England squad for the 2011 RBS Six Nations

Martin Johnson has today named his England squad that will compete for the RBS Six Nations title.

This announcement is particularly significant in light of the Rugby World Cup just a few months away, and it’s interesting to assess Johnno’s thinking, although the replacements for Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes have not yet been announced.

Here is the England Rugby squad in full:

George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester Rugby)
Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Hendre Fourie (Leeds Carnegie)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Stade Francais)
Courtney Lawes(Northampton Saints)
Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby)
Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
Tim Payne (London Wasps)
Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
Steve Thompson (Leeds Carnegie)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Joe Worsley (London Wasps)

Delon Armitage (London Irish)
Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Riki Flutey (London Wasps)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Shontayne Hape (Bath Rugby)
Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

And here is the Saxons squad:

Steffon Armitage (London Irish)
David Attwood (Gloucester Rugby)
Duncan Bell (Bath Rugby)
Steve Borthwick (Saracens)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)
Christian Day (Northampton Saints)
Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Andrew Saull (Saracens)
Dan Ward-Smith (London Wasps)
Rob Webber (London Wasps)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Jon Clarke (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Dan Hipkiss (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)
Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

44 thoughts on “England squad for the 2011 RBS Six Nations

  1. Slightly disappointed to see Deacon back in the fold, but Shaw and Palmer will stay fit. Lawes is still named, so presumably there will be a replacement announced in due course, and it would make sense that it’s one of the Saxons. Christian Day and James Gaskell in with a shout, although it could well be Borthers.

    No sign of Tuilagi in either squad.

  2. Croft’s going to miss the whole 6N as well isn’t he? So possibly another 2 forwards to be added as replacements. Hopefully Dowson may be given a shot at some point.

  3. What is the logic behind the likes of Borthwick, JSD, Bell and Monye in a Saxons squad please? Surely from an England perspective we know all we need to know about these players. I admit I’m biased about JSD being a Gloucester fan, but the treatment he gets from the England setup riles me every single squad. They clearly dont rate him enough to play for the first team, but insist on messing him about year after year.

  4. Borthwick and Bell I agree with, but Sinbad and Monye deserve their spots. The former should have had 50 caps by now and the latter has been finding form again.

    If you are questioning the logic of the Saxons squad as a feeder for the main squad, that’s a wider issue, but that’s the way it is, and I’d rather have Sinbad as close to the full squad as possible if he isn’t actually going to be in it!

    In terms of messing players around, the Saxons is ok I think. It’s the injury cover call-ups and then the release two days later that must be more disruptive!

  5. Completely agree that Sinbad should have 50 caps by now, but for some reason he falls into the category of player that is just never accepted as a full international. We had far weaker options on the wing in years gone by, Luger, Cohen and Monye all good examples, that JSD has failed to oust from a starting berth and i see no reason why he will breakthrough now at 28.

    Why Monye is considered good enough to play for England i’ll never know. Passes at all the wrong times, never passes when he should and has hands like tits. I’d rather see Lowe in if we were to have Quins man in.

  6. He’s been hugely unlucky with injuries, getting picked and then getting injured straight away. Ashton and Cueto deserve their jerseys at the moment, and Johnno likes Banners for centre cover. I’d have Sinbad over Strettle though, but others might disagree.

    Looking forward to seeing Flutey back in an England jersey.

  7. I disagree with you Stuart on Monye. Yes, his hands aren’t great and decision-making is questionnable, but he had a couple of cracking seasons in 2006-08. He’s got raw pace and power, although does have more impact in the wide open spaces rather than finding work in centre-field (contrast with Ashton), granted.

    Tom Wood’s been playing bloody well recently so you can’t fault him for a call-up. It just means Dowson’s unlucky that when he was in peak form (last year) he wasn’t given the opportunity and now others who have the benefit of age on their side are starting to play well. I’d still like to see him up in the squad though and given a decent shot. Worsley fulfills a certain role, but I hope we look forward instead of reverting to him for this 6N.

  8. A winger shouldn’t be considered good enough for Eng if they have poor hands and make poor decisions imho.

    Whole-heartedly agree with you on Worsley and the same applies to Shaw as well. If I am subjected to a second-row of Deacon, Shaw and then Worsley in the back-row, u may find me on here selling my ticket for the Wales game!

  9. Great to see Flutey in an England jersey, I think he offers so much more than Shontayne Hape, In terms of the Saxons im sure players still find it an Honour to play for them and would rather be around the England setup than to be not even considered.

  10. I re-read my comment and it’s difficult to support my opinion that I rate him as a player (when on his best form)! Also, he isn’t clinical enough in his finishing to be ranked as a top winger (I have twitch-inducing memories of a certain Lions test and holding the ball in the wrong hand; contrast that with Tagicakibau’s awesome finish against Bath a couple of weekends ago).

    Still, despite all that, I think he’s a good player and an asset to England, especially in attack! I reckon he warrants being there or thereabouts in the England squad once he’s put a run of good performances together.

  11. Agree with your second comment there, Justin. Monye has a habit of losing the ball in contact and never looking for the offload. He’s had a couple of good games for Quins recently though, and I think a Saxons position is fair…

  12. How is it that Nick Abendanon has again not been chosen for the England Squad? He had the best stats for the last season of any back in the English league and is still playing extremely well. His performance in the Saxons squad has also been outstanding and deserves to be in the main squad. Johnson should be picking the best players to play for England and Armitage for instance, did not have a great season and certainly not as good as Abendanon’s performance or stats. England needs a good defence and so should choose the best players based on their current performace.

  13. Does no one think Strettle deserves a shot at a start this 6N ?? After his awful bad luck with England, would be harsh on Cueto, but hes a game winner.

  14. Re Stuart

    These are the stats on Nick in the 2010 season;
    The 23-year-old made more metres (1574), beat the most defenders (46) and made the most clean breaks (21) and offloads (42) of any player in top flight, an impressive feat for the full-back who has made just two England appearances.” According to Sky Sports ‘stats’ dream team. His stats then was the best of the backs and was voted as having the best try of the season.

    Abendanon was voted the Players’ Player of the Year at the club’s last annual awards dinner. Abendanon is a game-changer. “Ever since he began scoring tries in 2006, his elusive running from deep has been his trademark. His ability to spot the gap and dance his way through it is a gift. He has worked on that gift and, as recent moments of magic have shown, his ball carrying is becoming even more potent” according to Sky Sports.

    Foden is also a good back but Abendanons stats are not inferior to Foden’s. Armiage was mostly out of form compared to Abendanon and therefore Abendanon should be awarded with a place in the squad for consistently playing well in 2010 and again into 2011.

  15. I’ve been quite a fan of Abendanon in the past, but he went down in my estimation after Bath’s defeat by Gloucester at the Rec when he let his head drop and had a shocker. Admittedly, one bad game is not a fair basis for judgement, but I think a Saxons place is fair at the moment.

    And don’t forget those stats are probably skewed slightly given that he probably played more games than those players involved with England…

  16. I’m personally curious how they can justify the inclusion of the likes of Deacon, Payne and Worsley – all of which have not only had, at best, an average season so far, but have all proven they are either not of international quality, or are past it. The same can be said for the likes of Tindall, Banahan, Flutey and Armitage. None of them have had anything better than an average season, and IMO don’t actually warrant their inclusion. Its not like we have a lack of talent to select from – there are several other players in each position who have been consistently playing to a much higher standard. Very disappointing to see us resorting to these players – personally feel the selection team and policy of selection needs a major overhaul as it seems players are selected on reputation and/or previous merits as opposed to current form. Granted, most of these players won’t get anywhere near the match day team, but IMO that makes things even worse, as that means one of two things:

    1. They have already selected the team – in which case what is the point of having a 33 man squad! They’re just wasting peoples time, and stopping them from getting more game time and experience.

    2. They don’t consider the other players good enough for contention – in which case why the hell have they been selected?! If there is no competition for match day selection, standards and consistency drop drastically and so you end up fielding a weak team that doesn’t have any true desire to play to the best of their ability or to win.

  17. Tommy, I agree with you to an extent, but it’s a fine balance between selection consistency and picking solely on form.

    If people miss games through injury or have one or two sub-standard performances, I don’t think that’s reason enough to drop them. I think you are being particularly harsh on Flutey and Armitage!

    I like the fact that the core of the side is reasonably settled now and there will always be one or two selections that not everyone agrees with, but on the whole, I’m fairly happy with the squad.

  18. Abendanon has been dropped from the Bath team so think it would be a leap of faith to pick him for England. Brilliant broken field runner but suspect decision-maker and non-existent tackler (although not as bad as Mark Van Gisbergen, the human turnstyle at full back).

    This could be it for Sinbad. If he doesn’t get in now, they’re hardly going to pick him after the World Cup when we will either be looking to push on with a strong team or rebuilding after a disaster. And they won’t rebuild with someone who will be 33 come the next tournament. It’s an absolute tragedy to be honest. I remember once watching Gloucester play shortly after an England squad was announced a few years back. He was playing alongside Ian Balshaw, Olly Morgan, Leslie Vainokolo, Mike Tindall and Anthony Allen, all of whom (with the possible exception of Allen) had been picked in the squad. He had not but he was the best player on the pitch by a country mile to the point where the selectors should have been embarrassed.

    Monye always looked to me like an average player in excellent form a couple of years back rather than a really top player. He doesn’t show much evidence of a rugby brain which is a shame because he has the raw materials in abundance. Quite a big fan of Strettle but don’t really see what he has done this season to warrant a spot over several of the other contenders, JSD chief among them.

    No real surprises in the squad to be honest, could have been more adventurous in places but we pretty much know what the team will be. The usual suspects of JSD, Dowson and Robshaw can count themselves unlucky. Marler and Narraway have looked good in recent weeks too. Also, has Nick Kennedy slept with Johnno’s wife or something? He’s gone from our best lineout forward to not even in the Saxons in 2 years, all the while continuing to dominate the Premiership lineout stats.

  19. Gentlemen,

    We have to watch out again. Deacon is back and Borthers is knocking on the door. This was, just one year ago, our most depressing lock combination ever. Although, and it is hard to say for a Saints fan and a true Deacon hater like me, Louis was extremely good against the saints this weekend. But then again, on international level he has never made any impact at all.

  20. So Skivington didn’t make the cut then? Shame – he’s been pretty good.

    Agree on the comments re: Worsley and Payne – they just haven’t played that well this season and I haven’t seen an exceptional performance from either of them in 2 or 3 seasons now.

    Flutey is genuine class – he needs to be included and shoe-horned in to the team that’s going to be taking the field on 10th September!

    I think Tom Wood is a cracking player but isn’t it more likely that Robshaw would fill in for Croft?

    I wonder if JSD knows there is this ridiculous amount of support for him amongst the finest rugby brains of a generation? He needs to know. Can Nick Heath tell him next time he covers a Gloucester match?

  21. re Stuart

    You are wrong…. Abendanon was not dropped from the Bath side! he had a groin injury so was taking it easy whilst he healed. He came back and scored a great try.

  22. I’m all for consistency, but only if the right players are being selected. Just look at the start of Johnno’s reign. He was consisent with Deacon and Borthwick and co, and we all remember where that got us – no where! Unfortunately i can foresee a return for Borthwick too, and before we know it it’ll be those 2 as our 2nd row partnership again. Worrying times lol. Also, i personally don’t see the point in “revising” the EPS squad twice a year if it’s done on consistency and not on current form – surely all the players in the EPS should be consistently peforming to a high standard and not just one or the other (i.e being consistent or being on form). Of course, that is just my opinion.

    As for the likes of Flutey. I agree he is a class player, but, since his return from injury he has been awful (IMO) and doesn’t deserve his inclusion at the moment – especially when they are several other players who are consistently performing to a higher standard.

    All in all, I’m happy with the majority of the selected squad, but there are a few dodgy selections and a few really crap selections too.

    Love the comment about has Kennedy slept with Johnno’s wife. Class

  23. Some confusion now as someone has nicked by name lol.

    I made the initial post about Fodens stats Taylor but not the one about Abendanon being dropped.

    I’m a fan of Abendanon overall, he’s a good talent. My main issue would be with his decision making under pressure. He looks excellent on a dry wicket behind a good pack, but when the rain falls and the going gets tough, he has a tendency of going awol all too often.

  24. Stuart J above hits the nail with comments on Abendenon .
    has his brilliant moments but his problem is that mentally, hes not hard enough, and thats the difference between premiership and international.

    Foden will remain no 1 for a while.

    JSD is now a shoe in @ wing, i would put him ahead of Cueto, who despite some autumn resurgence, is average. If Mcgeechan was picking a lions squad, would he pick JSD over Cueto? yes.

    I cant actually bring my self to comment on Deacon.Shaw will do a job with palmer.

    Back row – we want Tom Wood please. Dowson/Tom johnson on the blind and Narraway back @ no 8.
    This back row is one for next world cup i think but one hell of a trio.

    Sadly easter will be there for a while but Narraway is his successor.

    Dont have any issues with front row.

  25. Sorry about that Stuart J. Glad we’re on the same page on Abendanon

    Another Stuart, the Barnes variety (oracles, the lot of us), said on Sky that Abendanon had been dropped as 1st choice full back which is why he played on the wing when he came back last week and scored. Have to say I didn’t expect Nick Abendanon to be the main topic of conversation on this topic, don’t think he’s really anywhere near the main squad compared to some of the Saxons (could be wrong though).

    Back row is usually a position of strength for us, some promising names mentioned there. Hopefully we have some guys who are capable of coming into the team and making an impact from match 1 rather than trying not to make any mistakes or be noticed for their first 10 caps in order to make sure they can’t be singled out in video sessions. Too many guys have come into the England team in recent years happy to just slide in unnoticed rather than grabbing it by the balls in the way that Youngs, Lawes and Ashton have and Dallaglio, Dawson, Lewsey, Greenwood and the like have in the past. That’s why I think Dowson is a guy I’d like to see in there. I think he’s got the mentality to become a good test player. He’s the real leader in that Saints side.

  26. As you have all said it is a mighty shame that Deacon has made the squad, and we must all pray that Johnno doesn’t call back Borthers

    I am happy with the back 3. As to jimmymc’s comment of JSD over Cueto i disagree whole heartedly. JSD has been very unlucky and i would choose him over strettle but not Cueto. Cueto is on form and if he can play like he did against austraila in the Autumn why would you want to choose anyone else?? Who knows, he might even score a try.

    As always a pleasure to see Flutey on the squad, it has been too long. Will be very intersting to see who is the starting centres.

    The pack is looking quite good, great shame that both Lawes and Croft are injured as they were the two forwards who stood out to me during the Autumn.

    If this is the rough team that will be playing in New Zealand then i am feeling quietly confident, and we stand in good stead to win the 6N this time.

  27. @ Chirs: Cueto looked decidedly average against SA and ran through revolving door Cooper against Australia. He cant finish a sandwich, because he is as slow as Dan Cole….

    @ Nick – do you remember when Narraway was first choice No 8 in 2008, played against Wales then toured in NZ with England and looked the real deal.

    I wont start off the massive Easter hate campaign that was quoshed by his ok stuff in the autumn but are honestly saying Easter is a better player?

  28. Last time I saw Easter play I thought he looked like he’d lost weight. Maybe he’s stopped buttering his toast on both sides. He’s Johnson’s first choice no.8 for the world cup but I, like many others, think he is decidely limited. Then again, so is Narraway. If we’re talking about slow, it’d be close between him and Easter. I’d rather see Fourie, Dowson or Ward-Smith converted/re-positioned into 8’s but that is not going to happen.

    Again – overall I’m content with the squad and we should be competitive in the 6N.

  29. I agree with you all here and i also am happy with the selection for the six nations.
    but after watching the premiership over weeks gone by, and being a keen supporter of the chiefs since i was atleast 6, i think that maybe we have some players capable of making it into the england saxons at least, I.E. James Skaysbrook, Tom Johnson, James Hanks, these are goo quality players, who perform well week in week out at sandy park.

    However i do also believe that if any of these players, do make it into the international set up, then it should happen next year, as this seasons main focus is staying up, and retaining a place in the premiership.

  30. Isn’t Tom Johnson of Chiefs the outstanding 6 around this season? For work rate, carries, tackles made, tries scored, mobility, strength at the breakdown, indeed in all aspects he’s immense

  31. RF Taylor – im with you on Tom Johnson, outstanding talent, England / Lions player in the making.Seems to have the rugby brain & temperament that many hopefuls (haskell) do not have.

    I suspect its only experience that is holding him back….wrong in my eyes.

    Furthermore his grandad was a spitfire ace in the WW2.

  32. Tom Johnson is an awesome player! i watch him play week in week out, and he is an amazing asset to the team!
    jimmymc1 – i agree, lions and England start to be!

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