England’s very disappointing showing, and frankly abject display against France has to lead to change for England as they prepare to face Ireland who have performed well in their last two games defeating Wales and Scotland convincingly.
Ahead of their final fixture of this year’s championship, and with the title beyond them, Eddie Jones must consider changes to halt their poor run of form.
- James Haskell in for Courtney Lawes
England need a genuine openside but with Sam Underhill and Tom Curry not available this weekend it seems that James Haskell could be the answer.
It also allows Chris Robshaw to shift across to his favoured blindside where he is clearly more suited. Haskell added some much needed heavy carrying when he came on in Paris.
James Haskell could transform this back row and make them more dynamic and help them boss the breakdown an area which has been concerning for England over the last couple of matches.
2. Alex Lozowski in for George Ford
The two playmaker axis is something that is becoming increasingly popular it worked wonders for the Lions in New Zealand and it has previously allowed England space and time for their danger men of Anthony Watson and Jonny May.
George Ford’s kicking out of hand and game management has been a real issue this championship and he really is out of form and low on confidence and Ford is very much a confidence player.
Lozowksi has had a good season for Saracens and his understanding with Saracens counterpart Owen Farrell would be useful for and England team looking for confidence and familiarity.
3. Sam Simmonds in for Nathan Hughes
A very different type of player and an enforced change for the injured Wasps back row.
Simmonds will offer more than Hughes in the loose with his pace as he showed scoring a brace in Rome on the opening weekend. Simmonds could also help with England’s breakdown plan if he and Haskell can get in the front foot and stop Ireland releasing quick ball, England may be able to make the game interesting.
4. Jonathan Joseph for Ben Te’o
Ben Te’o added very little for England against France, his hard running was ineffective and his defence was of little significance as Owen Farrell tackled himself to a standstill in the first half.
Te’o was never the answer to England’s midfield, he was only ever a makeweight to offset the absence of Leicester Tigers star Manu Tuilagi who needs to be recalled to the England squad ahead of their summer tour to South Africa, injury permitting.
Joseph adds pace to this backline and inventive play something sorely lacking in Paris, he has been poor so far this season for Bath and England but if England can get some quick ball he will be dangerous is space.
5. George Kruis in for Maro Itoje
This change would have been unthinkable back in June when Maro Itoje was at his peak giving New Zealand a hard time.
Itoje though has had a very quiet few weeks in an England shirt, his fiery personality almost invisible. He has backed off a bit, maybe due to his criticism for being offside too much and he is trying to temper that. He needs that edge back, he needs to be let off the leash….or maybe he just needs a rest.
He has looked tired and Kruis is still a very capable international operator. Itoje is still a world class player but he needs to be given some time to recover after what was a very long and tiring summer for a young international.
England need to play well against Ireland after two back-to-back defeats this game holds far more significance than just a chance for second place.