England selection leaves us asking: if not now, then when?

lancaster
It is tough to know what to make of Lancaster’s England team for Argentina. There are a few bold calls, in the selection of Marler over Corbisiero (who may still be recovering from injury) and the continuation of the inexperienced second row pairing of Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury, despite the recovering from concussion of Lion Geoff Parling.

The overwhelming feeling, however, is that Lancaster has missed a trick here. Where is the X Factor? Where is the excitement? Yes, Wade and Yarde have suffered unfortunately timed injuries, but the manner in which they have been replaced is disappointing.

The likes of Dickson, Twelvetrees and Tomkins have been retained and given another go – which is fair enough; to drop a player after one bad game is never a good idea (see: Allen, Tait).

However, the feeling that persists is: if not now, then when?

This autumn, the Argentina game was Lancaster’s last chance to try something new. No disrespect to the Pumas, but they are comfortably the weakest team England face in the QBE series. There is no way he will throw someone in at the deep end against the All Blacks – quite rightly, I might add – to win their first cap, or make their first start of the autumn. A game against the World Champions is not the time to experiment.

I completely understand the idea of including players that have been around the squad that week (hence the selection of Foden on the wing), but if it was obvious Wade and Yarde might struggle to make it this weekend (the latter was injured last weekend, and the former early this week apparently), why not bring someone in as cover? A Jonny May, or a Charlie Sharples? That way they could have had a week of training with the squad, and been involved (at least as cover) this weekend.

Instead they have persisted with Ashton, over whom debate continues to rage (although there can be few left championing his cause). He was once one of the best wingers around, but these days just doesn’t seem to have the confidence of old. On top of that, he will know that he was in line to be dropped this weekend, only for injuries to hand him his starting spot back. Hardly likely to inspire confidence and make him feel relaxed, is it?

The selection of Alex Goode on the bench is baffling too, given the fact that there is one player pretty much every single England fan is dying to see in an England shirt ready and available to fill that number 23 shirt. Indeed, many people believed Kyle Eastmond’s versatility would see him fill that role of super-sub for years to come.

So, given that Eastmond and Goode were part of the same group of players released to their clubs on Tuesday, why has Goode, who has been given more than a fair crack at international level and more often than not been found wanting, been called back into the squad in favour of Eastmond? I repeat: if not now, then when?

All the excitement of seeing a back three of Wade, Yarde and Brown has, in the space of two ill-timed physio’s reports, completely dissipated. Of course, if England produce the kind of free-flowing, high-intensity rugby they did against New Zealand last year then this will all be forgotten. But that hasn’t happened since that day, which is becoming an increasingly fading memory. It seems unlikely that it will do so now, especially without Tuilagi, who played his best game in an England shirt that day.

A final word on Wade. We were all hoping he would finally get his shot at Twickenham against top class opposition, but injury has cruelly robbed him of his chance. Will he turn out to be this generation’s James Simpson-Daniel – always excellent in the Premiership but perennially injured when it comes to international periods? Let’s hope not.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

50 thoughts on “England selection leaves us asking: if not now, then when?

  1. I’d hardly call Courtney Lawes inexperienced… Didn’t he play under Martin Johnson too?

    I’d say this is a last chance for some players like Marler, Dickson and 36 et al to show they should be included if not for the All Blacks, but at least for the 6 Nations.

    1. Last chance for Marler? I think that’s hardly fair upon a guy who contributed massively to the tearing apart of the Argentina scrum on the summer tour, including (if I remember rightly) one man of the match performance?

      1. I totally agree, and as an avid Quins fan, I’m a huge fan. I knew when I posted that, that I’d get that response. I wrote it in the view that if Corbs and Mako are fit, I feel they are most likely to get the nudge for certainly the ABs :)

    2. Marler had 1 awful game against Wales (interestingly Cole actually gave away more scrum penalties in that game but keyboard warriors like you seem to overlook that fact) and 1 bad one against Australia when he had done his MCL 10 minutes into the game. He has been very solid apart from that.
      Corbs is definitely first choice and I’d probably pick Mako second for his work in the loose but to suggest Marler has a ‘last chance’ in wrong and quite frankly stupid.

  2. Way too much presupposition here that England possesses many x factor players. Once again the belief that club rugby form automatically transforms into test rugby. The Boks left their x factor player Willie le Roux on the bench because they believe that JP Pietersen has a better all round game on wing and Lambie is more dependable at FB. It’s not only Lancaster that sees test rugby for what it is – a test not a show.

    I have never seen an England team with loads of x factor running around. The good teams have all had the same credentials – solid front row, dominant/competative locks, settled back row, a good flyhalf. The rest of the backline usually compliments these attributes.

    Why this constant wish for a free flowing open running game then. Yes its great to watch but its not winning rugby long term. The AB game last year was a one off, a game where everyone goes according to plan. Those games are few and far between in the test arena so to continually hanker after such a style of play is to be always disappointed and always looking for something that is repeatable week after week.

    1. Jay, I think you’ve missed the point of the article.

      I’m not suggesting England need to play a massively expansive game plan (note there are no calls for Farrell to be dropped – he’s very good at what he does). What I’m questioning is, why are guys like Ashton and Goode consistently being picked when there are better options available?

      Most specifically, why is Eastmond not at least on the bench? He is a proper X factor player (and I agree, aside from him, Yarde and Wade, there aren’t very many), and at home, against Argentina, seems like as good a time as any to give him a shot. Certainly, he won’t be involved next weekend against the ABs.

      It is just disappointing that they have fallen back on Goode again. I’d understand his selection if this was next weekend (experienced, played them before etc.) but against Arg I really would have preferred to see Eastmond there. You need depth to a squad and really the number of opportunities to build that depth is diminishing fast. This was one of them.

      1. Not a misunderstanding to me. For instance I think Goode offers something and you don’t agree. That’s called a difference of opinion. No doubt also Goode lends something to the pattern Lancaster has in mind.

        I also think that many are under estimating Argentina. The thought process seems to be we can put anyone in and win, and that we can blood players in this game. My view is we must win and win good, otherwise we risk entering the AB game with a dented mindset.

        I’m also of the opinion that premiership form is being completely overplayed by everyone. What players do in the Heineken Cup has more relevance to me, and on average English clubs do poorly. I remember three years ago when Juandre Kruger was one of the best #5 locks in the premiership. He has never looked as dominant in SA for the Bulls and Boks, and the ABs exposed him badly last time out. That underlines the reality of the chasm between test and club rugby.

    2. At least Le Roux is on the bench! Plus South Africa have been playing some great running rugby behind a power pack. I don’t think we can compare England’s back play and selection to the Boks! When playing word association and someone says “Habana” I’m not thinking “Lacking X Factor”!

      No English outside backs made the initial Lions squad and only 1 centre featured (1 English player out of 11 squad places). The bottom line is England’s backs have not been cutting it at B+I level, let alone world level, so we have to find something different.

      Against Argentina Eastmond demonstrated ridiculous footwork, searing pace and great vision, he really looked the sort of player you can bring on against a tiring defence and change a game with a moment of brilliance. Instead we revert to a guy who was the 6th best fullback in the last 6N, has no pace, no power, gets run over by Hogg and sidestepped by Manoa (the other way round and it’s forgiveable!). A fullback who runs the ball back to the 10m line, shuffles and sets up a ruck where our pack has to sprint back 30m to get onside. If this is the limit of our attacking ambition and the definition of impact then I’m bemused.

      If not now, then when? is a pertinent question there aren’t many ‘ideal’ opportunities to blood new players in this world cup cycle. However Burns made his debut off the bench against the ABs last year, so if next weeks excuse for picking a “Goode” over an “Eastmond” is it’s because we are playing the ABs then more fool us.

      1. Why is everyone fixated with the games in Argentina against their B team? That was not a proper test.

        The Boks played a more expansive game for two reasons – 1) they played a really poor Australia so were never under pressure and 2) they had to score 4 tries in the last game against NZ. Watch now how they revert to type in the NH games with a more conservative approach.

        I’ll stand aloof from the crowd and say that Goode offers something at fullback which nobody appreciates – an understanding of space.

        1. Are you trying to tell me that Foden has no understanding of space?

          Also, what use is understanding the space if you don’t have the skills, speed or power to exploit it?

          1. Don’t get your point as I am not comparing Foden to Goode or even making a statement about Foden. Anyway where is Goode being preferred to Foden by Lancaster?

            My point is that Goode while lacking pace exploits space better than most and can therefore often make good his lack of pace. Unlike you I don’t see a problem with his handling and his offloading is better than average.

            You feel about Goode the same way I feel about Flood. It’s a matter of opinion. I just happen to agree with the coach on the Goode call, you don’t.

            1. To be fair I definitely read these comments quickly and thought you had said Goode offers something nobody else has, not appreciates, so I apologise there.

              I think Goode has good hands, not great, but good. And I don’t think Goode is a terrible player. I just think he has shown a lack of pace and power to be an international full back. I still think if Brown and Foden got injured tomorrow, I’d probably play him’ but he is behind those two (by quite some way IMO). So me and the coach do agree a bit there…

              1. Understood. Goode to me is a player in the same mould as SA’s Lambie, minus the goal kicking accuracy. Neither are fast, neither are going to score exceptional tries, but both have good vision, hands, accuracy and defence. They do all the basics well.

                A player who I believe also has an aptitude for space better than most is Ben Ford. He lacks size and sheer pace but his understanding of space is to my mind exceptional. Then also his line kicking, when on song, is pure magic. He completely outplayed SA’s Goosen at the U20 WC 2 years back. However while Goosen (himself a little small) is in the Bok mix, Ford finds himself on the sidelines, and probably 4th or 5th in line.

                1. I guess Goode is a similar type of player to Lambie, in the same way that Banahan is a similar type of player to Lomu.

        2. We won’t know if club form or form Vs Argentina B will translate to full international success or not, because he’s not been picked. The only way I know of determining whether someone in good form for club, or against international second string has what it takes to be a full international is by picking them to play one.

          – We know what Goode can and can’t do at international level.
          – We don’t know what Eastmond can and can’t do at international level.
          – We know our attack was impotent with Goode at the back, therefore there’s nothing more to learn or gain by picking Goode.
          – We know we have problems both scoring tries and creating try scoring opportunities, both of which we have seen Eastmond do (a level below full international), therefore Eastmond should have been picked so we get to find out what he can do.

          I can not see any logical argument for reverting to Goode and not giving Eastmond a go.

          I don’t understand the comparison to the Boks, they may be a forward orientated round the corner team, but Habana has 53 tries in 92 tests, they aren’t a team that routinely fail to create a try scoring opportunity for a spare part hanging out on the wing. When a conservative and forward orientated team are scoring far more tries than us out wide does this not just highlight the problem further?

          But the question remains “If not now, then when?” When should we give someone like Eastmond a chance?

          1. There was a 12 month period where Habana could not buy a try and everyone was screaming for him to be dropped. Some SA commentators said he was past his best. Ashton is no Habana but again, you don’t buy experience. The Bok comparison is simply one of continuity – they decide on players and stick with them. It’s very seldom a player gets dropped that easily. There are tons of talented, but not exceptional SA players, plying their trade overseas becuase they won’t get a chance in the Bok team. Just so there are many talented but not exceptional English players who won’t or don’t get picked. You are fixated with dropping players you perceive as useless or not on form and playing the next best thing.

            1. Dropping Goode is nothing about form, it’s him not being good enough to be an international 15. Another 20 caps will not make him any faster or any more powerful.

              I agree you can’t buy experience, but we’ve got to give that experience to the right guys. We’ve given too much to people who have fallen (or are falling out of) international contention. I don’t want a constant selection lottery where this weeks form horse always gets the shirt. But too many of those precious caps have gone to guys who haven’t performed, and know there’s very little time left to a) work out which our best international players are and b) get them some experience. Sadly we have jumped to b) without first getting a) right.

              If you want to take your Springbok analogy further, Habana’s lean period came when they were underachieving under a poor coach … who exited stage left after the RWC.

  3. I was very much of the opinion that if the team picked to play Australia was the strongest before that game, it is the strongest now. With so many new faces it wasn’t a surprise we started slow, but we got the win and started to look more cohesive towards the end. The same 15, injuries permitting, can then look to build on that against Argentina and, if a similar performance is returned, the cavalry (Corbisiero, Cole, Parling, Youngs) can be dropped in to add something through the spine of the team.

    If the back three doesn’t work this weekend, I’d see no problem with bringing in Wade and Yarde. If the halfbacks don’t get it right and either or both of the centres don’t fire, I’d have no problem in bringing in Burrell and/or Trinder. These aren’t experienced players, but if the incumbents aren’t cutting it then why not spring a surprise selection or two. Because we won’t beat the All Blacks unless everyone is on top of their game formwise.

    In my opinion, any of Wood, Robshaw, Farrell and Brown could have a bad game and still expect to retain their place for the NZ game. Everyone else is playing for their place.

  4. It’s pretty obvious that this side is about getting some game time for some of the new players and those that maybe aren’t first choice. Wilson and Marler are likely to be called upon at some stage and have thus been selected here. Similarly, we can’t guarantee that Parling will fit, so a lineout caller is required in his absence, so it’s an opportunity for Lawes to have a practice. The midfield… well, there’s not a lot of other options at the minute. Eastmond could be there, but is he considered a real option by Lancaster? I suspect not.

    I personally don’t like this chopping and changing. It’s a rarity that you see any of the top teams doing this, even against weaker opposition. They have a core of players and focus on getting them right and they have an understudy that can step up in place of an injured man and having learned the gameplan and the calls well through training can pretty much step up on debut. I think that this experimenting just means that England don’t know from training who can do what which is a little scary

  5. ‘You need depth to a squad and really the number of opportunities to build that depth is diminishing fast. This was one of them.’

    This is the key point, as Hosie said above.

    After Saturday’s game, England has the All Blacks and then the Six Nations, followed by 3 Tests away in NZ – and then we are 1 year out from the World Cup. All the big guns come to town this time next year, there’s one more Six Nations and then it’s into the RWC warm-up games.

    On Saturday, England face a weakened Argentina side at home and we can’t find a place to cap a potential young star from the bench?

    1. We are seeing the use of squad depth.

      3 loose heads in 2 games, arguably 3rd choice starting Sat. 2 hookers in 2 games, 2 tightheads in 2 games, 2nd choice starting. Stuck with the inexperienced 2nd row and left the lion on the bench. back row we have morgan benching who’s had good runs in the past with new guy Vunipola starting. Croft is injured so more depth there too.

      Dickson being played as the least capped SH of 3 in the squad. Farrell still early in his career with the 50+ cap man on the bench. Centres – barrit and tuilagi to come back so arguably the 2nd choice centres playing. Wing – two new exciting players injured so hand forced to play the experienced guys.

      1. But still, why not Eastmond over Goode on the bench this weekend? And why was another winger not invited to train with the squad this week if Yarde and Wade were doubts?

        Quite like Matt’s analysis above using the Lions – Tuilagi was the only outside back deemed good enough in the first place. Does that not prove the incumbents aren’t cutting it?

        1. Goode over Eastmond as he covers back three. depends on assumptions made about Lancaster’s view of his positional options.

          May have been too late to call up a winger given short term notice? Also may be short term injuries so they will be back for next week anyway, therefore calling somebody in for 2/3 days might not be worth it.

          The incumbents at the time of the Lions selection for England outside backs were Tuilgai Goode, Brown and Ashton.. Brown was out of position so was never going to beat competition like Hogg, Halfpenny and Kearney for the fb berth. Same goes for Goode, nowhere near as good as those guys – as is reflected in him dropping down the pecking order to 3rd choice. Ashton, as everybody knows hit dreadful form in six nations and before Lions, so didn’t make the plane. Without the unfortunate injuries we may not have seen either of them start/bench respectively. So Lancaster has recognized they’re not cutting it as Lions/world class. Plus Eastmond is an inside back so doesn’t apply to him if that was the intention

        2. Jamie, you are emasculating yourself here. Do we go on blooding new players until we magically find the so called best? Using your logic, borrowed from Matt; Robshaw never made the Lions team either, so do we replace him with someone who we “think” maybe will make a Lions team.

          Perhaps it is that the other teams just have better players in certain positions than England. Perhaps also the fact that Gatland was coach and had something to do with a pref for Welsh players. It’s absurd to place a cloud over the England backline players because someone else was picked in a Lions team.

          1. I think you are way off point Jay. Nobody on this blog has suggested chopping and changing every week.

            All that is being suggested is that the players that have proven they do not cut it, are replaced by guys that are on form in the premiership. They may not cut it – but how will we know otherwise? Everyone appreciates the importance of experience, that doesn’t mean you don’t cap people.

            When SL came in he made a raft of changes because the current side were not good enough. He gave Robshaw the captaincy, and he has one cap. He had none of this beloved “experience”, but has done a fantastic job because he is a very good player.

            Even in making all those changes, SL acknowledged he needed the core of the team to have 30-40 caps by 2015.

            He understands that a balance between having experienced players, and picking the form players is needed.

            1. How am I off point? A certain logic was employed to back up an assertion. I point out that the logic is not that robust. You then try to qualify the argument I believe is not logical, The fact is all this is based on opinion. You cannot employ a logic in case A to prove your point but then try and qualify it when it does not back up your point in case B.

              I happen to stand by my opinion, which is clearly not one most commentators agree with, that experience and game plan are key when selecting players, with the proviso that an exceptional youngster is chosen quickly. I also strongly believe that everyone overrates too many so called exceptional youngsters, who are merely talented but not exceptional, and would seek to elevate them to the test team for that reason.

              I’ll be the first to admit error if/ when these players play and prove their worth over a series of games. I wonder if you will do the same with Goode if he plays well over 3-4 games. You’ll also no doubt throw back to me they are not getting a chance so can’t prove anything. I’ll reply by saying – that’s life be patient!

          2. Technically that’s Matt’s logic, borrowed by me, but let’s not split hairs. And of course we don’t – you’re taking it absurdly far to make your point, which is never what I meant, obviously

            I’m not saying the Lions barometer is a rule Lancaster should abide by, I just think it’s an interesting point. The comparison between positions doesn’t work either, because some are vastly more competitive than others (i.e. back-row v centre). I would have been perfectly happy with Robshaw in the Lions team for example (I had him as captain in one of my potential teams during the 6N), but the truth is players like Goode and Ashton are not good enough at that/this level (neither was Barritt, but that’s a whole different argument). I appreciate there are plenty of mitigating factors, but I just feel like it’s a huge missed opportunity to give someone like Eastmond a go. That’s all I’m saying.

          3. Jay, the point was an attempt to illustrate that if we have an aspiration to be the best in the world then persisting with a bunch that have proven they aren’t even the best in B+I, at the expense of looking at other options, isn’t the best way to go. It leaves us with a higher likelihood of being the worst host nation in RWC history (group stage exit) than actually winning the thing.

            Too many precious caps have been handed out to Goode, Strettle, Ashton (out of form), Brown (out of position), Barritt. Now we have very little time for the likes of 36, Brown (in position) or Foden, Wade, Yarde, Eastmond, etc to gain international experience in this RWC. Essentially we do need to find 4 more guys to play with Tuilagi, preferably coupled with some form of game plan and pattern to the attack!

  6. Firstly, they managed to continue the AB game’s style on their next match (Scotland in 6N) and free flowing rugby was on display against the weak Argentina side in the summer.

    Marler’s selection isn’t odd given it’s Corbs first game back from injury. And we need to see how he and Wilson can perform, so in those respects these players WILL BE TESTED NOW RATHER THAN WHEN.

    Same for the locks. We know Parling is the line out man, but if Lawes is able to run a good line out no lock will be in the side just for one aspect of their game. Again, the locks ARE BEING TESTED NOW.

    I completely agree on the Goode point, Eastmond or Burrell should be in.

    Overall Lancaster has done a sterling job, achieving a draw against SA, and wins over Aust and NZ. There have been some losses on the way, but he is gradually blooding and nurturing some real talent: since his first game in charge, we now have got some massive players either proven (launchbury, vunipola, youngs) or set on the way (yarde, b. vunipola, Morgan, wade, burns). I hope he continues his good work and have nothing but confidence in him.

  7. Eastmond might be an xfactor player. But he’s a 12. It’s the only position he’s played all season. If Lancaster sees him as only a 12, it would seem odd to double up on 12 cover and leave the back three short of a genuine cover.

    Given the short term nature of the injuries, Goode steps in as the only back three player remaining. Not ideal but understandable in the circumstances.

    And how much would we see from Eastmond in the 20 minutes he would expect off the bench anyway? Would that really be blooding him for the RWC?

    1. But that argument works both ways. Goode has played 15 and 10 this season, but Flood is also on the bench so Goode’s definitely not there to cover 10. The only place he will play if he comes on is 15. Eastmond could play 12-14 if needs be – whatever happens someone will be out of position. This isn’t really vitriol directed at Goode; I’d be happy with he and Eastmond on the bench too.

      He proved over the summer he’s good enough; that’s enough ‘blooding’ as far as I’m concerned. It’s a case now of building on that. We might not see that much from him in half an hour on Saturday, but equally what harm would it do to give them to him rather than Goode/Flood? It’s the only chance he’ll get to play this autumn – as I said in the article, if this was next week I’d be perfectly happy with Goode on the bench.

      1. That’s where I said the difference was. Depends if Lancaster sees him has a viable wing option.
        You do, but Lancaster might not which would explain the decision. If Lancaster and England see Eastmond as only a 12, then it makes no sense to play him as Eng left exposed for back three cover.

      2. Brown would probably be wing cover if Foden or Ashton get injured – not the worst option, being honest. Who would you prefer? The names floated around in this article (May, Sharples) are hardly tearing up the premiership. I’d prefer May, Sharples, or Monye or somebody myself, but I can see what Lancaster is doing, and personally I don’t mind it. It’s his decision, his job, and his choice. In my opinion, it’s not as if I think any of the options are that much better than Brown would be on the wing. Goode would be the third choice Full back anyway, wouldn’t he?

        Last week, there was a lot of questions of Brown and how he was selected over Foden, who apparently was a vastly superior full back (which he isn’t). Now we’re talking about Brown as if he’s a nailed on starter (which he isn’t). How quickly things can change in International rugby! Just trust the team to do well!

  8. I think we are possibly getting over-worked about one selection issue. Goode over Eastmond. If it wasn’t for two very unfortunate injuries to our exciting ‘x-factor’ wingers, I dont think anyone would be complaining… Unfortunately these are very badly timed injuries, and by the reports Wade was fine coming in this week, and maybe Watson was called up partly as cover for Yarde and then released? Alongside that, other than Wade and Yarde, May is the only winger who could press a case to be in the squad, so we are hardly overlooking all the exciting attacking wingers we have at our disposal.

    Also it comes down to a lot we don’t see at training. For all we know Goode rocked up and blew Eastmond of the park in training this week. We will never know… Guess it comes down to trust in the coach. Does Lancaster know what hes doing?

    Hmm. Maybe

  9. As Jamie appears to have collated all my posts from the team announcement thread I’ll say no more!!

    Glad it’s not just me feeling this way. It seems that Farrell Snr has far more sway over selection than Catt. Will expect ano defensive performance.

  10. Yes but that one selection says so much about the culture of this set up. Safety first. We won’t win 6n with that attitude let alone the world cup.

  11. I disagree that Wade should not be considered for next week. Are we saying Ashton gets picked if he has ano bad game? Mind you it probably will happen.

    1. I do agree with you here Benjit- if Yarde and Wade are fit next week (provided Ashton and Foden dont have 10/10 blinders) they should be picked. [Please Lancaster]. But we had better take that into account if they do play and struggle- it is NZ. Dont drop them for the 6 nations if they have a bit of a shocker! Just as 12t deserves another go…

      1. Interestingly, Foden may well be a good bet to stay on the wing next week, as New Zealand kick deep a lot. Their game plan revolves around kicking deep, pressurising and receiving poor return kicks which they then counter, so having Brown and Foden is a very useful combo as they are more able to return the NZ kicks with effective running than aimless, deep return kicks.

  12. I’m actually quite pleased to see Foden in the starting team again. It is all well and good saying that Yarde and Wade should have started, but that would give you a back three with a worryingly low cap count.

    I trust Foden to not get lost in the moment, to work his boots off, and play well in any back three position.

    In an ideal world, I would have dropped Ashton FOR Foden. And if Ashton plays badly against the Pumas and Foden plays well, I certainly would consider either Wade or Yarde coming in for Ashton against the All Blacks.

    1. How else are players supposed to get caps if you don’t pick them. Yarde and wade should definitely start against New Zealand. No one is expecting us to beat them for a second time so might as well see what they can do against the best. They might just surprise us all.

  13. I think Lancaster has tried to give players who will be around the squad some game time without breaking the match day 15 completely which I can understand. Having said that I would have liked SL to use this game as,like has been said by others, there are not many games left to play young inexperienced guys. Would love to see Lancaster put eastmond and Trinder in and even Watson at FB if he could and say go impress me. We need a bit of creativity in the back line and if we don’t see soon who can deliver it then we will look very one dimensional come 2015

  14. Personally I disagree about Goode. He has not been bad for England. He also has another dimension to his game and can take on the first receiver role. Great option off the bench if Twelvetrees is playing poorly.

    The other players will be given a chance and Wade would have been given a chance this weekend if fit, with Foden as the bench cover. Which pretty much eradicates the purpose of this article.

    The English squad is stronger now than it has been for many years. Let’s be negative when we have something to be negative about.

    1. That’s true. But Flood is on the bench as another first receiver (and also covering centre apparently), and there are already two fullbacks on the pitch. I think Goode is solid, but I would have preferred to see Eastmond on the bench over him or Flood.

  15. I completely agree on the Ashton case, he has had his chance and in my opinion shouldn`t even be in the squad for the 6N, I would have brought in Sharples this week.

    12t`s and Tompkins deserve another chance, Let them jell, plus I don`t think that the lack of attacking play was their fault last week, Farrell has big question marks against him at the moment. Cippriani is beginning to win me over, if his form continues he should be in for the 6N.

    I am really glad we are looking for alternatives to Dan Cole, not that he has don anything wrong but he is not destroying scrums and I don`t want to arrive at the WC without a plan B.

    I am really happy for Foden. I still think he is our best fullback even though Brown is playing too well to be dropped at the moment. He also runs to the line with hi head up, ball in 2 hands. Not the most common trait amongst England player.

    1. Do you really think Sharples would add anything to the team on current form. He’s played in every Prem game for Glos so far this season, and has scored two tries. He’s playing in a team low on confidence, sitting tenth in the table. Or pick Strettle, played in every game, scored six tries (including two against Sharples) and playing in a team sitting at the top of the Prem table?

      Or pick a full back to play on the wing who is just returning to his best form (at full back), and put another very different full back on the bench to cover the two already on the pitch. I know who I would have chosen, but I’m not SL!

  16. Ok so if they knew Wade and Yarde were injured and probably wouldn’t be fit for the weekend, then firstly why have Foden on the wing, and secondly why have Goode on the bench? I have nothing against Goode, but why not have Strettle on the wing, and keep Foden on the bench? Strettle has been in the squad under Lancaster before, he has international experience, and is currently the on form winger in the Premiership. The other option is Foden on the wing, with Eastmond covering at 23. But Foden on the wing with Good on the bench doesn’t offer much impact imo.

  17. Goode isnt an elite squad player – end of – he has been found wanting time and time again – Parling and Corbs absence is bewildering but they may still be tweaked, and will start v ABs. I would like to have seen a winger replacing Yarde but Foden wont let us down.

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