England team to face Australia

Martin Johnson has named his team to take on Australia at Twickenham this weekend.

The backs are unchanged, whilst Nick Kennedy and Matt Stevens are dropped. Discuss.

England team: D Armitage (London Irish); P Sackey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), R Flutey (Wasps), U Monye (Harlequins); D Cipriani (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), T Palmer (Wasps), T Croft (Leicester), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), M Stevens (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), J Haskell (Wasps), M Lipman (Bath), H Ellis (Leicester), T Flood (Leicester).

7 thoughts on “England team to face Australia

  1. Harsh on Kennedy but i think Johno wanted some more steel in the pack. For me though, if this is his argument, i would of preffered shaw over palmer.
    Obviously, there have been a lot wrote about Armitage and how good he was. But i would of liked to see him picked at outside centre. It is his club position as Hewit fills the FB spot for Irish. It would elimate Noon, our week link and allow the pace of Tait at FB.

  2. I think Kennedy can count himself unlucky. Johnson has created a bit of a problem for himself because both Kennedy and Borthwick are out and out lineout forwards and therefore are not an ideal combo and to be honest, Kennedy is better. As captain, Borthwick has to play but to my mind he is lucky to even be in the 22.

    Slightly confused that he’s dropped Kennedy for a like-for-like replacement in Palmer as well. It would make sense if he was bringing in a ball-carrying 2nd row like Shaw but with Stevens dropping out and Haskell omitted again, we only really have 2 close quarter ball carriers in the pack in Sheridan and Easter. Mears and Croft can both carry but they’re hardly going to blow people away on the fringes like Hartley, Stevens, Haskell or Shaw. They play in wider channels. Maybe that’s the tactic but I think we’ve rather negated our advantage up front with this selection. Good bench options in the pack though.

    Perhaps Johnson has decided to pick his best scrummaging front 5 and just destroy the Aussies in the traditional way.

  3. Kennedy didn’t do much to deserve being left out altogether but the combo of him and Borthwick didn’t quite fire. Not particularly excited about Palmer though and agree that Shaw may have been a better option.

    Disagree with Darnell about Noon. He does a job. Suddenly we’ve got loads of pace at the back and Noon is the defensive rock.

  4. I have to express my concern for the line-out. It worked really well last week and the Aussies are normally very switched on in this area. I would accept Kennedy’s percieved lack of ball-carrying ability (although he did score a good try last week!) and stick with him.

    I’d also like to see Haskell given a run at No. 8 at some point and, controversially, I’d have gone with Tait instead of Noon. I agree with previous comments about Noon – his defence got shown up against NZ on a few occasions in the summer.

  5. That’s a good point actually…the lineout was almost faultless last week. Mears hit the man nearly every time. I don’t think palmer will let the side down in the lineout though and we have to dominate the set-piece. Everyone knows that’s how you beat the aussies!!

  6. I’ve never been a fan of picking a side based around what the opposition will or won’t do. Granted, it’s difficult to know what our best gameplan is after one game (especially when the last two coaches failed to ever have a gameplan!) but I think we’re maybe giving the Aussies a bit too much respect.

    I thought Nick Kennedy had a good game, and frankly, never mind Nick, we could pick Sarah Kennedy in the second row and out-scrummage the Aussies! I agree with Stuart that he’s carrying the can for Borthwick being captain, but I’d rather see Kennedy on the bench than the sprightly young 35 year old Simon Shaw at the start of this new era! If you look at the last few years, the lineout has been more of a problem to us than lack of bulk in the scrum and Kennedy has a part to play.

    The lack of cover in the backs is even more amazing given that Tait’s now fit. He could cover either wing, outside centre or full-back (with Flood covering 10 or 12). Is it really more likely that we’ll lose two back rowers than one of the 3/4 line or full back?

    It’s good news for us that Barnes is out. A few people have said on these very pages that a good kicking team could put our back 3 under pressure by putting the ball behind them. With a Giteau/Barnes 10/12 combo we might have really struggled.

    It’s also meant that Deans has “done an Ashton” ie picked two outside centres hoping they’ll figure it out between them, which rarely works well. I like Mortlock, but you can’t see him bringing others in to the game as well as Barnes would have done can you?

    Anyway, roll on Saturday. Sheridan v Baxter part 3 will be worth the ticket price on its own!

  7. Hi There,

    I was going to comment on your rankings piece, however clicking the title from the front page send you to a 404.

    Anyways, you could get out the slide rule and attempt to work out the rankings impact of multiple matches, or…. just pick and go!

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