Autumn Internationals 2017: England team to play Samoa

Ellis Genge

Ellis Genge

Eddie Jones has named the England team to play Samoa this weekend.

England team to play Samoa:

Starting XV:
15 Brown
14 May
13 Slade
12 Lozowski
11 Daly
10 Ford (C)
9 Care

1 Genge
2 George
3 Cole
4 Launchbury
5 Ewels
6 Itoje
7 Robshaw (C)
8 Simmonds

16 Hartley
17 Marler
18 Williams
19 Isiekwe
20 Lawes
21 Youngs
22 Francis
23 Rokoduguni

The big call here is Dylan Hartley starts on the bench for the first time under Eddie Jones, with Jamie George getting a chance to impress from the start. Elsewhere big Charlie Ewels comes into the second row, with Nick Isiekwe on the bench, as Jones continues to grow England’s enviable strength in depth at lock.

Owen Farrell, Jonathan Joseph and Mako Vunipola have been rested, so there is a start for Alex Lozowski at 12, while Henry Slade gets a chance in his preferred outside centre role. For Vunipola, Ellis Genge starts at loosehead, with Joe Marler on the bench.

Other notable changes include Danny Care getting a run at 9 after his final-minutes fireworks against Australia, Sam Simmonds (as expected) replaces the injured Nathan Hughes, while Chris Robshaw packs down in the 7 shirt and Maro Itoje in the 6. Expect them to play left/right flanker though, rather than the conventional openside/blindside.

As against the Barbarians in May, Robshaw and George Ford have been named co-captains.

What do you think of the lineup?

36 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2017: England team to play Samoa

  1. Rejoice! Jamie George finally gets a go.

    And Robshaw at 7. Big day for Eddie.

    It does make some sense to have George start the games we expect to dominate, build up a lead and let Hartley come on the close things out safely. The opposite works for the harder tests where we may need some impact off the bench.

    Genge should help make up for the lack of a heavy carrier in the back row.

    Looks like this will be a fun watch.

  2. overall a good blend of experience and experimenting.

    Brown is a very sensible choice when the midfield is inexperienced.

    I’m amazed Robshaw is to wear 7 on his back and be (co)captain after all of EJ’s comments before taking over!

    I’m not sure how balanced Charlie Ewels and Launchbury will be. As good as they both are, they’re quite similar players, a more athletic Isiekwe would perhaps be a better partner. I presume Itoje will be calling the line out from 6?

    1. Agree with the blend of experience. This is a pretty good team for all that there are at most 8 regular starters. And even the non-starters generally have some experience in the set up and a handful of caps.

      It is really noticeable how much less convincing England is without Farrell. I imagine Eddie does not like that. This looks like the start of injury planning.

      Going for Launchbury and Ewels against Samoa makes sense. You don’t play open field rugby against Samoa. Control and territory, Apply pressure through the forwards to draw the defence out of alignment and then let the backs loose. Two big, heavy, hard working second rows with massive engines are ideal. Then some dynamism off the bench when they tire.

  3. Wow!! Some big call there but it does make for a very exciting game!!
    Farrell getting another rest is a bit of a surprise for me. I was really looking forward to seeing a Faz/Loz/Slade combination.
    Without the club combo of Youngs and Ford, I thought a different club combo of Faz and Loz would make sense!?
    I like the balance of the back row and I think Simmonds will have a blinding game from 8. We know the Samoans have big ball carriers in their pack but non of them will have the speed of Simmonds.
    Bet of all, George finally gets a start!!!!!! Hooray!!!!

    1. I was also hoping for Faz/Loz/slade.

      In some ways this makes more sense. Faz and Loz have a similar physicality and ability to play 10 and 12. (and similar abbreviations of their names…)

    1. Loz has come on at 12 a few times for Sarries when Faz has been at 10. He also played at 15 in a European game last season with Faz at 10.

  4. Doesn’t mean they can’t though, just Sarries choose not to try that kind of combination. Interesting team, looking forward to seeing Slade at 13 for decent length of time, hopefully he can perform and give EJ a headache. A little worried about Ford’s size and defence against a PI team but will be a good test for him.

  5. Some good calls, some not so good.
    Only 2 back rowers in the 23 seems daft to me. Why not give Roko a start? Ditto Williams, who is surely worth a go from the outset.
    On the plus side we have Genge and George starting and an interesting midfield selection.
    Mako and Farrell sitting this one out makes sense to me.

  6. Totally agree about Williams. We need to see if he can become another hefty carrier as well as anchoring the scrum.
    Ewels is a bit of a surprise too. Not the biggest second row around but the ethos is athleticism rather than muscle so we’ll see how it goes.
    Nice balance of speed and power in the back row.

    1. How big do you want your locks Acee? Ewells is 6’7 and nearly 18 stone at 22, and will probably put on at least a stone of muscle in the next couple of years. Heavyweight boxing would seem to suggest that for big men much more size than that is no advantage. Partly agree about Williams. It is a concern that we have a shortage of established tight heads who can really anchor the scrum. I would settle for someone who can really do that rather than another ball carrier. Shaggy, stats suggest that Ford is making lots of tackles in the Premiership this year, and even if he does not smash people he seems to stop or slow them down much better than he used to. Having said that I would still like to see Farrell there instead.

      1. Hi Andy. I must be looking at old stats! The last time i looked for facts and figures on Ewels he was about 17 stone 5.
        I don’t know whats happening with tightheads and England. Thomas, Brookes, Hill all seem to have regressed and Sinckler seems to have caught Marler syndrome. Is there something in the water at ‘Quins? Thanks for updating me on Ewels btw.

        1. Sinckler’s always been an angry young man. Mind you Genge isn’t much different.
          I have no problems with props being abrasive so long as they don’t step over the line
          What about Nick Schonertat Worceste- he’s England qualified isn’t he?

          1. He’s recovering from a broken arm i believe, He’s been in a couple of training camps ,so he’s on the England radar.

  7. Bit worried that we might be a bit light weight in 10 (as always!) and midfield, with slower flankers. Also what happens if Simmonds is injured early doors? Don’t think we will lose but team selection might make it more interesting.

      1. It is a strange selection for the back row.

        I wish people would stop playing Itoje at 6 He is a lock and one on the brink of being world-class. Let him concentrate on the one position and fulfill his potential.

        Ditto to a sligtly lesser extent for Lawes. I can just about accept him at 6 but he still lacks the nous and instinctive play that marks out players who are experts in that position.

        Let’s select flankers who are flankers not some kind of lock/flanker hybrid.

        1. Pablito
          ‘Itoje… on the brink of being world-class’, so long as he stops butchering TRIES by running E2W & giving OBVIOUS pens away, albeit in front of a novice ref who couldn’t bring himself to issue England a yellow last Sat. Then he MIGHT aspire to being on the brink.

  8. Rejoice indeed. EJ’s selections are somewhat predictable as he’ll only give the bolters, bit part players a go when he knows his team will WIN! SCW reckons it’s all about WINNING. Well, hard to argue with that logic.. up to a point, because unless you play yr SQUAD regularly, what happens come the WC.. or the 6N? The ‘finishers’ might get finished that’s what, as they’ll have too little BIG match experience. Anyway, likely be a less than meaningful procession on Sat v a team which is bankrupt (short arms & long pockets England? Nice 1 England, using ‘long term solution’ as an excuse for personal greed), but what the hey, another notch in the belt eh?

      1. Acee
        Are you sure you’re addressing the right person? Surely yr ‘ad hominem’ retort ought to directed @ AlexD.. or have you skipped his tirades?! Can’t blame you in a way of course, esp as he appears set on entering the Guinness Book of Records as the most subjective ranter or peddle piffler in world rugby.
        But back to yr post, the Express seems to agree with me regarding yr team’s mean spirited-ness. More so considering that the RFU DID cough up (fair doos to them) & that Cole was thereafter about as subtle as a Jonny Bairstow head-butt. So my was not entirely an appeal to emotions, prejudices methinks.
        AlexD OTOH.. well, I rest my case.

    1. Don’t think so mate.
      The ERFU has GIVEN either the Samoan team or its RFU (not sure which) 75,000 quid. They didn’t HAVE to give them a penny.
      Thats akin to you or me being given 75,000 tomorrow free (no interest/no loan) as a pressie and then having to share it with 14 members if our family. Still not bad!
      An early one with xmas round the corner. I’d be over the moon as the recipient of such largesse (might sort the mortgage even if it were a 1/5 part share. Like winning the lottery! Wahey!)
      Plus from what i can gather the english players unilaterally offered 10% of their match fees (10% of 21k x 23 = ALOT) out of the goodness of their hearts. Reading between the lines higher authorities than them stepped in not because they were meanies or becos they were re-enacting A Christmas Carol but because of Politics. They couldn’t !!!!!!!!
      The real issue once again is more one of the Rape of the PI’s !!!!!!
      This one ain’t going away any time soon as the only one with the loud enough voice, the required irreverence towards PC and perhaps knowledge of the PI issue.
      Broadly speaking a little compensation might be in order for taking the cream of the PI islands playing resources for so many years and in so doing squandering their marketability and market value on the international front….(from the NZ and Aussie RFUs obviously to be absolutely clear)
      Perhaps you could send the Samoan team a cheque c/o Twickenham HQ! They’d probably get it in time or i’m sure HQ would forward it. 10% of your annual salary i’m thinking! Then perhaps you’d have a claim to cock a snoop! Not until…………………..!

  9. Perhaps Don can tell us how much of the gate Samoa get when they play in New Zealand?

    And at the same time, perhaps he can explain why the All Blacks have played Samoa just seven times despite their connections and their geographical proximity?

    And why only one of those games in the entirety of rugby history has been actually in Samoa.

    Long arms, short pockets indeed!

      1. Pablito
        Edit what?
        Reads pretty well to me and spot on. Nothing there i’d take out!
        I’ve added my own article above to add to the ENGLISH consternation felt at this bigotted slur! Especially now that this blog is England-centric!
        Not sure this is acceptable Don. A bit like Cheika’s behaviour recently or the kiwi scrum half in the toilets. You guys are falling well below the lofty standards expected by your country and the Maori ethics of community (they are very family orientated….with extended families)
        Come on pull your bloody socks up!

        1. Think ultimately the running of the Samoan rugby union needs to be addressed. Rumours of executives living lavish lifestyles whilst their union goes bankrupt is not good for the game.
          England are generous giving a fee when none was really expected/obligatory. Again how much have the other unions done? That is still beside the point as the match fee or donations from England players (had they agreed to do so) would only delay the inevitability of Samoa rugby going under.

          1. Jake
            Thank you Jake.
            The TRUTH i would say is the ERFU is the MOST GENEROUS!
            That FACT might not fit some peoples warped viewed but its there for us in concrete and stone.
            You might have to be well off to be so CHARITABLE in the 1st place. Accepted!
            So there we have as near to the facts of the case as its possible to get.
            I nominate Don P as our resident ‘fake news’ polemicist. Someone else said it on here….but is Don Donald Trump?

    1. Pablito
      You’re being defensive & I was reffing to the England players (not the RFU who seemed to contradict their team’s stingy-ness with a 1 off payment) whom, IMO, would have best kept the matter quiet & then go boasting of their wealth all over the press in the form of Cole talking this up thereafter (facilities etc, etc). Indelicate or what? In answer to yr off the subject ?, I don’t know, but you could ask the NZ Union.. unless you already do know of course. However, what I DO know is that NZ supplied 13 Kiwi born players for the Samoan team/squad v England.

  10. Slightly off topic from discussion about the team, but following Don’s/Palito’s post, as a supporter of the broad game the lack of financial support given to the pacific islands does leave a bad taste in the mouth. Of course I don’t know the ins and outs of the governance issues etc., but surely something more can be done to help? Especially considering issues such as World Rugby’s decision re the RWC recently. Seems like there’s either a lack of meaningful action, or that it’s not clear that something is being done?

    1. I’m all for more help for the Pacific Islands and think it’s a disgrace that Aus and NZ have gone for so many years barely playing them and almost never playing in the islands themselves. If you look at the help given to Italy to get them up to the top level, there’s no comparison. Especially when you consider the effect that Aus and NZ have in drawing talent away. Sure that’s a natural thing as they will always attract economic migrants but there should be a little pay back for it.

      That’s not to let the n hemisphere off the hook though and perhaps it ought to be a pre-requisite for any touring team down there to play one game in the islands

      As for actual funds, it seems like a tough one. What’s the point in handing over more and more cash only to see it disappear down a whirlpool corruption and jobs for the boys. I’m not sure what the answer is to this as it as much of a cultural problem as it is a rugby one. Perhaps the IRB should take over direct running of the unions and re-build the administration

      Oh and I also wouldn’t let n hemisphere clubs off the hook. There are too many stories of attractive contracts being offered and then reality being very different or players bought over on a chance and then dumped with little or no support as they aren’t quite good enough or they get injured. From what I understand this is particularly rife in France and although I hope it doesn’t go on as much in the uk, I certainly wouldn’t be naive enough to assume it doesn’t

      So, in short. It’s difficult and there’s no easy answer. But we could start by playing more games in the islands

    2. Marco
      No Marco.
      Lets not paper over the details of our resident kiwi’s comments. That kind of cringeworthy english response to the bigger issues has had its day. We’re living in a brave new world!
      I quote…..”Nice 1 England” and its inference and then… “personal greed”
      The child needs reigning in. I’m certainly not averse to doing it. More than happy to be ‘the tick on the requisite ass’. There’s even a faint whiff of the wider cocking a snoop prevalent at the moment in this country against its institutions, people and values. People are pissed off! I wouldn’t dream of living abroad in a foreign country (i have in Spain and Mexico) and rubbishing it!

  11. My advice to Don P.
    1. Use your brain filter before you write
    2. Try to base your comments upon FACT not prejudice/jealousy and jingoism (particularly ref the success and prosperity of the ERFU)
    3. Be more objective and analytical about your own team including others becos yours are not saints as i think my recent posts have highlighted (unfortunately for you i’m knowledgeable/informed enough to know other than what you say/claim.)
    No Englishman on here gets carried away to fhe OUTRAGEOUS extent you do. We don’t even crow about OUR own team’s accomplishments (which are looking increasingly good) ……. Call it what you like …… national reserve, modesty, stiff upper lip….you might want to learn and/or aquire some sharpish or you’ll get yourself kicked off here!
    Not even resident kiwis should be exempt that despite the long-suffering people on here who have to put up with your crap!

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