Return of The Faz

Andy Farrell has been reinstated at inside centre for Saturday’s quarter final clash with Australia on Saturday.

Mathew Tait retains the outside centre berth, whilst Phil Vickery returns to captain the side at loosehead prop and Jason Robinson will start at full-back.

Mark Regan will play at hooker ahead of George Chuter, whilst Martin Corry, Lewis Moody and Nick Easter form the back row.

What are your thoughts on selection? I would rather have seen Danny Hipkiss at outside centre, and still not convinced by Farrell but can see the thinking behind it given Australia’s strength out wide.

England

15. Jason Robinson (Unattached)

14. Paul Sackey (London Wasps)

13. Mathew Tait (Newcastle Falcons)

12. Andy Farrell (Saracens)

11. Josh Lewsey (London Wasps)

10. Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons)

9. Andy Gomarsall (Harlequins)

1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)

2. Mark Regan (Bristol Rugby)

3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps, captain)

4. Simon Shaw (London Wasps)

5. Ben Kay (Leicester Tigers)

6. Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)

7. Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers)

8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)

Replacements

16. George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)

17. Matt Stevens (Bath Rugby)

18. Lawrence Dallaglio (London Wasps)

19. Joe Worsley (London Wasps)

20. Peter Richards (London Irish)

21. Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby)

22. Danny Hipkiss (Leicester Tigers)

7 thoughts on “Return of The Faz

  1. Glad to see Jase back in the side, although would have preferred Lewsey to stay at full-back. I don’t see how the England of 2003 could have performed so consistently well with those 2 in their respective positions, but now suddenly they don’t have the necessary skills (according to the coaches).

    Also glad Shaw’s back in the side, and Lewis Moody will add the dynamism again that Worseley lacks (spread on the number of times he can get knocked out this match? The nutter)

    So, Farrell gets his chance again?? Ok there’s an argument for and against it, but I just see him getting eaten alive and made to look like a fool by Giteau and Mortlock. I’m still aching to see a centre combo of Hipkiss and Tait…and see them given a few games there to get to know each other (obviously beyond RWC’07).

    Let’s hope the tactician’s get it right this time, and let’s hope we pinpoint Berrick Barnes and see if he shows any of the cracks that Michelak did in the ’03 Semi.

  2. We’ve got to send Farrell charging at Barnes early on. Hopefully he can start offloading a bit more and if Tait and Robinson can get on his shoulder, it might be good to watch.

    Unfortunately, I think Smith, Giteau and Mortlock are going to be a bit too clever in defence for the lumbering Faz.

  3. Good to see England still have no idea how to use a bench. Can someone explain how Chuter, Corry and Dallaglio are going to remotely change a game when Regan, Corry and Easter are in the starting line up?

    Mears and Rees (who should be starting) would at least inject some dynamism in the latter stages. The only purpose the current bench could serve is to shut up shop and hold out for the win and somehow I don’t think that situation is likely to present itself.

    Would be good to see Lewsey roaming off his wing and picking lines off Farrell. We’re told by rugby leaguers that Farrell’s strength is putting people around him into holes. Let’s give him the chance by getting guys running off him.

  4. In 2 minds about Farrell – my initial reaction is oh God, what is Ashton/Yoda playing at? Rob Andrew must be getting pressured by the RFU to give their big convert investment his big chance and get some return for their money. I think he was lucky to be in the squad in the first place.

    Then I remember that in all the games he’s featured in for England Farrell has at least tried more than any other to offload in th tackle, the one thing opposition cannot defend against provided there are runners from depth like Peelo says.

    Maybe that U15 try he scored against Tonga will give him the confidence to try it on a bit more, but I still think his lack of pace will be exposed.

    Lewsey is better on the wing – think I’m right in saying that he hasn’t actually scored a try for England in close to 30 games – what’s that all about?! – and Robinson has to start. Regan: why?!

    Unless every single player has the game of their lives we’re on for a hiding, but never say never.

  5. Can the prop just chime in with a ‘what the hell has Stevens done to be deserved to be dropped?’. Thank you. Also worried about Mortlock crashing through Tait and Rees not even being in the squad but there you go.

  6. Glad to see Robbo back too but as for the Lewsey or Robbo at full back question, I don’t think either is a specialist full-back and I don’t even think we have one in the squad. Loads of wingers but no out and out full-backs with a good enough kicking game.

    I just hope they don’t repeat the “high ball to Robbo with Tuqiri chasing” trick from the 2003 final!

    To be fair to Faz, I thought he worked really hard against SA and kept trying to break their line but there’s only so much that can be achieved with only two players playing well.

    I don’t have time to vent my full feelings about Regan so let’s just say – a mistake. Again.

    Speaking of return on investment from league players, I notice there’s been no mention on this blog of the end of Chev Walker’s glittering union career! Did you like the way the RFU announced it during the World Cup so that it got buried in all the other news?

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