RBS Six Nations 2012: England team to play Wales at Twickenham

Stuart Lancaster has made three changes to the starting line-up from the match against Italy two weeks ago in Rome, bringing Lee Dickson, Ben Morgan and Geoff Parling into the starting XV. On the bench are Courtney Lawes, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi, who have all recently returned from injury.


15. Ben Foden, 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Brad Barritt, 11. David Strettle, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Lee Dickson, 1. Alex Corbisiero, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Mouritz Botha, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. Tom Croft, 7. Chris Robshaw (c), 8. Ben Morgan


16. Rob Webber, 17. Matt Stevens, 18. Courtney Lawes, 19. Phil Dowson, 20. Ben Youngs, 21. Toby Flood, 22. Mike Brown

40 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations 2012: England team to play Wales at Twickenham

  1. R120 I couldnt agree more. I’d rather lose on Saturday with a line up for 2015 than win dirty with players involved that wont play 2015.

    Hodgson played well last two games and is unlucky to pick up an injury but for England it was a great reason to get Farrell in @ 10! V exciting line up

    1. Definitely a look to the future, Brave selection, but potentially very exciting, Hope Farrell doesn’t have a Tate moment! But personally think he’s built of stronger stuff! Cant wait to see Morgan getting a start!

  2. Probably as strong a line up we could have hoped for. I would have made some changes to the bench but overall a pretty good side that should hopefully pose the Welsh some problems.

  3. Shame about Hodgson, but this is the line up I think we all wanted. I think Dickson deserves his start, and with Youngs and Flood on the bench, it could get interesting in the second half. Youngs and Flood bring the best out of each other, and they have both looked lost without the other. A bit Laurel and Hardy, or Morecambe and Wise!

    With Morgan we will see some better ball being given, and providing Dickson doesn’t get smashed by Phillips and lose his confidence, get it to Farrell to run the show from there. As long as Croft starts getting involved in the rucks we should get some good ball.

    This makes me think it was Lancaster’s intention all along to play the first two games tight, hoping that Tuilagi would be back for this game. If so it was a very smart move, and has worked out well.

    This will be the first cap at home for a few players. The likes of Botha, Parling, Morgan, Dickson, Farrell, Barritt etc, will not want to lose their first international at Twickenham.

    Come on England!!!!

    1. Dazza – do you think england can win this?
      I think weve got the team to do it, as you say, so many new caps playing at twickers for the first time, they could have blinders…..or they could crumble under the nerves!

      Morgan looks like he could be the real deal not just in terms of physicality but mentally. really looking forward to seeing how he lasts 80 mins

      1. I do think we can win this. As usual Wales have been talking themselves up. Several players have said they are going to smash us. For me that’s just setting themselves up for a fall. If they beat us, then fair enough, I can live with it. We have (mostly) a new team, under a new coaching set up. But if we beat Wales, it will be hugely embarrassing for them. And that’s what I’m hoping for. Even if we scrape it by a point, in the last seconds, it will still be a huge win for this team.

  4. Really positive changes…very encouraging. Such a tough test for them to gel against a settled team that are at the top of their game but Lancaster has given us the best chance with current playing resources.

  5. Exactly the side I wanted to see this morning, but not what I expected to see!

    This selection makes me think Lancaster should get the full time job – brave, attacking, fresh.

    Even if we lose, I hope the boys put up a performance to be proud of!

  6. This is by far the best team available at the moment. Glad reports earlier this week about Tuilagi starting on the bench proved unfounded.

    However, my favourite change has to be Dickson coming in. We all knew it would happen but he really does add pace on the ball, something Youngs hasn’t been doing at all. Morgan needs to make sure he protects him come scrum time though as the Welsh flankers will be very keen to disrupt!

  7. That injury to Hodgson could be a blessing in disguise. It means we have a forward-looking 10,12,13 combo (it would have been Hodgson, Farrell, Barritt again I think) and there is some back three cover on the bench.

    Hodgson has done Lancaster a favour in the same way Borthers did to Johnno a while ago!

  8. I’m happy with the starting 15, not without risk with Farrell at 10. With Youngs out of form and Dickson on the small side I think a tackling 10 is essential and without physicality in the midfield the Welsh firebreathers would be running over us all day.

    I don’t think Flood has done anything to demonstrate he’s ready for international Rugby again yet, I can only think his selection is more to do with combinations and having a well acquainted half back pair on the bench (I really hope Cipriani has a good season on and off the pitch!).

    I have no idea what Waldrom has to do to earn an opportunity. The Crusaders would often use him as an impact sub, 20 minutes all action at the end of the game running through everything. I think he’s a game changer whereas I don’t think the Welsh team would be quaking if they are 1 point up with 20 to go and Dowson comes on (appreciate there’s a loss of versatility with this selection).

    Last chance for Stevens for me, his scrummaging on his favoured tight head side for Sarries has been poor of late in my opinion. I hope he can get it right, but if an ability to cover both tight and loosehead sides continues to translate as an ability to go backwards/down/not bind/in/out on either side then I think we are better taking a risk on Marler on the bench (risk in the sense that an international debut for a prop not renowned as a scrummager against Adam Jones is a big challenge) with Corbs providing tighthead cover.

    Anyway I’m a happier bunny this morning than I was last night when the reports were Manu was going to be on the bench and Brown out of the 22, which almost incited some WTF comments. A great opportunity on Saturday to test ourselves against a team that I think on current form are one of the top 2 sides in the world.

  9. this is partly a side for 2015 RWC and one i am really happy to see.

    the second row has a real similarly to the NZ combo of Thorn and whitelock. ie Beast with line out athlete.

    Frnot row looks solid.

    back row looks much better balanced with morgan providing some front foot ball, something we have really lacked.

    The 9/10 combo is interesting as i think most learned rugby blog fans have envisaged Youngs / flood being THE combo to take england forward to RWC 2015. I certainly did.

    With Farrell and Dickson, you have a more natural play maker at 10 but i will be interested to see how they get on at twickers against a really good Welsh team.

    Barritt and Tuilagi will be interesting and barritts passing, off loading game is better than people give him credit for.

    havent looked forward to and england game this much in ages!

    1. You’re right jimmy, Dickson and Farrell could prove pivotal, f Dickson gets the protection needed.

      And again I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees what Barritt brings to the team. Something we haven’t seen with him at 13, but something he does well at Sarries playing 12. He should be able to draw in defenders and offload, or vice versa with Tuilagi, because Wales will be expecting us to use Tuilagi as our main weapon. But Tuilagi’s real threat could be as a decoy?

      This is going to be a cracker. Shame because we’re having our floorboards replaced on Saturday, and we’ve got to empty the living room, so I probably won’t be able to watch it live. Bummer!

  10. Plleased with the selection i think this is the best 15 we could put out at the moment.
    Hodgsons bad luck gives Farrell a great opportunity. His future is at 10 and i look foward to seeing how he gets on.
    The result is not the priority the performance is do the basics right,play with pride and Confidence. Dont be afraid to make mistakes. This teams the future they will only get better good luck lads cant wait for Saturday.

  11. Shame Tom Woods is still injured – would of done a straight swap with Croft and Woods. Other than that, i reay do see this as a strong side with lots of potential. May not get it right come saturday, but do see it as the team of the future

  12. Amazing just as SL was starting to loose my confidence he pulls it out of the bag, thanks largely to CH picking up an injury! I don’t think that we could field (injury aside) a much stronger 22.

    Finally we have a coach that appears to be selecting on form. He’s got the selection right now lets see what kind of game plan he has.

    Proof will be in the eating, still not fussed about the result just as long as we put in improved performances from the last 2 outings. We’re at home and weather looks good so no excuses. Pressure is off now we have won the “must win” games anything else is a Brucey Bonus so lets just go out their and enjoy it?

    I was begining to feel down about this game as I thought SL would make all the wrong calls. Now think that this is going to be a corker of a game.

  13. Firstly, chuffed to pieces that Parling and Morgan are in the pack. Parling has merited selection wiith his performances for Leicester pre-injury and his return, and I thought his impact off the bench was impressive in the first two games.

    Morgan’s performances demanded inclusion and I am pleased that Lancaster both gave Dowson 2 chances and didn’t overlook Morgan a 3rd time. Make no mistake, the Welsh will NOT be happy to see his name with an 8 next to it, and that is a very good thing.

    Dickson and Farrell have a major role to play, and I hope it works out. Flood in reserve if it doesn’t. There could be some major mash-ups in the centre too with beefy Barritt and Tuilagi against Solid Roberts and Davies. Get ready to wince.

    Feeling a little more positive now

    1. Nicely put Mark. The centres are where it’s all going to happen on Saturday. Barritt is a tackling demon, and Tuilagi, is just power. They need to go low on Robert and Davies (or even double up), and have Robshaw, Croft and Morgan there to clean up.

      Barritt is often used as an extra 7 for Sarries in this area, and he’s very good at it. In his more familiar role at 12, we could see him turning over quite a bit of ball. Fingers crossed.

  14. Delighted with this selection once I’d got over the confusion of who was actually playing and on the bench!

    Still can’t see us winning against what is a very settled Welsh side, who are used to their style of play, but I can see us keeping it close and would be happy with that as long as we are playing a decent type of rugby. A win would be unlikely IMO due to the new caps, etc. I think the Welsh team may have more Twickenham appearances between them than the English team – would be interesting to work out the stats on that!

    Anyway – roll on Saturday!

  15. Really happy with the selection, SL seems to have won the 2 must win games, and now he is experementing with a game he is not expected to win.

    The tight 5 look good, Lawes will come off the bench and hit a lot of rookes for a second row. The middfield looks interesting and it will be interesting to see how wales react if their big backs don’t get over the gain line.

    A new 8,9,10 for the match is a hit and miss, I hope they combine well but they will need to settle in, they are all young and won’t show fear which is great.

    The big problem is still the backrow and I think Wales are going to beat us at the Breakdown, Warboton and lydette are amazing players.

    I hope England play well and move forward, it is up to us fans to back them however it goes otherwise we can’t complain about tentative coachesd int he future.

    1. Not just a new 8,9 & 10, but a new 12 & 13 partnership as well and I think that is why Wales will win. Can’t expect all of that to gel in one game. However I think that our back row has a much more balanced look with Morgan in, although never been convinced by Croft at the breakdown. We’ll see!

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Barritt getting involved at the breakdown, and Croft just behind the rucks to help secure next phase ball.

  16. I just love the fact that almost everyone on this blog is being positive which is what this young team will. Well done SL for giving us this optimism.
    Good team that will get better and I can see it going to the wire on Saturday……

    1. Not just on this blog either! All commentary everywhere on this (bar a few cynics) is very positive. We have had so many false dawns with Eng since 2003 but maybe just maybe this one will prove to be the real thing!

      Does make me wander though, either CH’s “finger” injury is very unlucky or a convinient excuse either way could put SL in the job for the long term!

      1. If he didn’t want Hodgson to play, for whatever reason, he would’ve just dropped him. He seems too honest to make up an injury as an excuse to drop a player. But that’s only my opinion from what I’ve seen and heard from the man so far.

        1. Dazza agree with your comments – otherwise its Bloodgate all over again and I’m sure no one at the RFU wants that!

  17. Good looking balanced team should be a bit behind Wales in the development curve (heres hoping !) but it looks like England are heading the right way.

    1. Tend to agree on the development curve – but lets hope it’s a cracking game of rugby. To be fair Wales don’t really do boring games these days do they!

      1. Exactly why England need to slow them down. We have to annoy them at the breakdown, and generally slow down their ball. If we can get under their skins, it could be very tight. But if we fail at the breakdown, we will be relying on Barritt and Tuilagi to stop the big men running through and offloading to the back three. Back rows and centres will get plenty of action this Saturday!

        1. Am concerned about the breakdown. We haven’t really played it well for years. Might well be where the game is lost.

  18. Agreed about selection.

    I still have my doubts about Farrell’s ability to be an attacking 10 (i don’t doubt his kicking/defence/game management) but i also recognise that Flood is not in form enough to come straight back and Hodgson is injured so it had to be Farrell i hope he proves me wrong.

    On a side note did anyone see Armitage’s performance for Toulon against Stade? he was absolutley awsome (check the highlights on rugbydump). I always thought he had the potential to be the answer at 7 but never showed the consistency. When he has had limited england game time hes been part of all round poor performances. Has anyone seen much of him this season? was this a one off or is it typical of his form at the moment?

  19. I saw the Armitage highlights on Rugby Dump.

    He looked immense – as someone in the comments said…

    “As for that Toulon prop who kept running around with a 7 shirt on one minute.. then a 13 the next… then back to a 7…sigh.. make up your mind and stop acting like that other prop we’ve seen, Rupeni Caucau I think his name was….”

    Armitage may not look streamlined but damn he looked to be playing well

    I always thought he was jettisoned too early by England Would love to see him back at 7 with Robshaw or Wood at 6

    1. I haven’t seen him this year, but his strengths play right into our weaknesses right now. Since Backy we’ve not had a scrapping ferretting player like this. One to watch.

      1. England do have that “only under extreme circumstances” for overseas players so that could stand in his way.

        I think he would compliment Robshaw perfectly as you suggest Paulo.

        He was handled very badly by England in the past.

  20. Fully back changes made to side. Tuilagi a must have when fit.

    One concern is do the two centres have what it takes to make line breaks/cause Welsh back line problems?

    Great to See Morgan get a go at 8.

    Lancaster has been brave right from the start. Does he have the courage to stick with this side should they lose? I hope so. Need those first building blocks towards next World Cup.

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