England Squad for Six Nations 2020

Eddie Jones

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his 34-man squad for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.

Jones has included 22 players who played at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan last year and eight uncapped players.

Of those uncapped players Tom Dunn, Ben Earl and Ollie Thorley have been involved in previous England squads while Fraser Dingwall, George Furbank, Alex Moon, Will Stuart and Jacob Umaga are called up for the first time.

In addition to the 34 players, Josh Hodge, who plays in the Greene King IPA Championship, and Alex Mitchell have been called up as apprentices and will only train with the squad.

Jones said: “The Guinness Six Nations for us is all about raising the standards in terms of the way we prepare, tactically and physically how we play the game, and the way we come together off the field.

“But our first task is beating France in France and that is the only game we need to worry about. We will begin our preparations in Portugal, get a bit of sun, some warm conditions and get ourselves physically and mentally right for the game.

“The first three days will be about getting organised. We have got players from 11 clubs so we need to get everyone on the same page quickly, spend a lot of time working on our togetherness and then by Tuesday next week we are in Test preparation for France.”

On his selection Jones said: “It is always about winning the next game so we have picked the best squad available. At the same time we wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building our depth so for those new players it is an exciting opportunity for them.”

England will assemble at Pennyhill Park on Wednesday and travel to Portugal on Thursday ahead of their first match against France in Paris on Sunday 2nd February.

Last week Jones’ coaching staff were confirmed for the Guinness Six Nations with attack coach Simon Amor and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot joining defence coach John Mitchell and skills coach Steve Borthwick.

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 21 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Tom Dunn (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Ben Earl (Saracens, uncapped)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 45 caps)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 34 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 41 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 62 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 81 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 68 caps)
Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 31 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 39 caps)
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 79 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 42 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)

Apprentice players
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)

82 thoughts on “England Squad for Six Nations 2020

    1. Rant away Leon, I suspect you won’t be the only one venting feelings of frustration.
      Surely Dombrandt and one of the tyro S’halves should be in the mix now? What better time than having a major injury to your established 8 and two “senior” 9’s, one of which has been crap for three years now?

  1. Well as usual, a very very interesting and surprising selection. As Hutch says, no new number nines, and no Dombrandt (shocked at that)… actually no proper number 8s at all. Guess either Ludlam or Earl is being ear-marked to play there? Ben Spencer can feel aggrieved.

    I am happy to see some of the new faces in there, particularly Thorley, and good to see Hill and Devoto back in.

  2. On the plus side, It’s good to see Alex Moon in there. He’s big, intelligent , industrious and has a bit of everything to his game. The same can be said for Dombrandt…………………!

  3. So the way I thought this was looked at was that this is the first step on the road to France 2023 so in with the new and out with the old.

    So with this in mind why pick two scrums halves who will be way past their best come 2023 and no young scrum halves who could learn from them?

    Eddie needs to stop loading eggs in a Billy Vunipola shaped basket as it is terribly worrying that this is 4 times he’sinjured his arm, look at options man but plus points are no bloody Dan Cole and Jacob Umaga being picked.

    I know this is arrogant but if England cannot win a Grand Slam this year I don’t know when they will, with both Wales and Ireland at home getting used to new coaching teams, France also having a new setup with also Scotland and Italy away I think it’s ripe for the picking but hey it’s England who have a proven record of losing from a winning position (2 Grand slams and One World Cup, doo, dah, doo dah).

    1. arrogant indeed
      Seeing this squad, I fancy either Wales or France to win the 6 nations both have added some quality players into the mix and have said goodbye to some past their prime. France will probably end up being as mercurial as usual so my money would be on Wales

    2. Added to which, we have the new coaching team which will take time to bed in.
      Amor has done brilliantly at sevens Rugby but needs to prove himself in the fifteen man game and Proudfoot is almost being asked to do two jobs at once. It all seems a bit chaotic.
      If we finish third this year, I’ll take that gladly.

  4. God am absolutely furious seeing this selection! No Spencer! Ben Youngs! No Dombrandt!
    Can we get rid of Eddie now please?

    1. Did we actually get to the final in spite of Eddie rather than because of him? It’s a thought!
      This scrum half situation is effing ludicrous! Sick of Eddie going back to his habit of vanity picks while ignoring quality players who should be there.

  5. As usual, some despair at the selection.

    As above, SH and number 8 are baffling.

    Happy to see some younger faces but rather confused by the ones he’s picked. Umaga rather than Smith, Simmonds or Grayson? Furbank I get but Dingwall? Not convinced by Moon yet either. Are these guys earning their way into squads or just picked on a whim a la Jack Maunder?

    Above and beyond all other complaints – no Jack Willis!

  6. My picks for England coach:
    1. A dustbin
    2. Stuart Barnes
    3. Eddie
    Right now I would prefer a dustbin or Barnes to Eddie.

  7. Youngs again? Ffs, why? No Dombrandt or Simmonds, so no genuine 8. Tuilagi still there despite being in no sort of form. This is just about the most impenetrable selection Jones has made and does not bode well.

  8. Ok so its the afternoon of the 2nd of November and we are all sitting in various states of disappointment having watched south Africa dismantle such a promising young England team.
    We turn to each other and say If only Eddie had
    A) Built more depth at scrum half (giving Spencer more than 6 minutes off the bench)
    B) Developed alternates to Billy at 8
    C) Added more gnarly combative forwards into the mix
    D) Taken an additional Tighthead
    but its ok we say the squad is still young and there are only a few who won’t make the next world cup, also there are a lot of exciting young players coming through lighting up the premiership in the absence of the international stars who can really add to the mix.

    Roll forwards 3 months
    A) The two scrum halves who almost certainly will be too old come the next RWC are the ONLY 9 selected, promising options to replace them like Spencer, Robson, Maunder, Taylor, Chudley are completely overlooked and Mitchell is invited to train as an apprentice but is not part of the squad so will not get any game time. We have all said it 100 times that Eddie needs to build depth at 9 and it is the one area we expected revolution rather the evolution but instead we have been offered stagnation. What an utter joke.
    B) In the Baabaas game in June we were given a tantalising peak at the talents of a certain Alex Dombrandt, at last we all cried a genuine alternative option to Billy at 8 a powerful ball carrier who runs intelligent lines with good offloading and link play. Since then he has been one of the stand out performers for Quin in the Prem and Europe playing so well vs Clermont he gets awarded MotM despite being on the losing side and he doesn’t even make the apprentice list.
    C) Despite getting bullied by SA the new squad shows little sign of additional heft in the forwards and leaves us vulnerable to similar tactics
    D) At last he gets something right with the call up of Williams and Stuart
    E) So of the old guard 30+ that needed replacing the only notable change are Wilson and Cole the rest are still sucking up valuable caps, even Kruis has survived the cut despite becoming ineligible at the end of the season

    So lets take a look at who’s actually in and who’s out
    Cole (old), Wilson (old), Singleton (why?), BV (injured), Francis (Form), Slade (Injured), Cocka (Injured), McConnochie (Form), Nowell (WTF???)
    Dunn (OK), Williams (good), Stuart (good), Ewels (good), Moon (too soon maybe apprentice), Hill (good), Earl (good), Umaga (too soon maybe apprentice), Devoto (good), Dingwall (too soon maybe apprentice), Thorley (good), Furbank (good)
    But what about
    Jack Willis: top turnover stats in the prem in a poor side
    Marcus Smith: better than Umaga with much more first team experience
    Alex Dombrandt: see above
    any friggin 9: see above
    Nick Tompkins: Really shit the bed letting him go to Wales

    Anyway rant over i’m off to cry into my coffee

      1. Nowell is injured so hasn’t been dropped.
        Dunno why people are assuming Ben and Heinz won’t be playing in the next world cup..think of all the caps they will have from playing all our matches for the next 4 years..!

  9. I am a fully signed up member of the the Ben Youngs ‘get him out bandwagon’… However, playing devils advocate here, deep down I cannot see a genuinely better option. Perhaps I am being limited in my thinking but scrum half just doesn’t seem to be a position that we have an abundance of resource. I also fully buy into any counter argument to this that unless we don’t try we will never know.

    As a separate pondering, I find that scrum half is a position that historically England struggle with producing players of note. Even at our height with Bracken & Dawson, it could be argued that Gregan, Joost, Marshall, Howley, Carbonneau et al were actually better scrum halves of that generation. It seems that cultural norms are quite hard to shake

    1. “deep down I cannot see a genuinely better option”
      Watch more Premiership rugby literally every other english 9 in the prem is better than Youngs right now
      Alex Mitchell (22) has 13 tries in 38 appearances for saints and definitely deserves a shot

      1. I can’t argue with you taking issue with that statement Leon. However, it is purely a gut feeling of mine. I just don’t believe that Spencer, Robson, Maunder, Chudley would be any better than Youngs at International level. I would LOVE to be proven wrong on this though and would gladly take ribbing if it turns out to be the case.

        I haven’t seen Alex Mitchell so will certainly tune in to watch him. Presume his issue has been being behind Reinach?

        1. yes he is second choice to Reinach but is very similar is style and seems to be learning a lot from playing with him his game has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months he is quick, runs good cheat lines in support, throws an excellent dummy and he has and good eye for the line

          1. Not doubting his ability but there are other aspects to a SH’s game than what you have listed. England have struggled when Youngs has needed to show game management, and his deliveries are too all too often inaccruate and slow.

            1. Didn’t think i needed to say he can pass accurately and can play at pace but then again if you are used to watching Ben Youngs maybe it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
              Game management is an area he can improve in but then he is very young

          2. Reinach is a very good scrummie. Sorry chaps he is SA’s 3rd choice, I read somewhere that he has done a hell of a good job mentoring your lad. Maybe your chap should have a run. Not 10 minutes, a full half. In the near future you will have the cream of SA’s junior rugby on your doorstep, If our Govt has it’s way, they will enforce that players of colour will be selected to play international games, regardless of ability or form over & above that of whites. I forsee, if the above takes place, the ‘Boks being beaten 150 >>0 by the Home Nations & France.

  10. Standard EJ squad, some good progressive picks allied with some strange ones and glaring omissions! I really am unsure what his thoughts are regarding SH; surely this is one of the major positions we need to start establishing options and depth? Dombrandt particularly unlucky, i don’t know why EJ doesn’t want an 8 in the squad – Morgan and Simmonds must also feel exasperated. would class Willis as unfortunate but not long returned from injury. Glad to see some young talent like Stuart, Furbank and Thorley in there; i wonder if Obano is unhappy he also didn’t get a nod.

  11. There’s more good than bad in this squad. Yes, really. There is some bad but thats par for the course with an Eddie Jones squad. There are some odd omissions and inevitably there is an unbalanced back 5 of the scrum selection. 6 locks and 5 back rowers??
    Upfront Dunn has replaced Singleton (right call), Stuart has come in with Williams to replace Cole (right call) in the front row. Obano is a bit unlucky but which one of the loose heads selected would you drop? The 4 locks from the WC are retained, so I guess Kruis isn’t going to Japan. Ewels was to be expected but Moon really is a bolter. Do we need a 6th lock who is unlikely to play? I would have thought not but this is Jones. Earl has been very good and deserves a call up and I rate Hill very highly. These are good calls. Dombrandt and Simmonds are unlucky and it’s perhaps not the wisest move to only pick one number 8. Jack Willis might have forced his way in but back row was always going to be the most competitive area of the squad with several players pushing for selection.
    And so to the perennial and it seems insoluble issue of SH. We are stuck with Youngs and Heinz again, so it must mean Jones sees no merit in bringing in anyone else to challenge them. Mitchell as an apprentice is a positive move but he wont be playing, which leaves us with our WC pair and no one else. Spencer deserves a shot and a punt could have been taken on Henry Taylor, Harry Randall or Stu Townsend. If we can select a 6th lock and rookie fly half (more later) why on earth cant we pick a young SH and properly test them out?
    To fly half. Ford and Farrell, yes that was to be expected. Umaga is a real leftfield choice. The lad has talent and it seems he has settled on 10 as a his long term position but is he any further advanced than Marcus Smith, Joe Simmonds or even James Grayson? The chances of him appearing for England this 6N’s must be extremely slim but i’m not against looking at a young player with a view to the future. Pity thats not applied to other positions. DEvoto for Francis is the right call. If he had stayed fit i’m sure Devoto would have won more than his solitary cap. He’s got all you need for a modern inside centre and might get to play a bit. Dingwall is that young player brought in to have a look at and thats fair enough, though Ollie Lawrence offers far more of an attacking threat. Marchant playing in NZ ruled him which is a real shame.
    Furbank in is very good news and i like Thorley, so back 5 is fine with me.
    Inevitably there are a few players hard done by and one or two slightly lucky but thats selection.

    1. Well put Steve.
      I agree that the selection isn’t as bad as suggested by some on here. A lot of the existing squad are in good form/injured so I wasnt expecting too many changes.
      I wouldnt worry too much about the number of locks; Ewels, Lawes, Hill and Itoje can all play 6 if we need to add bulk to the pack.
      Umaga is a strange one for me, Smith has played regularly at FH for a while now so wouldve expected him to be next in line.
      SH is the real problem area. I don’t understand why Youngs and Heinz are still there, let alone the only 2. Maybe keep one and bring on two youngsters to guide them…who knows?!
      Devoto had a great cameo v La Rochelle so v happy he gets the nod.

      1. Oh God, here we go again, let’s dick around playing locks as flankers and pretend we’re progressive.
        Dombrandt should be in the squad. Willis should be in the squad. Five locks is plenty, and with the correct selections we don’t need to “bulk up the pack”. Nothing personal but square pegs / round holes for no reason? Nope.

        1. Wouldnt call it progressive anymore. Look at how effective Steph Du Toit and Iturria are when playing flanker, and more recently Elstadt for Toulouse. In some situations it definitely pays to have a larger no. 6.
          Agree with you on Dombrandt, but again he’s young and still has time to develop further and join the squad in a year or so. Willis…he was great pre-serious injury and has been good since but I don’t think he gets in ahead of Underhill, Curry or Earls…maybe Ludlam? Perhaps Wasps’ shocking form has counted against him.

          1. Willis is having the season of his life. his turnover stats are off the chart. Dombrandt is also in amazing form.
            i was listening to the flats and shanks podcast last night and Shanks said is Eddie not selecting these players to stick two fingers up at the media for trying to tell him who he should be selecting. Flats response like mine was i hope not

            1. I genuinely think Eddie might be doing that… change of tack, let’s all shout about how we are really glad Jones has stuck with the same number nines in the squad and how we don’t want to see Dombrandt anywhere near the team. Worth a shot right?

  12. I know Jones is a maverick but I fully agree with everyone else about Dombrandt and Simmons and not trying at least third 9.Given the impact of the sarries saga on relationships/mindset and this selection mid table beckons.

  13. tbh I think that EJ is looking at things long term and he certainly has some flexibility for a couple of years,particularly with regard to the situation of No 8 and 9.There are some points that need to be raised:-
    1)Mako certainly needs a rest,and whether Marler can go another 4 years is open to date.Having watched Obano play,this would seem to be opportune to give him a chance.
    2)With regard to miles on the clock it is very doubtful whether Manu and Billy can go another 4years-This needs to be addressed.
    3)Having watched his performance last sat I would advocate putting Devoto at 12.I first saw this lad play at the Rec,aged 18 and was staggered by his size and maturity-I hope he has put his injuries behind him as he has got lovely hands as well as size.
    4)The leadership question needs to be addressed-We certainly not can have a repeat of last years shambles.For all his warrior abilities Farrell is not the sharpest tool in the box and tends to drift-Last years game against Exeter at Sandy Park showed that.I think we should be looking at Itoje long term,in the meantime Ford can do the job more than adequately,and if that means that Farrell has to go on the bench so be it.

  14. England squad : 4 Exeter, 7 Saracens. 5 Bath, 5 N’thampton, 1 Sale, 5 Leicester, 1 Worcester, 2 Wasps, 2 Quins, 2 Gloucester.

    Bit of a spread, which is no bad thing, although Saracens, unsurprisingly, dominate again. Will this be a good thing & will it continue into the future though?

    Maybe interesting that Gloucester. that stalwart fwd club of yore, have none in the England set up. Also, the former giant, Leicester, have 5 included.

    Anyway, as ‘it’s all about winning the next game’, will they in France? Probably, if past exp is anything to go by. If they do win, then England will have given themselves a shot at the slam. That is at least in theory, although some here don’t share this view. We’ll see & BTW, it’s also about keeping an eye on the future in order to keep on ‘winning the next game’.

    By & large more of the same with a few new faces. However, the predictable old chestnuts are still there at, ho hum, 1/2back, 8, midfield, fullback & I think, fly1/2.

    The 1/2back situation is what it is for now & England are stuck with the 2 encumbents. They’ll just have to make do.

    Will Earl fill the 8 slot now that the unfortunate & surplus to requirements, Wilson, is discarded? Dunno. Bit of a risk v France with a rookie. Would Zach Mercer have been an option as Morgan’s already sailed? Will Jones pull a flanker & put Lawes at 6, with Curry 7 & Underhill at 8? Not a permanent solution, but you know Eddie. A dilemma here though, yet there shouldn’t be.

    Also, Jones needs to stick with Ford at fly1/2 with Farrell outside him, rather than oscillate between the 2. This is not rotation. Ford offers more variety & is calmer. The only real reason to include Farrell, IMO, is for his goal kicking. Others & England will see this differently of course, but then I’m not English. Nor is Jones, but he’s another story. Additionally, do England need a captain who continues with armless (& that’s not Cockney BTW) tackles & lacks decision making foresight? Jones will stick with him alright, but this is another England dilemma situation for me. Academically, who’s an appropriate alternative? Important ? I’m uncertain.

    Whatever, if the fly1/2 thing is set, then the midfield can likewise be set. If Farrell is fly1/2, then who is inside centre? Tui? Maybe, but I read that he’s out of sorts. So, De Voto & JJ, or, the unlikelyist of all, Daly at 13? As the latter’s still an unlikely choice, it’s anyone’s guess, but it shouldn’t be. It should be clear now, however, I for one am still unclear. Putting it on the block, I’d have Ford, Farrell, De Voto & Daly with May on one wing, giving Thorley a shot on the other & Watson at 15. Apart from the 1/2backs, exciting huh?

    Jones wll burst this bubble, thinking the above backline bunkum I daresay. Nevertheless, results may be better obtained more with enterprise & innovation to go with some evolution & by starting in France?

    1. I read that Eddie is looking to play Curry!, Earl or Ludlam at 8. Wilson hasn’t been dropped as he is injured as is Zach Mercer.
      It’s really quite bizarre that apart from dropping Cole, Eddie is repeating the problem areas of the world cup. Then we only had one specialist 8 now we have none and, of course, his coaching coup de grace, only having 2 scrum halves, both of whom are ancient, and one of which is Youngs. You would think he would have learnt his lesson with the Youngs horror show in the final and a jet lagged Spencer on the bench, but no Eddie positively revels in persisting with this nonsensical strategy.
      It’s essential to his personality to be like this although God knows why. If everyone else is united in saying he should do something he goes absolutely nuclear in the opposite direction. We’ll be down to one scrum half ie Youngs and Ford as cover having never played there come next world cup.

  15. Backrow and Scrum half really stand out in these stats
    Position Average age Caps
    Hooker 27.7 22.0
    Prop 27.2 31.5
    Lock 27.1 38.3
    Backrow 22.4 8.2
    Scrum-half 31.8 52.0
    Fly-half 25.6 48.0
    Centre 26.1 22.0
    Back 3 25.9 26.6

    1. Argument for leaving out Dombrandt?
      Other than those two positions it looks as though the squad is a good balance b/w youth and experience. Front-5 av. age ~31 yrs by next world cup, backs ~29/30 yrs all staying the same.

    2. This is ridiculous. I’ve heard of train spotters before, even aircraft spotters, but NEVER decimal point age spotters! Er, how old are you BTW? Oops, got me at it now.

      1. Back to business as usual. I thought Leon’s post was excellent. Made an interesting perspective on age and caps. You can ignore decimal places if you don’t like them. I was quite happy with them.

        1. Agreed Staggy, but I have been retired for ten years and still don’t have time to work that sort of thing out!

    3. Not sure sure what yr point is. Is it that if England have a ‘youthful’ 2023 ave aged squad, they’ll automatically prosper in that WC? Perhaps if they’d had more savvy, exp or a less conservative coach last time round, that ‘young’ England side might have fared better in the final. Stats are only a part of a story & not a solution for success in themselves.

      1. The point is that we are balanced between age and experience in all areas except backrow and scrum half. Backrow are young and inexperienced scrum halves are experienced but over the hill

        1. So, if England sort the age, exp anomalies at 1/2back & according to you, in the back row, although how you can still actually call the latter inexperienced nonsense, then they’ll automatically prosper? Don’t you think that yr thinking is a bit past it, or does it show a lack of exp? Either way, somewhat rigid?

  16. Agree re comments on SH and 8. Other than that Ej knows what his team is and has brought in a number of youngsters to have a look at and give them things to work on. It’s what he has done for the last 4 years. Would he really dismantle a team that just got to the RWC final, beating NZ on the way, who play in the style he wants. Probably not. Therefore mainly evolution not revolution in this squad announcement.

      1. I think one of the most interesting omissions is Marchant. I seriously doubt that he would have gone off to play in NZ without talking to EJ about it first. He may well have gone with Eddie’s blessing in the expectation that he will come back as a better player who should be at his peak at the next WC. Seems like possibly a brave career move.
        Imv every team has a spine running through hooker, number 8, scrum half and full back. Eddie has got a couple of decent hookers but all the other vertebrae in the spine are up for grabs. I may have a blind spot about Daly, but I don’t see why he is anywhere near this squad. Judging by his performance last weekend he remains dodgy under the high ball, easy to wrong foot and decidedly windy in the tackle. These are not attributes one needs in either a full back or a centre.
        Haven’t seen a lot of Dunn but does anyone else rate Mikey Haywood as a hooker? Is he thought to be a bit lightweight like Thacker, because to me he seems to be in superb form and worth a look at higher level.

      2. Yeah ok I may have over reacted a little but it is the scrum half situation that has annoyed me most. We were all saying that Youngs form wasn’t great and that we failed to get enough depth in that position for months/years before the RWC and then we got burned in the final. Noe we see EJ making all the same mistakes of the past

          1. yes I know that i’m not stupid but Youngs had an truely awful game and still played 78 minutes because Eddie didn’t want to risk his jet lagged sub

          2. That’s not entirely true. England won their own scrums, mostly anyway. Only 12-6 down at 1/2 time, they had more possession, territory in the game. Cole didn’t help, but was he victim of scrum illegality? Also ‘D’ evaporated in last 1/4, so more to it than the scrum.

    1. Other than having no forethought or cover for 1/2back & 8, Eddie knows his squad? Really? As he didn’t have an answer for the final debacle, then I wouldn’t be so sure. Whom is in his definitive midfield, or is f/back? Who is nailed on fly1/2? As for new faces, don’t you recall McChonichie or Francis for instance? As they didn’t work out so well by most accounts, it’s yet to proven as to whom will, or won’t work, this time round. Jones has brought back the same old issues to this squad that afflicted the last one. He has to either win the 6N, which is entirely possible with the draw, or he needs to do bloody well. If not, then next yr could see him out. Replacement apart, this may not necessarily be a bad thing for England IMO.

  17. Regarding no 8, have just seen some more comments by EJ addressing his selection, and I think that the gist of it is, he’s only got one player in the BV mode and that is BV, so if he is out he looks at the balance of the back row (well he actually referred to the back 5) in a different way. Simmonds and Dombrandt are different type players to BV, and whereas I would have gone for Dombrandt, EJ hasn’t and I think that he’s got more credit in the selection bank at the moment, than I have!

    1. You’re doing yourself a disservice Staggy. Has he got selection credit? Think of the number of players he’s plucked out unexpectedly (‘Eddie’s a genius!’) and disregarded (‘maybe not then’).

      Yet there are areas where everyone, including from what I’ve seen most or all pundits and luminaries, agree he’s repeatedly getting it wrong eg 8 and 9.

      I sort of understand looking at the back 5 in a different way but would that not involve looking at a different style of 8 rather than crowbaring a flanker in there?

      Having said that I don’t agree that BV is the only 8 of his type and without him we have to change everything. He may be the best available, but there are others like him.

      Personally I’d rather have you pick the squad.

      1. Am loving your comment JK. You are right, personally I think that I would do an excellent job picking the squad. Might have to brush up on my coaching though if I am to replace EJ.

        However, I never thought that we would beat NZ in the semi, but EJ did manage to pull that one out of the hat. Has he got everything right, not in my opinion, but has he actually done much better than most of his predecessors? Yes, I think that he probably has, so am going to give him another chance before applying to the RFU, with my albeit, rather thin CV.

        With that as a thought, I have realised that I can use valuation tables to look at the income equivalent of lump sum investments – maybe Sarries need some help….

  18. ‘It is always about winning the next game.’

    Except before it was ‘all about winning the 2019 World Cup’ and ‘we’ve been preparing for this final for two and a half years.’ So which is it?


  19. Eddie Jones, despite his relative success with England, does seem to possess a blind-spot when it comes to selection. Failure, this time around, to select Dombrandt, Spencer and in my opinion Woodward who is better than Furbank just goes to highlight the weakness or is it myopia?
    The most glaring failure in the 2019 WC for England was at 9 and EJ has gone with same old, same old. Go figure!

    1. It’s hard not to conclude that he’s basically saying he was right all along just got unlucky. If he addressed the problem then he would be tacitly admitting he got it wrong, which he did!
      It is this inflexibility and stubbornness which is his big Achilles heel.

  20. Agree. Scrum 1/2 is just a part in the pattern of the same old issues being kicked up the road. Too much focus on individuals, rather than how, where or if they will fit into a progressively discernible playing style. Just looks a bit too much like more of the same with a few add ons whom may, may not fit into the jigsaw to me.

    1. I think everyone on here has agreed for a millennia that Young’s service is too slow. That’s completely apart from his errant pass.
      A scrum half with faster and more accurate delivery, whoever he is, would surely help the situation (perhaps not solve as other problems exist):
      1. Wisemantell was maybe not the total success that was hoped for; he is off.
      2. Lack of alternatives in key positions e.g 8,9,15.

      1. Eddie lost, IMHO, six months of player-development in his 2019 WC program. The chopping and changing became farcical (use of locks at flanker being just one of his many blind alleys rather than developing the up and coming)
        Players EJ persisted with against all logic with the writing in each case often already on the wall included:
        1. Teimana Harrison
        2. Wigglesworth
        3. Piers Francis
        4. Isiekwe
        5. Alex Goode
        6. Burrell
        7. Lozowski
        More controversially 8. Chris Robshaw & 9. Haskell
        There may well be more I have forgotten……….

        1. Only a valid argument if you think the replacements were better Alex. I would have had Goode or Brown in front of Daly any day, Wigglesworth in front of Youngs or Heinz, and Lozowski close to my squad as a utility back. Isiekwe and Harrison are both better players now than they were before selection and may well come again. Haskell suffered long term injury and Robshaw got discarded as soon as there were younger, quicker players available. That leaves Francis and Burrell of your list. Personally I would have added Hughes and Hartley, but to be fair to EJ he started with a somewhat ancient squad and by the time of the WC had brought through a number of very good young players who were good enough to beat NZ and get to the final. Plus a lot of teams are now using dual purpose locks and back rows.

          1. Yes, I had forgotten Hughes. I would definitely add that as another blind foray up a cul de sac that went nowhere. If a man of that size and bulk can’t use it by running less upright in the first place (surely a kindergarten habit in relative rugby know-how for a forward to pick up) then heaven help EJ’s selectorial eye. As a bit of a pint-sized forward himself, EJ must have looked at Hughes and gone “He’s big, fast and strong so he must be good!” But he couldn’t run into contact properly EJ!
            I used to bang on on here about EJ’s PHASE 2 – that’s the 6 month period he lost in his world cup team-build I referred to earlier when he went and went with players who were beyond their prime (it included Robshaw and Hughes for sure as well as Brown who personally I wouldn’t have dropped)

  21. They were ‘good enough’ to beat NZ & yrs ago too, in another 1 off. Recall what happened afterwards? The issue is continuity & sustainability. Can they, will they? Besides NZ did score a try in the semi, lost by 12, not 20, they previously beat the eventual WC winners & currently sit 2nd in the rankings. Cherry picking 1 offs can be an unwise yardstick by which to gauge future success.

    1. Where did I mention how many they lost by Don? And why am I cherry picking just because I choose to use an example to demonstrate an argument as you frequently do yourself? Way to sensitive in defence of a team that is not as good as it was a few years ago and has been caught up by two or three others. NZ have been the yardstick against which other teams have been measured for a very long time, and England played them off the park on the way to the final, where they failed to turn up, got on the wrong side of a poor referee, suffered an early injury and got brutalised by a rampant SA. There was enough in those performances to encourage a certain amount of optimism that we can compete on a world stage. I agree that England lack consistency. I don’t remember a world beating side without a top class 9, and we haven’t had one since Dawson. Until EJ finds one I expect us to look good when we dominate up front, but to get beaten by sides that can put us on the back foot in the forwards and expose Youngs as being too slow. How he has got 90 plus caps and started in front of Care or Wiggie for much of his career is a mystery to me. Why EJ doesn’t seem to like the look of Spencer is an even greater one.

      1. You didn’t. I did to make a pt. Because England lack consistency, esp v NZ (75% loss rate). 1 example is flimsy evidence. Yet to be seen whether NZ are as good as they were, or actually are. We’ll have to see. I’ve mentioned why above. If you’re basing yr opinion mainly on 1 WC loss, then it’s conjecture. The Irish 2/3 stuff has been put to bed. If the other eg was the SA home loss, it too was surely a 1 off as you well ought to know & no one wins forever. Besides, England almost exclusively only play NZ at home. Better to travel more to top 3 countries for mettle testing rather than Japan. What’s that going to prove? I just see this as further England talking up BEFORE the season’s even kicked off. More so as you yrself have highlighted the still positional deficiencies in the E team.

  22. Why am I cherry-picking one-offs? I never mentioned NZ. It was more an overall critique of EJ’s entire tenureship or the latter half of it to be precise which amounted to a 6 month period (what I called ‘phase 2’ – phase 1 being EJ’s self-establishment and winning the slam) in the lead up to the WC with an emphasis on selection policy.
    It’s more in hope that he doesn’t repeat the same mistakes. His squad selection, however, has an element of ‘blind foray up a dark alley’ already with certain individuals and the lack thereof of others e.g Dombrandt, Spencer and Jason Woodward all of whom are tearing things up in the prem and haven’t so much as been given a look . Correction: EJ did watch Dombrandt play in the Heineken for his MOTM award. Why pass him over?

  23. I haven’t been on for a while but with the excitement of the Six Nations approaching I thought I would add my thoughts.
    There is a lot of good additions to the squad: Umaga, Earl, Hill, Thorley etc, but I still don’t understand the omission of at least one more scrum half. In fact, I would go so far as to say, keep Youngs (for experience only) and get two younger, eager scrum halves involved. Get someone like Wiggy involved in the coaching, but just get some fresh blood in the 9 shirt!!!! It’s not as if there isn’t plenty to choose from. Spencer, Randall, Taylor, Maunder etc etc.

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