Eddie Jones has just announced his squad for the autumn tests – against a background of some significant injuries over the last few weeks.
|Maro Itoje||Saracens lock||Fractured hand|
|Sam Jones||Wasps flanker||Broken leg|
|Anthony Watson||Bath winger||Broken jaw|
|James Haskell||Wasps flanker||Toe injury|
|Jack Clifford||Harlequins flanker||Ankle surgery|
|Jack Nowell||Exeter winger||Torn quad muscle|
|Mike Williams||Leicester flanker||Broken arm|
|George Kruis||Saracens lock||Ankle surgery|
|Luke Cowan-Dickie||Exeter hooker||Ankle ligament damage|
|Manu Tuilagi||Leicester centre||Groin injury|
|Sam Underhill||Ospreys flanker||Shoulder injury|
I would have expected at least six of the above to have started against the Springboks barring injury.
The squad is
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Tommy Taylor (Wasps), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Mike Haley (Sale Sharks), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
As I write this Eddie Jones has yet to comment on the tough decisions he has had to make – most especially over the back row I should imagine.
His recall for Tom Wood could be as a replacement for James Haskell at 7 with Billy and Chris Robshaw continuing in 6 and 8. Wood fits the Haskell mode of being a destructive player and has featured at times for Saints at open side.
My choice would have been to have Guy Thompson at 7 – maybe Eddie wants the experience of Wood.
I don’t think there are too many surprises given the long unavailability list – the real interest will be the 23 chosen for the game on November 12th against South Africa.
Whatever happens Eddie has created a real expectation for this England team.
England’s autumn Tests Saturday12 November South Africa Saturday, 19 November Fiji Saturday, 26 November Argentina Saturday, 3 December Australia
Bring it on!