England squad to face Ireland at Twickenham


Stuart Lancaster has named the following squad to prepare for the Ireland game this weekend, with Dan Cole ruled out through injury.

What do you think? Would you have changed anything?

Forwards (13)
David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (10)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the matchday squad. A full three weeks of training has allowed him the chance to really understand the way we are developing our game and this time has been crucial in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision making and leadership position.

“We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months.

“Brad Barritt is obviously disappointed to miss out but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future. He hasn’t had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks.”

Dan Cole saw a specialist this evening regarding his neck and the results of the assessment will now be considered by the England and Leicester Tigers medical teams. A further update will be given by Stuart Lancaster at Thursday’s media briefing.

Returning to Aviva Premiership clubs:
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

28 thoughts on “England squad to face Ireland at Twickenham

  1. I can’t see Eastmond getting much of a chance before the WC. There’s good reason to keep midfield as settled as possible but I think it’s a massive shame that he hasn’t been given an opportunity.

  2. People quite rightly groaning about Goode but for me Youngs is another risky call. Been dreadful in last matches arguably costing us victory in 2 of them. I shudder to think him coming on in a close match.

      1. Jamie George looks like he would be next in line. The way he’s been paying for the Saxons, and his recent club form would put him next on the list. And he plays for Sarries, so obviously he’s got a leg up straight away! ;-)

    1. I agree that Youngs has been poor, but I wouldn’t drop him.

      We don’t have many caps going into a WC, and Hartley/Youngs are very likely to be our hookers going into it, so they both need game time. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone said Hartley shouldn’t be in the squad (for different reasons I know), and look at him now.

      Things can change quickly, and this is a far more settled squad that SL is building and I like the way he works.

      1. I hope you’re right, but what if his dodgy throwing costs us again. Would you stick or twist for the rest of the championship?

        One thing that does bug me is why, considering his wobbles, they don’t do simple throws to the front when he comes on?

        1. Always stick. He started two Lions tests last summer and has been brilliant for England. If it was some young inexperienced player that didn’t look up to it then I’d agree he needed to be dropped. But we are talking about two matches.

          Sometimes mistakes costs you games, it happens. You do all you can to stop that, and selecting you most experience players is part of it.

          1. NZ, FRA & SCO. Three matches where Youngs has imploded and twice where it has contributed to a loss. I hope you are right. He wasn’t great against Glos despite a baffling Mom award.

          2. If Webber was fit I would say twist (all 3 hookers likely to go to RWC so it’s not wasting caps), with the injury we should stick. If there’s another implosion then it’s time to look at the next in line (Goerge)

  3. Glad to see that Ford is in the 23. But I’m also glad to see that Lancaster hasn’t made any other slightly risky choices as far as uncapped or inexperienced players. I’m thinking particularly of Watson on the bench. Goode is a safe option with Brown covering so well on the wing. He may not be the fastest, and run the ball back with the same zest and zeal as Brown, but his positioning and kick return are excellent, and after the way Ireland played against Wales, he could be just the right person to come on in the last twenty and put us in their half of the field.

    1. Nice to see some sense. I think Foden will displace Goode if he comes back with any sort of form, but I don’t want Watson. If anyone wants to see why Watson shouldn’t be there, they just need to watch the Exeter game, he doesn’t back himself to kick (one instance giving a kickable penalty) and that forward pass into touch? He’s as likely to be brilliant as poor, and he needs more time playing for Bath to cut out the poor part.

      People may moan about Goode, but he’s a more reliable option, and less likely to cost us the game.

      I’d love to see Eastmond get a chance, but I think he either starts, or nothing. From the bench he offers very limited cover, yes he has played wing, but only for a short time and that was the start of his Union career.

    2. I take you’re point but has Goode really been reliable? Looks more of a liability at the moment. Eastmond covers wing and centre and half back in a crisis. Nowell covers full back…

      1. Against France Goode was turned over 5 times and missed the only tackle he attempted. Doesn’t sound reliable to me.

      2. Eastmond played wing for a while right at the start of his career, I think he’s covered 10 a couple of times at most. Brown is a better choice on the wing I reckon. Nowell played FB for the u20s, that is a very very different thing to full international.

        Goode hasn’t been as bad as everyone would have liked, he has been poor, but it’s been in the context of the game, he’s not bad any glaring unforced errors.

        1. Apart from the horror non-tackle on Huget where he: i) missed the tackle; ii) let him stay in the game; iii) failed to get back to stop scoring.

          3 opportunities to prevent a try, none taken.

          I don’t like the double standards, e.g. not selecting Wade for so long because of concerns over his defence, but then continually picking Goode who isn’t physically up to making a one-on-one tackle at international level.

    3. Goode is awful. He can’t tackle, gets rinsed for pace and sidesteps for no reason before getting dumped and turned over.

      We’re not going to win this 6N without achieving a massive points difference (which we won’t get unless Italy have a shocker), so why not see what someone like Watson can do.

      Same goes for hookers. Jamie George is looking pretty impressive. People seem to get too hung up on experience and forget that in 2012 every side had more caps than we did, and we came within a knats whisker of winning a GS (bloody Scott Williams).

      1. Absolutely – when we beat France in Paris in 2012, they had nearly three times the number of caps we did.

        Having said that, with the RWC fast-approaching now is the time to try to settle on a squad. Experience suddenly becomes very important in a tournament like that. If we’re still picking uncapped players next Six Nations, it will be a little worrying.

  4. Owen Farrell’s international coach is his Dad,Fords club coach is his dad.How can there be objectivity?A bit like being the bosses son.Does’nt strike me as being very healthy and must have some effect on the other players-say something to the son risk is it goes back to the dad and coach
    I hope Ford only comes on because of the needs of the game not because of the standard plan to ‘give him 20 mins

    1. Regardless of who their fathers are OF and GF are the best we have at the moment. GF seems to be doing much better at Bath than he was at Tigers, whatever the reason.

  5. Delighted to see Ford in the squad, deserves his opportunity.

    Very concerned at tight head, Wilson won’t be fully fit, probably shouldn’t even be on the bench but will likely be thrown in to start because they don’t trust Thomas. I’ve not heard anything about another prop being called up, think this is a mistake as calf injuries have a nasty habit of reoccurring and Thomas is a risk. Brookes should have been added to the squad this week to start training with the team in my opinion.

    I’m confused as to how bad Goode actually has to be to get dropped. I can understand not risking Watson if he’s not ready, but we know Eastmond is ready as he was electric when he got his chance. Appreciate he’s now playing exclusively at 12, but if he was considered adequate cover for the 23 shirt against the Baa Baas (coming on for Brown) I don’t see what’s changed since.

    1. Agree totally about the tighthead issues- what happens if someone tweaks a muscle on friday? Scott Wilson (i think it was) looked good for the Saxons against the Wolfhounds, though can’t Matt Mullen play both sides?

      I yo-yo on the Goode issue, however right now I think he should be on the bench (at least until Foden comes back). I like the way Lancaster has a settled squad and is introducing players one at a time. Consistency makes a confident team!

      But regarding Eastmond and the 23 shirt- what has changed since the Baa Baas? This is a scarily in-form Ireland. Who just dismantled Wales in a similar way to how we were in Cardiff last year. For a match which keeps us in the running for the 6N title. Whole different sack of potatoes…

      1. The tighthead injury situation reminds me of the wing situation in the Autumn, Yarde picks up a minor niggle, rather than adding May to the squad they have Foden train on the wing, Yarde and Wade are then confirmed out, Ashton stays in by default and Foden plays out of position. All avoidable by calling a player up. I hope history doesn’t repeat itself and leave us with a loosehead providing emergency tighthead cover (Tom Court will tell you that’s a really bad idea!)

        On Goode I wouldn’t pick him ahead of Tait, Miller, Arscott, Abendanon and probably a host of other prem full backs. I’d rather we put Bannahan in the 23 shirt to provide some impact off the bench. I just can’t see what we are gaining by handing out the caps to comfortably the worst player Lancaster has selected in his tenure over better prem players, or exciting young talent.

  6. Wilson struggled through 46 minutes and is now ready to play 80 minutes against Ireland and cian Healy? They clearly don’t trust Thomas yet so I think this could cause real issues for england this weekend.

    Although I understand why Goode is on bench surely he won’t be in the opening game squad of RWC so would rather see someone else who likely will be, personally I think eastmond could be that man.

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