VOTE for your next England Captain

With Lewis Moody’s retirement official, and today supposedly the day of reckoning for Martyn Thomas and Martin Johnson at Twickenham, we want to focus on the field and ask you to vote for who you would like to see lead England out against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4th. If none of the candidates below impress you, let us know in the comments who you would want to see in charge.

Who should be England's next captain?

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81 thoughts on “VOTE for your next England Captain

  1. Thought I’d wait till after speaking to Robshaw, Wood and Hartley over the last couple of days to make a decision. Still can’t choose though. Hartley’s experience probably edges him ahead.

  2. I don’t think it should be Hartley. Wood could be a genious idea, Robshaw has the pedigree but does he have the skill?

  3. The fact that there are no real standout candidates speaks volumes, and a lack of leadership was a big problem in NZ. It’s also a reminder that there are very few players that you’d pick as nailed on starters…

    I would have voted for Hartley six months ago, but I’ve lost a little respect for him after his various misdemeanours. I’m a big fan of Tom Wood, but is he really leadership material? He seems pretty quiet and understated, and doesn’t captain his club.

    Robshaw is probably the best bet from that list, but is untested at international level.

    Dark times.

  4. Hutch hits the nail on the head; no standout candidates.

    Although Robshaw may be green, I think England could afford a punt on him in the Six Nations. It could be seen as a positive move in light of their World Cup failures.

  5. It’s a tough call but I think a clean slate needs to be made (in all areas of the RFU!) and with that a new man called up in Chris Robshaw. Although he may be green he has helped pull Quins out of some sticky situations over the last few years and seems like the type of player who could tow a positive party line.

    When are you likely to post the Robshaw/Hartley/Wood articles Ben? I imagine they’ll make for interesting reading.

  6. In my opinion it should be the first person on the team sheet. But who the hell that is these days is anyones guess. Foden? Ashton? Tuilagi? Flood? Lawes? Wilikinson?… Maybe not then.

      1. I hate to confuse this further but shouldn’t the first name on the team sheet be the person selecting the team. Even that is unclear at the moment!

  7. Out of the candidates above I think Robshaw is the best choice. Question is where would you play him. If he comes into the squad in his natural position (which I believe is 6?) then it would leave Croft on the bench. Personally I would like to see Robshaw come in at 8 to replace Easter, who is surely due to announce his retirement from international duty?

    1. I’d be happy enough with Croft on the bench. He’s ok in the lineout and in attack around the park, but look at the best RWC players at 6 – Kaino, Lydiate, Dusautoir…all massive in defence and at the breakdown, which you cannot say of Croft.

      1. I agree with Hutch here.

        Robshaw is a 6 and although he has played 8 for Quins, he’s not a natural and England have done too much shoe-horning of people onto positions

        Outside of the line-out, I really don’t rate Croft. He doesn’t do the hard work that a blind-side needs to do in the tackle and the rucks. He made up for that to an extent on the Lions tour with his play around the field, but i have rarely, if ever, seen him reproduce the same form for England.

        On the other hand, Robshaw has been in the top ten for tackles made in the last 4 or 5 seasons, (a list I don’t think Croft has appeared in at all) and was near the top for carries last season

        Robshaw strikes me as a Dusautoir type player, who leads by example and always gives it his all

        It is nothing short of idiocy that Robshaw has not been bought into the regular england squad

  8. Personally, I think we have a real captaincy issue. We need Moody, Tindall and Easter (hopefully) have all had their day, and the candidates below are all tainted in some way. Hartley is possible the best captain, but couldn’t hold his place down. That said, captaincy galvanised him at Northampton and could do the same again. Robshaw straight in as Captain? Massively against that. First name on the sheet is Tuilagi, but unfortunately, keeping up the sheet analogy, he is three of them to the wind.

    On reflection I say give it to Hartley in the hope that it flicks the same switch that was switched when he got the Saints job

  9. It pains me to think that there isn’t an appropriate candidate within the RWC squad that went to and taht, as pointed out above, potential candidates from outside it like Robshaw are totally unproven at international level. What a state of affairs

  10. Ben Foden – with Delon Armitage trying to blot his copybook at every opportunity, he should be one of the first names on the sheet. Reliable on the field. Gives a good interview off it and seems fairly honest in his appraisal of performances. Has played more than one position so has a better understanding of the game than many. must be worth giving him a shot at it.

    1. Not a bad shout – on form, he’s the best player in the squad. I wonder if Johnno is pondering the same question as us, and if so, he might decide to give it all a miss and let someone else worry about it.

      1. Agree that on-form Foden is one of our best players and one of few world class guys we have – but for captain? He doesn’t seem to have a huge influence on the team and I’m not a huge fan of having my captain at full back in any case. So not totally sure on that.

        I’m still pretty undecided on this actually. I’m a big fan of Tom Wood but with Croft seemingly a shoe-in at 6 I’m not convinced a combination of those two on the flanks provides the right balance. Saying that, I’m not sure there’s a better openside to come in and provide the balance I’d desire.

        I’m leaning towards Hartley at the moment..

    2. I had the same feeling, but in all the choices that people seem to be throwing around, he seems to have been ignored. Good rugby brain, he’s going to be involved in the England set up for a while and has a good amount of experience. For all the talk of Tom Wood, he’s only got a few caps and he’s in for big competition from Croft at 6, unless England stick with the notion of playing a 6 at 7.

      Personally, I wouldn’t object to seeing Croft as Captain. He’s a fairly consistent player with a fair amount of England and Lions experience, but I also feel he’s a fairly smart/influential player

      The other players in the question I think are no too. Chris Robshaw has limited England experience, particularly in the current setup and with Croft and Wood fighting for 6, I don’t see him even getting a call up for England for the next 4 years. Hartley is a hot head and I sometimes wonder how much the rest of the team would get behind him. He’s struggling for form and was kept out of the team by Steve Thompson who was playing better. Tom Palmer also struggles with the chances of being consistently on the pitch. He’s in a position where a number of players can do his role in different ways and he’ll come off as the tactics change.

  11. The well split vote shows what a tough call it is I guess. A longer think threw up the name Cueto, experienced and closer to the game than Foden, but is he a first choice in his position? I’m more convinced now that Hartley is the call. It may be the only way Johnno can stop him conceding stupid penalties and getting himself sinbinned as well…

    1. Cueto! Did you actually type the words Cueto?
      Is that the same Cueto who is the world’s slowest winger?
      The same Cueto who score 1 try every 9 games.
      The same winger who was rounded and beaten for pace by a number 6 on Friday night?
      The same Cueto who, in the sprint tests before the world cup was beaten by ever other winger (and some centers and a scrum half and two backrow players!) except that donkey Banahan?

      Cueto should be confined to the ‘dustbin of history’ where he belongs.

      1. Actually, Cueto has been responsible for a lot of things England does on the field. Half the point of rugby is that it’s not all about being quick. It’s about staying with your support and being clever so you can get the offload. Check his line break, carry and assist stats and tell me he’s still useless. Ashton may score more tries for England, but I think Cueto does a lot more. Half the reason that forwards are scared to throw the ball out to the backs is because they have a tendency to run off and lose the ball and if there were more players among the backs like Cueto, they’d probably be less worried about it.

        That said, I don’t think Cueto will be involved in the England setup for another 4 years. Too many guys coming through

  12. I voted Tom Palmer. And am surprised that no one has mentioned him so far. He really puts in a shift every time he’s out there. Line-out commander, experienced, leads by example, a definite starter…


  13. Owen Farrell – seriously, kids going to be inside center of fly half for England for most of the next decade, can control a game, and gets respect on the field.

  14. I’m going to throw it out there…Luke Narraway? Although Gloucester stuttered last weekend i’ve been impressed with him. He seemed to really play the ref well and keep his front row from blowing up at regular opportunities. Plus he’s playing pretty well and if you go for two tacklers/fetchers at 6 and 7 (Wood/Robshaw/Croft) you can afford the 8 to play a bit looser and link into the backs a bit more.

    1. I like Narraway as a player and he would probably be a good captain, but he’s often injured and has to get into the team first.

    1. Because Cole is not the best tight head in England, Stevens is. In fact Cole is the 3rd best tight head in Liecester!
      Cole is also a penalty machine and never carries the ball!
      Mind you he plays for Liecester so that makes him a favorite.

      1. lol, you’ll call Cole a penalty machine and imply that Stevens is great? Every damn scrum Stevens was involved in for England he was going in at an angle, failing to bind, collapsing outright, whichever side fo the scrum he was on. He gets away with it in the Premiership but not at international level.

  15. Im leaning towards Hartley as he is the only one there who captains his club and is first choice (for me anyway). The problem with having your number one on the team sheet as captain is that for England its Tuilagi, and can anyone really see him leading a side with intelligience. He may lead by example but will he be able to play the ref like a real captain should??
    That appears to be the general problem with Englands squad atm. Good players but little or no leadership

  16. It seems there are a few candidates without any real international experience, highlighting the deficiencies of the current regime, but also suggesting that any captaincy appointment needs to be temporary.

    I’d like to see players like Robshaw, Narraway (particularly now that Haskell’s gone and Easter’s old and slow) and Hartley given the opportunity in the squad and told to step up as the new senior players to carry them through to 2015.

    1. I think the candidates for a lot of un/barely capped players comes from a lack of realistic thinking more than anything else. There are a few players that people get excited about because they’re young and running circles around people in the Premiership. There are plenty of reasonably experienced players in the England setup that will be there for the next 4 years minimum and are worth considering, but everyone seems to be about the exciting young guys. England captaincy comes from someone who has spent time in the setup and has the respect of both coach and players.

      I think a more realistic and sensible list would be:

      They all have a number of England caps, all are reasonably likely to secure a regular place in the side and all have had heavy involvement over the last two years with the England setup. I’ll disagree with a number of those players on various grounds, but it seems a more sensible list for Johnson to be choosing from than the others I’ve seen

      1. Agree with your selection criteria. Can’t think that Ashton has covered himself in glory. Not sure about Flood. Hartley may yet prove me wrong. Are Croft and Palmer certs for their position – although they seem to be the right material. This is why I came back to Foden. I’m not convinced he’s the perfect answer for many of the reasons suggested above but he’s the best of what we’ve got. Try him for the six nations and see how he goes. Of course he could lose form or get injured in the meantime!

        1. of the people in my list there are a number I would argue against. I think Flood needs to be allowed to focus on his game, Hartley isn’t a cert, nor do I think he’s the right type of person, Palmer is not a cert in his position, especially with Johnson enjoying the change of pace and tactic in the second row halfway through a match and Ashton isn’t my view of captain material either. This leaves me with the view that either Croft or Foden are the best choices for captain.

  17. Palmer isn’t a cert? Really? I would suggest (and i don’t have stats to back this up, just saying) that he’s been the most consistently selected forward for the last year?

    I reckon he deserves a shot anyway.

    1. Selected consistently maybe, but he’s not always started and when he has he’s often come off to change up the pack. He’s probably played a similar amount of time to Deacon

  18. Palmer still plays in France (and is over 30) so wont be selected anyway. My bet is Flood as his position should be secure for a year or two until the younger guys come through and is also experienced (2 world cups) yet is still ‘middle-aged’.

  19. Flood or Croft is my bet, Flood is great speaking to the media, well capped and both have plenty of experience and can read and direct game situations.
    Hartley, although he does a good job at saints isn’t fit to captain a national side especially when he is throwing dwarfs around.
    Palmer, on the other hand would be good, except can’t be due to playing in France.

  20. Palmer could be the best bet. RFU stated he is will be available despite playing in France. He would be the most likely captain to be on the field for the full 80. As a second row he is coming into his best years. He’s intelligent, speaks well to the media and is down to earth. He has experience of being a captain. He has enough caps under his belt and has the respect of the players.

  21. Robshaw + Narraway haven’t played enough for England recently.
    Flood, Foden + Wood seem too quiet to be leaders.
    Croft in my opinion isn’t that good and probably wouldn’t get into England if he wasn’t as tall as he is ang good at lineouts.
    Ashton + Tuilagi are about as smart as a box of rocks.
    So realistically the only reasonable candidate is Dylan Hartley who is also the captain of his club.

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