Lancaster trims squad ahead of France match


The following players will return to Pennyhill Park tomorrow evening (Wednesday) to prepare for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations game against France at Twickenham Stadium (5pm).

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

BACKS (10)
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

The following players have been released back to their Aviva Premiership clubs:

Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Will Fraser (Saracens)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Joel Tomkins (Saracens)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We’ve had 30 plus guys pushing hard for selection this week, which is what we want. We had to make some close calls but the team did very well in Ireland so we’ve gone with the same squad against France. We are looking forward to getting back to Twickenham against what I am sure will be a highly motivated French team.”

25 thoughts on “Lancaster trims squad ahead of France match

  1. I’d like to see Tuilagi starting against the French. I think England need the strongest side out. Whilst Twelvetrees and Barritt have played very well together, Tuilagi is England’s most threatening option and in my opinion and therefore has to part of the strongest team …I don’t know who I’d partner him with though.

    However, I actually expect to see the same starting line up as the Ireland fixture.

  2. would like to see Tuilagi and 12T start in midfield to test the outside defence of Basteraud, IMO France look suspect when moving the ball quickly and think these 2 could create space in wider area’s for Ashton to exploit.

  3. would probably go for manu and barritt in the centres. my hear would prefer see manu and 12Ts, but i just think that manu and barritt will cause the french more issues. also i get the feeling that we may see fofana back at 12, and basteraud at 13.

    i think barritt is the man to shackle fofana. and i cannot be the only person in the world who would love to see the human personification of a rock meeting a hard place (Basteraud vs Tuilagi) also i think that if we can get manu running the ball at Michalak (who i assume will play 10) then we will rattle him and the french will crumble.

    plus basteraud lacks fitness, so bringing 12Ts on at 50-60mins to partner Manu could be another way to test the legs of the french.

    with regards to the forwards, i would go for the same again based on the 23. i am very disappointed that waldrom has been retained. i dont think he offers as much as vunipola, and based on the weekend club performances, Billy should be the one winning any questions of form.

  4. Vunipola & Tuilagi (at the expense of 36) to start would be my preference. I wouldn’t mind reverting to ‘The Has’ on the bench and having the specialist 8 of Waldrom start.

  5. WHY has he picked Waldrom over Vunipola, again?
    I hope we get to see some of him in this tournament, perhaps against Italy.
    I think sending Foden home again is foolish, Goode proved in Dublin that he has hands as safe as houses. But Foden has scored a try in the past 4 games between England and France, 3 of which were 6N meetings.
    Personally I’d send Brown home and play Foden on the wing.

      1. fair enough. i probably still would have preferred kvesic or fraser to be involved over waldrom. i know he is the only fit “number 8” but if england are viewing wood 8 and haskell 6 to being a better option than waldrom startin at 8, then clearly he isnt bringing enough to the table.

          1. Have you ever seen Waldrom play? His work at the breakdown and his carrying is solid. He’s far more useful than Haskell or Wood at 8 and provides cover at 6 and 7. Last season I would have said he was the best 8 in the premiership and he played brilliantly in South Africa. I’d still say he’s well in the mix with Ben Morgan

            He really should start though. It was a site of pressure against Ireland as the scrum was unstable and control at the base was lacking. If the French can pressure that it will be a worry for England.

            Waldrom to start at 8, Haskell to stay on the bench, Manu and Billy in the centres. I might be interested to see Vunipola starting at the expense of Marler. Given Rowntree’s praise in the press I expect we could well see that.

          2. I think I agree with Wookie. Whilst I don’t think Waldrom is really the man for the future he is similar to Morgan and so the straight replacement with Morgan in at 8 would give more balance. Also i’m not a huge Haskel fan hes a bit of a penalty machine and refs seem to target him even if he isn’t guilty. Still i’d prob have him on the bench for versatility.

          3. I’m a minority as well in that I’m a Waldrom fan. I would have preferred B. Vunipola if he was fit, but that has more to do with I don’t think I’ve ever seen 130Kgs move faster or have better feet/agility on a rugby pitch.

            If you look past the comedy physique he’s got decent pace, excellent workrate (higher than Morgan), runs better lines than Morgan, tackles and rucks more than Morgan. I wouldn’t pick him ahead of a fit Morgan, but I think he’s a very good player and is pushing Morgan for that place. Personally I would have gone with Waldrom, Wood & Robshaw out of this 23. But if Lawes is starting I still think Waldrom can make a positive impact off the bench (as in second test in SA)

  6. It’s a tricky one but I would go for the following:

    1. M. Vunipola
    2. D. Hartley
    3. D. Cole
    4. G. Parling
    5. J. Launchbury
    6. T. Wood (better at six)
    7. C. Robshaw
    8. J. Haskell (better at eight)

    9. B. Youngs
    10. O. Farrell
    11. M. Brown
    12. B. Barritt
    13. M. Tuilagi
    14. C. Ashton
    15. A. Goode

    16. J. Marler
    17. D. Wilson
    18. T. Youngs
    19. C. Lawes
    20. T. Waldrom
    21. D. Care
    22. T. Flood
    23. B. Twelvetrees

    I though that Mako Vunipola had a great game for Quins at the weekend and deserves the nod in front of Marler even though he has had a fairly good Six Nations so far. Care also really put is hand up but Youngs kicking game should give him the starting berth and then they can utilise
    Care’s zip in the last twenty minutes. The Barritt or Twelvetrees conundrum is tough but Barritt offers so much in defence and I think that will be important in the first 40 to combat France’s preference to hammer the close channels with giants like Picamoles – this is also an especially dangerous area if they play Fofana at inside as is expected. Twelvetrees should be brought on with 30 minutes or so though to inject something different. Hartely gets the nod in front of Youngs to add a bit more beaf and grit against a gnarly French front row although he must not give away silly penalties. Finally – really think Haskell should play 8 with Wood reverting back to 6 where he plays so well. Echo thoughts that it would have been brilliant to see Vunipola on the bench instead of Waldron but we may have to wait a bit longer. His break from the base of a ruck and wide pass at pace out to Wade on the weekend was exceptional! There is a huge wealth of talent in depth for England – bring on the weekend!

  7. I think I would start Vunipola and Tuilagi, and have Marler and 36 on the bench. Tom Youngs I think is just doing enough to edge out Hartley at the moment. But he needs to get his line out throwing sorted. But Hartley’s never been the best at that either. I think his temperament is keeping him thu number 2 shirt as much as anything. Hartley will give away sill penalties and probably argue about them. Ben Youngs’ proved against Ireland that he’s on form, and should keep his spot. Care had a great game but I think Youngs’ kicking game against France could be key.

  8. According to twitter whispers its gonna be Hartley in for Youngs, Tuilagi and Barrit to start with 36 on the bench and Lawes in for Haskell since he’s been down with the flu all week. B Vunipola apparently was gonna be on the bench but has picked up an ankle knock!

    1. Lawes in for Haskell? Presuming Morgan is still injured, that means Lawes playing blind-side.

      Not happy if that is the case. I don’t mind Lawes filling in at flanker if there’s an injury, but starting there? Surely we could pick someone who normally plays their rugby in that position.

      Would rather they’d called up Dowson from the Saxons

      1. Lawes and Launchbury have both spent plenty of time at 6, so together should work well. This has got to be possibly one of the most athletic back 5s of a scrum that England will ever field (having said that Haskell was no slouch last week)

        Parra is going to be absolutely cacking it seeing Lawes at 6! If I was Courtney I would give little Morgan a wink at the first scrum that comes.

        Lawes should do a pretty decent job, he is an absolutely destructive tackler, will hit the rucks, adds to the lineout, and is as athletic as any 6 around.

        1. So if Haskell is not starting and Lawes is, would it mean Waldrom on the bench to cover back row. Who covers second row if Lawes gets injured (which is almost inevitable)? Would we not be better starting Waldrom at 8 with Wood at 6, and keeping Lawes on the bench?

          1. In response to Dazza we would still have 3 players who can cover second row in the 22. That’s all you ever have.

          1. I agree with you Nick – I also think he sometimes goes for the big, showy hit irrelevant to what’s happening tactically.

            If he does that on Sat and doesn’t make the hit, its going to leave big holes for French to exploit – and they have the players to do so.

            That said, our line-out should be pretty secure so long as the throwing is ok – any of the back five can be targets

            also, as people point out above, Parra will not be happy and neither will whoever plays fly-half. Whether its Michalak or Trinh-Duc, it would be great to see Lawes in their faces all day – a la Betsen on Wilkinson a few years back

          2. Agree it seems a bit of a risky selection for the reasons Nick stated. It may prove an inspired one though as last thing we want is the half backs having a comfortable game and gaining confidence. In his cameo against Ireland he did demolish RoG, he brings so much line speed I don’t see either half back wanting to hang around too close to the gain line.

  9. Barritt and Tuilagi have to start. Barritt is extremely effective in this set up and in my mind is one of the main reasons for the turnaround. And Tuilagi is sure to make any sane opponent crap their pants, especially the French when they are already lacking confidence (notwithstanding the positive impact of their karting outing…gimme a break).

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