England team named for first test in New Zealand


Stuart Lancaster has named his England team for the first test in New Zealand this weekend.

British and Irish Lions Geoff Parling and Manusamoa Tuilagi are included while there is a return for London Wasps flanker James Haskell after a 12-month absence.

Seven players that started against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations are included in the XV – captain Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown, Danny Care, Joe Launchbury, Jonny May, Ben Morgan and David Wilson.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We’ve had a good week’s training in Auckland and have prepared well and are ready for the massive challenge ahead. It doesn’t get much bigger than playing New Zealand at Eden Park where they haven’t lost in 20 years but those selected know what they have to do.

“Billy Twelvetrees is recovering well from his ankle injury and should be available for the 2nd Test and it’s now a good opportunity for Kyle Eastmond to build on what he achieved in Argentina last summer.

“It’s great to welcome back Geoff Parling and James Haskell who have a lot of experience and equally it’s a fantastic opportunity for Joe Gray and Chris Pennell, who have really impressed in training, should they come off the bench for their first caps.

“We’ve had lots of messages of support and I am sure the players will be giving their all at the start of this three Test series.”

England team to play New Zealand:
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 26 caps)
14 Marland Yarde (London Irish, 2 caps)
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)
12 Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 6 caps)
10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 47 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 19 caps)
2 Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
3 David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 19 caps)
5 Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)
6 James Haskell (London Wasps, 50 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 25 caps)
8 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 20 caps)
16 Joe Gray (Harlequins, uncapped)
17 Matt Mullan (London Wasps, 3 caps)
18 Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, 6 caps)
19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
20 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
21 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps)
22 Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks, 7 caps)
23 Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)

Venue: Eden Park
Kick-off: 7.35pm local/8.35am BST

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

76 thoughts on “England team named for first test in New Zealand

  1. I’m really not sure about Parling and Launchbury as a partnership. Lacks grunt. Would have started with Attwood who must wonder what he has to do to get a start after an impressive 6n. Has Parling had any match time since his return? Smacks of favouritism.

    Burns also better deliver. Seems an odd call. I’d even go as far to say that Cipriani ‘ s defence has looked better than Burns this season.

    Glad Eastmond has been given a chance. Can’t help but feel he would have gone back to Barritt if he had been available.

    1. They played together when England beat New Zealand in 2012. People underestimate both of their abilities to do the grunt work. Launchbury having out-maned Etzebeth every time he’s played him, and outplayed the NZ pair that day.

      It’s the 10-12 axis and FR that worry me. They are virtually full strength, we’ve got 3rd and 4th choices…

      1. “They played together when England beat New Zealand in 2012.”

        So did Barritt and Tuilagi – would you prefer that partnership if it were available? The AP final exposed Barritt’s limitations imo. At least Eastmond’s selection shows an ambition to take it to the ABs. Barritt’s continuted presence smacks of damage limitation

        1. I don’t see how Barritt and Tuilagi is relevant in talking about a lack of second row grunt. What What is relevant is how they’ve played together in the past, with England producing some of their better results with Launchbury and Lawes. Lawes and Launch are clearly 1st choice, but Parling is well ahead of Attwood.

          1. Because you had justified the Parling selection as they had played together in the 2012 win?

            1. I think what Patch is trying to say is – Parling and Launchbury looked very good over a long period of time. Tuilagi and Barritt did not. Hence it being a ridiculous comparison.

    2. Although Attwood’s 6N cameos were very impressive, Launchbury and Parling were the last lock partnership to beat the All Blacks. Also I don’t think Parling offers anywhere near as much impact from the bench. For me it makes more sense for Parling to start with Attwood on the bench than vice versa.
      However, picking Gray over Ward seems absurd, Gray has played so little rugby, which was enough to not consider the likes of Corbs, Croft and Wade. In his absence Ward has been the form hooker of the premiership.
      The decision to start Burns ahead of Cipriani is even more baffling. He has had an atrocious season, starting him against NZ in a cauldron of pressure where they haven’t lost for 20 years in an attempt to shock him into some form is daft. Especially considering how much it backfired for the Saxons, Wolfhounds are a walk in the park compared to the World champs.
      That being said, the rest of the back line looks really good and I’m glad Eastmond and Pennell get their chance.

  2. Mistake not having Attwood who must be furious. Parling can’t bring anything close to his physicality and his lineout combo with Webber is good so Parling can’t be in for just lineouts.I agree with Benjit. Reeks of favouritism. Burns also seems silly when he is so hopelessly out of form. Eastmond I approve of but I just hope his tackling holds up. If he impresses, might we finally see Barritt ejected from the squad? Offers little but tackling for me.
    As an eternal pessimist, I can see only a comfortable NZ victory, sadly.

  3. Attwood should be starting if you ask me. Rob webber has long been overdue, Burns is starting because he’s been in the camp longer then cipirani has so knows the call. Kyle Eastmond needs to make a statement after losing his position to Devoto for form. Strange to see Joe Gray on the bench as i thought Dave Ward would be.

  4. Parling is more mobile and active than Attwood, and against the ABs, will probably be more useful in many way. Launch is no wallflower, and carries a lot of bulk, the combo is tried and tested.

    Burns over Cips is a very brave call, if Cips imploded everyone could just say “Ah well Stuart, you took a chance.” with Burns, if he cocks up there’ll be a lot of questions asked.

    Gray is over Ward because the ABs will target our lineout, and Gray is pretty much the best lineout hooker there is, Ward…. isn’t.

    The ABs didn’t so much win our lineouts last year because of Youngs, but because they’d nailed our timing, We very nearly lost 2-3 of Hartleys towards the end.

    1. I actually like the idea of burns starting and then Cips coming on in the second half. I’ve always seen Cips as the Lee Dickson of the flyhalf space (as Ford is injured). Comes on to inject the pace and the urgency. I can see him being used along with Farrell this tour. Farrell being mr reliable and then bring on Cips for the last leg. I think it will go back to Ford once hes back to full strength, which would mean the end of Burns as Myler, Farrell, Ford and Cipriani can carry the team to the world cup. Sad fo Burns but his form has been so badly off from last season he wouldn’t have maade the tour in my books.

      I’m a little undecided about Twelvetrees. Clearly a class player but do we have better options in the centre already? Burrell and Tuilangi for the second test……Awesome.

      I’m actually suprised Ashton didnt make the sqaud (I’m a Ashton fan, shoot me). I just dont see what May offers in attack – Yarde on the left, Ashton on the Right. at least until wade and Watson are back playing.

      Long ramble over

      1. Ashton is in the tour squad, he’s a Saracens player so isn’t up for selection in this first test.

  5. I would have Ward on the bench, I genuinely find that decision baffling, Gray has barely played all season and even when he was he wasn’t having his name mentioned with England.

    Parling I can understand, he was probably one of the first names on the teamsheet before his injury, a Lions test player will be very important for an inexperienced team.

    Burns is an odd one, I guess both he and Cipriani were always both going to be in the 23, I just hope both of them get a good opportunity.

    Eastmond I am very happy with, really want him to put down a marker this tour.

    Yarde and May both need to perform or I think one of them will lose out to Ashton for the 2nd and 3rd tests.

    1. Re your Parling comments – so were basing his selection on his form of 12 months ago!! Thsi is crazy. He was not great in his cameos during the AIs either?

      1. We aren’t talking about a random guy who had a good spell 12 months ago. We are talking about an experienced international who stood out on a winning Lions tour. He is also a key leader in the dressing room, and with Hartley, Wood, Farrell all missing (other key leaders), Parling was always going to play.

        Also – on the pairing lacking grunt; Launchbury adds plenty of that. Considering he’s started every international since his debut and does not run the line outs – that would suggest he is in there for his play in the loose.

        1. I know he’s not a random guy. He is an experienced international who has played very little rugby in the last 12 months. For me it seems a little risky and upsets the balance and continuity given that Attwood would be a more like for like swap for Lawes. But hey excuse me for expressing an opinion.

          1. No problem with you expressing your opinion so not sure where that comment comes from – I simply offered a different one.

            Seems strange to imply I was being dismissive of your opinions considering your original post referred to Jonnys opinion as crazy…

  6. Sounds like Care might be out which would mean having Dickson on the bench. Agree with points about Atwood and Cips. Other than that, given injuries and Prem finalists absence this is not a bad team! Unfortunately “not a bad team” won’t cut it against the ABs. Just hope they can make a game of it to give us a bit of confidence going into the 2nd test with a stronger squad!

  7. I’m really concerned that SL has taken one punt too many. Some were enforced, but not all. Webber and Parling are unlikley to be match fit, with Gray as replacment hooker who has been third choice for most of the season seems really strange. We then have Eastmond and Burns, ok so Eastmond like Webber is selected due to neccesity, but hoping that Burns will come good on the night is another big punt.

    And then on the bench we have Pennell. Yes he’s had a good season, but with just over a year to the World cup, and caps at a premium why waste one on an unproven player, who’ll be playing in the championship next season and therfore has zip all chance of making the world cup squad? He could’ve gone for Tait if he wanted experience or Daly who has shown promise and will be playing European rugby next season.

    I felt cautiously optimisitic before the selection was announcement, now I feel very worried.

    1. Benjit – further up you complain about Parling because of his lack of form and then above you complain about Pennell,

      If we are picking on form, which you seem to want Lancaster to do, then there can be no complaints about Pennell who has been easily the second best full-back in the Premiership this season.

      He more than deserves his chance

      1. I agree form is important, but we also a World cup to prepare for and win. Pennel may get one cap. He may be as good at international level as he has been this season for Worcester. Both big ifs considering the opposition and venue.

        But unless he is moving clubs, and he has publically stated he is not, then his seslction is a waste, expeciially as in the squad we have full back cover in watson, May and Cipriani (at a stretch).

        Also my points above are not purely about form, its about favouritism. Cipriani, Attwood and Eastmond* are in “in” with the managment team, no matter how well they play.
        * I include Eastmond based on Barrit being preferred for the bench in the 6n against Scotland! And lets face it Barritt would be playing if was available, with people justying it becuase he was the last centre to score against the Al Blacks!

  8. Really pleased with this selection. Parling and Webber are essential for leadership qualities of nothing else – I think comments on here overlook how vital leadership will be on Saturday with a vast amount of the leadership group missing.

    Burns over Cipriani is the only one I would personally change, but I completely understand why he has done that.

    Eastmond I worry about in defence – he gives away 26kg to Nono, who will look to run at him all day.

    That 10/12 axis does not look particularly strong; other that that it is a good side. Still expect to lose by 15 points.

    1. I had an argument with a fellow Bath supporter a while back about Eastmond’s defence, so I checked the stats (in an effort to prove him wrong), but failed – his tackle success was over 90% for the season…

      1. I’m suggesting that Eastmond can’t tackle – should probably have mentioned that. From what I have seen at Premiership level he is good. BUT, there is not one 12 in world rugby, let alone the Premiership, that has the physicality and ball carrying ability that Nonu has. Physics dictates that a man that gives away 26kg to his opposite number is going to buckle at some point. No real 12 cover on the bench either so he has to suffer 80 minutes of it!

        1. Remember that NZ have their “big guy” at 12, whilst ours is at 13 – and Tuilagi is heavier than Nonu. I imagine Tuilagi will be tasked with stopping him.

          1. Maybe I’m the only person that think this, but I don’t think Nonu is that brilliant a ball carrier. He’s obviously good, but I would certainly place Tuilagi and Bastareaud above him in terms of sheer ball carrying ability.

            NZ don’t often use him in a typical “crash ball” scenario. Perhaps they will against this England team, but I would be expecting Nonu to have an impact on the game in a different way.

            1. It really depends what you consider ball carrying ability as. If you are classing it is sheer bulk, then Basteraud and Tuilagi probably do edge him. Nonu offers close to that level of physicality with the added threat of unbelievable offloads. Tackling Basteraud means simply standing there, knowing he is going to run straight at you. Tuilagi can offload, but not to the level Nonu can (not yet!). It is far more difficult to tackle someone of Nonus phsyicality when you are also watching out for a short pop of offload.

  9. Parling, I can kind of understand because of his greater experience, but on the other hand I would say that fitness will play a big part over there, and I don’t see how he can be completely match fit.
    Burns makes no sense to me at all. Been out of form all season and rarely started for Gloucester towards the end of the season. Cips has improved progressively all season, has played over there for a couple of seasons and knows the way some of these players play quite well. Should have been a no brainer surely? Also think that Cips and Eastmond would be a better combo. Just look at the type of 12’s there used to playing with and it seems ideal to me.
    Nice to see Haskell in there, and he will make up for the grunt missing in the second row. I would assume that Johnson and Attwood will come on at the same time, barring injuries. Or unless Morgan still can’t last 80 minutes, and then I guess Haskell will move to 8.
    With Care doubtful Dickson will be on the bench, but he played last week, and will have only been with the squad for three days. Hopefully Care can get fit enough to at least be on the bench.
    Should be a very interesting match, and I think if we play to our strengths, and don’t get dragged into their game plan, it could be a respectable score line. One thing that worries me is Lancaster’s habbit of not changing if the team’s playing well?! So if we win (haha!!) or at least come close I would be worried that he may stick with some of this team even when he has better players available. But surely he wouldn’t do that……….would he?!

    1. No he wont. The likes of Farrell, Barritt, Goode, Vunipola, Ashton, Burrell etc “have a lot of credit in the bank”. Christ if I hear him utter that expression again, I may nut the TV.

      He used it apparently when justifying the Burns selection.

      1. It was a bit tongue in cheek!!

        This whole credit in the bank thing works with some players, but in Burns’ case I just don’t get it. He’s hardly played for England, and has been out of form since he did last play for England. Yes maybe he has been good in training, but I have a nasty feeling once he’s on the pitch, and has Nonu and co. running at him, any credit or form could be wiped off the slate.

        Really hope that Cips gets plenty of game time in this one. He should be given his chance to prove he’s ready for a comeback.

        1. Its also a bit disingenuous from SL, as he was happy for Ford to leapfrog Burns in the 6n!!

            1. Becuase he said Burns is ahead of Cirpriani becuase he’s been around the sqaud longer. Wasn’t the same true in the 6n? Yet he elvelated Ford above Burns, but not Cipriani? Seems a bit inconsistant.

  10. I think we’d all do well to remember we haven’t seen the majority of these players for 2 or 3 weeks. Lancaster and his coaching team have seen them in training, and therefore are in a better place to make the tight calls, eg Burns over Cipriani, Parling over Attwood and Gray over Ward on the bench.

    Club form even a month ago is now irrelevant. The players are in a different environment with different players around them. With so many players out, is it really surprising on marginal calls he’s gone with the players who have more experience of his squads?

    1. Yes we have thought or hoped that before, when he selected Goode over Brown, Wood at 8 over Billy V, Ashton in the AIs over..well anyone. Lancaster places A LOT of emphasis on loyalty and trust. Not a bad thing to do, but he does go a bit OTT at times, hence the picking of any fit Sarries player when he first took over (at Farrel’s behest) or anyone who played under him at Leeds or the Saxons.

      The last thing I want to see is a return to the see-saw selections of Andy Robinson BUT, I’m afraid that things are getting a little bit too cliquey, which ultimately did for Johnson in the end.

  11. I would never advocate throwing your toys out of the pram but Atwood would be as well justified as any by this selection. I haven’t been that amazed by Parling since he came back and during the 6 nations we were all saying that Atwood was just unfortunate that the two guys ahead of him were Lawes and Launchbury because he was playing that well.
    Also think the same about Dave Ward to be leapfrogged by a guy who is at the same club as you and basically hasn’t played this season when you’re in the form of your life shows that Lancaster is not picking on form

    1. Grundy, it is interesting to note Gray ahead of Ward, and Eastmond ahead of Devoto, given the situation at their respective clubs.

      You may even say the same for Parling ahead of Slater.

      However, all of these club selections are only reflections of the clubs coaches, playing the club’s way of rugby. England play differently to both Bath and Harlequins, so perhaps England feel that these two fit better.

      After all, the club selections may simply be very marginal selections.

      Burns over Cipriani of course is slightly different in that the relative form of each is clear to all

  12. Whilst I presume Lancaster wants Parling in to run the line-out, I do think we’ll miss the grunt that Attwood brings.

    His cameos during the 6 Nations were excellent. He shored up Henry Thomas in the scrum, he attached with the ball and tackled with relish. Without Lawes and Vunipola I think we are lacking heavy ball carriers.

    Burns is a really odd call for me. Perhaps Lancaster is hoping that the international arena will spark him into life but its a bit of a gamble.

    As is Eastmond. Exciting player but Nonu and Kaino are going to be licking their lips at the thought of running at England’s 10/12 channel.

  13. Am I the only one on here, who when I try and click the link for older comments don’t get the 15 previous posts? This happens to me a lot on rugby blog – is it a problem with the site?

    1. I’m having the exact same problem – does happen a lot. It’s normally the next day that the site starts working and I can go back pages without losing comments.

      1. Hi chaps, this is strange, not an issue I’ve ever had. We’ve taken pagination off now, so the comments should just all appear on one page below the article, which will hopefully fix things – let me know if that’s not the case.

  14. Agree Attwood should have started, Webber -> Attwood is a familiar combination and Attwood ran the lineout in Argentina. If Attwood is packing down behind Wilson I would have fancied our chances at having a go at them in the scrum.

    Mystified on the selection of Burns, fingers crossed it works well. An out of form play maker, low on confidence, who can be a flaky kicker (and no back up kicking option) is a somewhat of a risk. I don’t like the message it sends out to form players without “credit in the bank”.

    I’m a big fan of Eastmond, I’m so disappointed he’s not featured since last summer, I hope he comes through this unscathed! He should have had a decent number of caps off the bench by now, shame he’s still has no experience at this level.

  15. excited by Eastmond, we will see if he can stand up to the physicality for 80 mins in defence but going forward he is far more effective than Barritt. England will never win if they don’t try to attack with purpose and he will be an important part of that

  16. Benjit

    When I mentioned Attwood yonks ago I was castigated from Hadrian’s Wall to Land’s End. Wasn’t by you was it?

    Anyway, if Atters does have more bang for his buck as some pundits have hinted at, then it’ll be found out soon enough.

    Does SL hate Cip? Esp as Burns has apparantly been playing like 1 of those horses with hairy feet! And waht of Splashton? Thought he’d get a run.

    Interesting to see how Eastmond goes & I’d like to see Pennell get a run.

    1. Ashton plays for Saracens – you may have noticed that this squad features no Saracens or Saints players, as they contested the Premiership final at the weekend. We wouldn’t have omitted Hartley, Lawes, Wood or Billy V otherwise.

    2. Ashton played in the premiership final last week so isn’t considered for selection- like all the other Northampton/Saracens players

    3. Don P – you were talking about Attwood when Lawes and Launchbury were starting for England. Had Lawes been available for this match, I doubt anyone would have suggested Attwood should be starting in front of him – especially after his performance in the Prem final

      Having read a number of comments and thought about it, I can see SL’s thinking. Parling is not an impact player and if we have to bring on Thomas, he is not really the lock you want packing down behind him.

      In context of the available players, it’s best that Parling starts and Attwood comes on as a sub

    4. Don, can’t recall ever having had an issue with Attwood, but if it was a discussion of Lawes vs Attwood – then yes it would be Lawes every time. Have always been a fan of Lawes.

    1. Unless Yarde and May play absolute blinders, I would expect him to feature, yeah. I’ve been one of his harshest critics, but wouldn’t mind seeing him get one more chance – our more attacking philosophy (should we keep it up from the 6N) would suit him better than before when he was hardly getting any ball. Plus I’m not sure we should ignore a player who has just scored the most-ever tries in a single Heineken Cup campaign.

      1. Would you move Yarde to 11 for Ashotn. I prefer Yarde and Ashton to May. May has pace, but not much else, and he has that horrible habit of running across the pitch hoping someone will step up and leave a gap for him. Problem is he’s just eating up space for other players to use.

        1. Agreed. May always reminded me of a rabbit expecting to be eaten, and those All Blacks are Hungry Blighters!

          So Dazza, Geat – are we united in a:

          15 Brown

          Back line for the next two test, or would you throw in someone else?

          1. I absolutely wouldn’t play Burrell and Tuilagi together. It matters not that Burrell plays 12 for Saints, in the England model he’s a 13. We need a play-maker in the 12 shirt – so either 36 if he’s fit, or stick with Eastmond if he plays a blinder.

            Other than that, that would be my back line.

            1. Out of curiosity only Geat, would you not think a 12/13 combo of Burrell and Tuilagi would be a beast to try and defend against. I know Burrell plays 13 butas I’m not a huge fan of 36 I’m struggling to see why its not being considered. Two very big, very fast, very hard to tackle players at centre. Sounds like a great combination to me.

              1. It’s just too one-dimensional for my liking. For instance, Burrell’s try against Wales, created by the little grubber through from Twelvetrees, would never have happened with a Burrell/Tuilagi partnership.

                1. It was a beautiful Try. I was always a fan of Matt Bannahan for the kick through charge down/pin your ears back and hope for the best move. Shame hes fallen out of contension.

                2. Agree, but you know if done well a one dimensional power play could be unstoppable. I keep having this recurring thought of Billy V powering past the gain line, offloading to Sam Burgess who takes it up a few more metres taking another 3 defenders with him, then offloads to Burrell and then to Tuiagi. All sides would know what is coming – but could they stop it? Am Thinking Billy V at 8, SB at 12, Burell at 13 and Manu on the wing. Probably wont happen though!!

        2. I’m with Geat on Ashton. Despite his underwhelming performances in recent times for England, he does seem to be playing very well for Saracens, so I would not be disappointed to see him included.

          I am sure we have done this before but I wholly disagree that May’s ability to run sideways at pace is horrible. I think it is a feature that England can utilise.

          I do know that he butchered a couple of tries in the 6N, and that is an issue with finishing that Ashton probably doesn’t have, but I do believe that it is a little blinkered to criticise him also for this cross field tendency that he has.

          It is not players running sideways with the ball that eats up space, it is the team running sideways that eats the space.

          1. The good news is that May has analysed his performances from the Six Nations, and identified that there were occasions where he should have backed himself for pace on the outside. He says he puts it down to finding his feet – so hopefully we should see more of what we know he can do.

          2. I see your point, I’m afraid I dont agree. Since the huge uproar to have a Wade/Yarde Combo (which I still think is the future) I dont think we have had any Pop from our wings……one try between them for the entirety of the six nations. I think Nowell progressed and I was a big fan of his in the Juniour RWC when he hunted more freely. May I just dont get. His premiership stats are average at best. Could have taken Sharples instead. For me he didnt impress in the 6 Nations he should go. There are plenty of options on the wings. Yes I support Sarries so I’m all in favour of Ashton (and Strettle), but bias aside I just dont see it.

            1. Agree that Wade/Yarde is probably the best combination (if 2 wingers are ever a “combination”), and also that Ashton would be my favourite to start.

              However, I do think that May has enormous potential and I really hope that we see some of this realised tomorrow.

  17. And now Care has been dropped from the team through injury. Youngs to start with Dickson on the Bench. Why is that allowed if he was part of the prem final….certainly not complaining but why not Farrell, Burrell, Hartley, Vunipola??

  18. Blub

    Didn’t quite get that last bit; i.e. ‘It is not players running sideways with the ball that eats up space, it is the team running sideways that eats the space’.

    Don’t players make up the team?

    And running sideways eats up space, whoever does it.

  19. Jonny

    NZ don’t particularly use Nonu as just ‘bosh’ merchant. They don’t nec want him to ‘die’ with the ball. He can bash thru, but if you watch him these days, he usually steps off both feet (not @ the same time of course) when trying to breach an oppo ‘D’.

    And I’m uncertain that opposing I’tal teams’ centres would nec agree with yr view that he has inferior ball carrying ability in compar with Tui or the ‘Bastid’.

  20. Pablito

    I had heard a bit abt Attwood & yet hardly ever saw him play for England. My thought was why not? Esp if he packs a bit of grunt. why not give him more game time in the ‘E’ shirt & see what he has @ I’tal level. That’s all.

    U’ve opined to the contrary abt his ability in compar with, e.g. Lawes I know, but when ‘E’ have lost, Lawes doesn’t always appear to be a total world beater to me? Maybe the 2 2gether @ times in a game may be a fruitfull combo? What of this idea? No?

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