England Squad for Trip Down Under: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Martin Johnson had a few tricks up his sleeve today when he named his England squad to tour Australia this summer.
Along with nine uncapped players, the England coach made some, erm, interesting recalls.
Skipper Steve Borthwick misses the tour because of a knee injury meaning Lewis Moody looks set to retain the captaincy.
But which other selections were inspired, which were dodgy, and which will make England rugby fans hold their heads in their hands and sob uncontrollably?
Hendre Fourie: I'm thrilled the Leeds flanker has been called up after a fantastic season at a so-called "unfashionable club". I wonder if the words of Johnno's ex-Leicester chum, Neil Back, had anything to do with his inclusion?
Olly Barkley: Since returning from a broken leg, Barkley has helped inspire a resurgent Bath to a Guinness Premiership semi-final spot. He is in the form of his life at the moment. A worthy recall.
Dominic Waldouck: Nice to see Johnno giving the talented Wasps centre a chance.
No Louis Deacon: Hang on, the terrible Leicester second row has been dropped? A miracle.
James Haskell: Did he even play in the Six Nations? I'm not sure, as he had about as much an impact on me as the tedious film "The Men Who Stare At Goats". Hours of my life, wasted.
No Jon Clarke: I don't really understand why one of England's most dangerous centres will be left at home this summer.
Charlie Hodgson. One word: WHY?!
And come to think of it, why is Stephen Myler only in the Saxons squad instead of choker Charlie who will travel to Oz?
No Phil Dowson. What does the versatile Northampton back row forward have to do to be included in the England tour down under? Solve the Greek financial crisis and broker World peace? Or does he simply have to plait sawdust and knit fog? It is a travesty that he hasn't been handed a plane ticket and will only be given the chance to star for the Saxons.
The Full England squad, who will venture to the land where women glow and men plunder:
Backs: D Armitage (London Irish), C Ashton (Northampton), M Banahan (Bath), O Barkley (Bath), D Care (Harlequins), M Cueto (Sale Sharks), T Flood (Leicester), B Foden (Northampton), S Geraghty (Northampton), S Hape (Bath), C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), U Monye (Harlequins), J Simpson (Wasps), D Strettle (Harlequins), M Tait (Sale Sharks), M Tindall (Gloucester), D Waldouck (Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), J Wilkinson (Toulon), B Youngs (Leicester).
Forwards: S Armitage (London Irish), D Attwood (Gloucester), D Cole (Leicester), T Croft (Leicester), P Doran-Jones (Gloucester), N Easter (Harlequins), D Flatman (Bath), H Fourie (Leeds Carnegie), J Golding (Newcastle), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell (Stade Francais), C Lawes (Northampton), L Mears (Bath), L Moody (Leicester), T Palmer (Stade Francais), G Parling (Leicester), T Payne (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins), S Shaw (Wasps), S Thompson (Brive), D Ward-Smith (Wasps), R Webber (Wasps), D Wilson (Bath), J Worsley (Wasps).
England Saxons squad for the Churchill Cup:
Backs: N Abendanon (Bath), A Allen (Leicester), B Barritt (Saracens), J Clarke (Northampton), A Goode (Saracens), P Hodgson (London Irish), S Myler (Northampton), J Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), O Smith (Montpellier), T Varndell (Wasps), M Young (Newcastle).
Forwards: D Bell (Bath), N Catt (Bath), A Corbisiero (London Irish), P Dowson (Northampton), G Kitchener (Worcester), S Hooper (Bath), T Lindsay (Wasps), L Narraway (Gloucester), D Paice (London Irish), T Rees (Wasps), A Saull (Saracens), G Skivington (Wasps), R Vickers (Newcastle), N Wood (Gloucester), T Wood (Worcester).