Moving Sam Simmonds to the centre may initially sound like a longshot, but Eddie Jones does not have a natural replacement for Manu Tuilagi according to Austin Healey.
“It would take buy-in from Exeter and seems like a longshot, given how hard the position is defensively,” wrote Healey.
“Eddie must have ideas along those lines which he wants to develop, because there are not many existing options at 13 and the ones that are available do not offer a lot of size.
“Simmonds can still wear No 8 on his shirt but be used in midfield, you don’t have to be stereotyped.
“It’s a shame he won’t be fit to tour Australia either due to his hip injury but he should not be ruled out as a long-term alternative.”
5 players ruled out of England’s summer tour
Below, we look at five players who will almost definitely not travel whether due to injury or personal choice.
#1. Manu Tuilagi
Sale Sharks have confirmed the powerhouse centre has undergone knee surgery and won’t face Australia as he bids to return to full fitness for the 2022/23 season.
Sale’s statement read: ‘Sale Sharks can confirm Manu Tuilagi has undergone a routine procedure on his knee which will rule the 31-year-old out of this summer’s England tour to Australia.
‘The club, in close consultation with England Rugby, have decided that a summer of rest and a full pre-season is the best course of action to ensure Manu is fit and available for Sale Sharks and England during a crucial year for both club and country.
‘Everyone at the club wishes Manu all the best for his recovery and looks forward to seeing him at Carrington for the start of pre-season.’