The votes are in and ahead of the warm up matches in August against Wales and Ireland, this is your chosen side for the World Cup. Whilst the votes have shown who’s leading the race for selection, they have also highlighted who you believe will be not on the plane to New Zealand and are set to be left behind.
1. Andrew Sheridan (61%, 184 votes)
2. Dylan Hartley (88%, 265 votes)
3. Dan Cole (58%, 175 votes)
4. Courtney Lawes (89%, 268 votes)
5. Tom Palmer (76%, 231 votes)
6. Tom Croft (79%, 241 votes)
7. Lewis Moody (56%, 172 votes)
8. Nick Easter (59%, 181 votes)
9. Ben Youngs (72%, 223 votes)
10. Toby Flood (64%, 201 votes)
11. Mark Cueto (48%, 145 votes)
12. Mike Tindall (54%, 166 votes)
13. Manu Tuilagi (58%, 177 votes)
14. Chris Ashton (96%, 287 votes)
15. Ben Foden (96%, 298 votes)
The results have produced a side similar to the one England fielded in the last Six Nations match against Ireland, bar the return of Lewis Moody at openside, and presumably as captain, as well as the emergence of Manu Tuilagi as one of the favourites for the centre spots. Tuilagi other recently qualified teammate at Leicester, Thomas Waldrom, finished sixth only notching up 14% of the vote with 42 votes, nearly 70 fewer than the man above him in the rankings James Haskell.
The Northampton quartet of Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley were the most popular players according to the statistics, with all of them convincingly winning their respective positions over many other players, except Ben Foden whose only competition was Delon Armitage.
Players who were close to selection included the resurgent Matt Stevens, who with 57% of the vote was only just pipped to being one of the starting props by 1% to Dan Cole. Riki Flutey also won a considerable share of the vote in the centres with 130 votes, which is either sign of people’s confidence in his ability or desperation at the lack of strong options in midfield.
On those who looked likely to miss out, the worst score for any player was shared between David Wilson and George Chuter, who both only managed to receive 2% of their respective votes, with just five people backing both of them. Joe Worsley (4%), Richard Wigglesworth (3%), Hendre Fourie (6%), Chris Robshaw (7%) and Charlie Hodgson (5%) also look set to be staying home, whilst Mouritz Botha according to the vote was beaten to the 4th spot in the Second Row by Simon Shaw, by just 6 votes.
Ugo Monye and Charlie Sharples both finished bottom of the votes for the wingers on 9% each, suggesting they both won’t be heading to New Zealand either. Intriguingly, James Simpson-Daniel received the third highest number of votes for the wingers with 22% and 65 votes, meaning that the forgotten man of English Rugby could be heading to his first World Cup. (At the time of going to press it cannot be ruled out that Hutch has somehow made this miracle happen with some fixing of the voting system.)
What are your thoughts on the winning side? Do you believe that team could succeed at the World Cup? Let us know.