England team to face France

Martin Johnson has just announced his side to take on the French this Sunday in the Six Nations.

Nick Kennedy is dropped and replaced by Simon Shaw, Tom Croft replaced James Haskell, whilst Ugo Monye replaces the injured Paul Sackey on the wing.

Toby Flood retains his place at fly-half, and bad boy Danny Care remains on the bench.

England: Delon Armitage (London Irish), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Mike Tindall (Gloucester), Riki Flutey (Wasps), Mark Cueto (Sale); Toby Flood (Leicester), Harry Ellis (Leicester); Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Lee Mears (Bath), Phil Vickery (Wasps), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Steve Borthwick (Saracens), Tom Croft (Leicester), Joe Worsley (Wasps), Nick Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Julian White (Leicester), Nick Kennedy (London Irish), James Haskell (Wasps), Danny Care (Harlequins), Andy Goode (Leicester), Mathew Tait (Sale).

14 thoughts on “England team to face France

  1. Not a bad team, but uninspirising. Why was it announced on the rfu website that Strettle was back in the team, but not even on the bench? Why are Borthwick and Easter starting ahead of Kennedy and Haskell? I guess the selectors didn’t see my suggestions yesterday

  2. The worrying thing about this team is that it looks as if the coaches value endeavour over skill. Martin Johnson is a loyal man but i do think he is not well served by his coaches. Particularly John Wells. He seems to have made no impact as forward coach and I wonder if his outburst declaring his forwards needed to learn how to ‘cheat’ like he did – shows he is out of touch with the new faster rugby that is now played.
    The team has Shaw in at last but keeps Borthwick who is out of his depth in International Rugby, he is a nice guy and plays his heart out but is just not an international player.
    Haskell has also been put on the bench – he has seemed the only combative forward we seem to have.
    We need to change the coaching staff and give Johnson more support and resources to deliver results.

  3. I think uninspiring is the right word. It’s applicable not only to this selection, but to everything about the England setup at the moment.

    Good to see Croft selected, but not at the expense of Haskell – why not move him to 8 and sit Easter on the bench.

    I’d love to know what Cipriani has done to warrant his consistent non-selection. If you swap his name for Flood’s in that team line-up and then squint a little, you can actually see a reasonable team built around someone with talent. At the moment, it’s just uninspiring.

  4. A few changes, but not ones which will change the way this team are able to play. Why give this selection/these tactics a fourth chance? This six nations campaign is gone, why not try something different?

  5. What has Kennedy done to warrant being dropped?! I agree with bringing Shaw in, but as others have said, Borthwick should not even be in the 22.

    Thank heavens Croft is in, as otherwise our back row is looking decidedly pedestrian. The French back row will be licking their chops at this one. I would only ever have Worseley as a bench impact player, and would switch him with Haskell here.

    I’ve criticized some aspects of Cipriani’s game on these pages before, but he is surely the best of a pretty ordinary lot. He should at least be on the bench (personally I would start him with Goode on the bench). With the state of England rugby at the moment, every team sheet should start with a blank piece of paper and every selection should be justified individually. There are several here that just don’t make sense (Borthwick, Flood, Easter, and if he hadn’t been injured, Sackey I’m sure).

    And I couldn’t end a post on a team announcement without saying Tait should be in there.

  6. I don’t think SB could score half the trys Kennedy is scoring in the GP and I reckon he is included only because he is (a rather wet) captain. I think Kennedy is more your man for the open ended style that England have been promising to play for so long.

    I think Kennedy/ Borthwick is a representative of the whole England dilemma – do we bosh them and win games or play open ended style and get pasted for a few years until we get good at it? Selection at the moment seems to be a weird mix of the two and I don’t think it is working…

  7. Truth is Fakey, many of them aren’t young any more. They were when were first calling for them to be given a run out, a few years ago. There are always some good “young” players out there, but none of them seem to progress. Back to the coaching problems again.

    I was just running through in my mind the England under-25 team. What a back line with strong competition in several positions – FB (Foden, Armitage, Morgan, Brown) wings (Banahan, Ojo), centers (Turner-Hall, Tait, Geraghty, Waldouck, Allen), FH (Cipriani, Geraghty, Myler) and SH (Foden, Care). Back row is also looking pretty good (Croft, Haskell, Rees, Robshaw, Crane, Guest). But after that, interestingly, it gets much harder to find eligible players that play regularly for their clubs. Curious. No coincidence that this is where a lot of the foreign imports play.

  8. well guys I’m a died in the wool Cornishman and a Westcountry stalwart of all rugby players but I have to agree Vickery shouldn’t be in the 22. what if Stevens hadn’t tested!? Kennedy dropped! As good a selection as any(see end) A more ambling back row you couldn’t wish to find(Worsley excepted ‘Occasionally’) Jonno can change his half backs all He likes they’re al much of a muchness, good but not great. Flutey? Wot?!?! Other midfield doesn’t matter Tindall is as good as the others, Sackey has come through the honeymoon and dipped as all do; Armitage, Cueto the only stars in the mist!
    And to end when are England going to select a 2nd lock and captain??????

  9. Pretty un-exciting to say the least.

    Finally Croft gets a run out – nut at Haskell’s expense?? Where’s the sense in that?? Drop Easter to the bench and let Haskell loose at 8. Why has Kennedy been dropped when he has been one of our more effective players?

    Flood once again gets a start – bit bizarre, when Goode seems to have made more impact (and scored/made more points). Frankly I wouldn’t even have him in the squad, but harping on about Cipriani is, clearly, a waste of time as he appears to be persona non gratia as far as the England Selectors are concerned.

    Borthwick = waste of space; he’s not an international and he sure as hell isn’t doing his job as a captain.

    In short – more of the same from the England selectors. Ho hum.

  10. meant to say But at Haskell’s expense, not nut …. however it does add a different slant to the second paragraph :-)

  11. Unfortunately, Uncle Matt is right. The players that we all talk about aren’t so “young” anymore. Instead they have been continuously over looked as post 2003 England managers have chosen to try and maintain the “old guard” as much as possible. This has been proved for 6 years now that it is not the right thing to do. We have been promised a new, young, inspiring team time and time again, but no one seems to have the guts to say “bugger it – Borthwick, Flood, Tindall, Sackey, Easter, Goode, Vickery, White, Worsley, Mears. YOUR OUT”. Don’t me wrong, a few of these players have been playing well this tournament and their efforts are greatly appreciated, but the point is that its time for a change. Granted, in the front row I feel that we are struggling a little for players coming up through the ranks, but all the other positions certainly have strong contenders. Personally my team would look something like this. 1. Sheridan. 2. Hartley. 3. Mullan 4. Kennedy. 5. Croft. 6. Haskell. 7. Lipman/Armitage. 8. Crane. 9. Care/Foden. 10. Geraghty/Cipriani/May. 11. Banahan. 12. Turner-Hall. 13. Simpson-Daniel/Tait. 14. Strettle. 15. Armitage

    England coaches/selectors/manager – please don’t repeat the same mistakes. Introduce new blood into the squad, and do it now. Don’t let these talented players go to waste. Why is it that we can see this and you can’t?

  12. Interesting ideas chopper. AS I have said above If managers or coaches or any bugger at the RFU reads this blog they take no notice. I probably idn’t play at any higher level than you. I had a mate who was 6′ 8″ and at 23st was fully fit (he went UP in the summer through no training and too much beer to about 24st) I still rmember tackling him to this bloody day and the Eiffel Tower would have come down quicker and anywhere higher than the knees he would just carry you hanging on to him, the lenght of the pitch, no problem.

  13. I have just been diagnosed as being in depression and the reason, after much Freudian questioning, is the state of English back play. The problem with Cipriani’s kicking is an easy one to solve. It’s about depth, alignment and lack of blocking cover from the forwards. It’s something that he can learn and has so if you look at his recent club performances. Remember, Dan Carter had enough mares when he was introduced to the AB’s.
    My concern is the lack of ability in the backs. How can professional rugby players squander a 5 on 2 overlap? The problem in MHO is the inability to be able to play what is infront of them. Why? Overcoaching, obsession with defence?
    I hope Jonno nails his colours to the mast and says he has the game plan that will win us the World Cup and sticks to it. At the moment he is caught in the headlights. The pressure he is facing is a direct result that England expecting to win every game. Fair call given the number of players we have and the money in the game. We should be doing better I agree, but if we wish to see a change in English rugby, which with the exception of Mr J’s World Cup has been decidingly average , then we need a different input.

    Come on Jonno for one game give it a whirl. Drop Vickery until his Bull is raging, Let Steve have a holiday, pick a big fast back row and let Nick sit it out , throw caution to the wind and give Cipriani a game as long as he signs a contract not to kick, let Simpson Daniel set the game alight, let Ben Foden grace the field, pick Armitage at o/s centre ( where Will Greenwood wants hime to play) and watch his natural ability shine. If we get beat who gives a damn. Can you imagine watching a game of ebb and flow, where England run from deep with confidence and attack with true convixtion and passion.

    Part of me would like Jonno to read this but at the end of the day he is a big bugger and has won the World Cup, whereas at the level I played if you saw someone like him you would tweak a Hammy drinking the pre-match Port.

  14. Just in case you do actually read this Johnno – I am behind you. I do think your the right man for us, and granted your knowledge of rugby is probably better than all of ours, but please consider what all the fans and supporters are saying. Like Fakey said “surely we can’t all be wrong”. For 6 years now we have endured and supported our national team, even at our lowest points, but I get the impression that many players/coaches currently selected are being so, not on their abilities, but on loyality and pride. We have some outstanding playerscoaches to choose from and yet most don’t even get a look in. I for one would be unbelievably happy if for the next year (until the end of 2010 6N) you took on board what we have said, try the players, combinations and tactics that we have suggested and see what the results are. If after which we are still in the same place, I promise I will never comment/publish my opinions ever again

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