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2006 – 2016: The I’d Forgotten They Were Capped By England XV

England v Australia - Investec Challenge Series

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England have capped 104 players since 2006.

Apart from their recent Grand Slam triumph, England have enjoyed little success at international level over the last decade. It has even been argued that their 2003 World Cup triumph hamstrung England, as they struggled to emerge from the shadow cast by Clive Woodward’s team.

Indeed, Andy Robinson, Brian Ashton, Martin Johnson and Stuart Lancaster all failed to return England to the game’s top table. This failure is reflected by the number of players capped by England during the last decade.

Since 2006, England have capped 104 players in what was, for the most part, a futile quest for success in both the Six Nations and World Cup.

Although some of those capped were promising young players who would form the backbone of this season’s Grand Slam winning team, others were dispensed with after earning a solitary cap.

While Lancaster is guilty of not being consistent in his selections, Johnson had a propensity for picking league converts and players who qualified for England by rugby’s lax residency laws.

Consequently, the last ten years has seen England cap more than a few forgettable players.

1. Perry Freshwater (10 Caps)

RBS 6 Nations: England v Scotland

A Kiwi by birth, Perry Freshwater qualified to play for England through his father. Earned his first cap against Samoa in 2005, and went onto win nine more. Freshwater also made two appearances at the 2007 World Cup.

2. Matt Cairns (1 Cap)

South Africa v England - 1st Test

During Matt Cairns’ second spell at Saracens in 2007, he was called up to the England squad for their summer tour of South Africa.

It was during the first test that he won his solitary cap, before falling victim to a virus that ruled him out of the remainder of the tour.

3. Darren Crompton (1 Cap)

South Africa v England - 1st Test

During that same tour of South Africa, Brian Ashton also handed Darren Crompton his debut at 34 years of age.

Crompton was given his unlikely opportunity as no players from Bath, Leicester Tigers or Wasps were available for selection due to their clubs European commitments.

4. Dean Schofield (2 Caps)

England Team Press Conference and training

Like Crompton and Cairns, Dean Schofield earned his first England cap during the 2007 summer tour of South Africa.

Unlike his colleagues however, Schofield went onto make one further appearance and even played for Toulon between 2010 and 2012.

5. Alex Brown (3 Caps)

2nd Test: South Africa v England

Alex Brown made his first England appearance against Australia in 2006 and went onto win two further caps during the 2007 tour of South Africa.

6. Magnus Lund (10 Caps)

Australia v England - Cook Cup

After being included in England’s 2006 Six Nations training squad, Magnus Lund maintained his place, earning 10 caps before moving to Biarritz in 2008.

7. Hendre Fourie (8 Caps)

England Rugby Union Training Session

South African born Hendre Fourie made his debut for England in 2010 against New Zealand after qualifying through residency rules.

He went onto to make seven further appearances before injury forced Fourie to retire in 2013.

8. Ben Skirving (1 Cap)

England Training & Press Conference

Like other players on this team, Ben Skirving made his first and only appearance for England during the ill fated 2007 tour of South Africa.

However after England conceded a total of 113 points over the two tests, Skirving did not feature again.

9. Nick Walshe (2 Caps)

Australia v England - Cook Cup

After making a number of appearances for the England A side, Nick Walshe earned a call up to the senior team for England’s 2006 tour of Australia.

It was on that tour where Walshe won his two caps.

10. Shane Geraghty (6 Caps)

RBS 6 Nations: England v France

Back in 2006, Shane Geraghty was regarded as one of the hottest properties in the English game.

His form was such that he was included in England’s 2007 Six Nations squad, making his debut against France.

Geraghty went onto to win five further caps, scoring five points.

11. Chris Pennell (1 Cap)

New Zealand v England

After enjoying the best form of his career during the 2013/14 season, Chris Pennell was called into the England squad for the Summer tour of New Zealand.

However Pennell has yet to make a second appearance.

12. Ayoola Erinle (2 Caps)

England v New Zealand - Investec Challenge Series 2009

Standing at 6ft 4in tall and weighing 16 stone, Ayoola Erinle was one of the biggest centres to have ever appeared in the Premiership.

His size, weight and speed saw him called up to the England squad for the 2009 Autumn series.

After making his debut as a substitute against Australia, Erinle was named in the starting XV for the game with New Zealand.

However, that summer he joined Biarritz, effectively ending any potential international career.

13. Anthony Allen (2 Caps)

England v New Zealand

Although Anthony Allen enjoyed a successful career at both Gloucester and Leicester Tigers, he was unable to make his mark on the international stage.

Allen won his first cap against New Zealand in 2006, but was dropped after England lost to Argentina 25-18 in Twickenham.

14. Lesley Vainikolo (5 Caps)

Scotland v England - RBS 6 Nations

After enjoying a prolific spell with Gloucester, Lesley Vainikolo was called into England’s 2008 Six Nations squad.

After making his debut against Wales, the Samoan winger kept his place on the wing for the remainder of the Championship.

Nevertheless, he was dropped for England’s tour of New Zealand that summer and never earned another cap thereafter.

15. Olly Morgan (2 Caps)

RBS 6 Nations: Ireland v England

Gloucester mainstay, Olly Morgan, won his first cap during England’s opening 2007 Six Nations fixture against Scotland.

After missing out on selection for England’s second game with Italy, Morgan made his second and final appearance during England’s 43-13 defeat to Ireland in Croke Park.

Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena


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Author: The PA Team

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