Rugby Union: Vox Pop: As the autumn rugby union internationals loom, who is England's outstanding stand-off?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Bedford chief executive

I can't see further than Paul Grayson. He's the man in possession and the best equipped all-round fly-half available to England. Mike Catt is more of a full-back or outside centre. Mark Mapletoft is very talented but I'm not sure he can control the game at international level. There are a number of excellent young prospects around. Apart from Jonny Wilkinson and Josh Lewsey, we have Tony Yapp at Bedford, who in my view is a better player at 21 than Rob Andrew was. But we have to be patient - it took Rob time to mature.


Worcester director of rugby

Paul Grayson is a mature player who kicks his goals and seems to have time. He'd be my choice, but if he were injured then the selectors would have to gauge how Mike Catt and Jonny Wilkinson were playing. Wilkinson is one of several outstanding youngsters - apart from Wasps' Josh Lewsey and Tony Yapp we have former England schools' captain James Lofthouse at Worcester. But these lads all lack experience. They need to play more club rugby at a high level and force their way into the team through their performances on the pitch.


Cardiff chief executive

Paul Grayson did well last season and ran more with the ball, but I'd like to see Jonny Wilkinson allowed to develop. Newcastle are playing it right with him - they used him sparingly last season but now they're giving him much more responsibility. Anyone who can handle senior rugby at 18 must be in the running. Mike Catt is too predictable even though you'd want him in your squad. When he's going forward he's difficult to play against as he's in your face, but in some games you have to sit back and boot it down into the corner.


Wasps director of rugby

I don't know whether we've got an international class fly-half. We've tried lots of people in the position but none fit the bill. Mike Catt is talented but he's not a No 10. Jonny Wilkinson could become a good player and will have benefited from touring last summer, but he may not be ready yet. Picking Paul Grayson would be a step backwards even though he's a good player to have in the squad. Alex King is recovering from a knee operation and may not be ready in time, but Josh Lewsey's playing well - he's got a lot of pace and deserves a chance.


Bath director of rugby

Paul Grayson played well last year. He took the role by the scruff of the neck when Mike Catt got injured, landing his kicks and leading the line well. But the best performance by a fly-half last year was Mike's fabulous 40 minutes against South Africa when England led 11-0 before he got concussion. I don't think Grayson can match the heights Mike showed in that game. If you want to win the World Cup, Mike in top form would be my choice. He has an electrifying ability to make breaks, is solid defensively and has also been kicking well this season.


Bristol director of rugby

There are only two realistic candidates - Paul Grayson and Mike Catt - and I'm inclined to think it should be Paul. Catt probably has more flair but Grayson's not only a good kicker but uses his midfield support players better. Mike wins the contest as an athlete but Paul wins it as the more constructive. Jonny Wilkinson's a great prospect but he's behind the others at the moment. So is Josh Lewsey, who looked good on tour. Mapletoft performs well for Gloucester, but would struggle at the top level.