With the announcement of England’s Senior and Saxons squads confirmed we look at how the two teams line up against one another…
|Matt Mullan||1||Joe Marler|
|Rob Webber||2||Dylan Hartley|
|Kieran Brookes||3||David Wilson|
|Matt Garvey||4||Geoff Parling|
|Maro Itoje||5||Dave Attwood|
|Tom Croft||6||Tom Wood|
|Matt Kvesic||7||Chris Robshaw|
|Thomas Waldrom||8||Billy Vunipola|
|Joe Simpson||9||Danny Care|
|Henry Slade||10||George Ford|
|Marland Yarde||11||Jonny May|
|Sam Burgess||12||Luther Burrell|
|Elliot Daly||13||Brad Barritt|
|Christian Wade||14||Jack Nowell|
|Chris Pennell||15||Mike Brown|
Now realistically you would have to expect the senior England squad would come out on top against the Saxons thanks to more playing time together in addition to experience at the top level. That being said though, there is an argument that given the right conditions the current Saxons squad would be in with more than a fighting chance.
Whilst there’s no doubt that the Senior squads pack would likely dominate at the set piece, the tussle in the back row would no doubt be interesting, thanks in no small part to the inclusion of Matt Kvesic in the Saxons squad. Kvesic is as impressive at the breakdown as any England back rower and could potentially cause Tom Wood and Chris Robshaw some serious trouble at ruck time.
The scrum half selection is also interesting as Joe Simpson is currently playing out of his skin at Wasps whilst Danny Care is having something of a mixed season. If picking players on overall talent there’s no doubt Care wins out, however on current form Simpsons pace and distribution add an extra element to the Saxons side that the Senior squad may struggle with slightly.
The speed of delivery from Simpson would also be a huge benefit to a highly mobile Saxons backline that may not be as solid defensively as their Senior counterparts, but no doubt offers more flexibility in attack. Whilst Slade could be better off being deployed in the centres he still has the vision to take advantage of the exciting strike runners around him.
In the centres, whilst Burgess is something of an unknown quantity at an international level, he has shown enough for Bath to suggest that he could be quite influential for England in the future. Outside him Elliot Daly has all the attributes to help get the ball out wide to the exciting back three whilst also having a howitzer of a boot to discourage any side from giving away penalties anywhere within 60 metres of their posts.
A back three of Wade, Yarde and Pennell could be one of the most exciting England can potentially field. There’s no doubt they may have a few issues defensively, but if they can get on the front foot then they could prove to be truly devastating. Pennell was possibly the form full back in the Premiership last season whilst Wade is England’s most potent finisher out wide.
Being realistic the Senior team would likely come out victorious against this thrown together Saxons side. However, there’s no doubting that several of the players included in the Saxons squad look more than a match for their opposite number in the Senior squad and have therefore left us somewhat baffled as to their exclusion.
Who do you think deserves a chance to move up into the Senior England squad?