It seems that despite claims from the England camp that Kyle Eastmond and Semesa Rokoduguni are unfit, they are now readying themselves to start for Bath tomorrow afternoon. How is it they are not deemed fit enough for England and yet their club select them to start a Premiership game?
I’d originally somewhat overlooked the exclusion of Eastmond and particularly Rokoduguni as I’d put it down to injuries, however this latest news somewhat blows that apart. I’m just struggling to comprehend why on earth Stuart Lancaster hasn’t given Rokoduguni another chance for England if as it turns out he is fit?
What’s even more baffling is that despite this, he has continued to select Owen Farrell despite the fact he clearly isn’t match fit. It seems to me that given George Ford is set to start his first game for England, surely it would make sense to start one of two of his in-form teammates alongside him. This would no doubt ease the bedding in process for Ford as he can rekindle a number of his club combinations on the international stage.
For many Rokoduguni in particular has been seen as one of the great hopes of English rugby, so why the hell isn’t he being given a chance to prove himself given the limited number of games between now and the World Cup? Surely Lancaster can’t be holding his lack of involvement in the New Zealand game against him given the ball got nowhere near the wings at any stage.
It also seems that another one of England’s in-form players, Luther Burrell, is set to start for Northampton Saints this weekend despite again being deemed not fit for England duty. This is despite the fact Billy Twelvetrees has been included on the bench, even after suffering his own injury issues over the last week.
Surely a game against a supposedly second tier nation in Samoa (although many would argue otherwise) is the perfect opportunity for trying new players out rather than sticking to the tried and tested? What more can we realistically learn about Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt? Instead why haven’t Ford, Eastmond and Joseph been given a chance to see if they can transfer their club form onto the international stage?
It seems to me Lancaster well and truly has a prefered group of players who are pretty much guaranteed to play no matter what their form. The mantra of selecting players based on form already seems to have been forgotten about, and now we risk watching England continue to slump as players become a bit too comfortable in their shirts – this last few weeks have begun to remind me a little bit too much of England at the last World Cup, could history be about to repeat itself?