Ade Bourne makes his Crashball Rugby debut, addressing the squad Eddie Jones should take to South Africa this summer. See the 37-man squad Ade believes should travel to the Southern Hemisphere in June.
As we come to the close of the Premiership season I am going to be looking into the potential squad to tour the southern hemisphere. I think there may be a big change in personnel with the players that went on the Lions tour being rested with a big year to follow in 2019 working towards the world cup. There is a big chance for people to put their hands up for further caps going forward.
The squad I would be going with would have a mixture of both youth and experience as I think there are several fringe players that could have a realistic chance of playing at next year’s world cup.
Below is the squad I would take to South Africa this summer, omitting the Lions players that played a significant part in last year’s series in New Zealand.
Joe Launchbury- Tour Captain
With the Springboks in a transitional period, I believe this squad has the right balance to both compete and potentially win the series. A strong group of core players with a smattering of fringe players due a call-up, a squad with balance is key.
For some of my less obvious picks, I will give a bit of context to explain my reasoning for their inclusion.
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A hell of a talent and one that is admittedly more for the future, but I think Obano can gain great experience from being in and around the squad as soon as possible.
Cooper-Woolley has had his best season to date with Wasps. A real strong scrummager and gets around the park very well. A lot of other tightheads have been given an opportunity but never really took their chance.
All 3 Hookers have a shot of getting their opportunity to start a test in South Africa. Behind Hartley and George it’s an area of the England squad that is relatively untested. I think Cowan-Dickie will start the first test but Dunn’s all action performance on Saturday won’t have gone unnoticed.
He has had a really consistent season at the bottom end of the league for Worcester and has been signed by the Tigers for next season, a testament to his quality. I am not sure how much game time he would get but do think he deserves a place. His lineout work is exceptional, a real pest on opposition ball.
This guy really is top quality and New Zealand’s loss is England’s (massive) gain. Now the RFU have confirmed that he can’t be kept back from touring this summer they have to get him in the squad and used to Eddie’s way of running the ship. I am aware of some fans thoughts on not letting him play for England until he has played for an English club, but I think he has to be brought in as soon as possible.
If he agrees to now play for England as he wasn’t sure when he first arrived, he has to go. He is a genuine ‘fetcher’ that gets about the park and has the ability to disrupt all opposition attacks. I genuinely believe he could be England’s answer to their problems at seven. O’Connor is different to Underhill in the way he plays and has that bit more physicality than the Curry brothers.
Another of the other newly discovered qualified players that I would bring into the squad; he is just a guy that you want on your team and not against you. Ross has a nasty side to his game but rarely steps outside the laws. He is very physical and with the pending arm-wrestle with the Boks he is someone you want backing you up.
His name should say it all really, how he isn’t already capped for his country is beyond me. Robson is even someone I argue should be starting for England and not just in the squad to make up numbers. Robson has been head and shoulders the form scrum-half all season. He has an all round game to trouble any side; his kicking from hand has come on leaps and bounds and is a real threat ball-in-hand.
Another who I would give a squad position to looking towards the future, he is a real talent that needs to keep gaining experience. Nurturing him around the first team squad will benefit him.
I know he is a bit of a wasted selection as we know he most likely won’t be going on tour, but he should be. Cipriani plays in a very similar way to George Ford but is just a better player in my opinion. Neither are great defensively but both can run the show when on the front foot.
Trinder is currently playing out on the wing for Gloucester, adding to the versatility he brings to the squad. Over the years he has been so unlucky with injuries and would definitely have caps to his name if his luck had been different. A real threat with ball-in -hand with searing pace and a great step. Trinder would love the quick hard pitches in South Africa.
In my eyes a very similar style player to someone like Jonathan Joseph and has the physical attributes to more than compete at international level. Marchant also has the ability to create opportunities for those around him, with the pace of the potential back three England will have, he could be a real asset.
Woodward is another that just has to be given a chance; as soon as he came to this country I would have been looking to get him around the squad, he can more than hold his own in Super Rugby, playing and even shining in a very talented Hurricanes side. He is the form full back in the country and thoroughly deserves a chance. For me, another that should start the first test.
Ade Bourne's Starting XV
1. Ellis Genge
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie
3. Harry Williams
4. Joe Launchbury (c)
5. Nick Isiekwe
6. Chris Robshaw
7. Brendan O’Connor
8. Billy Vunipola
9. Dan Robson
10. Danny Cipriani
11. Jonny May
12. Alex Lozowski
13. Joe Marchant
14. Jack Nowell
15. Jason Woodward
Test matches are now just as intense in the first minute as the eightieth, the subs bench is more important than ever. The likes of Sinckler, Simmonds and Ewels coming onto the field with half an hour to go could make a real impact. Simmonds was close for me to getting into the starting line up, he has supreme acceleration for a forward and on quick pitches in SA, and I think he will be a real attacking weapon. His try scoring prowess this season speaks for itself.
One thing I would like to add and see brought back is the England Saxons side, I think there are several fringe and young talented players that will be on the brink of selection and could potentially be called up if there are injuries to players during the tour. If the Saxons are playing or gathered together, they would at least still be match sharp and ready for Test rugby. Although I do get the argument from clubs and some players that there is too much rugby played annually now.
What do you think to Ade's squad? let us know your thoughts on Twitter. Who was missed? Who should be excluded?