England rugby squad shake up for 6 Nations

By AP,

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    England coach Stuart Lancaster left out former captain Mike Tindall and picked nine uncapped players on Wednesday in a rejuvenated 32-man squad for rugby’s Six Nations.

    With Jonny Wilkinson among those to have retired from international rugby since England’s poor World Cup campaign, Lancaster drafted in young Saracens flyhalf Owen Farrell in a group showing 15 changes to the last elite squad picked in August.

    Lancaster also called up Brad Barritt, Lee Dickson, Calum Clark, Ben Morgan, Jordan Turner-Hall, Phil Dowson, Joe Marler and Rob Webber in an inexperienced squad.

    The RFU announced the squad with the 20-year-old Farrell referred to as a centre, hinting he could start England’s February 4 opener in Scotland in midfield because of a lack of options in the position.

    Manu Tuilagi is in the squad but injured, ex-skipper Tindall and Shontayne Hape have been dropped, while Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby fly half Danny Cipriani also missed selection.

    With first-choice No.10 Toby Flood injured, Charlie Hodgson has been recalled and could be in line for his first appearance since the World Cup warmups against Wales.

    Lancaster has yet to pick a captain.

    Fullback Delon Armitage, one of the successes of Martin Johnson’s tenure as team manager, was dropped to the second-tier Saxons squad.

    Forwards: Mouritz Botha, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Louis Deacon, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Lee Mears, Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber, David Wilson, Tom Wood.

    Backs: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs.

    © AP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (48)

    • January 12th 2012 @ 8:23am
      andy said | January 12th 2012 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      i like the new blood ,building a young team for the next world cup is great .
      playing in a world cup at home will be very special not just for the team but the fans too.
      putting on the red rose should be the height of your playing careers,dont do like the last team in the last world cup and not only embarace yourselfs but embaraced your country .
      remember the fans pay with hard erned money to cheer for there country ,give us a team to be proud of win lose or draw, we just want to be proud again and not put our head in our hands in shame.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 8:59am
      King of the Gorgonites said | January 12th 2012 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      a move in the right direction for English rugby. well done Lancaster. And i love the fact they are based in Yorkshire and not Portugal.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 9:09am
      kingplaymaker said | January 12th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Not very exciting or imaginative squad: solid perhaps, like Lancaster. Good that he won’t be there after the Six Nations, it is to be hoped.

      • January 12th 2012 @ 9:32am
        Colin N said | January 12th 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Who would have you picked….apart from the obvious in Cipriani?

        • January 12th 2012 @ 11:22am
          andy said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          hey colin,
          for my mind flood is probably no1 although i think he needs to read the game a bit better he has to learn to play whats in front of him .
          danny cipriani for me should have made the team ,but i think his off game antics have made him about to much of a wild card for the selectors,
          saying that i watch him a lot here in australia and think he is trying to put a lot of that stuff behind him.
          i think the people around him at the moment will help him alot.

        • January 12th 2012 @ 11:28am
          kingplaymaker said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          Let’s say Narraway, Simpson-Daniel, Tait, Geraghty making an exception for his playing in France, as he was so left out by the last regime that he left. Plus Cipriani that’s five good players.

          • January 12th 2012 @ 11:40am
            Ross said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:40am | ! Report

            So you think Mathew Tait should be picked despite being injured for pretty much all season?!

            That’s still a more sensible choice than Danny Cipriani.

            • January 12th 2012 @ 11:54am
              kingplaymaker said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:54am | ! Report

              All the players I mentioned were abandoned by the last regime and should be chosen as soon as is possible.

              Cipriani by the way is head and shoulders above any other fly-half in England in talent and has been for the past four years.

              • January 12th 2012 @ 12:02pm
                Ben Farrell said | January 12th 2012 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                KPM, Cipriani is not head shoulders above the rest, you just have to watch some Super Rugby. He cannot defend, and his kicking game is far inferior to the superior Flood. England would be making a big mistake picking him, and thankfully they haven’t.

              • January 12th 2012 @ 12:09pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 12th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

                Cipriani’s defending is bad, although his kicking game can be excellent.

                He is, however, the most creative and dangerous attacking player the English game has produced in the professional era. Flood is a run of the mill player lucky ever to have been chosen.

                You may notice that the Rebels dropped from mid-table to last place when they dropped Cipriani.

              • Roar Guru

                January 12th 2012 @ 1:08pm
                Who Needs Melon said | January 12th 2012 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

                Cipriani is awful. And, what’s worse, it seems he is not interested in changing. With Kurtley and JOC coming on board, he’ll be lucky to make the starting side this year. Keep an eye out for some more off field incidents too.

              • January 12th 2012 @ 10:33pm
                Ben S said | January 12th 2012 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

                Oh Kingplaymaker, if you actually paid any attention to English rugby (as you pretend that you do), then you’d have known that Tait is out injured for the foreseeable future. Also, when was the last time that Geraghty played for Brive? Do tell.

          • January 12th 2012 @ 12:59pm
            Colin N said | January 12th 2012 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

            Five out of a squad of 32 isn’t bad, although we shoulde reduce that to four because Tait is out injured and has been for pretty much the whole of the last two seasons.

            There are players I disagee with being in the EPS, possibly more than five, but overall the players he’s selected are generally in form and talented, save for hooker where there is generally a dearth of talent.

            Why complain and say the selections are average?

            • January 12th 2012 @ 2:49pm
              10yearsold said | January 12th 2012 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

              Who Needs Melon, I agree. Why should Cipriani make the starting side? He should be dropped and hopefully he will leave and make way for some other players that are on the rise or should realize that he needs to stop his off-field nonsense.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 12:03pm
      Quakezone... said | January 12th 2012 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

      Wjho was the young flyhalf at the U20 world champs? was that Farrell?

      • January 12th 2012 @ 12:14pm
        Ross said | January 12th 2012 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        That was George Ford- also IRB junior player of the year.

        He’s in the Saxons squad.

        • January 12th 2012 @ 1:07pm
          Colin N said | January 12th 2012 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          Ford isn’t in either squad which is a shame, but the reports are that he’s doing excellent things with Leeds. Remeber Farrell had a stint with Bedford in the Championship before returning and starring for Sarries.

          To that extent I was disappointed to see Twelvetrees not in the squad, as it might have forced Leicester’s hand to bring Ford back and play him during the Six Nations.

          Having said that, Twelvetrees, despite having all the skils has only really had two excellent games, and they were most recenty against Sale and Wasps.

          I do love how everyone is building Farrell up though to be this amazingly special talent and as though he’s suddenly going to spark a flurry of tries, whereas, he is simply an excellent kicker, tactical and place, with a superb temperament.

          • January 12th 2012 @ 6:57pm
            Ross said | January 12th 2012 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

            My mistake.

            I’m surprised because I thought he would be a contender for the senior squad.

            • January 12th 2012 @ 10:11pm
              Colin N said | January 12th 2012 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

              There was a lot of pressure on him to do well at the start of the season and although I was away, when I came back and saw the performances he put in, I thought he was a bright spark in a pretty average Leicester side, because of all their missing World Cup players.

              But Cockerill has admitted himself he’s quite conservative, so he hasn’t got a look in since then which is a huge shame. He is already good enough for the Premiership, but of course, they won’t loan him out to another Premiership side.

              Now, say he was playing for a side like Sale or London Irish then he would be guaranteed game time

              • January 12th 2012 @ 10:38pm
                Ben S said | January 12th 2012 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

                I’m surprised that Lancaster has gone for two boshers at 12 having said he prefers a second playmaker.

                I’m reasonably underwhelmed with the selections, tbh, especially the back row. I would have liked to have seen a genuine 7 in the EPS, and I would have liked to have seen Seymour, Kvesic and/or Wallace in the Saxons. Would also have liked to had Haywood in the Saxons, but then I suppose they’ll be getting game time in the Prem.

                Who would you start with, Colin?

              • January 12th 2012 @ 11:00pm
                Colin N said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

                My first XV would be: 15. Foden 14. Sharples 13. Farrell 12. Barritt 11 Ashton 10. Hodgson 9. Youngs (just) 1. Corbisiero 2. Hartley 3. Stevens 4. Lawes (if fit) 5. Palmer 6. Croft 7. Robshaw/Wood (not sure just yet) 8. Morgan

                Back-row’s a difficult call. I don’t think you can leave Croft out as he’s been in good form lately. Therefore, without the specalist openside, it’s one of Wood or Robshaw who have played seven for their club’s this season.

                Ironically, I find is that Clark played seven for Leeds and the under-20s, but when he plays alongside Wood, it’s always the former at blindside and the latter at open, whereas, I would put them the other way round. The only thing I can think of is that Wood is a better support player.

                Props as expected I suppose, although I’m not a big fan of Wilson……….or Doran-Jones to be honest who would have been Wilson’s replacement. It’s actually a shame that Thomas got injured because his scrummaging was really coming on and the Sale scrum had the upperhand against Leicester when he was on the field.

                Locks pick themselves. If Lawes is out then I would pick Botha. Like Parling but he’s only just come back. Attwood should be there IMO. Don’t care if he’s not had his best season, he’s a much better prospect than Botha and Deacon.

                I wouldn’t have selected Dowson and had another specialist eight, possibly Waldrom, as he’s been the best eight in England this season and last.

                I’m gutted for Seymour and I can’t understand why he hasn’t been selected? With Lancaster being northern and looking to revolutionise England, I would have thought that Brady, Miller and Myall would have been in the Saxons squad with Seymour in the main team. But there wasn’t much talk about him in the press, probably because he doesn’t play for Leicester, Northampton or Quins. Sounds bitter but there is certainly an element of truth in it.

                What are your thoughts on Farrell?

              • January 13th 2012 @ 12:21am
                Colin N said | January 13th 2012 @ 12:21am | ! Report

                Sorry, that should be Cole at tighthead, I can’t believe I forgot about him!

              • January 13th 2012 @ 3:31am
                Ben S said | January 13th 2012 @ 3:31am | ! Report

                Out of the chosen men I’d go for:

                1. Corbisiero, 2. Hartley, 3. Cole, 4. Lawes (if fit), 5. Palmer, 6. Robshaw (c), 7. Wood, 8. Dowson;
                9. Dickson, 10. Hodgson, 11. Sharples, 12. Barritt, 13. Farrell, 14. Ashton, 15. Foden

                If I could pick my own EPS the XV would be markedly different.

                I’d like to see Robshaw and Wood play in tandem together because I think they would better as a partnership than Croft plus A.N. Other. I also see Robshaw as being a better long-term option captain than Wood, so wouldn’t want to start him at 7 and then watch him get badly turned over hence Wood is at 7. I’m not Dowson’s biggest fan, but I’ve gone for him so there’s a Saints element in the pack and also with Dickson. Ideally I would like a proper 7, but I think Wood and Robshaw need a crack at 7 at this stage.

                I do like Youngs a lot, but I think he’d struggle with Hodgson and the lack of potent ball carriers in the England pack. Dickson is more of a traditionalist and I think that would suit Hodgson. That way we get a 2, 4, 8 and 9 Saints connection.

                Incidentally, I do like Clark. I think he’s a good player. I think that he plays 6 because Wood is unable to shift him from there.

                Am a big fan of Thomas. I don’t see a huge difference between him and Marler in terms of ability with the ball, but Marler gets all the media attention. I quite like Wilson – sometimes he is too tunnel visioned with the ball, but IMHO he always adds to the set-piece when he trots on. Doran-Jones is too lightweight IMO. At this stage I think I’d choose Mullan over Corbisiero tbh.

                Agree re: Attwood. Don’t think Botha is physical enough for Test rugby.

                Barritt is, IMHO, nothing but a Premiership workhorse. I think he’ll get badly found out at Test level. It’s amazing to think he used to be a 10 in SA (or maybe not that surprising actually…), but I’d plump with that Sarries continuity even though the Sarries back play has been poor this year. I think we’ll need those club combinations at such a transitional period.

                Not sure about Farrell. He’s clearly got an astonishing temperament, and he isn’t afraid to make the big play, but he isn’t the Aaron Mauger the press make him out to be. I’d play him at 13 against Scotland, but I think that could backfire, I just think he’s more suited to Test rugby now and players like Trinder and May aren’t. Let’s be honest, it’s only until Tuilagi comes back.

              • January 13th 2012 @ 3:33am
                Ben S said | January 13th 2012 @ 3:33am | ! Report

                Edit: I’m not sold on Ben Morgan. Clearly he is a prospect, but he’s only 22. I’d rather he played some Premiership rugby before him being selected on the basis of Celtic rugby.

              • January 13th 2012 @ 4:55am
                Colin N said | January 13th 2012 @ 4:55am | ! Report

                Fair points.

                Re: Morgan. I’ve seen plenty of him in the Rabo and Heineken Cup and he’s really impressed me. His control at the back of the scrum with one that is usually going backwards is very good.

                Also, personally I don’t think Dowson should be in the squad. He’s 30, uncapped and will he be around in four years time? He also doesn’t play eight much for the Saints. As I said, I would have had Waldrom more for his experience in the position rather than his future England chances. Having said that, Nick Easter’s still been very impressive this season.

                Marler has got more attention because he plays for Quins I would have thought….and his hairstyle.

                Also, once Tuilagi comes back, I would have thought Farrell would move to 12. But personally, i would rather have Twelvetrees at 12 with anyone but Farrell at 10. Even at this current time, I would take Burns and Lamb over Farrell at stand-off. In a couple of years time, when the likes of Twelvetrees has hopefully made the progress I expect him to make, it might be difficult to find a position for Farrell.

              • January 13th 2012 @ 5:24am
                Ben S said | January 13th 2012 @ 5:24am | ! Report

                I’ll take your word re: Morgan.

                I don’t see the value in Dowson, especially with Easter’s recent form, but on the other hand, if he (and a lot of other players) don’t perform then we know they’re no more than Premiership players. There is definitely a bit of media-led selection here I think.

                Didn’t Lancaster select Twelvetrees and Tuilagi as his Saxons 12/13 last season at some point?

                I think what separates Marler from a lot of other looseheads is his dynamism. I rate Mullan more, but Marler does some very athletic things which a player like Corbisiero, for example, just isn’t equipped to do.

                Re: Thomas, he was always going to struggle getting past Cole, Stevens, Wilson and Doran-Jones. I rate him very highly though.

                Agree about Farrell at 10.

                At some point I’d like to see Tuilagi moved to 12. I would have liked to have seen Banahan at 12 as well.

              • January 14th 2012 @ 1:05am
                Colin N said | January 14th 2012 @ 1:05am | ! Report

                “There is definitely a bit of media-led selection here I think.”

                Completely agree there, but it gives us a chance to see if they’re right or they end up falling on their sword.

                Re: Tuilagi/Twelvetrees, he did against Italy A (not sure about Ireland) and formed a very effective partership.

                Interesting to here your thoughts about moving Tuilagi to 12? Who would play at outside centre? Trinder?

                I too like Mullan, he’s been part of a very effective, for the most part, Worcester front-row, but again, he hasn’t received the attention. Personally, I would still have Corbisiero in the England side over him though.

                Thomas could have been a surprise call-up had he not got injured (he’s out until late March/early April), but it’s good to see him being named in the Saxons. Gaskell actually hasn’t had the best season this year and I would say Myall has probably been the most influential lock/back-row at Sale. I feel he’s a criminally underrated player.

              • January 15th 2012 @ 10:21am
                Ben S said | January 15th 2012 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                After watching the Saints game today I’d start with Morgan at 8 and Youngs at 9. I thought Dowson looked powderpuff. I can’t see how he could operate physically at 8 at Test level.

                I’d swap Tuilagi between 12 and 13 depending on the opposition. As physical as he is he still has work to do on his skills. I’m not sure about 13, tbh. I like the look of Trinder. I’d like to have seen Armitage play 13 for a period because I don’t think he’s fast enough for the back three. The problem with a lot of English 13s is that they just seem quite small compared to other Test midfielders.

                I’m still not sold on Corbisiero. He’s put in some good shifts for England, but IMHO Mullan and Wood have been better for their clubs.

                Agree re: Myall. I’ve noticed how reluctant Diamond/Hanks have been to even sub him during matches.

          • January 12th 2012 @ 11:56pm
            kingplaymaker said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:56pm | ! Report

            ‘I do love how everyone is building Farrell up though to be this amazingly special talent and as though he’s suddenly going to spark a flurry of tries, whereas, he is simply an excellent kicker, tactical and place, with a superb temperament.’

            Agree there, it seems he’s being confused with his father, or perhaps his father as a rugby league player.

            • January 13th 2012 @ 1:49am
              Scotty said | January 13th 2012 @ 1:49am | ! Report

              How could you forget the coolest beard at the RWC Colin? 🙂

              Given where he is starting from, I reckon its not a bad selection. If I was an England fan I would like him to pick young guys with talent and stick with them as long as they work like hell, keep thier noses clean, and never stop learning. Egos, idiots, and slackers or passengers are not wanted. And neither are one dimensional plodders UNLESS there is just no other choice. What happened to the fella that used to be a centre for Liecester a wile ago (name started with H) and was supposed to be the best thing sincle sliced bread?

              In all the years I have lived in England many of the fans post 2003 have been looking for a Messiah – the list is long and littered with wrecks; Paul, Vainikolo, Farrell, come to mind. Hopefully this time the coaching team and fans realise thats not how it works – NZ lost thiers and still toughed out the RWC. Its a team game – time to build a cohesive TEAM with a plan A, B and C and the skills and fitness to carry them out.

              • January 14th 2012 @ 1:08am
                Colin N said | January 14th 2012 @ 1:08am | ! Report

                “How could you forget the coolest beard at the RWC Colin?”

                Personally, I gave that award to Kleeberger. 😉

            • January 13th 2012 @ 5:26am
              Ben S said | January 13th 2012 @ 5:26am | ! Report

              Yeah, that’s right. People are confusing Owen Farrell with his father, a 40 year old man.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 12:16pm
      Sailosi said | January 12th 2012 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

      George ford was the u/20 5/8 currently on loan to Leeds in the championship, IRB u/20 player of the year

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    • January 12th 2012 @ 1:07pm
      Quakezone... said | January 12th 2012 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

      George Ford thats it……… very good player his names not there

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