Lawrence Dallaglio is back, for the third time
Brian Ashton has named a 47-man training squad in preparation for the World Cup this autumn and it comes as no surprise that Lawrence "Look At Me" Dallaglio has talked his way in by proxy. On this occasion he seems to have got Shaun Edwards to do the talking for him rather than fluttering his eylashes at the press himself as he did before.
This is the third time Dallaglio has forced his way back into the squad: the first time was after his News of the World drug sting shame; and secondly to try and lift the stench of failure that shrouded Andy Robinson's regime last year (he failed), at the expense of Martin Corry's dignity.
It says much about the state of English rugby at present when a coach as adventurous as Ashton is going back to the future with the likes of Dallaglio in such a pivotal position. I assume Ashton is looking to use him in the same way as Wasps, where he plays flat out for 50-60 mins and then makes way for James Haskell.
However, Lawrence up against the dynamic guile of Spies will be a mismatch made in hell, or heaven depending in who you shout for.
On the up-side Nick Abandanon and Dan Hipkiss finally get a look in. Full squad after the jump. [Lee C] [Image: Getty]
England's 47-man World Cup training squad:
Forwards: Steve Borthwick (Bath), George Chuter (Leicester), Martin Corry (Leicester), Lawrence Dallaglio (Wasps), Louis Deacon (Leicester), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Perry Freshwater (Perpignan), James Haskell (Wasps), Andrew Hazell (Gloucester), Ben Kay (Leicester), Magnus Lund (Sale), Lee Mears (Bath), Lewis Moody (Leicester), Tom Palmer (Wasps), Tom Rees (Wasps), Mark Regan (Bristol), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Matt Stevens (Bath), Phil Vickery (Wasps), Dan Ward-Smith (Bristol), Julian White (Leicester), Joe Worsley (Wasps), Kevin Yates (Saracens).
Backs: Nick Abendanon (Bath), Olly Barkley (Bath), Mike Catt (London Irish), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Mark Cueto (Sale), Andrew Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Newcastle), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Andrew Gomarsall (Harlequins), Dan Hipkiss (Leicester), Charlie Hodgson (Sale), Josh Lewsey (Wasps), Olly Morgan (Gloucester), Jamie Noon (Newcastle), Shaun Perry (Bristol), Peter Richards (Gloucester), Jason Robinson (Sale), Paul Sackey (Wasps), David Strettle (Harlequins), Mathew Tait (Newcastle), Mike Tindall (Gloucester), Fraser Waters (Wasps), Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle).
Wales name World Cup training squad
Wales coach Gareth Jenkins has named his inititial training squad for the World Cup, and it makes grim reading for fair-dinkum Welsh boyo Brent Cockbain.
The Walestralian second row has been shunted out of the huge squad and replaced by Gloucester's Will James, who only made the step up to Premiership rugby 18 months ago, and qualifies for Wales via his parents.
Backs: Aled Brew, Lee Byrne, Gareth Cooper, Gavin Evans, Gavin Henson, James Hook, Dafydd James, Thomas James, Mark Jones, Stephen Jones, Kevin Morgan, Sonny Parker, Dwayne Peel, Mike Phillips, Jamie Robinson, Tom Shanklin, Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Thomas, Shane Williams.
Forwards: Huw Bennett, Colin Charvis, Ian Evans, Ian Gough, Richard Hibbard, Chris Horsman, Will James, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Duncan Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Michael Owen, Alix Popham, Matthew Rees, Rob Sidoli, Gavin Thomas, Iestyn Thomas, Jonathan Thomas, Rhys Thomas, T Rhys Thomas, Martyn Williams.
Mentalist Trevor Brennan has ban cut to five years
In quite the most pointless appeal in the history of the game, level-headed Trevor Brennan has had his lifetime ban cut to five years. The fact that the former milkman retired in the summer, thus they could ban him until the end of the life of Earth as we know it and it would not make any difference seems to have escaped everyone involved.
Brennan will now concentrate his time on punching people who frequent his bar in Toulouse if they say the pint needs topping up, or something else he could misconstrue as an insult to his family. [Lee C] [Iamge: Getty]
Danny Grewcock in disciplinary trouble - AGAIN!!
Mild-mannered England second-row and all round gentle soul Danny Grewcock has been banned for six weeks after thumping a Frenchman in the European Challenge cup final.
This move could effectively rule Grewcock out of the World Cup as it renders him unavailable for the opening two encounters of England's campaign. I doubt that Brian Ashton will want to clog his squad up with a 34-year-old disciplinary liability who can't even play for two games, and is then highly likely to get banned again for the next two. [lee c] [Image: Getty]
Jake White - "Boks have psychological edge"
Following the mauling that England took at the hands of South Africa on the recent comedy tour, Boks coach Jake White has turned his vocal output chip to gloat and said, "We've won a Test series, scored over 100 points and got 15 tries in the process, some from structured play and some from broken play"
"I think it's going to definitely have a psychological impact going on to the World Cup."
Perhaps. However, I'm not sure how much of an edge can be gained by beating a side that left 30 of its first and second-choice personnel at home, and those that were brought on tour spent more time pebble dashing the porcelain than smashing tackles bags on the field. Added to that, not only were the Boks at home, a home advantage at 4,500 feet is a totally different gravy to Twickenham by the Thames.
In spite of all this England still managed to compete for periods, particularly the first half of the second test. Ultimately they fell a long way short, but beating a fourth choice side at home should not be cause for such assured bleatings from the Saffers. [Image: Getty]