Back in March, England had just conquered Europe under the guidance of their Australian mastermind of a coach, Eddie Jones.
Once Billy Vunipola had stopped singing and dancing about their win, the minds of the England players were set firmly on their summer tour to Australia. It will be a tour where England can measure themselves up against the southern hemisphere and the World Cup finalists.
At the World Cup last year England were simply outclassed by the Wallabies. Australia were superior in practically every position on the field. Their back row smashed apart the tame efforts of Tom Wood and Chris Robshaw to dominate the breakdown. However, with the help of another Aussie in the form of George Smith, England have improved at that specific area of the game.
The team who were the best in Europe will need to perform like they did at the Six Nations and more to beat a skilled Australia team.
Here are three players who weren’t at the Six Nations but deserve a chance to prove their worth in Australia’s backyard:
The Leicester Tigers hooker can easily be compared to a world-class winger after his try against local rivals Northampton Saints. Thacker is the most agile hooker England have got and his quick hands and nimble footwork might provide something different to beat the Wallabies.
Since Tom Youngs was ruled out for the rest of the season, the 22-year-old has done more than just fill the void left by Youngs. Thacker’s running game and improving set-piece has helped the Tigers to find their purple patch for this season. The hooker is the form Englishman in his position and has to be considered for Australia.
After his unbelievable six tries at Sixways, Wade has been considered a must for Eddie Jones’ squad. However, with his agility and blistering speed, Wade is currently being touted as a player for the Great Britain Sevens team set to take Rio by storm.
The Wasps winger has improved under the high ball and defensively while still possessing lightning speed and try scoring ability. Wade has to be considered for the squad thanks to his form, but he has to choose between 7s and 15s first.
After the Six Nations squad was announced, many were surprised by the absence of the skilful Danny Cipriani. The Wasps-bound fly-half had been outperforming George Ford in the Aviva Premiership but still wasn’t considered.
In the time since then, Cipriani has improved defensively and his kicking in hand has been immense. But it’s the improvement of his kicking from the tee that Jones will be licking his lips at.
Cipriani offers flair that no other England player possesses while also having the luxury of playing in Australia before, unlike the majority of his teammates.
Patrick Perry, Pundit Arena
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