Foden omission an interesting one for England ahead of Ireland clash
Although Stuart Lancaster is still to name his starting team for the crunch Six Nations showdown with Ireland, he has opted to release seven players back to their club sides and the decision to omit Ben Foden is one that is particularly interesting.
Foden was also left out of the victory with Scotland, with Lancaster deciding to play Andy Goode at full-back and Mike Brown on the left wing, which is a position where England seem short of any real depth.
David Strettle is the other squad alternative, but he is hardly an inspiring selection and certainly not a game changer.
Goode was not at his best in the Scotland success, but should be given the benefit of the doubt given that he is still on the comeback trail from injury.
However, there are certainly grounds to believe that Foden should be picked ahead of Goode for the showdown at the Aviva Stadium, either at full-back or potentially on the wing, with Brown moving into a more central area.
Foden is a better finisher than both Brown and Goode and arguably the quickest of the trio, which could make him the better asset in the 11 position.
Meanwhile, Brown is arguably the most adept under the high ball and this could prove to be a particularly important area for England up against Ireland’s Rob Kearney.
But given that Strettle is unlikely to start, it seems as if Lancaster will stick with Brown and Goode in the positions in which they played against Scotland, which may prove a mistake.
England are already up against it having not won a Six Nations clash in Ireland for a decade and this personnel decision looks to have only hindered their chances further.
The teams are hard to split with both England and Ireland priced at 10/11 for victory, but this squad decision only increases the chances of a home win.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date