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VIDEO - Greenwood expects squad surprises

11 January 2012

  • World Cup winner names Robshaw, Farrell, Sharples and Hodgson as his picks
  • Greenwood - Englan have a tightrope to walk between long and short term success

Will Greenwood expects England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster to spring some surprises when he announces his first Elite Player Squad at 1pm this afternoon on RFU.com.

The 2003 World Cup winner picked out Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens) and Charlie Sharples (Gloucester) as players he’d like to see play for England during the RBS 6 Nations.

“There’s no doubt we’re going to see the Hartley’s and the Cole’s of the world shoring up the front row and when Lawes is fit again he’ll be in amongst it. Croft and Wood, Youngs and Flood, there is real experience there, you don’t have to have 75 caps and to have won a world cup to have international experience, there’s enough experience in that squad to allow players to come through.

“I expect to see people like Robshaw come through and play. In the second row there’s all sorts of selection quandaries where [Lancaster] might go down but in the backs certainly Farrell, Barritt deserves his chance, will Hodgson come back? I hope so. Sharples had a good finish at the weekend and has performed well enough at the beginning of the season to warrant his place.”

Greenwood was speaking at the opening of the England 2015 World Cup offices and believes that England need to hit a delicate balance between immediate success and building a squad to challenge for rugby’s biggest prize in three and a half years’ time.

“It’s the tightrope you have to walk between maintaining the support levels at Twickenham and not getting frustrated, but understand that when you blood new players that there will be teething problems as sides try to come together. As players they have to go into this tournament [the Six Nations] believing that they can win this tournament. Yes we are young and fresh but we’re unbelievably exciting and full of talent.

“The opportunity for the England players to have a world cup at home is one that they should relish. There will be increased pressures because of the levels of expectation, but at the same time those increased pressures can lead to increased performance.”