No reshuffle for Robinson

England head coach Andy Robinson has confirmed he has no immediate plans for a backroom reshuffle after announcing his 30-man squad for the forthcoming autumn Tests. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

England head coach Andy Robinson has confirmed he has no immediate plans for a backroom reshuffle after announcing his 30-man squad for the forthcoming autumn Tests.

Trusty lieutenants Phil Larder, Joe Lydon and Dave Alred will all be at Robinson’s side when England face Australia on November 12.

The world champions go into November appointments with the Wallabies, New Zealand and Samoa having won just seven of their last 16 Tests but the British & Irish Lions coach sees no need to change things at this moment in time.

"I think we have a quality coaching team who are outstanding in their individual areas and work ethic," Robinson said.

"It is about us putting forward the processes to enable the team to be successful. I am not making any changes."

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Robinson, though, has not ruled out integrating England’s impressive array of academy coaches – people like John Wells, Jon Callard and Jim Mallinder – into working with the national squad.

Robinson’s group to prepare for the autumn challenges includes five uncapped players – New Zealand-born Wasps full-back Mark van Gisbergen, Bath hooker Lee Mears, Perpignan prop Perry Freshwater, scrum-half Peter Richards and his Gloucester colleague, lock Alex Brown – while Martin Corry remains as captain in Jonny Wilkinson’s continued absence.

Van Gisbergen, who only qualified for England on residency grounds earlier this month, is likely to start against the Wallabies, forming an impressive back-three unit alongside Wasps team-mate Josh Lewsey and Sale Sharks try-machine Mark Cueto.

"Mark (van Gisbergen) has been a consistent performer for the last two years and he has really performed in big matches," added Robinson.

"His work-rate is phenomenal, being in the line running the ball and then getting back making some incredible tackles."

Joining the uncapped contingent are potential 2007 World Cup performers in Leeds lock Tom Palmer, Gloucester back-row forward James Forrester and Leicester centre Ollie Smith, while fit-again seasoned campaigners Mike Tindall and Phil Vickery offer Robinson an experienced edge.

However, the casualty list is considerable.

There are no places for World Cup winners Will Greenwood, Ben Cohen, Andy Gomarsall, Ben Kay and Julian White, although White features in a 10-strong list of players on stand-by, alongside such battle-hardened campaigners as Graham Rowntree and Steve Borthwick.

The omission of so many established names inevitably raises potential for further international retirements – 10 of England’s 2003 World Cup squad have already quit Test rugby – but Robinson certainly is not expecting 32-year-old Greenwood to call it a day.

"I have spoken to Will Greenwood," said Robinson. "He will not be retiring from international rugby. Every player has an opportunity if they are performing well."

As for Leicester prop White’s demotion, Robinson added: "What we are looking at is how we are moving England forward.

"Julian is an outstanding scrummager and tight forward but in Matt Stevens and Phil Vickery, the thing that gives them the edge is their mobility."

Robinson will assemble the players for a five-day training camp at Loughborough University on before reducing his squad to 22 during the first week of November.

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