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Mark Orlovac

Where do England go now? (107)

Paris – I doubt whether planning for the future of the England team was foremost in the minds of the bleary-eyed fans I saw wandering around the streets of Paris this morning.

After all the partying and heartbreak that accompanied Saturday’s World Cup final against South Africa, simply getting home was as far ahead as these weary souls were prepared to look.

But as journalists gathered for player interviews in the bowels of the Stade de France late on Saturday night, some were already looking to next year’s Six Nations.

Would Brian Ashton, presuming he has his contract extended (more on that later), start with a blank sheet of paper when he starts to think about the clash with Wales on 2 February?

Would the older members of the squad be jettisoned so that youngsters could be blooded ahead of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand?

England centre Matthew Tait

Ashton decided to stick with his more experienced players as he attempted to create a World Cup-winning squad in just a matter of months but with time on his side, he may now feel that he has breathing space to change his mind.

At England’s final press conference on Sunday, Ashton was keeping his cards close to his chest and would only go as far as stressing the importance of having both young and old heads in his World Cup squad.

"The mental strength of the experienced characters and the exuberance of the younger players tends to make a good mix on the field," he said.

But the emergence of the younger players during this World Cup has been a real positive for England fans.

When the final whistle blew at the Stade de France, the likes of Mathew Tait, Dan Hipkiss and Toby Flood were on the field – players that hold the key to England’s future.

And when you add to the mix talents like Tom Rees, Danny Cipriani, James Haskell, Jordan Crane, Shane Geraghty, Ryan Lamb, David Strettle and Anthony Allen, you can see why Ashton is confident about what lies ahead.

But what of Ashton's own future?

That was all but assured earlier in the week when Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron said Ashton, whose current contract runs out on 31 December, is set to be offered a new deal when the squad returns home.

There is nothing to suggest that Ashton will not be offered a new contract but the press conference did turn a little strange when RFU director of elite rugby Rob Andrew was asked about Ashton’s future.

He looked quite uncomfortable as journalists pushed him on the issue and refused to give a definite answer.

Brian Ashton and Rob Andrew

"Now is not the time to go into any great detail about where we go next," he said. "Brian and I have been talking all though the tournament and we’ve got a lot of discussions going on that are private. It has never been appropriate to discuss those things during the course of a tournament."

Ashton seemed unflustered by the attention the subject was getting and insisted that things like contracts should be sorted out when tournaments are over.

"If you were sat doing this job you would know it's hard enough to move from one day to the next never mind jump ahead three or four weeks," he said. "It's a 24 hour job, especially in a World Cup."

Ashton has been fine form in front of the press over the last few weeks and that continued on Sunday despite the massive disappointment of losing to the Springboks.

And it would not be an English press briefing if there was not another mention of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

After messages of support from Number 10 last week, Ashton and Brown finally met when England received their silver medals after the final.

"He said to me how very proud the nation was of what the players had achieved," said Ashton. "And then I asked for a tax rebate…I forgot that he had changed his job."

And that was that. A smiling Ashton disappeared into the team hotel preparing for his journey home and I would guess with an inkling of how he wants to shape this England squad ahead of that Wales game.

We will not have to wait long, there are only 104 days to go.

Mark Orlovac is a BBC Sport journalist based in London. He will be based in Paris for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:27 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Marvin wrote:

Cipriani, Haskell, Turner-Hall, Abendanon, Tait, Allen, Rees, presuming players like Sheridan and Wilkinson and Nick Easter stay fit for another 3 or 4 years, England shouldn't be worrying. We have a class group of youngsters between 18 and 25 coming through, and I think England should start breaking them in gently in the 2008 Six Nations! THE FUTURE IS STILL BRIGHT FOR ENGLISH RUGBY!

  • 2.
  • At 09:32 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Basically what England need to do now, is take pride in how much they achieved from the World Cup, and give Brian Ashton a chance to bring some young talent into the squad

  • 3.
  • At 09:35 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • adam howard wrote:

i hear what your saying Mark, but surely getting rid of all the experienced players would not benefit the team. i agree that the new blood found in the world cup and the talent in the premiership should be bought into the national team, but i fear that if we bring it all in at once it could turn out dissastrously. so i would say that the 6 nations squad should contain a even mixture of experience and youth and then gradually bring in more of the younger players later, so that by 2009 we have a squad where all the players have some experience and all are young enough to make the 2011 world cup. Whoever takes charge of the coming 6 nations should b given a four year contract so they have time to build the squad.

  • 4.
  • At 09:37 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • llyas wrote:

Brian Ashton's conduct has been exemplory, he appears to be a very positive person, and was never backwards in giving a honest if brutal appraisal of Englands worst performances (USA/SA). If only our own coach (Gareth Jenkins) had a simillar candidness (and humour) I think he would still be in a job. If he had a little longer, plus if some players that he originally had picked had made it through I think England may just have scrapped it. Even so it is an amazing turnaround - to take a team beaten by Wales in this years 6N and then to within a whisker of winning the WC, that is a truely remarkable achievement.

  • 5.
  • At 10:03 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • emerald wrote:

adam- hear hear. as an irish fan, i would give anything to be 2nd in the world cup lol.

  • 6.
  • At 10:07 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • George wrote:

England should be proud of what they accomplished during the past 4 weeks after the dismal display against South Africa when they lost 36-0. However if the last world cup has taught the national set up anything, it is to prepare for the next one asap.

I think the six nations has to be used to identify the next England team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Use the upcoming tournement to pick a squad that can grow into world cup contenders then use the next 3 to build the team chemistry. its a tall order but if England are to reach a third successive world cup final it needs to be done.I can't see a player over 30 who should be in the next six nations squad, we must build for the future.

  • 7.
  • At 10:09 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • jeff nelson wrote:

i think that when the game of rugby union is all about scoring tries the benefit of any doubt should be given to the try scorer. the only exciting thing about last nights final was when matthew tait was tearing holes in the south african defence watching penalties isn't

  • 8.
  • At 10:14 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Liam wrote:

Let's not prematurely end international careers just so new players can be blooded. Take Mike Catt - he propably isn't going to be around in 2011, but if he's still able to make the grade in 2008 6N's, then have him in the team - he's got bucketfuls of experience to hand over to the younger players

  • 9.
  • At 10:29 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Joey wrote:

my startin XV for 6nations if all are fit:

15. Lewsey
14. Sackey
13. Tait
12. Hipkiss
11. Strettle
10. Wilkinson
9. Ellis
1. Sheridan
2. Chuter
3. Stevens
4. Shaw
5. Kay
6. Moody
7. Rees
8. Easter

  • 10.
  • At 10:31 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Tinoflyer wrote:

Firstly - what an effort in the world cup! Truly proud of the lads.

Secondly - to the future - whilst all the reports stated that Ashton had just a few weeks to put together a team, he has been in charge for nearly a year including the 6 nations.

In that time we have struggled. In reality we struggled alot in the world cup to score points. We played a brand of rugby that suited us. It got us through, it worked. But if we are truly honest, we struggled in the six nations and we have struggled to find a game plan that turns possesion into points.

I would love to see Ashton continue, but I would like to see a 2 year contract. Enough support to make a differnce, but would allow enough time for someone else to come in if we are still not performing to the level we want.

We also need to understand what Rob Andrew's position is. So far it seems he just sits there and looks over the team like a grim reaper. It needs to be made clear.

What is plain to see though, is that the future is most definitly bright!

  • 11.
  • At 10:32 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Glynne Williams wrote:

Brian Ashton has been awesome in this world cup - he has helped the team to lift itself out of the mire and play with courage, commitment and self-belief. It would be madness to terminate his contract because England didn't win the World Cup this time around - remember the beginning of this tournament when the team were written off?

I also agree with Adam Howard that to get rid of too many experienced players would be a retrograde step. You need a mix of experience and youth and if Ashton is allowed to continue managing the team the way he has, the future looks exceedingly bright for England rugby.

  • 12.
  • At 10:39 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Glynne Williams wrote:

Brian Ashton has been awesome during this World Cup - and helped the team lift itself out of the mire and start to get into some sort of shape and play with self-belief. Respect to him and all the team!

If anybody's head should roll, then it should be the organisers of England rugby who sent them off on a misguided trip to SA when they should have been preparing for the World Cup. Just like the cricket authorities, they squeeze their players till the pips squeak. Francis Baron and Rob Andrew must bear some responsibility at least for the ludicrous schedule.

  • 13.
  • At 11:02 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • jack wrote:

wilkinson varndell allen tait strettle cipriani ... build them up a bit = a great back row

  • 14.
  • At 11:06 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Hang on a minute... Just 3 weeks ago England was a crap team with the worst coach in the world...now Ashton is the best bloody thing that's ever happend? Why don't u lot just give him an MBE as well? It's amazing how the English suddenly start supporting something that they've been knocking before. I've noticed the English r good at jumping on bandwagons. What a fantastic ride for England and its fans but let's be realistic. Do u guys really think that England can possibly maintain consistency over the next 4 years??? Engand need better planning and better coaching staff simple as that. Woodward was all class and anal about planning.
Don't get too excited England cos ur still not that good. When u got depth as deep as....well let's face it u don't have depth.

England need support all the way not just when the team's made a cup final. And that goes for all english sports. English need to be more positive about their teams and actually support them rather than sack a coach after a hand ful of games. Get a grip England!

  • 15.
  • At 11:08 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

maybe move lewsey to inside centre (where he plays for wasps) cos hes still one of our better divensive players with good hands with matt tait outside; strettle and sackey/cueto on the wings and abendanon at full back.

with hipkiss, lamb, allen and cipriani as well... our back line should be more attacking.

  • 16.
  • At 11:22 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I have to agree with Adam Howard. We lost too many of the experienced players after the 2003 World Cup and we've been in terrible form ever since. Sometimes you need to build on a solid foundation and carry that winning knack through the generations.

Ideally we will see some players retire and be replaced by young blood, probably those who have already been skirting around the England team. Other players need to be brought gradually into the squad, brought off the bench and then into the first team.

It will take time for us to find who are the natural leaders in this group of youngsters and until they become experienced enough we need some of the older heads there to steady things down.

By the time we get to the 2010 six nations I would expect an entirely different look the side so that the team has had two or more years together to gel.

  • 17.
  • At 11:35 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • nffc_1978 wrote:

I think the progression needs to be a gradual one. Some players may take the decision out of the coach's hands - Robinson already has, the likes of Catt and Dallaglio may well follow. But hopefully some of the older players will stick around a couple of years to help the side develop.

And there's no reason to write off the 30, 31, 32 year olds, looking at some of the current crop there's no reason why they can't still be contenders for 2011.

  • 18.
  • At 11:35 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • Mikey B wrote:

I like Joey's team... not sure how well Hipkiss plays inside, so the centres need to be looked at. Agree on the back row too, except I'd maybe look at Ward-Smith to be No 8.

In essence England MUST NOT go wholesale changes. They must play the side (retirements aside) that has done so well in this world cup. The young players coming through need a stable squad with experinced guys to learn from, to come into.

England do need to start preparing for 2011 straight away, this is true. But use the saxons to see you guys play 80 mins, and to mix cimbinations. Then bring that talent that performs into the squad, on the bench, let them play 20 mins off the bench, and when they start performing well from there, or when the 1st choice guy is injured, let them have their chance. We need to bring this talent through into a settled enviroment into a team playing well to get the best out of them, to let them express themselves and to give them some confidence.

Players to look at for me include: Hipkiss, Flood, Palmer, Forrester, Ward-Smith, Rees, Cipriani, Allen, Haskell, Strettle, Simpson-Daniel, Abendanon (but for me he's looked poor so far, he needs to bulk up), Alex Brown, Morgan - to name but a few.

All deserve a proper look and a decent run in the squad or at least a part for the Saxons. Would also like to see Steve Borthwick being more heavily involved.

  • 19.
  • At 11:45 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

To mix it up a little between new and old, retaining the irreplacable old players my Six Nations 2008 team:

1. Sheridan, 31 (age at 2011)
2. Chuter, 35
3. Vickery (c), 35
4. Shaw, 39
5. Palmer, 32
6. Haskell, 26
7. Rees, 27
8. Easter, 33
9. Ellis, 29
10. Wilkinson, 32
11. Strettle, 28
12. Catt, 40
13. Tait, 25
14. Sackey, 31
15. Cueto, 31
16. Mears, 32
17. Stevens, 29
18. Borthwick, 32
19. Moody, 33
20. Richards, 33
21. Flood, 26
22. Hipkiss, 29

Other squad members
Andy Titterall, 30
Tim Payne, 32
Alex Brown, 32
Chris Jones, 31
Geraghty, 25
Cipriani
Anthony Allen
Josh Lewsey, 34
Olly Morgan, 25

Importance on experience at next world cup emphasised. We have done well at the last 2 world cups with most key players post 30.

  • 20.
  • At 11:57 PM on 21 Oct 2007,
  • bobby wrote:

i think that it is time 2 bring in the youngstters get rid of the older players like gommersal, vickory and catt and bring in youngsters and start rebuilding a squad with those youngsters

  • 21.
  • At 12:02 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • JB wrote:

Brian Ashton has resurrected this England side. I shudder to imagine the performance England would have given this world cup should Andy Robinson still be the head coach. Give Ashton a chance with the new bunch of players - he's more than deserved it.

  • 22.
  • At 12:09 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • tim c wrote:

HOME ,for a rest ,after that no complacency a steady build up to replacing the retirees.The world cup should not be the b all and end all of the game.BALANCE and PLANNING required.
GOODBYE Jason and thank youl.All of the undecided thank you ,all the stayers ta, see you next year.Injuries permitting things look ok. Moulding a team to win short term and longer, beyond my scope.

  • 23.
  • At 12:15 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Adam Ventress wrote:

It's been a heroic performance from the England team since the 36-0 defeat. We are proud of their courage and determination.
Just a few points about last night:
1.To be honest I was surprised at how conservative SA's game plan was last night, considering their firepower and how heavily they've scored this tournament. I thought we actually played the more adventurous rugby.
2.The try should've been awarded, and if it had been converted, it would have been 10-9 and who knows what might have happened.
3. Our defense was immense again, and we shut Habana out of the game and constantly harassed Montgomery.

Having said all that, the right team won, even with the try, they probably would still have edged us out, and they were easily the best team over the course of the tournament. Fair play to them, in many ways they are a similar team to us, they are the kind of team we aspire to be, a complete version of what we are in part: mighty forwards, strong defense, dominant set piece, and blistering backs to counter attack. We have bits of all those things, with a few gaps, they are a complete team.

To get there in 4 years, the work starts now. I agrre with the starting 15 posted by 'Joey' above.
We need to be more incisive and have to look mostly to youth in the backs, and experience in the pack. Most of that 15 could be there in 2011.
Much as I would have loved to see Billy Whizz sign off with another trademark burst for a try, it was a symbolic changing of the guard when little man Tate stormed through the SA defense so brilliantly and Jason limped off a few minutes later. Hopefully it will be the platform for a brilliant career, he seems a good lad with a great attitude and players like him are the team's future.
Sackey came of age too, and add Strettle to the mix and it looks pretty good. We need build our attacking play around that kind of talent, as well as the mighty pack of forwards.
Finally, what about Jonny? Is he forever past his best at 28? or is there, fitness allowing, another World Cup in him?

Hipkiss lacks the pace or the all-round game to be a genuine long-term international centre. Sackey is not a truly class international winger either.

I think moving Lewsey to centre could be a good move. he'll be 34 come the next world cup (almost 35) so if we develop his kicking game, he could be the perfect replacement to Mike Catt.

  • 25.
  • At 12:45 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

check out this peice in the Guardian about the young guard https://sport.guardian.co.uk/rugbyworldcup2007/story/0,,2196076,00.html

  • 26.
  • At 12:51 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ben Morgan wrote:

I'm going to have disagree with the original poster and most of the following comments here. England DO NOT have any class coming through the ranks at all. The names mentioned above are not currently International Class and personally I don't think many of them ever will be.

The biggest problem for English rugby is the clubs have too much power and simply do not care about developing English talent. They would much rather employ over the hill journeymen from other countries to help them win the Premiership and/or the Heineken Cup. Obviously this situation is only changing marginally after this world cup because some World Class players still at the height of their game are coming to England. Still that does not help England's young talent who will get even fewer games and will probably never develop.

  • 27.
  • At 12:53 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Olly wrote:

Post 14 - unless you are South African you are well out of order. Get off your high horse - we don't have deh?? What are most of the other posts on here talking about?? How did Flood/Tait/Hipkiss etc etc do when they came on as replacements? How many players didn't make it through injury?? Actually - how did we get to the final??!! Oh yes - it was because we have no depth and we are crap, thats right.........
Yeah we may need better planning - but who doesn't unless they have just won the world cup? We all have our weaknesses but whoever you are, you just sound like a case of sour grapes.

  • 28.
  • At 01:21 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Jones wrote:

England must not make the same mistakes they made in 2003, they rested on their laurels and others to catch up. That victory was a 7 year plan and the same must be done again.
The wheels are on motion with the blooding of the likes of Hipkiss, Flood and Tait in France but more clearing out of the old guard must be done.
The likes of Vickery, Shaw, Corry, Dallaglio, Gomarsall, Catt and Lewsey have been awesome for England but they will not be awesome in 2011.
England must select a development squad looking to 2011 and the England coach must know at least 25 of his squad by the end of 2010 with room for late insertions.
If England get their preparation right they can be a major force by 2011. They have a spine of players remaining from France who can be the basis of the team in the likes of Sheridan, Stevens, Easter, Wilknson and Tait they must unearth young talent to play alongside them.

Suggested names for a development squad
Backs: Ellis, Higglesworth, Geraghty, Lamb, Wilkinson, Hodgson, Tait, Flood, Barkley, Hipkiss, O.Smith, Varndell, Cipriani, Sackey, Allen, Strettle, Simpson-Daniel, Abendanon
Forwards - Sheridan, Stevens, Mercey,Forster, Titterell, M.Thompson, Brooker,Palmer, C.Jones, Blaze, Ward-Smith, Moody, Easter, Haskell, Crane

  • 29.
  • At 01:35 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mohamed Siddiq wrote:

England can be proud of the Rugby World cup achievement compared to football world cup yeah?

1967 till now no World cup victory or final appearance for the footballers. But at least in Rugby, they have shown the English mettle. True grit spirit, despite uncertainty and poor publicity, well done English lads!

  • 30.
  • At 01:47 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

I feel the XV above from Joey has a few problems; Hipkiss at Inside Centre I'm not too sure about, and I see no reason to take out Phil Vickery at this point. My XV would be;

15. Lewsey
14. Sackey
13. Tait
12. Barkley/Flood
11. Strettle
10. Wilkinson
9. Ellis
1. Sheridan
2. Chuter
3. Vickery
4. Shaw
5. Kay
6. Rees
7. Moody
8. Easter

Hipkiss, Catt, Stevens, Mears, Cueto and perhaps younger players like Abendanon, Cipriani or Haskell would be on the bench. I think that blends youth and experience, and I'd be pretty confident in that team.

  • 31.
  • At 01:53 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Darren Mackenzie wrote:

My England XV (if fit) for 6 Nations:

15. Lewsey
14. Sackey
13. Tait
12. Hipkiss
11. Cueto
10. Wilkinson (captain)
9. Ellis
1. Sheridan
2. Chuter
3. Stevens
4. Kay
5. Shaw
6. Worsley
7. Moody
8. Easter

  • 32.
  • At 03:11 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Emyr Watkin wrote:

First of all, we must congratulate the Boks. Over the past seven weeks they have been the stand out team. Okay, there were decisions made by the Match Officials that we all disagree with. Cueto's try would have stood had it not been for the fourth official. These things happen, sometimes they go for you, then on another day, they go against you. It's all part and parcel of not just Rugby Union but sport in general. Secondly, what of England. 'Superb' is one word that comes to mind. Who would have thought that the turn around achieved by England from a whopping by the Boks, to running them close in the final. My impression was that it was the sheer physicality of the Boks that undid England in the end. France are a physical team, but not in the same league as the Boks. The future is bright for English Rugby, and as a Welshman, I'm off down the Bookies first thing Monday Morning to put a bet on England winning the World Cup in 2011. My only concern is all these Antipodean imports that will flood into the clubs in the next two months, which could have a bearing on the development of English talent. Someone needs to have a look at this. I like what I see with the youngsters coming through. Allen, Geraghty, Lamb, Strettle, to name a few, as the list is long. England need to build some back-up in the second row and No. 8; and develop a Shalck Berger type No. 6, without the blonde locks. He stands out a mile. Good luck England, you did the Northern Hemisphere proud at this World Cup. Roll on 2011.

  • 33.
  • At 04:10 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Always play the best team around at the time. I have had enough of experimental teams and systems its cost us three years in the also ran wilderness

  • 34.
  • At 04:53 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

If South Africa does introduce this quota system, expect a fair few white South Africans to rediscover their English heritage. This could benefit England even more.

  • 35.
  • At 07:35 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

Well done the old men. A brilliant recovery. Now, a phased programme of retirement and replacement is needed. How about:
Now - Robinson,
2008 - Catt, Regan,
2009 - Shaw
2010 - Vickery
2011 - Ashton (to House of Lords)
2015 - Dallaglio

  • 36.
  • At 07:45 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jhapinz wrote:

Where to for England? Why worry? They did nothing for 4 years, were dismal at best in pool play and made the final. Clearly they just need to do nothing then use that English mettle when it comes to knock out play. Why would you want to change a successful plan like that?
Well done for making something out of nothing, because Im sure the same posters here were wanting heads all over the place only 3 weeks ago. Odd isnt it? How you all dessert your own team by belitling them and then after they do all the hard work, jump back on the bandwagon. How loyal of you all.
At least our support for the ABs never waivered- win or lose.

  • 37.
  • At 08:30 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Alfie wrote:

Agree introduce new players gradually.Easy to throw out the old but not always so easy to replace them. Some will retire soon enough , some will taper off in form and others will still be good value for several years, let us not be too hasty to say which will be which immediately.
After all , who would have said 4 years ago that Robinson and Catt would have been major performers at this RWC ?
I think Ashton , who seems an admirably pragmatic type, will probably get it about right.

  • 38.
  • At 08:31 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Dominic wrote:

Before we all get dizzy gazing into our crystal balls, here's a little flash-back to November 2003:
https://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/rugby_world_cup/3231122.stm

Garvey, Abbott, Martyn Wood, Jamie Forrester and even Ben Cohen - WATN?

  • 39.
  • At 08:33 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

How about this for Six Nations starting line-up

15 Mathew Tait Newcastle, age 21

14 David Strettle Harlequins, 24

13 Dan Hipkiss Leicester, 25

12 Toby Flood Newcastle, 22

11 Tom Varndell Leicester, 22

10 Jonny Wilkinson Newcastle, 28

9 Harry Ellis Leicester, 25

1 Andrew Sheridan Sale, 28

2 Dylan Hartley Northampton, 21

3 Matt Stevens Bath, 25

4 Simon Shaw Wasps, 34

5 Tom Palmer Wasps, 28

6 James Haskell Wasps, 22

7 Tom Rees Wasps, 23

8 Nick Easter Harlequins, 29

  • 40.
  • At 08:38 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mick Grover wrote:

Now is not only the time top rebuild ahead of 2011, its also the time to sort out the issues between the clubs and the RFU and in doing so make sure the International 7's Tournament is included. I get so fed up seeing a 6 nations or Premier Division game clash with a major 7's Tournament and players like Sackey, Tait, Strettle have to leave the tournament to go back home leaving a seriously weakened England 7's side and denying these talented players good international experience. Look at how many of the established and upcoming players gained immessurably from that experience. For goodness sake lets get it sorted once and for all so we can compete at this level all the time.

  • 41.
  • At 08:39 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mick Grover wrote:

Now is not only the time top rebuild ahead of 2011, its also the time to sort out the issues between the clubs and the RFU and in doing so make sure the International 7's Tournament is included. I get so fed up seeing a 6 nations or Premier Division game clash with a major 7's Tournament and players like Sackey, Tait, Strettle have to leave the tournament to go back home leaving a seriously weakened England 7's side and denying these talented players good international experience. Look at how many of the established and upcoming players gained immessurably from that experience. For goodness sake lets get it sorted once and for all so we can compete at this level all the time.

  • 42.
  • At 09:03 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Neil S. wrote:

Well done the lads - all of them!

I think we have just shown that you don't need long term planning. Who knows what will be in four years' time? Set some high level boundary conditions for the Manager regarding developing younger players and then get on with reinstating 'Fortress Twickenham' - as a start.

Putting on the 'Engand' shirt should inspire at all times not just the RWC. Stop the meaningless commercial games.

  • 43.
  • At 09:10 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

How about this for Six Nations starting line-up

15 Mathew Tait Newcastle, age 21
14 David Strettle Harlequins, 24
13 Dan Hipkiss Leicester, 25
12 Toby Flood Newcastle, 22
11 Tom Varndell Leicester, 22
10 Jonny Wilkinson Newcastle, 28
9 Harry Ellis Leicester, 25
1 Andrew Sheridan Sale, 28
2 Dylan Hartley Northampton, 21
3 Matt Stevens Bath, 25
4 Simon Shaw Wasps, 34
5 Tom Palmer Wasps, 28
6 James Haskell Wasps, 22
7 Tom Rees Wasps, 23
8 Nick Easter Harlequins, 29

How can so many people say with certainty that the try should have stood? Even Cueto himself was adamant in the press that it was a try, so presumably he has eyes in his arse. I thought that it was a correct decision, but obviously incredibly close, and could have easily gone the other way. Good thing we English can take it on the chin, eh? Not like those whingeing Kiwis with the small matter of the forward pass that won the game for France.

One thing does occur to me though is that if you had been a neutral observer it was a bloody awful match. Tait's break was the only time either side broke the line, and that came after he made brilliant use of a misdirected pass

  • 45.
  • At 09:30 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mutt wrote:

#19

Do you know how old Mike Catt or Simon Shaw actually are?

Didn't think so....

  • 46.
  • At 09:59 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • paddy wrote:

The winning formula is simply to pick the best team to play. Forget about age or rebuilding. Just pick the players who merit playing for England. Others then will force their way into the starting line up later.

  • 47.
  • At 10:00 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • paddy wrote:

The winning formula is simply to pick the best team to play. Forget about age or rebuilding. Just pick the players who merit playing for England. Others then will force their way into the starting line up later.

  • 48.
  • At 10:03 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Everyone seems to be struggling to find a couple of second rows.

Agree Palmer is a likely candidate, but where is the other one as there is no way that Shaw will make the next world cup, so we need to be looking at others.

Maybe Blaze from Leicester, or Jones from Sale (if he puts 2 stones of muscule on).

Front row is an area we need to find more depth in as well.

  • 49.
  • At 10:05 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Holness wrote:

bob a good team especially after the way tait played at 15 on sat.
would have to say i think moody needs to be there for haskel (bench him maybe) and on the bench
16 chuter
17 vickery? (struggle to think of anyone better :S)
18 Martin corry
19 jordan crane
20 peter richards (ultimate utility)
21 flood/barkley/gerahty
22 abenendon

  • 50.
  • At 10:17 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

(In Capitals are RWC Squad members)

15 ABENDANON
14 SACKEY
13 TAIT
12 FLOOD
11 David Strettle
10 WILKINSON (Capt)
9 Harry Ellis
8 James Haskell
7 REES
6 Magnus Lund
5 Tom Palmer
4 BORTHWICK
3 STEVENS
2 MEARS
1 SHERIDAN

We have plenty of depth across the board

At Full Back, there's also Olly Morgan, Mick Brown, or Cipriani -
on the wing, Ojo, Varndell and CUETO still whilst in the centres we can add HIPKISS and Anthony Allen with BARCLAY, Geraghty and Ryan Lamb and the scrum halfs in Wrigglesworth, Ben Foden and Danny Care

the scrum is a little lighter but we have 7s in Seymour, Skinner and Woods
a No8 in Crane and Dowson, and a big blindside in Tom Crofts.

Nick Kennedy at lock should be worth a look

Propers in Jack Foster, Tom Mercey and Nick Wood and hookers in Hartley, David Paice, Chris Brooker and Matt Thompson

We should immediately look to 2011 ... we have started the process in blooding some youngsters and our vets in Vickery, Regan, Shaw, Corry, Gommersal and Catt, can retire with pride and dignity.

All of the above have played for either the full team or the Saxons who beat the NZ Maori and we should look to build immediately and not waste time

  • 51.
  • At 10:24 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Giles wrote:

15 Tait (should be groomed as next full back with cipriani) - more space
14 Sackey
13 Hipkiss
12 Flood
11 Strettle
10 Wilko
9 Ellis

1 Sheridan
2 Hartley
3 Stevens
4 Shaw
5 Croft
6 Haskell
7 Rees
8 Ward-Smith

Bench

16 Vickery
17 Chuter
18 Moody
19 Easter
20 Richards
21 Simpson-Daniel
22 Cipriani

  • 52.
  • At 10:24 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

I think it's important to remember that it's easier to bring in new players into a winning team... Don't dump people out just for the sake of new blood and then get thrashed!

Build on these foundation by slowing bringing new players in - in 2003 lewsey only broke into the team that year!

  • 53.
  • At 10:25 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Fogsta wrote:

Are we now completely discounting Farrell? He was in the team to play Australia, but for ANOTHER injury he would have started.

  • 54.
  • At 10:34 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Kiwijonathan wrote:

It's a little bit early to be choosing the 2011 squad - hopefully there are some 16/17 year olds watching over the last few weeks who will want to be and make it their goal in the team. They will be among the stars in 2011.
My impression of the English game for the final was what a shame they didn't pass the ball earlier. When they did they looked world beaters. In a way it was as bad as watching the All Blacks, plan A wasn't working so move to plan A. If only the RFU had biten the bullet 6 months earlier re Robinson and given Ashton time to develop his squad as he would have wanted it.
And one last thing - these players who are now heros could also have been zeros - Mortlock had a reasonable chance of a sinking penalty in the quarter final with 2 minutes to go which he missed - Johny wouldn't have - so bear that in mind as you start the planning!

  • 55.
  • At 10:38 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Kiwijonathan wrote:

It's a little bit early to be choosing the 2011 squad - hopefully there are some 16/17 year olds watching over the last few weeks who will want to be and make it their goal in the team. They will be among the stars in 2011.

My impression of the English game for the final was what a shame they didn't pass the ball earlier. When they did they looked world beaters. In a way it was as bad as watching the All Blacks, plan A wasn't working so move to plan A. If only the RFU had bitten the bullet 6 months earlier re Robinson and given Ashton time to develop his squad as he would have wanted it.

And one last thing - these players who are now heroes could also have been zeros - Mortlock had a reasonable chance of a sinking penalty in the quarter final with 2 minutes to go which he missed - Johnny wouldn't have - so bear that in mind as you start the planning!

  • 56.
  • At 10:47 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Hodgetts wrote:

Hi all - Rob H from the Beeb here.

Loving all these alternative sides you're coming up with - if there's anyone else out there with an opininon, get it down and we'll collate all your responses into a composite England XV for the first Six Nations match.

(ie NOT the next World Cup - too far away - but who will line up against Wales on 2 February 2008, injuries and form permitting)

Here's my suggestion: (It's only four months time so I'm not into sweeping changes. Remember what happened after 2003. Would like to see them revert to a bit of rugby, though. Too much kicking in France.)

15. Lewsey (no brainer)
14. Sackey (played himself into position)
13. Tait (came of age in Paris)
12. Hipkiss (looks good, always pumping his legs)
11. Strettle (showed glimpses last year of real quality, though I'm also a Simpson-Daniel fan)
10. Wilko (er...)
9. Gomarsall (Ellis was on fire before his injury but Gomarsall, who I saw on the beach once in speedos - him, not me - has made it his own for now.)
1. Sheridan (er...)
2. Chuter (can make it his own when Regan quits)
3. Vickery (El Capitan)
4. Shaw (a good World Cup, except maybe the final)
5. Kay (ditto)
6. Moody (love his energy but need smarter openside)
7. Rees (looks likely to be 'the one')
8. Corry (May not be spectacular, but does an underrated job. Many will say Ward-Smith but despite hearing plenty, I've not seen enough with my own eyes yet to say for sure)

  • 57.
  • At 10:48 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Kiwijonathan wrote:

It's a little bit early to be choosing the 2011 squad - hopefully there are some 16/17 year olds watching over the last few weeks who will want to be and make it their goal in the team. They will be among the stars in 2011.

My impression of the English game for the final was what a shame they didn't pass the ball earlier. When they did they looked world beaters. In a way it was as bad as watching the All Blacks, plan A wasn't working so move to plan A. If only the RFU had bitten the bullet 6 months earlier re Robinson and given Ashton time to develop his squad as he would have wanted it.

And one last thing - these players who are now heroes could also have been zeros - Mortlock had a reasonable chance of a sinking penalty in the quarter final with 2 minutes to go which he missed - Johnny wouldn't have - so bear that in mind as you start the planning!

  • 58.
  • At 10:57 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Harper wrote:

My Team

1. Sheridan
2. Hartley
3. Stevens
4. Palmer
5. Jones
6. Moody
7. Rees
8. Easter
9. Ellis
10. Wilkinson
11. Strettle
12. Hipkiss
13. Tait
14. Sackey
15. Abendanon

16. Paice
17. Wilson
18. Brown
19. Haskell
20. Foden
21. Hodgson
22. Abbott

  • 59.
  • At 11:05 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

All that Twickenham has to do is give Brian Ashton a 4 year contract. If they don't want to do this then give it to Jake White, then let them get on with it. In all fairness it should be BA.

  • 60.
  • At 11:06 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • richard wrote:

what england need to do is get more kids playing and less sitting on there back side playing play station eating unhealty food
englands population is nearly 60 million parents should get there kids playing more sport full stop this will bring on the next generation of players

and less overseas players will be a great help as well a cap of 3 per squad would be good for a start

short term bring on the 6 nations england have a good chance of winning

  • 61.
  • At 11:26 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • dex wrote:

Why are people from other countries so opinionated towards our (English) rugby re. posts 36. Mind your own rugby. I couldn't give a stuff about NZ rugby and how it's fairing, let alone have a derogatory opinion about it. I've got more important things in my life. I find it baffling to hear some antipodean ancestors getting so upset about the fact we made the final. Just remember this is a British website, a blog about where England go now, keep your negative pessimism to yourself.

"Odd isnt it? How you all dessert your own team by belitling them and then after they do all the hard work, jump back on the bandwagon. How loyal of you all."

I for one didn't desert my team, generalization is for the most ignorant. It's like saying all NZers are idiots when it comes to rugby. You are pal but I've no doubt the majority of your country folk are not.

On a brighter note..... well done England. Really proud of the characteristics shown. A try call could have made all the difference, but hey that's sport. Well done SA, even with the try given, I'm not sure we'd have gone on to win. Worthy champions. As for the future a blend of youth and experience is always the way forward. Hope Ashton can carry on and make England a complete side as SA are now. Real hope for our rugby future.

  • 62.
  • At 11:37 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Holness wrote:

bob a good team especially after the way tait played at 15 on sat.
would have to say i think moody needs to be there for haskel (bench him maybe) and on the bench
16 chuter
17 vickery? (struggle to think of anyone better :S)
18 Martin corry
19 jordan crane
20 peter richards (ultimate utility)
21 flood/barkley/gerahty
22 abenendon

  • 63.
  • At 11:41 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Keith wrote:

Well done to the English Team for the last few weeks and lifting the gloom after the pool match drubbing by South Africa. The Kiwi media and Rugby Public down here in NZ had a field day. The arrogant Poms had been put to the sword by all conquering Southern Hemisphere Rugby.
I've never cheered for France before, but it was great to see the Arrogant All Blacks sent packing.
Jhapinz seems to be a little blinkered,(comment 36) Apart from complaining about the Pommie Ref,wanting the manager sacked, Richie Macaw sacked, the rest of the team hung drawn and quarterd, the Kiwi public have been right behind there team. They have gone strangely quiet about the $60,000,000 spent in the last Four years to get knocked out in the quater Finals by a below par French team.
With the young players coming through in the English ranks we stand a great chance in NZ in 2011.
Anybody need a bed ?!

  • 64.
  • At 11:46 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Barry Gibbs wrote:

Please, please, please , all you at RFU - don't make the mistake as 4 years ago and waste the achievements of this World Cup.There will be a fall-out of experienced players, but don't shed them just because of their age.Simon Shaw, for instance, probably won't be around for the next World Cup, but it was would be plain daft to omit him on those grounds for England's forthcoming matches.Introduce new players gradually into the nucleus of what will now be a confident team and keep Brian Ashton on - he will have gained confidence by this World Cup.Success in rugby at this level is as much mental as physical and England now should be the most confident side in the Northern hemisphere - let's keep it that way.

  • 65.
  • At 11:46 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Steve H wrote:

Firstly just want to say goodbye and well done to Robinson, what a class act!

The team does need to be mixed up, but not to much. We should bring in the youngsters as it does take time to blend into the international side.
I must admit I am a huge admirer of Andy Farrell, although he will probably not make the next world cup he is a class act and should be given another chance in the Six Nations.

When you look at all the teams people recommend they all keep a certain amount of the same players e.g. Nick Easter, who I am in total agreement over.

  • 66.
  • At 12:00 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Big Mel wrote:

Post 9 (Joey) like your team. You have got rid of some of the older players but kept some in to keep the momentum from the RWC. I also agree with post 3 that another perge should be considered in 2009 although only of players who will deffinately not be in the next RWC - could only be Shaw!

  • 67.
  • At 12:11 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • rob wrote:

Congratulations to Bob, who is the only one to have named Hartley as the hooker in his future XV. What a talent Hartley has. He is a dead cert to be in the England set up for a long time as long as he can covercome his discipline problems. His build reminds me of Steve Thompson. However, I am a bit worried about him being at Northampton if they do not get promoted next season.

My other comment is about locks where we have a paucity of good young ones. Of the current experienced crop, the only one young enough to be at the next WC is Borthwick. Where are the other good ones coming through? Remember that Martin Johnson (possible England's greatest ever player) was in the England team at the age of 21. I had the good fortune to see his first match - against Canada at Wembley (of all places).

  • 68.
  • At 12:13 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Steve H wrote:

Firstly just want to say goodbye and well done to Robinson, what a class act!

The team does need to be mixed up, but not to much. We should bring in the youngsters as it does take time to blend into the international side.
I must admit I am a huge admirer of Andy Farrell, although he will probably not make the next world cup he is a class act and should be given another chance in the Six Nations.

When you look at all the teams people recommend they all keep a certain amount of the same players e.g. Nick Easter, who I am in total agreement over.

  • 69.
  • At 12:18 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • KiwiMole wrote:

From an outsiders perspective, the English team have great prospects for 2011. Your only issue appears to be in the locking department, but I'm sure there are 24/25 year olds around the premiership that will be eyeing these spots. I'm also sure the establishment will have picked their targets and will get the due attention.
You've got plenty of options in the backline and back row (as pointed out by a lot of people) but if anything can be taken from this world cup, it's that the average age of your tight five needs to be closer to 30 than 20 and England will need to address this if Vickery, Regan, Chuter, Shaw, Kay and Corry are all gone by 2011 as expected. Sheridan and Stevens are a great base to build on.

  • 70.
  • At 12:25 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Nigrugthug wrote:

Hartley at hooker. Immense player.

Shaw to stay. Great player.

Vainikolo and perhaps Ellis but Gommarsall deserves to stay.

Gillies hopefully will get a chance now. Maybe if he had played instead of Kay, England would have won the WC!

Haskell, Croft, Rees are definitely the players of the future.

  • 71.
  • At 12:27 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • SteveB wrote:

#53:

Yes I think we can totally discount Andy Farrell. We've got a wealth of talent at centre now and I can't remember a decent performance by him in this tournament. Do correct me if I'm wrong but he was given his chance, as were several others. Mike Catt took that chance and raised his game (again) so this shows how far down the natural order Farrell is; we can only expect Tait, Hipkiss and Flood to get better (and bigger) with experience, so there's no room to give Farrell another opportunity to disappoint.

  • 72.
  • At 12:35 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • teddy b wrote:

The problem positions post world cup are hooker, second row and reserve scrum half- there are lots of guys about retirment age and currently no young prretenders. What is fantastic is the talent emerging in the 10, 12, 13

I see the team for the 6 nations as

15 - Lewsey
14 - Sackey
13 - Tait
12 - Hipkiss
11 - Strettle
10 - Wilkinson
9 - Ellis

1 - Sheridan
2 - Chuter
3 - Stevens
4 - Palmer
5 - Kay
6 - Haskell
7 - Rees
8 - Easter

16 - Mears
17 - Vickery
18 - Shaw
19 - Corry
20 - Richards
21 - Allen
22 - Cipriani

  • 73.
  • At 01:06 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mike G wrote:

England should write off winning the next 6 nations get some new plaerys in as well as keeping some of the cracking players from this tournament. Keep;
Sheridan, Stevens, Kay, Shaw, Easter, Moody, Rees, Gomarsall, Tait, Sackey, Lewsey.
Bring in;
Magnus Lund, Toby Flood, Tom Varndel, Dan Hipkiss, Mark Cueto, Harry Ellis.

The only weak spot in my opinion is that England are lacking a truly good Hooker at the moment. maybe Andy Titterrel or Lee Mears.

Finally (and i know i'll get slated for this), but i think Charile Hodgson should be on there as i think that he's actually a better player than Wilkinson.

  • 74.
  • At 01:07 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Should be working wrote:

My 6 nations team:

15. Abendanon (not sure Lewsey is a no brainer Rob H, esp @ FB)
14. Sackey
13. Hipkiss
12. Tait (I think inside might suit him, can kick and attack)
11. Cueto
10. Wilko
9. Gomarsall
1. Sheriden
2. Chuter
3. Stevens
4. Borthwick (line out needs improving)
5. Kay
6. Moody
7. Rees
8. Easter (Ward-Smith tried soon)

16. Strettle
17. Flood
18. Ellis
19. Mears (too soon for Hartley)
20. Barnard (has to be a tighthead)
21. Palmer
22. Haskell

  • 75.
  • At 01:11 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

I've been poorly for a while now. Started feeling funny when England put umpteen points on us (Wales)a few weeks back. Got worse when we lost again to Fiji and even worser when England beat Australia. Funny that.
Crisis came boys when England beat France - then I started having really bad dreams, you know like England beating us at Cardiff three zillion to nil (in extra time)and them being offered the freedom of the city and taking the turf back to Twickers in green plastic bags. ButI had improved enormously by last Saturday night. Funny that, must have been something I ate. By the way boyos what happened in the final. I'm dying to know who won.

  • 76.
  • At 01:13 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • baz wrote:

15. Matthew Tait
14. Josh Lewsey
13. Dan Hipkiss
12. Toby Flood
11. Paul Sackey
10. Jonny Wilkinson
9. Harry Ellis

8. Nick Easter
7. Tom Rees
6. Lewis Moody
5. Steve Borthwick
4. Tom Palmer
3. Matt Stevens
2. Dylan Hartley
1. Andrew Sheridan

16. Titterall
17. Mears
18. Jones
19. Haskell/Ward-Smith
20. Ricards
21. Cipriani
22. Allen

  • 77.
  • At 01:16 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Can't see why anyone would want to keep Vickery in the team (unless you are desperate not to make any changes).
In France, and for the last couple of years, he could generally be relied upon to give away stupid penalties and stand around watching the ball go by.
He may be a good captain but he should be a good player as well to get into the team.

On another note, Gomarsall proved himself this year. I saw him play for Gloucester 2 years ago and he looked like he couldn't be bothered with the game. Now he's a new man and definitely should be included in any future team.

  • 78.
  • At 02:02 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • hall_mackem wrote:

As an earlier post said, we could get an influx of Boks wanting to play for us after they are forced out of the South Africa team because of the qouta system, imagine if we got say Juan Smith and Fourie Du Preez.

  • 79.
  • At 02:06 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Let's not fall into the trap of thinking the World Cup is the be-all and end-all. The 6 Nations matters. Lions tours matter (and the contribution England can make to them). All test matches matter. If England finish 4th in the 6N again there will be few thoughts about the next WC, just the usual griping about failure.

This WC-centric feeling (for now) risks treating the vast majority of international rugby as second class. It's all important, and the team should EVOLVE to meet all the challenges. Neither short-termism nor looking 4 years hence is the way ahead.

  • 80.
  • At 02:08 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Tom (Hie Komme Bokkie!) wrote:

Yes Olly i am South African. Thanks for a no-contest in the final by the way. I wouldnt call Hipkiss, Tait quality so no i don't think England has enough depth. just by reading ur comment, u come across as a staunch English supporter, thanks to England's heroics in the Cup. I bet u wern't so cocky 4 weeks ago.

  • 81.
  • At 02:16 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • M Mills` wrote:

I must agree with comments made earlier about the support for England. Although I, along with everyone else in the country, was shocked by England's defeat at the hands of SA in the early stage of the competition, I still believed that they would make it to the final. So much so, that I put my money where my mouth is.

Constantly criticizing the team and making jokes at them one day, then supporting them as soon as they start to play well is very sad indeed.

When you support a team it has to be through the good and the bad times.

Luckily England silenced all the critics. they did themselves and the country proud.

  • 82.
  • At 02:32 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jono Bailey wrote:

my starting XV for 6 nations
1 sheriden
2 Chuter
3 Vickery
4 Shaw
5 Kay
6 Haskell
7 Moody
8 Easter
9 Ellis
10 Wilkinson
11 Strettle
12 Flood
13 Tait
14 Sackey
15 Lewsey

Bench:
Stevens
Mears
Corry
Rees
Gomersall
Barkley
Hipkiss

sheridan/flatman
chuter/hartley/paice
vickery/stevens
borthwick/brown
deacon/palmer
haskell/jones/sanderson/moody
rees/lund
easter/forrester
ellis/wiggelsworth
wilkinson/cipriani
cueto/varndell
flood/barkley
tait/hipkiss
sackey/simpson daniel/strettle
abendanon/morgan/brown
this is my first/seconds team
the futures bright-the futures all white!!!!

  • 84.
  • At 02:41 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • stevie c wrote:

What kind of idiot would leave Wilkinson out of the team, we are a different propostion to play against when he plays. Also to say Hodgson is a better play is absolutely laughable!

  • 85.
  • At 02:56 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Leon Mortimer wrote:

Where do England go from here? We start preparing to win the 6 Nations tournament, hopefully with the Grand Slam thrown in along the way.

The RWC was awesome but let's not make the same mistake as the ABs and focus too much on the next world cup. Once February comes around, we'll all be excited about facing France, Ireland et al once more. There's a hell of a lot of rugby to play and to win the 6 Nations is still very important.

It's a good opportunity to start blooding the youngsters but if we had 4 nightmare years finishing last in the 6 Nations and having disastrous tours and autumn tests then we won't be in any shape at all for 2011.

Also, I echo Sean Fitzpatrick's sentiments as I don't want to see the jersey devalued with a rotaton/trial policy.

  • 86.
  • At 03:11 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Biko wrote:

Found out at last, as many have suspected, an average team in an average competition. Luck cannot last for ever,and beating superior teams cannot either.
I put England 9th in the world and 4th in Europe. Prepare for more hand wringing, blaming the ref and arrogance in the 6 Nations. What a joke this chariot is well and truly for the scrapyard and little is coming through to replace it. Cmon WALES

  • 87.
  • At 03:26 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Charlie Garner wrote:

Okay….so for the 2008 Six Nations…..this would be my starting 15:

15 – Tait
14 – Strettle
13 – Hipkiss
12 – Farrell (Flood)
11 – Sackey
10 – Wilko (Cipriani)
9 – Ellis

1 – Sheridan
2 – Chuter
3 – Vickery (Stevens)
4 – Kay
5 – Borthwick
6 – Moody
7 – Rees
8 – Easter

Guys in brackets are the guys for the future. What do you think?

  • 88.
  • At 03:28 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • bigoldfatbloke wrote:

England always produce great forwards (especialy the tight 5), we always have plenty of good wings, we seem to be alright for halfbacks but apart from a hadfull of players we struggle to find decent Centers and Fullbacks, currently I can only see Lewsey (and I'd play him in the center) and Tait as possibles, we desperatley need to find a few more Guscotts and Robinsons, and I don't see any out there.

  • 89.
  • At 04:02 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jake wrote:

Well done to the boys, typical english spirit to go against the grain and prove every one wrong although the final hurdle being too big, with a few if and buts about the final it could be talked about it for years to come. I think personally we need some one like brian ashton if he can honour four years to get behind a potential blinding pool of talented players that are coming through!! the older players L.D and M.R have served us well but with the right coaching and guidance people like james haskell etc can come through and make an impact! theres always a bigger picture and even though im proud of our boys theres another one in NZ in four years time and what an acheivement that would be!

  • 90.
  • At 04:15 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • ecordiale wrote:

In putting together their back-lines for the future, the home nations might take on board Jake White's selection mantra: 'A skilfull big un is preferable to a skilfull little un'(or words to that effect).

Despite what we saw in the RWC final & some other latter-stage games, 15-man rugby has to be the way forward.

With line-breaking increasingly more difficult to achieve, teams serious about competing at the top level will need back-lines full of quick bruisers with decent hands - à la SA, NZ, Fiji, Aus - as a pre-requisite, as well as quick ball-handling back-rowers brought into open play more often.


  • 91.
  • At 04:16 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Daryl Ireland Fan wrote:

rest johnny wilkinson for another 4 years and england might have a chance of winning the world cup again in 2011... hes the main reason they got so far this year.

  • 92.
  • At 04:39 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jack Stevens wrote:

Watch out for Chris Ashton (the RL convert) at Northampton, he's shaping up to be a hell of a player.

No-one can deny the England players praise for their achievement, but it was done for and with Brian Ashton. The transformation he achieved in such a short period could not have been made by anyone else in English Rugby at this time.

  • 94.
  • At 05:28 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • rooster wrote:

Post 67 Martin Johnson's first game was at Twickenham in 93 against France and not 6 years later at Wembley.

Biko the least said the better. Do Wales play rugby????

  • 95.
  • At 06:01 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • stevie c wrote:

How on earth anyone can say drop wilkinson is beyond me? We are a completely different proposition with him in the team. Also whoever says Hodgson is better than Wilkinson must need their eyes tested!

  • 96.
  • At 06:18 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • paulcedron wrote:

I have the same question for my national team Argentina.

  • 97.
  • At 07:14 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • danny t wrote:

I agree with Post 51.

I have always felt that Moody's discipline has let him down however, with the noticeable exception in the final, has done well in the RWC. I would therefore give him a place ahead of Rees at 7, for the immediate future

  • 98.
  • At 07:20 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Theuns Cordier wrote:

I think that when the game of rugby union is all about scoring tries the benefit of any doubt should be given to the try scorer. The only exciting thing about last night’s final was when Matthew tait was tearing holes in the South African defence watching penalties isn't....PLEASE GET OVER IT!!! If your foot touch the line then you out as simple as that. All of a sudden everybody focus on one try and not the team effort. First it was Johnny against AUS as the commentator said on the TV and now it's over one TRY...please people if it was your team that was defending it would have been a different situation... I think it was a good game that was dominated by the best team in the world cup tournament.

  • 99.
  • At 07:38 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mark in Washington DC wrote:

As this is the first chance I have had to get on the Site since the final..BIG Hand to the England boys and despite what has been said in the papers..No disrespect to the SA team who have played well all through the season (And a big hand to them for that), but the better side lost on the day mostly due to bad refereeing, and I dont mean the Non-try, (which has nothing to do with the SA team I would like to point out). I have enjoyed this tournament, but the only thing that has left a bad taste in my mouth has been the refs. The best ref performance I saw was in the play off between France and the Argies (well done ref in that game as you had a power keg on your hands and did well), other than that I have felt the standards have been poor, ending the pathetic decisions (or none decisions) in the final. I know it sounds like bad grapes but aint a bad loser when we are beated by a better team, but hey not the ref. If this is the standards we are to expect in the future then I feel sorry for the game. I know refs can't get everything but, sorry what was given and not given in the final by the ref was, to be honest, no where near the standard I would expect from an international ref. We have the making's of a good couple of years of world rugby, so come on RFC's around the world lets make sure the Ref standards match the rugby we want to see.

My thanks to all the teams in the world for giving us some good, hard and entertaining rugby. Good to see new sides coming through and get the argies into the Tri-Nations I think they have earned a shot..and thats coming from a brit, so they must have earned it.

  • 100.
  • At 08:35 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

Some very interesting comments on here, although i have to disagree with number 26 - i dont see English talent missing out! As a Gloucester fan i think the following are all capable of stepping up:
Forwards-
Nick Wood, James Forrester, Luke Narraway, Andy Hazell, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton
Backs-
Olly Morgan, Anthony Allen, James Simpson-Daniel, Ryan Lamb and Mike Tindall. I think had Tindall been fit he would have been an automatic choice for centre in the WC.

  • 101.
  • At 10:22 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • jambob wrote:

chris ashton at saints has started 3 matches sub 4 times and scored 7 tries! he plays wing or full back and is lightening and strong one for the futur anyone else agree?

  • 102.
  • At 10:45 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • CJ wrote:

All of you have mentioned alot of younsters. But there is one person you have not mentioned. Chris Ashton. Currently at Northampton Saints, has only started a few games for them and he looks amazing.I have watched him every week being a Northampton fan. If you have not heard of him, he used to play for Wigan Rugby League and he is very very quick. Once he learns the game in National 1 I think he is going to be quality. His only 21 i think so look at some of his trys on youtube. Lets be honest, i don't think the RFU would be paying his £120,000 a year contract if he wasn't going to be a future England player!

  • 103.
  • At 11:33 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

I really think an overhaul is needed. Considering our performances in recent 6 nations, is it really much of a risk to blood the youngsters? I really think we have an opportunity here to test out the very promising youth that's coming through the acadamies at the minute.

15. Abendonan
14. Simpson-Daniel
13. Tait
12. Flood (although I'm a fan of Allen)
11. Strettle
10. Wilkinson
9. Ellis (not convinced, but lack of options....)
8. Ward-Smith
7. Rees
6. Moody
5. Jones
4. Palmer
3. Stevens
2. Hartley (don't know much about him but he's highly rated)
1. Sheridan

Cipriani, Crane, Lamb, and the others mentioned here would also get a look in, and I wouldn't discard people like Lewsey, Vickery, Easter, etc but let's go for it; give these guys a chance, tell them to play with no fear and no limits, and we could just see the start of someting very special.

  • 104.
  • At 11:38 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

I really think an overhaul is needed. Considering our performances in recent 6 nations, is it really much of a risk to blood the youngsters? I really think we have an opportunity here to test out the very promising youth that's coming through the acadamies at the minute.

15. Abendonan
14. Simpson-Daniel
13. Tait
12. Flood (although I'm a fan of Allen)
11. Strettle
10. Wilkinson
9. Ellis (not convinced, but lack of options....)
8. Ward-Smith
7. Rees
6. Moody
5. Jones
4. Palmer
3. Stevens
2. Hartley (don't know much about him but he's highly rated)
1. Sheridan

Cipriani, Crane, Lamb, and the others mentioned here would also get a look in, and I wouldn't discard people like Lewsey, Vickery, Easter, etc but let's go for it; give these guys a chance, tell them to play with no fear and no limits, and we could just see the start of someting very special.

  • 105.
  • At 02:22 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

I of course agree with the importance of new players, the likes of Tom Rees, Matthew Tait, Toby Flood, Matt Stevens et al should all now be integrated into a team not necessarily for the 2011 World Cup but for, say, 2009 Six Nations, at least for now. However, the idea that all older members of the squad are got rid of is ludicrous. South Africa this year, England in 2003, Australia in 1999 etc... all had a blend of new and exciting talents with proven experience. We need to avoid keeping players of a certain age and now would be the right time for Catt, Dallaglio, Regan and others bordering on 35 to withdraw with dignity. Don't put them into the mix for Six Nations 2008, it will be a wasted tournament.
There are a few exceptions of course to the withdrawal rule I feel. Firstly, Shaw - one of England's players and a match-winner for at least another season, have him around to help younger second rows. Then Gomarsall - if anyone justifies selection for next Six Nations it has to be him. He was one of the main reasons England found themselves in the final and if he doesn't get his time at no.9 now then, well what kind of selection criteria are players chosen on! This is a guy who has ambition and quality. He's England's best scrum-half by far and a sure bet for at least another 3 years, look at Catt and he didn't ever get close to the wilderness of amateur rugby!, of course include Ellis - he's probably the best of the others and will learn hugely of Gomers, in time taking over. Maybe even have some 19/20 year old as 3rd choice, getting experience through being part of the squad.

Anyone who thinks Johnny Wilkinson should be out of the team obviously hasn't watched rugby since, well, Rob Andrew or has shares in Sale (and Charlie Hodgson). He's England's best fly half ever. The facts don't lie.

  • 106.
  • At 04:17 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • richard wrote:

first of all good effort england

where do england go from hear its not just the top level its every one rugby

1 the top level clubs role is to bring on ENGLISH players not to pack there sides with imports from the south. cap the number of imports 5 to each squad is more than fair its and english comp after all

2 an english only comp for devleopment 4 sides round robin norht southeast southwest and midlands is great for development we had one befour why not again

3 the hardest one of all
parents get there kids of there backside stop playing playstation or x box and taking part in sports of any kind more players in the mix the better

4 next hardest schools playing sprot more that once a week copmertition in school there need to be winners and losers

5 england squad less pointless tour games when the team is tired they did not need to go to south africa this year and get some stability with in the side. look how badly the all blacks did with there squad rotation they did not put out a first team till the quater final

and 6 you may have seen but i cant spell thanks

  • 107.
  • At 08:05 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • David Bamber wrote:

Fantastic effort England you have reinforced my pride in being English.In my view the changes which must now take place should be carefully planned.It goes without saying that rugby is a team game but there are 2 teams.The coaching team and the playing team.The coaching team must be in place for the 6 Nations.Someone like Martin Johnson or Deano should be a part of it as well as BA who has done a fantastic job.The playing team should 'evolve' from where we are now with the phasing in of the younger talent available with the aid of the 'old hands'-RWC 2007 must be our goal.

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