Natural selection? England 2012-4

Sharing Sunday: A very good blog looking at England’s selections during Lancaster’s 32 games in charge (written before the Samoa game).

'Orrible Punt

Wholehearted and hard-working, Stuart Lancaster’s men nonetheless lacked both composure and a cutting edge.”

The above is a line from a BBC’s match report on England’s narrow home loss against South Africa, from November 2012. It could well have been used this week though. There has been a strong reaction to the 2014 losses against New Zealand and South Africa, with the view that the team are now at crisis point. Are England really no better off than two years ago?

The accepted view at the moment seems to be that they can be relied on to put in a shift, possess a strong pack (regardless of injuries) and set-piece and aren’t going to be beaten by many points at home. On the other hand, there is still a big question mark over backline selection, specifically the centre combination while game management and decision making under pressure remain…

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