How the England XV would look with Warren Gatland in charge - Ruck

How the England XV would look with Warren Gatland in charge

With reports suggesting this week that Warren Gatland is in the frame to replace England head coach Eddie Jones following the 2023 Rugby World Cup, we look at how his line-up would currently look.

Jones, who took charge of England in December 2015, has confirmed he will step away from the role as he pursues a fresh new challenge.

Based on Gatland’s time with the Lions and Wales, it’s relatively straightforward to predict how a team might look if the men in white were to play the infamous ‘Warrenball’.

BACK-THREE:

  • 15. Elliot Daly (Saracens)
  • 14. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)
  • 11. Anthony Watson (Bath RFC)

Kick your penalties from wherever or whenever is something Gatland has always pushed. That explains Daly’s shock selection in the 2021 Lions squad due to his ability to slot kicks from over 50m out. Watson is another player he’s always loved, while Radwan’s performances so far this season make him the front runner for the other shirt.

CENTRES:

  • 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
  • 12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)

A powerhouse ball carrier on the inside with a more technical playmaker on the outside is a staple of Gatland sides down the years, with the partnership of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies coming to mind. Tuilagi is without doubt England’s best big man to be the first received while Slade’s performances for Chiefs have been consistently excellent so far this season.

HALFBACKS:

  • 10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
  • 9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

Gatland has always resisted the flashy halfbacks, with the Kiwi only introducing Finn Russell during the third Lions test after Dan Biggar limped off. Ford is the most similar to Biggar out of the English options and seems like a perfect fit for Gatland while Mitchell brings balance to the team in comparison to the more unpredictable Harry Randall or Raffi Quirke.

FRONT-ROW:

  • 1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
  • 2. Jamie George (Saracens)
  • 3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears)

Experience and power is the order of the day in the front three.

SECOND-ROW:

  • 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens) – Captain
  • 5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Gatland has stated Launchbury is one of the best second-rows he’s ever seen while Itoje would act as the team captain of the new era under the Kiwi.

BACK-ROW:

  • 6. Tom Curry (Sals Sharks)
  • 7. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)
  • 8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)

A powerful ball carrier at number 8 with two breakdown specialists on either flanks. Gatland is not a fan of Billy Vunipola, which means that only leaves Dombrandt to start number 8.

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