I know that I've posted before today, with the provisional England squad being announced, I think it justifies me commenting on it, as they will the boys I'll be supporting. They will have my full support while I am there, but I am a little disappointed not to see a few flair players and a few young Englishmen for at least the warm up experience.
Mind you at least, so far, we don't have problems with players appearing on reality shows or kicking off when a scrum half didn’t get his fries with his burger.
The squad announcement:
Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Good club player, obviously a Bok – why is there no English player better – i.e. there is but he’s not in his late 20’s so therefore in Johnno’s eyes can’t be good enough. Should be Kitchener from Worcester. A young talented English player.
George Chuter (Leicester Tigers), Just no. David Paice from Irish a better hooker as a fourth choice hooker, but obviously not from Tigers so Johnno not interested.
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), He’d be in my squad.
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), so would he.
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), and him.
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Oh dear, a lock who’s done OK but is injury prone. However he fits the main criteria of being Johnno’s mate from Tigers.
Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), Why didn’t Wales/Ireland beat us to it as he has a Welsh mum and an Irish dad. Would prefer the nutter from Quins - Joe Marler.
Nick Easter (Harlequins), well that’s the game plan decided then. Up the jumper and slow ball. Penalty machine. Feel better if other nations hated him, as then I’d know he was a threat, but they don’t.
Hendre Fourie (Sale Sharks), Why why why? Better English players – such as Saull, Sarries and Dowson (Saints) . However fits Johnno’s other criteria for selection, i.e 30 and from the Southern Hemisphere.
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Would be my captain. Everyone hates him, which is reason enough for me. (mind you I wish Johnno could pick Britz as a hooker. If he’s going to pick 30 year old foreigners – at least there would be some eye candy.)
James Haskell (Unattached), Unattached should be followed by for a reason. Blond and a bimbo when it comes to rugby brain. Had more chances than any other player and still hasn’t done it.
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Shoe in. I bet he gets injured, having to do the work of both the locks, and half the back row.
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby), He’s lovely. I met him in January and we had a real laugh, so should be in for that reason alone.
Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby), Will be injured as he’s picking too many up now.
Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Would probably be in my squad, if he had a hair cut.
Tim Payne (London Wasps), Would even be in Burton’s side if left to me. The worst scrummager in the Premiership, he’s fitted with roller skates, so he can go back even faster.
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Hooray – but won’t be on the plane because he’s English and in form. Johnno will go for Fourie.
Simon Shaw (London Wasps), Starting to smell of wee.
Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Injury prone, and out of form – owes England big time, but I’d probably pick him.
Matt Stevens (Saracens), Just immense this season. Deserves his place. Shown great character in coming back as he’s took a lot of jibes for his coke use.
Steve Thompson (London Wasps), I wish he was banned. Known as Banjo for a reason.
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Reserve at the end of the season for Tigers, who picked Jordan Crane for all the big games. However Jordan is English and Waldrom isn’t – Tigers, big, 30 and a journeyman Southern Hemisphere player – bound to get picked. PS Dowson is English and versatile across the back row – better choice over both of them but not a Tigers player.
David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Ok as a squad man.
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), In my squad.
Joe Worsley (London Wasps). Used to like him but he’s been injured all season – Dowson would be my choice.
Delon Armitage (London Irish), Two disciplinary offences this year. Has turned from being a star player to an idiot – also not performing well. Alex Goode would be my choice as he is versatile and could cover Fly Half as well.
Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), I know he’s good because the Welsh hate him.
Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), Just no. can’t defend, is slow, looks like a lock so shoe in for Johnno.
Danny Care (Harlequins), would pick him as 1 of the three, but not as good as he thinks he is. Too easy to read. His impression of a meerkat behind the pack is a good one though.
Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), sadly his best days are behind him. A winger that can’t score, but is solid in defence – a certain Johnno pick.
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), scarily out of form. I hope he finds it during the warm up games. A limited 20 year old (Farrell, Saracens) showed him up in the Prem. Final.
Riki Flutey (London Wasps), One very good season, but what’s he done since the Lions tour. Should not be near the squad. However he is a 30 year old journeyman Southern Hemisphere player. Would pick Barrit (Saracens above him, but Sarries beat Tigers and must be punished.
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), See Ashton. The weight of expectation may slow him down, as apart from Ashton no one else is capable of attacking.
Shontayne Hape (London Irish), 30 year old journeyman etc. etc. If on the weird off chance we play New Zealand, can he honestly say he will give his all. (His all isn’t very much either. Meanwhile, Anthony Allen, Jordan Turner Hall and Brad Barrit are watching it on tv. )
Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), At least he offers something different in terms of creativity. Clegg or Farrell for me though.
Ugo Monye (Harlequins), getting back to form, but can consider himself lucky.
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), great exciting and scores tries = there for the warm-ups.
Joe Simpson (London Wasps), fast as anything and also can play on the wing.
James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby), not as good as he was, should have been in the squad 3 years ago. Will get injured in the warm-ups.
David Strettle (Saracens), the better Sarries winger James Short isn’t even in the Saxons or the U20’s. Will do OK though.
Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby), One can hope he gets injured. There because Johnno wants a knighthood. Since he’s been injured, Gloucester have scored a hatful of tries. Henry Trinder his Gloucester team mate breaks a line. Can't pass, can't break a line, and his defence isn't as good as it used to be. If you watch re-runs of 2003, he was the weak link in the side.
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), If I was Scotland, Argentina et al and he gets picked, I’d just wind him up through the roof, and watch him fly. His punishment for GBH was influenced by Johnno. Should have had the book thrown at him. Trinder a better option.
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Won’t go though unless there is an injury. Different style of scrum half.
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), dropped because he couldn’t change the games in the 6 nations. On the bench to bring on for a last ditch drop goal. See comments re Flood/Hodgson.
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers). Worryingly out of form, perhaps because he’s had too much contact with the genius of Wells and Ford (England coaches.)
So overall not that impressive. Uninspiring, but as World Cups since 1991 have been won by teams playing tight, I can understand where Johnno is coming from, but a bit depressing all the same. The teams that won in these years, actually had an A and a B game. In this squad there is just an A game. Team shirts will be looser, as the ball will be carried in them a lot.
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers. The team song from the last World Cup.