POLL: Who should start in the centres for England against Ireland?


For perhaps the first time in his rein as head coach of the national team, Stuart Lancaster has some genuine selection dilemmas. The worst of these is undoubtedly in the centres, where whoever doesn’t start can count themselves very unlucky.

Billy Twelvetrees made a storming debut, and Brad Barritt has played some of his best games in an England shirt recently. The returning Manu Tuilagi can be a world-class player on his day, the likes of which no other team can boast. So who should be selected?

Have your say below:

Who should start in the centres for England against Ireland?

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20 thoughts on “POLL: Who should start in the centres for England against Ireland?

  1. I think Twelvetreeves certainly added some dynamism and go forward to our backs against scotland, but he was being fairly selfish on the ball up until his score. Let’s not forget this was a game against Scotland too, he will be challenged defensively far more by other teams.

    I would personally start manu and barritt, with Twelvetrees the impact sub. Definitely not Flood into the centres again!

  2. Isn’t it nice to be having this discussion picking from several good options rather than desperately trying to make the best of a bad lot. We have rarely been in this position since Mike Catt ‘dropped himself’ for the World Cup Final.

  3. After 90 votes, only 13 for Barritt and Tuilagi – I suspect however that they will get their wish. It’s the percentage option (although not one I voted for).

  4. Barritt and Twelvetrees to start. Bring Manu on to suit the needs of the team at the right point in the game.

  5. I’m in two minds. I think Manu/Billy would be the much better attacking option, especially with Flood at 10. Billy can tackle, has a good boot to take the pressure off fly half and good distribution to put Manu in. Manu is the obvious strong runner and tackler, surely has to be used.

    On the other hand, Barritt is a proven measure. Not the best distributor or attacker, but solid in defence and can be trusted to stand strong. The argument falls apart a little though when you see that Billy made more tackles (5/1) than Barritt (3/1) last week, but that’s based on one England game.

    I’d personally take the gamble on Manu and Billy, while acknowledging that it’s a gamble

    1. Not surprised that the 12 made more tackles than the 13 against Scotland to be honest. Barritt brings the unseen organisational stuff though which is arguably more important. Still, players playing at international level should know how to organise a defence, I’d hope they don’t pick Barritt purely for that.

  6. Manu hasnt played for a month and it makes sense to bring him off the bench especially as the coaches have been asking him to up the intensity in training, perhaps indicating he lacks match sharpness. Twelvetrees performance merits another start as does Barrit’s consitency for england over the past year.

  7. I have to agree with Rob and Shedhead on this one. Especially as Manu has not played a game for a month. Plus if 36 starts, Barritt will again be at outside centre, just the right position to defend against BOD. 36 is probably a better defender than Manu as well, as Manu does have a tendency to go a little high, and a bit wild with his tackles. Depending on the score line at 50-60 minutes, bring him on for either 36 or Barritt. If we’re clearly ahead and on the front foot, take Barritt off. If it’s close take 36 off and bring Manu on at 13, shifting Barritt to 12.

  8. Simple solution – put Tuilagi on the wing. Move Brown to his preferred position at 15 and have Goode on the bench. We also don’t need Flood on the bench, since Twelvetrees is a strong 10 option as well.

    9. Youngs/Care
    10. Farrell
    11. Tuilagi
    12. Barratt
    13. Twelvetrees
    14. Ashton
    15. Brown

    1. Tuilagi on wing? Ridiculous. Has no kicking game, and isn’t safe under the high ball. Why would you want him tracking back on kicks? It’s centres or nothing.

  9. How can many play an international on the wing? He has very little experience there and I would doubt his positional play in te position. Would be unfair on him more than anyone else

  10. I think I’d start Twelvetrees and Barritt.

    It worked well against Scotland, and Tuilagi could be a huge impact off the bench against a tiring defence.

  11. Also if Manu is on the bench and BOD goes off for whatever reason, it may mean Earls comes on, and Manu against Earls could be fantastically one sided.

  12. I voted Barritt & Manu. My favoured combo going forwards is 36 & Manu, but agree it doesn’t make sense to drop Barritt when Ireland are going to test our defence intellectually and not just physically.

    So why pick Manu over 36 given Manu has had a few weeks out and 36 had such a great debut?

    My main reason is without Morgan and Manu we are a bit light gainline busting dynamic ball carriers. In our last 2 games we have been excellent at getting quick ball as we’ve broken the gainline and cleared out brilliantly. Breaching the gainline and getting quick ball will be much harder against Ireland so I wouldn’t want us to be without both the players most adept at crossing it.

  13. 36 and Barritt to start, with Tuilagi to come of the bench as an impact sub.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  14. What’s this obsession with playing people out of position? Manu is not a winger,it’s a specialist position that he lacks the exact skills for and it would be asking for trouble.

  15. I’ve gone for Barrit and 36, I think Manu as an impact sub at 60 minutes could be lethal to any tired centres (even BOD).

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