Where do you start with the problem players that are starting games in the six nations, I’m sure you’ll agree that we all have our own opinions on who would be in your starting line up and the management are blind to pure talent. It’s going to look like I’m a pure Gloucester hater but I’ll tell you now to clear it up, I’m not I just don’t think the players are up to international standard.
Now I’m going start with England, what on earth is Lancaster up to? If I wanted someone to come on and ruin a game of go forward I’d use Billy Twelvtrees and that’s exactly what Lancaster did against Ireland! England “scored” three tries in the last quarter of the match, well they would have done if it hadn’t have been for Twelvtrees! I have never known a man to go on the park and do so much wrong in such little time. Firstly there was the Nick Eastser shielding incident; I’m sure that a man of Easters size and athleticism is capable of scoring without Twelvtrees putting his greedy little hands in the mix of it. Secondly Jack Knowel scored a fantastic try, no hold up! He didn’t! England as a team had worked the ball well in an attacking situation to leave the little Chiefs whippet on an overlap, only for Twelvetrees to pass what was deemed a forward pass (and I think Joubert got it right) in the final phase to put his winger in the corner. Now that’s just basics gone wrong, if you can’t get the basics right you shouldn’t be playing! And the third incident was very much the same as the second, you can just about forgive it once but to get such simple basics of the game wrong twice at an international level is unforgivable! I’d be replacing him with Bath’s Kyle Eastmond in a flash, a lad that’s playing outstanding rugby and he also gets the basics right!
Moving on to Jonny May, I rate him as a player but there’s a massive fault in his game that leads him to be a touch greedy and unable to get a team scoring. There used to be a phrase “hit the wingers” this is because they’d do the rest of the work to finish it off but it’s not that easy anymore because of the way that defensive play has evolved. Now back to this major fault, Jonny May can’t pass off his right hand! Ok, he does counter it well in the fact that he will on 90% of occasions cut inside leaving an outside channel to pass in to but a supporting player isn’t always going to take that running line. Odds on that any supporting player would take an inside running line to have more space to play with, which I’ll add is the right thing to do especially if the said winger has sucked in the defence to make that hole! Jonny May does this well but his inability to make a simple pass leaves him isolated resulting in a penalty. If it were me I’d give Northampton’s Jamie Elliot the chance to play there, the lad can attack brilliantly and there is no faults in his defence either, his passing is outstanding and his boot to ball is unquestionable! He’s been braking defences for fun during the international period!
Lancaster also got the Brown replacement wrong, Goode was not the right choice for the job! Exeter Cheifs Henry Slade should’ve been there, Goode had an absolute howler against Ireland!
Now I’ve got the two most frustrating players out the way I’m going to list my picks for the six nations in and outs:
Danny Cipriani (Sharks) out / Stephen Myler (Saints) in, Tom Youngs (Tigers) out / Dave Ward (Quins) in, Dan Cole (Tigers) out / Nick Auterac (Bath) in, Anthony Watson (Bath) out / Matt Banahan (Bath) in, Ben Youngs (Tigers) out / Chris Cook (Bath) in, Richard Wigglesworth (Sarecens) out / Dan Robson (Gloucsester) in, Luther Burrell (Saints) out / Tom Stephenson (Saints) in.
The players on show in the current England set up are meant to be the best this country has to offer, I’m not saying that Lancaster needs to make permanent changes, there are some players that need rest or aren’t playing at the standard that should be imperetive for an international player. Change is good epecially as there’s a World Cup round the corner and you need to try out your best team!
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Iain P Millar