England head coach Eddie Jones has revealed he could play nine forwards to compete with Georgia’s monster pack.
Georgia should be swept aside with ease but they are a rugged outfit that can cause problems up front, so Jones has revived his scheme of picking a ‘hybrid’ player
“Georgia are the fathers of wrestling. They are all about manhood and being physical,” Jones said.
“They have made their way into the top 15 in the world through having a dominant scrum, a tough forward pack, hard-running backs and we will anticipate the same from them.
“I remember the last time we played them with Japan before the 2015 World Cup, we played them with nine forwards and six backs, such was the strength of their pack.
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“We might consider doing the same again. Ollie Thorley, Ben Earl… there are a number of guys we are trying to make into hybrid players.
“Tradition says you have eight forwards and seven backs. When Barcelona beat Man United in the Champions League in 2009, they played the false nine. There’s no reason why you can’t do that in rugby and play a false 10 or a false winger.
“These are ideas that we take seriously and see how we can improve the side. Maybe the Georgian game is an opportunity to play a different way.”
Sir Clive Woodward leaves Sam Underhill out of his England XV
11. Joe Cokanasiga, 14. Jonny May, 15. Anthony Watson
“I want to see Anthony Watson as full-back and Jonny May given a license to thrill. Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga and Ollie Thorley can fight it out for the other wing position.”
12. Ollie Lawrence & 13. Henry Slade
“Henry Slade is a world-class 13. Pick him there and find the best 12 to go with him. That might be Ollie Lawrence, Exeter’s Ollie Devoto or Manu Tuilagi if he can overcome his latest injury.”