Volcano is ready to erupt for England

Lesley Vainikolo

All the home nations should beware, Lesley Vainikolo has been named in England’s squad for this year’s Six Nations.

Don’t be fooled by his girly name, the Rugby League convert scored 5 tries on his debut for Gloucester, and could be an England sensation on the wing.

Danny Cipriani, Tom Croft and Richard Wigglesworth are the other notable inclusions, whilst Josh Lewsey, Andy Farrell and James Simpson-Daniel (yet again) have missed the cut.

England squad:
Backs: Balshaw (Gloucester), Cipriani (Wasps), Cueto (Sale Sharks), Flood (Newcastle), Gomarsall (Harlequins), Hodgson (Sale Sharks), Noon (Newcastle), Richards (London Irish), Sackey (Wasps), Strettle (Harlequins), Tait (Newcastle), Tindall (Gloucester), Wigglesworth (Sale), Wilkinson (Newcastle), Vainikolo (Gloucester).
Forwards: Borthwick (Bath), Croft (Leicester), Chuter (Leicester), L Deacon (Leicester), Easter (Harlequins), Haskell (Wasps), Kay (Leicester), Mears (Bath), Moody (Leicester), Payne (Wasps), Rees (Wasps), Regan (Bristol), Shaw (Wasps), Sheridan (Sale), Stevens (Bath), Vickery (Wasps, capt), Worsley (Wasps).

5 thoughts on “Volcano is ready to erupt for England

  1. Hipkiss not even in a squad of 32?? And Lewsey? Unbelievable. I’ve always admired Noon’s work rate, but he’s never a better player than Hipkiss.

    Some of you on here may have read my whinging comments in the past about how full-back is a highly specialised position and you need a proper full-back at international level, you can’t just take the view that the back 3 are interchangeable.

    And here we go again – one player with experience at full-back, and given that it’s Balshaw, it’s not exactly unthinkable that he will get injured or totally lose the plot is it?

    Did he learn nothing from taking only two fly halves to the RWC, one of whom had a little bit of a reputation for being injured?

  2. Agreed Rob – astounding that Hipkiss and Lewsey aren’t in the squad. I’ve never believed Noon has been the right tonic for England either – defensively, he’s strong, and you can’t fault his commitment, but he just doesn’t have the attacking flair or distribution skills to be any sort of a threat at International level. The same goes for Hodgson – time and time again he’s proved that he’s a good orchestrator at club level, but lacks the bottle for the International stage.

    Excited about Vainikolo. Add into the mix the big wingers Ashton and Banahan who are making their way up the ranks, and stir in a bit of gas with Sackey / Strettle / Cueto, and you have an embarrassment of riches on the wing. Less said for full-back, where I think Lewsey should have been considered. I like Abendanon and think he’s one for the future, but agree with Ashton that he’s not yet the finished article and not yet dependable enough to leave as the last line of defence.

    The forwards look mean and ugly as usual – not much to say about them really.

    What’s really interesting and encouraging though is to see the Saxons squad. It’s crammed full with young, dynamic, exciting talent. Would anyone in the 6 Nations first teams want to take on a back-line with the likes of Hipkiss, Simpson-Daniel, Lamb, Varndell, Ashton, Abendenan, Allen, etc (I could go on). I think not.

    Bring on the new International season. Anyone want to lay a bet against England being quadruple grand-slam winners going into the next world cup??

  3. There are definitely some surprises in the backs, and not particularly encouraging ones. Where is Olly Barkley for instance?

    There’s not much excitement in the forwards – I’m slightly concerned about the hooker situation. Dylan Hartley has been widely lauded as one for the future, but we are stuck with Regan, Mears and Chuter, none of whom I want to see in 2011.

    Skivington has been in good form at lock in the GP, but isn’t even in the Saxons squad, Lipman has been playing well at 7, as has Narraway at 8.

    No Faz though…every cloud!

  4. Ashton has clearly had a stroke and is suffering from dementia – only 3 Quins players in the 32?!

    Seriously, all of the afore mentioned, Barkley, Hipkiss and Lewsey are proven good players at international level, under Ashton for Christ’s sake, and are all having good seasons.

    Regan, Rees and Worsley are all lucky to make the cut on current form. At a time when there is a boom in English talent there doesn’t seem to be much balance, ambition or consistency in this squad. Very disappointing.

  5. Got a feeling that Vainikolo will be about as useful as Wendell Sailor was for the wobblies. Gang tackled out of the game before he could get a head of steam and a useless tackler

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