England team at the 2019 World Cup – Who will start in Japan?
- Four Exeter Chiefs players make the starting XV
- Bath’s Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph retain their places
- Quins Jack Clifford is joined in the back-row by Saracens pair Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje
- Bristol Rugby’s Ellis Genge in the front row alongside Luke Cowan-Dickie and Henry Thomas
Will Stuart Lancaster have left the job after the World Cup in 2015? It’s looking increasingly likely.
Might the likes of Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown still be the key members of the squad or will a new generation of stars emerge? Just to make it more interesting we are presuming they’ve hung up their international boots.
This is how we have predicted it might play out…
15 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Fullback Jack Nowell made his promotion to the England senior side for the Six Nations in 2014. The 22-year old Cornishman’s classy attacking skills made him an essential weapon in the Exeter Chiefs arsenal this past season while his growing maturity has also been impressive. He could fill the void as Mike Brown, and Andy Goode are both likely to be passed their best in four year’s time.
Did you know: After establishing himself as a regular in the Chiefs first team, Nowell was nominated for and won, the LV=Breakthrough Player Award for the 2012–13 season.
14 Anthony Watson (Bath)
Wing wizard Anthony Watson has burst onto the international stage and made a significant impact since making his debut against New Zealand in 2014 as part of the Autumn Internationals. The rising star may have not have had the best 2015 World Cup but he is only 21. The youngsters intelligent movement combined with his rapid pace has him tipped by many to be one of the next big stars in world rugby over the next few years.
Did you know: He had trials with Chelsea FC as a 13-year-old.
13 Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
Although the 22-year-old got left out of Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup training squad, there is still a big future ahead of the speedy, try-scoring specialist centre. He has represented England at U16, U18 and U20 level, which includes winning a U20 Grand Slam Six Nations in 2011 and reaching the Junior World Cup final in the same year.
Did you know: He made his debut at centre against Exeter Chiefs in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November 2010 while still a pupil at Whitgift and in the process became the second youngest player to represent the club.
12 Jonathan Joseph (Bath)
By the time 2019 comes around, Jonathan Joseph will be one of the most experienced players in the squad and will be probably at the peak of his powers. The 24-year old centre has immense power and can make an enormous impact on any game with his incredible acceleration and precise offload.
Did you know: He won both ‘the Player’s Player of the Year’ and ‘England Player of the Year’ for his outstanding performances for both club and country during the 2014/15 season.
11 Jonny May (Gloucester)
Another experienced head we have included in our 2019 starting XV is Jonny May. The wing was one of the teams better performers in 2015 with his natural finishing ability. Therefore, we think he may have one more tournament in him, presuming he avoids any serious injuries.
Did you know: He studied at Hartpury College, where he was a member of Hartpury College R.F.C. in a team that included Alex Cuthbert on the opposite wing.
10 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Although George Ford and Owen Farrell will both still be around in 2019, there could be a new star in the England No.10 shirt by then in Henry Slade. After a breakout season with Exeter Chiefs this year he scooped the LV= young player of the year award. He has also represented England at U18 and U20 level and has been compared to Toby Flood and Rory Clegg by England Academy Coach John Fletcher. Slade made his debut for England in a match against the Barbarians on 1 June 2014, kicking 15 points and putting in an impressive performance.
Did you know: Slade is the great nephew of former Portsmouth F.C. footballer Geoff Williamson.
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Youngs has the potential to get 80 caps for England at scrum-half through his undoubted immense ability. He is the main playmaker of the England side and if he can continue to improve and develop his game he could still be playing a significant role in four years time.
Did you know: Former Tigers and England utility back Austin Healey referred to Youngs as a potential world-beater.
1 Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby)
The England U20s loosehead Ellis Genge only recently made a switch to the front row after captaining Hartpury College to AASE league victory in 2013 as a No.8 but has already made rampaging strides at mastering the position. The 20-year old has a massive future ahead of him and we think by 2019 he could be an established international.
Did you know: Genge played football until the age of 12, but the lack of physicality drove him to rugby where he could fully express himself.
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Described by former England international Graham Dawe as ‘special’ Luke Cowan-Dickie is someone that could be a major player in the England group come four year’s time. The 22-year old hookers enhancing reputation saw him make his England bow in their warm-up match against France at Twickenham.
Did you know: He is a Six Nations title winner with England Under-20s in 2013.
3 Henry Thomas (Bath)
Prop Henry Thomas seems to have all the attributes necessary to develop in a top-level Test tight-head for years to come. He has suffered a couple of severe injuries but is still only 23, so if he can stay fit he will without a doubt become a major player in the England fold come 2019.
Did you know: He has repre
sented England at every age group from U16.
4 Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
The Exeter Academy lock is on the verge of making his breakthrough to the Chiefs first team. The teenager has stepped up to train with the senior squad this summer after progressing through the academy and is a real hot prospect. He is a bit of a risky choice but we think he has what it takes to be a top player.
Did you know: He was 6ft 3ins and 16-stone at the age of 14.
5 Courtney Lawes, Captain (Northampton Saints)
England’s world-class lock Courtney Lawes is our chosen leader of the side in 2019. The 26-year-old will be 30 when Japan rolls around, and we are predicting he will become a ferocious Captain in the next four year’s. Lawes struggled with injury in the early stages of his career and failed to cement an England starting spot. But he is now a regular, and if he can stay fit, he could have an incredible future still to come.
Did you know: In the summer of 2009 was a member of the England Under 20 team that reached the final of the JWC in Tokyo.
6 Jack Clifford, Vice-captain (Harlequins)
One of the country’s most exciting prospects is without doubt Jack Clifford. The flanker has captained England at the under-18 and under-20 level, and if he progresses as expected, he could be an England regular by 2019. Therefore with his leadership qualities we are predicting he will be second in command to Lawes.
Did you know: He was born in Brisbane, Australia to a Kenyan father and an Australian mother.
7 Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Maro Itoje does not turn 21 until October, but he already has Premiership and Junior World Cup winner’s medals in his collection. The latest prize being secured through Saracens’ 28-16 victory over Bath at Twickenham to become English champions. His potential is unlimited and in four years he could very much be one of the best players in world rugby.
Did you know: He scored a try in every U20 Six Nations game in 2014 and was England’s Man of the Tournament.
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
There is no doubt that No.8 Bill Vunipola is the member of the current England crop who has the greatest potential. The 22-year old has already accumulated 17 international caps, scoring three tries and could become a stalwart of England teams for years to come.
Did you know: While, at Harrow School, Billy joined the London Wasps Academy. He made his senior team debut in the 2011-12 season and played 30 matches over two seasons before leaving at the end of the 2012-2013 season.