Sir Clive Woodward tells Steve Borthwick to drop 96-cap England star - Ruck

Sir Clive Woodward tells Steve Borthwick to drop 96-cap England star

Sir Clive Woodward has urged England boss Steve Borthwick to drop a seasoned international player and opt for an enthusiastic young talent moving forward. 

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The coach, who secured the 2003 World Cup victory, suggests that George Ford be replaced by either of the Smith’s, regardless of the opponent. 

Woodward began: “There is no doubt Ford is a wonderful player.

“He always has been and at only 30, still has a huge amount to offer in the coming years. But the two Smiths — Marcus and Fin — can spark the sort of unpredictable, fast, and aggressive attacking game that England badly need. 

“Ford is undoubtedly the safe option. But England need to let the handbrake off. If it was a risk playing Fin Smith, I could understand the decision. But it clearly isn’t because of his stunning form in the Premiership and Champions Cup this season.

Fin Smith of Northampton Saints kicks for the posts during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Franklins Gardens, Northampton on 12 November 2023. – PHOTO: Patrick Khachfe/PPAUK

“It’s more than obvious to me that he has something special about him. For a young player he can control a game very well. We saw that in Northampton’s European win at Munster.”

The 33-man England Squad Steve Borthwick Should Select For Summer Tour

It’s been a decade since England’s last visit to New Zealand, a challenging 2014 series under Stuart Lancaster resulting in a 3-0 defeat.

The memories of the 2008 tour aren’t any sweeter, with England tasting defeat in both Tests against the All Blacks. However, a glimmer of triumph emerged in 2003, as they secured a thrilling 15-13 victory over New Zealand just before the Rugby World Cup.

In this highly anticipated tour, Borthwick’s squad will face a formidable challenge with only two tests against the All Blacks, following a clash with Japan in Tokyo.

Here is the list of our predicted squad organised by their current clubs:

RUCK’s England squad for the summer:


  • Joe Marler
  • Fin Baxter
  • Chandler Cunningham-South
  • Marcus Smith

Bristol Bears

  • Ellis Genge
  • Harry Randall
  • Gabriel Ibitoye


  • Jamie George
  • Theo Dan
  • Maro Itoje
  • Ben Earl
  • Elliot Daly