I think Underhill might be the one to miss out (partly because I doubt he'll be fit) but you're right, the presence of Lawes and Itoje in the lock cohort (along with Launchbury and Kruis) suggests we can cover the back row with them so only 5 needed (19 forwards - assume a third hooker is vital too?)Scott1 wrote: ↑Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:18 pmI think it's all academic now anyway. With only having a 31 man squad,the way Eddie has approached this 6N and the brilliant emergence of Wilson it tells me that we are going to Japan with 6 props and 5 BR (which is what I would do anyway) so bar injuries it's a shootout between Shields and Hughes for the last spot alongside Billy,Curry,Underhill and Wilson. Eddie could gamble and drop a prop and play Cole at LH with the mixed veg but that's a huge risk. But we have some great options for 2023!
I think the equation in the back line is more complicated to pick out with probably only 12 backs to play with.
I'd have assumed Youngs, Farrell, Slade, Manu, May, Daly and then Ford, plus Nowell, probably Te'o (EJ would, I wouldn't!) and a spare SH (Robson/Care?) only gives you 2 spaces, and only 2 scrum halves is a risk.
Try and pick two from Ashton, Brown, Cokanasiga, Joseph, Thorley and Watson, not to mention the SH debate (presume Care vs Wigglesworth). It's not easy!
Personally I'd leave out Te'o for Cokanasiga as cover for Manu (not positionally exactly but for a different dimension), and then add Joseph and Watson - Youngs, Robson, Farrell, Ford, Slade, Tuilagi, Joseph, May, Nowell, Watson, Daly, Cokanasiga, though JJ first man to miss out for a third 9.