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'The new Sam Simmonds': England's latest ongoing selection snub stuns fans

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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England fans have hit out following the omission of star playmaker George Ford from Eddie Jones’ Six Nations squad ahead of next month’s tournament.

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Since the 2019 World Cup, Jones has moved to rejuvenate his England side – which currently featured six uncapped players – by letting go of the stars that were such an integral part of their run to the final.

As such, there were no recalls for the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako, but many expected that on form George Ford would earn a reprieve. Jones, however, went with a 20-year-old up-and-comer.

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The selection of uncapped flyhalf Orlando Bailey over the established Ford is one England fans can’t get their heads around.

Bailey is with the Premiership’s worst performing team at the bottom of the ladder with Bath, while Ford, who is still in his prime at 28-year-old, is at the top with the in-form Leicester Tigers.

Fellow flyhalf Owen Farrell, who Ford has spent forging a partnership with since their age-grade days, was instead included despite being sidelined with an injury picked up against the Wallabies two months ago.

England fans were shocked at the omission and tried to speculate online why the Tigers No 10 had not been included. One described the snub as “criminal”, and another said it “doesn’t make sense”.

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The one area many fans believed Bailey had an advantage over Ford was on defence, which they attributed to the youngster’s bigger frame.

With Marcus Smith playing a starring role for England against the Springboks, Jones’ top two flyhalves seem to be the Harlequins pivot and Farrell, who can also cover No 12 if needed.

Ford falling out of Jones’ favour comes five years after the England boss claimed that he could be “better than Beauden Barrett” back in 2016 following a big win over Fiji.

“I think George can be better than Beauden Barrett. People rave about Beauden Barrett but I don’t,” said Jones at the time.

“I just think George has got a great feel for the game. He sees opportunities. He needs to work on his running game a bit, needs to be more of a threat himself.

“He’s actually too selfless. He needs to be a bit more selfish with the ball at times. But his alignment on some of the phase ball was absolutely outstanding, the best I have seen for a long time.”

With Ford arguably the form player of the Premiership this season, fans are rightly wondering what went wrong as he looks in at the England squad in from the outside leading up to the Six Nations.

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