England names team to play France in Six Nations


Stuart Lancaster has announced his team to take on France this weekend in the opening round of the Six Nations.

As expected the team has a very youthful, and inexperienced, feel to it, with two debutants in the backline, and another player with just one cap. Luther Burrell and Jack Nowell are the new caps, while Jonny May joins them with the one he won against Argentina over the summer.

The pack almost picks itself, with the only slightly contentious call the selection of Joe Marler over Mako Vunipola – presumably to shore up the scrum a bit.

There is no recognised fly-half replacement on the bench, meaning if Farrell were to get injured either Billy Twelvetrees or Alex Goode would be forced into action there – a big ask considering they are both reasonably inexperienced in the role, certainly at international level.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We can’t wait for Saturday. We’ve had a good two weeks and all the players have pushed hard for selection.

“Congratulations to Jack and Luther who deserve their chance, as does Jonny May starting his first RBS 6 Nations game. It’s also great to see Brad Barritt back with his experience and leadership in the 23, while Alex Goode will give us good cover at 15 and 10.

“We felt the pack went well in the autumn and it’s right to leave it unchanged but we have some quality players, including two British Lions in Tom and Mako, to come on.”

George Ford (Bath Rugby), Matt Mullan (London Wasps) and Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) will travel as cover.

England (v France, RBS 6 Nations, Stade de France, Saturday, 5pm)
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 21 caps) 14 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped) 13 Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, uncapped) 12 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 8 caps) 11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap) 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 19 caps) 9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 42 caps) 1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 15 caps) 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 50 caps) 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 43 caps) 4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 14 caps) 5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 25 caps) 6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 23 caps) 7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 20 caps) 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 5 caps)

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps) 17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 10 caps) 18 Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, 2 caps) 19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 5 caps) 20 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 15 caps) 21 Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, 12 caps) 22 Brad Barritt (Saracens, 16 caps) 23 Alex Goode (Saracens, 13 caps)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

56 thoughts on “England names team to play France in Six Nations

  1. Blimey – this is one of the least laughable (as a non-England fan) England selections I have seen for years. SL has watched some rugby and picked the best (well, more or less) players he has see this year. This is obviously great for England though I’m now worried that England will finally stop ignoring their talent (which they’ve done for about 10 years imo) and therefore actually start winning things.

  2. Would like to have seen Ford on the bench. Hopefully he and Watson will make the match squad for Scotland if all goes ok for the newbies this week.

  3. Other than Care, really happy with the whole 23. Always feel like Vunipola is best as an impact player, and Marler has really improved since his Cardiff mauling.

    Hartley has been fantastic this year. In fact, ever since Tom Youngs came on the scene he has massively upped his game.

    Just hoping that there isn’t an early injury to Farrell, as I’d be worried to have Goode at 10 for an hour! Looking forward to see how Burrell goes as well.

    Oh no, I’ve just realised, after a month of telling myself winning doesn’t matter and it’s about getting a functioning back line, I’m starting to believe again!

  4. I was of the impression that Watson was the one to break into the team, given his selection last week and his involvement in the Autumn Internationals.

    Nowell must have really impressed during the squad sessions as I am not sure that he was really being talked about a few months ago was he?

    Goode is a real safety blanket isn’t he?

    After all, Twelvetrees and Barritt could cover 10, whilst May and Nowell could cover 15. Without Watson, we have no legitimate cover for 11 and 14.

    Having said that – and I know this will not be the popular view – I think that Goode oozes quality (if not outright pace – like Tom Varndell :-)), and this season appears to be playing better than ever.

  5. We have a good bench there. Nothing flashy, but quite a lot of experience (relatively speaking compared to the squad). I’d be confident of the replacements closing out a game, but I’d be concerned if we’re trailing by more than a score.

    Care is my favourite England 9 so I’m glad to see him in there, but like Ashton he has to start replicating his club form on the big stage – he’s had quite a few chances already.

    Overall, this is an exciting squad of form players. We know what the forwards can do, we just need the backs to gel – and quickly.

  6. I like the fact that Ford, Watson and Mullan will travel with the squad as cover. This means they will get to see what goes on on a matchday and this will help them prepare if they do get selected for some of the other matches. Fair play to Nowell, Burrell and May. They have impressed in club competition this season (particularly Burrell), and deserve their chance.
    I have to say I’d prefer to see 36 as 10 cover than Goode. Although Goode started as a 10, he’s played there less than 36, and at this level, the more experience the better.

  7. Good team that. Goode’s in there as he’s one of the most versatile backs we have even if he’s a bit cack. Can cover a variety of positions well enough even if he’s not Kurtley Beale.

    Still think we’ll lose and not convinced Burrell’s a test quality player, but bring on the Frogs!

  8. After his Saxon’s performance I would like to see Daly in the mix but that aside and a nagging doubt about Farrell this is a team that I’m looking foward to watching

  9. Concerned about the lack of wing cover on bench. If May or Nowell is having a shocker presumably brown will move to wing and Goode to 15? Or it could be an indicator SL is backing the new guys to go out and play without the threat of substitution hanging over them?

    Either way pretty exciting team, personally hope to see Eastmond and Watson involved at some point this 6N.

  10. This team was announced two days ago, but that’s hardly surprising, the newspapers have people watching the training, and can almost certainly discern who’s going to be playing.

    Between the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, they named at least 4 different lineups in the past week, and the news that Ashton was dropped only broke on Tuesday, even though it happened on Saturday.

    The media leaks are far less this season, I remember the AI squad predictions changing a lot too, along with the general clamour that Wood would be captain.

  11. I would love to have seen Ford on the bench, especially as France are actually starting with an uncapped 10.

    However if Lancaster is set to have Barritt on the bench, then someone had to cover the outside backs, and although Watson is more exciting, Goode is a safe pair of hands.

    Lancaster does need to give Ford game time this 6N however. The likely AP final will include Saracens meaning Farrell’s unavailability for first NZ test. Ford is most likely in line to start that game and that is no game to make your international debut.

  12. I have to say I do find it a little ironic that we’re all quite happy that Ashton has been dropped for Nowell. Whilst the main reason a lot of people wanted to see Ashton dropped was his lack of defensive qualities, a lot of people have also griped about his lack of tries scored in recent times. So it may surprise a few people to note he’s been replaced by a player who has not scored in the Premiership this season.
    Nowell is a talent with masses of potential there’s no doubt about it, but it just struck me as funny that after all the moaning about Ashton not scoring like he used to, that the guy taking his spot has a worse try scoring record in competition this season, and yet we consider him an “in form player?”

    1. “lack of tries” in the context of criticism of Ashton is basically shorthand for “hopeless unless put into a gaping hole”.
      And used primarily to contrast his current try scoring rate for England with what it was when he first got capped.

      1. His second “try” against Argentina demonstrated that even with a massive hole he can still prove hopeless. He got very very lucky that the touch judge missed that error.

  13. I’d be rather surprised if Bath weren’t in with a very good shot of being in the final as well…

    Watson is still very very raw, and has had 2 games on the wing this season.]

    Goode can come on at FB, and Brown can do a job on the wing.

  14. Nowell is better defensively, and here’s a fun stat for you. Ashton beat 2 defenders whilst wearing an England shirt, in the entirety of 2013. I suspect Nowell could beat that in this game alone.

    1. I have no doubt about Nowell’s potential as a player. I watched him in the under-20’s World Cup last year and he was outstanding. I just found it amusing that everyone is commenting about the team being picked on form, and yet Nowell has not scored a try in the Prem this season, and as a winger he would be expected to score tries. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes, and I’m sure the only thing the team are losing is Ashton’s experience. These young players now have their chance and an opportunity to lay down a marker and I really hope they take it. Wade and Yarde will be looking on, waiting for another chance once they’re fit.

      It is an exciting time for England’s wingers. We seem to have so many coming through this season and I’m sure SL would like to give them all a chance to impress.

      1. For me form != tries scored. If it did we’d be arguing Strettles inclusion. And all Strettle has been doing is running in overlaps created by Sarries power game. England doesn’t have the ability to create such overlaps, and so needs players who can advance us further down the pitch, or create a break.

        I don’t see Nowell surviving on the wing spot once Yarde and Wade return, especially as I don’t believe he has the pace to be an international wing, but I would take him over Ashton at this time in an England backline.

  15. Pleased with the starting backs. I do think Burrell has what it takes to step up and won’t prove to be another Tomkins, fingers crossed. Although I’ve got some reservations over Care’s kicking game from the base of the ruck given that he’s in the 23 I prefer him starting to Dickson, as we know Dickson/Farrell is a bit of an oil/water pairing. Care will hopefully interest the fringe defence a bit more and help create more space in the middle as a consequence.

    Don’t mind which way round 1/17 are with Mako and Marler, very impressed with how Mako went against Census Johnston recently so I think both have come on well in the scrummaging department. Mako certainly brings some dynamism off the bench. Pack looks great (including bench options), only concern is tighthead cover, especially if Domingo is in his “I own Dan Cole” T shirt again.

    Not convinced on the idea of having no specialist 10 cover on the bench as:
    – An early injury to Farrell and it’s a big risk to ask a non-specialist to fill in at international level for most of a game.
    – Playing away against France is now an experience Ford will not have going into the RWC. Can understand the logic of not wanting to throw in too many new young players at once. But we currently have nothing behind Farrell and we must accelerate the development of an alternative. Maybe they’ll spring a surprise and start Ford against Italy (wouldn’t be a bad idea), they need to start giving him some decent game time soon.

    I’m not an Alex Goode fan! The 3rd best 10 in the 23 and with May and Nowell both covering 15 (and forcing Brown to cover wing) I’m not convinced he’s a necessity. But he’ll do the basics well at the back so I’ll tolerate it for now.

    Given the players we are deprived of think this is a very good 23 though. Performance is more important than result in this one for me (not that the 2 should be mutually exclusive or that I’ll be happy with a loss!), hope we really go at them ball in hand, Farrell has to attack the line. No point having the pace of people like May if we don’t look to exploit it. I want to see Basteraud gasping for air after 15 mins.

      1. There’s an airline strike (bloody Frogs). Luckily, England sidestepped that challenge by changing their plans to Eurostar.

  16. It is a youngish/inexp team, at least in the centre & esp out wide.

    Fairly predictable fwd pack, altho I’d still have a specialist open side (I still like Armitage)with Robshaw blind, but that was always unlikely.

    However, May, Burrell & Nowell are the only ‘novices’, so it’s not such a disruted backline that SL’s picked. I was surprised that Barritt didn’t go straigt in tho.

    I don’t know if Burrell is the ‘creative’ centre that England have lacked since Greenwood. I’ve not seen enough of him… & reports on him here are mixed? We’ll see.

    I just hope, for England’s sake, that the wingers see plenty quick ball & that Farrell (I share Roy’s concern about him here) doesn’t boot it to heaven all day. This will negate the 3/4s!? Also this is where Burrell, for me, will stand up (or rather straighten the attack) & help facilitate space for Nowell & May. Care @ 1/2 surprised me a bit too, but any of 3 1/2backs would have done I think.

    It’s Farrell that would concern me if I were English. Altho he’s a ‘steady Eddie’, is apparantly ‘cool under pressure'(?), ‘manages a game’ (whatever that actually means in his context) & CAN kick pts, if Lancs had been really bold he’d have given Geo Ford a runout wouldn’t he? OF is just too static & manufactured for me… esp if 1 eye is on the WC horizon.

    But we’ll see.

    1. Twelvetrees is our creative centre, Burrell is our gainline-breaker (we do the 12-13 thing differently to a fair few countries).

      People have been complaining about this side’s experience, but the starting XV actually has 80 more caps than the XV from the corresponding fixture two years ago.

        1. And, consistent selections with the forwards. Selecting an very inexperience back line is a bold call. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a very nervous and shaky Burrell, Nowell, and May. I definitely expect a battle of attrition with the forwards.

      1. The Vunipola brothers and Morgan are also good at breaking the gainline, don’t see any reason why it HAS to be your 13 who does it as long as the team are set up to exploit the break when/if it occurs

        1. If you want to create some go-forward off quick ball at the line out you need a guy in the backs who can get over the gainline (preferably more than one). Look at how we struggled in the AIs with no one able to do it.

          Having Morgan, Youngs, Vunipolas giving us some great carrying options in the forwards is fantastic. The impact of the absence of ball carrying forwards was pretty clear in the latter part of last years 6N. But doesn’t mean we don’t need it at all in the backs whichever number shirt provides it.

        2. Totally agree on the forwards part,
          Seeing a lot of stuff saying the bench won’t help us chase a game. But in the event the backs aren’t working well enough then shore up their defence with barritt and use our forwards bench or ball carrying and line breaking. Not ideal but possible.
          I’d love to see at least one point this season with morgan at 8 and vunipola at 6, just to see what it’s like, preferably not due to injury

  17. I think when the pressure comes on,( which it will ) we have too much inexperience in the backs to cope. They should have picked at least one experienced wing( Ashton/ Strettle ). Should have started Barrett and moved Billy to 13. Barrett on the bench offers no impact but defensive shoring up. Is Eastman injured as he would offer some guile. May will threaten but Nowell is not quick enough

    1. For Lancaster’s first game in charge the squad contained 8 debutants, a captain with 1 cap and about 100 caps less than this match day 23. This squad is much more experienced than the one that delivered 3 away wins in 2012. OK, the backs contain very few caps, but the pack is pretty experienced (not veteran granted). There should be enough leadership experience in the spine of this team for the new/inexperienced guys to cope.

      France are without their inspirational captain, have a new young debutant trying to fill their problem position at FH, holders of the wooden spoon having only beaten Tonga and Scotland in 11 internationals last year and a coach clinging onto his job who has got all his excuses about Foreigners in the Top 14 in first! I hope we really go at them, get those miserable Parisians booing early. Yes they are unpredictable and ‘can beat anyone on their day’ and all that but we shouldn’t fear them. Vive Les Rosbifs!!

      I don’t think capping Strettle or Ashton for this game increases our chances of winning it, neither of them are looking like world cup wingers, so it’s becomes another wasted cap that someone else doesn’t have (far too many of those handed out already). There is a better argument for starting Barritt, but Barritt gets you up to the gainline, not across it. He doesn’t fill the role of the creative centre or the destructive one. Burrell has been consistently very good all season, was very unfortunate to miss out to Tomkins in the AIs in my view. Burrell, to use a bomberism, “deserves his opportunity”.

  18. I dont quite understand the inability to drop farrell, especially with the argument ashton had to go to be replaced by someone with no tries?

    I appreciate a game like this may not be ideal but then why not keep ashton in and play nowell against Italy or scotland? The position is obviously more pivotal but the sentiment remains the same.

    I just think that bringing in faster wingers is papering over the cracks. The wings are starved of opportunity due to the way farrell plays and his decision making is susceptible to pressure – if cipriani reacted like he has he would have been villified. Surely the root cause of lack of creativity should be addressed at least as much as the end result?

    1. Agree to some extent, but I would argue that Farrell is actually in the team due to his defensive organisation and goal kicking. Could replace him with Ford and bring Barritt in to run the defence, but if Ford’s kicking isn’t up to scratch there isn’t anyone to turn to. Could see Farrell being moved to 12 to control defence and kicking duties, with Ford to pull the strings from 10? Worked for the U20’s.

    2. I don’t see how you can blame lack of creativity firmly at Farrell’s door. Surely part of it has to come down to the coaching, and the style of play. Farrell has had no trouble getting the back line moving around at Sarries this season. He may not have pace to burn, or make too many line breaks, but he does the basics well, kicks the penalties, makes his tackles and keeps the team in the right areas of the pitch. I really don’t see why people expect him to be something that none of England’s previous 10’s have been. Not even Wilkinson.

      1. I am tempted to lay blame at Farrell’s door, but Farrell snr not jnr. Sarries have looked much better in the backline since he left, and whilst the new pitch will have helped that I think the change in staff can’t be ignored- especially as conversely England backs are so lacking in inspiration. I think the most important change to the England squad needed leading up to 2015 is to move Farrell into a role as defensive coach and throw money at Alex King of Saints until he agrees to come be the attack coach. Any coach who can make Myler into an international standard fly-half is worth his weight in gold. Saints have been a team transformed since he started… Not sure there is any chance of that happening however.

  19. Dazza

    You’ve got a pt there.

    Personally I didn’t like Ashton for his show boating which IMO showed an attention seeking immaturity & flaw in his make up. But it doesn’t seem so long ago tho that he was considered the bees knees almost only on the back of THAT try v Oz. (shades of North’s wonder try v Oz for the Lions?) Bur how things have changed.

    I also liked Strettle, esp when he played for Quins, where he seemed to emulate Mike Brown’s current fearless form & have a go, POSITIVE attitude. (BTW, for me, Brown is the the only England back I really do admire because of this skill & will).

    Mind you I didn’t think that Cueto was that bad a winger either, but he too hardly scored in the twilight yrs of his lengthy tenure.

    However, is it not more to do with a malaise in the England game? Their inability to create space for the wingers? Many talk of indiviuals, which surely, at least to a considerable extent, misses the point (as do the oddles of stats about how many caps England had back when v now, etc, etc). If the team play with, frankly, journeymen inside backs like the limited Farrell & 12trees what should anyone expect? Lancaster favours Tuilagi & will surely reinsert the Kiwi (well he has family there doesn’t he?) when he’s fit. But doesn’t this exacerbate the problem rather than cure it, i.e. of the yawning creative gap @ centre?

    Others have said Burrell’l fix it… for now. I dunno, maybe he will. We’ll see soon enough.

    Others talk of getting over the gain line, presumably with crash ball merchants, as if it’s the holy grail, but it still doesn’t address England’s need for someone to make space & create maximum time & room for the wingmen does it? I know it’s important to cross the g line, but then what?

    If SL were really brave & committed to yoof, he’d start with Georgie Ford @ fly1/2 rather than Farrell who just isn’t the answer for England. I’m not the only one saying this regds OF. He stunts England’s options, as does 12trees @ centre. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, England never replaced Greenwood… & surely it should have been one of SL’s main priorities?!

    Anyway, young Jacko Nowell, who, as Dazza pts out, has not scored yet in the Prem’ship will surely need some quick pill, in space, to seemingly make any impression.

    On the other hand, the French might screw it up, esp with the dozy Saint-André in charge – still.

    I expect some, like Brighty, will launch personal attacks on what they see as anti English sentiment or my having rose tinted specs on or summat similar, but if you think England are ‘doing ok’ as someone put it, then g’luck, but for me the issues @ fly1/2 & midfield stand out like a spare wotsit @ a wedding. And those issues should be what the pt of this blog is about. It’s USEFUL info, forget the personal stuff… for the sake of England, St. Geo and so on.

    And I’d still have Cptn Courageous @ blind & Stef Armitage @ open. So there!

    Ah well, tin hat time again.

    C’mon England, c’mon.

    1. You appear to have gone the England centres confused, again.

      Nobody anywhere has suggested that Burrell will fix our creative issues. Twelvetrees is our creative centre, in fact, a lot of his rugby this year domestically has been in at 10. Twelvetrees is our creative centre and has shown he has the ability to be our solution there.

      You keep going on about Farrell, which I understand, he isn’t exciting to watch. But, he is more of a player than you suggest, and England are addressing their midfield issues by giving Twelvetrees a run in the side.

      Steffan Armitage is another one you seem to rave about. He has a choice. Play his rugby domestically, or you don’t get in the England side. Completely correct decision is sight for the long term interests of English rugby. Also, I would not put Armitage ahead of Wood even if he was playing in England.

      1. Others have tried to explain this to you, I’ll have one last go

        – England do not pick overseas players e.g. Armitage
        – It is NOTHING to do with distance.
        – England chose this policy to try and keep their players in England – without this policy many believe that most of England’s best players would move to France, premiership standards would drop and they would enter a self enforcing circle of decline

        So seriously, stop indicating that Armitage not being picked is anything to do with SL. I also have issues with SL’s selection but not picking Armitage isn’t one of them. At fly half I do have some sympathy with SL – the alternatives are not there. Picking Ford at 10 for England would not be like NZ’s policy of “going with youth” as you would have it when they picked Carter. When they picked Carter he was clearly one of the most gifted rugby players in the world. Picking him was as clever and brave as putting your socks on in the morning. Picking Ford, a man who has stuffed up a fair few games, is not such a no-brainer so SL has not picked him. Not having him on the bench is odd I think but starting him at 10 would be even odder imo.

        Also have to say that it is hilariously ironic to hear a Kiwi take a dig at England for picking a South Sea Islander (by birth). Astonishing lack of self awareness or a near genius self referential joke? I know which one I think. Knowing I was going to say this doesn’t excuse you from writing the same old tired and factually rambling missives.

    2. Don’t think your views of 36 are fair/accurate. He offers an attacking threat though run, pass and kick. If you were talking about Barritt then I could understand, but 36 is very much a playmaking 12.

      Burrell is primarily there to break the gainline, but he’s got a decent passing/offloading and kicking game also.

      Even if (highly debatable) Armitage made the side better (like Afoa, for example, making an AB side better) picking him would do more long term harm to outweigh any short term gain. Like the ABs, the policy is home based players only and I’m glad he’s sticking to it.

      Not is disagreement with you on Farrell, hence my disappointment to not see Ford on the bench. Seeing him play better for the Lions and Sarries that he has recently for England gives me some hope, but finding an alternative/backup is critical, we won’t find one without playing one.

  20. Dazza

    You make an interesting obsservation regds Farrell & lack of creativity. You are, IMO, right & hit the nail on the head in that it ‘has to come down to the coaching, and the style of play’.

    However, I’ve also castigated OF, but again you’re right in so far as it’s not his fault that he lacks the creative attributes England need @ fly1/2. SL should replace him, so the buck stops with him & presumably OF plays to instructions… like kicking the 1st ball into the night & almost shutting the game down v Wales for that hammering. For me it was so negative.

    Farrell indeed seems to work well for Sarries with their back line.. usually behind a winning pack, but @ Int’al level the basics, kicking penalties, making tackles and ‘keeping the team in the right areas of the pitch’ is not enough.

    But yr comment about expectation of Farrell (including likely that of myself) is unrealistic, is spot on… esp as ‘none of England’s previous 10’s have been…’ that different. ‘Not even Wilkinson’.

    Yr comments gave me more food for thought than some others.

  21. Fair comment re Farrell not being solely at fault for lack of England’s creativity and I agree, the game plan/coaching plays its part. However, the apparent attempt to inject pace and dynamism on the wings indicates an attempt to play with more focus on attack and therefore more creativity. It is at this point my previous comment comes in – Farrell is not creative enough to exploit this change in philosophy. The points regarding kicking defence etc are,IMO, mute as these should be prerequisite skills. Kicking by the way, if ford was poor, could be given to 36. Personally I think Daley should be at 13 and then he could kick too!

    I understand it is a lot to ask of ford and it is only fair to say Farrell has let no one down but if we can play other debutants then why not someone who may fit the new game plan better and garner experience prior summer tour?

    P.s. I don’t think saying he gets the back line moving at sarries should be proof of his threat, I think most 10 would look good behind those boys.

  22. brighty

    Lob in some bait & you bite like a shark. What took you so long?

    I happen to like SA (for reasons stated prev) & in our free world I am thus so entitled. And consider; if you applied yr same logic to Wales as you do with England, you might struggle to put a team out. And talking ludicrous, yr comment, ‘So seriously, stop indicating that Armitage not being picked is anything to do with SL’, beggers belief. Who else is it down to? Esp as SL himself has used the phrase, ‘in special circumstances’.

    But you miss, my real pt in all this which is that SL limits himself unnecessarily with HIS e.g. off shore player ‘issue’. Therefore, his & yr, thinking on this surely reflect a rigid, stunted attitude (as with SL’s midfield, b/line running E to W).

    You say distance has NO bearing, but in NZ’s case it surely must do. With England it SHOULD (with say French based players) have no bearing & if you (& others) say so, then I’ll take yr word for it as, coming from yr critical parent ego state, you seem to know better.

    However, it also seems to me that access to players based ‘abroad’, incl contracts, or in SA’s case, fitness(!?), have been used as excuses by Lancaster. And perhaps you slavishly believe all his utterances, like ‘out with the old, in with the new’. Is this laterally based thinking? Brad Thorn would probably disagree. But SL certainly talks a gd game, I’ll give him that.

    Also don’t you find it interesting on Wales’ current take of this subject concerning o/seas players? Even tho Gatland had previously expressd similar views to SL. Didn’t stop yr Wales winning a couple of 6N titles did it? So yr (& many others’) contention,”England’s best players would move to France, premiership standards would drop and they would enter a self enforcing circle of decline”, can only be an unsubstantiated opinion… to which you’re all entitled of course.

    NZ don’t have a youth policy. Age isn’t an issue. E.g.,YOU mentioned Carter. I mentioned Thorn. They intro & INTEGRATE young players (more?) effectivly.

    Regds Ford, ‘a man who has stuffed up a fair few games, is not such a no-brainer so SL has not picked him. Not having him on the bench is odd’; Why if he’s ‘ stuffed up a fair few games? For me England lack b/ups @ fly1/2, so, as the clocks ticking, a start for GF might show whether he’ll stand up, or fall over in an Int’al environment. What if OF gets crocked?

    And as for my (& yr?) (‘factual’; thank you) missives are tooo long… I’m not putting a gun to yr head boyo. Instead of perusing them, maybe, you could get out, relax & down a couple of pints of SA?

    The bad noos is, it’s yr round!

    1. Don, I get you’re trying to enter a battle of wits here but as you’re seriously underpowered in that department I’d probably be prosecuted for assaulting an unarmed man. Let’s just ignore each other in future.

      For a final piece of info then, as you don’t believe my word on it or the words of all the English fans on here, here is the initial statement on the avoidance of selecting overseas players. Written before SL was coach I notice: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2010/dec/02/rfu-overseas-players-england-exile

      At the time “exceptional circumstances” meant players who were already there when this announcement was made AND/OR in positions where England have no cover.

    2. I don’t get it.

      The AB exiles could give the real ABs a pretty competitive game there are so many good ones playing abroad. They however understand that moving abroad ends their AB career regardless of whether the next guy in line is better or not. NZRU support their domestic game.

      RFU rightly have the same policy and Lancaster is sticking to it regardless of whether someone overseas potentially could add something to the team.

      What’s the difference, why is one right and the other wrong? Why should Hansen not select Afoa (or numerous other exiles), but Lancaster should select Armitage?

    1. Sorry, I’m being really obtuse here, what has Gatland got to do with it?

      ABs (who do everything right it seems) and England (who can’t do anything right it seems) have the same policy on selecting home based players, why is one right and the other wrong?

  23. Jacob

    I’m aware that 12trees is meant to be creative & Burrell the battering ram, but some other/s, but not all, have opined that the latter is also creative.

    I’ve not really seen enuff of Burrell to give an objective view on him, but from what I’d seen of 12trees, esp in harness with Topmkins at In’tal level, well… a Bev Risman he ain’t I’m afraid.

  24. Brighty

    As you’re likely ignoring this, it’s probably a waste of time in responding now, but just in case…

    Look, I know that technically you’re correct about the policy regarding overseas based players & the reasoning behind it. I just don’t think it’ll entirely work that’s all & it indicates some wishful thinking on SL’s part if he thinks otherwise. Players can & do have clauses inserted into contracts, presumably like the Welsh guys & Ireland’s Sexton. And surely mkt forces will dictate where players go. And NZ have lost loads so called ‘2nd tier’ players like Gear, Ranger, Evans, Goppeth, Jackson etc, but they did have some flex regards DC. Also, although you say distance has nothing to do with it, it must harder for NZ to recall players if they go to Japan or Euro; due to jet lag & flt time duration. I’ve said that France is an hour away, so in practice it’s not such an issue here in that respect, so why put up unnecessary barriers? Also, as alluded to, the other HN nations don’t seem to have an issue with this.

    Again, although I think you are being a mite defensive & I’m a little mystified that, as a Welshman, you appear to be taking up an English cause. I’m not entering ‘a battle of wits’. Perhaps it’s just the way you see it. It is possible that I may indeed be ‘seriously under- powered in the wits department’ & for all I know you may ‘probably be prosecuted for assaulting an unarmed man’, but aren’t you also being a tad opinionated, vindictive & personal? On the other hand, Walter Mitty may well agree with you (that’s tongue in cheek btw).

    If you want us to ‘ignore each other in future’, then that’s ok, but on the other hand we could have a punt & attempt to bury the hatchet (ideally not in each other’s heads) & see how it goes.

    Over & under.

  25. Matt

    Perhaps you’re being a bit disingenous?

    If so inclinded, you can read my 2nd para to Blighty, above, in response to your last post.

    And I don’t recall saying that the ABs ‘do everything right’ or that England ‘can’t do anything right’.

    Prehaps you’re also being somewhat defensive, but surely, I don’t need to point out that NZ & England are currently not ranked where they are by accident do I? There are reasons for their respective rankings. I pointed some out, that’s all.

    I did, however, fail my exam to enter the diplomatic service.

    Happy Trails.

Comments are closed.