World Cup winner Jason Robinson has called England’s selection decisions “bizarre” ahead of their November finale against Australia.
World Cup winner Jason Robinson has labelled England’s selection decisions “bizarre” ahead of their November finale against Australia on Saturday.
Robinson is bemused by the regular chopping and changing being done by Stuart Lancaster, with so few fixtures remaining until the RWC.
England have this week named their fourth different centre pairing of the month as Billy Twelvetrees comes in alongside Brad Barritt.
And that call, along with the absence of flying Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni, has left the former England and Lions finisher in a state of shock.
“England’s back-line selections for the Autumn internationals have been bizarre – I haven’t got a clue what they are trying to achieve,” he explained in a column for the London Evening Standard.
“Coming into the matches against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and now Australia tomorrow, I was hoping to have more answers than questions about the backs.
“However, that’s not the case and I have been confused about the way head coach Stuart Lancaster and his selectors have handled certain players, most notably wing Semesa Rokoduguni and centre Kyle Eastmond.
“Rokoduguni was supposed to be the next big thing but when he got his chance against New Zealand, he had a quiet game because of the lack of ball and then he got injured.
“Anthony Watson then got his chance against South Africa but why wasn’t Rokoduguni brought back for last weekend’s Samoa game? I just couldn’t understand how he and Eastmond were not ready to play for England after knocks, but turned out for Bath the night before the Samoa game!”
He added: “What kind of message is that giving out from the England camp? These guys must go back to their clubs scratching their heads wondering, ‘where do I fit in?’
“Put yourself in Rokoduguni’s position – you come into the All Blacks game as the form wing in the Premiership, play against the world champions, get injured and then are discarded for the rest of the Autumn matches. Surely, the Samoa game was a great opportunity to put him back into the team. All credit to Watson, though, as he took his chance, showed his pace and skills and made a try for Mike Brown.
“All of these questions have turned tomorrow’s match into something really massive for England.”