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England squad 'quite emotional' after Bevan Rodd given debut start

By Liam Heagney

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Eddie Jones has insisted he has got no worries following the latest virus emergency to affect the England camp, Ellie Genge being ruled out on Friday morning and the uncapped Beven Rodd being promoted from the bench to take the starting loosehead role against the Wallabies on Saturday at Twickenham.    

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It has been an extraordinary week for the 21-year-old Scottish-born Rodd. Although selected in the England training squad that assembled for a late September mini-camp in London, the Sale prop was omitted from the squad announced by Jones for the three-game Autumn Nations Series which began with a week of preparation in Jersey.

That left Rodd to get on with the business at the Sharks where he has been the starting loosehead in their last four Premiership matches, including last Saturday’s win over Northampton, but he is now set to be thrust into the maelstrom of Test rugby with England as a starter.

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It was a positive Covid test last Monday night for Joe Marler, a used sub in last weekend’s win over Tonga, that initially opened the door to Rodd getting called up by Jones, who opted to go for the inexperienced youngster rather than put in a call to Mako Vunipola.    

Rodd’s arrival into camp was followed by Thursday’s confirmation that he had been chosen on the England bench to take the Wallabies, the newcomer leapfrogging Trevor Davison, who had been in camp with Marler and Genge, in the pecking order.

Less than 24 hours after that selection, however, came the revelation that Genge had now tested positive for Covid and was unavailable, a development that resulted in the dramatic promotion of Rodd to the No1 jersey with Davison coming onto the bench at No17. Does England have any worries about their new prop? “He is a very good young player. I have been watching him closely for the last twelve months,” insisted Jones.

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“We brought him into the summer squad but we played Ellis and Beno Obano, so we have been watching his progress. He is a fantastic defensive player, a very good chop tackler, a very strong scrummager and a really good attitude to work, a really good attitude to be part of the team. The response the team gave him when he was announced as a starting member was quite emotional.”

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