Left-sided problem

The Rugby Club panel are excited by the England squad

Last Updated: 11/05/12 9:18am

Our experts discuss the latest England squad

There was an upbeat mood in the Rugby Club studio following the announcement of England's squad to tour South Africa this summer - but our eagle-eyed critics picked up a few areas of frustration.

"It is like England sending a centre forward to the European Championships on the continent later in the year and saying well they are really good at tracking back and marking corners and working hard but the one thing that they can't do is score goals."

Stuart Barnes

Quotes of the week

Stuart Barnes, Dewi Morris and Will Greenwood were all largely happy with the 42-man touring party, which included 13 uncapped players as Stuart Lancaster continued his plan to reinvigorate the national team.

Barnes highlighted the selection of Leicester hooker Tom Youngs, who has not started a Premiership game in that position for the club, as symptomatic of Lancaster's planning for the future, while Dewi Morris welcomed the inclusion of a host of young players, including Wasps winger Christian Wade.

But for Barnes the selection of wingers Ugo Monye and David Strettle represented a conservative approach.

"I was looking at Miles Benjamin who has really impressed me in a Worcester team that is quite static and he has created a lot," he told the Rugby Club.

"If there is one area where I looked at this squad and was really disappointed - two big disappointed faces - it was the left wing because David Strettle and Ugo Monye are great chasers and work very hard but being an international wing the first thing that you have got to be able to do is get that ball down when you get a chance.

"And if you look at the finishing of these two guys it is not top notch.

"It is like England sending a centre forward to the European Championships on the continent later in the year and saying well they are really good at tracking back and marking corners and working hard, but the one thing that they can't do is score goals.

"If you are going to win in South Africa you can't keep relying on Owen Farrell, Charlie Hodgson, Toby Flood or whoever to kick the goals, you are going to have to score some tries. And I just thought the balance of Monye and Strettle - yes lots of experience, but no not a lot of finishing - was wrong."

Finishers

Greenwood thought Bath flyer Tom Biggs could have solved the left-side problem and was disappointed to see him omitted from the squad.

"I thought he may have taken my flame-haired, long haired friend Tom Biggs," Greenwood said.

"I thought he might have squeezed his way in there but overall the balance, the opportunities, the core of the Six Nations team is there. And as Stuart says there is an opportunity to experiment with some young."

Openside

As for Morris, the glaring omission was that of Steffon Armitage, who has been in terrific for French side Toulon.

The former England scrum-half suggested that Armitage's club commitments could have counted against the flanker but insisted his form still warranted a trip to South Africa.

Morris said: "His form suggests to me that if he was playing for anyone else, especially in the Premiership, he would have been England's No 7. It is the key position.

"We have to fill this position and he would have been the guy. I still would have taken him even if Toulon get all the way to the final because of the way he is turning games on their head, on his own, in getting over the top of the ball like (Heinrich) Brussow."