Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Pass the Smelling Salts

France v England, Six Nations, Saturday 20 March.

I think I'm hallucinating.

England coach Martin Johnson has just named his team to face France in this weekend's Six Nations' finale.

The unbelieveable highlights are:

Ben Foden is named at fullback.

Chris Ashton replaces Ugo "I can only run in a straight line" Monye on the left wing.

Super Jonny Wilkinson has been dropped and is replaced by Toby Flood.

Jimmy Haskell, aka Mr Invisible, has been relegated to the bench.

The changes might be too little, too late in the tournament, but at least Johnson is FINALLY opening his eyes and picking the players who are actually performing.

Is this a step towards a more dynamic England team?

Maybe.  A big disappointment is that Courtney Lawes has been sent back to Northampton.  58-year old Simon Shaw starts at lock and the ever dynamic dull Louis Deacon is on the bench.

I suppose Johnson has to dig his stubborn little heels in somewhere...

Still, I'm off for a little lie down to recover from this shocking news.

England Team

15 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
14 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
13 Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
12 Riki Flutey (CA Brive)
11 Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
10 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins)
1 Tim Payne (London Wasps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
4 Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
5 Steve Borthwick (Saracens, captain)
6 Joe Worsley (London Wasps)
7 Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers)
8 Nick Easter (Harlequins)


16 Steve Thompson (CA Brive)
17 David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
18 Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
19 James Haskell (Stade Francais)
20 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
21 Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)
22 Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)


  1. "58-year old Simon Shaw" lmao... brilliant, disagree re Haskell but then I appreciate the totty factor, think against France playing the 1 back row who is based in France would make sense and think Hask's pace will be missed. Worsley & Easter - hardly offering anything new - they're chucking in Ashton, why not Lawes & even Dowson?

  2. Tindull(sic) for Tait is very unfair considering Tait has had no quick ball of any sort from Wilko or Flutey. Flutey needs to be tied with a short piece of rope to Jonny to stop him standing so bloody deep.

    Andrew, Johnson, Wells to go. Don't understand what's happened to Brian Smith. I wonder if Irish's success recently is more down to Catty.

  3. Ah yes Phil Dowson. He is having a brilliant season at Northampton. I would love to see him called up by England.

    The Saints really are doing something right at the moment, aren't they?

    As for Tindull (haha love that!) why didn't Johnson bring in Hape, especially afte all the fuss of bringing him into the squad as soon as he qualified. Or what about Geraghty? Or Myler?

    Mike Tindall is a step backwards for me. OK, so he brings a strong presence in the backline, but he's hardly a player for the future. I can only think that he has been brought back is because Johnno wants the brawn of Tindall to counter the steamroller that is Mathieu Bastereaud.

  4. I think after the miserable performance in Edinburgh, I think Martin Johnson feels like he has nothing to lose in taking on the very heavily favored French in Paris, so he is going to role the dice with some new faces this weekend.

  5. Geraghty is struggling even at club level at the minute, from what Saints supporting friends have said (confidence issue maybe?). Myler though could be interesting.

    Just think it's pointless playing anyone who is not going to be seriously in the running for the 2011 World Cup.

    England coaches should have had the balls to do what the French starting doing 2 years ago, trying out all the up and coming youngsters to see who could cut it.

    England instead toyed with the idea, blood one then chuck them out again. France did it properly and look at their resulting squad - class, playing exciting rugby.

    Still am going to miss Haskell... ;-)