Despite reports that England could play with nine forwards against Georgia in next weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup opener, RUCK can reveal Eddie Jones could start with eight backs.
The England head coach has frequently mentioned his ambition to introduce “hybrid” players who are equally comfortable playing in the backs and forwards in the past.
Exeter Chiefs wide-man Jack Nowell and Bristol back row Ben Earl were name-checked as possible candidates for that transition during the 2020 Six Nations.
However, RUCK can reveal that the only player spotted training out of position this week is Ollie Thorley with the winger taking part in lineout and scrummaging drills at England’s Lensbury hotel base.
Thorley made his debut on the wing against Italy, but the 24-year-old could now possibly feature in the back-row against Georgia this weekend.
During his time as Japan boss, Jones named No 8 Hendrik Tui on the wing to combat Georgia’s muscle at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
England Autumn Nations Cup Fixtures
- Saturday 14 Nov, England v Georgia, 3pm, Twickenham Live on Amazon Prime (UK) & Premier Sports (Republic of Ireland)
- Saturday 21 Nov, England v Ireland, 3pm, Twickenham Live on Amazon Prime, Channel 4 & RTE
- Saturday 28 Nov, Wales v England, 4pm, Parc y Scarlets Live on Amazon Prime (UK), Premier Sports (Republic of Ireland) & S4C
- Prime Video pundits for 2020 Autumn Nations Cup
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- Sean Fitzpatrick Selects His All-Time XV
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.”