"A New Era" - Predicting Steve Borthwick's England Squad for the 2024 Six Nations - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

“A New Era” – Predicting Steve Borthwick’s England Squad for the 2024 Six Nations


4. Maro Itoje (Saracens)

5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers)

The second row pairing of Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum has steadily become England’s most reliable option to pack down the scrum. The duo worked together excellently throughout the Rugby World Cup, and we predict to see the Saracens and Leicester Tigers collaboration back together, for the majority of the Six Nations. However, Chessum’s Leicester teammate George Martin certainly put his hand up for selection, and could well be in contention to start in the opening round against Italy.

Martin was selected to start in the semi-final against South Africa, with his powerful tackles utilised from the get-go against the bruising Springboks. This seems to be the area that Martin edges out Chessum, and a big performance against the Azzurri would only boost his claims to take the starting spot from his Welford Road compatriot. After a stunning Rugby World Cup campaign, we can’t see Itoje losing his place in Borthwick’s second row. The Sarries star was back at his very best in France, and is giving England fans lots to be excited about ahead of the 2024 Six Nations.

George Martin of England (Leicester Tigers) skips the tackle of Zach Mercer of England (Montpellier HŽrault Rugby) during the an England Rugby Training session at the Brighton College, Sussex on the 19th June 2023 – PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Elsewhere in the squad, England will be without David Ribbans for the 2024 Six Nations, as the second row has accepted a move across the channel to Toulon. The former Northampton Saints lock has accepted that he can’t make any future appearances for Borthwick’s side, which has opened the door to a returning face for England fans. Joe Launchbury signed for Harlequins ahead of the 2023/24 season, after being picked up by Japanese club Toyota Verblitz, following the collapse of Wasps.

Joe Launchbury of England during the Quilter Cup Match between England and Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on May 27. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

At 32-years-old, Launchbury still has gas left in the tank for his first England cap since the 2022 Six Nations. Now that the lock is back in England, Borthwick could well look to utilise Launchbury’s international experience, and call-up the newly-minted Quins’ man for a sporadic run in the 2024 Six Nations squad. Launchbury could feature in a supportive veterans role, and offer a more than capable run-out should Borthwick call upon the 60-capped England international.


6. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

8. Ben Earl (Saracens)

Sam Underhill of England during the Autumn Nations Match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on 20 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

We now wrap up our predictions by placing our best bets on who will be in Borthwick’s back-row. There is a changing of the guard on the blindside flank, after Courtney Lawes confirmed his international retirement following the end of the Rugby World Cup. Lawes sat out from England’s bronze medal win over Argentina, after being one of Borthwick’s top performers at the competition.

With Lawes out of the fold, the door opens for Lewis Ludlam and Sam Underhill to battle for the England number six jersey. Borthwick picked the Bath man to reunite the ‘Under-Curry’ partnership against Los Pumas, and we predict more of the same for the Six Nations, with Ludlam on the bench. The Northampton Saints man offers a versatile asset across the back-row, and could well run out as a replacement number eight.

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 10 caps) during England Rugby training session at The Lensbury Hotel, Teddington, London on 28 Sept 2021. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Borthwick picked Ludlam to start at number eight in England’s Pool D victory over Japan, and the Saints man marked the occasion with a well taken try. After taking a back-seat behind Ben Earl for the majority of the Rugby World Cup, it’s now hard to find a space for specialist number eight Billy Vunipola amongst the match-day 23. It would be a bold move to leave Vunipola out of the squad all together, yet we have decided to look to the future and freshen up the wider training group, with Gloucester’s overlooked star Zach Mercer and Saracens newcomer Tom Willis.

We predict Borthwick to opt for Curry on the openside flank and Ben Earl at number eight, however the two are also interchangeable, with Curry previously getting Captains reps at the back of the England scrum under Eddie Jones. Also, there will be no place in the squad for Jack Willis, as the back-row signed a contract extension with Toulouse.

Jack Willis of England during the England Rugby Captains Run ahead of the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 11 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

This has unfortunately written the former Wasps man out of contention for future England appearances, with his brother Tom amongst our predicted squad following his return to the Premiership from Bordeaux-Begles.


Theo Dan of England during the Summer Nations Series Rugby match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

16. Theo Dan (Saracens)

17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks)

18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears)

19. George Martin (Leicester Tigers)

20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)

21. Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers)

22. George Ford (Sale Sharks)

23. Henry Arundell (Racing 92)


Zach Mercer of England goes over for a try during the Quilter Cup Match between England and Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on May 27. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

24. Val Rapava-Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby)

25. George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)

26. Tom West (Saracens)

27. Joe Launchbury (Harlequins)

28. Zach Mercer (Gloucester Rugby)

29. Tom Willis (Saracens)

30. Danny Care (Harlequins)

31. Fin Smith (Northampton Saints)

32. Guy Porter (Northampton Saints)

33. Elliot Daly (Saracens)