England’s Options At Hooker

Dylan+Hartley+Tom+Youngs+England+Training+3CQ5EZVEYr2l

In the tenth part of our series looking at England’s options after their 2015 World Cup debacle, we take a look at the position of hooker. Below we look at the options both in the short-term (2016 Six Nations) and longer term (2019 Rugby World Cup);

Dylan Hartley

We all know about Hartley’s well documented disciplinary issues that have seen him miss both a Lions tour and a home World Cup. That being said, he still remains England’s best and most experienced hooker, and at 29 could still be in contention come 2019.

Tom Youngs

Youngs is an excellent player in the loose carrying well and making tackles, however his set-piece play is consistently exposed at an international level. He is the ideal impact replacement, but probably shouldn’t be starting any more games at this stage.

Jamie George

George is currently looking like the future for England given he is excellent in the set piece, a solid ball carrier and has a surprising turn of pace. He was criminally under-utilised during the World Cup, but should now be given the chance to kick on for 2019.

Luke Cowan-Dickie

Much was made of Cowan-Dickie in the build-up to the World Cup, however he failed to impress on his international debut. He’s back at Exeter now and looking good so with some more experience under his belt, he should be pushing for England contention once more.

Rob Webber

Despite looking like one of England’s best hookers in 2013, Webber has been struggling to get back to the kind of form he demonstrated even on the tour of New Zealand. It looks likely that he will now be moved aside to accommodate some of the up and coming talent.

Mike Haywood

The Northampton hooker has stepped in to replace Hartley at Saints during his various bans and has done a more than adequate job. He now looks like a top Premiership hooker who will be pushing for international recognition sooner rather than later.

Tommy Taylor

The Sale Sharks hooker looks destined for international recognition at some stage whether for the Saxons or the Elite squad. A dynamic hooker in the loose who is solid in the set piece, expect him to be a key contender for the squad in 2019.

Dave Ward

The Quins man is one of the best hookers around in the loose, however his set piece work, particularly at the lineout has been badly amiss for some time now. He clearly has something to offer, but it’s hard to see him forcing his way past the other options.

For the time being Hartley should remain the go to man given his experience, however he should be backed up by George with Cowan-Dickie and Taylor both given opportunities to impress for the Saxons ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Comments

comments

About In The Loose Team

Leave a Reply

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