How many Welsh players would you select for England from the two starting lineups set to take the field at Twickenham
Here’s a Combined XV for discussion – let me know what changes you would make.
|Joe Marler||1||Rob Evans|
|Jamie George||2||Ken Owens|
|Kyle Sinckler||3||Dillon Lewis|
|Maro Itoje||4||Jake Ball|
|George Kruis||5||Alun Wyn Jones|
|Courtney Lawes||6||Ross Moriarty|
|Mark Wilson||7||Justin Tipuric|
|Tom Curry||8||Josh Navidi|
|Ben Youngs||9||Tomos Williams|
|George Ford||10||Dan Biggar|
|Jonny May||11||Liam Williams|
|Owen Farrell||12||Hadleigh Parkes|
|Manu Tuilagi||13||Nick Tompkins|
|Anthony Watson||14||George North|
|Elliot Daly||15||Leigh Halfpenny|
|Luke Cowan-Dickie||16||Ryan Elias|
|Ellis Genge||17||Rhys Carre|
|Will Stuart||18||Leon Brown|
|Joe Launchbury||19||Aaron Shingler|
|Charlie Ewels||20||Taulupe Faletau|
|Ben Earl||21||Rhys Webb|
|Willi Heinz||22||Jarrod Evans|
|Henry Slade||23||Johnny McNicholl|
As you can see I’ve gone for the entire English front row, and then one lock from each, followed by the Welsh back row. This is where Eddie Jones’ penchant for picking people out of position is highlighted – I’d rather have Tom Curry than Justin Tipuric at 7, but Josh Navidi over Curry at 8 seems obvious. Same for Lawes and Moriarty…
And then the bench as well, where I haven’t tried to compare Ben Earl with Rhys Webb, with Jones opting ofr a 6/2 bench split.
I also deliberated over whether to pick Owen Farrell or Hadleigh Parkes at 12. I quite like Parkes as a straight-running option at inside centre, and Farrell is obviously a different type of player, just arguably picked out of position.
I find these combined teams quite interesting in identifying where the match might be won and lost. It’s clearly not flawless, particularly with Jones trying to develop players that can play in any position and choosing a different strategy on the bench, but it highlights an issue for me – the Welsh back row can cause England problems, and if they get the upper hand at the breakdown, they could well win the game.
What do you think? Which selections do you disagree with?