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England 2022/23

My counter to that would be that we look disjointed with what we've got at the moment

I'd keep Ludlam in the mix, absolutely, but I've basically written off this RWC and would just go balls to the wall on selections, no conservatism allowed (which is the antithesis of Borthwick's mantra though)
I can’t argue with that. We didn’t look like a unit at all.

I really worry about our back ups as well as our first choice pack.

Genge, LCD or george & Sinckle can be brilliant if we get their heads in the game.

Itoje - he’s been quiet but stats show he’s working hard. Then Chessum and ribbons both looked good.

Then back row in theory have some good options but need balance.

6. Curry/ Lawes/ Martin
7. Willis/ curry
8. Mercer/ ludlum

WC squad wise ludlum covers 6,7,8. Martin and Lawes cover 6 and lock. Possibly leaves space for another backrow or lock depending on the squad make up. Maybe Pearson as a bolter to cover 7 as well.

But back up props and hooker (third choice hooker of LCD is back) looks a bit bleak. Would have liked some big mobile beasts like VRR but think he’s injured. Can’t really think of any right now but we could do with some.
Post RWC.

The front row is what it is. Hooker’s the main area of concern. No real back up to George who’s now looking a bit of his time compared to Sheehan, Marchand etc. Hopefully Stuart will be back firing to challenge Sinckler.

But the back 5 could be really exciting.

Chessum and Martin would bring a nice blend of power, athleticism and work rate to the row. TBH I hope Itoje goes to France or somewhere for a couple of years to bank the cash and recharge.

T Curry and J Willis are great options at 7, but I can see Pearson getting right in the mix with Mercer at 8. 6 might be a bit more of a horses for courses selection - Curry, Willis, Hill maybe Martin if another big lock really comes through.

However it pans out it feels like we’ll be able to increase the physicality, intensity and carrying. T Willis would also fit that bill.

Part of Borthwick’s challenge will be working out the pace at which to introduce these newer players.
England has good front row options just takes time
Short term
McGuigan (30)

Long term options
Frost (25)
Blamire (25)
Dolly (23)

Ashman was one we lost out on
Wouldn't be surprised to see Langdon in the mix when he joins Saints - only 25 as well
Thought that Frost and Langdon were both excellent in that game. Presumably Langdon would be eligible for the RWC camp?
Honestly I didn't know he bulked up that much though. Like I could tell he looks bigger, but it makes sense why his carrying is so much more effective
121kg at 6’6 is big. Very impressive that he’s still able to get through so much work at that size.
Ill get slated here but i genuinely think Itoje could be at risk post WC. He plays the game of a flanker essentially...(to a high level admittedly) but whats his point of difference. He doesnt carry hard, and isnt someone who really puts in huge collisions. Hes a nuisance and athletic..

Ollie Chessum displays the same athletisim etc at a considerably bigger frame...and then you have the likes of George Martin (as per link above) who brings that real physical edge...something the France game proved we are in dire need of...and my continued call for Ted HIll.

Theres a number of locks coming through who will challenge post world cup. Lewis Chessum is massive and England u20 captain and really starting to "grow in to his frame" and his game. His development will be fascinating. As will some of the others 19-22 year olds coming through...

Itoje will really have to be at his peak to fight off the pretenders soon.
Ill get slated here but i genuinely think Itoje could be at risk post WC.
I don't think you'll find many here defending itoje's form tbh
He's like Farrell - first name on the team sheet for the coaches and will take a mindset readjustment from them to start genuinely weighing up other options
Itoje and Marcus Smith being linked to France end of 2024 season
May not be so bad tbh if it helps them grow as players. I can live with Smith trying his luck out there for a year or 2 as long as Ford comes back in for England. Either way, Farrell needs to be dropped. If Smith leaves and we are stuck with just Farrell at 10 or a completely inexperienced 10 then we are ******.

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