This Is The England Team That Should Start The 2nd Springboks Test
Last Saturday saw Eddie Jones’ England fall to their fourth consecutive defeat, if you discount the Barbarians match. The loss has resulted in them dropping to fourth place in the World Rankings, their lowest position in two years.
Leaking 42 points and once again being ill-disciplined on the penalty count cost England the game. Something has to give. Below is the 23-man England squad I would pick for this weekend I was in Eddie Jones’ shoes.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
England vs Springboks – 2nd Test
1. Mako Vunipola
The Man of the Match from the Aviva Premiership Final had a quiet game for his 50th cap and will want to improve on that this coming Saturday. His ball-carrying needs to improve to stifle any Springbok momentum.
2. Jamie George
If George is going to make the selection of the starting hooker difficult for Eddie Jones, George has to improve his performance at the scrum. He he got found out wanting on Saturday along with the rest of the pack.
3. Kyle Sinckler
For all his work in loose play, the Harlequins prop needs to improve his scrummaging big time to counter the powerful Springbok scrum. If he wants the starting position in next year’s Rugby World Cup, it’s test matches like next Saturday that’ll make him the ideal candidate.
4. Maro Itoje
The Saracen second row was penalised a few times on Saturday in an uncharacteristic poor performance. However, with those long arms he used to score his try, he offers a very athletic line out option.
5. Joe Launchbury
England desperately missed the Wasps man last week in terms of his leadership and aggressive defence. England need him back for this second test to counter the likes of Mostert and Snyman.
6. Brad Shields
Given how quickly he was drafted into the squad, Shields did very well on Saturday. With Chris Robshaw putting in two disappointing performances in a row, it’s time to see what Shields can do at 6.
7. Tom Curry
A real prospect to solve England’s problems at the breakdown. Very good at getting turnovers and is a tackling machine. He is performing to the highest standards at a very young age and needs the chance to continue his growth.
8. Billy Vunipola
One of the few people that stood up to the Springboks pack, Billy needs to have another crack at it.
9. Dan Robson
One of the reasons South Africa won last Saturday was the speed of Faf de Klerk. His pace around the park and the quick service he provided to Handre Pollard, gave South Africa the ultimate edge. Therefore, Robson is a better prospect to match a quick fast paced game than Ben Youngs, who had a disappointing performance providing ball to his back line.
10. Danny Cipriani
Ford was apparent in the first 20 minutes but then like his form at the Aviva Premiership, he sat back and he relied too much of the responsibilities of others to orchestrate the play. The Leicester man was also out muscled by the Springboks. With Cipriani, you have a player who can provide flat quick passes – relieving some of the pressure off Farrell, as well as being a physical 10.
11. Johnny May
As he showed with his try, he is an out and out speedster, and Eddie Jones likes to have a combination of wingers. May still needs to look for more work but he only needs the smallest of chances to canter over.
12. Owen Farrell
The captain had a good game when a few of his team mates did not last Saturday. Missing the conversion for England’s penultimate try in the game was part of the reason England just fell short. However, Farrell is a very good deputy for Dylan Hartley and needs to carry on as a potential captain after the Rugby World Cup.
13. Henry Slade
The Exeter Chiefs utility back really showed what he can do in the 13 jersey and showed he is the number one candidate for the position ahead of Joseph and perhaps Elliot Daly. Again he needs more game time to improve on his good performance last Saturday.
14. Nathan Earle
The soon-to-be Harlequins winger showed his power and pace when he came on for the last minutes of the Aviva Premiership Final. Mike Brown, although did well to score his try, was not prominent in defence or attack after the first 20 minutes. It’s time for Earle to show how he is in the hunt for a spot on the wing and to chase the likes of Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson.
15. Elliot Daly
Saturday was his first test match at Fullback (given the game vs the Barbarians is an uncapped game) and if he is going to improve, he needs more game time there.
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie
the Chiefs hooker didn’t quite perform to his best last Saturday and if he is to continue as the third choice hooker, then he needs to improve his performance, with the likes of Wasps Tom Cruise playing well this season, and Jack Singleton of Worcester performing well against the Barbarians.
17. Ellis Genge
The young man can be a cat among the pigeons in loose play and certainly would bring a bite to win the scrummaging battles.
18. Harry Williams
The Exeter prop can add that ballast that would be needed at scrum time, as well as lifting line out jumpers. However, he does need to improve his performance from last Saturday if he is to take Kyle Sinckler’s spot and be deputy to Dan Cole.
19. Nick Isekwe
Even though Eddie Jones pulled him off after 35 minutes last Saturday, one must not underestimate how a big a prospect he is for the English boiler house. His work rate in the line out and at the scrum would be a benefit coming from the bench.
20. Mark Wilson
The Newcastle Falcon is another leader within the team and can bring calmness from the bench. His work rate is also phenomenal.
21. Ben Spencer
The Saracens scrumhalf did well considering the position of England when he came on last Saturday. The race to become one of the two 9’s for England is heating up with Robson, as well as Danny Care. Spencer needs to take his chance on this tour.
22. George Ford
A brilliant first 20 minutes, followed by a shellshocked 60 minutes– means that his starting position at 10 is under question. Having his experience off the bench is a good option to bring on.
23. Jason Woodward
The Gloucester fullback has certainly got the pace and the wow factor and would be a great option from the bench. He could offer the spark that the likes of Daly and May might not be able to conjure when the game is near its end.