World Cup Diary – 7th June

This is the first post in the World Cup Diary series, which will focus on build up to the big event and then daily updates on the action and anything noteworthy.  Keep an eye out for commentary on news and events as they happen.

For now though, here is my England team for the World Cup, which will probably change as time goes on:

1. Sheridan
2. Regan
3. White
4. Kay
5. Shaw
6. Worsley
7. Rees
8. Dallaglio
9. Richards
10. Wilkinson
11. Robinson
12. Noon
13. Tait
14. Strettle
15. Abendanon

Massive up front, light and quick out wide.

2 thoughts on “World Cup Diary – 7th June

  1. I like the shape of your team, blending a mix of youth and experience. I would however question a couple of selections.

    Firstly, the pack has a nice shape to it, but I would be reluctant to put Sheridan in straight away having been injured for so long. I think he’d be better used as an impact player and coming on to really put the oppo through their paces later in the game when they’re tiring, hence using him as more of an attacking threat. In his place, I’d like to see Vickery – although not the raging bull of 2003, he still adds a lot to the set piece and does a lot to steady the team through his experienced head.

    I would also like to see one or two more of the players tested in the Summer ‘Tour of Hell Part Deux’ being shown reward for their endeavour. In particular, I thought Chris Jones added dynamism (forgoing a couple of glaring errors) and Alex Brown looked exciting. I would swap one of them for Shaw, who I think just hasn’t shown his worth on the International stage.

    I like the shape of the back row, and with impact players such as Ward-Smith, Haskell, Moody, Easter, etc all waiting in the wings there’s a strength in depth in that department and a lot of people are going to be unlucky to miss out.

    Now on to the backs. Firslty I don’t think Richards is good enough to be a solid and consistent performer behind the pack. He is feisty in broken play and counter-attacks, but lacks the solidity and incisiveness that Harry Ellis gave – this is one position where England are going to be exposed.

    Another weakness will be at 12. I don’t like the look of Noon and Tait in partnership – I think both need to play with a leader next to them (in the centres). Noon lacks the skill, distribution and multi-dimensionality skills that are offered by Farrell, who I think should be given the nod. Tait is weak in defence and that is concerning, but I agree to his inclusion as he makes up for that in attack, and was by far England’s most attacking prospect on the SA tour.

    Strettle, Abendanon and Robinson would be a potent back 3 in attack. Again, lacking the muscle in defence, but the push-and-shove should be won or lost up front before the battle reaches the plains of the back 3 – I would like to see Ashtonconfidently expressing intent by including such flair in the team.

    In short, I like the structure of the team, and although I disagree with a couple of specific inclusions, I think it is along the right lines. Of course one huge point to note is the inclusion of Dallaglio to boss the game – this is essential if England are to regain a leader. He can bully and rule the game for 50mins, as he so ably demonstrated in the Heineken Cup final by trampling all over the demeaned, haggered and often-found-wanting Corry both physically and mentally. England will need him to carry them through the group stages on his Gladiatoral deltoids.

  2. I accept most of your points here. 12 is definitely a problem area, and if Farrell can prove his worth in the warm up matches, I’d like to see him start.

    However, Shaw has got to start. Jones is too lightweight, Corry isn’t a specialist, Grewcock is banned, and Shaw, with his muscle and aggression, is exactly what we need against Samoa and South Africa.

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