England squad for South Africa Rugby Tour

The England squad for the South Africa rugby tour has been released. Fast Eddie’s only gone and done it. Not content with confounding us all by appointing another Australian to help him out in the backs he has brought Mr Cipriani back into the fold. As our very well informed Irish colleague so eloquently put it, “Cipriani had to be picked, brings flair and creativity to a team severely lacking in both!” The next thing to wonder is whether he’ll play more than a waterboy role. Let’s hope so. Or Belfast David will be saying something like ‘I told you so’.
 
Other notable inclusions are a call up for Dan Robson, Jack Wills (both Wasps) and of course the elephant in the room, or, the Hurricane in the Cake Tin, Brad Shields. Other than a stab in the eye to the NZRFU all this really means that there will be some serious competition for the back-row spots. Especially now Billy is back and will start. 5 into 2 does not go.
 
The Sale centre, Cameron Redpath, son of ex Scotland scrum-half Bryan, is the stand out surprise though. Yet to play in the premiership he is a pick from the left of left-field. Already folks on social media are claiming its just RFU posturing and ensuring that the Scotland team don’t get their hands on him first. Having said all that he has played for England U18 and U20. He’s not even a full time professional. Other than his parents and close friends I suspect his school, Sedbergh, are pretty pleased! Whatever your view it is a remarkable achievement.
 

The list of absentees runs long. Some down to injury and others down to being due a rest. Whether some of them will be seen in an England Shirt again remains to be seen. If there are some great performances out in South Africa then the answer could be a no.
 

The Chosen 34

 

Backs

Full backs
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Nathan Earle (Saracens) *
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)

Inside backs
Danny Cipriani (Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Lozowski (Saracens)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks) *
Dan Robson (Wasps) *
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Spencer (Saracens) *
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Forwards

Back five
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Ben Earl (Saracens) *
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs) *
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)  
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps) *
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Jack Willis (Wasps) *
Mark Wilson (Newcastle)

Front row
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

  
Of course, it’s no fun if we don’t  indulge in a spot of selection. So without further ado here is the Living With The Lions England team selection for the 1stTest  in Johannesburg.
 

The Team

 

15. Mike Brown
14. Eliot Daly
13. Henry Slade
12. Owen Farrell (c)
11. Jonny May
10. Danny Ciprani
9. Dan Robson
 
1.Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie Goerge
3. Kyle Sinckler
4. Maro Itoje
5. Joe Launchbury
6. Chris Robshaw
7. Jack Wills
8. Billy Vunipola
 
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie
17. Joe Marler
18. Harry Williams
19. Brad Shields
20. Ben Teo
21. Ben Youngs
22. George Ford
 

A Prediction

 
There’s only one place to go for that. We don’t have an Octopus so instead we go to our very knowledgable man in Belfast, David ‘I couldn’t tackle Garry Ringrose in a phone box’ McLaughlin. He is known for his balanced view on all things non-Irish Rugby. He has the England team to emerge victorious 2-1. This will be after the inevitable loss at altitude for the first test.
 
We also asked our man in Durban the same question. Brett gave the less balanced answer of 3-0 to the Springboks. But he still thinks there is a space in the team for Percy Montgomery and his lustrous locks so we aren’t sure whether to take him too seriously.
 
What we do know is that a rugby tour to South Africa is a great trip for fans and players alike. England don’t win down there very often and for the supporters there are some truly get places to visit. See you there!

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