As England prepare for their second World Cup warm up game against France, the coaching team need to keep the below points in mind…
1.Who should be the second choice hooker?
With both Rob Webber and Luke Cowan-Dickie struggling to make much of an impact, Jamie George now needs to be given a decent outing in the second game against France. The coaching staff will be hoping he can step up to the task and prove he has what it takes, otherwise they may have to rely on an out of sortes Webber.
2.Do Barritt and Joseph work as a combination?
We already know what Joseph and Battitt are capable of individually, but somehow we’ve still not seem them together in the English midfield. They therefore need a decent run out together against France to prove they can work as a combination at the World Cup. It would also be nice to see Burgess trialled inside Joseph during the game.
3.Can Ben Morgan get match fit?
It’s fantastic to see Ben Morgan back in an England shirt, but he now needs time to prove he can get back to full match fitness ahead of the World Cup after failing to make much of an impact in the first game. That being said, we also need to ensure Billy Vunipola is given some game time to ensure he is match fit.
4.Who should start at blindside?
With just two games left until the World Cup starts, it is still not yet apparent as to who will be starting at blindside for England. It looks like a straight shootout between James Haskell and Tom Wood, but one or ideally both of them needs to have a good game against France this weekend to stake a definitive claim.
5.Can the set piece hold up?
Despite fielding a second string pack last week, England’s set piece really struggled against a dominant French pack at the set piece. The men in which struggled to hold on to their own ball at the line out, whilst they were also turned over several times during scrums. This week they need to prove they can at least match the French pack.
6.Should May or Nowell start?
It looks almost certain that Anthony Watson will start on one wing for England at the World Cup, but now it is down to either Jonny May or Jack Nowell to claim the second spot. After an impressive display last week May has to be the frontrunner, but Nowell needs a chance to showcase what he can do this week.
7.Are Brown and Launchbury match fit?
Joe Launchbury and Mike Brown are both likely to be key figures during England’s World Cup campaign, but with the pair having missed large chunks of last season, they need some serious game time now to ensure they are up to the task of playing international rugby. A run out for both is therefore a necessity.
8.Who the starting XV versus Fiji will be
Stuart Lancaster will already have a pretty good idea of who his starting XV will be against Fiji during the opening game of the World Cup in September, but by Sunday morning he needs to have a definitive idea of who that side will be. He can therefore ensure the key players get game time against Ireland in the final warm up game.