Morgan in for Waldrom as Lancaster rings changes

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Stuart Lancaster will be ringing the changes to his matchday squad to face South Africa this weekend.

Joe Marler and Thomas Waldrom have been released back to their clubs, whilst the following 24 players will remain at Pennyhill Park.

The following 24 players will return to Pennyhill Park tomorrow evening (Wednesday) to prepare for Saturday’s QBE International against South Africa at Twickenham Stadium (2.30pm, live on SkySports HD).

England RugbyFORWARDS (14)
Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
David Paice (London Irish)
Tom Palmer (London Wasps)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt)
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)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

The following 11 players have this evening been released back to their clubs.

Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
George Robson (Harlequins)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster: “We have made some changes this week to freshen up the squad before the challenge of South Africa.

“Unfortunately that means one or two players miss out who were in the match day squad against Australia. But they have all added value with their contributions in training and the games and I am sure they will be looking to play well for their clubs and force their way back in.

“The changes however give opportunities to those who have been pushing hard and we feel will add energy and balance to the team ahead of the significant South African challenge.”

49 thoughts on “Morgan in for Waldrom as Lancaster rings changes

    1. Some guts from Bomber to drop our top performer against Australia.

      Barritt/Joseph midfield with Manu on the wing, do you think?

  1. Brown on the wing? Is this an attempt to counter a kicking threat? Could be Joseph but I’m not sure what logic there would be behind having him over Sharples. Seems harsh on Sharples given he only had one bad game (limited/no service, but the aspects of his game which were solely his responsibility weren’t great either).

  2. Only 1 out and out winger in the squad? Does that mean Tuilagi is set for a wing berth? Or brown?Hmmmmmm.

    Obviously this means Corbs, Wood and Morgan all set to start.

  3. The biggest travesty of this selection is no Lawes! Did he not play at the weekend? Or did he look off the pace? I didn’t see much of the LV coverage, but surely his aggression would have been helpful against the Boks. Waldrom out seems like an odd one to me too, he can count himself unlucky. Let’s hope Joseph gets some game time and gets put in a bit of space by Flood/Goode. Could be exciting.

    1. No game time for Lawes last weekend sadly. There are willing and competent tacklers who have good tackle completion rates but rarely stop someone on or behind the gainline (e.g. Parling) and there are scything destructive tacklers who are like a nuclear deterrent for anyone even considering running down their channel (Lawes). Will be missed!

  4. Maybe SL is going to put Owen Farrell on the wing to use his scorching speed and attacking instinct? Actually it doesn’t matter who plays on the wing because they will be negated by the drifting players inside them.Am I simply being negative or is it fair to assume that sideways running,amongst other fundamental problems,will be as evident as usual come Saturday?

    1. Cannot understand why they persist with Farrell (without being completely cynical and playing the family card) in favour of Burns. Burns would add some flair and the ability to change the game off the bench, Farrell offers nothing more than Flood can already do.

    2. I think your comments are totally justified.I can’t see what Catt and Farrell senior are adding as value

  5. bold moves by lancaster, back row of robshaw, morgan and wood certainly has a better feel too it. i think England need to worry less about positions in the backs, and just get the best players on the pitch, like the southern hemisphere sides seem to do, if that means having tualgi on the wing and having a more balanced and potentially more dangerous centre pairing of barritt and joseph then so be it. would love to see either cipriani or burns on th bench though…

  6. I thought sharples got lost and would be dropped for it. He stopped looking for the ball! I suspect that we will see manu and JJ reunite due to catts fondness for developing that style of partnership (he previously stated, as has Lancaster that they see him as the next nonu.)

  7. Thank goodness for that. Hope launchbury starts not botha. I’m warming to the idea of Manu to the wing as punishment for not passing! Hask is a good pick for impact. Wish we had some impact in the backs bench. Farrell like brown is either a starter or out of the squad. In the 2nd half against Aus the team and crowd went flat sorry but Faz jnr is not someone to inject some excitement and dropped goals are none too good either! Feeling better about Saturday.

  8. Interesting squad selection here. Lancaster sure doesn’t seem to mind mixing things up which I am a supporter of. I think he will probably pick the following match day team:

    1. A. Corbisero
    2. T. Youngs
    3. D. Cole
    4. T. Palmer
    5. G. Parling (or Botha if Parling is not fit)
    6. T. Wood
    7. C. Robshaw
    8. B. Morgan

    9. D. Care
    10. T. Flood
    11. M. Tuilagi
    12. B. Barritt
    13. J. Joseph
    14. C. Ashton
    15. A. Goode

    16. M. Vunipola
    17. D. Wilson
    18. D. Paice
    19. J. Launchbury
    20. J. Haskell
    21. O. Farrell
    22. M. Brown

    It actually has quite a nice look to it. I am quietly optimistic! The only available player missing that I would have liked to seen included is Courtney Lawes as his enforcer like attitude will be needed against the boks. That being said, I don’t know if he is fully fit yet. Anyone know how much game time he has had?

    1. Surely not Palmer. He has been anonymous in the last 2 matches. I joked about Manu on the wing but don’t think it will happen. No kicking game and not sure how safe he is under the high ball. Too much of a target for the boks. I reckon brown on the wing Joseph on the bench, centres as we were. Joseph on for Barritt in the last 20 mins.

    1. There are 24 names on that list, so presumably one of them won’t make it. I wonder if Botha is there for his inside knowledge of the opposition? Or to teach them to count in Afrikaans to decipher lineout calls?!

  9. Agree with Benjit, Although I think Tuilagi/Joseph should be given another crack as a partnership, unlikey though.

  10. I really wouldn’t want Tuilagi on the wing, can’t see his positioning being up to much, nor would I have much confidence in his ability to return kicks. Has he ever played there?

  11. Lancaster played two full backs in SA to counter the SA kicking game. He is almost certainly going to do the same again with Brown on the wing after the cameo performance of the last two games.

    Hope Sharples has just been dropped for this game due to this reason. Can’t really think that Ashton did anything more and at least Sharples chased kicks – Ashton didn’t.

    Can’t see beyond Barritt and Tuilagi in midfield to counter SA beef but hope Catt does some serious work with Tuilagi and offloading this week. Why else have an attack coack if not to coach attack!

    Let’s hope that Catt works on SH step and Floods alignment as well. Busy week for him then!

    1. Staggy, check out Ashton’s stats compared to Sharples’ from the Australia game. More metres run (almost three times as many), more runs, more clean breaks, more offloads, more turnovers won, more defenders beaten – it felt like he had a quiet game, but he didn’t really…

    2. Agree that we’re likely to see a back three of Brown, Ashton and Goode, rather than Tuilagi on the wing. Makes sense against the kicking game of the Boks.

      I like Sharples, but he did make some defensive errors against Australia, and it’s not a huge shock to see him dropped.

  12. Looks like a good selection to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Haskell starting with Wood on the bench. His physicality is exactly what England need against the Boks. Could even potentially play Haskell at 8, with Morgan as an impact sub?

    I would go with this:

    1. Corbisiero
    2. Youngs
    3. Cole
    4. Launchberry
    5. Parling
    6. Haskell
    7. Robshaw
    8. Morgan
    9. Youngs
    10. Flood
    11. Brown
    12. Barritt
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Goode

    16. Paice
    17. Vunipola
    18. Wilson
    19. Palmer
    20. Wood
    21. Care
    22. Farrell
    23. Joseph

    I don’t think Tuilagi can play on the wing. SL obviously has a similar idea as the summer with playing two full backs in the back three, it makes sense against the Boks.

    Also, does anyone know why there are four second rows in the squad? I assume someone has a niggle?

    1. Minor niggle for Parling – anticipated to be fine but Botha is in just in case he fails last minute fitness tests

  13. Not surprised (and pleased) to see Morgan back in the 23(or 24) but wasn’t expecting Waldrom out completely. With Morgan in I would start with Haskell and Robshaw. Logic for this is Waldrom hits a lot more rucks and tackles more than Morgan. But given we were stuffed at the breakdown last week (neither Johnson or Robshaw particularly effective) and we will be hitting less rucks with Morgan than Waldrom I would go for the extra physicality in the breakdown and tackle area of Haskell over Wood. To be fair to “The Has” he seemed to have a better game in the 3rd test than Robshaw had in the first 2.

    If JJ is on the bench, covering 11-14 and likely 2 15s on the pitch then I think we’ve really missed a trick in keeping Farrell over Burns as we don’t need Farrell’s versatility of covering 10-13.

    Disappointed not to see Dixon in to add some variety, but if Farrell is your impact 10, then I guess it makes sense to have an impact 9 who’s threat is running rather than passing.

    I fear Sharples may now have blown his chance, poor game against France, poor game against Aus. I was hoping he would stay in for the next couple of games before decision was made as to whether he is RWC15 potential material or not. Can’t argue with the likely tactical selection of Brown’s boot on the left for the Boks though.

    1. I really don’t get this criticism of Robshaw after one game. I think his break down work over since the 6N has been excellent, and with Wood to join will help share the burden. Cole is also great in this areas as is Corbs. I really don’t think our problems at the breakdown had anything to do with not having a natural “7”, it came from Aus committing numbers and illegally (IMO) going off their feet. Why England didn’t counter this and commit more numbers to the breakdown I do not know, but I think Wood will adequately fill Waldrom’s breakdown work, leaving Morgan to do what he did in the 6N (hopefully) and break down defenses.

      1. Agree Wood will add in this area and it’s a close call for me. Haskell made such a positive contribution in the 3rd test I think he should get the nod.

        I’m not critical of Robshaw, but I do still a question mark over him at the highest level. His engine is world class, but his least effective games have been against the Boks and Aus, where his carries have been to rather than over the gainline and we have lost the battle of the back row in all of them he has featured. Every RWC has been won by a team with an outstanding 7, he is up against 2 of the very best over the next fixtures. Let’s see how he gets on and form an opinion at the end of the AIs as to whether we think he is the man to take us through to 2015, or was the man to help us through our transition.

        1. Louw is not one of the best 7’s. Far from it. He is a decent scrapper but he is not of the quality of Hooper or McCaw (or even Qera for that matter).

          IMHO of course.

  14. Not Haskell, Jesus Christ, not Haskell.

    I don’t get it. He has nothing to offer England. His discipline is apalling, he gets isolated too often and he offers nothing but a bit of beef and a bit of pace. What’s worst is that I can’t see him being involved in the World Cup and there are a lot of other flankers out there. It goes against the whole mantra of blooding new players.

    I’m not a huge fan, but why not give Carl Fearns a go if you want a bulky strong flanker. He’s younger and an option for the future. I don’t see what Tom Johnson did wrong last week that I think Haskell would improve.

    1. I don’t know what you have against Haskell because he is an excellent flanker. He outshone the back row in the final test in SA and has consistently performed for England. He tackle count if high, and he does a lot more on the ground than people give him credit for. Add in the fast the he is HUGE, he is a massive add to the XV.

    2. I share similar misgivings about Haskell and his penalty count, However at least there is some semblance of using the bench for impact – Haskell fits the bill in that respect. Just wish we had more “impact” in the backs subs – Farrell will not turn a game and judging by his effort in the third test in SA will not win us a tight game through dropped goals.

      1. In the draw with South Africa, Haskell conceded 1 penalty. He also made 23 tackles (missing just one), more than any other player on the field.

        1. fair enough consider me surprised- the trouble is he does tend to give away really stupid penalties ala Matt Stevens – like when the ref gives a clear instruction, and he does it anyway. maybe its the scrum cap and he cant hear properly!

          1. I always despair when players do that, you get it from quite a few forwards especially. I can only assume that in the heat of the moment they just don’t think straight!

          2. Think the Hask can help counter SA size and strength.

            Just please don’t play him at 8, he’s proved so many time before that he hasn’t got the nous for it

  15. I think Wood’s return could be important. a lot of people on here have questioned whether in his long absence people have hyped up his previous impact, I don’t think so. I think having two “6.5s” will bring greater balance to the BR, but I think its his leadership qualities that will be of most benefit. He comes across as a pragmatist in the Johnno mold and I think Robshaw will benefit from his input. The 2003 alumni talk so much about having leaders on the pitch as being so important. The same points have been made about Wales recently, not having a brains trust to support SW. I think with robshaw, Wood, Parling (Hartley when he returns), Flood and Goode, England are building up their brains trust, so that hopefully we can make the right decisions in tight matches, something we didn’t so last week.

  16. It really doesn’t matter who we have at 6 or 7 if the rest of the pack isn’t going to hit the rucks either to clear out or to counter-ruck rather than hanging around in mid-field or on the wing

    The Aussies dominated the breakdown by aggressively hitting the rucks and forcing off the few England players protecting or trying to steal the ball (normally Robshaw or Cole). The Saffers will be even more aggressive.

    Hopefully Wood will help with this or Le Hasque if he’s chosen, but the locks and front row really need to get more involved.

    As for the back 3, would not be surprised to see Brown on the wing. He did reasonably well when he came on against Aus, racking up a number of metres carried in a short time.

    With his hard-running and howitzer of a boot, he adds something different and could be effective against SA. England need to make sure they have support runners on his shoulder though, so they can take advantage of any gains he makes in the same way that Quins do.

    It should also help defensively, as with Goode coming into the line and hopefully making plays, Brown can cover back if needed

  17. Not Haskell, never Haskell. His discipline is atrocious and I just don’t think he offers much other than a high tackle rate and occasional pace.

    Last game he played against South Africa I counted a number of penalties that the referee missed and I was actually demanding he had a yellow card for one of his offences (an off the ball/after the whistle takeout of a scrum half to prevent a quick tap). This is all fine when he gets away with it, but it’s going to be a long day if he gets pinged all the time. A lot like having Matt Stevens

    Bearing in mind that at the minute, England’s only hopes of a top 4 spot rely on a brilliant French side losing to Samoa, or/and a brilliant New Zealand side falling to England it is time to blood people. I don’t expect Haskell to be there in 2015 and I know there are injuries, but why not bring in Carl Fearns or even say Luke Wallace at 7 and move Robshaw to 6. I was impressed with him last year. Alternatively, leave someone in place who has only had 1 iffy game to try and get some continuity

      1. I don’t understand the Haskell bashing? Penalty count could be lower, but that could be said for a lot of players.

        And xxxwookie, surely offering a high tackle count and pace are some very good assets? He is also very handy at the breakdown and can turnover a ball or two. Given he can also carry, what is the problem?

        And I agree, Haskell will definitely be at the next world cup.

        1. Agree, I also watched him a lot for the Highlanders this year. First game he was very poor, in at the side, pinged, bad hands, etc. However by the time he left he was playing the best I have ever seen him, within a team that kicked away the least ball in Super Rugby (i.e. the fast paced, high tempo, good continuity offloading game that is the supposed vision for England)

        2. It’s useful when he turns it on. However, the man is hero to villain in a split second. My main issue is that they’re often ridiculous offences to the point where I’m calling the referee to yellow card him. Remember his trip when England were way ahead of Italy a few years ago? unnecessary and puts the entire team in a dangerous place that they didn’t need to be in.

          There is an absolute glut of flankers that are ahead of Haskell, so many so that he isn’t even in the elite squad until there were injuries to 2 other backrowers. so no, I don’t see him getting to the 2015 world cup. I also see his off-field attitude as divisive and amateur. I don’t know if you watched any of the O2 inside line stuff from the World Cup (which also led to a serious newsworthy indiscretion which England really didn’t need) but his attitude to some, especially Leicester players (Most of whom refused to be involved) was far from healthy for team cohesiveness. Do I think he’s a waste of time? yes. Genuinely.

  18. Have to agree Haskell brings an edge that is definitely needed and will make an impact, I thought he had a great game in the drawn 3rd Test. I think a lot of the bashing comes from his earlier days but he’s matured a lot as a player and I was pretty impressed with him in the S15 earlier this year. He was also probably our best forward at RWC2011.

    I think the areas we really need to focus on are our physicality – as stated we need to hit rucks harder, with more venom and another player or two. To me there isnt a proper No. 4 lock in there – Palmer is a very good player and playing fairly well at the moment but him and Parling are both No.5’s, the more rangy lock and the line out king. I think we need Lawes back and/or bring back Dave Attwood, he seems to have all the attributes of the modern lock as well as the physicality and mindset to smash people! Launchbury is going to be a fantastic player in time but again is more or a rangy loose player than a tight forward. Good for impact off the bench but not necessarily to start against the Bokke.

    We also need a little more finesse and continuity in our back play – something I’d say Anthony Allen possesses in spades. Yes he’s no flashy player but he keeps things moving, passes brilliantly (and flat), uses space well and brings others into the game. He also plays with Flood & Tuilagi week in week out. He’s not the biggest but is actually a very good tackler and turns over a fair bit of ball. He’s also matured a lot since being ‘burnt’ on his international introduction. His only downside is not having the best kicking game but with Goode coming into the line more that isn’t such a worry.

    I also think Tuilagi was used as a wing earlier in his career and it could be an option. We all know he’s a potent runner, gets over the gain line and scores tries – so he can’t be left out but he does need to work on his offloading especially and his passing. Let’s hope he can develop like Nonu has, remember he’s still bloody young!

    I hope Sharples gets more chances and it’s just a horses for courses switch for this Test, with Brown’s boot being needed.

    1. Haskell looked okay in the 3rd test because he didn’t get pinged anywhere near as many times as I thought he should have. The number of times I had my head in the hands because I had already imagined the ref giving it. Point is, if he does get caught every time it’s going to be a tough day. I felt like that for large parts of the RWC and I don’t think he played well at all, but this (to be fair) came from the fact that he was playing 8 – which he is not.

      1. True but all flankers live on the edge – how many times have we all shouted at the TV/Ref to ping McCaw for lying on the wrong side/coming in from a slight offside position. In the end, you get away with ‘bending’ the rules, brilliant!

        Has all the attributes to be an 8, just doesnt seem to have the top 2 inches but will do a great destruction job for you and will work his sock off all day long and, to me anyway, have a much bigger impact doing it than say Johnson.

  19. Haskell can a job, but is not a complete package. He is the flagbearer for much of what is wrong in English rugby. Gym monkey but no rugby intelligence. Surely we can do better!

    Sharples had one bad game after one good game. Probably deserved to be out for this game but was hoping he stays around the squad for a while. Still a young player really. He might not make it in the end but I think he deserves more of a chance yet.

  20. I think we need to find the balance between brain and brawn in the back row for the SA game and leading onto to RWC. I would love to see Steffon Armitage get a shot. I understand the issue of release from French teams but if he’s continually winning plaudits as one of the best players in the country surely he’s worth a look?

  21. Mike Brown is a full back not a winger-end of.I speak as a former full back and someone who has watched Mike for several seasons.I am not convinced Goode is the better fullback in any case.I think we must play specialist wingers not temporary makeshifts


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