Waiting in the wings
Sky Sports rugby union writer Tony Curtis looks at the wingers hoping to break into the England squad
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 05/03/13 6:05pm
England might be on a four-match winning run but there is no room for complacency within the squad.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster has not been afraid to be brave with selections during his reign and you can argue a case for a number players who fail to make the starting XV.
Waiting in the wings
However it is on the the wing where England has a real wealth of talent.
An out-of-sorts Chris Ashton, who has defended his recent form, and Harlequins full-back Mike Brown currently occupy the spots out wide. Sky Sports assesses the talented fliers who are waiting in the wings...
The Saracens winger is a current member of the elite playing squad so he must be in pole position if there are to be any changes. His scoring record of one try in 13 Tests doesn't do him justice, with Strettle a talented operator. At 29 he is entering dangerous territory for wingers - with experience so often dumped in favour if youth - however he still has pace to burn and an eye for the line.
Like Strettle, Foden is a member of the elite playing squad and although he prefers life in the No 15 jersey he is no stranger to doing a shift on the wing. He played twice there during the tour of South Africa and that appears to be his best route back into the side given the form of Alex Goode at full-back. Foden, who has shown glimpses of his best form with Northampton this season, has scored seven tries in 30 Tests.
The young Wasps winger continues to impress and has been staking a strong claim for a chance to make the step up. He has shown his worth for his country at Sevens, Under-20s and Saxons levels, while he scored against the Barbarians in May and crossed for a hat-trick against SA Barbarians during last summer's tour. There have been questions raised over his size, however his diminutive stature hasn't stopped him scoring at every level.
Played and scored in the autumn internationals, however Sharples has subsequently dropped down the pecking order. He crossed twice in the win over Fiji but he was axed following the narrow defeat against Australia and now finds himself as part of the Saxons set-up. The 23-year-old is lightning fast but was exposed defensively against the Wallabies.
The 29-year-old has not won as many caps as a player of his talent undoubtedly deserves. He has played 16 times for England but despite scoring in the 54-12 rout over Fiji in the autumn he has not been involved with the side since. He toured - and scored for - the British and Irish Lions in 2009, while he has crossed 81 times in 203 appearances for Harlequins.
Yarde is one of the bright young hopes and has already been capped by England at junior levels. The form of the 20-year-old has been one of the key reasons behind Irish's recent revival, with Yarde crossing for six tries this season. He was the top try-scorer during the Under-20s Six Nations in 2012, while he helped England to the final of the JWC the previous year.
The skills of the Bath man are well-known to England coach Stuart Lancaster, who mentored Biggs during their days together at Leeds. He has remained on the fringes of the national side over the years, however he has impressed for the Saxons while his recent form has seen him train with the full squad. He has crossed for 32 tries in 121 Premiership appearances, combining an impressive blend of pace and power.
The former rugby league international has proved his versatility for Bath this season and although he seems destined for a role in the centres, he has looked a threat on the wing. Scored a stunning try against Wasps earlier in the season, while he got one over Charlie Sharples in the Friday's West Country derby. With electric pace, elusive running skills and a low centre of gravity, Eastmond seems certain to play for England in the near-future.