England beat all comers this autumn with a severely depleted squad. To highlight the strength in depth of English rugby as we come to the end of a fine year, here is a XV of players who didn’t play for the Red Rose in the Old Mutual Wealth series.
- Matt Mullan:
The Wasp is good enough to be on the bench for most international sides. Let’s not forget there’s Leicester’s rampaging Ellis Genge, too.
- Luke Cowan-Dickie:
No team has as good a third-choice hooker as the Exeter Chief.
- Paul Hill:
A developing prop who debuted in Australia. His time will surely come.
- Maro Itoje:
Absent through injury, Itoje would add another dimension to England’s autumn pack.
- Mitch Lees:
For the only time in the XV, here we have something approaching a punt. The Australia-born Chief toured South Africa with the Saxons, but is probably the furthest away from a test spot.
- James Haskell:
Player of the series in the June tests against Australia, the Wasp is nursing a toe injury.
- Jack Clifford:
The Harlequin would have featured for England this autumn but for an early season injury.
- Ben Morgan:
Another whose absence, given his club form, is an indication of England’s depth.
- Dan Robson:
Many were calling for the Wasp No. 9 to be Ben Youngs’ understudy this autumn. Eddie Jones said no. Neither Eliot Daly nor Henry Slade were rushed in, so expect Robson to feature next season.
- Danny Cipriani:
The playmaker’s days in England white are surely over, but he’s still a fine player.
- Anthony Watson:
Missing through injury, does he get his place back from Jonny May?
- Ollie Devoto:
On the bench for England in the Six Nations, was the Exeter Chief one of the few players Eddie Jones brought in too early?
- Manu Tuilagi:
His injury travails always seem like a seismic loss, but does he really displace Jonathan Joseph?
- Jack Nowell:
Another regular who missed out through injury. Another who has a lot of work to do to reclaim his place.
- Mike Haley:
The Sale full-back is one of the Premiership’s in-form backs, but if Alex Goode can’t get into the England 23…
Daniel Rey, Pundit Arena
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