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Page last updated at 22:46 GMT, Monday, 30 May 2011 23:46 UK

Jeremy Guscott Q&A

Jeremy Guscott
BBC pundit Guscott is on hand to tackle your queries throughout the season

Former Bath, England and Lions centre Jeremy Guscott is here to answer your questions as the rugby union season draws to a close.

Among the topics Jerry discusses this week are:

- The spectacular late-season form of Schalk Brits

- Whether Saracens are set to dominate English rugby

- If Ben Youngs and Toby Flood are under pressure for their England places

- Where eternal bridesmaids Northampton need to strengthen

- How to learn to kick like Jonny Wilkinson

If you have any questions for Jerry, please use the postform on this page. He will answer as many as possible next week, but unfortunately not every question submitted can be used. This week's answers appear below.


Do you think there is anyone better than Saracens hooker Schalk Brits at the moment. He is a fantastic runner and his performance against Leicester in the Premiership final was fantastic, he was all over the pitch.
Harry Morgan, UK

Schalk Brits on the attack for Leicester
Brits produced pretty much the complete performance on Saturday

Hi Harry, there certainly aren't any other hookers in the Premiership who have his handling and running abilities, plus he scrumages hard and gets about the field like an additional back row come centre. His form in the last half of the season has been spectacular.

With Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs failing to perform again against Saracens, do you think it should be time for Harlequins' Danny Care to start at number nine for England, considering the fantastic displays he puts in? Also, who would you prefer to see at fly-half for England and why?
Nathan, UK

The form of both Youngs and Leicester half-back partner Toby Flood has been nothing less than terrible, the England halves have not played a good game in a long time now. Do you think England boss Martin Johnson should give them a kick up the backside by swapping in Care and Jonny Wilkinson?
Josh Robinson, England

Hi Nathan and Josh, I agree that both Youngs and Flood have been playing well below the standards they set at the beginning of the seaso, but their form has been reasonable for England and I wouldn't drop them. Care has been playing well and if England selection were based purely on club form he would be in. I would have Youngs and Flood as my starting nine and 10 but if they play the next game as badly as they did against Ireland I would drop them both for Care and Wilkinson.

Congratulations to Saracens, even though I am a Leicester fan and was there on Saturday, they deserved to win. But do you believe as everyone else appears to in the press that this is the start of a new era of English rugby where Saracens will dominate, or not, as the case maybe?
Simon, England

Hi Simon, two back to back Premiership finals and one victory is a fairly good return but the best teams return year after year. There is no doubt that the loss last year hurt and they made amends at the weekend. The game was very close, which indicates that Sarries are not far and away the best team in the Premiership. If Northampton strengthen their squad they will certainly be challenging again next season along with Gloucester and Bath, and possibly Harlequins and London Irish.

I'm not convinced Sarries will dominate for the next few years because I believe the top four or five teams are very competitive. They certainly played well in the final though, and executed to perfection. It looks as though Sarries have produced a little gem in Owen Farrell at 10, which is very pleasing from an English persepective.

After Saracens' display on Saturday, who, if anyone, from their team do you see gaining an England call-up in the near future?
Sam, Aylesbury, England

Hi Sam, Matt Stevens, David Strettle, Alex Goode, Farrell and Brad Barritt all have chances of making Martin Johnson's 30-man World Cup (RWC) squad. Stevens and Strettle must be pretty much nailed on.

Matt Banahan on the attack for England at the weekend
Giant Bath back Banahan is guaranteed a trip to the World Cup

In your opinion who from the England side that lost to the Barbarians on Sunday should get into the World Cup squad? Also, why is Matt Banahan moving further infield every time he plays for England?
James Mclaughlan, England

Hi James, it would appear that if either of England's current centres are vulnerable it would be inside centre Shontayne Hape, which is probably why they picked Banahan at 12 for the Baa-Baas game. Banahan will definitely be going to New Zealand, along with Charlie Hodgson, and maybe David Attwood and Paul Doran-Jones as well.

Hi Jeremy, as a loyal Exeter Chiefs fan, seeing Tom Johnson being picked for England gave me great joy - I'm very proud to have an Exeter player representing England. What do you think the odds are of Johnson making it to the 50-man squad for the August internationals? And do you think that he deserves a place in the squad?
Frazer Herring, Devon, England

Hi Frazer, Johnson should make the 50-man squad, he definitely deserves a place in that selection based on his performances this season.

Jeremy, two questions on transfers:

1. Why is Hodgson going to Saracens when at fly-half they have the exciting potential of Farrell, and Goode as a more than adequate back-up?

2. Does Dan Cole need to move from Leicester - I don't believe England's first choice tight-head prop should be restricted to 30 minutes in the big games. I concede that the competition from Martin Castrogiovanni is good for him but surely he needs to be first choice week in week out. Why not move to somewhere like Bath or replace Doran-Jones at Gloucester?
Ed, England

Hi Ed, Hodgson will primarily be back-up for Farrell, he's got the experience that Farrell can learn from, plus Hodgson is a brilliant club 10 who will flourish behind a powerful Sarries pack. Farrell, whilst young, will not be playing all the games next season, he will need some rest and if he continues playing like he has, there's every chance he will be playing for England next season.

Cole is still a young man learning his trade and I'm not sure he could be in a better place to do that than at the Tigers. The best teams, as Saints have found out, have at least four very strong props. Cole and Castro have fought for number one all season and I suspect they will again in the 2011/12 campaign. If he moves to a club that doesn't have adequate back-up at prop he will be flogged and that wouldn't be any good for him.

Dear Jeremy, although Northampton number 10 Stephen Myler's first-half performance against Leinster in the Heineken Cup final was good, his lack of ability was obvious in the second half. Having replaced up-and-down fly-half Shane Geraghty with the equally up-and-down Ryan Lamb, what do you think Saints boss Jim Mallinder is going to do about the position next season?
Matt, England

Hi Matt, Lamb will either be a brilliant acquisition or one as poor as Geraghty turned out to be. Myler is the number one one but if Lamb plays to his best he will get his fair share of games and has every chance of becoming first choice for Saints.

What areas/positions in particular do Northampton need to strengthen in order to achieve higher honours next season?
Marcus Hanson, England

Hi Marcus, I've always said for Saints to really dominate they need a world class 10, it doesn't look like they've got that yet. They need serious back-up across the front row and at number four in their second row, centres Jon Clarke and James Downey need relief from time to time, and they also need quality backs-ups for England back-three stars Ben Foden and Chris Ashton.

Harlequins celebrate winning the Amlin Challenege Cup
Quins need to find more consistency to feature at the top of the Premiership

Hi Jeremy, since it wasn't discussed last week I wanted to gather your thoughts on Harlequins' fantastic Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais. Despite the victory being less than convincing for the whole 80 minutes, do you feel that overall Quins deserve their entry into the Heineken Cup bearing in mind that they were an under-rated team in the Premiership?

Statistically they were equal top for bonus points and fourth in overall points difference. They were also one of the highest try scorers in the league. Can we expect big things next year at the Stoop, or do you expect another dull mid-table finish?
Charlie, England

Hi Charlie, it was a deserved victory in the Amlin and the Heineken Cup place comes from winning that particular competition, so no one can complain. I've said this before and it applies to the teams that don't quite make the top four. You have to be very consistent to make the play-offs unless you are like Saints - they have class players to come back after the internationals and drag them up into the position they deserve at the end of the season, having worked hard for it.

There have been no real signs that make me believe Quins will be more consistent next season. They will have more belief that they can win the tougher matches, but it's not just about the big games, it's winning consistently through a long season.

Hi Jerry, I play fly-half for my club and I was wondering if you have any tips when it comes to kicking. Also nice coat, where did you get it from?
Jack Dominy, England

Hi Jack, I think the best tip I can give you is to watch the likes of Dan Carter and Johnny Wilkinson. If you have the facility to record any matches they are playing in, do so. Study how they place the ball, how many steps they take and how they strike the ball. You can also check out this kicking class for the BBC by Jonny Wilkinson.

You can also follow Jerry on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/JeremyGuscott



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see also
England 32-38 Barbarians
29 May 11 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 18-22 Saracens
28 May 11 |  English
Munster 19-9 Leinster
28 May 11 |  Irish
England flanker Fourie joins Sale
27 May 11 |  Sale
Leicester v Saracens as it happened
28 May 11 |  Rugby Union
Sarries are going places - McCall
31 May 11 |  English
Tiger Waldrom wins players' award
26 May 11 |  Leicester


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