Stuart Lancaster names England team to face Scotland


Stuart Lancaster has named the following team to play Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is at 4pm.

15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 6 caps) 
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens, 29 caps) 
13. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 11 caps) 
12. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped) 
11. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 11 caps) 
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 12 caps) 
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps) 
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 5 caps) 
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps) 
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps) 
4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 4 caps) 
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps) 
6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 13 caps) 
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 12 caps) 
8. Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps) 

16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 42 caps) 
17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 22 caps) 
18. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 4 caps) 
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 15 caps) 
20. James Haskell (London Wasps, 45 caps) 
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 37 caps) 
22. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps) 
23. David Strettle (Saracens, 12 caps)

What do you make of the team?

35 thoughts on “Stuart Lancaster names England team to face Scotland

  1. The only slight problem I have with that is Youngs over Care – Care is a better player, in my opinion (albeit biased with Quins eyes). Even so, Youngs is still pretty good!

    Will be interesting to watch the match. Man-for-man, that team should beat Scotland – but it is the Six Nations, anything can happen!

    1. I’m inclined to say that neither is better. They’re both different players. The only problem is, they need the right 10 alongside them. Youngs does not play well with Farrell, Care does not play well with Flood.

      Care is much better around the less imaginative “solid” fly halves (Farrell, Wilkinson). Youngs is better alongside the flat pass quick hands on the gainline fly halves (Flood, Hodgson). Quite how Lancaster hasn’t caught on yet I don’t know. One thing I felt Johnno did really well as England coach was half back pairings (up to the world cup). Youngs and Flood to threaten and attack for 60 minutes and Care and Wilko to close the game out. I think this strategy could work well with Farrell in place of Wilko.

      1. Are you describing Nick Evans as a less imaginative fly half? I think he’s take issue with that.
        At his absolute best Youngs is probably better but on form Care is. Youngs still always strikes me as an accident waitint to happen. Where he has a clear advantage though is his kicking and given that Farrell’s kicking from hand is on a par with Dan Cole’s (watch it closely, so unnatural and awkward), I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a consideration.

  2. The interesting thing will be whether barrit will defend at inside or outside and switch for attack…. Catt did say something about the numbers on the players back not meaning much before the autumn ints.

  3. Here is how we lined up for the same fixture a year ago.

    England: Foden, Ashton, Barritt, Farrell, Strettle, Hodgson, Youngs, Corbisiero, Hartley, Cole, Botha, Palmer, Croft, Robshaw, Dowson.
    Replacements: Webber, Stevens, Parling, Morgan, Dickson, Turner-Hall, Brown.

    The pack is now far more mobile and athletic and we have some serious forward power on the bench, which was badly lacking in last years campaign.

    Whether it is Vunipola/Marler, Hartley/Youngs or Care/Youngs are all really close calls, personally I would have preferred to see them the other way round.

    I don’t understand the faith in Strettle, Foden or JJ would offer far more threat off the bench in my opinion. However I think Lancaster has been a brilliant selector thus far, so I trust his judgement far more than my own.

    A game we should win, my nagging doubts are:
    – Very large Scottish pack
    – Murray Vs Marler. Murray may blow hot and cold a bit, but when he is hot he is really destructive. Both fiery characters as well, wouldn’t be a huge shock if the ref has to get a card out at some point.
    – Can we attack without Tuilagi smashing through walls and leaving holes for others? I hope we can build on the NZ performance and not resort to too much hoofing the ball in the air.

  4. Danny Care has been playing out of his skin, he must be first choice over Youngs, who’s insistence on crabbing sideways a few steps every time he gets the ball just ends up losing our attacking impetus. The forwards look strong, bit worried how lightweight we look in the backs… Bit worried we will miss Tuilagi’s strength.

    1. 36 isn’t exactly a light weight, neither is Farrell or Barritt which we already know. Agree that strettle shouldn’t be in. We need to be able to bring a game changer off the bench, not a kick chaser…

  5. Agree with some of the comments on here. I would have put Hartley in to offer a bit more physicality and experience in the front row, especially against what looks to be quite a beefy Scottish pack. I think Care probably should also edge it on club form. Having said this, Lancaster is clearly laying the rule down that if you play well in the white shirt then your well placed to retain it. Given how well we played on our last outing no one can really be surprised by the team sheet really. I’m very excited to see what billy can do, good luck to the fella! Who knows we could end up with a much more exciting combo of Burns, Twelvetrees and Tuilagi by the end of the 6nations!!

  6. Glad to see 12tress starting over a Flood/Farrell combo. I would have rather had Flood start at 10 though.

    Very glad Brown starts over Strettle I don’t really see what Strettle brings from the bench. But its very positive that he is our only really weak player on the bench.

  7. Wish Strettle was nowhere near the 23, offers nothing, particularly as a sub. What impact will he make?

    And still not a Farrell fan. I was very optimistic going into the six nations that not only would we be a good side, but a side that played good rugby. I am just not convinced that will be achieved with Farrell.

    Also, surprised that Hartley isn’t starting. In my opinion he is one of only a couple of players in the England squad that can be considered in the region of ‘world class’; but Youngs did perform well over the AIs so I can see the reason for sticking with him.

    1. Agreed with your first two points, Jacob. Strettle scoring a try recently seems to have prompted his recall – I thought this was supposed to be a pre-requisite for wingers, but apparently it’s just a bonus.

      Re Farrell, he was hailed a year ago as the next big thing in English rugby. Since then he has done precisely nothing to back this up. Kicking and tackling is not enough. The reason Wilkinson worked for so long is that he had creative players outside him, which is simply not the case now. Part of me hopes they play boring rugby on Saturday, just so the clamour for Burns to be given a go increases. He must be the future.

      1. I completely agree in regards to Burns. He has to be first choice when fit! I really want to see a 10,12,13 of Burns, 12trees, Tuilagi at some point during this 6 nations!

        Also, Wilkinson had so much more to his game than Farrell does. Wilko has a killer pass, not the running game really. But look a Wilkos famous chip and chase vs NZ from which he scored, Farrell could never do that. Wilkinson only played deeper post injuries later in his career. Basically what I am saying is, early Wilko (i.e. Wilko at his best), had a far broader and superior skill set to Farrell right now, and is therefore not comparable.

  8. You’d think Farrell was sh*te reading these boards sometimes. It must have been a different player that I saw against Racing Metro the other week.

    1. No-one doubts Farrells ability to kick goals. He has literally no running game. That is the problem if you want to beat the best teams.

  9. “That is the problem if you want to beat the best teams” Wasn’t farrell playing when we beat New Zealand?

    1. He seems to have been playing in quite a few of England’s recent good performances and victories.

      I do agree that he has a limited running game, but I think that his kicking from hand, his distribution and his game management have all improved this season. While his goal kicking and the ability to perform under pressure (which you can’t coach) is as good as anybody’s.

      Let’s remember too that while Burns is very promising, he’s as yet unproven under the pressure and pace of international rugby. He’ll get his chance and I hope he succeeds, but at the moment I find it difficult to argue with Lancaster going with Farrell even if Burns had been fit.

      1. Yes Farrell was playing when we beat New Zealand. But any fly half in the world could have managed that game. Our forwards were the ones who won as the game against New Zealand. As has been mentioned many times on here, Farrell actually didn’t have a particularly good game against NZ if you watch closely.

        I’m not a massive Farrell hater; I appreciate his good qualities, but he has huge limitations.

        If we want to be consistently one of the best teams in the world, (which I am assuming we right!?), then Farrell is not the man to take us there.

        1. Watch the NZ Video again. Agree he needs to progress in attack. That game was not just won by the forwards. The backs defence was awesome. Led by the way by Farrel.

        2. I was a Farrell doubter, after the SA tour I became a detractor as I thought his contributions were about the worst I had ever seen from an England 10.

          I do however believe his performance against NZ was hugely influential (more than individually brilliant), as the goals started to fly over and the defence started smashing them back the team seemed to grow in belief and confidence. I think he deserves to keep his place. The test now is we are going into a game as favourites, I hope to see us play like favourites, i.e. with some confidence we can create something with the ball and not just hoof it away.

  10. ‘while Burns is very promising, he’s as yet unproven under the pressure and pace of international rugby’. So is everybody at one time or another, that’s never an argument not to pick someone.

    Farrell is solid and a fantastic goalkicker but his passing is laboured, he is ponderous with ball in hand and his kicking from hand is woeful. Mentally he is tough as anything but that can only get you so far. Saracens are a different team when Hodgson is playing, he is by far the standout fly half in the country and has been for years, shame he’s retired and was never really given the credit or trust he deserved.

    Very interested to see how Twelvetrees goes. On paper he could be exactly what we have been crying out for, now we get to see if he is good enough skills-wise, mentally and physically to step up. If he does then weirdly the man who could suffer long term is Alex Goode. He was brought in to have a second distributor nearer the breakdown because we lacked one in the centres. If Twelvetrees can fulfil that role at 12 then we’ll want a full back who runs in the wider channels. Brown and Foden are much more suited to that role than Goode.

  11. A Few names perhaps I would have picked but all in all a good selection. Disagree about Farrell.I love him defensively as well as in attack. Watched him playing at school and all the way to senior. He will only get stronger and better. Always has had a Cool head.

  12. With injuries in mind, I don’t think that this team is much different to the one any of us would pick.

    My concern is the backs on the bench. We have good impact subs on the bench in the forwards, but nothing to really help the backs if we need to change the plan. They are only there to provide injury cover or fresh legs. SH switch at 60, FH switch at 70, and Strettle only on if there is an injury.

  13. Will everyone please get off Farrell’s back at least until we’ve played the game. Some of things said about him on hear are absolute rubbish. He can’t pass, kicking from hand is woeful, all he does is kick and tackle, blah, blah, blah. If he was that bad, he would never get picked for Sarries, and would not be playing for England.

    1. But his kicking from hand is woeful and all he does is kick and tackle so why wouldn’t people say it? What kind of an argument is it to say he must be good or else he wouldn’t get picked? Obviously hes good compared to me or you but hes not good at international level.

  14. Looks a good team but what struck me was the low number of caps in the XV with only three players with more than 13, Ashton, youngs and cole. Wales front row probably has more caps between the three of them than the whole England team. Still think they will brush scotland aside comfortably mind you. Do you think this XV will be a core for years to come?

    1. I think people are most happy about with this England side is that it has a future. Nearly all the players are playing well but also have age on there side and look like they could improve as a unit over as much as 10 years if lucky.

    2. Regarding the number of caps, Richie McCaw had more caps than the entire starting pack for England that beat NZ. The whole NZ front row had more caps than England’s 23… Yet what was the result there? Caps in the bank are irrelevant, it’s the performance that you put in on the day.

      These young English lads can either sink or swim after that NZ win, personally I hope for the former.

      The fact is, and I know it’s a cliche, but you are only as good as your next game, whether you have 1 or 91 caps.

  15. Isn’t it a little odd that England are playing effectively 3 inside centres. I like all three of them but I am a little uncomfortable that we seem to missing a 13. With Goode at 15 we seem to lack for a little outside pace.

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