With the World Cup just a matter of months away, the impending 2015 Six Nations is England’s last real opportunity to test out players. With that in mind here are nine players he should really be taking another look at…
The Saracens flanker has been in fine form this season, ensuring that the impressive Jacques Burger has spent much longer on the bench than he may have expected at the beginning of the season. Although Fraser is unlikely to be a starter at this late stage, he does offer a valid point of difference to the likes of Robshaw, Haskell and Wood as he fulfills the much fêted fetcher role England fans crave.
George Ford’s impressive displays in England’s final two internationals of 2014 will have given English fans confidence, however whilst he may be more consistent than Cipriani, he perhaps lacks the same magic. For that reason Cipriani deserves another shot in an England shirt, not necessarily as a starter, but as an impact player off the bench where he has the ability to turn a game on its head.
Whilst many have written Wade off as too small for international rugby, he is still one of England’s most evasive wingers, capable of scoring a try out of nothing. Much like Cipriani, Wade probably isn’t one to start at this late stage, however as an impact player off the bench he has the potential to make a huge difference for England, particularly if they reach the knockout stages.
It seems unbelievable that after being thrown in at the deep end on his debut against the All Blacks, Rokoduguni was dropped entirely during the November Internationals after recovering from an injury. He has been absolutely sublime for Bath so far this season and has been scoring tries for fun so surely deserves another chance in an England shirt during the Six Nations.
It’s been mentioned before, and I’m sure it will be mentioned again, however given his form for Toulon over the last 18 months Armitage surely deserves a shot in an England shirt. Even if he was given the chance off the bench he offers a real point of difference to any of the incumbent back rowers and adds a much needed ball carrying option to England’s pack.
Ewers seems to be the forgotten man of international rugby. Having been touted as a future England player, his chances seem to have been non-existent over the last 12 months despite a series of impressive performances for Exeter Chiefs. Ewers has been an ever impressive ball carrier for the Chiefs and is capable of playing both blindside and number 8.
To many it seems obvious that Slade is the missing link for England; capable of playing at fly half or in the centres, he can kick, pass and tackle and has proven this against some of the best players in the world. He now just needs to be given a chance in the England midfield where he seems to have all the attributes Stuart Lancaster requires from his centres.
Having burst on to the international scene last year Thomas seems to have somewhat slipped into the background after struggling in the scrum. Since his move to Bath however he has been proving his worth on a regular basis as not only has his scrummaging improved but he has also demonstrated that he is the kind of ball playing forward the All Blacks tend to favour.
It continues to baffle many fans that Strettle has been completely ignored by the England coaching team despite his fine form for Saracens. Whilst he may not be a long term option for England, can they really afford to ignore one of the Premiership’s most deadly try scorers when the existing wingers have hardly been scoring on a consistent basis?
Which players do you think England need to take another look at?