England Rugby Squad Injuries No Excuse According to Eddie Jones

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England are approaching the upcoming series of Autumn Internationals with a depleted squad stripped of a number of positional first choices and in some cases 2nd and 3rd picks also.

England Rugby Squad Injuries No Excuse According to Eddie Jones

The injury list includes James Haskell, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Jack Clifford, Sam Hill, Mike Williams, Anthony Watson & Jack Nowell and leaves Head Coach Eddie Jones with a selection conundrum – one that will see a very different English side take to the field than the one in Sydney on the 25th of June.

Back Row

The arguments have been raging over who to play across the back row with the now injured Itoje previously being the favourite to take over the 7 shirt in Haskell, Clifford & Hill’s absence. Nathan Hughes has been mooted at 6 with Chris Robshaw swapping flanks to fill the berth he occupied for the majority of his England career pre-Jones but his move back to the blind-side has been a much publicized and effective one and it may be prudent to find someone else to come in to the open-side so that Robshaw can focus on displaying the form he showed down under.

With three front line second rows on the physio table, it may mean that we see the debut of Sale captain Josh Beaumont in the position Jones favours for him rather than that which he plays for his club (No.8) but whether this is as a starter or off the bench, with Joe Launchbury and Dave Atwood getting the nod to begin the game, remains to be seen.

What is evident within all of the rhetoric coming out of the coaching team however, is that the proliferation of injured players should not mean that the twenty-three that take to the field a week on Saturday should be measured any less-stringently than the squad that would have been preferred, had everyone been fit and available for selection.

Not Trying to play like the All Blacks

Although they have been quick to deny that they are trying to play like the All Blacks, they most definitely see the New Zealanders as the benchmark for so many different aspects of the modern game – one being the ability to bring players of varying experience into the squad to cover for injuries and it appearing to not harm the team’s performance levels one bit.

Another aspect the Kiwis have lead the way in is putting together sustained winning streaks. This conflicts with the old belief in the Southern Hemisphere that England are merely satisfied with a few wins in a row.  The Clive Woodward era was certainly built on dominant winning runs and in order to win a World Cup you have to string together a good number of victories – inevitably against the top sides in the world – but the men in white have never recovered that type of dominance since their 2003 triumph.

Perform when the Chips are Down

Eddie Jones though is adamant that to be compared to the best and to be the best they have to perform even when the chips are down and injuries abound.

Speaking this week from England’s warm weather training camp in Portugal, Eddie Jones told LWOR contributor Francisco Isaac: “We are not looking for any excuses.  We accept that we have injuries and it’s a great opportunity to develop depth if we want to be the best team in the world.  For that we have to add depth, so this is really an opportunity to move closer to being the best in the world”.

One thing is for sure; there will be a number of players getting their international debut that maybe thought they would have just been making up the numbers in camp. Now, suddenly, they will be expected to perform and to be judged in the same way as their senior colleagues.

Old Mutual Wealth Autumn International Series 2016

England v South Africa – Twickenham, London

Saturday 12th November – Kick Off:  2.30pm

England v Fiji – Twickenham, London

Saturday 19th November – Kick Off:  2.30pm

England v Argentina – Twickenham, London

Saturday 26th November – Kick Off:  2.30pm

England v Australia – Twickenham, London

Saturday 3rd December – Kick Off:  2.30pm

 

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