RWC 2011: England name team to face Georgia

Martin Johnson has named nine changes to the England side that faced Argentina last weekend, including captain Lewis Moody on the openside flank. It is not the only change in the back row as Tom Wood makes his first start of the World Cup campaign on the blindside, with Tom Croft moving to the bench.

Having impressed coming off the bench on Saturday, Matt Stevens has been given the nod at loosehead prop, replacing the injured Andrew Sheridan, who sadly had to fly home earlier this week with a recurrence of a shoulder injury. Dylan Hartley starts at hooker, while it’s all change in the second row as Tom Palmer and Simon Shaw replace the banned Courtney Lawes and Louis Deacon.

In the backs, Johnson has opted for the Leicester Tigers 9-10 partnership of last week’s try scorer Ben Youngs and Toby Flood as Shontayne Hape partners Manu Tuilagi in the centres.

What do you think of the side? Can England’s pack handle the strength of the Georgians? Will there be improvements in the goal kicking?

15 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
14 Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
12 Shontayne Hape (London Irish)
11 Delon Armitage (London Irish)
10 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
1 Matt Stevens (Saracens)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
4 Simon Shaw (Unattached)
5 Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
7 Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby, capt)
8 Nick Easter (Harlequins)

16 Steve Thompson (London Wasps)
17 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
18 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
19 James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams)
20 Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
21 Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon)
22 Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)

8 thoughts on “RWC 2011: England name team to face Georgia

  1. Tommy – totally agree to that. The way Georgia play this could be anohter slow defensive game, and Easter will add little spark or go forward momentum. I suspect maybe MJ doesn’t expect Moody to last too long, and without Tindall playing maybe Easter will take over captaincy if Moody goes off? That is the only reason I could possibly think of that Easter has retained his spot. All he managed to do against Argentina was wind up the ref, and give away silly penalties.

  2. It’s all about Haskell at no8. More dynamic, better ball carrier and he hasnt got a 40yr old man’s podge either. Dont rate Hape either but hope he has a good game with Tuilangi, god knows we need something to happen in the centres.

  3. I can see now why he’s left Haskell on the bench. He’s more versatile than Easter, and Easter would hardly be described as an impact player. Haskell could cover 6, 7 or 8 from the bench. Croft is essentially second row cover, but could come on in the back row if Georgia get tired quickly. A back row of Croft, Wood and Haskell would be something to see against a tiring Georgia with 15 minutes to go. But unlikely Shaw will last the whole 80 minutes.

    Will be great to see Simpson getting a run. I don’t think Georgia will be able to handle his pace from the back of the scrum, and with Ashton and Tuilagi running off his shoulder it could prove a great option later in the game.

  4. Totally agree, like SImpson. Full of energy and again a great impact sub, cant see him pushing for a start though.

    As for Wigglesworth, I think the seat on the plane would have been best reserved for someone else. Ticks all the boxes but hardily sets the world on fire.

    Contraversial but I would have liked MJ to have taken some form of a gamble and bring in someone like Twelvetrees in the back line, very unlikely I know but I dont really see what function Wigglesworth serves.

  5. shaw is unattached suppose he is thinking of retiring as he is 36! but if he stayed on for another year would be a valuable club player! leinster could do with a lock as we lost hines! some player decent team scrum should dominate even against the massive georgia pack england have serious front row strength in dept! few tries from tuilagi and armitage would help my bets in the bookies for them to be the top try scorers for england!

  6. Andrew – I think you’re being a bit harsh on Wigglesworth. He was given a job to do at 9, and MJ knows what kind of player he is. He has great hands, and the England backs coaches have all said he is the best passer of the ball among all the scrum halves. He was under a lot of pressure, and defensively he had a good game. He made some great catches going backwards, one of which potentailly try saving. He doesn’t set the world alight in attack you’re right, but he is solid defensively and makes a lot of tackles. Without Care as back up for Youngs, Wigglesworth has done his job. Now it’s Simpsons chance to come off the bench and make a name for himself.

  7. I dont know, I cant ever muster anything more than average from his performances. I know what you are saying, he has the right attributes for a scrum half: good passing, solid defence etc. I just feel like the way England’s back line are firing at the moment, they need a little more impetous from 9. More of a play maker than a solid base.

    That’s why Jimmy Cowan still has a job, very average player in my eyes but when you have flash play makers outside of you all you have to do is give them the ball.

    I think we need a little more from our 9 though.

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