Maro Itoje says he can play back row for England

Maro Itoje says he can play back row for England

  • Maro Itoje believes he can play in England’s injury-depleted back row this autumn
  • The lock has been a mainstay of Eddie Jones’ side since making his international debut
  • England are without James Haskell, Jack Clifford, Sam Jones and Mike Williams through injury
Maro Itoje has backed himself to be a success at openside flanker were Eddie Jones to go down that route as a way of solving England’s crisis in the No 7 position.

“I have played back-row for Saracens, so it’s something I have done before,” the 21-year-old said.

With Jones saying Chris Robshaw is best utilised as a blindside flanker, Itoje could find himself in the unfamiliar number seven shirt come the autumn internationals.

“Wherever I play I will look to be myself,” Itoje added to BBC Radio 5 live. “At seven you have a bit more space, but I think it’s fairly similar [to playing six].”

Itoje’s director of rugby at Saracens, Mark McCall, says the player will be an asset wherever he is picked.

“Maro is capable of anything, isn’t he,” McCall told BBC 5 live.

“It’s a tough one because he is obviously playing well in his preferred position at lock, but Eddie is spoilt for choice at lock, so it might be a case of getting his best players on to the field.”

“He won’t be your conventional seven, but he would be a hard-tackling, destructive back-row player,” McCall added.

“He’s a very, very good rugby player as everybody knows, and he is bright enough to adjust.”


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