5 Bath stars who can make the grade for England this Autumn
The clock is ticking towards a blockbuster November of rugby when the northern hemisphere collides with their southern counterparts in the Autumn Internationals.
And with the World Cup just under a year away it promises to be more important than ever to pick up wins and build vital momentum towards next year’s tournament.
In particular Stuart Lancaster, whose England side are 3/1 with Ladbrokes to win the World Cup, will be looking to assess all his options during matches against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia on consecutive weekends at Twickenham.
And it would do him no harm at all between now and when he names his squad on October 22 to take in a few games at the Rec where he will see a Bath side, who are 4/1 to win the Aviva Premiership, full of attacking flair and potential starters for England.
Here Oliver Yew runs the rule over five potential starters in Lancaster’s side when the All Blacks come to town on November 8…
The Fijian-born star has been described as the best winger in the Aviva Premiership by Bath coach Mike Ford and has been tipped up for an England call-up when Lancaster names his squad for November’s internationals later this month.
Rokoduguni, a serving soldier in the British army, has scored four tries so far this season and has already had a taste of the England set-up with a call-up to the Saxons squad last year.
It would be no surprise to see him earn a full call-up after his blistering displays in the blue, black and white hoops so far this season.
The former St Helens star showed glimpses of his talent in the white of England on last summer’s tour to New Zealand.
Eastmond has continue to show that form in Bath’s rise up the Aviva Premiership and looks a strong contender to fill the troublesome 12 shirt for England this Autumn.
With two tries already this season it will be difficult for Lancaster to ignore the 25-year-old’s strong kicking game, electric pace and eye for a gap when England take on the southern Hemisphere’s big boys.
Alongside Eastmond, Joseph has struck up one of the most feared centre partnerships in the Premiership. Wales star Gavin Henson, who has been stuck on the replacements bench at the Rec this season, has described the pair as the best pairing in the league.
Henson also described Joseph, who has four England caps to his name, as one of the best outside centres he has ever played with and with four tries in five games to his name already this season it would be no surprise to see his trademark outside breaks at Twickenham this November.
While his team-mates have been running in tries left right and centre Ford has been the man pulling the strings in midfield for Bath.
The former Leicester star, who has scored 77 points in five league matches, has been instrumental in getting the best out of the likes of Eastmond, Joseph and Rokoduguni which has seen Bath become the leading points scorers in the league.
In the past Ford’s kicking has not been the most reliable but with an 81.08% success rate it has not been a problem for his this season and it’s time to test him at the top level in England’s number 10 jersey.
Attwood has been a key man in the pack at the Rec this season with his line-out skills and presence at the line-out key to Mike Ford’s side’s solid start to the campaign.
Against Saracens in particular, the 27-year-old 6ft 7in second row forward fronted up to the likes Alistair Hargreaves and George Kruis as Bath picked up their first win in four years over the London-based club.
With Leicester lock Geoff Parling already ruled out of November’s matches, it could be the perfect time to give Attwood an extended run in the side.
And Finally…Don’t Forget Sam Burgess!
While the former Bradford Bull doesn’t have a single game of Rugby Union to his name, the 25-year-old has been in inspirational form as South Sydney Rabbitohs won their first NRL Premiership title in 43 years.
Burgess suffered a fractured cheekbone in the opening seconds of the Grand Final which will delay his arrival with Bath and rule him out of any involvement with England in the Autumn Internationals, but he is certainly one-to-watch out for by the time the Six Nations comes around.
But first he will have to dislodge Eastmond or Joseph in the Bath line-up!
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