standard and he’ll be knackered when he comes to take a kick at goal. Wilko could have done it in his prime, but not Toby I’m afraid. Also you appear to have put Banahan in the starting line-up. I assume that that too is a mistake, although arguably a less forgiveable one.

    I’d have Shaw and Flutey starting but no arguments other than that.

    Heart sank when I came on to the blog because if Sinbad had been picked that definitely would have been in the headline.

  5. Agree with you Stuart that line up would be pretty formidable. Although my guess is that Worsel will be picked for Wales to tackle everything that moves into the ground a la 2 years ago when at the end of the game he’d done so many big hits he looked like he had no clue where he was!

    Have noticed that Scrums fantasy game is now up and running is there going to be a RugbyBlog league?

  6. Yes, there will be a fantasy league if people are keen. I’ll get it set up shortly and let you know the details. 80-odd in the SportGuru league so far which is good.

  7. Right, here comes the Simpson-Daniel whinge…

    Abendanon isn’t even first choice at Bath at the moment. Cuthbert has been starting ahead of him and he’s hardly in sparkling form. Cueto can cover full-back if Foden gets injured so that’s Armitage accounted for so that leaves space for a wing who can cover for Ashton until he is fit again. You can guess who I think it should be….

    Not like he’s in good form or anything.

  8. PLeased to see above inclusions, except Abendenon. Full backs have to be mentally solid (for obvious reasons) and Bendy aint.

  9. Quite!
    I wouldnt say he “plays” for Bath. He might play in a bath occasionally.

    Watching the Heinekin cup has been great and made me realise that Dowson / foden really are consistently good players.Foden especially. I can see him in an england shirt for while.

    Maybe Sinbad will get the call up? I hope so. Is ashton injured?

  10. PS TOmmy – i like your team, apart from Cueto, id rather have sinbad. all cueto did was run through Quade Cooper, which frankly even Hutch could do.

    Also not sure about Flutey, should he be @ 12, ahead of Hapey?

    You need some cannon fodder to play in qualifying games in the RWC, so you can have Haskell. Id rather have tom johnson, who has the skills and brawn

  11. Encouraging additions.

    Still maintain that it’s a big call throwing both Dowson and Wood in there. I’d still start with Worsley and Fourie (if fit), and implement the other two from the bench.

    Flutey offers a lot more than Hape IMO.

    Did anyone read Mike Catt’s article about Wilkinson and Foden being our midfield combo? Interesting read.

  12. Why do we need worsley all of a sudden?

    how is he complementary to the way england played in the autumn?

    Its a step backwards.

    Dowson is ready for big time as is wood, although it would be a big call.
    Id like to see more of Fourie, perhaps off the bench?

    Wilko doesnt have the game for 12, weve tried and failed before. Bloody hell, catt should know that since he is partly responsible (with greenwood) for making Wilko look so good @ 10!!!!!

  13. Worsley has the experience and Wales is a must win game. Personally, I’d rather see Dowson or Robshaw but I could see why MJ would pick him for such an important game.

  14. I agree – Worsley would be a huge step backwards, and whilst I could see the logic, I wouldn’t be impressed if that’s what they go with in Cardiff.

    I suspect Haskell might get a look in at 6 now. We might have all forgotten about him, but he probably won’t let the selectors do the same in the England camp. Haskell starting with Dowson on the bench would be satisfactory I think.

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