Six Nations: Stuart Lancaster's plan for a summer shake-up during tour of Argentina

England coach to tell key players in one-on-one talks that change is required after humiliation in Cardiff and their places are coming under pressure

The dust from the rubble of England's latest Grand Slam collapse is still settling, but some of the players who found themselves on the painful end of the Welsh wrecking ball in Cardiff at the weekend are already completely covered in the stuff. When they finally brush themselves down, they may find that their places in the red-rose starting line-up have gone the same way as their hopes and dreams of a first Six Nations clean sweep in a decade.

"I don't foresee wholesale changes," said Stuart Lancaster, the head coach, as he sifted through the debris of his first Millennium Stadium experience. "What I do see, definitely, is increased pressure on certain players. I draw a lot of strength from the fact that over the course of the tournament, a lot of people stood up and came through. If you'd told me back in October that Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Joe Launchbury and Owen Farrell would be where they are now, I'd have been pretty happy. But we were tested at the highest level in Wales and it was disappointing that we lost composure and allowed the game to slip away."

Lancaster will hold one-on-one discussions with most, if not all, of his current first-choice players before this summer's tour window, when the British and Irish Lions head for Australia and England travel to South America for two difficult Tests in Argentina. "I have to find time to do that," he said. "There are too many lessons to be learnt from what happened at the weekend not to have those talks."

He and the other members of the England think tank – the backs specialist Andy Farrell, the forwards strategist Graham Rowntree and the attacking skills coach Mike Catt – will review the events of the last month and a half in minute detail, but they already know the areas in need of serious attention: the centre partnership and the back three combination. Neither unit is likely to survive intact.

"We need to look at players who can be the point of difference: players who can beat people one on one or go through a hole," Lancaster continued, before confirming that the Gloucester inside centre Billy Twelvetrees was "very much in our thoughts and pushing hard, because a ball-player at No 12 definitely helps". The hallelujahs from the Kingsholm Shed could immediately be heard, together with choruses of "we told you so". Twelvetrees, demoted to the bench after the hard-fought victory over Ireland in Dublin, should have started all five championship matches rather than two of them.

He will be given his head against the Pumas in June, irrespective of whether the incumbent, Brad Barritt, is in the England party. (The resilient Saracens player may yet be selected by the Lions hierarchy, who value his expertise as a defensive kingpin). As for Manu Tuilagi, part game-breaker and part problem player, a move to the wing is a distinct possibility. That would allow Barritt or, perhaps, another Saracen, the uncapped Joel Tomkins, to occupy the No 13 position.

Tuilagi has been a rich source of tries for England this season – without him, they would have been virtually bereft in the five-point department – but when it comes to the vision thing, he resembles a blind man in wraparound sunglasses, fumbling his way around a darkened room. Twice on Saturday, he wasted try-scoring chances. "Everything matters in a game: you have to take opportunities when they're presented," remarked Lancaster, with meaning.

Even if Tuilagi stays put at outside centre, the situation at wing and full-back is certain to alter drastically. Alex Goode may have been the principal source of attacking ideas in recent games, but with Twelvetrees' impending promotion giving England a "second footballer" among the inside backs, the Saracen's lack of pace is likely to cost him. Lancaster is considering a shift to the "strike runner" approach at No 15, which in the first instance should mean a recall for Ben Foden of Northampton.

The other heavy faller is Chris Ashton, whose days as the future of England's back play are now firmly in the past. He may rediscover some of his old pizzazz with Saracens, who will not be short of high-profile matches between now and the end of the club campaign, but the weaknesses in his game, exposed in all their gory detail over the course of the Six Nations, have left the door open for any number of challengers: most obviously Jonny May of Gloucester, Christian Wade of Wasps and two London Irish players, Marland Yarde and Jonathan Joseph.

"Argentina will give us a chance to work with a wider group of players and see who among them can make the transition from club to country and deliver in a hostile environment," Lancaster said. "Overall, I believe we made good progress in the Six Nations and it was hugely pleasing that we put ourselves in a position to win it, even though it ended with Wales doing to us what we'd done to the All Blacks before Christmas. What we need to see now is that depth of talent emerging. In that respect, the summer will be critical."

In July, the head coach will name a new 32-man elite squad. If new-generation players like Vunipola and Launchbury have already been inked in, others are on the point of being rubbed out, even though they were a mere 80 minutes away from landing the ultimate prize in European rugby. It's a cruel world.

Ins and outs

In?...

Ben Foden With pace to burn, he would bring a cutting edge to the attack.

Out?...

Chris Ashton The Six Nations was a terrible struggle. Future selection could be harder still.

In?...

Billy Twelvetrees The coming force in midfield, blessed with a full range of skills.

Out?...

Alex Goode The most intelligent footballer in the back division, but short of speed.

Move him all about?...

Manu Tuilagi Move to the wing beckons as England seek their own Jonah Lomu.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn