I am not referring to various maverick attempts to take on a political poison chalice, nor is it for me to pass comment on random pre-season behaviour by England’s incumbent stand off,
Is it midsummer madness or perhaps the endless summer heat, there have been some fascinating pointers towards next years World Cup and they surround the all important no 10 slot. Can it be that the fourth choice All Blacks fly half has come to Wasps as their marquee signing? It looks well justified and yet you cannot dispute that Barrett and McKenzie stand tall, above Richie Mo’unga in the rankings. There is a man who dominated the Super XV for the Crusaders but cannot get selected for the All Blacks. What riches!
South Africa is panicking as they have no back up to Pollard, and nor do Australia for Foley. Ireland have exported Joey Carberry to Munster to gain experience if Sexton is injured and Wales know they have to make Patchell the real deal to challenge for the World Cup. France seem not to need a No 10 specialist if they play like they did in the first half of the Third Test v NZ in the summer. This is a team to watch, believe me. At Racing 92 meanwhile, Finn Russell will build on the vision which unravelled England at Murrayfield last year and Scotland will be pleased.
What of England? Farrell should play 10 but the lack of any inside centre causes despair. Could Jones chat to Baxter and appoint Slade as the season’s 12, then just perhaps for the first time since Will Greenwood we can see some creative decision making.
The season is yet to start, but I wonder if teams will stretch their ambitions – if not, then I suspect they will remain frustrated and it all starts with No 10.