The 2019 World Cup which will be hosted in Japan is less than a year away now, and opportunities for players to burst into their national teams are becoming less and less common. Countries such as New Zealand and Ireland appear to have a settled team going into World Cup year with players such as Jacob Stockdale and Rieko Ioane making a major name for themselves in 2018.
For England however, things do not appear to be as clear-cut after a poor year laden with injuries and poor form. In December of 2017 the starting XV of the England team appeared to be almost certain, with the likes of Vunipola, Joseph and Watson all performing exceptionally well for club and country. This trio of players have suffered massively with medical layoffs and other options should realistically now be considered.
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We take a look at four players that we believe could have a major impact on England’s fortunes in the coming year if selected by Eddie Jones
Ted Hill (19-years-old)
Ted Hill has been somewhat of a revelation at Worcester Warriors since he started for the Midlands team this year. In five Gallagher Premiership appearances, the 19-year-old has scored three tries for the club as well as an excellent try in the Challenge Cup. The all-action back row made his England debut against Japan this Autumn and despite only having a few minutes of game time, he certainly impressed.
With the likes of Robshaw and Haskell struggling with niggly injuries this year, could Hill be another young option for Eddie Jones coming into this Six Nations? Weighing in at 112kg, he certainly has the bulk that is necessary to compete himself at an International level. The main question resides in whether Jones is willing to give him a full start in a big test match so close to the World Cup.
Ollie Thorley (22-years-old)
Gloucester’s 22-year-old winger has been in exceptional form for his side so far this season. In three games so far, he has scored 4 tries, and those tries have been spectacular to say the least.
Just from watching this try from a couple of weeks ago, it is clear to see how much of a threat this young player is from anywhere on the pitch.
Ollie Thorley is the Player of the Month for November ?
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 12, 2018
Many have compared his playing style to that of New Zealand legend Ben Smith with his wide running style and heads up rugby. He has a long way to go to reach the level of Smith but with this style of play, it’s very possible that we may see him in an England shirt in a couple of months time.
Ollie Lawrence (19-years-old)
Ollie Lawrence is another success story of Worcester’s academy process in recent years, making a serious name for himself with strong performances for the men in blue and gold this season. The 19-year-old centre has recently been offered a contract extension for the Midlands club and it’s clear to see why.
In one of his most recent performances against Stade Francais, Lawrence was simply on another level, standing up players with ease and being a general nightmare for his opposite number in attack.
If you have not seen him play before, then a good description of him would be that he is a far more aggressive version of Jonathan Joseph. His quick feet give him the ability to beat most players, but his refusal to go to ground in contact sets him apart from most players his age.
Rugby Pass regular contributor Alex Shaw wrote a brilliant piece on Ollie Lawrence over a year ago highlighting how much a talent this player is. It is well worth a read if you want to get to know this player better.
It is not beyond the realms of imagination to see Lawrence starting for England in 2019. England go into this tournament with three tough fixtures against Ireland, France and Wales. By the time the team comes up against Italy and Scotland, there could be several injuries that have deplete the team. Could this be Lawrence’s chance to solidify a first-team position?
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