Six Nations 2013: England team to play Ireland


Stuart Lancaster has named the following team to play Ireland this Sunday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Kick-off is at 3pm.

15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 7 caps)
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens, 30 caps)
13. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 12 caps)
12. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
11. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 12 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 13 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 29 caps)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 6 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 36 caps)
4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 5 caps)
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)
6. James Haskell (London Wasps, 46 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 13 caps)
8. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)

16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 43 caps)
17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
18. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 5 caps)
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 16 caps)
20. Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 38 caps)
22. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps)
23. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)

Stuart Lancaster explains his decisions:

Video courtesy of Nick Heath @rugbymedia

37 thoughts on “Six Nations 2013: England team to play Ireland

    1. I agree Tom, I do not rate Waldrom at International level at all. Ben Morgan is certainly the long term option. I must admit I haven’t seen a lot of Vunipola, apart from what I’ve read. I just don’t rate Waldrom at all.

      Other then that, this is a solid selection from Lancaster. I am eagerly anticipating Tuilagi’s arrival in the 2nd half, especially if Ireland are slacking like they did against Wales.

      1. I don’t rate Waldrom at all either, and was hoping to see Billy on the bench, but actually playing away at Ireland with only a week’s practice is not setting him up very empathetically.

        As you haven’t seen much of him, let me fill you in. He is a MONSTER ball carrier, fairly similar to Morgan, but errs far more on the side of power than elusiveness. It’s very clear he and Morgan are the future at 8.

    2. Have to agree. I don’t rate Waldrom that much anyway, and don’t really see what he offers from the bench? Vunipola is a dynamic runner and has the ability to trample players (a bit like his brother did last week with Richie Gray). Waldrom off the bench is not going to worry the likes of O’Brien and Heaslip one bit.

  1. I can understand the continuity and the fact that Tuilagi hasn’t played for a month so no real problem with that. However I reckon the Irish will be slightly relieved. I think this is the centre combination they would have liked to see.

    Having said that, I don’t think the match will be won and lost in the 13 channel (it rarely is). The breakdown battle will be key and if England can continue their recent improvement there, with Haskell able to match O’Brien for physicality, they could well win. Expecting an incredibly tough match, almost too close to call. I’m off to Superbru to toss a coin.

  2. Waldrom over Billy!!??? I have been to a few Wasps games this season and how Billy can be overlooked is mystifying.

    He has been a standout performer in the prem, and has bags of potential.

    I still don’t rate Thomas the tank. I’d rather see dependable Dowson on the bench.

  3. What’s worrying is that if any of our back three get injured Manu will most likely be stuck on the wing all game. Since Lancaster opted to start brad and leave no cover on the bench. Waldrom in is a farce. Especially with how well bvunipola has performed this season. Should have dropped baritt, started Manu and a genuine winger leaving us with brown as back three cover. Then drop the useless Thomas the tank for someone younger who can actually up their game.

    1. only issue with dropping Barrit and starting Manu is that Manu can rush out and miss tackles and leave Barrit to cover for him(which he does very well indeed) i don’t think Billy would do the same. Furthermore, starting Goode at fullback weakens our defense even more. If we were going to have that centre pairing we would have to start Foden at fullback i think.

  4. Another good team selection, and pretty much what I expected. Just three little nagging thoughts.
    1. Haskell needs to keep his cool, and not lose his temper and give away silly penalties.
    2. If any of the back three get injured, will we see Tuilagi on the wing?
    3. Tom Youngs needs to be on absolute top form because Best will be doing everything to put him off.
    The only real disappointment for me is Waldrom on the bench. Would really liked to have seen Big Billy on the bench.
    Aside from that I think this team is more than capable of beating Ireland in Dublin. Wood at 8 is nor a problem for me. I think he’s a very good runner, with good pace and a very good step as we saw last week. And I’d rather see him there than Waldrom.

    1. My hunch is we would see B.Youngs on the wing (has the pace, good defensive positioning i.e. is often sweeping in those areas, has a kicking game and we aren’t opposing monsters physically).

      I know a lot of people like the idea of Tuilagi mowing down the wing scattering the green skittles but with the kicking game of Sexton and Kearney I think it would work about as well as picking Bergamasco as a scrum half.

      1. B. Youngs was actually a winger in his youth; and actually ended up making his england debut on the wing.

        So I think he would go there before Manu does.

        1. From memory, I believe that Danny Care has played on the wing for England before as well (not as a starter of course).

  5. Waldrom is good cover for the whole back row, his breakdown work is also brilliant. I know Vunipola is quick and physical, but he’s also a penalty liability. That said, with Hasks on they might as well give Ireland a 12 point head start.

    I don’t think Waldrom is much use as an impact sub though. He is the workhorse variety. Better to have him (an actual number 8) on at the start and bring Haskell or Vunipola on as a physical carrier against tired legs.

    I’m a bit dubious about Barritt/36. For me it was always either Barritt and Tuilagi as the safe option or Manu and 36 as the attacking option – with Barritt to come on and close out the game. The impact sub could work though

    1. Waldrom has made 2-3 big errors in pretty much every game he has played for England. I know he has a massive workrate if you look at the stats. But it’s not really about stats.

      1. The only errors I’ve seen Waldrom make is not giving the ball at the right time, but at least he’s kept it. I’ve seen Morgan carry the ball over, get isolated and lose it plenty of times and for me that’s a bigger worry. I don’t think Waldrom has had a bad game in an England shirt yet (though some not great games and some great games).

        However, I’m not arguing Waldrom/Morgan here, just the general idea that Waldrom’s useless that seems to be perpetuating around here. Last year he was the best Premiership 8 and he was a star in South Africa, outshining Morgan. Suddenly, one not great game against Australia and he’s trash, I don’t believe it. It’s certainly much better than switching a flanker to 8 for much the same reason as it’s ridiculous to switch a centre to wing.

        1. I agree. I don’t think Waldrom is bad. He’s generally done fairly well for England. He may not have the same upside as Morgan, but he’ll do his job and has some experience which could be useful in the Irish pressure cooker.

  6. That’s a pretty solid squad. Right decision about not bringing Manu straight back in but as James highlights could cause issues if one of the back three goes off.

    Obviously would prefer to see Bruns & Billy in there but their time will come.

    I am so nervous about this weekend it’s going to be another exhaustive rollercoster ride with no fingernails left and lots of nervous wee’s but will be awesome!

  7. The team itself is as good as it can get, though not too sure about the bench. Waldrom there is a joke, hopefully he proves me wrong though! And in my opinion, Foden should be there on the bench instead of Flood (Goode can cover FH).

  8. I wonder if B.Vunipola is also lacking a bit of sharpness after his injury? Although I would have preferred him to Waldrom that has more to do with how excited I am by Vunipola than Waldrom being poor.

    Crusaders used Waldrom as an impact sub, he was a real game changer when he came on, he also excelled in that role in the second SA test, hope he can do the same on Sunday.

    After last years 6N game against Wales the Shaun Edwards quote was “2 blokes scared us, Morgan & Tuilagi”, I can understand benching Tuilagi if he isn’t quite 100% yet, but I am concerned about our ability to break the gain line with neither of them.

    That said I think this is an excellent back row to combat the threat of Ireland in the ruck and tackle area, arguably the best selection we could have made for this game anyway.

    Using a Lancasterism, Goode must have some “credit in the bank” from the AIs. I think he will be targeted physically and with no real back 3 cover on the bench I hope he repays the faith.

    A stat I read this morning that didn’t make me too confident …. BOD hasn’t lost to England in a decade.

  9. My hope for the weekend as an England fan:
    1. Scotland beat Italy.
    2. France and Wales draw (0-0 preferably, but not likely).
    3. England take it to Ireland and smash them off the park!

      1. As an England fan I want us to win the tournament, so if Scotland beat Italy, then they’ve both won one, lost one. If I was a neutral I would be rooting for Italy all the way, but I’m not!

        1. No chance fella never support Scotland in a million years as they are more than happy to gloat at us, so c’mon Italy!

    1. Dazza – going to be close one. Big question is can we take their scrum and knacker Healy while keeping their back row busy? We will have a good chance if we can. Mouth watering!

      1. I suspect this is part of the reason SL wants Wood at 8. He’s more mobile than Haskell, and better speed off the base of the scrum. If Marler can get one over early on Healy, we will be in for a cracker. If Marler has no luck, we need to get Vunipola on, as I believe he’s a better scrummager than Marler. I think his shape makes it easier for him to get lower, and can cause problems for the opposition. I just hope Goode is back to full fitness this week, because we can expect Kearney to be putting a few high ones up (why it’s nice to have two FBs on the pitch). There are interesting match ups all over the pitch for this one. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.
        COME ON ENGLAND!!!!

        1. It’s Healey Vs Cole & Ross Vs Marler, very good contests on both sides.

          I think Lancaster has sacrificed ball carrying for having 3 incredible athletes with huge engines to outwork their counterparts at the breakdown. Agree with you that Wood offers the most dynamism off the base of the 3, despite Haskell having more experience at 8. I think this could be Lancaster’s best tactical selection, albeit injury induced.

  10. Would much rather see Vunipola than waldrom, for the same reason matt said, preferably would of like to see some creative play from lancaster and maybe put an extra back on the bench like sharples, and leave lawes and launchbury to cover backrow as both can play 6, just to give us an extra edge going forward if we need to attack in the 2nd half
    Think we will win if we go infront early, can’t see us coming back from more than a 7 point gap

  11. Very pleased with the choice of centres. We definitely need the defensive command of Barritt when we come up against almighty BOD. And after only coming back from injury, Manu might not be 100% fit and is best on the bench. Perhaps to be brought on around 65-70 minutes in as the rhino he is to batter tired defenses.
    Then he’ll be on top form to face France, who provided they keep Fofana at wing (idiots), shouldn’t give him any troubles.

    Sad to see Morgan not make a recovery, it’ll be harder to break the line without him and Manu but Barritt, Launchbury and Haskell aren’t too bad at it either.
    Shall be a good game

  12. Nice ot see they stuck with 12trees, he deserves this and I still see him and Manu as the future.

    Really interested to see how Wood goes at 8, it has beeen a problem for us for a while and with croft returning we would be severely iverloaded with 6ies. Croft Wood and Robshaw would be interesting. Morgan played well against Scotland but I think he has a long way to go to be fair.

    Slightly worried about the back three situation, we haven’t got any wing or fullback cover on the bench. What the hell has happened to Foden, he can play both and offers more cutting edge and speed than Brown and Goode put together, he played really well in SA during the Summer tour but seems really out of favor at the moment.

    The team looks good with lots of competition in the Front 5, backrow is getting there and the middfield is looking more interesting but we need some wingers.

    I’m very pleased with the state of play but one has to look forward all the time.

  13. I actually Like the Team Choices Lancaster has made.

    The Bench has real Impact as well. After the Rugby God that is BOD has had to deal with Twelvetrees for 50 Minutes the very last thing Ireland or BOD will be looking forward to is manu off the Bench.

    I almost want to Hide behind the Sofa until the replacements are made :-)

    Bring on the Rugby !!

  14. I’m still worried about Brown on the wing. While he occassionally looks good there, he also – to often – shows a degree of ineptitude in the position. He’s started stepping back inside instead of running down the touchline more than he had been previously, but last week he got isolated quite badly a few times and could have cost England more. Foden is much more the utility back and if you have to put a full back on the wing I think he’d be the better option, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a real winger there.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Tom Biggs come up. He’s looked impressive every time I’ve seen him play

    1. Interestingly, Foden hasn’t been named in the Northampton team for this weekend – it seems both the Saints and England management agree he needs a rest. Make of that what you will.

    2. But Brown also made almost a third more meters as any other England back, 3 clean breaks compared to 1 for anyone else and beat more defenders.

      Not to mention that his kill under the high ball will be needed against Ireland

      I wish lancaster would play him at fullback though

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