It seems one area where England certainly aren’ short of options is in the second row. Here is our look at England’s 10 best second row options for the World Cup.
Botha may have somewhat fallen out of favour in the England squad, but that doesn’t he should be totally discounted. Whilst it would take a catastrophic series of injuries for him to receive a call-up, have no doubt that he would be more than capable of stepping up as he has done in the past.
Robson is one of those players who has been quietly going about their business for years without necessarily receiving the plaudits he deserves. Although he looks unlikely to receive a sudden call-up before the World Cup it’s handy to know he’s available if needed.
Michael Paterson would have been a good shout for Premiership player of the season in 2013/14 after his move to Sale Sharks. If he had arrived a few years earlier there’s also little doubt he would have been capped by now but as it is he faces increasingly stiff competition for a spot.
It’s hard to believe that Kitchener is just 24 years old given it feels like he has been around for years. The Leicester lock is unfortunate to have so many talented second rows ahead of him in the pecking order but will no doubt find himself being capped by England sooner rather than later.
The Saracens man has proven to be a top talent in the Premiership and Heineken Cup and will be doing everything in his power now to break into that England squad. It’s only going to take an injury or a dip in form by another contender for him to be called-up now it seems.
The Leicester captain will be ruining his misfortune with a knee injury currently keeping him out of competitive action. Hopefully this won’t be held against him as he looks like everything Lancaster looks for in a player. His ability to play in the back row could also be a huge bonus in a squad limited by numbers.
Parling has had a bit of a turbulent 15 months since the Lions tour with injuries keeping him out of action for much of last season. Despite this he still toured with England earlier this year and should retain his place barring any other misfortunes, even if only to lead the line-out.
For me Attwood has jumped ahead of Parling in the pecking order after his stand-out performance against Leicester at the weekend. His bulk also makes him a fantastic impact player who can shore up the scrum and make hard yards against tough defences.
The partnership of Launchbury and Lawes should be the one to lead England into this World Cup barring any injuries after their performances together over the last 12 months. Launchbury’s tireless work rate and ability to win turnovers makes him a key member of the current England pack.
Lawes partnership with Launchbury really blossomed this time last year and looks set to continue as such over the next 12 months. Lawes has matured beyond recognition and his ability to lead the line-out whilst also being a menace round the park makes him a key asset for England.
Who would you pick in the second row for England?