Six Nations 2011: England team to face Wales

Martin Johnson has just confirmed his starting line-up for the RBS Six Nations opener against Wales on Friday night.

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As expected, Tom Wood, Louis Deacon and James Haskell replace the injured trio of Lewis Moody, Courtney Lawes and Tom Croft, with Mike Tindall taking over the captaincy.

Let us know your thoughts? Is this a side that can win in Cardiff?

England:
1. Sheridan
2. Hartley
3. Cole
4. Deacon
5. Palmer
6. Haskell
7. Wood
8. Easter

9. Youngs
10. Flood
11. Cueto
12. Hape
13. Tindall (c)
14. Ashton
15. Foden

Replacements:
Thompson, Wilson, Shaw, Worsley, Care, Wilkinson, Banahan.

17 thoughts on “Six Nations 2011: England team to face Wales

  1. As we all expected. Is Wood playing 6 or 7?

    Just waiting for the Welsh team announcement so i can start making my predictions lol

  2. No real surprises there. Shaw hasn’t been fully fit and didn’t train last week, plus you need a crane to lift him so in Croft’s absence it makes sense to pick a lineout specialist. Re a threadt from the previous article, Deacon runs a good lineout at Leicester but Palmer was running it in the Autumn and I doubt Deacon would be given the role over his head. So it makes sense to pick the best lineout forward we have. Which is not Deacon. Skivington would have been a better option, he offeres far more as a package.

    Is this the slowest bench in the history of international rugby? 7 players who between them can only be capable of slowing the game down. We’d better be quick out of the blocks because catch-up rugby will be nigh on impossible.

  3. Haha, that is a particularly slow bench, but it shouldn’t matter. Hopefully England will stuff them up front and there will be no need for catch-up rugby.

  4. I am not overly confident about the English winning the breakdown battle but I suppose Johnson had little choice due to the necessity of a lineout jumper. Does anyone else think Chris Robshaw or Phil Dowson might have been a better bet in a hostile Welsh atmosphere?

  5. Munford – absolutely. Dowson for haskell is a must.
    The sad thing is that Dowson is 30 now and is running out of time.

    Hutch – we are going to get ambushed in Wales i fear…..

  6. A slightly disappointing look to the team in terms of lack of pace – you’d say only Youngs, Ashton and Foden are any sort of attacking threat. It’ll be a game of contrasts: Wales better on paper in the lineout and broken play; England better in the scrum and tight quarters. For the sake of a spectacle, I hope Wales dominate. For the sake of a nervous Englishman, I hope England dominate!

    The atmosphere will likely play a crucial role in the result too. It’s critical how the individuals respond – hopefully Haskell won’t lose his head (one braincell is all it takes) and hopefully Wood will rise to the occasion as a new boy.

    What an awful subs bench. Let’s hope Flood and Wilko have been practicing their penalties and dropped-goals!

  7. It appears that we are intent on bullying a depleted Welsh front row, which is fine if it works. However, we did that in the first summer test against the Aussies and still lost and with Alain Roland in charge I don’t hold out much hope of seeing the dominant scrum rewarded.

    I agree with previous comments about the bench, could Johnno have picked a less dynamic set of players? Care and Wilkinson aside. If “Plan A” doesn’t work we certainly don’t have the bench for a “Plan B”.

  8. Its ok Chrisj, they will probably wheel out Borthwick to do the post match banality excuse making ” we are an improving team taking steps in the right direction……”

  9. As usual, I’m quietly confident. Wales should never be underestimated, and nor should the difficulty of getting a result at the Millennium Stadium.

    The Welsh team has suffered with injuries, and it’s still half-decent. However, there are weaknesses there…

    The front row will not be as strong as if they had Jenkins and Jones. Paul James is a better scrummager apparently, but doesn’t offer nearly as much anywhere else, and I dare say Craig Mitchell is nowhere near as good as Jones (based on my knowledge of Jones more than Mitchell, admittedly).

    There’s not much between the second rows. They might have the slight edge, but Palmer has been playing well for England, and I’m expecting Deacon to have the game of his life now that he’s got another chance.

    The Welsh back row could be very good, but it lacks leadership. Put them under pressure at the breakdown and they could be anonymous all afternoon – Wood and Haskell should be able to do that, and Easter is a wise old head that Wales don’t have.

    In the backs, I’d rather have Youngs and Flood than Phillips and Jones. Our centres are fairly big and slow, but they’ll tackle pretty much anything, and I’d rather have our back three than theirs.

    Stoddart is a big weakness defensively, and that could be a real advantage.

    That Australia game was so impressive because England targeted their weaknesses. The set piece was taken out of the equation, so they just ran at Quade Cooper, because they’d done their homework. Homework will be done this week, and they’ll exploit the weaknesses to such an extent that Welsh passion just won’t be enough.

    Might be an article in the making here, assuming I can turn this into full sentences!

  10. jimmymc1 – don’t get the joke… it is a joke isn’t it?!

    i agree with concerns about the centres and lack of pace on the bench, but more of a worry is the welsh seeming to have a bit of a sign over us in cardiff recently, we don’t have much of the ‘over-my-dead-body’ cussedness of johnno and lawrence and others from the recent past…

  11. I think its fairly strong.
    Weve got some good fowards that can hopefully keep it together. Tompson on the bench mabye he should have replaced a less expreanced player but i have faith that Jonno has made the right desicisons. I think that our backs will work together well as long as Tindal can impose himself well as captin.
    Wales are having a bad time and i think that the first try will be very important, but this will not be a game with no trys of that I am cirtan. Wales is in a state to be truly honest and will have to put in a lot of effort to do anything.
    I think if England do well on friday then we should get the grand slam.

  12. i actualy think that we hava a fairly dynamic bench in that we have a mix of pace and bulk. We have got options out wide in Banahan and of course Jonnny can comein to offer some of his experience when needed and we have pace and originality in Care. Likewise we have Shaw and Thompson to offer soem experience if needed. One of my concerns however is the captancy. I reealise that Jonno was picking Tindall due to his experience and inspiratinal defense but i allways personaly think that is is better tohave a fowards captain. Esspesialy if we have Easterin at Number 8. Banahan will presumably come on at outside presuming we are not going to take off Cuato or Ashton and this means that we will have to take of our capain to allow him on the firld and i think that even if we do have Easter to take over the captancy taking off the captain is hardly ever a good idea. Esspecialy to make way fir a fairly inexperianced player. Nevertheless i think england will win on Friday due to some inspirational defence from our back line!

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