England, Wales & French Teams Named

23 02 2010

England

We have all breathed a sigh of relief here at the Compulsive Hooker, with the news that Martin Johnson has named an unchanged side to the one that disappointed so against Italy. Jonny retains his place in the team and the only Hodgson in sight is an altogether better one, in the shape of London Irish’s Paul, who retains his place on the bench. Foden has come back into the subs line up replacing Matt Mullan of Worcester, and Joe Worsley for Steffon Armitage.

Johnson’s strange attraction to average and low impact locks continues with Deacon retaining his place, presumably as not to upset the balance of the team if Borthwick was to be removed.

With Ireland still to name their team we’ll hold off on the customary predictions at this stage….

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Wales vs France

Encouraging news for rugby fans in the hulking shape of Mike Phillips, who takes a place on the Welsh bench after playing only 40 minutes since coming back from injury. Wales who have been in something of a scrum half crisis without him, have named Richie Rees as starting 9 but be assured Phillips will come on at some point. Ever since the Lions he has been one of our favourite players here at the Compulsive Hooker.

Other than that Jonathan Thomas comes in in place of Andy Powell who is banned. Thomas will relish this opportunity to resurrect his Welsh careers after some time on the periphery and should not be underestimated by any means.

For France Benjamin Fall and Julien Bonnaire start. With the French there is always a slight question mark over how well they travel, yet the feeling is building that Lievremont has now got it right. Our feeling is that if they play even half as well as against Ireland then they will have too much for the Welsh.

For the Championships sake however and to attempt to maintain excitement to the end, we wouldn’t mind seeing the Welsh pull through and win this one. Certainly if they play like they did against Scotland  in the last 10 minutes of that game they will both have a chance and provide what would in all likelihood be a fantastic game for rugby connoisseurs.

Prediction: 32-21 to France.

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