England team to face New Zealand

Martin Johnson has made a bold call in dropping Danny Cipriani for this weekend’s fixture against the All Blacks.

Nick Kennedy returns, whilst Tom Rees is dropped as Michael Lipman starts. Dan Hipkiss also makes his first appearance in the matchday squad.

England: Delon Armitage; Paul Sackey, Jamie Noon, Riki Flutey, Ugo Monye, Toby Flood, Danny Care; Tim Payne, Lee Mears, Phil Vickery, Steve Borthwick (capt), Nick Kennedy, James Haskell, Michael Lipman, Nick Easter.
Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Matt Stevens, Tom Croft, Tom Rees, Harry Ellis, Danny Cipriani, Dan Hipkiss.

10 thoughts on “England team to face New Zealand

  1. Feel sorry for Tom Rees, don’t think he was the worst player out there last week. Why is he dropped and Noon and Borthwick are still there? Even Sackey was pretty bad last week, and not sure he still deserves to start.

    We are going to get killed I think. Maybe then we’ll fire some of the coaches and the Six Nations will be another new dawn?

  2. Apparently Rees was dropped as they had promised Michael Lipman a start at some point in the series…why start him against the toughest team? Rees is unlucky.

    Kennedy should never have been dropped to begin with, and, Borthwick is only playing because he’s captain. Johnson’s first mistake was making someone that can’t guarantee his starting place as the skipper. He’d look stupid dropping him though.

    Don’t see the point of having Croft as a reserve 2nd row option – or would Easter pack down in the engine room if Kennedy or Borthwick gets injured?

    Cipriani deserves to be dropped. Flood was the in form 10 before the series, though, Flood is still woeful and always has been for England.

  3. Would like to have seen Hipkiss and Ellis brought into the side, although I still think Care is the long term answer at 9.

    The Cipriani question is a difficult one. It’s harder because the press have built him up so much but he’s been playing behind a losing pack with bugger all going on outside him. Life is pretty tough for a 10 in those circumstances. The only thing he was guilty of was trying to force things too much when they weren’t on but the flip side of that is that someone had to given how pedestrian everything was around him. His error count was astronomical, but I just really hope he doesn’t stop trying things because of the experience.

    Think Sackey is lucky. Being out of form is one thing, looking like you’re thoroughly uninterested is another. Think we found out quite a lot about him when he said 2 weeks ago that even if his side wins he isn’t happy if he hasn’t scored.

    And if Rees has to be dropped to give his back up a run out, what about getting Hartley in there too.

  4. Repeating a post from another thread but i think we (the rugby loving english public) should at least give Johnson and his squad the six nations before really judging them. I understand that they haven’t improved at all in the past month and have probably gone backwards but we need to give them a proper competition (the six nations) before we call for wholesale changes.
    Not giving Rees a chance to play against McCaw is a bad call though – if he is to be our 7 for the next 4 years then he needs to play against the best regularly.

  5. I agree Spike. Rees is one of the few players I am convinced we need to invest in, because he will be there in 2011. Can’t say that against many of the remaining 15.

  6. What? Lipman was promised a start!! That’s the kind of thing you see in an amateur club’s third team – “well, I promised him a start because he washed the kit for us all last week”. This is international rugby for God’s sake!

    So what if we’d broken the promise to Lipman, would that be the biggest problem in the English game right now?? Is that promise really more important than putting out our best side to do what we can to mitigate the arse-kicking we look set to receive and developing one of the few players we have that looks likely to become world class?

  7. how good is the source that said lipman was promised a start? I can’t believe that one to be honest. You pick your best players against the best team in the world full stop. It’s lucky that lipman is actually quite good… Good job balshaw or Barrie John Mather wasn’t promised a start!

  8. Agreed, Rees is one of the best things that England have going on at the moment and I am not sure why Lipman has been chosen over him. Link below to an article where Lipman is quoted as saying Borthwick needs other leaders around him and that is why he has been included. Still think it is a bit of an outrage though! If anything I think Rees has more leadership potential but hey ho….


    Cips is a tough call but Flood does have more experience and experience against NZ, my only worry is his defensive capabilities.

    I think it is about time Hipkiss got a look in and Sackey is lucky Strettle is injured!

    As Really says though, at least it’s not Butterfingers Balshaw!

  9. Quote from the BBC website:

    Johnson admitted that it was Rees’s “best game of the whole series” but added: “We wanted to give Mike a start somewhere in the series. He is fresh and eager to go.”

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