Lancaster trims squad ahead of Scotland clash


Stuart Lancaster has retained the following 23 players ahead of the opening weekend of the RBS Six Nations:

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
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)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

The following 9 players will return to their clubs:
Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

England head coach Lancaster said: “We’ve had to make some tough calls with a lot of competition for places. The players’ attitude and application in training has been first rate and we know those going back to their clubs and playing in the LV= Cup will be pushing hard for contention for the Ireland match.”

What would your starting lineup be for the weekend?

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43 comments on “Lancaster trims squad ahead of Scotland clash

  1. I am really disappointed with the selection on Strettle. As I think it means he is starting. I can’t imagine him being in the squad just to be on the bench.
    This isn’t necessarily how I’d have it, but this is how I think we will line up:
    1. Marler
    2. Hartley
    3. Cole
    4 Launchbury
    5. Parling
    6. Wood
    7. Robshaw
    8. Morgan
    9. Youngs
    10. Farrell
    11. Strettle
    12. Twelvetrees
    13. Barritt
    14. Ashton
    15. Goode

    16. Youngs
    17. Vunipola
    18. Wilson
    19. Lawes
    20. Haskell
    21. Care
    22. Flood
    23. Brown

    I would personally have a straight swap for Foden in for Strettle. Other than that it is what I would go for.

    When Burns and Tuilagi are fit I would have them both straight back in for Farrell and Barritt respectively.

    Other than that, it is basically the best England side we have right now.

    • Why would Strettle being in the squad mean he’s got to start? Having Strettle on the bench makes sense to me. With Flood and Strettle on the bench and Farrell, Brown and Goode starting, the backline is covered from 10 to 15. Farrell can move out to the centre, Strettle covers the wing (and has played 13 before, as has Goode), Brown can play wing or FB, Flood can play 10 or 12.

      • The only reason I say that it that Strettles strongest assets are not those of a sub, or certainly not an impact sub. He is a solid player who is very good at kick chasing. Thats is why my thought process was that we would start, with a Saracens back three and 10, and our game plan would be that of Saracens.

        Obviously I may be wrong, but that is what I think may happen.

        • That’s fair, you may well be right. The familiarity with the other Saracens could be in his favour.

          I think Brown was one of the more threatening players in the Autumn so I hope that he gets the start.

  2. A few journos reporting today that 12trees and Barritt will be the centre combo. Better than any Flood-Barritt-Farrell combo I reckon, but still would have like to see JJ at least on the bench.

  3. 12ts to start at 12, and youngs to start at 2. Marler gets the nod at 1.

    Pretty decent looking team, especially as brown gets 11, so strets is on the bench.

    Glad 12ts gets his shot. There are enough “experienced” players round him to let him have a go.

  4. Glad to see 12ts in, is a genuine chance for aassing crestive 12 and will bring the best out of manu, when he plays. Sad about foden he has been one of our best players over the past few years and he didn’t play abdly he got injured.

    I’m not convinced about Goode but he is a good player. Strettle shouldn’t be there at all but over all a good squad.

    Manu, croft and burns to come in after injury. Burns is a more complete player than farrel, his kicking procentages are the same as farrel’s this year, and has more options as a game manager. People need to see that farrel does the simple things because that is all he is capab,e of doing, he is limited.

  5. I really hope I am wrong, but I can’t see the point of keeping Strettle unless he’s starting. He may have played 13 before but it would only be desperation that puts him there in an international.

    Its the situation I most dread but it looks like it’ll be Farrell, 36, Barritt, Strettle, Ashton and Goode with Brown on the bench to cover the back 3

    Say goodbye to any attacking threat as Farrell spends all day lofting the ball into the air for the sarries wingers to chase.

    God I hope I’m just being overly pessimistic, but this line-up would not surprise me

    • I think Brown will start over Strettle. Lancaster seems to be a big fan of the ‘credit in the bank’ school of selecting, so I think Brown’s good form in the autumn will count strongly in his favour.

      Having said that, another (and worse) option would be to revert Brown to fullback with Strettle on the wing and Goode on the bench. That would be the worst of all scenarios, in my opinion.

      • I hope so Jamie. If you are right about the credit idea, I think it’ll line up

        Youngs (would prefer Care)

      • Thanks Jamie, it should have been obvious really.
        Talking of Irish accents, I have a Irish friend from Tipperary. My Dad was having a discussion with him about a recent trip to Edinburgh. My friend Tom said “Ah, they’ve got some great bears in Edinburgh” my Dad replied “They don’t have bears in Scotland! I think they used to have wolves but not bears!” Tom says “Not bears, BARS!”
        Anyway thought I’d share it with you.

  6. A lot of people are touting Marler as the starting loose head. I am not 100% sure why, so far Vunipola has shown real threat when he has been on the pitch, aside from 1 slightly harsh yellow card he has been threatening.
    I haven’t seen any prop get his opposite man off the floor since Perugini made a habit of it a while ago and never saw Marler run through a back row player like he wasn’t there (Dave Dennis)

  7. As I say I’m not saying the players aren’t good individually but I don’t see much threat.

    Barritt is strong, but I am afraid he is can’t pass or won’t pass. He lacks the pace to be a test 13. Whilst he might get away with it if it rains v Scotland, but not against big 3.

    I agree Goode is a threat, but like…..everyone bar Ashton lacks the pace to worry a top tier team

    Fussier might be like varndell on the turn, but he is as dangerous and prolific as varndell going forward, he’ll score on Saturday.

    Mainland is very dangerous, not very Scottish, but dangerous and Hogg has the footwork of Goode but with searing pace. I watch a lot of Celtic league rugby, these 3 could tear us apart. However Lamonts hands are as good as barritts so they won’t.

    Agree brown has got a good boot, but i prefer my wingers do to electric quick, he is not.
    It seems to me we have gone with a safe solid (boring) midfield with some creative outside backs with no gas.

    Sadly I am expecting a bore fest.

  8. I reckon it will be

    Launch bury

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