Eddies Jones back row options
Eddie Jones has an array of talent from which to choose in the backrow.
Prior to England’s opening Six Nations fixture against Scotland, Eddie Jones was criticised by many commentators for not selecting a genuine openside instead of either James Haskell or Chris Robshaw.
Although Jones was vindicated after winning the Grand Slam, some continue to argue that England will need to field an openside in order to overcome the influence of both David Pocock and Michael Hooper at the breakdown this summer.
Consequently, the debate as to who Jones should select in his backrow has re-opened ahead of the summer tour of Australia.
While Thomas Waldron has impressed for the Exeter Chiefs this season, it is highly unlikely that he would displace Billy Vunipola at number eight. Indeed, it would appear that Nathan Hughes will be Vunipola’s main rival for the number eight jersey next season.
However, as James Haskell’s form has dipped since the Six Nations, it would seem that the Wasps backrow maybe a little vulnerable.
As a result, Jones maybe provided with the opportunity to reconstitute his backrow this summer.
Maintain Current Back Row
Although Jones recently accused ‘four or five’ England squad members of showing the wrong attitude, he might not make many changes for first test with Australia.
If this is the case, Vunipola, Haskell and Robshaw will continue to for England’s backrow.
Turn to Harlequins
Given that Chris Robshaw has established himself as England’s leading blindside, James Haskell could come under threat to maintain his claim on the number seven shirt.
Therefore, as Jack Clifford was consistently selected among the substitutes throughout the Six Nations, it would appear that the young Harlequins flanker is best positioned to challenge Haskell for a place in England’s backrow.
What’s more, Clifford’s pace and strength at the breakdown could prove invaluable against Hooper and Pocock.
As a result, Billy Vunipola could be flanked by the Harlequins duo of Robshaw and Clifford.
Breakdown Specialist Back Row
For some time now, Gloucester have fans been wondering what Matt Kvesic has to do to get into the England squad.
Indeed, despite being the Premiership’s most potent poacher, Kvesic has only received two international caps.
Nevertheless, if Jones were to select Kvesic alongside Clifford and Vunipola in England’s backrow, they could wreak havoc against opponents at the breakdown.
Ball Carrying Back Row
Although he will not be available to England until after their summer tour, fans of the Red Rose eagerly await the arrival of Nathan Hughes.
While many anticipate Hughes competing with Vunipola for the number eight jersey, George Smith has argued that both players can be incorporated in England’s back row.
Selecting Hughes alongside Vunipola and Haskell would see England smash their way through any defence.
Line Out Orientated Back Row
While Tom Wood may now be some way done Eddie Jones’ pecking order, he arguably remains England’s best line out option in the back row.
As a result, if for some strange reason England had a crisis at hooker and second row, Wood could come back into contention alongside Haskell and Vunipola in a line out orientated backrow selection.
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