England will name their team on Thursday to face Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup on Saturday at Twickenham but one name that won’t be on their teamsheet will be back row Jack Willis.


The Wasps youngster made a try-scoring Test debut last Saturday against Georgia following a stellar domestic campaign with his Premiership final-reaching club. 

However, when England cut this week’s squad to 25 on Tuesday night ahead of their clash with the Irish, Willis and Charlie Ewels were the two starters from last weekend’s win to be omitted. 

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Andy Farrell explains his Ireland team selection

Forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has now explained the rationale behind the thinking of boss Eddie Jones. “You look at what you’ve got at your disposal. You look at the challenge. And then you pick the best 23,” he said.

“Each guy has got to be pushed during training sessions to show that he’s in the best form and we’re looking at what the opposition presents us. 

“The Irish forwards, especially the loose forwards, are very very good. CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier are unbelievable loose forwards (sic: van der Flier hasn’t been selected). So we’re looking forward to meet that challenge, how best can we nullify that threat of theirs, and we select what we feel is the best team to counter that threat.


“We’re very pleased with Jack, he’s done very well and is pushing hard and growing,” Proudfoot added. “We want him to be a better player week in, week out and we feel he’s doing that. He has a good appetite to learn and has a bright future ahead of him.

“He did well against Georgia, his first cap produced a try and he performed really well in tough conditions for a loose forward. He really had to dig deep and he did. It was great for a forward to put in a debut like that.”

While Willis will be absent, fit-again George Ford is pushing hard for inclusion after England won their recent matches versus Italy and Georgia with skipper Owen Farrell occupying the No10 shirt. “George is looking good, he’s training really hard,” said Proudfoot. “It’s good to have his experience and adaptability in the squad. He’s been training really well.”


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