My England starting XV

Now that the squad has been announced (and now that some players have already been released), here is my starting XV for the match against Australia in 10 days time.

1. Payne
2. Hartley
3. Bell
4. Lawes
5. Borthwick
6. Croft
7. Moody
8. Crane
9. Hodgson
10. Wilkinson
11. Banahan
12. Geraghty
13. Tindall
14. Cueto
15. Monye

Looking at the names in the squad, it would appear that Martin Johnson probably has a fairly set idea of the starting XV that he’ll name next week, since there are a distinct lack of options in certain positions – particularly Number 8 and full-back.

I’ve gone for a fairly conservative selection in the pack everywhere except second row, where I’d love to see Courtney Lawes capped. Whilst it’s unlikely to happen, the risk of blooding a youngster would be mitigated by the experience of Borthwick, Moody and Croft around him, and he might just be the spark in a ‘safe’ selection.

Danny Care has been looking sharp for Harlequins recently, but I’d pick Paul Hodgson to play alongside Jonny. Matt Banahan is a shoo-in on the wing for me; I think Mike Tindall will feature ahead of Dan Hipkiss; and I’d put Ugo Monye at full-back with Foden coming off the bench in the last twenty for Mark Cueto as Monye switches to the wing.

What are your thoughts? Can we beat Australia?

19 thoughts on “My England starting XV

  1. My XV:
    15 Ben Foden
    14 Ugo Monye or David Strettle
    13 Dan Hipkiss
    12 Shane Geraghty
    11 Matt Banahan
    10 Jonny Wilkinson
    9 Danny Care or Paul Hodgson (Hodgson’s been having a good season but I haven’t seen him play)
    1 Tim Payne
    2 Dylan Hartley
    3 David Wilson or Duncan Bell (Wilson hasn’t played a full game yet this season)
    4 Steve Borthwick
    5 Courtney Lawes or Richard Blaze (I can’t stand Deacon or Kay)
    6 Tom Croft
    7 James Haskell
    8 Jordan Crane

  2. Andy, it’s time to nail your colours to the mast…

    Would you really put Strettle in for Monye?

    Would you pick Lawes or Blaze, Wilson or Bell, Care or Hodgson?

  3. 1. Tim Payne
    2. Dylan Hartley
    3. David Wilson
    4. Courtney Lawes
    5. Steve Borthwick
    6. Tom Croft
    7. Lewis Moody (Johnno has been harsh on Armitage)
    8. James Haskell (more quality than Crane)
    9. Paul Hodgson
    10. Jonny Wilkinson
    11. Matt Banahan
    12. Shane Geraghty
    13. Mike Tindall
    14. Ugo Monye (why move your best winger from the wing?!)
    15. Mark Cueto (short term solution – Foden off the bench)

    16. Steve Thompson
    17. Duncan Bell (embarrasing)
    18. Louis Deacon (embarrassing)
    19. Joe Worsley
    20. Danny Care
    21. Dan Hipkiss (no point having Andy Food on the bench to cover 10 when you’ve got Geraghty)
    22. Ben Foden

  4. 1. Tim Payne
    2. Hartley
    3. David Wilson
    4. Courntney Lawes
    5. Steve Borthwick
    6. Tom Croft
    7. Lewis Moody
    8. James Haskell

    9. Paul Hodgson
    10. Jonny Wilkinson
    11. Matt Banaham
    12. Shane Geraghty
    13. Dan Hipkiss (provides everything Tindallm does, and then some)
    14. Ugo Monye
    15. Ben Foden (Keep your best wingers on the wing and play a specialist fullback at fullback)

    16. George Chuter
    17. Duncan Bell
    18. Ben Kay (released for training, I know, but I’d still bench him)
    19. Steffon Armitage (as above, he pushed Moody close, but at his best Moody can be the best 7 in England)
    20. Danny Care
    21. Mark Cueto
    22. Matthew Tait (Cueto can cover back three, Tait can do back three and OC, Geraghty and Wilko can both cover either fly half or IC if one needs to go off)

  5. 1. Tim Payne
    2. Dylan Hartley
    3. David Wilson
    4. Courntney Lawes (even though i’m sure Deacon will start here)
    5. Steve Borthwick
    6. Tom Croft
    7. Steffon Armitage (even though i’m sure Moody will start here)
    8. James Haskell (even though i’m sure Crane will start here)

    9. Paul Hodgson
    10. Jonny Wilkinson
    11. Matt Banaham
    12. Shane Geraghty
    13. Dan Hipkiss (even though i’m sure Tindall will start here)
    14. Ugo Monye
    15. Ben Foden

    16. George Chuter
    17. Duncan Bell
    18. David Barnes
    19. Jordan Crane
    20. Lewis Moody
    21. Danny Care
    22. Mike Tindall (even though i’m sure Goode will feature on the bench)
    23. Matthew Tait

  6. Most people seem to have Foden at full-back, but I would put Monye there. Agree that he is our best wing, but I also think he’s our best full-back at the moment (he’s probably our best prop as well!).

    I’d be much happier at 5 past 3 on the 7th November when that first high ball goes up seeing Monye underneath it than Foden, and I think Foden is a better option from the bench than any of our other bench options.

  7. I’m with Tommy, but am resigned to his predictions of what Johnno will actually select.

    James, from the games I have seen Foden has spilled a couple of high balls, but so has Ugo. I don’t think there’s much to choose between either of them at 15, but Ugo at 14 is a compelling prospect.

    Haven’t heard too much about Haskell this year – how’s he been doing? Anyone seen him play?

  8. Haskell has been immense at stade, his workrate is up, and he’s been one of their best players when either starting or coming off the bench. Erinle is also playing very very well, and if i was Johnson i’d be very much looking ta him – he and hipkiss tore BOD and Darcy a new one in the HC final.

    for what it’s worth i’d go with:

    1. Tim Payne
    2. Dylan Hartley
    3. David Wilson
    4. Courntney Lawes
    5. Steve Borthwick
    6. Tom Croft
    7. Steffon Armitage
    8. James Haskell

    9. Care – with wilkinson at 10 i’d like someone with a bit of spark at 9
    10. Jonny Wilkinson
    11. Matt Banahan
    12. Shane Geraghty
    13. Mike Tindall
    14. Ugo Monye
    15. Ben Foden

    16. George Chuter
    17. Duncan Bell
    18. David Barnes
    19. Jordan Crane
    20. Lewis Moody
    21. Hodgson – it really worries me that Hodgson and Care are our only choices at 9
    22. Cueto
    23. Hipkiss – massive shame that Myler is out, i’d have liked him on the bench.

  9. The problem with putting Haskell at 8 is that he hasn’t played there much over the last few years. He’s nowhere near the 8 shirt at Stade due to Parisse, but has been solid at 6 – nothing more though. Once Stade get the likes of Bergamasco and Taylor back from injury I think Haskell may struggle to hold onto his place. However, he’s probably a better option than Crane at 8 – unless it goes to penalty kicks!

  10. Taylor hasn’t played 6 at stade since he arrived instead playing in the second row, he’s only played backrow for Scotland in the last season.

    Bergamasco is fine but is a better option at openside, why would he play at 6?

    Haskell has been very good for Stade this season, i think the mov has been very good for him, he’s been noticable in all his top 14 appearances so far, either from the bench or starting, and seeing him in training as well he’s really stepping up and putting in the work and leading by example.

    All in all things have really stepped up a gear for him since moving here.

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Monye start at full back, however i would much rather see him on the wing, which really only leaves Foden for full back. The only think that worries me about Foden is his decision making – quite often chooses to run from deep when he really should just clear to touch. Haskell has been brilliant since moving to France, and yes, I know he doesn’t usually play 8, but then Dallaglio often switched between 6 and 8, and I think Haskell has the ability to do the same. Crane offers a better option as sub as he can play both 2nd row and back row (granted he is better as back row). For me Tait has to be on the bench as his ability to cover some much within the backs is immense. Think we’re all agreed that Lawes should have a shot at starting, but bet Johnno goes with Deacon. As for no. 9 – personally think Hodgson would compliment Wilko better than Care, and unfortunately we can almost guarantee to see Goode on the bench – what a waste of a sub’s position. Would of liked to of included Strettle, but can’t find room for him unfortunately – if only he played wing/centre too.

  12. With Stade recently signing Pape and Palmer, Taylor will be a back row option at Stade now, and, covers the 6 and 8 shirts. He’s better in the loose and the lineout than Haskell, and means that Haskell is going to have to up his game even further. Bergamasco coming back means that Haskell won’t get the 7 shirt either (not that he’s a great 7 anyway)…so I guess he needs to try and keep stepping up.

    He always tries to lead by example, but I think that there are better rugby playing back rows at Stade than Haskell and that he would’ve probably been better suited staying at Wasps – as Geech highlights in his book.

  13. I understand your point, and that was my fear over the summer that’d he’d struggle for game time with them signing Palmer etc… but now Taylor is injured anyway.

    And even if he wasn’t with the amount of games you play in the Top 14 squad rotation is the norm here and everyone gets a run. Haskell has already been rotated out a couple of times even before Bergamaco comes back, and as I said he’s been coming off the bench as well as starting and been good. it’s only really when we get to the business end of the season they settle into 1st and second choices.

    He’s been getting very favourable press in france becaus eof his perfomances and

    I think he’s settled in, is playing well and he’s back in the EPS because of it.

    just my opinion though. :)

  14. Great first XV mate, I’d go for that. Shame about Hartley though ;)

    Oh and Hipkiss instead of Tindall now I guess.

    Don’t see what everyone sees in Foden ie. Nick Abendanon mk2. Love to see Monye cutting great lines from fullback. Only concern is his boot? Is it good enough, and if not, Johnno might opt for Cueto there instead.

    C’mon Banahhhaaaannnnnn

  15. 1. Tim Payne
    2. Dylan Hartley
    3. David Wilson
    4. Courtney Lawes
    5. Simon Shaw (if fit) / Nick Kenndy
    6. Tom Croft
    7. James Haskell
    8. Jordan Crane
    9. Danny Care
    10. Johnny Wilkinson
    11. Matt Banahan
    12. Dan Hipkiss
    13. Ayoola Erinle
    14. Ugo Monye
    15. Mark Cueto

    16. George Chuter
    17. Duncan Bell
    18. Steve Borthwick
    19. Lewis Moody
    20. Steffon Armitage
    21. Paul Hodgson
    22. Shane Geraghty
    23. Matthew Tait
    22. Ben Foden

  16. this is my team for the 6 nations assuming everyone is fit, which in this day and age is a huge assumption…..

    15. Armitage
    14. Strettle
    13. Tindall
    12. Flutey
    11. Monye
    10. Wilkinson
    9. Ellis
    8. Haskell
    7. Croft
    6. Moody
    5. Kennedy
    4. Shaw
    3. Vickery
    2. Mears
    1. Sheridan

    Subs
    16. Hartley
    17. Wilson
    18. Easter
    19. Borthwick
    20. Foden
    21. Tait
    22. Cipriani

    We have so many talented attack minded players in england at the moment who would actually take the english game forward, so i find it really frustrating when players like danny hipkiss, mark cueto and second row on the wing matt banahan are the focal point of our attacks. Brian Smith managed to create a balanced team at london irish, with the forwards setting a platform and the backs using the ball effectively, thats what i want to see with england.

  17. next test tem witch it think it should be
    for 2nd test easters shit
    1. Tim payne

    2. Steve thompson

    3.Dan cole

    4.Simon shaw

    5. Courtney Laws

    6.Tom croft

    7.Lewis moody

    8.James Haskell

    9.harry ellis

    10. johhny wilkinson

    11.chris ashton

    12.mike tindall

    13.olley barkley

    14. mark cueto

    15.ben fooden

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