Tuesday 23 July 2019

Mischievous Jones plotting game plan with extra forward

Eddie Jones. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Eddie Jones. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Jack de Menezes

The Rugby World Cup is little more than eight months away, yet Eddie Jones is ready to take his biggest gamble yet and completely tear up the rugby playbook by deploying nine forwards instead of eight and asking natural wing Jack Nowell at play like an openside flanker. Welcome to the crazy world of Eddie Jones.

The startling revelations, which were delivered with a mischievous grin, are all part of his plan to change a game that has become "so orthodox".

Once the initial hilarity of what he was actually saying died down, he actually seemed to be a legitimate plan to shake the game up.

"He is going to be the new breed of player," Jones said of Nowell's potential new position at openside flanker.

"The game has changed. The game used to be 80 minutes, now it is 100 minutes. The next change is you will have players who can play backs and forwards. Do you remember (ex-Australia coach) Rod Macqueen? He used to talk about it. It's going to happen. The game is going towards it.

"Nowell is definitely an option at seven. We haven't tried him out but he is definitely an option. Because he has great ball carrying, great tackling skill; he puts his head over the ball, he's a tough little bloke. He's a great option. He can play wing, 13, 15, seven for us."

Thankfully, Jones has not lost the plot. For when he describes Nowell as a seven, it does not mean he will be wearing No 7 but using the attributes of a backrow player while wearing No 15 on his back.

"There are great opportunities in the game to change it and we are looking at opportunities to change it. Maybe one of the opportunities is nine forwards

"There is no reason why you can't play nine forwards. He could stand blindside wing." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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