We take a look at England’s most in-form players over the last couple of months, and select a XV based on this (note this isn’t a predicted starting XV for the World Cup);
Abendanon is unlikely to feature in the World Cup squad due to playing his club rugby in France, however having just won the European Player of the Year award, he is undoubtedly one of the most in form players in the Northern Hemisphere right now.
Watson has had a strong season for Bath, and looks to be flourishing in an international shirt, even if we are still yet to see him at his best. The play-offs represent the perfect opportunity for Watson to showcase his talents ahead of the World Cup.
Joseph has been England’s stand-out player so far this year, and has shown no signs of his form dipping off for club side Bath. England will be desperately hoping he can maintain his current hot-streak through into the World Cup.
The calls for Slade to be called up into the England side have been growing over the last couple of months and surely can no longer be ignored. He currently offers the most of all England’s midfield options, and is in the form of his life.
Nowell has played in a number of positions over the last couple of months, but has excelled in the Chiefs backline in recent weeks. He has really stepped up since the Six Nations and is unlucky not to be in the play-offs with Exeter.
Ford has been the stand-out fly-half in the Premiership all season, if not the entire Northern Hemisphere and is showing no signs of letting up as he leads Bath into the play-offs. England will be hoping he can maintain his fitness.
Since being given the nod over Danny Care for England’s starting nine shirt, Youngs has really stepped up his game. He has been on fire for both England and Leicester and will be key to the Tigers play-off hopes this season.
Ewers must be considered one of the unluckiest players in England right now, as despite playing out of his skin, he still seems to be behind a number of players in the England pecking order. There’s no doubting that he has been one of the Premiership’s form back rowers though.
Much like with Abendanon, Armitage looks unlikely to feature for England anytime soon, however it’s hard to ignore his form over the last 18 months. It will be interesting to see what happens if England suffer a couple of key injuries.
One of the more controversial selections, however anyone who has witnessed Burgess since his move into the six shirt for Bath will know how well he has played in the final weeks of the season. The questions now though will be is it too little too late?
Since breaking into the Saracens starting XV on a regular basis, Itoje has gone from strength to strength and made big impacts against some of the best teams in Europe. He could definitely be an outside bet for a place in the squad.
Since returning from injury at the end of the Six Nations, Lawes has looked like a man possessed. He is now back and fully firing, and England will be desperate for him to remain fit, as they know how important he is to the pack.
Cole has arguably been the best tighthead in the world over the last few months, despite missing a large chunk of the season with injury. The hope now is that he can maintain his current form through into the World Cup.
Youngs has made the battle for the England number two shirt really interesting after coming back strong this season and making an impact on several key games which helped ensure Leicester Tigers made it into the play-offs.
The battle for the number one shirt should be very interesting from an England perspective with several players putting their hands up for selection. Joe Marler is the incumbent, but Mako Vunipola’s recent form means it could be a close contest.