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RugbyDump's England starting XV for summer tour

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Monday Jun 10, 2024

England’s 36-man squad for the upcoming summer internationals against Japan and New Zealand has just been announced, with six potential debutants being included as the team head to Tokyo to begin preparations for their tour.

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Out of the 36 selected, we have chosen our strongest XV, check it out here:

England Starting XV

Loose Head: Fin Baxter

Rightfully inducted into the Gallagher Premiership Team of the Season, baby-faced Baxter has proven to be able to compete with the very best in the game after a terrific European effort from his Harlequins teammates. Often ousting England veteran Joe Marler from the Quins starting lineup, this summer’s tour could be a very real opportunity for the young man.

Hooker: Theo Dan

The young hooker has been playing under the guidance of Jamie George at Saracens and England, but this could well be the time that the up and coming front man truly steps out from under the shadows of the front row legend. Touted by many as the future of England’s front row, the 23-year-old will look to build upon his 2023 World Cup experience as he puts down a marker heading towards 2027.

Tight Head: Dan Cole

The strangest of all international recalls came in the form of Dan Cole when he was called up to the England squad for the 2023 World Cup. Many believed he was well past it in 2019, but after a rejuvenated period under Steve Borthwick at Leicester Tigers, the England centurion was called back into action to perform admirably in France. He may be verging on forty, but who are we to deny him an England spot?

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Second Row: Maro Itoje

The Saracens man has had such high expectations placed upon him ever since he burst onto the international scene in his early twenties, so it’s testament that as he approaches his thirties he is still seen as one of the first names on the England team sheet. His form over the years has risen, dipped, and then risen again like any professional player, but because of his stature, both peaks are more obvious. Now joined in the lock by younger players, Itoje is now taking on higher leadership responsibilities.

Second Row: George Martin

With the exclusion of Ollie Chessum from the summer tour, this opens the gate for the immensely talented George Martin to flex his impressive frame in the second row alongside Maro Itoje. Incredibly impressive in all of his Six Nations appearances this year, the summer tour will be an opportunity for the two metre tall Leicester Tiger to put down his starting marker.

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Blindside Flanker: Chandler Cunningham-South

The new Courtney Lawes. Absolutely massive and hits like a truck, Chandler Cunningham-South has what it takes to become a world class flanker. Incredibly impressive for Quins this year in the Premiership and in Europe, he makes an impact with almost every interaction on the pitch, and is still only 21 years of age. A huge opportunity to take advantage of the French exodus that has fallen upon many of England’s back row options.

Openside Flanker: Tom Curry

Tom Curry has held on to a starting England shirt ever since his debut as a young man, when he was touted as the future of English rugby by former head coach Eddie Jones. Still only 25, Curry is entering his prime years as a back rower where he is now firmly situated in his preferred role at openside thanks to the inclusion of Ben Earl at number 8.

Number 8: Ben Earl

England’s standout player at the 2023 World Cup, Ben Earl has become a non-negotiable starter for a side that relies on pure aggression to break the opposition defence. With acceleration to match any back, and strength to match any forward, Earl is a weapon that England simply cannot survive, or thrive, without.

Scrum Half: Ben Spencer

Despite having appeared in the 2019 World Cup final with England, Spencer’s international career has never really taken off since. His performances in a Bath shirt have always suggested that he should be given the opportunity, but very few consistent ones have come. Despite now being the wrong side of thirty, Spencer is currently playing some of the best rugby of his career alongside Scotland fly half partner Finn Russell – and as a result should be rewarded for it.

Fly Half: Marcus Smith

There are plenty of arguments that the Smith in this position should be Fin, and even I, in a previous article have argued so, but the simple fact is that Marcus has bundles more experience and a skillset that simply cannot be matched. To compete against an All Blacks side still smarting from defeat by old rivals South Africa is not an occasion that can be headed into lightly, which is why you need to stick with your best fly half, Marcus Smith.

Winger: Ollie Slightholme

Whilst Steve Borthwick failed to introduce last seasons top try scorer, Caden Murley to the full international stage, this time around it feels as though the England coach cannot ignore a league winner. Blessed with impressive pace and a brilliant ability to read the game, Slightholme should have the opportunity to truly put his mark down on a international place this summer.

Inside Centre: Ollie Lawrence

One of the shining stars of Bath’s incredible resurgence over the past two years, Lawrence will likely take on the gainline breaking mantle that Manu Tuilagi had held on to for so long. Used impressively by Finn Russell at Bath to dent and break holes in each defence that attempts to pull down the barnstorming centre, his England compatriots will be thrilled with the knowledge that the 24-year-old will likely start alongside them for many years to come.

Outside Centre: Henry Slade

Recently named as the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Season, Slade has been in impeccable form for Exeter Chiefs in a time where they need their experienced heads to lead a new generation of Devonians. Known as the Rolls Royce of players, Slade has brought his silky skills to the next level after being left out of the World Cup squad, and has honed parts of his game, such as his goal kicking, to a whole new level. The outside centre will be a vital part of this growing England squad, expected to now lead in a young side during this four year cycle.

Winger: Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

The explosive rise of the Exeter University student can only be matched by the power that comes from his legs as he proves time and time again in a club and international shirt that even the greatest defences in world rugby struggle to deal with him. At just 21 years of age, Feyi-Waboso is expected to don the England winger’s shirt for the next ten years.

Fullback: George Furbank

Furbank has always had his doubters at international level, but after his performances in the recent Six Nations and the Gallagher Premiership, his abilities are exactly what England need right now. Whilst he does make some ‘Ian Balshaw’ style mistakes, his running style and playmaking abilities greatly outweigh any negatives for an England side that have struggled to put together an efficient and exciting attack over the past few years.

View our Ireland XV HERE.

Next up: Wallaby and All Black XV’S.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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