In the ninth part of our series looking at England’s options after their 2015 World Cup debacle, we take a look at the position of prop. Below we look at the options both in the short-term (2016 Six Nations) and longer term (2019 Rugby World Cup);
Cole has been the go to tighthead for England in recent times and there is little reason for this to change as long as he can return to his pre-World Cup form sooner rather than later.
Brookes had a decent showing at the World Cup and looks set to kick on his development with a move to Northampton where he will look to push his claim for a place in England’s starting XV.
Mullan was extremely unlucky to miss out on the World Cup squad, but looks set to become a more prominent figure in the England squad given his fantastic start to the season for Wasps.
Vunipola has plenty of experience on his side now having toured with the Lions and played in a World Cup, and provides plenty of impact off the bench whilst his scrummaging has improved.
Marler is now one of England’s most experienced players and still has age on his side at just 25 meaning he could be available for the next two World Cups if he can maintain his form.
Injuries have seriously hampered Corbisiero’s England career, however there is no doubting that if he can get himself fit then he has the potential to be a truly top class loosehead for England.
Bath’s young prop is looking in sublime form so far this season, and offers much more than just solid scrummaging given he has great hands and a decent turn of pace (for a prop).
It’s likely that we’ve seen the last of Wilson in an England shirt now given his age, although that being said he does still offer a solid option should they find themselves struggling with injuries.
Like his Bath teammate Thomas, Auterac is looking a fine prospect for England who will be relishing the increased game time he is receiving this year now Paul James has moved on.
The Quins man burst onto the scene a while back but the hype has died down a little recently. That being said, he is currently under the tutelage of Adam Jones which could really aid progress.
The Exeter Chiefs man is seeing a good bit more game time this season and looks like he could have a chance at international recognition if he can get more regular starts.
The Northampton Saints man still has plenty of learning to do, however if he can continue his rapid progress then England fans should expect to see him at the 2019 World Cup.
With Corbisiero’s continued injury problems, Waller has had plenty of game time for Northampton and hasn’t looked remotely out of place, even against some of Europe’s top sides.
The Sale Sharks man dropped off the radar slightly last season after trying to switch sides in the scrum, but is now back and looking to kick on for at least a spot with the Saxons.
If Wasps can continue their incredible run of form throughout this season, Cooper-Woolley could find himself propelled into the England squad to build on his Saxons experience.
At this stage it is hard to look past the experienced group of Marler, Vunipola, Cole and Brookes, at least in the short term. If Corbisiero can find some form of fitness he could begin to push for a place, whilst over the next couple of years we’re likely to see younger lads like Auterac, Thomas and Hill providing plenty of competition giving England a potential embarrassment of riches in the front row for the World Cup.