Ranked: England's Player Depth

Ranked: England's Player Depth

England had a rocky start to 2020 as they went down to France in their opening Six Nations game of the competition following their defeat to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup Final in Japan last year.

Eddie Jones' men has since gone on to beat Scotland, Ireland and Wales before the competition was put on hold. 

Jones has handed out a few debuts so far in 2020 but has largely used the squad that made the Final last year. England have one of largest player pools playing professional rugby in the top tiers of test rugby meaning they quite a bit of depth in each position.

We have ranked each player out of a potential 10.

Loosehead prop: Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler, Ellis Genge, Ben Moon and Ben Obano

Ellis Genge has provided England with a punch off the bench and continues to force Eddie Jones' hand and earn a starting role. However, he has two class loosehead's in his way with the outstanding Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola.

Elsewhere, Ben Moon has been called upon multiple times for England and has never disappointed while Ben Obano continues to show promise and is likely to feature prominently if he can stay injury free.

Rating: 8

Hooker: Jamie George, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Dunn, Jack Singleton and Harry Thacker

George and Cowan-Dickie have Jones' go to hookers in recent times with the latter even seeing some improved minutes with George often playing 70+ minutes in the past.

There is a real lack of international experience after the first two but the likes Singleton, Dunn and Thacker are certainly not too far off from making the side.

Rating: 7

Tighthead Prop: Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Dan Cole and Harry Williams

Sinckler has continually redefined the modern tighthead since his debut with his excellent ball skills while Dan Cole has been a rock at tighthead for England for some time, despite being shown up the World Cup Final.

Will Stuart has shown early promise as too has Williams but there is a notable drop from Sinckler.

Rating: 6

Locks: Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Alex Moon, Charlie Ewels, Elliot Stooke, Jonny Hill and Ted Hill

Eddie Jones has plenty of options when it comes to his second row with the likes of the promising duo of Nick Isiekwe and Joel Kpoku who excellent promise in the position.

Maro Itoje has been pretty much a certain starter for Eddie Jones with Launchbury, Kruis and Lawes all fighting for the second slot in the pack, all three of which would play test rugby for just about any other country.

Moon, Ewels, Stooke and Hill (who can also play on the side of the scrum) solidifying the depth 

Rating: 9

Blindside Flanker: Tom Curry, Lewis Ludlam, Brad Shields and Teimana Harrison

Eddie Jones has used some of his second rowers in this position to great effect while also shifting openside flanker Tom Curry to the opposite of the scrum.

He has also played some of his no.8s in the role that has become increasingly more difficult to fill in recent times.

Versatility has been key for Jones in this position and although he hasn't quite selected what many wouldn't consider to be a classic blindside, he has multiple players who can fulfil the role at test level.

Rating: 7.5

Openside Flanker: Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Ben Earl, Jack Willis and Ben Curry

Again, Jones has a few players able to slot into the openside role effectively while also covering over back row positions. 

He does have an abundance of talent for the #7 jersey Curry and Underhill both up there with the best in the position in world rugby.

Jack Willis and Ben Earl have been tearing it for their Premiership clubs as too has Ben Curry who too has been moved around the back row.

Rating: 8

no.8: Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Sam Simmonds, Alex Dombrandt, Nathan Hughes and Zach Mercer

A role that has been widely discussed during the Six Nations following the injury to Billy Vunipola. Tom Curry, who listed as an openside and blindside for England has filled in for Vunipola.

But Jones has plenty of options outside of Curry and Vunipola. Simmonds and Dombrandt has been sublime for their clubs this season while Zach Mercer impressed when he was called up to the side but has since struggled with injuries.

Nathan Hughes has enjoyed some rich form without reward.

Rating: 8.5

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Assuming everyone was fit, here are 4 potential England line ups 🌹 Form did take preference followed by being capped already, thoughts 👇

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Scrumhalf: Ben Youngs, Willie Heinz, Ben Spencer, Dan Robson, Danny Care, Alex Mitchell and Joe Simpson

Eddie Jones has plenty of experience in Heinz, Youngs and Care but he hasn't ventured too much into youth halfback ranks.

The likes of Spencer and Mitchell are certainly exciting talents but if England were to lose two of their more experienced halfbacks, they would struggle to settle in quickly which has an impact on the rating.

Experience at test level for some of the players would certainly up the rating.

Rating: 7

Flyhalf: Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jacob Umaga, Marcus Smith, Joe Simmonds and Danny Cipriani.

Spoilt for choice. England have two world-class flyhalves in Farrell and Ford with the former often moving into the centres.

Jacob Umaga and Marcus Smith are two talents for the future, as too is Joe Simmonds and Manu Vunipola.

Then there is Danny Cipriani who has been the form flyhalf in the Premiership over the past few seasons but seems far from an England recall, particularly under Jones' leadership.

Rating: 8.5

Wings: Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Ollie Thorley, Gabriel Ibitoye, Anthony Watson, Joe Cokansiga, Chris Ashton, Denny Solomona

Spoilt for choice, again. Jones could quite easily pick his winger based purely on the opposition.

There are some fine finishers in May, Solomona, Thorley and Cokansiga while Nowell, Ibitoye and Watson will bring flair and hard work to the side.

Then there are the hardball carriers in Joe Cokansiga and Semesa Rokoduguni never mind the fact that he also has the luxury of picking Elliot Daly, Mike Brown, Nowell and Watson at fullback and wing.

Rating: 8

Midfielders: Manu Tuilagi, Ollie Devoto, Mark Atkinson, Alex Lozoskwi, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marchant, Fraser Dingwall, Ollie Lawerence, Johnny Williams and Ryan Mills

When one has a look at the depth England have in the midfield, it is understandable that a talented back like Nick Tompkins was allowed to slip through the cracks and play for Wales.

In our list, we didn't even include Owen Farrell due to the stellar depth. Tuilagi is possible the only centre assured a starting role if fit with Henry Slade often forcing Tuilagi to move to inside centre.

Joe Marchant is off with the Blues but performed wonderfully for England before the World Cup. Jonathan Joseph is an excellent centre in his own right as too is Alex Lozoskwi.

All this makes it incredibly difficult for talents like Dingwall, Lawerence, Williams, Devoto and Mills to truly break into the squad.

Rating: 9

Fullbacks: Elliot Daly, George Furbank, Alex Goode, Simon Hammersley, Mike Brown and Harry Mallinder

Another position where Jones has enormous depth with the likes of Alex Goode unlikely not to crack the squad at all.

Simon Hammersley has been exceptionally consistent in the Premiership and despite playing against the Barbarians but is unlikely to get a call up.

Daly has been Jones' go to man for the starting #15 jersey with Furbank recently added to the fold and Anthony Watson playing that role for the Lions and England too.

Mike Brown is also a proven international fullback who just can't force his way back into the squad at the moment.

Rating: 8.5

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