Earlier this week we threw out a comprehensive list of talent we felt were currently missing in the Welsh setup. With the upcoming Six Nations on the horizon, we thought it would be the perfect time to raise the idea of bolters (rank outsiders) for each international squad. Its a very different story with the English though with such a huge talent pool to pick from, an already stable and tight-knit squad, and a coach who is pretty stubborn about implementing any heavy-duty changes. However, even though Eddie Jones might like it, it is really fun to speculate the idea of having bolters in an England squad... Why does it only have to be a thing we talk about when it comes to the Lions? Let's dive into our list!
5. Paolo Odogwu (Wasps)
Well, well, well... Of course we were going to mention Odogwu in this list! With murmurs of a potential Italy call-up and Blackett recommending that Italian setup, it does feel like the writing is on the wall for Odogwu to leap into the international scene one way or another. The guy has blistering speed, can play at 13 or on the wing, is an absolute powerhouse in the contact area and doesn't shy away from a big hit. He can be a little bit suspect in the air, but that's part of his game that we've already seen stark improvements in. He ripped apart Bath last weekend with the performance of the Premiership so far; however, people are acting like this is his first time! He's an all times sevens top try scorer in the middlesex tournament, an academy prospect that played in international setups previously and he's also been one of Wasps most consistent players all season. I would love it, absolute love it, if picked to play for Italy. They need some real gas, some spark and someone who can change a game on its head. The alternative is that England play him, get him capped just to spite the Italians to eventually fade away from the setup; as we've said, Eddie Jones has a type and Odogwu isn't usually his go-to. However, imagine a centre partnership of him and Ollie Lawrence... Absolute gas!
4. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)
Look I promise I'm not devising this weekend just off of talent that we saw rip it up last weekend... But Adam Radwan sure is an exciting prospect. Young like Odogwu, absolutely rapid and able to bump off much bigger guys with great technique, he made Jonny May, a potential Lions starter, look like a chump last weekend. Again, he does actually have a great pedigree. A star 7s player and one of Newcastle's best players this season, he's capable of showing up in big games and grinding out results. He can tackle well, looks comfortable in the air and isn't afraid to cut back against the grain. Although Jones prefers someone who can cover multiple positions (which might suit Odogwu better), Radwan still posses that X Factor that can change a game on its head.
3. Tom Penny (Newcastle Falcons)
I know it's beginning to look like we are only focusing on the back three, but Penny definitely has to be in with a shout of being pure bolter quality for this England side. England has two clear weaknesses in their starting 15, one at scrum half and one at full back. Although Daly has had some moments of magic at the back, he's not the consistent performer Brown was in his pomp. His boot isn't really utilised properly anymore and teams target his lack of aerial stability. Penny on the other hand is a little Pitbull of a player. Strong and decisive in the air, gutsy as heck in the collision, a clever tactical kicker and able to break into the line at an awesome pace, Penny has it all. You would trust him to make a covering hit too which is more that can be said for Englands current 15 option. He's pure class and yet another Falcon who can't put a foot wrong at the moment.
Photo Copyright Credit: @TheNorthernPost 2021
2. Harry Randall (Bristol Bears)
He was number one in our Welsh list, now he's number two for England, that's pretty high praise indeed! Randall is an electrifying talent that has been the in-form Scrum Half in the Premiership thus far this season. He plays at an insanely high tempo, is another gutsy player who doesn't shirk a hit, has an immensely profound kicking game for his age and looks to be the future of that 9 jersey. If Eddie Jones would finally put us all out of our misery and pick a 9 who's in-form, it would be absolute carnage. Spencer, Robson, Maunder and Randall are all in such excellent form and have such varied games that could offer England so much more than their existing options. Randall might be an option to pick purely so that Wales don't end up with yet another world class 9 in three years time. We couldn't possibly gush over him more at this point, get him on the pitch!
Photo Copyright Credit: Bristol Post 2021
1. Beno Obano (Bath)
The fact that Beno Obano still qualifies for a list like this is staggering. He's been one of the best props in Europe now for what... 3 Seasons?! He's bang in form at the moment, causing havoc at scrum time, being a beast with ball in hand and leathering opposition front rowers for fun around the fringes. He's a biological phenomenon with size that resembles a power lifter, fitness that resembles a back rower and acceleration into a tackle like a centre. I know we have excellent options up front and our pack is perhaps the strongest it has EVER been, but surely its only a matter of time until Obano has to be picked to England. We can't say too much more about the guy that hasn't already been said; bring him home Eddie
Photo Copyright Credit: Getty Images 2020