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Which England Team Should Eddie Jones Choose To Face Australia?

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 01: Alex Goode of England is tap tackled by Jonathan Joseph of England during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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With a number of new faces and fringe players impressing against Wales on Sunday and with Saracens taking the domestic double for this season, Eddie Jones has some serious selection scenarios to ponder before the first test on 11th June.

We take a look at a couple of possible teams the England head coach could choose.

1) The tried and tested

Vunipola, Hartley (c), Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, Vunipola, Youngs/Care, Ford, Nowell, Farrell, Joseph, Watson, Brown.

Bench: George, Mullan, Hill, Launchbury, Clifford, Youngs/Care, Burrell, Daly

If Jones wishes to go for consistency in selection over choosing on form then he could pick a side very close to the line up that won the Grand Slam earlier this year.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Chris Robshaw of Harlequins is tackled by Ricky Reeves of London Welsh during the Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and London Welsh at Twickenham Stoop on October 4, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

With Joe Marler taking a break from the tour to get himself back in the right frame of mind after a rollercoaster year, Vunipola would come into the team with Wasps’ Matt Mullan taking the bench spot.

Besides a few changes on the bench, this is virtually the same 23 that went on to defeat France in Paris and seal a first grand slam since 2003.

2) Form over reputation

Mullan, George, Hill, Itoje, Kruis, Clifford, Harrison, Vunipola, Care, Farrell (c), Nowell, Slade, Daly, Watson, Goode

Bench: Hartley, Vunipola, Cole, Launchbury, Haskell, Youngs, Burrell, Brown

Up front, Matt Mullan deserves the chance to show what he can do for England after an excellent season for Wasps, with Saracens’ Jamie George having shown greater form than captain Hartley and Paul Hill impressing over Cole in the Premiership this year.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Matt Mullan of Wasps runs with the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between London Irish and Wasps at Twickenham Stadium on November 28, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The second row picks itself, but in the back row a quicker, more abrasive trio in Clifford, Harrison and Vunipola might overshadow the reliable flank pairing of Robshaw and Haskell.

Owen Farrell’s form for Saracens at fly-half suggests he deserves the chance to reclaim the 10 jersey from the misfiring George Ford of Bath.

Henry Slade, finally back from the leg break that robbed him of a chance to star in the Six Nations, should be given the chance to bring his early season form into the international arena.

With Jonathan Joseph struggling to make an impact for an atrocious Bath side this year, Wasps’ elusive Elliot Daly should come in to the side.

With Alex Goode being in outstanding form for Saracens in the latter half of the season, he would be the pick over stalwart Mike Brown who is having a mixed season.

3) A mixture of the two

Vunipola, Hartley (c), Cole, Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, Vunipola, Youngs/Care, Farrell, Yarde, Slade, Joseph, Watson, Brown

Bench: George, Mullan, Hill, Launchbury, Clifford, Youngs/Care, Ford, Goode

Jones may decide to stick closely to his Grand Slam team but make one or two tweaks to bring in some players on impressive form their clubs.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Maro Itoje of England is pursued by Alex Cuthbert of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on March 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Even though Nowell has been Jones’ wing of choice since he started in his role as head coach, Yarde offers a physicality on the wing that the Exeter flyer simply cannot provide. Jones’ selection of Yarde over Ashton proved controversial, but Yarde has always been a player of immense potential and under the tutelage of England’s coaches, he might just well start to show the quality he possesses.

Exeter’s Henry Slade so often lines up at 13 for his club, but Jones may see the multi-talented centre as better utilised at 12, partnering the established Joseph at outside centre. Slade is the second playmaker-style 12 that Jones favours and would be a better fit than the likes of Luther Burrell.

By moving Slade to 12, it would allow Saracens’ in-form fly-half Owen Farrell to make the 10 shirt his own, having been shunted next to George Ford for the whole of the Six Nations campaign. Given Ford’s inconsistency this year, it would make a lot of sense to have the Champions Cup and Aviva Premiership winner back in his best position.

Even though the likes of bolters Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler are likely to spend much of the tour holding tackle bags and watching on from the stands, they will gain valuable experiences from the tour and may push for further honours in the Autumn Internationals.


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Author: The PA Team

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