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The Under Appreciated England XV

SALFORD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Danny Cipriani of Sale Sharks during the Aviva Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons at the AJ Bell Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Salford, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

England possess a number of players who are not wholly appreciated outside of their clubs.

Although most rugby fans get excited before an international squad announcement, generally coaches might only include two or three new faces.

While some might criticise coaches for being too conservative in their selections, given the cut throat nature of international rugby, those in charge have little scope for error. As a result, coaches tend to stick with the players who provided them with results in the past.

However, when things go slightly awry, those in the media quickly latch onto players they believe should be included in the starting XV. Some then see these players as being under appreciated by management.

Others are tagged with the same title by supporters of clubs who hold an affinity with players they treat as heroes on the terraces, but are overlooked by selectors of the national team.

Like all other nations, England produces their fair share of under appreciated players.

1. Alex Waller

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Alex Waller of Northampton looks on during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Gloucester at Franklin's Gardens on September 5, 2014 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Given Joe Mareler’s disciplinary problems and Mako Vunipola’s issues at scrum time, some have argued that Alex Waller should at least be considered for selection by Eddie Jones.

However, despite being a consistent performer with the Northampton Saints, 26 year old Alex Waller has yet to make his England debut.

2. Tom Youngs

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 16: Tom Youngs, the Leicester hooker throws the ball during the Aviva Premiership semi final match between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens on May 16, 2014 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Despite winning 28 England caps and touring with the Lions in 2013, it looks as if Tom Youngs may have been cast aside by Eddie Jones.

Nevertheless, despite the emergence of hookers such as Harry Thacker and Jamie George, Youngs remains one of the Premiership’s most accurate line out operators.

While Youngs may not provide England with the x factor, he remains a solid performer.

3. Dan Cole

France v England - International Match

Although it might be a little odd including a 61 times capped tighthead on a team such as this, some commentators seem to be counting the days until either Kieran Brookes or Paul Hill displace Dan Cole in the England team.

While Brookes and Hill may have a higher skills ceiling than Cole, neither are yet in a position to replace the Leicester Tigers man. As Cole is only 29 years of age, both Brookes and Hill may have to challenge Cole for some time to come.

4. Dave Attwood

England v South Africa - QBE International

Standing at 6ft 7in tall and weighing 119 kg, it would seem Dave Attwood was built for international rugby. However, despite his physical attributes, Attwood has only managed to attain 22 England caps since making his debut in 2010.

Given the number of players who are now ahead of him in the pecking order, it would not come as a surprise if he did not make another international appearance. Nevertheless, Attwood has been a consistent performer for Bath since joining in 2011.

5. Geoff Parling

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 07: Geoff Parling of England looks on during the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and England at Eden Park on June 7, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Like Cole and Youngs, Geoff Parling was included in the Lions squad that toured Australia in 2013. However, despite earning 29 international caps, Parling now firmly finds himself locked out of the England squad.

Nevertheless, since joining the Exeter Chiefs, Parling has played some good rugby in a very exciting team.

6. Tom Wood

New Zealand v England

Like many of the other players on this list, Tom Wood looks to be shut out of the England team. However, it is worth remembering that Wood can play across the backrow and acts as a strong line out option at the tail.

Therefore, it is strange for a player that has not only earned 42 caps, but captained his country on a number of occasions, to be forgotten about.

7. Matt Kvesic

Gloucester v Saracens - Aviva Premiership

In the aftermath of the World Cup, not only did England argue for the inclusion of an open side, but demanded that someone like Matt Kvesic be handed the number seven jersey.

However, Eddie Jones thought differently, and so Kvesic was once more left out of the England squad for the Six Nations. Despite this, Kvesic continues to be a pest for Gloucester at the breakdown.

8. Ben Morgan

England v Australia - QBE International

Although Ben Morgan possess physical attributes to be an international number eight, the Gloucester player is susceptible to injury.

Nevertheless, Morgan is only 27 years of age and could still feature for England in the future, despite the emergence of Nathan Hughes as a rival.

9. Joe Simpson

Harlequins v Wasps - Aviva Premiership

Joe Simpson could consider himself as being one of the unluckiest players in England. Just as it seemed Simpson’s form form would see him challenge for a place in the England squad, injury struck before both the World Cup and the Six Nations.

Not only that, but his deputy at Wasps, Dan Robson, could now be ahead of Simpson in Dai Young’s pecking order. It would therefore seem that Simpson will have to see off Robson before attempting to add to his solitary England cap.

10. Danny Cipriani

Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks - Aviva Premiership

Danny Cipriani is a divisive character for a number of reasons. However he remains one of the most talented players in England.

A creative player who possesses soft hand, and an eye for a gap, Cipriani can open up even the meanest defence. However, consistency has always been an issue for the soon to be Wasps player.

11. Christian Wade

Wasps v Sale Sharks - Aviva Premiership

Having made his England debut in 2013, Christian Wade could be forgiven for thinking that he should have earned more than four caps. However, doubts have persisted as to ability in defence, mainly due to his size.

However, similar to Shane Williams, Wade is a deadly finisher, who can beat opponents with his sheer pace and low centre of gravity.

12. Billy Twelvetrees

Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester Rugby - Aviva Premiership

Like many of the other players on this team, Billy Twelvetrees toured with the Lions in 2013. However since then his international career has gone awry. Nevertheless, prior to the emergence of Henry Slade, Twelvetrees was one of the few creative inside centres in England’s possession.

However, despite having won 19 England caps, Twelvetrees is a long way from challenging Manu Tuilagi.

13. Mathew Tait

Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints - Aviva Premiership

When Mathew Tait made his international debut as a 19 year old against Wales in 2005, he was considered to be one of England’s leading talents. Although he fell victim to two monster tackles from Gavin Henson that day, Tait continued to maintain his place in the England squad, starting the 2007 World Cup final.

Indeed, in the aftermath of the tournament, Tait’s stature had grown to the point where Matt Catt labelled him as being ‘the future of English rugby’.

Since then though, injuries have taken their toll. Nevertheless, the utility back has impressed for Leicester in recent seasons.

14. Charlie Sharples

Gloucester Rugby v Brive - European Rugby Challenge Cup

Charlie Sharples is the type of player who is loved by Gloucester fans, but overlooked by those of the opposition. A sprinter who once completed the 100 meters in 11.3 seconds, Sharples can burn most of his opponents in a race for the line.

However despite his undoubted pace, Sharples has been unable to earn more than four caps.

15. Chris Pennell

Saracens v Worcester Warriors - Aviva Premiership

Given Mike Brown’s consistency over recent seasons, few players have got a look in for England at full back. Nevertheless, while some would see Alex Goode as being England’s second choice fullback, others might argue that Chris Pennell should be given an opportunity due to his form with the Worcester Warriors.

However, given that Pennell is 29 years of age, he might find it difficult to add to his solitary cap.

Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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