England team to face Australia at Twickenham

Martin Johnson has just announced the England team for the second Investec International against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

The only change from the starting team is Dylan Hartley in for Steve Thompson at hooker, whilst Simon Shaw replaces Dave Attwood on the bench.

England team:
Ben Foden (Northampton)
Mark Cueto (Sale)
Mike Tindall (Gloucester)
Shontayne Hape (Bath)
Chris Ashton (Northampton)
Toby Flood (Leicester)
Ben Youngs (Leicester)

Andrew Sheridan (Sale)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Dan Cole (Leicester)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton)
Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
Tom Croft (Leicester)
Lewis Moody (Bath, capt)
Nick Easter (Harlequins)

Steve Thompson (Leeds)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Simon Shaw (Wasps
Hendrie Fourie (Leeds Carnegie)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
Delon Armitage (London Irish)

17 thoughts on “England team to face Australia at Twickenham

  1. Good to see Hartley starting, and that’s the only change I would have made. I can see why Shawsy is on the bench, although disppointed that Attwood has to make way.

  2. I still can’t understand the logic of having Hodgson on the bench. Barkley is ten times better (at the very least) and can cover 10/12. Seems like a complete waste of a bench place to me. Otherwise, I’m fairly happy with the selection – though I still have the same concerns as last week i.e. with a defensive centre partnership, we need pace and raw talent on the wings and Cueto doesn’t fit that bill. O’Connor ran rings around Williams last week, and Williams could run rings around Cueto and I think they’ll try to exploit this! And yet again we have no centre replacements – so unfortunately if things aren’t going right we can’t do sod all about it. Also would of liked to have seen Moody moved to 6 and Fourie given a start at 7, with Croft on the bench – as Fourie in one appearance has impressed me more (at international level) than Croft recently.

  3. I thought Fourie looked very sharp when he came on last week.

    I still dont think Moody is 100% fit – he seemed a bit rusty last week but he certainly led from the front.

  4. I think the main worry is Barkley’s defence at international level, which to be fair has been shown up when he’s played the 3N teams over the years.

    Hopefully the lineout will hold up with Hartley in, no need to give the aussie backs any more ball than is necessary!!

  5. “I think the main worry is Barkley’s defence at international level, which to be fair has been shown up when he’s played the 3N teams over the years”

    If Barkleys defence is what is keeping him out of the EPS, than how the hell is Hodgson involved? lol

    Agree Moody doesn’t look 100% fit, but he is definitely leading by example and setting the standard of commitment expected from everyone else and so more than warrants his inclusion

  6. Re Barkley, it’s the old English rugby selectors’ disease of getting a gripe about a player into their head (usually that he can’t defend – see Barkley, Hodgson, Simpson-Daniel, Varndell, Lamb, Tait) and that overrides all else and they stop focussing on their strengths. They then tell the player that he has this weakness, he goes away and works on it to the exclusion of all else, probably does a lot of weights and then suddenly we find that the special talent they had has been dulled. Or the selectors will still dwell on this perceived weakness long after it has been remedied.

    If other nations’ selectors had this mentality then Quade Cooper and James O’Connor would currently be kicking their heels at home rather than carving up the Northern Hemisphere teams.

    Re the centres, it would be interesting to see Armitage given a run at 13 at London Irish to see how he gets on. He has the raw materials to succeed there and if he can grasp the defensive requirements of the role then that could be an answer. Could then afford to have Johnno’s preferred massive trundler at 12 rather than someone creative. In the absence of central contracts though, doubt Toby Booth is going to be particularly receptive to having the England selectors telling him what team to pick.

  7. I feel really sorry for Attwood, he is our future with Lawes.what an exceptional second row that would make.

    Cueto needs to get the boot, get sinbad in.

    Fourie is better than Moody, moody is just a bit light in the tight.

    Croft is one of our few world class players, needs to be in there.

  8. Stuart – for bad defence you missed Strettle. Easily the worst tackler out of the EPS, Saxons or any England AP team.

  9. Re centres, if you arent playing centre every week as first choice for your club, you cant be considered for International games.

    guscott mentioned that he thought Armitage would make a good 13 (he may well do) now everyone is on the band wagon.

    Armitage doesnt play 13 @ LR so its a moot point whether hed be any good.

    This is slightly left field but i think Billy Twelvetrees is our future centre solution. At Tigers hes been pressed into the 10 slot when flood was injured at the start of the season and ok, he wasnt amazing, but he did ok for a 20 year old playing out of position.

    Hes 6.3 tall, 100 kgs and 20 years old. hes quick, can step and can tackle hard. can place kick, kick out of hand with some of the skills of a 10. He also has a serious bullet of a pass.

    hes the 12 we have been looking for and we can have a slightly small, quicker 13 outside him.

  10. Great post, Stuart – pretty much agree with everything you’ve said there

    BTW, though I agree that he’s prob getting to be past it and that Barkley is the better option in terms of 10/12 cover (though I’ve never rated him at 10), am I the only one here that doesn’t think Hodgson is rubbish? OK, not the best defensively and panics a little when clearing his lines, but stands flat, gets his side on the front foot, looks for and expoits gaps, and plays with ambition – I like him

  11. Rory, at the risk of starting a mutual love in, I have thought Hodgson is the most rounded 10 in the country for at least 5 years and has been treated appallingly. He basically got the bird from the Twickers crowd early in his career because he wasn’t Wilko and missed a couple of kicks that Wilko would probably have got but he was in an unenviable position post-2003. Anybody would have got the same treatment. If he’d been backed and told he was going top get a good run of games he would have grown into the role. Yes he’s a bit of a speedbump in defence but there is nobody in the country with a passing range in the same league as his, apart from possibly Ryan Lamb whose decision making is still a little too suspect for international rugby.

    Jimmymc, completely agree with you re playing players out of position. That’s why I’m saying that he’d have to have a run there for Irish first. He has played there before but it’s just about the most difficult position on the park in defence and you can’t step up a level when that’s not your main position.

    Re Moody, Fourie may have the better raw materials but Moody brings so much else to the side on the pitch that he absolutely has to be in there. With the new rules this season, it is only freaks like Pocock and Broussouw who will turn over loads of ball on the floor anyway. Even McCaw has changed his approach more towards slowing ball down than actually nicking it. The foraging, ball-stealing openside has suffered from the law changes.

  12. I know I keep harping on about this, but does anyone really think Shaw will be in NZ for RWC 2011? Moreover, after Attwood’s decent showing, why drop him for a player returning from injury?

    Hape and Tindall are going to be pulled all over the place this weekend. I could understand the logic in starting them against the AB’s (understand, not agree), but the Aussies will be delighted about the prospect of running rings around Tindall in particular, and Cueto should be a fun prospect for them also.

    Little chance of us trying to contain the Aussies for 80 minutes – we’re going to need at least a couple of tries. With that in mind, Barkley would be a much better proposition. As Stuart says though, he seems to have been blackballed (probably as much to do with his off-field behavior as his playing). Not so Hodgson, who is a nice chap, never mind the poor performances he has put in for England over the years.

    This is going to be a hard one to call.

  13. Watching the NZ game, for the first time i thought Flood looked like he knew what he was doing throughout. He managed the game well even though those outside him didn’t make the most of their opportunities. He defended well as well. Hopefully he’ll play well for the rest of the autumn and then should be no.1 fly-half for the rest of the build up to the World Cup with Wilkinson and Geraghty backing up.

    I still didn’t think Easter was in the league of Reid or other leading 8’s. He does get around the park but he just lumbers around. He doesn’t tackle hard and his handling isn’t as great as his wandering around, ball in one hand, would suggest.

    The team’s getting there though and i think we’ll be contenders next year.

    I can’t wait to see Cooper, Beale, Ashley-Cooper and O’Connor in action though and only Ashton from our ranks is as exciting to watch.

  14. Uncle Mat, I’m inclined to agree with you on Shaw. I feel sorry for Attwood that he’s had to make way, and I’m not 100% sure that it’s the right decision. I do still rate Shawsy, and can see why Johnno has brought him back for this match, but will Attwood be recalled if Shaw doesn’t perform on Saturday?

    On the plus side, it wasn’t long ago that we had two starting locks that nobody would have picked for their pub side, so it’s great to see some strength coming through.

  15. With Shaw on the bench, he adds the experience as well as the ability to be an effective impact sub, and I’m guessing he has been included to help steady the boat in the last 10 mins and “secure” a win. Would definitely like to see Attwood given a good chance against Samoa though – whether as a starter or coming off the bench for the last 25mins +.

  16. annoyingly for Attwood, he isnt first choice at glos at the moment. a brown and some scottish guy are first choice, hence he is borderline now.

    i think he has almost universal supporters support and will probably be first choice for glos / eng over the next few years with Lawes.

    England may have a major centre problem, but we have a huge depth in tight 5 forwards and some handy back rowers coming through

  17. England do have a centre problem, but it’s not because of not having options, it’s because the coaching staff always prefer “big defensive” options i.e Tindall and Hape, rather than those with flair i.e Barkley and Waldouck

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