After England’s Calcutta Cup debacle, Sportsmail’s specialists decide their dream groups to face Italy

Saturday’s dismal defeat by Scotland at Twickenham raised massive questions on England head coach Eddie Jones and his squad.

Jones’ pragmatic fashion of rugby has lengthy been a trigger for concern regardless of current success and the dearth of creativity was alarming.

Right here, Sportsmail’s specialists spotlight the gamers who they consider can rejuvenate England with energy, tempo and dynamism.


England are coming off not solely the worst efficiency within the historical past of English rugby, they’ve clearly not recovered from the World Cup no-show and a very forgettable 2020.

So that is really the workforce — or one thing prefer it — I might have been growing during the last 12 months and completely geared to going head-to-head with France at Twickenham on March 13. It will show that France would not have a monopoly of sensible younger gamers. How thrilling would that be.

Within the again row, it’s time for Tom Curry and Jack Willis (above) to boss the breakdown

I’ve not chosen any Saracens gamers bar Maro Itoje, who can clearly carry out off the again of just about no recreation time. The Sarries contingent ought to have been allowed to play within the Prime 14 on short-term contracts. It’s troublesome for them and I’m unsure, bar Itoje, they’re in the best headspace at current. Maro captains my workforce.

This workforce are all about tempo, nice ball dealing with, getting on the entrance foot and journey. I might identify solely 5 on the bench, for security functions, as a result of I might make it fairly clear no one could be coming off except they had been injured. I have to be completely satisfied each participant is match for 80 minutes — if not, they don’t play. That’s the deal.

Max Malins and Piers O’Conor have been in glorious kind for Bristol and have actual fuel. There isn’t a substitute for it.

Marcus Smith has the flexibility to terrify defences and is at the moment the perfect goal-kicker in world rugby. Making an attempt to mark him and Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall could be a nightmare. England should problem groups with their tempo and velocity of ball from each section. Jonny Could retains his place however solely as a result of Joe Cockanasiga just isn’t totally match.

I need Alex Dombrandt in my workforce for his ball-carrying, dealing with and try-scoring nous however I’m grasping, so I additionally need the sheer fuel and dynamism of Sam Simmonds at No 8. So I’m asking Dombrandt to place his scrum cap on and transfer to lock. A giant ask however the Quins skipper can deal with it. He has no selection!

Within the again row, it’s time for Tom Curry and Jack Willis to boss the breakdown. This England workforce want lightning-quick ball and can thrive on turnover possession.


The England pack had been eclipsed by Scotland, so it is sensible to herald pedigree reinforcements up entrance. It will be unfair to count on Mako Vunipola to go straight into the beginning entrance row after an extended lay-off, so he can come off the bench, however Kyle Sinckler have to be instantly reinstated.

Courtney Lawes also can generate treasured momentum, defensive ferocity and aerial prowess —whereas Sam Simmonds’ supreme kind for Exeter warrants a name to put on No 8. The Chief has X-factor expertise, however Eddie Jones received’t countenance a perceived physicality deficit, though having Curry and Ben Earl on the flanks would guarantee ample back-row energy and dynamism.

Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall could form a terrifying combination with Marcus Smith

Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall may kind a terrifying mixture with Marcus Smith

It is a house banker, so it’s a really perfect time to select a daring again line, with begins for the uncapped Randall and Paolo Odogwu, and Malins changing the out-of-sorts Elliot Daly. 

Convey again George Ford at No 10, with orders to supply ammunition in order that the under-used centre pairing of Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade can hearth pictures ultimately. Itoje is greater than able to main.


Final Saturday, England may have caught a younger Jonah Lomu on the wing and made him look bang common.

You possibly can have essentially the most proficient gamers on this planet, however for those who can’t get the ball to them then they are going to spend 80 minutes standing idle.

There's no substitute for real gas and Max Malins has been been in excellent form for Bristol

There is no substitute for actual fuel and Max Malins has been been in glorious kind for Bristol

The likes of Could, Daly and Watson have the flexibility to carve up defences, given half an opportunity. There’s a case for beginning Malins at full-back, however as an alternative I might give all of England’s outdoors backs one other shot towards Italy.

See how they fare outdoors a brand new half-back mixture — and a contemporary tactical script with no over-coached kick-chase.

Let Ford play instinctively at No 10 and use the Italy match to see what Randall can supply.

The fresh-faced front-row pairing of Ellis Genge and Will Stuart shouldn’t be tossed on to the scrapheap. They want Take a look at begins to construct confidence.

England have to discover a back-up plan if Billy Vunipola just isn’t firing at No 8 — and so they have three of essentially the most dynamic back-row forwards in Willis, Earl and Curry. In fact, England ought to beat Italy at Twickenham with their reserve workforce, so I might preserve the identical blueprint for Wales away in spherical three.


THIS is a workforce to fireside a number of pictures. It’s filled with tempo. England are going to beat Italy simply, so why not explode into life with a technicolour outing after months of gray showings?

There’s nothing to be gained seeing what Owen Farrell does, so he can have every week off, with Itoje put in as captain.

It¿s an ideal time to pick a daring back line featuring Wasps winger Paolo Odogwu

It’s a really perfect time to select a daring again line that includes Wasps winger Paolo Odogwu

Ford must be given licence to thrill and with Daly dropped, Anthony Watson is in more room. With the highly effective Odogwu out extensive, he has the armoury to trigger havoc.

Within the again row, Billy Vunipola is discarded in favour of all-out velocity. Curry strikes to No 6 with the jackal king Willis at No 7. Pacy and versatile Earl is a dynamic and in-form No 8.

Dan Robson has by no means been trusted to start out, so right here is his likelihood with Ben Youngs rested.

I might additionally hand Randall a debut off the bench. Lawrence deserves one other shot, however provided that he will get the ball.

Up entrance, Sinckler is again from his ban whereas Genge and Jamie George proceed. Jonny Hill is retained because the grunt and lineout choice.

We must be in for a cracker…


Sir Clive Woodward

Malins; Watson, O’Conor, Slade, Could; Smith, Randall; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler; Itoje (capt), Dombrandt; J Willis, S Simmonds, T Curry.

Chris Foy

Malins; Odogwu, Slade, Lawrence, Could; Ford, Randall; Genge, George, Sinckler; Itoje (capt), Lawes; T Curry, S Simmonds, Earl.

Nik Simon

Daly; Watson, Slade, Lawrence, Could; Ford, Randall; Genge, George, Stuart; Itoje (capt), Hill; J Willis, T Curry, Earl.

Will Kelleher

Watson; Could, Slade, Lawrence, Odogwu; Ford, Robson; Genge, George, Sinckler; Itoje (capt), Hill; T Curry, Earl, J Willis.

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