England team examined for Paris clash
England’s starting XV against France this weekend includes 12 of the side that beat Les Bleus 55-35 in their final match of this year’s Six Nations.
There is no place among the 23 for Sam Burgess or Henry Slade even though they made eye-catching Test debuts against France. The choice will intensify assumption over their potential participation in the World Cup next month.
But here is the starting XV Stuart Lancaster has chosen broken down.
15. Mike Brown
England stalwart fullback Mike Brown will have a bit of pressure on him going into the game after the superb performance of Andy Goode last weekend. He will be a member of the final squad as long as he can avoid suffering any further concussion issues.
14. Jack Nowell
Jack Nowell is the sole Exeter Chiefs representative for England after fellow Chiefs Henry Slade, Geoff Parling and Luke Cowan-Dickie all lost out after featuring last weekend. The 22-year-old will win his ninth cap and try to show he can hang with the likes of Anthony Watson, who thrilled England fans with two tries last Saturday.
13. Jonathan Joseph
Joseph returns to the centre as he looks to continue the magnificent form he exhibited at Six Nations campaign where he finished the leading try-scorer. The 23-year-old was named players’ player of the year and England player of the year so should be a favourite to start at next month’s World Cup no matter what happens in Paris.
12. Luther Burrell
Burrell reunites with Joseph in the centre and is under pressure following a solid debut from Sam Burgess last weekend. The 27-year-old has made 12 Caps since making his debut in 2014 and will have to impress this weekend after Lancaster demanded a big performance out of him.
11. Jonny May
After impressing on his return with the winning score last weekend, May is the only player who retains his place following the win. It was a good night for the Gloucester man, and he always appeared to be an attacking threat and took his try superbly.
10. George Ford
Skilful Ford has proved himself as an accomplished No.10 and is still the first choice presently but Owen Farrell is eying his shirt. The Bath fly-half is one of the most talented players in the current England crop but will have to kick well in the game to cement his place further.
9. Ben Youngs
Scrum-half Youngs has the potential to get 80 caps through his undoubted immense ability. He is the main playmaker in the England side and if he can continue to improve and develop his game he could be a key cog in not this weekend but the upcoming World Cup and beyond.
1. Joe Marler
The first choice loose-head nearly had his World Cup hopes finished when he fell down the stairs because to his sons toy snake. However, he has returned and even if he doesn’t excel this weekend he ought to be the first choice in the World Cup opener next month.
2. Tom Youngs
The 28-year-old, who appeared in all three British & Irish Lions Tests in Australia two summers ago, has Rob Webber, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George breathing down his neck for the position. The hooker should be part of the Lancaster’s final group but will need an impressive performance to cement the No.2 shirt.
3. Dan Cole
Leicester Tigers prop Coles is one of the toughest scrummagers in the game. He needs a good performance for himself but in truth it is very likely the veteran prop will be in the final 31-man squad.
4. Joe Launchbury
After seven months out with a neck injury, Launchbury returned to rugby in May for Wasps before being called up to the England World Cup training squad. It is a pleasure for all rugby fans to see him back in action and a good performance this weekend should all but seal his place in the 31-man squad.
5. Courtney Lawes
The first choice second-row Lawes is not really under much pressure heading into the clash this weekend. The 26-year old has won 38 caps since making his debut in 2009 and has versatility on his side as he can play in the second or back-row.
6. James Haskell
The England flanker has called for his teammates to raise their game this weekend in Paris. The 30-year old is one of the most proficient players in the squad having made 58 Test appearances for the men in white and should make the cut no matter what transpires this weekend.
7. Chris Robshaw
The Skipper returns to the side for their trip to Paris to face France this weekend. The clash is the first time he has featured in England starting XV since their stunning Six Nations win over Les Bleus in March. After a largely second string side turned out last weekend, the return of the Captain suggests Lancaster has selected a team that seems much closer to his strongest starting line-up.
8. Billy Vunipola
There is no doubt that No.8 Bill Vunipola is the member of the current England crop that has the greatest potential. The 22-year old has already accumulated 17 international caps, scoring three tries and will be looking to cement his place for the forthcoming World Cup with another robust display.
Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, Nick Easter, Danny Care, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees.