Home Rugby An Analysis Of England’s Five Best Fullback Options

An Analysis Of England’s Five Best Fullback Options

Fullback is one of the most contested positions in the England set-up at the moment, with head coach Eddie Jones having many different and brilliant options to fill the 15 jersey.

Here we take a look at the five main contenders:

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5. Mike Brown

Over the last few years, Mike Brown has been the go-to man at the back, but recently his form has dropped and while he is the most experienced of the crop of fullbacks competing for Jones’ approval, he could struggle to maintain his place.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Mike Brown of England makes a catch during the RBS Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium on February 4, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

There have been many calls to give someone else a go in this Six Nations, as he has started all but one of England’s games. While he doesn’t offer the same qualities as some fullbacks in attack, England are still unbeaten with him at the back and he will likely remain unmoved for the immediate future. However, the 31-year-old may not be able to hold onto his place until the next World Cup.

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4. Alex Goode

Goode is the maybe man of English rugby. His form for his club over the last few seasons is unparalleled by any of his rivals, but in an international shirt he is yet to properly show off his many qualities. A silky runner with a massive boot, he is the only other man to play in the 15 shirt under Jones.

Goode is not in the current England squad, and has recently spoken out about the pain of being dropped. The Saracens man may yet start another game at fullback though, and is challenging for a place.

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3. Anthony Watson

Watson is one of the best finishers in English rugby, with electric feet and pure gas. Jones has exclusively used him on the wing, but many Bath fans are keen to see him get a start at fullback in the white shirt.

Indeed, Watson is returning from injury to find Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly in tremendous form for England and for their clubs, and may struggle to get his place back immediately. Perhaps a start at fullback would allow him to utilise his abilities and find him a place in the starting XV.

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2. Elliot Daly

How good has the Wasps man been for England? Playing out of position, he has still managed to make his mark in all the games he has played in, scoring a crucial game-winning try against Wales in Cardiff.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Elliot Daly runs with the ball during the England training session held at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Daly too is yet to get a chance to start at fullback, somewhere he is very adept to playing, and it would allow Jones to have multiple attacking threats in his back three, possibly combining him with Nowell and Anthony Watson or Jonny May. Daly also brings something of a long range kicking option, which can be used to punish teams to great effect.

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Mike Haley

The Sale Sharks man keeps getting better. He is the outsider for this role but could potentially be given a game at some point. Haley was involved in the England Saxons tour of South Africa last summer and has featured in the extended England squad as a result of his form, but is yet to win an international cap.

There is plenty of time for the 22-year-old, but he is certainly an option to replace Brown in the long run.

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So, who should start against Scotland? Brown should, as England do not want to make any drastic changes before a big game.

In the long run Daly should be given a go at 15, but if he goes on the Lions tour then Haley should play on England’s tour of Argentina and present his case.

Oscar Reilly, Pundit Arena

About Oscar Reilly

Oscar is a 17 year old aspiring Journalist from London. Oscar plays rugby for Ireland Exiles U18 and St Georges College 1st XV. Follow me on twitter: @ozreilly7