19 thoughts on “With Barritt and Tuilagi out, what would be your England midfield?

  1. For me, it is about balance, and I am very drawn to Eastmond plus 1. I know that this is harsh on Twelvetrees but I simply believe that he gives a spark that defences will worry about.

    I would go for Burrell at 13, as I have been extremely impressed with him. Not just his obvious physical attributes, but his decision making and his passing is excellent.

    I know very little about him, but is he someone who has come up through the lower leagues, rather than spent his times going through Pro academies and various age group international teams?

  2. I can see that the voting here suggests people want to see Eastmond with Twelvetrees – but obviously that isn’t very balanced. We would go from having no playmakers to two in the centres and be unbalanced the opposite way!

    I’d go Twelvetrees and Tomkins. Genuine 12 and genuine 13. For me you can’t just the best two centres and go with it – they need to be a balanced pairing and those two work for me.

  3. As a Bath supporter, I’m a huge fan of Eastmond. Despite this, I actually think he’ll be more useful on the bench – a proper game-changer, and from there he can cover wing, centre, fullback and even (at a push) fly-half. My starting centres would be 36 and Burrell.

  4. So I’m going for 36 and Burrell/Tomkins (can’t decide). I like Burrell’s physicality, which we will need, but I also like Tomkins offloading ability.

    Although my first thought was that Eastmond is the next cab off the rank I agree with Geat that super sub is his ideal position.

  5. I think Twelvetrees would have to be there if they’re seriously thinking about using him as a 13 with fly-half distribution/kicking qualities. Pairing him with Anthony Allen I fear would be too similar and I don’t think Eastmond is the bulky ball carrying 12 that’s required alongside (though definite impact sub). JJ is okay at crashball, but I can’t say I’ve ever been that impressed by him and I think Elliot Daly is also just a bit lightweight so I’d be looking in the direction of Burrell or Tomkins. Trying both out in alternating games would be an option, but I’m probably swayed more towards Tomkins because I just think he’ll link up better with 36.

    Disappointed for Manu, just back from injury and straight back out after his first game.

  6. As far as combos go 36 and Tomkins, would probably be the best. Does Burrell normally play 12 or 13? Sure I’ve seen him play both for Saints. Easmond is the best bench option we’ve had for years, but it’s a shame to leave someone with his mercurial talent on the bench. Still haven’t seen anything to suggest JJ is international quality, and I know he’s had limited chances but 36, Tomkins and Burrell are all on good form and Eastmond showed his credentials on the Argentina tour.
    I think Allen is going to be a nearly man for England, a bit like Simpson-Daniel. Trinder and Daly are still a little off the mark for me.
    When Tuilagi is fit I think him and Eastmond would be an awesome combination.

  7. It’s worth pointing out that Daly, Eastmond and Tomkins are all also injured at the moment (though coming back to fitness and Eastmonds was light)… so may be a bit rusty in the centres come the autumn internationals!

    Personal pick would be 12trees and Daly- maybe lacking a heavyweight crash ball option but 12trees is hardly small, and Daly has too much talent and pace to be ignored for much longer- just needs to keep fit.

    Think lancaster will go 12trees and tomkins if the latter can get a bit of form.

    1. “Daly has too much talent and pace to be ignored for much longer” – a bit like Tait and Simpson-Daniel then?

      1. Taits racked up a fair few caps but has suffered from some pretty unlucky injuries, whilst I think everyone is still in disbelief at how Simpson-Daniel was constantly and bafflingly overlooked (hape anyone?). I only hope Lancaster doesn’t make the same mistake as his presecessors!

        1. Yes Henry, if Sinbad had been Welsh he’d have a boatload of caps. We never understood on this side of the bridge why he wasn’t a sure starter outside of his injuries.

  8. I can’t believe how overlooked Anthony Allen is. He is consistently solid for Leicester, will tackle anything and can distribute. He seems like the forgotten man. I support Worcester so no bias! Outside of him I would go with Eastmond.

    1. Allen is good, a very underrated player, I agree. However, England at this stage are possibly looking towards young talent that will develop into senior players and make a few world cups. Allen is 27 now and I think Billy is only 23. Both offer something slightly different and one might argue that Allen is the better player (and others might argue the opposite), but I think age will possibly be a key factor in Billy’s selection. Had Allen not had a DIY accident which saw him out for a few months, Billy may not have had the opportunities he’s had and Allen would be the better shout, but that’s chaos theeory for you

  9. Twelvetrees has to start at 12 and outside of him I’d go for either JJ or Tomkins. JJ has been unlucky with injuries in the past year and was in a poor LI side but he has great footwork and pace and decent footballing skills. Tomkins has the power to use him on crash ball and a hell of an offload. Either would compliment 36.

    Incidentally, I think that this makes Yarde a definite starter on the wing to make up for the power deficit Tuilagi’s absence leaves. Given his start to the season, this was possibly going to happen anyway

  10. I’m a Quins fan but I really rate George Lowe. He should definitely be in the mix, although maybe not a starter.

    I personally would go for Twelvetrees at 12, with Tomkins, Daly, or Burrell outside him. I went for Daly but I suppose Tomkins or Burrell would give more balance.

  11. There are only 2 plausible options:

    1) Farrell prevails in picking ano sarries ex league player in Tompkins or

    2) Lancaster puts his foot down and picks ano ex Leeds alumnus in Burrell

    However if either get injured then Catt will no doubt recommend his ex LI teammate Joseph.

  12. I think you’ve at least got to go with 36 considering he was in the squad last year making him a bit more seasoned than the others, plus he’s still in great form (obviously forgetting the ‘tackle that never was’ on George North last week).

    Other than that I’m not sure who to pick, I’ve been impressed with Eastmond… but I’m not sure just smushing 36 and Eastmond together would work considering it’s a little lightweight in the muscle department.

    Mind you we all go on about the Lancaster regime as a fresh start with new ideas, so maybe we DO need to think outside the box and put a pairing together that might not necessarily look right together on paper….. Just saying!

  13. It’s annoying that Daly has been suffering from injury, otherwise a big start to the season might have seen him on the fringes.

    Otherwise, I’d go for Twelvetrees and JJ.

  14. Can’t understand this 36 is too lightweight nonsense. He’s listed as 15st 10lbs, the same as Tomkins, and only marginally lighter than Burrell. The difference is he doesn’t only have crash ball in his armoury, he’s more subtle than that, so people forget he’s actually quite a lump.

    Personally would go for 36 and Eastmond. Can you imagine someone like Eastmond running at a retreating defence if a clever 36 angle has breached the first line. Would give defensive coaches nightmares (hopefully). Not quite sure what Eastmonds defence is like, but it can’t be that bad can it? He wouldn’t be getting game time otherwise. Think Burrell would be next man up as he certainly seems to have started the season well.

    Allen and JJ are both great club players but have never really made the step up at international level, so we should move on. Trinder, Daly and Tomkins need more time to develop, but I think that they are all nearly there. Mind you I said that about Wade and Yarde so I might not be the best judge!

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