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Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Jeremy Guscott Q&A

Brad Barritt
Saracens' Brad Barritt would be Jerry's pick as England inside-centre

Former England and Lions centre Jeremy Guscott answers your questions for the first time in 2012.

Among the topics Jerry discusses this week are:

- England's Elite Player Squad

- 2012 predictions

- Harlequins' recent form

- The fastest players Jerry has played with

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


Hi Jerry. Everyone's talking about an expected overhaul of the England team for the forthcoming Six Nations. Which uncapped players would you expect to see in the squad next month?
Tom Reynolds,UK

Hi Tom. I would like to think players like Jamie George, Andy Saull, Brad Barritt and Alex Goode would be in. Also, Joe Marler, George Robson, Luke Wallace, Jordan Turner-Hall, Billy Twelvetrees, Nick Wood, Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns and Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan.

Should Mike Tindall announce his retirement from international rugby before Stuart Lancaster names the Elite Player Squad on 11 January, as a parting gift to England? This would give Lancaster the chance to change an extra player in the squad which I'm sure he'd find more than useful.
Leon James, Philippines

Hi Leon, the word is that Tindall will be left out anyway.

Harlequins full-back Mike Brown has been outstanding this year but so has Northampton's England incumbent Ben Foden. Surely they both deserve to start for England? Can they both fit in the same team or does one miss out? On form Brown has been better but Foden has the international record.
Rob, UK

Hi Rob. I agree Brown has been the stand-out full-back but Foden hasn't played badly enough to warrant being dropped by England. I don't believe there is room for both of them starting in the same team and Brown is unlikely to make the bench because he can only cover full-back.

Billy Twelvetrees
Leicester's Billy Twelvetrees is on the fringes of England selection

Do you think Lancaster is the man to realise that one of England's main problems is the lack of creativity in the centres? New Zealand have the pleasure of picking from Sonny Bill Williams, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and even Richard Kahui.

These players have the ability to create chances, whereas England of late seem to use both centres as battering rams. We have some outstanding wingers and two full-backs in awesome form (Foden and Brown), who would you pick in the centres to create chances for these players?
Adam, England

Hi Adam. There isn't a stand out creative centre. However, the most consistent performer has been Brad Barritt and he should be selected alongside Tuilagi. Barritt and Tuilagi can break the gainline, it's then up to support players to give them an option of off-loading/passing.

With all of the young English talent being mentioned in the run up to the Six Nations, I find it difficult to believe that I haven't heard Billy Twelvetrees' name mentioned too much. Whilst he may only be in due to injuries, he has played a key part in Leicester's revival and could be the answer to England's problems at 12. Your thoughts?
Scott, Ireland

Hi Scott. He hasn't really had enough exposure but I agree he has played his part in helping Tigers move up the table. He's certainly got the height and isn't light, he's got reasonable pace, but he very quickly needs one of those games where he makes three or four breaks that lead to tries and scores one himself.

Hi Jerry, why does Gloucester's Nick Wood keep getting ignored by England? He was outstanding against Saracens on Sunday in both the tight and loose, as he has been all season. He must now be considered as first-choice loose-head prop for the Six Nations.
James, England

I've read Nick Wood's name a lot recently in papers saying the same thing as you are. He must be in with a good shout of starting against Scotland. Given that Graham Rowntree would have had a big say in selecting England's props at the World Cup - Matt Stevens, Dan Cole and Alex Corbisiero - it would be a change of thinking for him.

The England team seem to have been without a bone fide open-side flanker for what seems like a long time. Who do you see as contenders for that position in the 2012 Six Nations? Where do you see Matt Kvesic (who Worcester seem to predominantly use at seven) and David Seymour from Sale in the pecking order?
John, Canada

Rob Miller
Sale full-back Rob Miller has impressed for the Sharks this season

Hi John. To be honest I've not seen enough of Matt Kvesic to give an informed opinion. If Lancaster wants to go down the route of an out-and-out seven, then the likes of Seymour and Saull and, on the very outside, Quins' Luke Wallace stand a chance. I would go for a left and right combination of Tom Croft and Tom Wood for England.

Jerry, who is your youngster to watch in 2012? For me it is hard to look beyond London Irish's Jonathan Joseph.
Brendan, Ireland

Hi Brendan. Irish are blessed with amazing young three-quarter talent, including your man Joseph but also Marland Yarde and Anthony Watson. Jamie George at Saracens would be another youngster to look out for.

Jeremy, as we enter 2012 can I tempt you into predicting the winners of the Six Nations, Heineken Cup, Aviva Premiership and Pro 12?
Stephen McGovern, Ireland

Hi Stephen, at time of writing this I would go for: France, Leinster, Saracens and Leinster.

Hi Jeremy, prior to the Christmas period you stated that you would assess Harlequins' chances of finishing top of the Premiership after the Christmas/New Year fixtures.

With two losses and two wins from those games what are your thoughts now? This period seems to have given them a chance to regroup and reintroduce a number of injured players, too. The sight of Tom Guest on the field, with Nick Easter likely to go to the Six Nations, is especially pleasing.
Nick Foord, UK

Jeremy, you finally predicted a win for Quins against Saracens over Christmas and we lost. Ouch! But with that loss and a stuttering performance against Exeter are Quins running out of steam?
Ben, England

Hi Nick and Ben. The Saracens defeat should serve Quins well, I think they will have learnt that you don't have to run the ball from everywhere, especially against a very good defence and in sticky conditions. A lot will depend on how many Quins are involved in international rugby that might unbalance the team. I believe they will make the play-offs with a home tie and make the final. Playing conditions will suit Quins in May.

Hi Jeremy, as a Tigers fan I went to the Leicester-Sale game on Sunday and was mightily impressed with the Sharks. Despite appalling conditions, their insistence of keeping ball in hand and trusting their handling skills was hugely impressive and contributed to a great game.

The one Sale player that stood out for me was Rob Miller at full-back. Do you think his performances deserve inclusion in the upcoming EPS or Saxons squad?
Jack, Leamington Spa, UK

Hi Jack, despite his good performances there's a lot of competition with Foden and Brown playing well. It will depend if Lancaster picks Armitage - if he doesn't then Miller stands a very good chance.

Jeremy, as a Wasps fan I can't but help but scratch my head at our recent performances and I am struggling to see why we have lost the confidence that we had at the start of the season. Any ideas why?
Max Durnford, England

Hi Jerry, what is going on Wasps at the moment? I know we have had lots of injuries and off the field issues - do you see the glory days returning to Wasps in the next few years?
Nile Weir, England

Hi Max and Nile. There's too much uncertainty surrounding Wasps and it must be incredibly difficult for players to block out. Some players will be looking for other clubs to join but they must contribute to their team playing well for other teams to think about signing them. Nicky Robinson hasn't played to the level he's capable of and that isn't helping.

What current centre would you most like to play with?
Chris Purchase, Wales

Hi Chris, I would like to play with Jamie Roberts. His ability to get past the first defender would make life easy. He would have to look more out than in, like he does at present, but if you can get on his shoulder you should be away. Sonny Bill Williams would be another.

Hi Jeremy, who would you say was the fastest player you played with or against? Was it either of the Underwoods? Also, who was the quicker of the brothers? Cheers.
Adam Stringer, England

Hi Adam, the fastest players I've played with or against would be my former Bath team-mate David Trick and cross-code legend Martin Offiah. I'd say Rory was the quickest - but only just.

Follow Jerry on Twitter: @JeremyGuscott



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see also
Lawes ruled out for 'few weeks'
03 Jan 12 |  Northampton
Ospreys ponder Johnson successor
02 Jan 12 |  Welsh
Lineen joy at Warriors' Cup win
02 Jan 12 |  Glasgow
Leicester 28-23 Sale
01 Jan 12 |  Rugby Union
Saracens 15-15 Gloucester
01 Jan 12 |  Rugby Union
Bath 30-3 London Irish
01 Jan 12 |  Rugby Union
Wasps 0-6 Worcester
01 Jan 12 |  Rugby Union
Ospreys 17-12 Cardiff Blues
01 Jan 12 |  Welsh
Connacht 13-15 Leinster
01 Jan 12 |  Connacht
Exeter Chiefs 9-11 Harlequins
01 Jan 12 |  Rugby Union
Newcastle 14-32 Northampton
31 Dec 11 |  Rugby Union
Dragons 6-10 Scarlets
31 Dec 11 |  Rugby Union
Ulster 33-17 Munster
31 Dec 11 |  Ulster


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