It’s that time of the week again when we wonder whether Martin Johnson will shake things up in his team selection for this weekend’s game. With Simon Shaw injured and question marks over Delon Armitage’s fitness, now could be the time for a bold selection.
Ben Foden has to start. He looked threatening throughout his half-hour cameo against Ireland, and his attacking instinct could breathe life into an England side that has fluctuated between being pretty average and absolutely dreadful for quite some time now.
Courtney Lawes is another of those players, and the second row has been a real area of weakness for England. Louis Deacon seems to be one of Johnno’s favourite players, but he and Steve Borthwick do not offer enough dynamism to get England moving forwards – they are able lineout options and probably push a bit in the scrum, but Lawes has offered so much more around the park in his games for Northampton.
Ugo Monye has been disappointing so far this year, and I’d give his shirt to yet another Saints player – Chris Ashton. The Guinness Premiership’s leading try-scorer couldn’t make a stronger case for inclusion, scoring week after week for his club and always looking threatening.
I’d also be tempted to bring in Phil Dowson for James Haskell, but I can’t see it happening and I don’t want to sound too pro-Northampton!