Monday 24 July 2017

Jones drops Joseph for Italy clash

England coach Eddie Jones during a training session at Twickenham. Photo: John Walton/PA
England coach Eddie Jones during a training session at Twickenham. Photo: John Walton/PA

Daniel Schofield

England will field a new-look midfield on Sunday after head coach Eddie Jones dropped Jonathan Joseph, the Bath outside centre, from his 24-man squad to face Italy at Twickenham.

Joseph's void is set to be filled by Elliot Daly. The Wasps back has featured on the wing in the past four games, but his favoured position is outside centre. Daly also featured there ahead of Joseph in November's 37-21 victory over South Africa.

At a training session at Twickenham last Friday, Daly featured in that position outside Owen Farrell at fly-half and Ben Te'o at inside centre - that line-up would mean George Ford dropping to the bench.

Te'o has impressed as an impact replacement under Jones, but is yet to start a match. As a gainline-breaking ball carrier, his selection would be a departure from the twin-playmaker tactic that Jones previously employed with Ford and Farrell at 10 and 12.

After opening the Six Nations with back-to-back victories against France and Wales, Jones is expected to experiment against Italy, who have conceded 96 points in their two defeats.

Bath's Anthony Watson is included in the squad after missing the Autumn Internationals and then the opening two Six Nations matches with injuries. Watson broke his jaw at an England training camp in October and then picked up a hamstring injury last month.

With Mike Brown poised to be selected at full-back, Watson will be battling fellow speedster Jonny May for the wing slot vacated by Daly - Jack Nowell is in line to fill the other wing berth.

Henry Slade, the Exeter playmaker, has also been selected by Jones after a period out of the England reckoning.

In the pack, Mako Vunipola, the loosehead prop, will make his first appearance of the campaign. The 26-year-old returned for Saracens against Gloucester after two months out with a knee injury, but is set to be on the replacements bench, with Joe Marler retaining his starting berth.

There could be a change on the other side of the scrum, with Kyle Sinckler, the precocious Harlequins tighthead, pushing Dan Cole for selection, while James Haskell is likely to figure in the back row.

England will announce the team to face Italy today. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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