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Assessing The Options Available To Eddie Jones At Scrum Half

Eddie Jones has a difficult decision to make at scrum half.

Throughout the last number of years, England have rotated their scrum halves due to the level of competition for the number nine shirt.

While each of Danny Care, Ben Youngs and Richard Wigglesworth have enjoyed game time under both Stuart Lancaster and Martin Johnson, none of them have been able to firmly hold down the jersey.

Although injuries have contributed to the lack of consistent selection, form has also played its part, with Joe Simpson now leading the charge to become England’s first choice scrum half.

However with Eddie Jones stating that he will be selecting his team from a clean state, each of the above players remain in contention.

Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

At 32 years of age, time is certainly not on the side of Richard Wigglesworth. Indeed having earned a move to Saracens from Sale in 2010, Wigglesworth has only managed to earn 27 caps.

Also counting against the Saracens man was his performance against Wales in the World Cup. Wigglesworth’s introduction in that game coincided with a noticeable decline in England’s tempo, allowing Wales secure the momentum necessary to win in Twickenham.

Nevertheless, given that his skill set differs from his competitors, Wigglesworth remains in contention for a place in the squad.

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Given his form over recent seasons, Ben Youngs remains England’s first choice scrum halve. Indeed Youngs has made 54 international appearances, 52 for England and two for the Lions.

Seen as a potential star for a young age, Youngs became Leicester’s youngest ever player when he made his Premiership debut against Bristol in 2007. His form was such that he played in the Premiership final that season.

He has brought his form onto the International stage, scoring memorable tries against the likes of Australia and South Africa.

His ability to spot a gap was underlined when he scored a superb try against Munster in Thomond Park recently.

Danny Care (Harlequins)

Danny Care can at times be an infuriating player, with consistency the biggest issue for the 28 year old. At times Care can look like a complete scrum half, with an accurate kicking game, fast hands and the ability to spot a gap.

However on occasion the Harlequins Captain’s game simply falls apart. Care’s critics also continually highlight his early years as a professional, and as a result, his professionalism has been called into question.

Nevertheless, since the World Cup, Care has reveled in the role as Quins Captain, doing much of his talking on the pitch.

Joe Simpson (Wasps)

Joe Simpson is unquestionably England’s form scrum half at the moment. Indeed despite only making one England appearance, Simpson could yet find himself starting against Scotland in the Six Nations.

Possessing great speed, Simpson can punish the slightest slip in concentration around the fringes, with his style particularly suiting Wasps high tempo strategy.

Although some would question his inexperience, Simpson demonstrated his ability against European heavyweights, Toulon and Leinster.

Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.