England team to face France

Yet again, Iain Balshaw makes the team!  Richard Wigglesworth gets his first start, and Sheridan and Vickery return.

What do you think?

England team: Balshaw (Gloucester); Sackey (Wasps), Noon (Newcastle), Flood (Newcastle), Vainikolo (Gloucester); Wilkinson (Newcastle), Wigglesworth (Sale); Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Regan (Bristol), Vickery (Wasps, capt), Shaw (Wasps), Borthwick (Bath), Haskell (Wasps), Lipman (Bath), Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: Mears (Bath), Stevens (Bath), Kay (Leicester), Croft (Leicester), Hodgson (London Irish), Cipriani (Wasps), Tait (Newcastle).

9 thoughts on “England team to face France

  1. I was disappointed to see the same selection again. Unless wonders have been worked by the divided coaching team then Clerc & Heymans will probably tear us apart, especially with an inexperienced Vainikolo and an ever dodgy Balshaw (or Ballsup as some like to call him) facing the onslaught.

  2. Unjustified optimism still about our chances, despite ludicrous faith being kept in Balshaw and unconvincing centre partnership.

    Will definitely have to play some fairly dull, forwards dominated rugby (sound familiar?), but if we can keep the back 3 from getting quick ball in space (theirs and ours!) there’s a chance we can out-muscle and bully an unsettled French pack…?

  3. It’s a shame Traille’s not at full-back like in the RWC semi. A succession of up and unders to him would probably have been our best hope!

    I just hope we can keep it respectable to be honest. At least when France were being mismanaged by Mad Bernie there was always a chance of them hitting the self-destruct button, but now that the French are looking like the French again, I’m not optimistic.

    Looking at the way Wales scored their tries against us and then looking at the way the French back 3 are playing, it’s scary. I agree with Rob D that keeping it tight among the forwards is our best chance, but the French pack will be the best we’ve faced so far without doubt.

    Here’s hoping we can smash the 3-point barrier in the second half at least!

  4. I think it’s fair enough to give everyone one more crack and if it still doesn’t work, then make changes. Ashton has said that there are a few people playing for their shirts this week and I would assume they include Balshaw, Vainokolo, Easter, Regan. If we lose then it is almost the ideal time to bring in some other guys as there would be very little pressure.

    Disappointed about Geraghty’s injury. Flood is improving and has done little wrong but Geraghty is class and simply offers a hell of a lot more – gas and an awesome range of passing. Neither Wilkinson nor Flood are line-breakers so we offer little attacking threat through the midfield. I think Geraghty would add loads in this department, possibly even more than Cipriani.

  5. I think it would be a shame if Vainikolo is dropped if we lose. The England team from the past two matches have criminally under-used him, he has not been given the ball in space. If we were actually able to string 5 or 6 decent phases resulting in a 1 on 1 or god forbid a 2 on 1 for him to exploit then we would see a much better player. Instead when we give him the ball it’s been more a case of “go on Lesley, show us what you can do with 4 men trying to tackle you”.
    On Cipriani, he was defensively deficient on Saturday, missing at least 4 tackles that i noticed. He is still the best attacking prospect we have but the better 10’s of the world game don’t have a weakness as obvious as that (Carter/Wilkinson/James). It’s just a case of whether currently his attacking ability outweighs his defensive frailties and for where England are at the moment i would say it does.

  6. Agreed on Vainokolo not getting the ball in space. During the Italy match, Brian Moore said that he felt England should send him up the middle more which only added to the contention that he should not be allowed to comment on back play under any circumstances. Like Lomu, he will be most dangerous 1 on 1 in space.

    Having said that, I still don’t think he should have been picked in the first place but now he’s there we’ve got to make better use of him.

  7. Also agree on Vainokolo – he should not be playing “for his shirt” this weekend, and hopefully he may actually get the ball in some on Saturday. Disgusted that Balshaw is playing again – absolute travesty.

    Danny Cipriani – yes, defensively he is still not great but neither was Sackey until he started getting some decent international expereince and then he came on exponentially. I’m not making excuses for him, and I don’t think he should be brought on unless we have a comfortable lead (wishful thinking?), but let’s not write him off.
    I expect that the game will either be extremely tight (if we are lucky) or a rout. Unless the boys have taken the same view as the World Cup squad and decided to sort it out amongst themselves I fear that we will be crushed by Ashton’s ineptitude.

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