"Go-to skipper" - Sir Clive Woodward picks his England XV for Wales with new captain - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

“Go-to skipper” – Sir Clive Woodward picks his England XV for Wales with new captain


  • 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens) replace Curry as captain
  • 5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) for Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)

Woodward wrote: “Without knowing the dynamics of relationships I would go for Maro Itoje. Iconic figure, automatic selection at lock, universally respected, intelligent, articulate and likely to learn from mistakes. 

“Like any player he is not perfect and has made mistakes: he’s given away too many penalties and has overdone the vocals and flaunting celebrations in the face of opponents when winning a turnover.

“What is certain is that England need to settle on their skipper sooner rather than later. Great teams have great ‘go-to” skippers.”

Maro Itoje of England during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Tonga at Twickenham Stoop on 6 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK


  • 6. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) for Charlie Ewels
  • 7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
  • 8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)

Woodward wrote: “I have long argued for Alex Dombrandt to be given a start at No 8 and am genuinely excited by the attacking possibilities England now have at 8, 9 and 10.

“However, I didn’t expect Sam Simmonds to be dropped. I wanted him at blindside where he would prosper in an attack-minded environment. Simmonds is the one England back-rower who can switch positions with ease.”

Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps) during England Rugby training session at The Lensbury Hotel, Teddington, London on 28 Sept 2021. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK


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