With Quins' number 8 Nick Easter not having played this month with a knee problem, Lewis Moody having missed the last 5 weeks with a groin injury, Joe Worsley only having played once since the World Cup final and Martin Corry having retired, it looks as if England might not have available all four of the backrowers who featured in the latter stages of the Rugby World Cup. In view of the circumstances does Brian Ashton, perhaps, wish that he could still call on the services of Richard Hill, in my view pound for pound the best backrow forward England have ever produced, and who announced his retirement from all rugby at the end of the season?
Well, funnily enough, I doubt it. If anything Ashton should be very, very excited by the possibilities. After all, just look at the back row that he could still select next week. Assuming that none of them gets crocked this weekend he could pick Tom Croft at 6, James Haskell at 8 and Tom Rees at 7 - a seriously quick and dynamic combination. Yes, they lack experience, and perhaps a little grunt, but the potential there is enormous and with a prevailing wind and a little luck they could well form the England back row for the next decade.
Pick a gnarly, experienced tight five (Sheridan, Regan, Vickery, Borthwick, Kay), bolt on Croft, Haskell and Rees and watch 'em go. It'd also be a fantastic motivation for picking some real fliers in the back division to make the most of the young trio's talents.
Come on, Brian - you know it makes sense.