England Rugby crisis: Who will reign supreme at Fly Half?

Sean KellyAnalyst IAugust 12, 2008

The summer still trundles on, and what with living in the Northern Hemisphere rugby has come to a standstill leaving our TVs rather blank.

So I have been left to only dream and consider what I might be an audience to next season, and who are going to be the true performers.

Yet I still can't get Martin Johnson's reign as England coach out of my head, so it has left me to consider certain things for the upcoming Autumn Internationals.

First of all, as I've already written, I pondered over who Johnson may choose as his captain. Now I can't help but think who is going to play where for Johnson's first games.

One of the first choices for Johnson will be—who will be his Fly Half?

Some of you may read that and simply laugh and say "it has to be Danny Cipriani," and to be honest I couldn't agree more, if it wasn't for the horrific injury that Cipriani fell a victim to.

So now there is a big opening in the England squad for someone to stake a claim for.

Well if you look at the England Elite squad for 2008-09 it would seem the candidates are out of Olly Barkley, Toby Flood, Riki Flutey, Shane Geraghty and Jonny Wilkinson (based on who can actually play at 10).

I would firstly like to cross off the chance of Barkley playing Fly Half, because for me he is an Inside Centre and that is all. He has tried to play 10 and quite frankly lacks the vision and skill to play there.

Toby Flood I feel is a good 10 but doesn't yet have the skill to be a World Class Fly half. The fact he has moved to Leicester and Andy Goode has packed his bags may prove to be a great decision for him, and England.

Riki Flutey just like Barkley is a 12 pushed into the boots of a 10. Riki will never make it as a international Fly Half and I can only assume Johnson has picked him as a 12 or a last resort.

Shane Geraghty is a fantastic player, and one of the most promising players in England, yet since he has been moved to 12 for some of London Irish's performances I feel his place is at inside centre.

He doesn't lack the vision of a 10 like Barkley, I just think his ability would better suit the role of a inside centre.

Wilkinson is no longer England's first choice Fly Half, his reign has come to an end, and he is no longer the player he was in 2003.

His attacking flair has drowned out, and he has become even more so of a tactical kicking Fly Half, which England really don't want.

I feel England's best option has not actually been picked in the Elite squad, no it's not Charlie Hodgson (haha). I feel Ryan Lamb is the man to keep Cipriani's thrown warm.

Ryan Lamb has constantly been overlooked when he, for the past season, has been one of Gloucester's best players. His long floating passes and eye for a hole, enable him to get his backline going. And his kicking is getting better as the days go by.

He maybe isn't the most physically developed player, but what he lacks in strength, he gains in intelligence and grace.

In the perfect world or my perfect world, I would like to see Johnson give Ryan Lamb his long waited senior debut. However if it were not to go to Lamb, I can feel Toby Flood vacating the 10 position until Danny Cipriani is ready to reclaim his place.