England

Bulldog ‘pups’ offer England plenty of bite

Bulldog ‘pups’ offer England plenty of bite

Sharpie and the backrow doing scrummaging drills

The Wallabies aren’t the only team who are renewing their playing stocks by injecting bright young things into their international setup prior to the 2011 RWC.

The British bulldog will definitely offer bite this Saturday at HQ with young guns Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes leading the regeneration.

Chris Ashton is a good example of this. A former Wigan Warrior and England mungo fullback, as a winger he’s turned into a try scoring machine for Northampton Saints.

He was the Guinness Premiership Player of the Year last season and made his debut for England in the 2010 Six Nations. He’s one fast and elusive dude.

We’ve already seen this in the June test series against England. In that 2nd test in Sydney he scored a good individual try and was dangerous with every involvement.

He’s one of their ‘go to’ men and together with clubmate Foden running from fullback, they pose a serious threat on the counter.

We all saw what Youngs could do in Sydney after he replaced Danny Care for that 2nd test. He’s full of verve and like a jack in the box. His pace from a standing start gives him that edge.

I guess it’s taken a little while to figure out Courtney Lawes’ best position, either at No 6 or lock.

Another Northampton Saint, he’s essentially displaced former captain Steve Borthwick in the 2nd row.

He’s very much a modern lock forward – mobile, skilful and aggressive. He’s also a lineout asset.

England has made only one change from the side that were defeated by the All Blacks last week. It was regarded as a ‘glorious defeat’ because the Poms showed a fair bit of fight especially to come back from a substantial deficit at halftime.

Dylan Hartley, lucky to have not been cited after his elbowing of Sir Richie, takes over at hooker from Steve Thompson.

Dylan Hartley - seriously dirty player

Hartley, originally from Rotorua, likes a stink and is a dirty player at the best of times. I’m sure there’ll be cheap shots aplenty with him around.

I suppose that might weaken their scrum a tad but that’s unlikely to reduce their dominance in this facet of play.

I guess we’re all waiting for the ‘Sword of Damocles’ to fall on our scrum?

Let’s hope it’s not too embarrassing (or more importantly, disruptive) or of 2006/2007 proportions.

The last time we were on this much edge, in 2008, the front five ‘de Fused’ Sheridan and co in a major upset. It certainly made the HQ crowd spill their tea down their Y-fronts?

I don’t think too many of us are expecting we’re going to reach any sort of parity this time round but if we can keep ‘damage control’ to manageable proportions, that’ll be fine.

From an attacking or creative perspective: Flood is no QC, Hape is no Gits, Tindall is no AAC, Cueto is no JO’C and sure as hell, Foden – although he’s a dangerous little bastard – is no KB.

However, if their forwards are getting front foot ball (and lots of it) their backs have the potential to be very dangerous. They may not be creative but they run straight, hard and fast.

Our lineout has been going great guns lately so there’s expectation of set piece possession for our emerging princesses to exploit.

I know it’s a cliché but it really is at the breakdown that this will be won or lost (and to some extent influenced by the scrummaging).

We have to be able to deliver numbers at ruck time ‘as required’ to prevent turnover ball. I think the Dirties did this quite well at Welford Rd yesterday.

As for our defence – QC, they’ve found you out. Use your shoulder son….

If we can win at least 40% of possession, we should win it but they have the potential to inflict some serious damage on us if our forwards are not able to counter or move to Plan B when needed.

The only change to the Wallaby starting team is Squeaky Moore in for Saia Faingaa. However, impressive performances from journeyman hooker Huia Edmonds has him promoted to the reserves.

The Wallaby team will have settled combinations. The weather forecast says a chance of rain and a temp of 5C – 11C. Brrrrrrrrr……

The result – Lance says: ‘Give the Poms their due, they’re on the up. Too close to call’

Wallaby team (confirmed):

Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom (c), Nathan Sharpe, Mark Chisholm, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson.

Reserves: Huia Edmonds, James Slipper, Dean Mumm, Richard Brown, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Lachlan Turner.

England:

Ben Foden; Chris Ashton, Mike Tindall, Shontayne Hape, Mark Cueto; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Nick Easter, Lewis Moody (c), Tom Croft, Tom Palmer, Courtney Lawes, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Andrew Sheridan.

Reserves: Steve Thompson, David Wilson, Simon Shaw, Hendre Fourie, Danny Care, Charlie Hodgson, Delon Armitage.

England
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Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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