RWC warm-ups: England team to face Wales at Twickenham

Martin Johnson has named his side to take on Wales at Twickenham this weekend as the Rugby World Cup build-up continues.

Manu Tuilagi will make his England debut at outside centre, following comments from Johnno that he’s “an impressive physical specimen.”

What do you make of the selection? Who is playing for their place on the plane? Can we read anything into it? Will we anyway?

Delon Armitage
Matt Banahan
Manu Tuilagi
Riki Flutey
Mark Cueto
Jonny Wilkinson
Danny Care

Alex Corbisiero
Dylan Hartley
Matt Stevens
Simon Shaw
Tom Palmer
Tom Croft
Lewis Moody
James Haskell

Lee Mears
David Wilson
Mouritz Botha
Tom Wood
Richard Wigglesworth
Charlie Hodgson
Charlie Sharples

24 thoughts on “RWC warm-ups: England team to face Wales at Twickenham

  1. I like the look of this team, and it will be interesting to see how the centres fare. It’s also an opportunity for Care and Wilko to stake their claim for a starting berth…

    With Ashton, Lawes, Foden all to return, it’s not a bad side (on paper!).

  2. Good mix of starting and back up talent plus a chance for a few to stake a claim.

    Next weeks team will no doubt have a similar look about it but I expect the match day 22 for the Ireland game to be the same as the one for the RWC.

  3. It shows that we are really starting to build some strength in depth when we can put out a competitive team like that without Flood, Ashton, Foden, Youngs, Lawes, Easter or Tinds!

    Just hope Manu can keep his head as you can guarentee they’ll be going for him

    1. Ben – would you go after Manu?

      from what ive heard from the camp, its not a good idea to wind him up.
      I doubt the WEslhies will be getting into him. hes going to tackle you like a missile, whats the point of provoking him even more!

      I think hes learnt his lesson.

  4. re the team – we lack pace in the starting 15, no gas there at all.
    bring on sharples and its a different matter!

    i really think Botha will make the squad @ shaws expense. botha is my kind of second row: athletic with a colossal work rate and tackles like a dump truck.

    still havent worked out who are number 8 behind easter is, surely it isnt haskell?

    1. Agreed in the whole 15 only Tuilagi and Monye have any kind of pace. But we know this isnt the first choice back three. This backline could be dangerous with Foden, Ashton and Sharples in there.

      Will be interesting to see How Johnny plays this game, Will he attack the gain line like flood or step back?

      Hutch, Do you know what happened in the practice game?

      1. Not in any detail I’m afraid, Will. Spoke to a couple of guys that were watching through the fence like the papparazzi, and they could only see half the pitch. The RFU got a bit agitated when Lawes was stretchered off and taken to hospital and pleaded with the journos not to run the story.

        Sharples and Tuilagi have been impressive throughout, according to Johnno.

    2. I think it’s is slightly unfair to say there is no pace in the starting 15 when you look at the likes of Banahan,Cuato and Manu. But yes i agree with you to the extent that we could do with a bit more raw pace in the back line.

      1. Chris – none of Banahan,Cueto and Manu have wingers pace, either from standing start or top speed.

  5. Pretty sure it is Haskell actually, Jimmy. He played there for the trial match at the Stoop with Easter on the other team, and there aren’t really any other options!

    That suggests he might not be in the first-choice back row, which is looking like it will be Croft, Moody, Easter.

    1. Moody isnt captain, is he?

      so his place inst guaranteed.

      Where is robshaw in the mix? hes a better player than haskell and Moody

      1. I think Moody might well be captain for RWC. He is skipper on Saturday, and would expect him to continue in New Zealand, and he is probably the best option at 7. Plus, he and Johnno are mates.

  6. This is a solid side and I cannot wait to see how this backline fires. In Wilkinson England have an experienced general running the show and the likes of Cueto and Flutey alongside some of the younger players, especially Tuilagi, should help them settle into the game easily. I expect Johnno has said to Manu that the Welsh will try and get under his skin and that he needs to control himself.

    One point many people are missing is the inclusion of Stevens. What a top effort to get back to where he is. Many other people would have thrown in the towel to pursue other interests after such a lengthy ban but he’s remained focused and it is a credit to his personality. Will be interested to see how Hask does at 8 as well.

  7. Agree with you about Stevens

    Re Moody – personally I’ve not thought he’s worth his place for a couple of years now. Yes he can tackle and he still plays in his kamakazi style but other than that I really don’t see what he brings to the side

  8. I think it’s great that Jonno has picked an experienced pack in order for the back line to get good quick ball in order for the likes of Manu and Sharples to show off their creativitly controlled by Wilko. Looking forward to heading off to Twikenham to watch the match. Does anyone know how many tickets have been sold?

  9. Our increasing depth is very encouraging. If the Care/Wilko combination fires, it could be a real headache for Johnson. If Armitage has a cracker (although it would have to be an absolute cracker) it could be a real headache for Johnson. And if the props fire it will be a headache too.

    Good position to be in though.

    Can’t wait to see the boys over here soon!

    1. Matt – lets hope wilko stands flat and fires manu, banahan etc onto the gainline.
      if he does that i dont think the welsh will live with us.

      if he stands deep, shuffles about and kicks…..

  10. I’d love to see the centre pairing fire.

    Also would love to see Haskell perform intelligently from 8 so we can have a back row of 3 genuine athletes.

    Would also be great if Armitage performs to rob the wing spot from Cueto (who i think is solid enough but not really quick enough). Why is it england players can never make minor positional changes James O’conner had no trouble slipping in on the wing, i think Armitage is a genuine footballer not just an athlete.

      1. Ye i suppose intelligently was asking a bit much. I’d just rather an in form Haskell than Easter (speed and work rate) but 8 is a specialist position that he needs to prove himself in. I think this run out is the test to see if Hask can be the cover for 8, for Johnson Easter appears a nailed on certainty at 8.

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