Sir Clive Woodward picks his England team to face Samoa

Sir Clive Woodward picks his England team to face Samoa

Sir Clive Woodward picks the England team he'd like to see start against Samoa next week.

Sir Clive Woodward hopes England coach Eddie Jones will make changes to his starting line-up for next weekend’s game against Samoa, and believes his XV would take some stopping.

England’s World Cup-winning coach Woodward says he would make numerous changes to the side that defeated Australia 30-6 at Twickenham – mainly in the pack – starting with a whole new front row in Ellis Genge, Jamie George and Harry Williams.

In discussing the loose trio and second row, Woodward feels that continuity is key, as is giving the bench from the Wallabies game time on the park. In moving Courtney Lawes to the blindside flank it would allow Maro Itoje to come in at lock alongside Joe Launchbury.

When discussing the backline, Woodward said he would play Danny Care and Owen Farrell in the half-backs and Henry Slade at No 12.

“It’s a very fast, young exciting team,” said Woodward. “That side will take some stopping if they play well.

“I want to see Genge, George and Williams start a game. All three of them. It’s an incredibly talented front row that, incredibly talented.

“Momentum is huge and England going into 2018 have got huge momentum after that game today, so let’s really keep the team together in terms of the 23 or 25.

“I wouldn’t want to rest Lawes, Launchbury or Itoje as I want to give them a game and see how we can play and start to blow some teams away.

“The guys who have been on the bench need to start in this game. Definitely Sam Simmonds at No 8 and hopefully Sam Underhill is fit to play at No 7.

“I am very excited about that side.

“Even if Care hadn’t have come on [against Australia] today. I would have started Care in the Samoa game anyway. I thought he came on and played well today. You have go to keep your two No 9s competing but also to give him some real game time.

“I want to see Slade have another game on the front foot on the inside centre position and see Owen Farrell at No 10.”

The rapid back three is an area the former England coach is impressed with and he was asked if he believed Anthony Watson was keeping injured Mike Brown’s jersey warm until the Harlequins full-back is fit.

“I don’t think so,” Woodward responded. “Brown’s got to get back in the team. I think Watson is at his best at full-back, he made a couple of errors but the upside far outweighed the downside to me.

“I think Brown at his very best may break into that back three.The back three has this wonderful thing called pace.”

England registered a comprehensive victory over Australia in the Cook Cup to follow their win over Argentina, and Woodward feels it is the perfect opportunity to rotate the bench against the Pacific Islanders for their last game of the autumn international series.

“Make no mistake Samoa will not just be a walkover but you have to use these three autumn internationals,” he added.

“Now that you have got this big win today against Australia. I think you can not even call it experimenting, it’s giving them a game seeing how good they are at the next level up.”


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