This week Brian Ashton faces a difficult dilemma – whether to select a squad full of promising young talent, or choose some rugby giants that can live with the power of the bigger teams.
Players such as Mathew Tait, Nick Abendanon and David Strettle are very promising players, full of enthusiasm and not afraid to chance their arm on the field. In attack, I’d love to see them skip past Aaron Mauger or cruise around Chris Latham.
However, in defence, I am wincing at the prospect of seeing them brushed aside by the likes of Ma’a Nonu and steam-rolled by Alesana Tuilagi.
England has made a balls-up of the preparation for this World Cup. At this late hour, Ashton should choose players like Mike Tindall (if fit, obviously), Andy Farrell and Josh Lewsey purely for their sheer physicality and brute force. Indeed, I never thought I’d be saying this, but Ben Cohen should go to France.
England need the size and experience of these players if they are to live with South Africa, New Zealand and even Samoa.