Elliot Daly books place on bench against Ireland

Elliot Daly books place on bench against Ireland

Elliot Daly is within touching distance of a first senior cap after being named in England’s matchday squad for the Six Nations game against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday. The Wasps centre has been included in the 23 for the first time but Northampton’s Courtney Lawes will not be involved.

Daly has enjoyed an outstanding domestic season but Eddie Jones had suggested he was not quite ready for Test rugby. Along with Saracens’s Maro Itoje, however, he has done enough to change the England coach’s mind. “Elliot has impressed in training and is now ready to be part of the matchday 23,” Jones said. “Everyone wants to be on the field on Saturday so there were some tough selection calls.”

Barring injuries to others, Daly is earmarked for a place on the bench but his club captain, James Haskell, believes he will grasp his chance when it arrives. “Elliot is an outstanding player who has always had incredible raw talent,” Haskell said. “At times he was probably a bit unsure what more he needed to do to get into international rugby but under Eddie and his coaches he’s been told what he needs to do. I think he’s got a massive future. When he does get an opportunity he will go well because he’s got an edge to him as well. When he gets fired up he is pretty sensational.”

 Haskell is also a fan of Itoje, whose ability to cover lock and blindside flanker has enabled him to edge ahead of Lawes. “When Eddie decides to put him in, I think he’ll give a good account of himself. He has got more champagne than the whole of France for his man of the match awards with Saracens but he doesn’t have an ego at all, which is great.”

Haskell has been shedding some light on the differences between England’s training regime under Jones and his predecessor Stuart Lancaster. He believes England’s World Cup squad were fit but were seldom able to make it count. “We did so much fitness training before the World Cup that we were in incredible shape but it wasn’t relevant because our games never went to those levels. What we are trying to do now is to build a fitness that is relevant to the style we want to play and play at that intensity. That’s the difference.

“It is about understanding what we are wanting to achieve as a team. We review training in terms of what your explosive metres are, how many high-speed metres you have done. From the first session to where we are now, four weeks later, you can see that progression. With Eddie it is about delivering consistently. England is not a place you come to be comfortable and relaxed. It is a place you come to improve and win, and that is ultimately what we are about.”

England squad v Ireland

Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), A Goode (Saracens), A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), E Daly (Wasps), O Farrell (Saracens), J Nowell (Exeter), G Ford (Bath), D Care (Harlequins), B Youngs (Leicester).

Forwards: J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), J Marler (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), D Cole (Leicester), P Hill (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), M Itoje (Saracens), J Clifford (Harlequins), C Robshaw (Harlequins), J Haskell (Wasps), B Vunipola (Saracens).

– Entry was posted on February 24th, 2016 by James Haskell

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