Home Rugby Top 5 Contenders To Replace Kruis Ahead Of England Vs South Africa

Top 5 Contenders To Replace Kruis Ahead Of England Vs South Africa

Injuries have not been kind to England in the build-up to this November Series, and this trend continued as it was announced on Friday that George Kruis would be having ankle surgery, ruling him out for “a number of weeks” according to his club, Saracens.

Mark McCall, Saracens director of rugby, said:

“After consultation with George and England we are in all in agreement that it’s in the best interest of the player to undergo this minor procedure now with the majority of the season still ahead of us.

“George is on the road to recovery and we look forward to his return to action sooner rather than later.”

Second row is a position of exceptional strength for England, and the options to replace Kruis are vast.

Here we take a look at just five of them.

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Joe Launchbury

Arguably the obvious choice for replacing Kruis, Joe Launchbury was one of England’s only shining lights at last year’s World Cup. The Wasps captain has had a good start to the season, and at only 25 years old already has 35 caps for England.

BARNET, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: Joe Launchbury of Wasps catches the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and Wasps at Allianz Park on October 9, 2016 in Barnet, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

His work around the loose combined with Maro Itoje would provide the backrow with valuable support at the breakdown.

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Courtney Lawes

Lawes would be in line for his 50th cap if he was chosen to replace Kruis, and arguably he is more of a similar player to Kruis than Launchbury.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Courtney Lawes of Northampton Saints in action during the Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Northampton Saints at Twickenham Stoop on October 8, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Although it is unlikely Jones will be sentimental about this achievement, Lawes’ work at the lineout with club-mate Hartley could prove to be a thorn in the side of opposition, both offensively and defensively.

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Josh Beaumont

In the squad but without a cap, Josh Beaumont looks certain to follow in his legendary father’s footsteps and win a cap at some point in the future.

BATH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Josh Beaumont of Sale holds onto the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks at the Recreation Ground on October 7, 2016 in Bath, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Although he has been playing at number 8 for his club, Beaumont is more than able to fill in at second row given is 6ft 3in frame. He may not offer as much as others in the lineout, but undoubtedly will be in the mix heading into England’s first test against South Africa.

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Charlie Ewels

Charlie Ewels is the youngest on this list, and at only 20 years old with 38 games for Bath under his belt already things are already looking good for Ewels.

BATH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Charlie Ewels of Bath Rugby is tackled by Laurence Pearce of Sale Sharks during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks at Recreation Ground on October 7, 2016 in Bath, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Already in the squad and in tremendous form, a cap would not be unwarranted. With a few more games under his belt, he would be in with a shout, but it seems unlikely that the 6ft 6in second row will start this time around.

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Dave Attwood

Time is not up for “Bath’s giant” having been left out of England’s training squad. The 29-year-old is an old school, uncompromising second row, dominant in the lineout and, at 6ft 7in, an imposing figure.

BATH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 10: Dave Attwood of Bath Rugby(C) celebrates his try during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Ground on September 10, 2016 in Bath, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

The reason for his selection would be his reliability at the lineout, and his ability to cause problems for opposition hookers with their throws.

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It is more than likely that the most suitable option for this vacancy is Launchbury, given his experience and work around the pitch, with Lawes providing cover from the bench.

It is clear, however, that second row is a position of exceptional strength for England, and the embarrassment of riches possessed by Jones can only be a positive before the gruelling four-test series begins.

Oscar Reilly, Pundit Arena

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