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England's worst ever XV

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 22 May 2022, 7:50 am

https://www.ruck.co.uk/englands-worst-ever-xv-has-been-selected-including-sam-burgess/

Bit of click-bate rubbish but a discussion point non the less. I'll list the side so you don't need to endure yourself to the awful website.....

1. Darren Crompton

The Bristol prop was a solid bloke who anchored the Bristol scrum during that season where they finished 3rd in the Premiership, in 2006-07, and was rewarded with a call-up to the England squad for their tour to South Africa. However, Crompton was never the most mobile and since he was 34 when he made his bow in international colours, he was practically stationary by the time he put on the England shirt.

2. David Paice

Didn't even deserve a write-up apparently?

3. Paul Doran Jones

Despite the good early promise in his career, he spent most of his time in England colours being turned upside down in the set-piece and being battered backwards in contact.

4. Mouritz Botha

He packed a punch in the tackle but never really looked comfortable at Test level.

5. Louis Deacon

Now Deacon was as tough as nails, but was about as mobile and athletic as the very comfy sofa that I’m currently sat on and offered next to no threat to opponents. Unfortunately, he falls into that category of England players whose best quality was ‘being brave’, which fills you with admiration…but not a whole lot of confidence.

6. Roy Winters

Winters is by all accounts a Bristol legend and an all-around good egg. He was usually a lock but made his international debut on the flank, so that’s where he fits in – and he’s selected for many of the same reasons as his old club-mate Darren Crompton.  Solid bloke, yes, but international quality?  Not by a long shot.

7. Andy Hazell

Gloucester stalwart Hazell had the unenviable task of filling the retired Neil Back’s shoes.  We can assume that Robinson’s thought process was, “He’s small, he’s aggressive, he’s just like Neil Back”, but unfortunately it didn’t really work out like that.  Making his international appearances exclusively through 2004-05, Hazell became known as a bit of a penalty machine.

8. Ben Skirving

Skirving travelled to South Africa to take the place of the injured Peter Buxton in the full England squad for their two-test series against the Springboks. The back-rower was not involved in the first test, but won his first England cap starting the second test on 2 June 2007, starting in a comprehensive 55-22 defeat.

9. Shaun Perry

Much was made of the fact that Shaun Perry was an ex-welder when he burst into the limelight during an impressive season with Bristol, and it did make a charming rags-to-riches story.  But, let’s be honest, he never really looked accomplished in the England shirt. A poor performance against South Africa in the 2007 Rugby World Cup led to Perry being dropped from the 22 by England coach Brian Ashton. He never played again.

10. Shane Geraghty

Fly-half Geraghty made his England debut as a replacement against France in the 2007 Six Nations – carving through the French defence to create a crucial try for teammate Mike Tindall and kicking a penalty and a conversion in the 26-18 Twickenham triumph. However, the fact he has fallen into obscurity since, which makes this more of a disappointed selection rather than down to poor performances.

11. Lesley Vanikolo

The Volcano’ stormed onto the scene for Gloucester, doing something ridiculous like scoring five tries on his debut against Leeds, before qualifying for England on residency grounds. International honours followed, with Vainikolo making his England debut against Wales in 2008. However, he failed to bring his try-scoring form to the international scene and was quickly dropped from Martin Johnston’s squad after winning five caps.

12. Sam Burgess

England, who fast-tracked Burgess into their World Cup squad in defiance of logic, Bath and the player himself each shoulder varying degrees of blame for arguably the greatest cross-code flop in history. We’re not saying he was an awful player, but the whole thing was a complete disaster.

13. Joel Tomkins

Tomkins began his League career with Wigan in 2005 and outside of a short stint with the Widnes Vikings in 2007, played with the Warriors until moving to Saracens in 2011.

While Tomkins initially struggled to adapt to union, but his form during the beginning of the 2013/14 season saw him earn an England cap against Australia in November 2013. Although he went on to make two further international appearances, he looked completely out of his depth and returned to league soon after.

14. Barrie-Jon Mather

He became the first player to represent Great Britain in Rugby League and England in Union. His move to union was part funded by the RFU, who were embarking on a strategy of converting some of leagues best talent.

However, Mather struggled to make an impact with Sale and moved back to Castleford in 2000. In spite of his poor form with Sale, Clive Woodward gave Mather his debut against Wales in the famous Grand Slam decider in 1999. However, Mather never played for England again after Wales won the game 32-31, following Scott Gibbs’ superb try.

15.  Mark Van Gisbergen

Yes, he has a cap – only a fleeting one, as a late replacement for Mark Cueto against Australia in 2005 – but he does boast a 100% winning ratio in international colours, so you can’t knock that.

His main strengths were dropping the high ball under limited pressure and getting gassed on the outside.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Sun 22 May 2022, 8:50 am

Erinle?
Ewells?
Shontayne Hape?
Flutey?


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Post by GeordieFalcon Sun 22 May 2022, 8:53 am

Just to add some of them were very good top flight players so I can understand why they got selected...certainly Hazel,  Deacon etc....

And some would say Burgess shouldn't have been subbed and the result would have been different....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 22 May 2022, 9:00 am

Erinle. Terrible. Noon, always so average. Burgess was a flanker all day long.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun 22 May 2022, 10:05 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:Erinle?
Ewells?
Shontayne Hape?
Flutey?


Flutey and Hape had some great games for England GF, especially the former.


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Post by majesticimperialman Sun 22 May 2022, 12:41 pm

i personaly believe that since England won the RWC in 2003 the trouble has been not so much the players selected to play for England but it is the coaches who make the selections.

In my opinion Burges should never have been selected
to play for England a good league player not a union player. Like wise Vanicola should never have been select for the same reason.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 22 May 2022, 1:25 pm

Vanicola was perhaps the best player we've never seen.

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Post by dummy_half Mon 23 May 2022, 5:50 pm

How you can name Burgess ahead of Henry Paul defeats me...

And have to remember when Joel Tompkins was selected, he was about the last uninjured English outside centre playing professional rugby. A couple more injuries and I would have been taking my boots to Twickenham (and I was 40 and hadn't played in a decade).

I thnik a place should have been found for Steve Borthwick as captain - probably not as poor a player as those listed, but an underpowered 2nd row did not make an inspiring captain, following from Johnno...

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Post by Yoda Mon 23 May 2022, 6:45 pm

Charlie Ewels gets my vote as 'how does he play for england.'

Phil Christophers on the wing seemed a bit pants.


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Post by yappysnap Mon 23 May 2022, 9:35 pm

Yoda wrote:Charlie Ewels gets my vote as 'how does he play for england.'

Phil Christophers on the wing seemed a bit pants.


Ewels is so anonymous he won't ever make these lists. Squidge has him right

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Post by Poorfour Tue 24 May 2022, 9:11 am

I'm a big fan of Ugo Monye as a wing (and latterly as a pundit)... but if you put him at fullback he lasted all of 20 minutes in the role.
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Post by propdavid_london Tue 24 May 2022, 1:14 pm

Tim Payne was in so many England squads.....
Olly Barkley for me was distinctly average for England

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Post by propdavid_london Tue 24 May 2022, 1:16 pm

Feels like we need a World XV -
With Bergamasco playing no.9

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 24 May 2022, 3:40 pm

Toby Flood and Matthew Tait should be in the conversation.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 24 May 2022, 3:41 pm

No, they shouldn't.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 24 May 2022, 3:46 pm

Burgess being in the side is plain wrong, his selection was not the problem in 2015, he did his job against Wales and was then subbed off in a pre planned change that backfired.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 24 May 2022, 4:31 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:No, they shouldn't.

Too late, you just included them in the conversation. laughing

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 24 May 2022, 4:53 pm

No you included them. I didn't say they couldn't merely shouldn't with the implication that someone suggesting them would be wrong.

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Post by propdavid_london Wed 25 May 2022, 10:33 am

Not sure why, I always thought of Flood as a player similar to François Trinh-Duc.
Decent distributer and consistent kicker - solid option. I think its a bit harsh to list him in a worst ever XV!

Olly Barkley was a worse 10
Andy Goode in an England shirt!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 25 May 2022, 10:34 am

There certainly deserves to be a number of other players in the conversation, none that Collapse has mentioned though funnily enough. I'm going for.....(more the professional era)

1. Tim Payne
2. Tom Youngs (c)
3. Duncan Bell
4. Steve Borthwick
5. Nick Kennedy
6. Magnus Lund
7. Hendre Fourie
8. Jordan Crane

9. Paul Hodgson
10. Olly Barkley
11. Matt Banahan
12. Jordan Turner Hall
13. Dan Hipkiss
14. Tom Voyce
15. Alex Goode


Last edited by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 25 May 2022, 10:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 25 May 2022, 10:38 am

Again, Youngs, Borthwick no where near the worst, particularly Youngs. Goode was solid enough, motm in dreadful conditions vs Ireland and miles better than Daly.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 25 May 2022, 10:51 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Again, Youngs, Borthwick no where near the worst, particularly Youngs. Goode was solid enough, motm in dreadful conditions vs Ireland and miles better than Daly.

Taking away a lot of the "few cap wonders", these guys really stick in my mind as been pretty awful. I'm making Tom Youngs captain by the way Smile

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 25 May 2022, 10:59 am

Youngs was better than Regan, Webber, Gray, Taylor, Paice, Cairns (1 cap tho, think your cut off was 2 with Turner Hall there), Titterall for me. Beyond that is before I started to properly watch. But fair enough if you think the guy who went toe to toe with Hartley for years is worse than them.

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Post by propdavid_london Wed 25 May 2022, 11:04 am

I remember a game - think it was against Ireland and we had a back row of Tom Rees, Luke Narraway, and I think it was Magnus Lund (maybe it was Haskell, not sure). Anyway they were awesome as a unit - dominating the breakdown. Then Rees and Narraway get injured - the who dynamic changes and we lost. The 3 never played together again.
Anyway the point I was making was that Lund wasn't that bad (if I have the right guy in mind).

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Wed 25 May 2022, 11:04 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Youngs was better than Regan, Webber, Gray, Taylor, Paice, Cairns.

He certainly wasn't a better line out thrower than any of those mentioned........

Anyway, lets make this all about the turgid Tom Youngs. We also have Tim Payne in this side!

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Post by propdavid_london Wed 25 May 2022, 11:04 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Youngs was better than Regan, Webber, Gray, Taylor, Paice, Cairns (1 cap tho, think your cut off was 2 with Turner Hall there), Titterall for me. Beyond that is before I started to properly watch. But fair enough if you think the guy who went toe to toe with Hartley for years is worse than them.
Andy Titterall.....got Lions selection too!

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Post by dummy_half Wed 25 May 2022, 11:21 am

Had a look at the Wikipedia list of England players, at least from 2000 onwards. A lot of names I don't remember, who presumably were just drafted in for a couple of games here and there, especially on tours. Obviously there were some years of major transition like 2004, where there were lots of players tried and discarded.

Good call on Matt Bananaman - big, strong, quick enough and utterly useless for England despite a good club record. Steve Hanley for the other wing?

Don't agree with the suggestions of Flood or Tait - while neither were top class, both did a good job at times for England, and had versatility that made them both useful squad players.

IF you go back to the amateur days, you could find some much worse selections, mostly those who had come through Oxford or Cambridge University and the 'right' school before that. Yes, I am looking at you Marcus Rose

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Post by Poorfour Wed 25 May 2022, 12:43 pm

Banahan's a conundrum. I never liked him as a wing, but I was disappointed that his only appearance at the position where England could have made the most of his size and skill - inside centre - was in a Barbarians game.

It's a bit harsh to include Turner-Hall - he never really got a decent run in the team but I think he showed more potential there than Flutey or Hape, for instance.
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Post by Collapse2005 Wed 25 May 2022, 3:00 pm

propdavid_london wrote:Not sure why, I always thought of Flood as a player similar to François Trinh-Duc.  
Decent distributer and consistent kicker - solid option.  I think its a bit harsh to list him in a worst ever XV!

Olly Barkley was a worse 10
Andy Goode in an England shirt!

Id would have taken Goode over Flood any day. Goode was fairly decent just probably not great at looking after himself and his conditioning. Barkley probably wasnt much better than Flood alright but all three of these guys played for England at probably their lowest ebb of the pro era so are all right up there.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 25 May 2022, 7:37 pm

I remember Turner-Hall and Hipkiss, both very good players just not at international level. Funny to think that back then England struggled to find decent centre's and halfbacks; not the case any more.

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Post by propdavid_london Thu 26 May 2022, 10:07 am

So much is down to timing - we talk of Nick Kennedy not being great for England. But he was at his peak for 2yrs before getting selected and 'as you said collapse' by then he was on the decline.

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Post by propdavid_london Thu 26 May 2022, 10:10 am

I was never comfortable when I saw Paul Sackey in an England shirt....the guy had pace but was such a revolving door for defence.

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 26 May 2022, 10:15 am

propdavid_london wrote:I was never comfortable when I saw Paul Sackey in an England shirt....the guy had pace but was such a revolving door for defence.

I might be misremembering here but I always thought Sackey was very strong defensively, it was one of the main reasons Ashton selected him in 2007.

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Post by propdavid_london Thu 26 May 2022, 10:24 am

I remember a Churchill Cup game, cant remember the year or the opposition (might have been pumas). They just targeted Sackey and he appeared to just give up (not sure if injury was involved) - The group I was with were just commenting on the fact it looked like he didnt care - and that was reflected in his performance.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Thu 26 May 2022, 10:32 am

I thought Sackey was decent defensively tbh. There have been worse defensive wingers; Wade, Ashton, Solomona, the other winger from Sale.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 26 May 2022, 10:34 am

Soul Requiem wrote:
propdavid_london wrote:I was never comfortable when I saw Paul Sackey in an England shirt....the guy had pace but was such a revolving door for defence.

I might be misremembering here but I always thought Sackey was very strong defensively, it was one of the main reasons Ashton selected him in 2007.

I recall Sackey being solid actually.........JSD on the other hand (quite possibly the most over-rated player of all time) at a similar time, was terrible defensively.

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Post by propdavid_london Thu 26 May 2022, 10:48 am

OK...seems like I have been doing Sackey a disservice then!

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Thu 26 May 2022, 10:50 am

propdavid_london wrote:OK...seems like I have been doing Sackey a disservice then!

Not at all....if that's your take on him.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 26 May 2022, 11:25 am

I think it's fair to say that Sackey's head could drop if he was having a bad game, but he was a solid option most of the time.
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Post by Rugby Fan Thu 26 May 2022, 2:01 pm

Looking at some of the names being thrown up, there seem to be different criteria in use.

If it was possible to rank all players on a simple ability scale of 1-10, with 10 at the top, then choosing a team of the lowest ranked ought to suit the bill.

And yet, sometimes, a player has been called up because everyone else is injured, or way out of form/favour, and he's done the best he can within his ability, and not let anyone down. It seems a bit churlish to count someone like that. Hooker Steve Brain always played his heart out but rarely ended up on the winning side.

A better candidate would be someone who seemed to have a lot to offer but didn't deliver at international level. Someone like a rugby version of cricket's Graeme Hick. Mark van Gisbergen comes pretty close, especially with the wait to qualify on residency grounds.

In the amateur and early professional eras, poor performance would always be put down to the player. As the game has developed, however, there's a greater tendency to blame the coaches, or overall set-up, for not getting the best out of a player. If Chris Martin ("fittest man in English rugby") had got his 4 full-back caps in 2005, rather than 1985, then we might think the coaches didn't know how to use his power game, rather than lay his ineffectiveness at his door alone.

One England player who remains a mystery to me is Chris Jones, the Sale lock/flanker. He was the 2003 Young Player of the Year, Clive Woodward hailed him as the model of a modern rugby player, and gave him so early caps. Then Woodward resigned, and no-one else knew what to do with him, so his career went nowhere.

I'd also like to admit that, for years, I thought a prop who got only a single cap against Fiji in 1989, had gone on to a successful career in rugby media. It's only relatively recently, I realized Nick Mullins of BT Sport is not the same person as former Quins player Andy Mullins.

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Post by dummy_half Thu 26 May 2022, 2:49 pm

RF
I get where you are coming from - there are some players who appear to have the potential to be decent at international level who just don't make the step up because of a weakness that isn't shown up in the club game (Alex Goode, possibly Sam Simmonds), some who don't have what it takes between the ears and some who are just selected as good club pros who are the last players in their position fit and available - they might give you there all, but their all just isn't much cop (Jamie Noon, especially when paired with Tindall).

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Post by propdavid_london Thu 26 May 2022, 3:14 pm

38 England Caps for Noon suggests he was being picked when there were other 'fit' options.

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Post by yappysnap Thu 26 May 2022, 9:55 pm

propdavid_london wrote:I remember a game - think it was against Ireland and we had a back row of Tom Rees, Luke Narraway, and I think it was Magnus Lund (maybe it was Haskell, not sure). Anyway they were awesome as a unit - dominating the breakdown.  Then Rees and Narraway get injured - the who dynamic changes and we lost.  The 3 never played together again.  
Anyway the point I was making was that Lund wasn't that bad (if I have the right guy in mind).    

I think you're thinking of Jordan Crane. Another guy who promised so much!

Lund was a decent flanker, not terrible by any stretch.

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Post by yappysnap Thu 26 May 2022, 9:58 pm

propdavid_london wrote:OK...seems like I have been doing Sackey a disservice then!

Sackey was great when he could make dominant tackles, when he could run at the opponent and get them early.

He was terrible at having to tackle a player running at him, just bottled it too many times.

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