The In The Loose England Squad

englandDebate is well and truly raging around the England team ahead of this seasons Autumn Internationals after a number of injuries in key positions. The In The Loose team therefore decided we would give Stuart Lancaster a break and select the side for him so he can get his Christmas shopping in early (if The RFU could just get in contact please so I can tell them where to send the cheque).

Danny Till (DT), Debbie Knight (DK), Dave Nicoll (DN), Scott Fessey (SF) and Sam Verralls (SV) each have their say below. Let us know what you think below…

Full Back – Ben Foden

 England Rugby Union Headshots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Ben Foden – Injury and the emergence of Alex Goode meant Foden hardly got a look in last season. But the Northampton full-back has looked very sharp at the start of this season and could muscle his way back into the side. DT

15. Mike Brown – Mike Brown deserves to start in the position that brought him to the attention of the England set up. A safe pair of hands with the ability to attack from his own line. DK

15. – Ben Foden – A naturally gifted attacking full back who is able to regularly score tries. Good pace and defence make him my first choice as England will be less reliant on his kicking with Twelvetrees at 12. DN

15. Ben Foden – A natural attacking fullback, links well with his wingers. Proven at test level and now back to fitness. SF

15. Ben Foden – Again, Goode is such an intelligent player, although Foden has rediscovered his form of late and is another attacking threat. SV

Right Wing – Marland Yarde

 14

14. Marland Yarde – The London Irish winger is one of the most exciting talents in the English game, he made an immediate impact on debut against Argentina in the summer with two tries. Looks set to become a permanent fixture on the wing. DT

14. Chris Ashton –  I never thought I’d do this, I was a big critic of Ashton last season, but he seems to have been working on the weaknesses on his game that annoyed me so! (Phew can tackle!) although he hasn’t scored tries aplenty he’s certainly made them. DK

14. Marland Yarde – Currently scoring tries for fun in a poor Irish team, Yarde has pace to burn. He also offers a more solid option on the wing than many of England’s other options. DN

14. Marland Yarde – A great young talent, looked sharp and strong on the tour to Argentina scored some good tries. Going well for London Irish in the Premiership so far. SF

14. Marland Yarde – 4 Tries in the first 3 weeks. Powerful, pacey, solid defensively. Only sure pick in the first XV. SV

Outside Centre – Joel Tomkins

 13

13. Joel Tomkins – The absence of Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt has left a hole in England’s midfield and Tomkins could be the man to fill it. He has made a blistering start to the season, his size, speed and offloading game make him an ideal replacement for Tuilagi. DT

13. Kyle Eastmond – Another Centre who has been injured, Eastmond may not be ready for the Autumn Internationals. I’m going to take the risk that he’ll fill Manu’s shoes. He doesn’t have the same physical presence but boy he has sweet hands! DK

13. Joel Tomkins – This was a really tough one but Tomkins off-loading game could help to ensure the ball gets out to the wings for the guys out there to do some damage.

13. Kyle Eastmond – Great step and acceleration. Low centre of gravity, with quick ball can cut defences apart. SF

13. Joel Tomkins – Because Tuilagi and Eastmond are both injured, Tomkins will have to ensure he brings his unique offloading game to make the shirt his own.SV

Inside Centre – Billy Twelvetrees

England Rugby Union Headshots 

12. Billy Twelvetrees – Twelvetrees had an excellent start to international career with two good performances in the Six Nations and was desperately unlucky to lose his place in the side. His carrying, distribution and kicking make him a solid option at inside centre. DT

12. Billy Twelvetrees – A flexible player who can slot in at 10, the injuries at centre will I believe see Twelvetrees start at 12, Gloucester have an exciting back line he’s a main component of that. DK

12. Billy Twelvetrees – Twelvetrees adds an extra dimension to England’s midfield. His experience at 10 ensures he can play as a second receiver and also has a huge boot on him should it be required. DN

12. Billy Twelvtrees – A great distributer of the ball, good defensivly and can kick well if necessary to take the pressure of the fly half. SF

12. Billy Twelvetrees – Another option with the boot for England. He looks like a fully-fledged International.SV

Left Wing – Christian Wade

 England Rugby Union Headshots

11. Christian Wade – The Wasps winger had meteoric rise last season which culminated in call-up to the Lions squad. He is the most lethal finisher in the Premiership and has improved his defensive game. The prospect of Wade and Yarde on the wings is extremely exciting for England fans. DT

11. Christian Wade – Hard not to put the in-form David Strettle in this position, however I think we’ve all waited to see this phenomenon of a player take the pitch in a starting 15 for a big game. DK

11. Chris Ashton – Until last weekend I was convinced Wade should have a starting spot in the England team but Ash seems to be getting back to his best and for that reasons gets in ahead of Wade. DN

11. Chris Ashton – A proven try scorer, has the ability to finish well, looks for the ball well. SF

11. Christian Wade – As the run up to 2015 RWC beckons, Wade needs to experience life against the world’s finest. SV

Fly-Half – Freddie Burns

 England Rugby Union Headshots

10. Owen Farrell – Farrell’s all-round game really developed on the Lions tour, there was a noticeable difference in his willingness to take on the line and commit defenders. His goal-kicking is almost faultless and that attribute probably edges him ahead of Freddie Burns in my eyes. DT

10. Owen Farrell – A small piece of Saracens bias here, at 22 Owen is growing in stature, in his day he is hard to fault as a fly half, Burns is an exciting player but again I’d want him to come on as an impact sub. DK

10. Freddie Burns – This decision was another toss-up but will Burns developing a relationship with Twelvetrees at Gloucester it would be great to see England playing with some more attacking flair. DN

10. Freddie Burns – A classy fly half. good quick distribution, good boot and an eye for the gap. Be good to see how he fairs with a good solid pack. SF

10. Freddie Burns – More creative and game changing with ball in hand. However, Farrell does keep the scoreboard ticking. SV

Scrum Half – Danny Care

 England Rugby Union Headshots

9. Lee Dickson – This is probably a controversial selection but Dickson has never let England down since he made his debut. He does the basics extremely well and his performances in Argentina were very good. Ben Youngs and Danny Care may have more talent but they have struggled for consistency in an England shirt. DT

9. Ben Youngs – Ben has a physical advantage over the more diminutive Danny Care, hard to pick between them. But I think against the Southern Hemisphere Teams the more physical You go should get the Number 9 shirt. DK

9. Danny Care – Sticking with the attacking theme Care adds an extra attacking dimension to the England team. His quick runs could make the difference in tight games. DN

9. Danny Care – My favourite scrum half, gutsy, quick and cheeky. Keeps opposition guessing. SF

9. Danny Care – Tough call. More game time for Care and he looked exceptional against Worcester. SV

Loosehead Prop – Alex Corbisiero

England Rugby Union Headshots 

1. Alex Corbisiero – Corbisiero was one of the standout forwards on the Lions tour and has all the attributes to become the world’s premier loosehead prop. He will be a key part of Stuart Lancaster’s plans as we head towards the 2015 World Cup. DT

1. Joe Marler – There was a time when it was a case of when will Marler be binned rather than if, however I feel he’s grown as a player. His aggression is now used to good effect. A mobile and exciting Prop. DK

1. Alex Corbisiero – After having such an impact for the Lions this summer Corbs should be a shoe-in to start at loosehead. Great scrimmaging and running in the loose make him a great all-rounder. DN

1.  Alex Corbiesero – A Lions tour to remember, very mobile, great scrummager. SF

1. Alex Corbisiero – Superb for the Lions and a tremendous Scrummager who can upset SH packs. SV

Hooker – Tom Youngs

England Rugby Union Headshots 

2. Tom Youngs – Youngs was another player who really shone on the Lions tour. We all know what he brings to the game in the loose with his carrying and tackling, but his work at the scrum and lineout has really improved. Like Corbisiero he is a key part of Lancaster’s plans. DT

2. Tom Youngs  – Tom Youngs has it all for me as a Hooker (as I can’t pick Schalk Brits) having started life as a pretty boy back, he’s a Tigers version of Brits. DK

2. Tom Youngs – His rise to prominence at hooker in the last year or two has been phenomenal. His work in the loose is particularly outstanding as he ensures England make good yardage. DN

2.  Tom Youngs – Mobile hooker, powerful runner growing into his role. SF

2. Tom Youngs – Sturdy ball carrier who deserves to start off the back of the trip Down Under. SV

Tighthead Prop – Dan Cole

England Rugby Union Headshots

3. Dan Cole – The Leicester prop is now firmly established as the best tighthead in England. His scrummaging is solid and his work at the breakdown is excellent.  The challenge for him now is to become one of the best tightheads in the world. DT

3. David Wilson – Sticking with experience to start for England with Mako to come on as an impact player. DK

3. Dan Cole – Not quite the player he was a couple of years ago but still a dependable scrummager who puts in a shift in the loose.

3. Dan Cole – Good mobile prop, likes to try to force the turnover, dependable on scrum time. SF

3. Dan Cole – When he is on form he is one of the finest. Acts like another Flanker. SV

Lock – Joe Launchbury

England Rugby Union Headshots

4. Courtney Lawes – After bursting onto the scene a couple of seasons ago it has been a frustrating time with injury for Lawes. But when he is fit it is hard to find a more physically dominant lock in the British Isles. England need some real grunt in the engine room and Lawes can be the man to provide it. DT

4. Joe Launchbury – I think the baby faced Launchbury will make this shirt his own, he has a real presence on the pitch; he can at times appears or be more Flanker than 2nd row.

4. Joe Launchbury – A solid lock whose physicality and fitness ensure he is always making an impact right around the field. DN

4. Joe Launchbury – Another good solid second row, puts a lot of work in the loose, good in the line out. SF

4. Joe Launchbury – A talent who still has plenty more room for development.  Fantastic in the loose. SV

Lock – Geoff Parling

England Rugby Union Headshots 

5. Geoff Parling – Parling is an extremely intelligent second-row  who is an astute lineout tactician. Proved his worth on the Lions tour with an outstanding performance in the third test, now he has to step up and become a real leader in this side. DT

5. Geoff Parling –  At 29 a more experienced Lock, he has a great tackling record and will balance his younger colleague DK

5. Geoff Parling – Particularly at international level the set piece is so important that it becomes difficult to leave out a player of Parling’s quality.

5. Geoff Parling – Good solid second row, proved his metal down under for the lions. Great tap tackle in the 3rd test! SF

5. Geoff Parling – Player who leads from the front and helps control England’s Set Piece. SV

Blindside Flanker – Tom Wood

6

6. Tom Wood (c) – The Northampton flanker seemed set to fight for the six jersey with Tom Croft but his injury means Wood is likely to start against Australia. The question is will he be captain as he was in Argentina, I believe he will be. He is a fine player who seemed to really grow in the summer and is now a key man for England. DT

6. Tom Wood –  With Robshaw’s place in question I believe the captaincy will pass to Wood, Croft’s injury will I believe see Wood cement his position. DK

6. Tom Wood – An excellent all-rounder who is also a great leader. Able to cover a variety of backrow positions his versatility makes him a great addition to the team. DN

6 Tom Wood (c) – Goes about his job well, good in the line out and has good vision when attacking the line. SF

6. Tom Wood – England’s future leader for many years to come. Superb defensively and good Lineout option. SV

Openside Flanker – Matt Kvesic

England Rugby Union Headshots 

7. Matt Kvesic –  It is extremely harsh on Chris Robshaw that he could be left out of the starting XV. But Kvesic showed his potential on the trip to Argentina, and his work at the breakdown probably edges him ahead of Robshaw. Lancaster now has to see if he can step up and do it against the best sides in the world.  DT

7. Chris Robshaw – In spite of popular opinion I think the surge in form shown by Robshaw will see him picked ahead of the exciting Kvesic. He needs to be looking over his shoulder at Matt and Will Fraser as he returns to fitness. DK

7. Chris Robshaw – Despite coming under intense pressure from a number of young 7’s for me Robshaw has done nothing to warrant losing his place in the team. DN

7 Matt Kvesic – Natural openside, another who faired very well on the Argentina tour. Took his chance while Robshaw was rested. Think with Wood and Morgan playing he will go really well. SF

7. Matt Kvesic – I know Robshaw lead’d by example, but, I think after Kvesic’s performances in Argentina, he is the best Openside, with a superior work rate and attacking ability. SV

Number 8 – Ben Morgan

England Rugby Union Headshots 

8. Ben Morgan – Morgan’s injury at the start of the Six Nations was a hammer blow to England. The Gloucester forward is a great ball carrier and always seems to break the first tackle. He is another player who has become a key part of Lancaster’s gameplan and he should just edge out the barnstorming Billy Vunipola.  DT

8. Ben Morgan – As a Saracens fan I really wanted to stick Billy Vunipola in at 8, however, for this pivotal role I think the more experienced man should start in spite of a dip in form. DK

8. Billy Vunipola – For me Vunipola has been the stand out 8 in the league this season. His recent experience at 6 as well add to his versatility.

8. Ben Morgan – A big ball carrying 8 with a good pass off both hands, good pace. SF

8. Billy Vunipola – After so much deliberation, Vunipola pips Morgan due to more game time this season. SV

Replacements

16. Mako Vunipola DT

16. Mako Vunipola – Strangely for a Saracens fan my choice is for Vunipola to start on the bench for now; the new scrummaging laws are taking some getting used to. This guy will be great to introduce he can change the shape of a game. DK

16. Mako Vunipola – His scrummaging may still need some work but his impact in the loose should be huge against tiring legs. DN

16. Mako Vunipola – Great impact prop (as seen on the lions tour) SF

16. Mako Vunipola – England have no worries at Loose Head. Corbisiero is stronger in the tight. SV

 

17. Dylan Hartley DT

17. Dylan Hartley – I struggled to include Hartley, he has a shocking disciplinary record and at times his thrown in leaves something to be desired; with several good young hookers hot on his heels I don’t think he has much longer in an England shirt, but he’s in the EPS I believe he’ll be on the bench DK

17. Dylan Hartley – Despite his continued disciplinary issues Hartley is still an incredibly experienced hooker with great leadership skills. DN

17. Dylan Hartley – Dependable Hooker SF

17. Dylan Hartley – Can push Youngs if he displays his discipline and throwing ability. SV

 

18. David Wilson DT

18. Dan Cole – Hard to leave Cole out and he may well get the starting berth, he’s really made his mark in the international game. DK

18. Henry Thomas – At just 21 Thomas has his best years ahead of him so the more experience he can get now the better. DN

18. David Wilson – Strong scrummager  SF

18. David Wilson – Solid and reliable, under pressure from Sale’s Henry Thomas. SV

 

19. Joe Launchbury DT

19. Courtney Lawes – Which team wouldn’t want the possibility of Lawes entering the field from the bench? In common with his  Northampton team mate Hartley his discipline worries me, hence he’s not a pick in the starting team. DK

19. Courtney Lawes – His physicality could make a huge impact as a replacement. DN

19. – Billy Vunipola – great impact no 8 SF

19. Dave Attwood – A Martin Johnson Mark 2 according to the Rugby Paper. He is growing as a player but needs to prove he is not one dimensional. SV

 

20. Chris Robshaw DT

20. Matt Kvesic – Although Kvesic is starting at 6 for Gloucester he’s one of the players looking to oust Robshaw I’m a very specialised position. DK

20. Ben Morgan – With my selected backrow all being comfortable in a variety of positions it affords the luxury of having an impact player like Morgan to come on. DN

20. Chris Robshaw – Able to cover blind & openside SF

20. Chris Robshaw – He is still a quality player and can make important decisions in the close encounters. O’Shea thinks the world of him! SV

 

21. Ben Youngs DT

21. Danny Care – Richard Wigglesworth is making a good argument to be in the National squad but with eyes on the future Care will feature. He plays the ball quicker than Ben Youngs and is another player who can come on and change the pace of the game. DK

21. Ben Youngs – Youngs offers a nice contrast to Care and may help England shut-out tight games. DN

21. Ben Youngs – Good scrum half cover. SF

21. Ben Youngs – He is always dangerous when gaps appear around the rucks. More physical and deadly than Lee Dickson. SV

 

22. Freddie Burns DT

22. Freddie Burns – My Saracens bias as well as his Lions experience is putting Farrell in the starting 15; Burns however is getting better and better, he plays with more flair than the solid Farrell DK

22. Owen Farrell – His ability to cover fly-half and centres combined with his excellent kicking make him great cover from the bench.

22. Owen Farrell – Able to cover all midfield positions. SF

22. Owen Farrell – He kicks the points and looked flatter and sharper as the Lions Tour went on. Develop his attacking game and he will be England’s no. 1. SV

 

23. Kyle Eastmond (if fit)/Mike Brown DT

23. Ben Foden – I really wanted to have Marlond Yardie on my bench but, no room! A fit Foden enhances any line up with his speed and ball handling skills. DK

23. Christian Wade – Possibly leaving myself a bit short without cover for full back but Wade’s impact from the bench could be key.

23. Mike Brown – Able to cover the back three SF

23. Chris Ashton – Ash is back. Finally he has slotted in to the Sarries backline. Gets the nod over Brown for his finishing ability. SV

Let us know who would be in your line-up below…

Feel Free to ShareShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Comments

comments

2 comments

  1. Oh lookie, I spoke too soon. As Joe Marler is binned!

  2. Very interesting and some really good selections. I’d be surprised if this team gets selected by Lancaster, but I’d personally love to see them all on the field. We need to up our attacking game, and I believe these players are capable of delivering that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *