Lancaster trims England squad for Scotland match


With Jonny May passed fit, Stuart Lancaster has named the same squad to travel to Edinburgh this weekend.

What do you think? Would you have changed anything?

David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

Returning to Aviva Premiership clubs
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

41 thoughts on “Lancaster trims England squad for Scotland match

  1. Ditto Matt B…. Alex Goode is a disgrace and should be nowhere near the EPS.

    Dickson was poor when he came on.

    Should have sent home: Goode, Barritt, Dickson

    Kept: Watson, Eastmond, Youngs, Ford

  2. Watson I understand not including, sending Ford home and keeping Barritt is frustrating.

    Youngs has been in awful form, much prefer Dickson thank you.

  3. Having defended SL for his subs last week, I most definitely am not going to this week. He should have learnt his lesson. I can forgive him a mistake as he has tried many different players and a good many have come off, but don’t make the same mistake twice!

    Dickson I can understand but Goode and Barritt again – no. Ford on the bench and Farrell to cover centres and Watson to cover the back three surely.

    Desperately hope they know what they are doing with May.

  4. Given his extremely conservative selection for Scotland is SL ‘s confidence wavering?When in doubt do nowt ?It looks like it may piss down-a great leveller of course.I would show the squad videos of all the Murrayfield losses since 1990 to instill the mindset There is no way we dare lose this one .Part of NZ physche is we cant go home if we lose.England need to feel the same naked fear of losing

  5. I am sticking by Lancaster here. I am no fan of Goode. At all. Barritt might be handy coming off the bench for a gladiatorial final half hour or so. But against Scotland at murrayfield, one of the worst pitches in the northern hemisphere when it is likely to have been absolutely pissing it down. Not the best arena to blood,fresh exciting talent. The kicking game will need to be good and Alex Goode can do a job in this area. (off the bench) But yes I agree he is NOT the answer long term and unless it is going to poor conditions Watson must at least make the bench for Ireland.
    Sadly, I predict this arch will be a boring kick fest. Shame really…

  6. @staggy
    What did you mean by ” I hope they know what they are doing with May.” are you not on the bandwagon, do you not think he can be fit after his nose job or maybe you don’t think it’s the right conditions for him? We’ve seen him light up this ground before.

    1. No, not his play – am more than happy with that. Am just worried about his nose. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that at the bottom of the first ruck he is in, a stray Scottish hand/knee/elbow will accidently test his nose to see if it really is recovered. I don’t want a full back playing on the wing after 5 minutes again!

  7. Win, lose or draw this is a bad selection. They may perform well and it will still be a bad selection. One game closer to the world cup without even attempting to find an alternative/backup to Farrell. What are we going to do if Farrell gets injured and can’t play against Ireland?

    Happy with starting the same XV (if that’s what we do), but bench really needs looking at. I have this nasty feeling that he seriously wants to take a look at Goode @ 10 and doesn’t want to discard him without first evaluating this.

    Standout performers from Argentina (Eastmond and Webber) must be wondering what they have to do. Think they should have brought in Brookes for Thomas, may not be as exciting but at least he’s a big man who can anchor a scrum. 3 front row replacements all noted for what they do out of the scrum rather than in it is not right. Don’t like seeing Dan Cole ground into the dirt for the full 80 in the most attritional position because we don’t trust a bench replacement. Ryan Grant is another of those tough compact props that seem to give him trouble so he’s in for a tough afternoon again.

  8. It’s frustrating to see that the likes of Anthony Watson and George ford have been released. I feel that the likes of Goode and Nowell deserve their change but playing May is a risk.

    England lack experience in the back line and David strettle should be placed there.
    In my mind twelvetrees should be dropped to make way for brad barrit in the centre.
    This leaves george ford on the bench with Farrell covering centers if someone is injured

  9. I dearly love the Six Nations, but Christ, it sure does bring a load of moaners out of the woodwork.

    Lancaster was never going to change the squad for this game and anyone who expected he would is a moron.

    1. Just because you don’t expect him to make changes doesn’t mean we can’t have an opinion about the squad. And these views about Goode etc are not exactly new or restricted to the Six Nations.

    2. Its the suns that need most work. If Lancaster truly does believe he is going to base his squad on form then why is David strettle (one of the top try scorers this season, 1st place with sarries, and many caps to his name) not in the squad? May hasn’t been that great and Gloucester have been terrible. I don’t think Lancaster is consistent

      1. Because Dave Strettle has been consistently rubbish for England. He was awful during the summer tour, botching several try scoring opportunities.

        He’s also a Sarries back. We should try and keep them to an absolute minimum.

    3. Whether we expected it or not is irrelevant. You can expect something and still disagree with, and be disappointed by, it.

      Most of us are concerned over having no alternative to Farrell @ 10 and very few of us have any idea how Goode can still be considered an international standard fullback. It seems I’m mistaken (and a moron) for thinking I was in the correct place to express those opinions.

  10. Not surprised but utterly gutted. Felt much the same way throughout the Robinson, Ashton and Johnson eras.

    So if Sarries get to the prem final we will then blood Ford away to NZ? Or just pray that Burns has found some form?

  11. Have to say, the people saying that Strettle should be in the squad are making me feel much better :), Cheers guys, it reminds me as well that Ashton isn’t in either.

      1. It is slightly relieving that the situation could actually be worse.

        But there must be some logic in the process. Please tell me there’s some logic

        When Lancaster et al sit down for selection meetings, look over the previous week’s game and still come up with the name of Alex Goode (on the pitch for 72 minutes and according to ESP, was turned over 5 times, made 0 tackles and missed 1) on the team-sheet there must be a plan.

        When they look at the limited time till the next world cup and decide once again not to blood a replacement fly-half for Farrell, there must be a strategy,

        When once again Henry Thomas is picked on the bench and once again fails to get on the pitch, there must be some thought involved on how we will try out a replacement for Cole

        Please tell me there’s a plan

        1. Before the Argentina tour (and before Goode got injured) Lancaster said he wanted to try him at 10. If we have no back 3 injuries I have a horrible feeling this is what we’ll see at the weekend. Whilst he may have the potential to be a good one he doesn’t play there, won’t be going back to his club to play there, so it would be an utterly pointless experiment.

          Pure speculation on my part and I’ll be delighted to be completely wrong.

            1. I would say that if he plays there regularly when Hodgson retires (not heard anything about him calling time?) and demonstrates he is the second best prem FH then he can be looked at as an England backup option. Otherwise the horse is well behind the cart.

              It’s pure conjecture on my part that this is why he’s retained, a hunch that Lancaster still has an itch (well more of a festering sore) he wants to scratch.

  12. freddie burns is simply not in form watching operate against Irish Bloodhound and scotland A he was poor. we still need a classy no 10 as todate george ford is too small but which top player who can lead and feed the back..currently no one

  13. Let’s face it he isn’t going to change it now with Ireland and Wales up after Scotland.

    I just don’t understand the logic or lack thereof.

    What’s worse I can see him putting Barritt back in the team for Wales and Ireland.

  14. I am so disappointed by this selection. Really can’t believe what I am seeing.

    Even without injuries, Goode will come on at some point, probably at FB, meaning Brown will come off or be moved. Great.

    I’ve defended SL for the France game, and I see him logic there, but for Scotland this is awful. I don’t think the Scots are a terrible side, but no disrespect to them, it’s a game we should win so we should be bloodying youngsters.

    The lack of a second 10 option worries me, we must give Ford a chance, otherwise, when will he be given a shot?

  15. Genuine question – I thought I recalled some interviews with Lancaster before the tournament where he said this years was about development i.e. more important than winning it. Can someone tell me – did this happen or has my addled brain attributed to him something that perhaps some journo said?

    1. “People will forget about the age and experience of the side if we lose. You can’t go into a Six Nations game not caring if you win or lose. The priority has to be to win. On the other hand, I’d rather find out about players now than be sat here next January wondering if Anthony Watson is good enough.”

    2. I believe you are correct Brighty.

      Do I infer correctly that you don’t believe this is borne out in the reality?

      1. Yes Blub, it doesn’t look like he is developing to me given he has one recognised 10 in two starting squads.

  16. If he picks the same starting XV as last week, that’s something I’m very happy with. I also have no issue with the forwards on the bench. Yes, you could argue that Youngs helped with our downfall, but hopefully he’ll work on the lineout with Lawes (as he’s clearly much better when he workswith Parling).

    My issue, like with many people, is with the backs on the bench. Dickson offered little, and with B Youngs out of form I’d like to have seen Wigglesworth given a go. Barritt is pointless – he only plays 12. If we’d had Ford on the bench (who is a fantastic tactical kicker, perfect for a game like this) then Farrell could have moved to 12 if we lost 36, And lastly, Goode – where to start? In the 70+ minutes against France he made 0 tackles (missing 1), and was turned over 5 times. He’s not, nor has ever been, an international fullback. I’d have much preferred Watson (who can over wing and fullback), or Eastmond (who can cover inside centre, wings and fullback)

    1. Parling was on the pitch against the ABs in the autumn. So don’t think the absence of Parling is the cause. No idea if he took the calling role over from Lawes or not though.

      I wonder if Youngs’ issues are around being used as an impact sub, coming on and hitting his men, rather than as a starter where they will have done a few drills to find his range in warm up.

      We’ve also got May to cover 13, so Ford/Watson or Ford/Eastmond would have given us plenty of options and not left any position exposed.

      1. I don’t think Young’s being a sub is the reason for his inability to throw a good lineout, Hartley has come off the bench plenty of times before and completed throws, regardless of which club the jumper is from.
        I admire T. Youngs ability around the park, makes a lot of ground, but as a hooker you need to have a good lineout throw, and be able to hook the ball in the scrum. He can’t do either of these on a regular basis, which I personally think means another hooker should be given a chance (Rob Webber maybe)

        1. Both Hartley and Youngs missed a lineout. The youngs miss was 2 inches off, and Rowntree has suggested the jumper/lifters were to blame also.

          As for hooking, are you merely spouting known wisdom? The first scrum Youngs came on shows him hooking perfectly. The second one was an incorrect feed from Dickson (hardly Youngs fault).

          Watson has been in the camp, and Nowell has been chosen ahead of him, as has May even with a busted nose. Watson may play FB for Bath, and that’s great, but he has a nasty tendancy to slice unpressured kicks. I’d rather he learned the game playing for his club, not his country (Farrell is bad enough). He’s in the camp, he’s being watched, if they play him, it’ll be because they think he can handle it.

  17. The answer is simple – make sarries play Goode at 10 so he can be England’s FH for the RWC, stick tom Young’s at 13 with brick wall barritt at 12….this selection business is easy ;-)

  18. With May passed fit I’d keep the starting line up but Goode and Barritt proved useless off the bench against France. And Scotland is a good opportunity to experiment, better now than against Italy in week 5. With Flood going to France and Farrell most likely in the AP final; our FH options for the first test at Eden park are an out of sorts Burns and Ford with no more than 3 caps, if that many.
    Ford and Watson should have been named on the bench and given an opportunity. This was the perfect time to try it and to not do so is baffling.

  19. I can’t help but think Lancaster is being pig headed. Picking the same squad to prove he didn’t make a mess of it first time. Seems like he needs to pull his head out his arse and accept some responsibility.

  20. The only way we will find if Ford is an international outside half is Lancaster to pick him. The consensus of those who watch Ford feel he has earned his opportunity, with the exception of Stuart Lancaster of course!

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