Eddie Jones has pitched up in Wales for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup game having taken a swipe regarding talk about playmakers in his England team – it’s a description he clearly doesn’t like. The England boss, who is on a six-match winning run, has been pushing back the game’s established boundaries in recent week.
He has teased that forwards can play as backs and vice-versa, mixing positions up in England training, while also creating a new “floating midfielder” role for Jonathan Joseph, the centre again chosen on the right wing to start this weekend versus the Welsh.
Now he has had a pop about the playmaker phrase ahead of a match in Llanelli where George Ford will make his first Test start since March inside a midfield combination of skipper Owen Farrell and Henry Slade, a rejig caused by last week’s hip injury to No13 Ollie Lawrence in the comfortable London win over Ireland.
“There’s a better man than me who said contradiction is normal. It is. We keep changing. We keep evolving. We keep looking to see how we can get better,” said England boss Jones.
“Our big running centre at the moment, Ollie Lawrence, is not available for this game. We have rested him. He does not have the physical fitness to play this game so we look for other solutions.
The @AndyGoode10 Column:
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 27, 2020
“The three guys who are playing, none of them will be playing in dinner suits. They all run, carry and tackle. Playmakers play in dinner suits. They are not playmakers. None of Ford, Farrell or Slade play in dinner suits. They all run and get tackled.
“The whole word playmaker suggests they make plays. They have got to run, they have to kick, they have to tackle – they have got to have every part of the game.”
"One or two scintillating Jonny May moments aside, England have gone full Priti Patel and bullied those in front of them until they collapsed."
@davidflatman says the psychological battle ahead for Wales almost outweighs the stern physical examinationhttps://t.co/INxmx8yQpH
— The XV (@TheXV) November 27, 2020
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now