Summer Tour 2018: England Team to Play South Africa

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has named the England team to play South Africa in the first Test this weekend.

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 18 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 34 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 58 caps)
11 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 69 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 74 caps)

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 49 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 25 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 10 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 19 caps)
5 Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 2 caps)
6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 64 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 1 cap)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 34 caps)

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 56 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps)
19 Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps, 0 caps)
20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 14 caps)
21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 0 caps)
22 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
23 Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)

What do you think of the lineup?

49 thoughts on “Summer Tour 2018: England Team to Play South Africa

  1. Like this a lot. Not keen on Brown on the wing again but can see why he is there. Shame Woodward isn’t on the bench but overall I’m pleased.

    1. Francis over any of the other outside backs in the squad is disappointing really!! I would have thought Cipriani or Lozowski would be great bench options as they could cover 15 as well!?

      1. They already have brown on the pitch to cover 15 if required and Francis can cover the midfield options. However, I still would have rather had Cips on the bench. I think it was a choice between Lozowski or Slade for 13 and either would miss out on the team entirely if not picked.

  2. On first glance this looked ok but, looking at it a 2nd time, there are a number of inclusions/omissions that I’m not sure about:
    1) Brown on the wing; the need for experience/continuity is outweighed greatly by a lack of pace. Tuisova burnt Brown on the wing and he isn’t overly quick for a winger.
    2) No Cipriani to be seen; the mind boggles. In better form than Ford and the commitment he made to continue playing in the Prem seems to have been rewarded with a slap in the face.
    3) Forwards; starting pack is strong but have to question the inclusion of Marler/omission of Genge. The latter has been far superior in all aspects of the game this season. Hughes also supposedly isnt fit.
    4) Backs replacements; Though Francis played ok against the Baa-Baas, he is (imo) well behind Lozowski in terms of form and ability. Lozowski to not be included at all is really strange.
    Unless there have been injuries, in which case I apologise for the rant, I can’t see what some of these players have done to earn a spot. All other teams, bar Ireland (who frankly have tried and tested depth at every position), are trying out new players and combinations. Yet England seem to be stalling.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Jake. Pretty much word for word what I was about to type!! Disappointed in the lack of confidence in the less experience squad members and also some of the strange calls, particularly Francis over Cipriani or Lozowski!?

      1. Lozowski for me was one of the standout performers in the AP final, so thought he might even start ahead of Slade. Deserved a squad place at minimum.

        1. Fair enough he wants to see Slade partnered with Ford and Farrell but I would at least have him on the bench, if only to shore up the defence second half. Francis is woeful in defence whereas Lozowski makes massive hits on anyone in his channel.

  3. The starting 15 looks good although I would have switched Brown and Daly. I would also preferred to have Cips at 10.

    The bench is odd. Front row cover I’m happy with but then no 2nd row cover? Im interested to see how Shields and Spencer go but Francis and Solomonoa I really question. I don’t think their good enough to warrant a place in the squad.

  4. Looked good at first glance but not happy with quite a few areas.

    Most obvious is that Brown is not a winger. Surely Solomona or Earle would make more sense?

    Also really disappointed to see Lozowski, Cips and Robson all missing from the 23. Really can’t see how Spencer has done anything so prove he is a better player than Robson.

  5. Close, but no cigar. Apart from Curry it doesn’t get us any closer to identifying what the RWC squad will be. Brown is never going to be a RWC winger so why put him in now better to have at least tried somebody who might have a chance but failing that Daly on wing and Cippers at FB at least we would be able to write him in or out of the equation.

  6. 1. Brown and Robshaw. No. Just no. No.
    2. The best English 10 is Farrell. Play him at 10.

  7. Have long been a supporter of Brown but not even I can make a case for him playing on the wing. We found out he wasn’t any good there years ago under Lancaster – and that as when he was younger and faster!
    Assuming there are no injuries, the absence of Genge, Simmonds, Robson and Lozowski is just strange.
    We know what Marler brings. Hughes is apparently not fit and only covers 8 anyway. What’s Spencer done to get a place over Robson and Piers ‘makes Ronan o’Gara look like a strong tackler’ Francis does not seem to me to be international standard – ditto Solomona.
    On the plus side, Farrell and Slade could be interesting and will be interested to see how Isiekwe and Curry go – baptism of fire for them!
    Who’s captain btw?

    1. So I agree on Lozowski over Francis. But I think you are being unfair on Francis, he tackled well against the baabaas. Might not be knocking people backwards, but tackled low and brought his man down quickly.

    2. I’m wondering if Spencer’s selection over Robson is based on his kicking? He is very good off the tee as well as from hand and being left footed, gives a different option for touch finders.

  8. Interesting selection – starting XV is good and I understand a lot of the choices (like Brown on the wing) even if I don’t agree. Although I feel this highlights squad selection issues – if Jones isn’t happy with the wing options to start ahead of Brown, then maybe he should have brought another winger? Yarde or Cokanasiga maybe? Or doesn’t want to waste caps when he knows he has Watson and Nowell returning?

    Bigger surprise is the bench: no Cips or Lozowski but Francis (hardly had great season, baabaas game aside), Marler over Genge, Hughes over Simmonds and Spencer over Robson. Hmm.

    Anyway – excited for the game now!

  9. Brown on the wing no but am I alone in thinking that there maybe a few changes for the second test?

  10. I get the many comments on Hughes/Simmonds, but think about the opposition. No second row cover. A medium sized second row, and SA have always been all about the physicality.

    EJ won’t have known it at the time, but looking at the SA centres, SA will be playing quite directly.

  11. Brown is there to help ease Daly in to FB. Long term thats a good thing. Short term we have to put up with Brown as the other options didnt offer the security required.
    Apart from that, the starting XV is absolutely fine. You could make a case for starting Williams, or for Robshaw to be left out but there are solid reasons for their inclusion.
    The bench? Well thats a bit of a dogs dinner. Genge is s bit unlucky and I dont like no 2nd row cover. Shields elevation isnt a surprise but Wilson and Simmonds have reason to feel hard done by. Hughes is there as Billy will do well to last an hour.
    Thought Robson and Lozowski would feature. Spencer and Francis may be a touch fortunate.

    1. On the whole Brown at 11 debate I agree he is there to support Daly into the fullback role. When we have the ball Daly is the 15 which gives him the attacking freedom but in defence Brown covers and Daly moves over to the wing. This theory has been discussed with Halfpenny & Liam Williams for Wales and I think Eddie sticking with Brown for now is a clever move. Long term & hopefully come the autumn Jack Nowell will regain the robust/defensive winger role and eradicate Brown from the 23.

  12. The kindest thing I can say about this selection is EJ is still experimenting trying things out with Tokyo being more important than winning this game.Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt but I fully agree with others doubting some of the selections especially Brown.
    Our main hope is the opposition are just as experimental but the difference will probably be home advantage and pride in the shirt.

  13. Overall a good squad. Though surely we have better options on the wing than Brown? Though maybe not on the tour currently and I think they worry about having both Solomona and May on the pitch at same time as neither are the best defenders.

    Like seeing Isiekwe playing, he really has a lot of potential. You might be seeing the partnership that leads us into the WC here. Though I would never rule Launchberry and Lawes.

  14. Reasonably experienced team, despite have, is it, 22 rested or injured? Brown on the wing makes no logical sense either. Daly should surely have been given the centre berth as per his club, esp as this is a problematic position for England. Also agree that Marler might have been better to start @ prop, even though I’m not a big fan of his. I’m even less of a Sinckler fan. Both too head strong IMO. Also, Cipriani is the usual window dressing. What’s the point of his inclusion if he sits the game/tour(?) out. Anyway, Sat will tell. SA have rolled lottery somewhat & with 3 missing from their pack, who knows?

  15. Having looked through both teams, and allowing for the fact that I’m a lot more familiar with the England players and have zero idea about a few of the Springboks, I’d say we have the edge in personnel. I’d make an argument for four of their guys edging it against their opposite numbers (le Roux, de Klerk, Mostert and Kolisi) and seven of ours.

    Assuming home advantage evens that up, should be pretty tight.

  16. Agree on Cip. Frustrating that the on firm 10 who is a similar player to Ford is not given a shot.

  17. Am just going to play devils advocate for a second. Brown on the wing. High altitude, big booming kicks, back three all having to take high balls under pressure. Brown is good at this, and if putting him on the wing allows Daly to have another go at full back, then I’m sort of OK with it. However I hope it will be a one off for this test as Brown IS NOT a wing!

    Very concerned about our line out if one of the locks gets injured in the first ten minutes and would have had Lozowski and Woodward on the bench.

    Happy with Spencer as I think that he has had a good season, even though I am generally a Robson fan. Feel like Care and Robson are finishers (still not entirely comfortable with that term), but wouldn’t want to start Spencer in this test so putting him on the bench probably makes sense to give him some experience as he is probably the number two behind Youngs for starting a game at the RWC.

    Ford/Cipriani was probably a close call to be fair and hope Cips will start at least one of the tests. EJ has probably opted for international experience in the first test as he knows he can ill afford to lose it with the vultures circling.

    Not sure about Robshaw, bit worried about what he has left in the tank. Was hoping for Wilson, but two inexperienced back row players might have made EJ go back to Robshaw for the same reason as above.

    Despite the only Glaws player on the pitch being in the SA team, will still be cheering on England, but am still keen to see what Mostert can do!

  18. Quite a few dodgy calls here I think. Why not play Daly at 13 where we have had long term problem rather than in the back three here we have several options? Slade has not been in good enough form to justify a place and Brown is definitely not a winger. No second row cover is a worry, and Curry imo is several years short of being ready. If Cips is not even rated good enough to be on he bench he has been badly misused yet again. Reckon I’ll lose to a not particularly strong SA side by 12 points.

  19. Think this lack of depth in 2nd row highlights the strange squad selected by EJ, a position like that is almost certainly going to need backup and the fact its not there is poor imo. Ford over cips is frustrating, I think he deserves a chance and don’t see him as much less physical than Ford. Robshaw looks on empty and I really think he should have been rested for this tour with Wilson and Shields given a real go. Be interesting to see how Farrell and Slade go, could be a good combo for releasing some speed outside and they are not soft defensively.

  20. Surely Cipriani starts or doesn’t play at all?

    “not even in the 23” doesn’t really make sense. He is a 10, so he is only covering one position. Francis covers 10/12 – although I would have chosen Lozowski. Solomona covers the back 3, with Daly able to go to 13 if Slade comes off.

    Genge – he ended the season well, but he struggled in the tight earlier in the season, so it may be that (in South Africa of all places) Marler’s superior scrummaging is the better bet.

    One would assume that its VERY unlikely that Billy Vunipola will last 80 minutes at altitude, so Hughes makes sense as a like-for-like.

    Therefore it is difficult to see how to fit Simmonds in, as Shields will presumably cover Lock.

      1. I follow Super Rugby quite closely, particularly the Friday morning games which are on in the office. I don’t recall him ever starting at lock for the Hurricanes, nor moving there during a game, but I certainly haven’t seen every game!

        1. Thank you Hutch, although the answer does leave me worried. Fingers crossed no lock injuries then!

        2. Just read somewhere else that he hasn’t started at lock in the last four years. Didn’t however say that he hadn’t played lock in that time. Regardless, he is makeshift cover at this position at best. Bit like playing a lock at blindside really……….

    1. Surely Cipriani starts or doesn’t play at all?

      “not even in the 23” doesn’t really make sense.

      These two statements are contradictory. Eddies answer to stement 1 was not at all so why would he be in the 23

  21. One word. KICKING. This team has been picked to kick and keep kicking. The ball will travel and England’s pack is lighter and more mobile.

    1. I should imagine that was the thinking behind Brown on the wing too. SA also likely to kick a lot, Brown is strong under the high ball and brave in the tackle. Also as a mentor to Elliot Daly as he settles into the FB position.

    2. So it would seem. Jonny May but consider himself very lucky that there are no kickers left on tour to take his place.

      Very much the ‘odd man out’.

  22. My problem with this team is that I can’t see where the tries come from. We only really have one ball carrier in Bilky who can break the line and whilst Ford and Faz can kick and distribute well, there’s no-one in the backs who poses a direct running threat. We were pretty toothless in attack in the 6N with Watson and JJ – arguably this selection offers even lesz.

    1. I do get concerned that Daly being so talented means he gets to play everywhere except at 13 ! If Slade plays well then I will be pleased but we need to fix the 13 position as Joseph has been anonymous for a long time.
      Brown isn’t a wing!
      Cipriani deserves a start at 10 for at least one test.
      Will be very interesting to see how Curry goes…All the young back rowers seem to get injured straightaway which begs a number of questions and makes one think that older or tougher players like Armand and Wilson are more realistic bets for the world cup.
      Key question for me is how squad morale looks…in the 6 nations it started to look awful..if this continues then the game ‘s up for Eddie.

      1. I agree entirely especially the morale angle.I suspect the players do not enjoy the Eddie culture and regard a period in camp as a chore they have to put up with.


Comments are closed.