With the long World Cup season now underway, we are bringing back our Scout Notes feature, keeping an eye on those players that could be fighting for selection next summer.
We’ll be focusing on the home nations, simply because that’s what we know, but if anyone would like to help us expand the coverage, please do get in touch.
Central to Harlequins’ improved attacking play, carrying forcefully as always, but increasingly looking for the offload to keep the ball alive, rather than bury it between his legs as he has been known to do. Could be central to a fast England gameplan with huge strength and soft hands.
A strong performance in less than a half of rugby, playing flat, putting people through gaps and running a fast game. Concerning injury before half-time because we want to see him play like this more.
What does Neil Back know that we at England don’t? Our friend Thommo was on the bench behind little Andy Titterell – perhaps he’s not as good as we think he is? I won’t tell Johnno.
Seems to be picking up where he left off, always looking for the ball, running great support lines and constantly threatening. A lovely line to draw three men and offload to Tonga’uhia for a try. Note to self: should England try to play more like Ashton, or should we always make everyone play like England?
Just when we had almost given up on him because someone new had come along, Armitage put in a great performance. Solid under the high ball as he was in his breakthrough season, and looked to run the ball again. Should be some healthy competition at full-back this year.
A reasonable game on debut for Wasps with a few good carries as always, but was also seen in support more often than usual, suggesting that he might be useful beyond first phase. If Nick Mullins hadn’t reminded us all of Buggygate in commentary when he said ‘Buggygate forgotten in an instant’, he might be on the squad list.
Made debut for Cardiff with 100% kicking record, and orchestrated proceedings effectively. Compared well with Scottish opposition, and seems to be losing his ‘only good at kicking’ reputation. Might just peak at the right time for the World Cup.
The Scout is always looking for tip-offs, so let us know if you spotted anyone that deserves a mention.