Tony Commands, I Obey. I do think this is a sufficiently interesting topic of conversation to warrant its own thread though. There's a fair amount of dissatisfaction with the team and some of the players within, and also a lot of promising youngsters pushing hard for selection. I'm going to laugh long and loud at anyone who believes we'll replace the chaff with gold and become the best team in the world, that's not how English rugby works and doubtless we'll waste yet more potential, but we are in about as promising a position as we've had for some time - not least because huge amounts of the players involved now look like potentially being really strong players come the next World Cup. As already documented variously, virtually everyone involved *could* be at the next World Cup. Some of them are long odds, but I feel like only Nick Easter and Richard Wigglesworth definitely won't be going. Personally my gut instinct is that next year's 6N squad will look a lot like this WC squad barring a very unlikely defenestration of Lancaster - these are who he perceives as his best players and he'll want to make use of all the times he's spending with them. I am in general ok with this; one of the big advantages of having such a settled squad for the next four years is that dropping in young players should get easier, we don't need guys in place for the full four year cycle as there'll be plenty of experience and cohesion whatever. We can very easily ask Parling, for example, to do two years more to try and build some winning momentum then replace him with whoever. Needless to say though, there are some individual cases where a change is needed and you just hope against hope the prospect of a new WC cycle will get Lancaster to change his mind (hint: he won't). Anyway, here follows a breakdown of the current squad and fringe players, with the guys pushing for inclusion next season and long term - only going as young as U20, as that's as far as my knowledge goes, but I'd point out there's a very highly rated U18 squad currently prodding buttock out in South Africa and it wouldn't be too surprising to see some guys from there involved come the next World Cup. LHP - Marler (25), Vunipola (24), Corbisiero (26) Contending: Mullan (28), Waller (25) Long term: Harrison (22), Genge (20), Auterac (22) Very healthy in general, despite Corbs' fragility, which also poses an interesting question as that *may* open up an opportunity for someone else to grab the third loosehead spot. Mullan would seem the current candidate of choice and will be in his propping prime come the next World Cup, but good seasons for Waller or Harrison could see them leapfrog him. Genge a longer term project at this stage. I only remembered Auterac's name halfway through writing and realised I'd be roasted if I forgot him. Hooker - Youngs (28), Webber (29), George (24), Cowan-Dickie (22) Contending: Hartley (29) Long term: Taylor (23), Walker (19), Haywood (23) Possible big churn here. Hartley would walk right back into the squad tomorrow as things stand - it is my dearest wish to see that changed and he must be testing Lancaster's patience, even if he clearly rates him. Webber probably can't survive another period of bad domestic form, although I wouldn't assume he'll have one. Jamie George is posed to be a huge winner from this World Cup (in every possible sense the tubby so-and-so) but Cowan-Dickie could easily be overtaken by Taylor. Haywood's a bit of a long shot but has so much talent and could win big if Hartley decides to walk shortly post-WC; Walker is clearly massively rated for the future. THP - Cole (28), Wilson (30), Brookes (24) Contending: Thomas (23) Long term: Cooper-Woolley (25), Hill (20), Sinckler (22) One's always got the feeling that Wilson is not quite rated by the England management and Brookes is allegedly on the verge of overtaking him; I wouldn't be completely surprised to see Wilson miss out on this World Cup even. In that case, Henry Thomas will surely replace him next 6N, and can't be far off in any case. Cooper-Woolley seems quite a distance off but has talent and size, not sure whether he's athletic enough. Paul Hill has the most auspicious surname in England rugby and looks a big talent, might be involved sooner than we think with his Saints move. Sinckler is an incredible athlete and will be in contention if he can master his scrummaging and discipline. I feel increasingly pessimistic on England but I feel we're in with a very strong shout of having the best front row in the World come next WC, if we aren't now. Lock - Launchbury (24), Lawes (26), Parling (31), Attwood (28), Kruis (25) Contending: Itoje (20), Slater (27), Kitchener (25), Beaumont (23), Garvey (27), Gaskell (25) Long term: Stooke (21), Williams (23), Barrow (22) Our cup runneth over. Parling could make it, but given the competition probably won't. Attwood too might find himself a victim long term, another player who doesn't seem that rated. Stooke is the sort of naturally massive man who you hope will make it. I feel like I've missed a player or two here, yet have named tons. Flanker - Robshaw (29), Haskell (30), Wood (28), Clark (26) Contending: Croft (29), Kvesic (23), Itoje (20), Burgess (26), Ewers (24), Clifford (22), Fearns (26), Fraser (25) Long term: Wray (24), Conlon (21), Gibson (24), Jones (23) *lights fuse and retires to safe distance* 8 - Morgan (26), Vunipola (22), Easter (36) Contending: Beaumont (23) Long term: Hughes (24), Evans (23), Chisholm (20) There is no room at the inn yet somehow Nathan Hughes wants a go at it. Go away, you're not English. Not even when stood next to Billy Vunipola. Barring major injury, we're really set, and all the contenders should probably learn other positions. Except for Hughes, who'll be picked by that moral guardian of our game... Scum-Half - Youngs (25), Wigglesworth (32), Care (28) Contending: Dickson (30), Simpson (27), Chudley (27) Long term: Robson (23), Harrison (25), Spencer (23), Townsend (20), Cook (24), Braley (21) Possible churn. Wigglesworth is surely done shortly after this, please god, and Dickson too. Care is the interesting one, I have a half-feeling his lack of kicking game might render him vulnerable. Who benefits? Simpson? Long term, there's a list of guys who could make it, although Harrison is only there so I can rage at his lack of ambition, get the f**k out of Tigers and go find the first team berth you're worth, but I'd be hesitant at pointing at a guy and saying "him", particularly when most of them have roadblocks ahead of them in the team. Breaking the U20 thing for a moment, but Maunder out in Exeter is meant to be bloody good. Fly-Half - Ford (22), Farrell (23), Cipriani (27) Contending: Slade (22), Burns (25), Myler (ancient, lets take him to the glue factory) Long term: Lozoskwi (22), Swiel (22), Burns (21), Protheroe (18) The long term bit's kinda pointless in the face of the age of the incumbents and main opposition. Is Cips gonna throw a strop? Can Burns rise again? Will Slade make a real push of it in his favoured position? Will England ever learn to hide Ford in defence? Lozoskwi could be a real dark horse actually, seems to have oodles of talent. Protheroe is again breaking my thing about stopping with U20s, but when a club signs a guy straight outta school full pro terms I pay attention. Not really English though by my understanding, but we'll have him anyway, with a poach poach here and a poach poach there. Centre - Joseph (24), Barritt (29), Burrell (27), Slade (22), Burgess (26), Twelvetrees (26) Contending: You Know Who (24), Daly (23), Eastmond (26) Long term: Hill (22), Devoto (21), Lowe (25), Sloan (21), Marchant (19), Stephenson (21), Tompkins (20), Mills (23) Weird limbo: Tait (29) The perennial spot of dispute. I'll throw this out now as speculation: the amount of punishment Barritt puts his body through is incredible and surely this can't last forever. Tuilagi also has a disturbing injury history. Eastmond is reportedly about to ragequit, two of those players aren't very good and another two have better positions elsewhere; we might be about to see a *huge* turnaround. Not sure I'd bet on it, but the potential is there. It's up to the youth to put pressure on them, the potential is there. Sam Hill's omission in particular is grinding my sodding gears. Marchant I feel has huge future potential. Then there's Tait, who's allegedly about to move back to 13, still possibly has four years in him, and would bring a huge amount of talent and experience, but isn't rated for some weird reason. But maybe that'll change. Wing - Nowell (22), May (25), Watson (21) Contending: Yarde (23), Ashton (28), Rokoduguni (27), Wade (24), Banahan (28) Long term: Lewington (23), too many others to name It all looks relatively set, particularly as Lancaster just doesn't like wingers, but Ashton looked set four years ago and now look at him. Arguably the hardest position to gauge. The news that Lancaster was talking to Banahan fills me with fear and loathing. Alex Lewington gets a mention because he scored a bucketful of tries for LI, never the easiest, and hit the squad for the Baabaas. Full back - Brown (29), Goode (27) Contending: Watson (21), Foden (30), Pennell (28), Tait (29) Long term: Miller (26), Haley (21), Bell (22), Hammersley (22) We are either looking at a very old full-back in 2019, or a very unknown one, or Anthony Watson, so no sodding pressure here Anthony. I have a half-feeling it will be Pennell actually, I hope so, that would be a fairytale story. Tait and Foden are probably out of contention but are named for completeness' sake, Miller a bit of a long shot... ok, I named them so we could laugh at Olyy over just how many Sale ex-boys I named. Possibly a few other names I could have named in the long term section but back three players are the hardest to gauge to my mind. Maybe I shoulda said Nowell but I get the feeling the powers that be don't see him there (but coulda named him at centre maybe...) Anyway, have at it. Tell me what's going to happen as I clearly don't know.