Home Rugby Andy Goode Column: My England XV To Start Against Australia

Andy Goode Column: My England XV To Start Against Australia

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: The England team sing the National Anthemprior to the Old Mutual Wealth Cup match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on May 29, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
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1. Mako Vunipola

England v Uruguay - Group A: Rugby World Cup 2015

With Joe Marler taking time off, and Matt Mullan inexperienced at test level, Mako Vunipola should really get the nod to start the first test against Australia.

Saying that, he shouldn’t get too comfortable, because he faces a tough test against Sekope Kepu in the scrum.

 

2. Dylan Hartley

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 19: Dylan Hartleyl of England looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between France and England at the Stade de France on March 19, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Although Dylan has played little rugby after suffering a serious concussion against France during the Six Nations, he will lead England onto the field at the Suncorp Stadium.

3. Dan Cole

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 01: Dan Cole of England looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Despite the presence of Paul Hill and Kyle Sinckler in Eddie Jones’ squad, Dan Cole remains England’s leading tighthead.

4. Joe Launchbury

England v Australia - Group A: Rugby World Cup 2015

Joe really put his hand up for selection against Wales last weekend. He was excellent in the lineout and offered himself as a ball carrier in Twickenham.

His bulk would also add to England’s power upfront.

5. George Kruis

England v New Zealand - QBE International

Along with Maro Itoje, George Kruis was England’s form second row this season.

His ability to get up early in the lineout could also prove a very effective weapon against an Australian set piece that has struggled.

6. Maro Itoje

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Maro Itoje of England is pursued by Alex Cuthbert of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on March 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Although Eddie Jones picked Maro in the second row throughout the Six Nations, he has the athleticism to play in the backrow.

Itoje can also offer England with another lineout option in attack, and act as a way of putting pressure on Stephen Moore’s throw.

7. James Haskell

France v England - RBS Six Nations

Jack Clifford played well last weekend, but I can’t see him shifting James out of the England team just yet. He acts as a big bruising ball carrier and a pest in defence.

Attributes England will need against Australia.

8. Billy Vunipola

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Billy Vunipola of England runs with the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on February 27, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

At the moment Billy Vunipola is arguably the best number eight in the World. Only injury could oust him from the England team.

9. Ben Youngs

Italy v England - RBS Six Nations

Because Danny Care brings a lot of pace to the game, he is a great player to bring on during the final twenty minutes. For that reason I think Ben Youngs should start.

10. George Ford

France v England - International Match

Although George Ford struggled from the kicking tee against Wales, his distribution was good. George should also have Owen Farrell at inside centre to take the pressure off.

11. Jack Nowell

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Jack Nowell of England dives over to score England's fifth try during the RBS Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium on March 21, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Jack Nowell is one of England’s most consistent performers. His work rate in defence and pace in attack could see the Exeter Chiefs player start each of the three tests.

12. Owen Farrell

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 14: Owen Farrell of England runs with the ball during the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and England at Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 14, 2014 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

With Manu Tuilagi injured, I expect to see Owen Farrell slot in at inside centre against Australia. Wearing the 12 jersey, Owen will also give England a second play making option.

13. Jonathan Joseph

England v Scotland - RBS Six Nations

Although Jonathan Joseph has come under pressure from Elliot Daly, JJ has done little wrong in an England shirt.

For that reason I would give him the nod.

14. Anthony Watson

England v Ireland - RBS Six Nations

Anthony is the best winger in England at the moment. Deadly with ball in hand, his pace and step can frighten any defender.

15. Alex Goode

Ireland v England - RBS Six Nations

Alex has been brilliant for Saracens this season. He can counter attack from any position on the field and his kicking game could put pressure on the Australian back three.

 

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Andy Goode, Pundit Arena

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