RWC 2019: England Squad for Treviso Training Camp

Eddie Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones has called up 38 players for England’s third official Rugby World Cup training camp in Treviso, Italy (22 July until 2 August).

The squad will spend 12 days in Italy for a heat camp to help acclimatise players to conditions expected during the tournament in Japan.

Bath Rugby’s Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson will travel with the squad after spending last week doing specialised strength and conditioning work separately off site while Joe Marchant (Harlequins) joins the group for the first time.

Jones said: “Treviso is a hard yards camp with conditions similar to Tokyo. Team training will be about being adaptable and off the field enjoying each other’s company.”

On squad selection Jones added: “Selection is absolutely challenging, we have left some good players doing work at their clubs and they must be ready if called up.”

England will play Wales (11 August) and Ireland (24 August) at Twickenham Stadium and Italy (6 September) in Newcastle as part of the Quilter Internationals as well as an away fixture against Wales (17 August) in Cardiff.

England will begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan against Tonga in Sapporo (22 September, KO 11:15am UK time) before playing USA Rugby in Kobe (26 September, KO 11:45am UK time), Argentina in Tokyo (5 October, KO 09:00am UK time) and France in Yokohama (12 October, KO 09:15am UK time).

Forwards
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 10 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 58 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 71 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps)
Brad Shields (Wasps, 8 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons / Sale Sharks, 13 caps)

Backs
Mike Brown (Harlequins, 72 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 30 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, uncapped)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)
Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)
Ben Te’o (unattached, 18 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 33 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)

Danny Cipriani is a notable absentee from this squad – does that mean his RWC hopes are over? What other surprises are there here?

60 thoughts on “RWC 2019: England Squad for Treviso Training Camp

  1. If you need to chop 7 from this group then surely the front runners for the axe are
    Ewels, Ludlam, Francis, Joseph & McConnochie
    with a decision to be made between Marchant and Teo

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      1. My personal choice vs what i expect Eddie to select
        Eddie Me
        Jamie George Jamie George
        Luke Cowan Dickie Luke Cowan Dickie
        Jack Singleton Dylan Hartley
        Joe Marler Joe Marler
        Ellis Genge Ellis Genge
        Mako Vunipola Mako Vunipola
        Kyle Sinkler Kyle Sinkler
        Harry Williams Harry Williams
        Dan Cole Dan Cole
        Joe Launchbury Joe Launchbury
        Maro Itoje Maro Itoje
        Courtney Lawes Courtney Lawes
        George Kruis George Kruis
        Mark Wilson Mark Wilson
        Brad Shields Ben Morgan
        Tom Curry Tom Curry
        Sam Underhill Sam Underhill
        Billy Vunipola Billy Vunipola
        Ben Youngs Ben Youngs
        Ben Spencer Ben Spencer
        Willi Heinz Dan Robson
        Owen Farrell Owen Farrell
        George Ford Danny Cipriani
        Manu Tuilagi Manu Tuilagi
        Ben Te’o Henry Slade
        Henry Slade Joe Cockanasiga
        Joe Cockanasiga Johnny May
        Johnny May Anthony Watson
        Anthony Watson Jack Nowell
        Jack Nowell Elliot Daly
        Elliot Daly Mike Brown

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  2. Would it be possible to take four centres, especially if only five props are going?
    Btw, is Hughes injured? I would have thought it sensible to include Morgan or Kvesic etc , just in case…………

  3. Ruaridh McConnochie, Lewis Ludlam, Piers Francis, Marchant and Ewels are most likely to be cut. I dont think Cips was ever going to make the squad, too much has been invested in to Ford and Farrell. Unsure whether Jones will take a third SH, if he doesn’t heinz is out, I think this would be unwise as we have plenty of versatile players for the pool games who are capable of multiple positions from 10-15. Faz is always an option at 10/12, if fit Nowell can play anywhere 11-15 if pressed. Daly can do a job through out the back 3 as can Watson. Teo and Tuilagi are fine at 12 or 13 depending on game plan etc.

    Up front Lawes is a credible option at 6 as is Maro, playing them together is more line out options and we have seen Lawes pack down on the side of the scrum despite Maro wearing 6. Similar situation with Wilson, can do a job at 6-8 but we know Billy is first choice, therefore I imagine Sheilds may miss the cut.

    Having a third option at FH would be nice, Cips will be called up if there is an injury and im sure Slade could play 10 against an opppsition such as the USA if someone else has taken a knock.

    I for one am confident about this squad and am not bothered about Cips, he is a player like many others who is obviously talented enough but wont make the squad for reasons out of their control.

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    1. Well, neither Ford nor Farrell were P o t Yr & it wasn’t much of an Investment in Farrell v Wales or the Jocks. I’d understand Cipriani’s making himself unavailable for Japan given the appalling way Jones has sodded him about. It’s more likely that 3 1/2’s are taken to the WC. If Youngs gets crocked, England are down to 1. The notion that certain players can cover certain positions like 6, 8, 10,12, 11-15 may work in the early stages. However, would you want to start with Lawes @ 6 or Nowell @ 12 for instance, in a semi? Wouldn’t be so sure about Shields either. Jones presumably doesn’t read TRB too often. He’s kept faith with BS thus far. Also, you must be confident if you’re unconcerned about the P o th Yr’s omission, the aforementioned Welsh & Scots’ games notwithstanding!

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      1. Well im only worried about player versatility because its a world cup squad and we will need to mix the teams up in at least one if not two pool games, just for rest puposes. Im not in favour of players out of their natural posistion and i want Wilson to have the 6 shirt, but if he took a knock, we all know say Lawes at 6 wouldn’t be a huge set back.
        George Ford came on against the Scots and prevented us losing, he played well when he came on, scored a try i think or at least set it up. The idea that we would have won the Wales or Scotland game with Cips involved is baseless, how do you know we wouldnt have lost the Ireland game?.. its all hypothetical. I feel at times like the only George Ford supporter, is it really just Eddie and I?

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        1. TRB James
          Worried? You stated that you had confidence in yr team. Agree it’s better to have Wilson @ 6, but why replace him with Lawes, a lock, when Shields, an actual 6, is available? In an ideal world, each position would have 2 players covering it. All posi’s are pretty much specialist these days. Nowell, for instance, may cover wing, centre or f/back, but he’s a wing. He’s hardly (ever?) played in the latter 2 posts for England. If you start fudging with players out of posi from now on, it’s a bit late & courting trouble. More so during the business end of the WC, during which injury could dictate whom plays. If England want (need?) another fullback, then there’s the rock in Mike Brown. Maybe Watson? I mean Daly’s really a centre. So you already have a fudge there. I didn’t state that England would have won v Wales, Scotland if Cip had played. However, it’s not in his nature to kick it all away like Farrell (& Youngs) did & which surely cost England the match v Wales. Regarding yr last ?, no. It’s Eddie & ‘me’. Only kidding. Ford was top pts scorer last season & in a dodgy team. I think he’s better in a winning team (who isn’t?), but under pressure he has tended to choose wrong options. Ford did make a difference v Scotland. However, any team worth its salt, with a minute to go, would have closed that game out, Ford or no Ford. Personally, I’d take all 3 aforementioned fly 1/2’s.. & start with Cipriani!

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          1. Hasn’t Barrett been switched to fullback v the Boks?

            I don’t know if he’s ever played there for his club, mind you. Plead ignorance m’lud (if so).

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            1. Obviously saw yr comment before I did the AB team, but just how does this detract from anything I’ve previously stated? Do you think NZ will start the WC with BB @ 15; as England will likely do so with Daly?

              1. This isn’t a friendly, it’s the South’s major international competition outside of the World Cup (much like our 6 Nations), where the results and games matter. The fact that the ABs may not do this posi switch for the World Cup is moot, if they’re willing to do it for one major competition, they should be willing to do it for another. Unless the Championship is viewed as a training field on World Cup years of course 😉

                1. I’m not looking to split hairs, my point is even the ABs seem to have a bit of a giggle playing players out of position for major tournaments. You could argue that he has played at fullback, but you could make equally the same argument for Nowell, Watson etc.

                  At least we can agree that neither of us will play a flanker at scrum half?! Though Jones did jape once about a certain Cornish winger/fullback/centre turning into a flanker….so your guess is as good as mine.

                2. Yr v English mindset EC, esp with the word ‘should’. And either or scenario again. It’s obviously both, in response to yr last contention.

                3. Egg, the RC is the last comp, chance prior to the WC, for affirming picks for latter. NZ have’nt won the last 2 RC’s, but HAVE won the last 2 WC’s. Whilst winning the RC matters, I respectfully suggest that wining the WC matters more.

          2. I personally would be starting with Shields at 6 and Wilson at 8 and avoid having Lawes at 6 unless there were no other options. Shields isn’t just great at the breakdown but he reads the game well and has great leadership qualities. I really rate him.

            As for fly half, Cips wins it for me as I think he is best at playing whats in front of him,Farrell is a liability and IMO overrated. Ford I do rate as well and would have him on the bench. I used to think he was too liable to go awol under pressure but I think playing for Tigers last season when they were terrible has really helped him with that. Towards the end of the season he was the stand out player and definitely saved their bacon in a few games by seemingly being one of the few players actually trying to play.

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                1. Assuming Shields fails to make the cut,will Dombrandt be the right selection to replace him? I know he’s had a storming season at ‘quins but he’s very young and a rookie at Int’l level. Would say kvesic, ewers or even Robshaw be better (safer) choices?

            1. BYW TTD, DC would agree with you about Cip’s view of playing what’s in front of him. Carter bit his tongue during his Fr club coaching sessions about this point, as player opinion was surplus to req’s. Much like Cip is currently finding it under Jones I suspect.

        2. Re: Ford closing out the Scotland game to save us from a loss, as I was slowly losing my will to live and not so slowly losing my sobriety, being directly behind the posts I could see our build up for the final score and if you watch it back, there was an opportunity to score in the corner several phases before the actual try, I could see it and knew that would leave a difficult kick for the draw and I found a new level of respect for Ford who I believe knew that too and persevered for a score between the post to secure the maximum 7 points. Very, very bold, composed and committed. Seriously watch that last few phases and you will see it!

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      2. Interesting that you point out that Cips was Prem player of the year, but Goode was European player of the year, and hasn’t had a sniff of getting picked.
        Cipriani has looked good in a solid Gloucester team this season, but he still gets flustered when on the back foot. Ford has been the best player for Leicester this season, by some margin, and they’ve been rubbish. I suspect if Ford had been playing behind the Gloucester pack it could easily have been him getting Prem player of the year.

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        1. Well if Cipriani got so flustered, how come he got the gong? Maybe the people judging him missed his flusteredness?

  4. Not a fan of locks at flanker tbh and I don’t see the need. two eights, two o/sides two b/sides. Simples!
    If cover is needed for an injury then you fly someone in not dick around putting square pegs in round holes. Lawes will be going anyway at the expense of Hill who must surely be in the ’20 six nations squad?

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    1. I can see your point Acee, but since Itoje and Kruis became first choice second row pairing instead of Launch and Lawes, Lawes has made a determined effort to become more versatile and has played there quite a lot for Saints. I would definitely prefer him to Shields, who I don’t think has proved that he is international class since coming to England. My selection in quite a few positions would be very different to EJ. Goode would be one of the first names on my team sheet and could fill in at 10 if needed, as he has done successfully at Sarries. Care is still the best English 9, and I don’t understand why Yeandle doesn’t get a look in in front of Cowan-Dickie or Singleton. . He often starts for Exeter, and is a real hard nut with good leadership qualities. Wouldn’t have Teo anywhere near the team unless he finds a club in England very soon. He is not English, and if he is going to bugger off and play in France next season why should he wear the red rose? If Simmonds is fit he should definitely come into the back row equation somewhere, but to me Kvesic
      or Ewers bring the sort of carrying ability to replace Billy if he needs a rest. Also, if Mako is back in the reckoning is Marler going to rescind his decision to come back?

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      1. Are you not being somewhat racist regarding Teo Andy? If players ply their craft abroad, they don’t play for England, whether they were born here or not. That Teo is not English born is irrelevant, so why bring his nationality up & also state that HE can ‘bugger off’? Do you distinguish between, say BV & MV, & their not being English only because they play in England, which incidentally, to date, Teo has also done to the point of English qualification? Also can’t help but wonder If this gives rise to yr seemingly having such a downer on Shields (his being non English)? Afterall, the England coach & EC do seem to rate him & @ least BS is a genuine 6. Don’t yr Teo comments therefore, seem a bit Boris’ ‘Johnny Foreigner can go & whistle’?

        1. There are times when you can be a complete tit Don. To accuse me of racism because I don´t think that a player whose only loyalty to the English shirt is financial and who is currently not employed by an English club is pathetic. I want to support an English team who really care about representing their country, not a bunch of expensively assembled mercenaries. Plus, my main downer on Shields has nothing to do with nationality. I think he was fast tracked when there are better players available (Armand, Kvesic, Morgan), was clearly NOT rated by the NZ selectors, and has done nothing in English club rugby to justify selection.

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          1. Gauging by yr subjective response Andy, seems I’ve struck a nerve. if you re-read my comment, I QUESTIONED whether yr blog concerning Teo was ‘somewhat racist ‘, which is different from an accusation of same. Perhaps ‘biased’ or ‘prejudiced’ may have been less emotive ? AS you only state that ‘I don’t think that a player whose only loyalty to the English shirt is financial..’ this is just opinion, not fact. And how is the fact that Teo ‘is currently not employed by an English club’ relevant. My guess is that after the WC there will be a cull, particularly of 30+ yr olds, so perhaps he’s wisely keeping his options open. Besides you’ve recently opined that you see nothing wrong with players plying their trade abroad in support of their needs. As for Shields, that he was fast tracked wasn’t his fault. Should he have turned the England offer down? Again, his rugger abilities are yr opinion, which is not shared by the good Egg Chaser or Jones. And how is it that BS ‘is clearly NOT rated by the NZ selectors’? Who knows if he’d stuck around, what with Squire’s absence, Frizzell’s & Todd’s relative inconspicuousness recently? And he was thought to be on the AB cusp in NZ, especially after leading the Canes to a SR title. Think you could differentiate between reality & opinion Andy & may help you in avoiding such emotive words such as ‘tit’ &’pathetic’.

            1. Perhaps you should stop throwing around emotive accusations of racism simply because I express an opinion based on my reading of the relative abilities of players and the justifications for their selection Don. You often accuse me of subjectivity. That is surely what an opinion based blog is about.

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              1. Andy, to clarify, I don’t have a strong view on Teo’s being worth a place in the England team, so I’ve no axe to grind. However, the validity of my ? still seems to bother you. Yr subjectivity relates to & includes reframing my ?; ‘are you being racist’ (about Teo), into my stating that you are. Untrue & already dealt with. It’s why I asked you to re-read my post. Jones, of the S Times, similarly proffers ‘irony’ when questioned about subjectivity. Likewise, you appear to use subjectivity as justification for yr downer on Hartley, Shields @ now Teo & as a blanket basis of blogs generally. Without some counter objectivity, it leaves drivel. For instance, I noted that you avoided dealing with, let alone producing, ANY evidence for Teo’s being a ‘mercenary’, presumably, other than that his Sale contract had run out. Surely, this is not only subjective Andy, but also spurious & disingenuous, is it not? IMO you’re better when sticking to reasoned based posts, or even subjectivity, instead of, ironically, casting accusations yrself, about Teo.. & me. May even make YOU seem a bit of ‘tit’ if you’re not careful! Anyway, isn’t it time to move on now & stop going over old ground? Might be accused of tedium next! Have a good’un.

  5. Leon (no Reply box). Seems you & almost every one else, can see Morgan as an obvious WC 8.. except Jones!?

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  6. You might EC, but the AB’s don’t do ‘giggle’. There’s no arguing that BB has in the past played f back for NZ, but not since Carter’s retirement. However, I’ve covered this. Has Nowell seriously played @ 15 for England? NZ won’t be playing BB here in the RC unless they have a reason.. & not just due to injury, but I’ve covered this too. Can’t guess whom Jones will play where. He’s already left better players out @ 1/2, fly 1/2 & centre, even superior cover @ 8 & flank.

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  7. One thought. Eddie’s declared ambition when he took the job was to have three world class players in each position. Would anyone like to nominate a single position where this has actually been achieved? Further, if one was picking a world 23 at the moment how many English players do you think would be in it? I reckon two at most.

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    1. Good points to raise Andy. Looking at that training squad it struck me that if we DO have “Worldy’s”in the set up , they tend to be forwards with the obvious exceptions of Faz , Nowell, Brown (who may not go), and May.
      Mako, Billy, Marler, Itoje, George Launchers and possibly Wilson are in the WC category for me and Kruis is about 95% there too. After that we just don’t know.
      If I picked a World XV and reps right now, then I would include soe English /NH players in there , yes.

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  8. This world class thing. What does it actually mean? What standard criteria are used? Are there any? If so, whom lays them down? Seems it’s much based on perception. Also, how relevant is it? Other than being like, say a crossword, is it just an interesting time filler? For instance, is Farrell WC? If, so why? Does he tally more points than his comtemporaries? Does he make more breaks, beat more people, make more yardage, passes, kicks (is this even a criteria?), tackles? How effective a decision maker is he (e.g., to run, pass or kick?)on attack & defence (how well does he position himself, effective is he?), how good is his temperament & discipline? Similarly, in principle, with Itoje, esp with the latter. When these, &/or other aspects of criteria, are totted up, would they then be picked to start in a world 15? All gets a bit tricky on whom to pick then I think. Also, how relevant are individuals’ abilities, perceived or otherwise, when potentially selected for a WC Dream Team? Perhaps it’s more important to have a WC team & which may mean it will be composed of individuals whom better fit a group concept rather than just possessing personal, stand alone, attributes. I additionally suspect that these WC choices are influenced by national bias, unwittingly of otherwise. Drilled down objectively, as already alluded to, a bit of a tricky pick.

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    1. I think of world calls as being in the top 10 players in that position in the world but i think the media have an even looser definition than that

      1. But how & whom decides this Leon? And even being in the ‘top10’ seems generous to me. More like top 5, which also seems somewhat generous. Top 3 more like.

        1. There is no set list of who is and isn’t world class or even set definition it is completely subjective therefore in answer to you questions
          I decide mine you decide yours and then we all go down the pub and debate it at great length over several pints of beer

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  9. Don that’s an interesting one on world class, as I’m sure lots of people have a different definition, and as you say often having a group of stellar players may not mean they play well together. Further to that I think you are right in that everyone would be biased towards their own nation even subconsciously/just because they know the players better. What would be an interesting endeavour I think would be to make a poll where each person had to state their nation first and then pick a WC 15 of players NOT from their home nation… if enough results then you go on cumulative totals and you would get something closer to representing an unbiased world 15? This might be skewed on this blog by most being English so you might end up with no Englishman at all! …. then whether said team could play together who the hell knows! But would be an interesting result I would say.

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    1. Even more interesting proposition Alex; inviting punters to name their WC team. To do so with justification may be a tad onerous, but it might make people think more when making their choices. Nevertheless, have you thought of mailing TRB about same? After all & especially as, rugger is a bit thin on the ground @ present. Might even get some commission? What motivates/ irritates me on topics is subjectivity. This has always applied, whether within the workplace or, particularly inter/national politics currently, but probably best not to get started on that one. Also in football for instance, I often hear of the world’s best player as being Pele, or maybe Best (no pun), or Eusebio, or Maradona, or (currently) Messi, or Ronaldo & so on. However, they would all probably have been useless goal keepers. Particularly when compared with Grodon Banks or Lev Yashin, both or whom would be unlikely candidates for best in the world footy player, but likely as B i t W GOALKEEPER. My point is that mainly playmakers or pts scorers get the WC tag, but other, less conspicuous players may also be WC in their positions. Therefore, this may lead to further subjectivity in picking a world team. Another thought/?; was John Eales the best ever lock? Not only could he jump, but he was athletic, got stuck in, made yards, had a cool temperament, made decisions (as captain I think) & he could a
      kick goals, when the latter was/is not part of a lock’s remit? Also, current players may be considered better than they are, or certainly their predecessors. So, a bit to consider when making a WC team pick methinks. Anyway, trust you’re already on to TRB regarding this pertinent subject?! Best.

    2. Well, as there’s not much else of interest, here’s my unbiased, biased WR team.
      Kitshoff Marx Furlong
      Matera Etzebeth Relallick Hooper
      Read c
      Ioane A. Smith B. Barrett Fofana J. Davies B. Smith vc
      Hogg
      MV Creevy Moody W-Jones Louw de Klerk Cipriani Halfpenny

      1. ill join you then, still picking a few english as you have some Kiwi’s in there:

        MV, Marx, Furlong
        Retallick, Itoje
        SOB, Read, Pocock
        A Smith, B Barret
        K Beale, J. Davies
        Ioane, L Williams, J May

        Kitshoff, Nell, J George, Etzebeth, BV, De Klerk, F Russell, Hogg

        some pretty similar names across both of ours to be honest.

        1. Yes. Broke yr rule I’m afraid Alex, but just couldn’t realistically see a W team minus NZ’ers. Also misread yr original response a bit, hence my partially ambiguous reply. Justifying all selections is likely too momentous a chore. However, I covered SAANZAR & most HN countries, although not necessarily intentionally, but it wasn’t so easy. Became aware of how little I know of particularly the Fr & Argentine players, also pefhaps the Scots. Saw you have included Nell for instance. You were right about the temptation to pick players whom I know! Interested in & can concur with Pocock’s inclusion in yr squad, but is he available these days? Think you could also swap MV to start. Went for exp @ lock & thought Itoje just gives away too many pens. Prev rated the Irish b rows including O’Brien, but he hasn’t featured so much in recent times? Thought he may have slowed a bit & did he feature v England? Additionally, think Beale is a decent pick, but he slipped my mind somewhat. Couldn’t leave Ben Smith out. Doesn’t usually make too many errors, is cool under pressure, elusive & has anticipation. He can also alt between wing & f back. Could also have had J May in the team/squad, as with L Williams. but went with 1/2penny as he too can switch posi’s as per Smith.. & he can kick/goals. Pondered @ some length about Vetmeulan, but as there were plenty carriers in my team, went with Louw who I deemed slightly more versatile as a 7 & an 8. Unlucky for Mr. V, although I don’t think he’ll lose too much sleep. Regds.

          1. Yep i was thinking that i dont have a great Arg/pacific island knowledge and sure im missing a few of them that should be in there Don! on Pocock and O’Brien i was more going with when available than If… as im not sure on Pocock, but know SOB is out also think Retallick took a knock last weekend? Itoje i see your point on the penalty count but when he plays well i think you have to have him (but then again English bias!) i was also tempted to throw in Parisse for the player he was at 8 along with Vermuelen… i admit B Smith was one i debated over but his versatility almost cost him in my eyes. also surprised by how few Irishman i have in the squad (literally O’brien alone … and you could swap him for Hooper easily) . either im being unfair to them or they are just a team that plays more than the sum of its parts except recently.

            on the Pocock vs Hooper debate… i went with Pocock as i think he is just a bit better as a poacher number 7 and tackler than Hooper who tends to play further out wide – with the strength of the back field in this squad and with Read who is a back row that also tends to play more wide felt Pocock was the stronger option.

            but all just fantasy and nearly every decision could have gone another way 🙂 but of fun but interesting talking points! also just realised my team doesnt have a reliable kicker! Barret doesnt always slot them so yeah maybe a kicking FB would have been better … but not Daly!

            1. O’Brien having hip op, missing WC. Pocock recovering from injury, endeavouring to make WC. So, understand preffing him. Retalick dislocated shoulder. Being nursed for potential WC inclusion. Could have picked Irish Healy, Murray, Sexton, but didn’t due to others’ edging them. Prev Rob Kearney, but now approaching twilight zone? B Barrett, may sometimes be erratic with his boot. OTOH, he’s 2nd top AB fly1/2 try scorer after Carter.. so far! Also, hence 1/2penny’s inclusion & he can kick.

              1. Morning news says Faletau is once again out of the world cup for wales … another that neither of us had in our teams but could have done a job. The man seems plagued by injuries of late, not unlike his cousin BV … he islanders seem to be suffering a bit from brittle bones!

                1. Yes. Gd pt Alex. Felatau had been out of sight, so also out of mind?! Be missed. Liked the Welsh b row with Lydiate, Warburton & Felatau. Mind you, I also rate Tuperic. skills of a 3 1/4. Thought him a little light though, but then, maybe Hooper too? MV’s bones on mend though. Also Kruis’s ailment.

  10. I foresee a lot of arguments about amount of games, intensity of modern training methods and all manner of related issues if the premier tournament is robbed of some of its biggest stars…..

      1. Regarding this England heat training bizzo, seems a good idea, but wouldn’t it have been more benefitial to have conducted it just prior to leaving for the WC? Lost benefits by the time that they actually go to Japan?

  11. See S Jones questions the pt if WC Mick Mouse friendly warm ups due injuries & that coaches should know their teams by now. Further, England are still shuffling, although their pack is now proper. Shifted his usual bias by putting PI boot into Oz this time. Prev, recently, it was Wales & the Jocks whom were offshore kings. Of course this ignores his ‘home’ team whom have nr 30% imports. Never mind, credit where it’s due. He rectifies this boot imbalance by asking the old chestnut about K Read being shot & fires hackneyed s grapeshot @ NZ’s drooling legions of fawners. Dear oh dear. Is this new marijuana medi his solution? Also, Wales now = s finalists? Will returing Ire stars shine? SA; 1 more win = complete exhumation? Scots imitate Devon Loch, carthorse? France = pass! Arg = Pansies of the Pampas? Got read fatigue after that.. so there you have it folks.. from yr nxt MP/PM?! Well, why not?

  12. Well Leon, let’s hope that the England rugby team haven’t switched off too. Don’t you know they’ve got a game on this Sun?! So too have their WC rivals on the Sat prior. Wouldn’t want yr team to get caught with their pants down along with TRB now would you?

    1. much like the RWC its all about peaking at the right time and while the TRB faithful are recharging the batteries be assured that the England team are working very hard in the background as the rising sons youtube series shows

      1. Maybe Leon, but like w class, I’ve always wondered what, ‘peaking at the right time’, actually means. If a team wins, presumably its peaked at the right time, if not, it hasn’t? Often used in retro I think. Also, perhaps England are working smarter, not just v hard. Hopefully too, the TRB’s faithful & even TRB themselves, will have recharged their batteries in time for this w/end’s international match previews.

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