Tuesday 15 October 2019

England lock George Kruis joins Eddie Jones in criticism of Conor O'Shea and Italy

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Italy head coach Conor O'Shea (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Duncan Bech

England lock George Kruis has joined Eddie Jones in taking aim at Italy on the eve of Saturday's Guinness Six Nations clash at Twickenham.

Jones stated that the Azzurri can be a gifted team if their head coach Conor O'Shea takes a positive approach - a reference to the controversial no-ruck tactics employed by the Irishman at the same venue two years ago.

It is a view echoed by Kruis, who forms a second-row partnership alongside Joe Launchbury after Maro Itoje was definitively ruled out by forwards coach Steve Borthwick because of a knee injury.

"If Conor lets them play then they can play and produce some magic out the back. We're prepared for that and we're not underestimating them," Kruis said.

"They've put on some pretty good performances in this Six Nations and we know they could chuck anything at us - like they have done previously.

"They're unpredictable and can play in different styles. With Italy you've got to expect anything and that's exactly what we're thinking about.

"The game starts with the forwards so we know we've got a big job to do in the pack."

Jones on Thursday raised the possibility of Maro Itoje being restored to England's matchday 23 if he made rapid progress in his recovery from ligament damage, but the hope now is that he becomes available for Scotland.

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"Maro is not fit for this weekend, but he's recovering really well. He progresses every day. Everyone else is fully fit," Borthwick said.

"We're really excited about this game. Italy have played very, very well over the last couple of matches.

"Look at how they played for part of the game against Scotland and against Ireland - it shows they're a good team."

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