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England vs Wales: Eddie Jones’ Potential XV

Eddie Jones named his training squad for a three-day camp in Brighton last week in preparation for England’s one-off Test against Wales. However, shorn of his Aviva Premiership semi-finalist players (those from Saracens, Exeter, Wasps and Leicester), we look at all the possible XVs that could end up playing Wales’ best on May 29th.

With World Cup seedings to be based on world rankings scores, Jones won’t want to lose this game, particularly when there are three incredibly tough tests to come away in Australia. Wales are likely to name a powerful outfit, so Jones is not going to be using the game to experiment too much.

We’ll go through each possible final outcome and show you potential lineups for each:

No Saracens Or Exeter Players

With Mako Vunipola otherwise engaged and Joe Marler taking a self-enforced break from the tour, the loosehead spot is likely to be taken by Wasps’ Matt Mullan, who was Jones’ third-choice loosehead during the Six Nations. With Maro Itoje and George Kruis away with Saracens, the second choice partnership is Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes.

In Billy Vunipola’s absence, Eddie Jones is likely to turn to Jack Clifford as his number eight option, with Grand Slam winners Chris Robshaw and James Haskell on the flanks.

As Jack Nowell would be away with Exeter Chiefs, Marland Yarde – who was part of the Six Nations training squad – would be next in line, or otherwise Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni.

With Owen Farrell playing in the Premiership final, Manu Tuilagi may well fill in the gap at inside centre with Jones keen to see what he can offer as a 12 rather than his traditional 13 spot.

Matt Mullan
Dylan Hartley (c)
Dan Cole
Joe Launchbury
Courtney Lawes
Chris Robshaw
James Haskell
Jack Clifford

Ben Youngs
George Ford

Marland Yarde
Manu Tuilagi
Jonathan Joseph
Anthony Watson
Mike Brown

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No Leicester Or Exeter Players

Only Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Nowell would be unavailable in this selection. Therefore the team is quite similar to the one that started the game against France in Paris at the end of the Six Nations. Northampton’s Kieran Brookes steps in at tighthead, Danny Care comes into the scrum-half position and Yarde is in on the wing.

Mako Vunipola
Dylan Hartley (c)
Kieran Brookes
Maro Itoje
George Kruis
Chris Robshaw
James Haskell
Billy Vunipola

Danny Care
George Ford

Marland Yarde
Owen Farrell
Jonathan Joseph
Anthony Watson
Mike Brown

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No Leicester Or Wasps Players

With England’s makeshift openside, Haskell, playing for Wasps, Jones may decide to give Harlequins’ Clifford a start in the 7 shirt, the number he has worn most often on his back for his club this season and the position he offered England cover for during the spring.

Brookes and Care would once again step into the places of Cole and Youngs, but the rest of the back division would remain the same.

Mako Vunipola
Dylan Hartley (c)
Kieran Brookes
Maro Itoje
George Kruis
Chris Robshaw
Jack Clifford
Billy Vunipola

Danny Care
George Ford

Jack Nowell
Owen Farrell
Jonathan Joseph
Anthony Watson
Mike Brown

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No Saracens Or Wasps Players

Now this is a really interesting permutation. As Marler is no longer available, Eddie Jones may decide to call up Northampton’s Alex Waller. In his Brighton training squad, the Australian named Kyle Sinckler and Paul Hill as his other props besides Brookes and Cole – all tightheads. It would be most unlike Jones to throw in an experienced tighthead in a completely new position to play against an imposing Wales front row.

As all of Itoje, Kruis and Launchbury would be unavailable, it is likely Bath’s Dave Attwood would come back into the equation after he missed out on selection for England’s World Cup squad. It seems unlikely that young Charlie Ewels would be thrown in given the likely composition of the back row.

With both Haskell and Vunipola available, England could field a new openside option and move Clifford to number eight. Robshaw would be there to provide much-needed experience, but it would certainly be a test of England’s back row resources were this trio to play together.

Alex Waller
Dylan Hartley (c)
Dan Cole
Dave Attwood
Courtney Lawes
Chris Robshaw
Teimana Harrison/Matt Kvesic
Jack Clifford

Ben Youngs
George Ford

Jack Nowell
Manu Tuilagi
Jonathan Joseph
Anthony Watson
Mike Brown

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Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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