So the brave new world of English rugby announces itself to the world with a bit of a damp squib. Charlie Hodgson at Fly-Half I’ve just seen described by Matt Dawson as “One of the best fly-halves England have had”. Which must count as some major disservice to all others who have donned the jersey.
Excitingly though, they’ve gone for a debut in the back row, some youth and exuberance no doubt? No the 30 year old Phil Dowson makes an appearance. He gets in, as Stuart Lancaster describes it, because “He deserves it” which “is a big thing for me” apparently. Shame Declan Kidney goes on things like talent and ability, otherwise I’d be dusting off my boots and trying reeeaaally reeaaally hard, until I deserved it too.
Team in full;
Ben Foden; Chris Ashton; Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell, David Strettle; Charlie Hodgson; Ben Youngs; Alex Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole; Mouritz Botha, Tom Palmer; Tom Croft, Chris Robshaw (captain), Phil Dowson.
Replacements: Rob Webber, Matt Stevens, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Jordan Turner-Hall, Mike Brown.