Rugby Union: England Name Eps Squad For The Six Nations

The Rfu announced the new England Elite Performance Squad on Wednesday, revealing the names of those expected to take England forward into the Six Nations.

The squad has 15 players who were not in New Zealand, with the older heads of Mike Tindall and Nick Easter failing to make the cut.

Nine players are uncapped, with the likes of Own Farrell and Ben Morgan getting their chance as has been predicted in the media for some weeks now. Four others have one cap to their name, in the form of Mouritz Botha, Charlie Sharples, Chris Robshaw and Joe Simpson.

Other players getting a chance include young Harlequins prop Joe Marler, who is likely to celebrate with a typically outrageous hair style, the perennial nearly man Phil Dowson in the back row, alongside fellow Saint Calum Clark, raising the prospect of a all Northampton Back row with Tom Wood.

Louis Deacon is
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Rugby World Cup 2011 Quarter Final Match Report: England 12 – France 19

With 80 minutes against an unwavering Wales the prize next week, one of Europe’s oldest battles took place once again, as the French looked to ensure they were not knocked out of the World Cup by England for the third tournament in a row.

With both teams coming into the game with far from perfect build ups, even the most experienced commentators were struggling to call this one. With no real form between them and countless off-field distractions, it was England who started the brighter, threatening down one wing, then the other.

A stolen line-out 5 metres from the French line pushed the England back, but they seemed to be keeping their promise to hit the ground running. However this promise was swiftly broken.

With England initially appearing to be trying to be more disciplined they soon were back to old ways, Toby Flood penalised for not releasing at a tackle.
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Rugby World Cup 2011 Match Preview: Scotland vs England

For one team a Quarter-Final with New Zealand or France awaits, for the other, the departure lounge. Despite the many permutations created by who wins Georgia vs. Argentina, the most likely scenario will be who ever wins this game goes through to the knock-out stages joined by Argentina.

Bonus points and points difference could ultimately be crucial, but both teams will be looking to win outright. And this attitude has been reflected in the teams selected. Scotland have named a strong and dynamic side, looking to run the ball as they have endeavoured to for the whole of the World Cup, much to their credit.

Six changes see Captain Alaistair Kellock return to partner Richie Gray in the second row, strong scrummager Euan Murray returns to tight head and nippy Mike Blair to scrum half. The hard running Sean Lamont is moved to centre with Simon Danielli taking his place on the wing.
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Rugby World Cup 2011 Match Report: England 67 – Romania 3

A battle of wits developed very early on Saturday, both sides thinking they had the advantage on several occasions. There were several lulls punctuated by sudden bursts of activity. But enough about my battle for supremacy of the snooze feature with my alarm clock, you probably want to know about the rugby.

In the ‘greenhouse’ of the Dunedin stadium, England started brightly against a youthful, and dare I saw raw, Romanian side, Jonny dissecting the posts within a minute with a penalty.

After a brutally honest review, by all accounts, of the disappointing Georgia game, England played with a breath-taking energy for the next five minutes, twice ruined by soft penalties for not securing ruck ball and then a forward pass.

As is typical of such teams, it looked like it was the scrum Romania would put up the biggest challenge. But is was out wide England wanted to play,
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Rwc 2011 Match Preview: England v Romania

With seven changes to the team that beat Georgia 41-10 last Sunday, all the headlines were on Hrh Mike Tindall, who has been targeted by the media following the release of CCTV footage of him talking to a woman. The fact nothing of note actually happened has been overlooked by the papers, and it’s not something I would expect to affect Tindall’s performance as he replaces Shontayne Hape. Martin Johnson is clever enough not to take the risk if he even thought there was a chance. And who would argue with Johnno? Anyone? Exactly…

In what could be considered close to the first choice Xv, Mark Cueto makes his return for the unfortunate Delon Artmitage. Manu Tuilagi is given another chance to find his feet at the top level at outside centre, and Jonny Wilkinson slots back in to fly-half after an encouraging performance last week from Toby Flood.
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