Five players England must take to South Africa

With Stuart Lancaster naming his 42-man squad this lunchtime, here are five players who must travel on the five match tour to South Africa this summer:

Danny Care

It has been a turbulent season for the Harlequins scrum-half, but having cut out the alcohol and convinced Lancaster that the past is behind him, Care is ready to be part of the England setup once more. The timing could not be better – since the decision to fix his career Care’s form has been exceptional, the player himself admitting that he feels fitter than ever. Lee Dickson impressed in the Six Nations but his shirt is by no means guaranteed, offering Care a shot at redemption.

Tom Youngs

Youngs may have never started at Premiership match at hooker – his last start came at inside centre in March 2008 – but England are short of talent in the number 2 shirt with George Chuter and Lee Mears the wrong side of 30. Dylan Hartley will return from suspension for the tour, but Youngs is an exciting prospect who has been learning his trade patiently whilst retaining the dynamism and speed that saw him initially start his career in midfield. The tour would be more about him gaining experience rather than starting against the Springboks, but his development is crucial looking forward to 2015.

Joe Launchbury

After time with the England squad during the Six Nations, Launchbury looks set to follow in the footsteps of his Wasps predecessors Joe Worsley, Lawrence Dallaglio and Tom Rees by becoming part of the England squad this summer. A superb athlete with a brilliant work rate, Launchbury’s performances for Wasps in a poor season have been a rare positive despite being out injured for a large chunk of the Spring. With Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft and Tom Wood all missing from the tour through injury, Launchbury has big shoes to fill.

Christian Wade

20-year old Wade missed three months of the season with a groin injury, but that didn’t stop him scoring 9 tries in the Aviva Premiership, with 13 in all competitions, marking him out as one of the deadliest finishers in the English game. Much like Tom Youngs, the inclusion of Wade on this tour will be more for experience than facing the Boks, but the test is whether Wade can belie his size at Test level as he has so far in the Premiership. If he can, England will have uncovered another lethal weapon to add into their armoury.

Jonathan Joseph

Another young star whose season has been riddled with injury, Joseph has shown over the last few months since his return just how effective he can be in the midfield. The London Irish outside centre has a sidestep and turn of pace that will lead him to succeed at any level and is a major contrast to the power of Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi. Having worked closely with Mike Catt over the last few seasons, the England attack coach knows better than anyone the attacking threat Joseph offers. Now is his time to show the world what he can do.

Who do you want to see involved in the England squad? Let us know in the comments.

by Ben Coles

17 thoughts on “Five players England must take to South Africa

  1. With Rob Webber likely injured, England must take an experienced hooker alongside Dylan Hartley. If Hartley gets injured, the prospect of putting Tom Youngs (yet to start in a Premiership game) in front of the Springboks seems somewhat less than ideal. I’d guess Mears or Chuter will go, most likely Mears.

    Would love to see Christian Wade go as well – I believe Charlie Sharples is out through injury so it’s a good opportunity for him.

    1. Seems unlikely given that Cockerill has said he’s going to stay at Leicester for a full pre-season, and Lancaster has publicly agreed with him (during his Five Live interview). I tend to agree with Cockerill, think he will get more benefit from a full pre-season with the Leicester coaches than he will if he goes to South Africa.

  2. Have to have Marler and Brown from Quins… maybe even Jordan Turner-Hall. Would like to see George Ford called up also.

  3. I see the benefit of taking Launchbury as he can cover both 6 and 2nd row. However, I feel Fearns will be very harshly done by if he isn’t on that plane, great young talent.

    George Ford is the future, however a summer avoiding having monster south african forwards running at him is likely to do him good in the long term.

  4. It seems that the team has been pretty much announced according to some sources. I have to say that I absolutely HATE this briefing by press before the official press conference. This has always been a problem with the RFU and I would like to see it finished permanently. Press embargo until the official announcement is the only way forward. Rant over!

  5. To be fair, I suspect that most observers (either fans or journalists) could correctly pick 95% of the touring party so an embargo would be pretty futile.

  6. Steffon Armitage. OK timing will be a problem if Toulon make it to play off final, but I think his form should be rewarded by getting integrated with the squad and maybe in contention for final test.

    I’ve not seen much of Tom Youngs, completely agree with other 4. As Mears will testify it isn’t a lot of fun being a small hooker against an SA scrum so with Youngs, Mears, Gray in the mix I’m not convinced we have enough physicality to go toe to toe. Buchannon looks the best prospect coming through to me.

    The best place for Ford this summer is the gym, his time will come. Chucking him in now and we risk him doing a Tait.

    1. Absolutely agree on Armitage – he’s been playing out of his skin in France and could be the answer to our 7 issue.

  7. Armitage is the only English qualified 7 that currently deserves an international call up. Matt Kvesic isn’t far off but armitage seems to be the full package. He also scores lots of tries.

  8. Another vote for Steffon Armitage

    Some others…

    George Lowe
    George Robson
    Matt Kvesic
    Tom Johnson

  9. Kvesic played last weekend did he not? Nearly got man of the match against Northampton? Kvesic is much better defensively and at the breakdown than wallace and at the end of the day that’s what you want from a 7.

    1. Exceptional game against Saints, first time I have seen him play, now I understand what all the fuss is about. Wallace, Kvesic, Nutley, Vunipola, some great backrow prospects coming through.

  10. I believe Steffon Armitage was not interested in going as the French Championship does not finish until mid June, but why not Delon? He is in outstanding form but still seems to be punished for some minor offences, where Care has been forgiven his four recent offences including drink driving. There does seem to be discrimination against teh Armitages

    1. All of Care’s offences were off the pitch and mostly due to alcohol. Delon Armitage’s poor record is entirely on field discipline problems

      A big difference there.

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