Home Rugby British and Irish Lions Tour 2017 Is This The England Team For The Autumn Internationals?

Is This The England Team For The Autumn Internationals?

England head coach Eddie Jones has a tremendous task on his hands for the rest of 2017 as he tries to bring together his Lions cohort after a successful tour of New Zealand and his young starlets fresh from a 2-0 series win over Argentina.  

So who will he pick for the Tests against Argentina, Australia and Samoa this November?

Jones has previously spoken of his plan to rest his Lions stars for the series in order to give them a proper break after a gruelling couple of years of non-stop playing and training. However, does that mean he only intends to rest those who were involved in the Lions’ Tests or everyone on the tour?

Should he decide to rest England’s entire cohort then we would be looking at team that resembles something close to this:

1) Ellis Genge

2) Dylan Hartley ©

3) Harry Williams

4) Joe Launchbury

5) Charlie Ewels

6) Chris Robshaw

7) Sam Underhill

8) Billy Vunipola/Nathan Hughes

9) Ben Youngs

10) George Ford

11) Jonny May

12) Piers Francis

13) Joe Marchant/Henry Slade

14) Denny Solomona/Marland Yarde

15) Mike Brown

With Billy Vunipola missing the entire trip to New Zealand due to injury, could the Saracens man mountain make his comeback for his country against Argentina later this year? Moreover, Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs – who took himself out of the Lions equation to support his brother Tom and his terminally ill wife – may come back for the men in white in November.

Harlequins centre Joe Marchant, who was unfortunate not to earn his first cap after picking up an injury before the two-Test tour against the Pumas, could come back into the reckoning, and Denny Solomona’s impact off the bench in the first Test could see him earn a first start this year.

But there is also every chance Jones could select some of his Lions players who did not feature heavily on tour, particularly during the Test series. Should he choose this option, it could see a team like the following take the pitch:

1) Joe Marler

2) Dylan Hartley ©

3) Dan Cole

4) Joe Launchbury

5) George Kruis

6) Chris Robshaw

7) James Haskell

8) Billy Vunipola/Nathan Hughes

9) Ben Youngs

10) George Ford

11) Jonny May

12) Piers Francis

13) Jonathan Joseph

14) Jack Nowell

15) Mike Brown

This more closely looks like the England team for much of Jones’ reign so far, with stalwarts Marler, Cole, Kruis and Haskell all returning in the pack, and Joseph and Nowell slotting into the backline.

However, Jones could go back on his previous plans and select his best starting XV – although this writer genuinely believes we won’t see this until the start of the Six Nations in 2018. Such a team could be:

1) Mako Vunipola

2) Dylan Hartley/Jamie George

3) Dan Cole/Kyle Sinckler

4) Maro Itoje

5) Courtney Lawes

6) Chris Robshaw

7) Sam Underhill

8) Billy Vunipola

9) Ben Youngs

10) George Ford

11) Elliot Daly

12) Owen Farrell

13) Jonathan Joseph

14) Anthony Watson

15) Mike Brown

Bench: Marler, Hartley/George, Cole/Sinckler, Kruis, Haskell, Care, Te’o, Nowell

England fans are certainly in for an exciting build-up to Christmas this year!

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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About Paul Wassell

Paul Wassell
Paul is an English teacher by day and an avid rugby fan the rest of the time. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or contact him at paul@punditarena.com

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