Select the England team for the Autumn Internationals

The Autumn Internationals series is now only a month away, and whilst Stuart Lancaster is jotting names down on his teamsheet, you can do the same.

Stuart Lancaster

Put yourself in the shoes of the England selection committee and pick the England team below. We’ll see who emerges as the favourite in each position, and we can pass it onto the head coach.

We’ve created the shortlists for each position using the Elite and Saxons squads, excluding recent retirees and those injured, such as Matt Stevens, Ben Foden and Charlie Sharples. Where you are asked to pick more than one player, make sure you consider the combination of inside and outside centre, wings and fullback, tighthead and loosehead etc.

And finally, spread the word – share it on social media, email your mates and see how many people we can get to vote. The more votes there are, the more representative it will be as the fans’ team.

Props (select two)

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Second Row (select two)

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Back row (select 3)

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Centres (select two)

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Back three (select three)

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Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

45 thoughts on “Select the England team for the Autumn Internationals

  1. I was suprised to see the results when I selected the Fly Half slot. Obviously a lot of people feeling as though we should risk throwing in Burns. I like the idea but I can not see it happening. As we as the fact that Farrell for more votes than I have expected, I just do not thing he can play internationally until he can learn to get a back line moving.

  2. Never quite sure what combinations will work in the second row and really undecided about the 2nd wing – that spot is really up for grabs.

  3. Very interesting to see the results, with Marler edging it from Corbs, Flood only just ahead of Burns, and Christian Wade in contention on the wing. That spot is very much open, as you say, Staggy. Jonny May featuring quite highly as well!

    Lawes and Parling could be a good second row combination, with the lineout strategist and the enforcer roles covered.

    Who’d be England coach??

    1. I still cannot comprehend why Corbisiero continues to be so underrated!?

      The bloke’s been awesome every single time he’s worn an England shirt. I’m sure Marler could do a job too, but Corbs is bloody brilliant.

      1. I really rate Corbs, but hes coming back from injury and Irish have had a terrible start to the season, so I went with form, but I’d be happy with either tbh

        1. ‘I’d be happy either way’. That is what I like about this squad. I have a preferred starting 15, but many of the ‘replacement’ guys I would also be happy with.

    2. I went with your choice of Lawes and Parling. If there is no Croft in the back row I think you need Parling as the line out captain but I prefer Palmer around the park. Palmer/Lawes has proved to be a fine partnership in the past (the aus wins under martin johnson for example)

  4. A back three of wade, Ashton And may? That would be a seriously quick back three. Would love to see burns play 10 and I’m a big fan of the Tuilagi and Joseph combo in the centres. If that clicked and someone like burns brought them both into the game, I’m sure it would cause more than its fair share of defensive headaches. Twelvetrees and Tuilagi would be pretty good too.

  5. I like the idea of playing players in the position that they play for their clubs and don’t both JJ and Tuilagi play 13?

    1. I sometimes think we get hung up too much on where people should play. I don’t remember such anguish when Robinson was moved from wing to fb or Greenwood from 12 to 13. Other nations, especially the big 3 southern hemisphre teams shift their backs around and make it work.

      However – lets do it for a reason. When Manu was selected at 12 in the summer I had thought he would recieve the ball at first or second reciever at pace punching holes in the defence and offloading to JJ. Using him excusivly as a decoy runner was utterly non-sensical as it took our best player out of the game!

      1. I get your point Benjit and agree with it up to a point. The Ausies (O’conner, Beale etc) seem to change position with ease but the English lads tend to struggle with it a lot more.

        However 12/13 is’t really about set positions as long as the combination has the full set of skills/physical attributes. I think its clear that Manu is our best option at both 12 and 13. Joseph is the kind of player who could exploit his bulk from 13 as you point out. That would be the closest thing to nonu/smith we could field.

        The only question is if that pairing lacks a bit of defensive cohesion. So i would probably start Barrit with the intention of moving Manu in one and bringing on Joseph later in the game.

        1. I totally agree about getting the combination right. Such as never putting Farrell and Barritt in the same midfield unless you are purely protecting a lead! I just wonder whether Barritt’s defensive qualities are needed when Flood is playing – who is ok(ish) defensively. I’d be more inclined to partner him with Burns if he makes his debut, so that he can concentrate on running the game rather than worrying about defensive lapses

  6. For me the fly half centre combo is vitally important. Much as I would love to see us running in tries with a completely mobile side stepping back line from 10 to 15, it would leave some serious defensive worries. Either Burns or Flood to start at 10, with Barritt and Tuilagi, or Joseph outside. Farrell on the bench to cover 10 and 12.

    The back three is a real tussle. For me I would go with Monye because he’s on form and has the experience. Along with Ashton for his pace and strength. Goode because he has the ability to step up to first receiver if necessary and can cover the kicking duties admirably as well. I like Brown for his pace, but I don’t feel he can use the players around him to their full potential like Goode can. I also think Brown can sometimes be a bit mouthy, and could give away silly penalties, and at this level, that is not good.

    1. I think i would start Flood, Barrit, Tuilagi with the intention of finishing the game Burns, Tuilagi, Joseph.

  7. In terms of backline, would quite like:

    9. Care
    10. Burns
    11. May
    12. Twelvetrees
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Wade
    15. Brown

    For the Fiji match. And then:

    9. Youngs
    10. Flood
    11. Wade
    12. Barritt
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Brown (Would be Foden)

    for the big games. Although I actually prefer the first one :/

    1. I prefer your “Fiji” pick too!

      Burns and Twelvetrees is a cracking combination, especially with the familiarity of playing regularly together. Tuilagi’s main weakness is distribution, so having these two proper passers at 10 and 12 would compensate for that.

      1. whilst its tempting to go for an experimental side against Fiji i’d rather give our starters a chance to solidify some combinations. Lancaster needs to get a couple of results especially considering the seeding for the next rwc.

        1. Would love to see the young Glos backs getting a start, but still reckon that most uncapped players should start from the bench and be brought into the international speed and intensity carefully. Some will take to it straight away and you can think about starting them after that. Others will take time to or will never develop into strong international players.

  8. How come nobodies picking Dickson at Scrum Half? He’s Englands only scrum half who gets ball out quickly, Youngs and Care tend to stand about for a bit and let the opposition defence get in place..

  9. I still don’t think Croft, when fit, should be in the team (as a starter, at least), and I say this as a (sort of) Leicester fan.
    The guy is great in the lineout, and every few matches he’ll make a huge 40m break that will make for a great highlight.
    But the fact is that the dude simply cannot compete physically in the tight. He is not big enough for his height, and puts serious pressure on the other back row players because they have to work so much harder. And equally if played in the second row, puts pressure on the front row because of the extra work they need to do to make up for his lack of mass/strength.
    This is not so much a problem at prem level, but it is at international.
    Scoring tries is not the primary role of any back row or second row, and is completely irelevant if the player in question cannot perform the basics of his position to the required level.

    1. AGREED! There are some great facets of his play, but he does not do enough of the hard graft, clearing out rucks, competing at the breakdown etc to start on the blindside at international level.

      I voted for Tom Johnson at 6…

  10. There’s a lot of quality, in-form backs in that list, but I’d love to see Tom Biggs given some gamesome, even if its just off the bench. Would be great to see what he can do playing with the likes of Flood and Farrell. He’s devastatingly quick, ridiculously strong for a small guy and brilliant defensively – something other wingers lack.

    Also, would love to see Bendy given a game at 15 (might be able to detect that I’m a Bath fan). The guy has been our most consistent performer in an average team for years and never seems to get a look in.

    1. I do quite rate Abendanon as well but i still think hes behind Brown, Goode and foden (when fit). I’d probably say he isn’t much ahead of May or miller either. Fullback is probably England’s strongest position atm.

      Its a similar story with Biggs, Wade, Monye, Sharples, Ashton etc…

  11. I was pretty disappointed to not see Matt Jess’s name in the Back 3 list. He’s been the top try scorer for Exeter (now a Heineken cup side who have recently beaten the Premiership champs) for however many seasons in a row, he’s got speed, power, and he’s only 28. I certainly think he should be in with a shout for the left wing shirt that’s up for grabs.

    1. Oops, just seen that it’s only players from the elite squads. I still think that Jess should be called up by Lancaster though (perhaps using cover for Ben Foden’s long term injury as an excuse?)

  12. So, if I have counted the current votes right, the top team from the choices above would be the following:

    1. J. Marler
    2. D. Hartley
    3. D. Cole
    4. C. Lawes
    5. G. Parling
    6. T. Croft
    7. C. Robshaw
    8. B. Morgan

    9. D. Care
    10. T. Flood
    11. C. Wade
    12. M. Tuilagi
    13. J. Joseph
    14. C. Ashton
    15. M. Brown

    16. A. Corbisero
    17. J. Gray
    18. T. Palmer
    19. T. Wood
    20. B. Youngs
    21. F. Burns
    22. A. Goode

    1. +Davey Wilson

      There is now an eight place on the bench reserved for a prop, which means that teams can now have both a LH and TH specialist on the bench. Wilson is going to be back up for Dan Cole.

      I think a lot of people are ignoring form when voting, because I can’t see why Tom Wood would be in there if not for his (by now, wildly exaggerated) form a couple of years ago.

      1. Also, am I the only one who thinks the back row is missing a real hard man?
        IMO you need three forwards that can really drain and put off the other team, Marler and Lawes would fulfill that role if we assume the above starting line up. But no-one in the likely back row, who is also in form can really do that in my eyes. The one player who I hope could do it in the future, and who I’d actually like to see now, is Carl Fearns. A number 6 who knows his role; to make life physically uncomfortable for the other team. Anyone who saw the midweek matches in SA and who’s seen the Bath games this season knows he can certainly do that.

        1. Totally agree agree regarding Wood. He played a few games in the 2011 6n where he played OK. He never dominated anyone but just sort of did his job. Now people seem to be saying he’ll take the shirt straight back from Robshaw. I think that is utterly ridiculous. The same can be said of Croft… why would you pick him when he hasn’t played all year.

          Personally I think Johnson can be the enforcer type player you want in the back row. Combined with Robshaw and Morgan that is a pretty physical back row.

      2. Totally agree regarding Wood, he had a couple of average games in the 2011 6n never really dominating anyone and now people are even suggesting he should just get the shirt from Robshaw. I also don’t get why people are picking Croft when he’s still injured and not played all season.

  13. I like the general consensus about most position.

    On paper, looks like a great team. Old guard well and truly gone and the above team looks like one which ‘could’ develop nicely. Bar a top performer at 10 (hopefully Ford will tick this box shortly) I am very content with that above line up.

    1. Yeh that team looks as though it is coming together nicely. It is also good to see a bench that looks strong and can make an impact!

      I agree with the Tom Wood issue, he needs to find real form at Saints first, which I believe he will do! I would have Haskell on the bench in that spot instead. Other than, it is exactly the team that I would put together,

  14. 1.Marler

    11.Sharples (Best option imo, Wade is terrible in defence)

    1. I would consider Ojo as a winger as well, he’s one of the best wings in England as far as i’m concerned. I find it strange that he’s been overlooked from a neutral stance, especially when Strettle and Monye who can’t finish off tries to save their lives are still considered.

      Both Ashton and Ojo are specialist right wingers though so maybe that wouldn’t really work.

  15. Maybe too soon for Joe Launchbury as he’s in one of the most physical posistions on the pitch, but would like to see him given an opportunity in the near future. Has the potential to be a top player IMO.

    1. Agree with you Patrick. He’s been involved in the age group sides for England and will hopefully break through in the next season or two.

  16. I like the attacking pace in the back line and seems like a pretty solid scrum. Lawes presence would contrast nicely to Parlings line-out organising ability. Would like to Lancaster find an excuse to bring Steffon Armitage into the fold though as i think he could really add to the back row.

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