After England were dealt the boost of quartet Ben Te’o, Jonathan Joseph, Brad Shields and Joe Cokanasiga being fit to face France this weekend, fans have given their thoughts on Twitter as to what team Eddie Jones should field.
After such a brilliant performance against Ireland in Dublin last week, it is no surprise that the majority of the fans do not want to see any changes for ‘Le Crunch’ at Twickenham this Sunday (apart from the necessary injury replacements).
The fans were particularly insistent that Jones does not tamper with the back-row upon Shields’ return, as they were superb at the weekend. Mark Wilson put in another tireless shift in the six shirt, making the second most tackles. In fact, he was one of England’s standout performers in the Autumn as well, and despite Shields looking to be a favourite of Jones’, it would be grossly unfair to drop him. Likewise, Tom Curry’s presence at the breakdown, as well as his speed around the field, will also mean that Jones will struggle to justify dropping him.
With Nathan Hughes coming on from the bench in testing circumstances at the weekend and playing in the second-row, he does not merit being dropped from the bench either to make way for Shields.
Similarly to the back-row, it seems unthinkable that the Australian would consider tampering with his centre combination of Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade after an imperious performance in Dublin, regardless of how well Te’o and Joseph have performed in the past.
While almost all the fans were most vocal about the back-row, some were calling for the 21-year-old Cokanasiga to find his way onto the bench for the France match. He certainly does not warrant replacing Jonny May or Jack Nowell, but after such a dominant display last time he wore an England shirt in the Autumn against Australia, Jones will surely be tempted to give him another chance.
One thing that was mentioned by the fans that all England supporters would agree on is the fact that there is an incredible strength in depth to the squad, shown by a number of high-quality players missing out.
This is what the fans had to say:
Will any of them break into the 23?
— Henry Bate (@thebathbadger) February 5, 2019
Personally I can't see where they fit but then Eddie rarely asks me my views on these things
— James Hickman (@jimbobhickman) February 5, 2019
Hopefully shields will be released unless youve seen something that ive not Nick? I just dont get that selection
— rugby is life ? (@AntonyWallbank) February 5, 2019
Thst back row isn’t getting changed!!!!
— scott (@bradbchesney3) February 5, 2019
I can't see any of them getting near the 23, let alone the 15. Shields is not fit to lace Wilson's boots!
— Nick Auger (@NickAuger88) February 5, 2019
If Jones drops any of the back row for shields unless due to injury I’ll vow to never watch again!
— SparkyBorderTerrier (@LordSparky) February 5, 2019
I don't think any of them are required
— Andrew Lawrence (@Whitlean) February 5, 2019
Back row, centres and wings don’t need changing after Dublin.
— Robert Eve (@Rob683) February 5, 2019
If Shields replaces Wilson we riot.
— Alex Telfer (@TelferAlex) February 5, 2019
Wilson & Curry played out of their skin. They slowed so much ball it was crazy and absolutely gold dust. Shields is not anywhere near them yet
— Nic Nac (@NicNacLarky) February 5, 2019
You cant drop Mark Wilson after his performance.
— Adrian Slabbert (@adrian_slabbert) February 5, 2019
Back row were fantastic and I prefer them all over Shields anyway.
Cokanasiga definitely in 23. Difficult to drop anyone after that performance, so maybe become on as a finisher.
— Crypto Strong (@Crypto_Strong) February 5, 2019
There now looks like a lot of depth in that squad!
— Paul oneill (@Thechief1975) February 5, 2019
Like the thought of having Slade and Joseph as options at 13. We've really got a ton of depth now… Except SH and FH. Although not because of a lack talent but of a lack of game time.
— Damian Jekyll (@DamianJekyll) February 5, 2019
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