Sir Clive Woodward cannot understand Eddie Jones reluctance to play either of his specialist number 8’s with the England head coach instead starting flanker Tom Curry in that position.
“Well, we have been here before,” wrote Woodward in his column for the Mail Online.
“England have two exceptional youngish No 8s in Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds and I can’t really see any reason not to give one of them an extended run, with the other on the bench.
“They would be interchangeable in that respect.
“It’s not that I think Tom Curry can’t make a very decent fist of it at No 8 but the transition was far from seamless when he played there in the 2020 Six Nations.
“He will have to learn his trade there while we have two in-form specialists twiddling their thumbs.
“But why even do it? Is the extra lineout option of Courtney Lawes playing blindside flanker and the slightly heavier scrummaging power he offers so vital?
“For starters, I would argue that Curry provides a third lineout option but do you really change the composition of a potentially devastatingly quick and ball-playing back row for that perceived marginal gain in the tight?
“Tonga won’t provide any definitive answers. We will have to wait for the Australia and Boks games for that.”
Where to watch the Autumn Nations Series:
Prime members can watch the Autumn Nations Series live from 30th October with the Prime Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets, games consoles, on Virgin’s V6 TV Box, the Talk Talk TV set top box, Apple TV, Chromecast, BT TV or online.
For a list of all compatible devices visit amazon.co.uk/watchanywhere.
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SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: ENGLAND XV
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers) – “Everybody at Leicester has been raving about Steward for a while and I would like to think England are as excited at his exceptional attacking potential as well as his towering presence under the high ball, for which he is best known.”
14. Louis Lynagh (Harlequins) – “He is a skilful player with pace and enjoyed a storming end of the season with Quins. He is a hot commodity with Australia and Italy also having a claim but I’m glad England have registered their interest after capping him at age group level and playing a big role in his development.”
11. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons) -“I love his sheer pace and energy. Like Marcus Smith, Radwan must start in the upcoming autumn as he is clearly something special.”
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)