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The remarkable stat that Eddie Jones miscalculated about 'project player' Ollie Lawrence

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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A remarkable statistical claim by England boss Eddie Jones about Ollie Lawrence, his new No12 for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations round one meeting with Scotland, wasn’t quite on the money when a check was done to see if the numbers actually did add up.  

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The 21-year-old has been chosen to earn his fourth cap in the England midfield at Twickenham and he goes into that game with a 100 per cent Test winning ratio following autumn victories over Italy, Georgia and Ireland.

However, in explaining his reasons for his latest selection of Lawrence, which sparked the midfield rejig that sees George Ford benched against the Scots, Jones alluded to Lawrence’s club record at Worcester. 

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Eddie Jones questions whether Scotland can handle the Six Nations pressure this Saturday

The England coach suggested Lawrence had only ever won on four of his 42 club appearances, but the record when checked by RugbyPass was far better than that, the midfielder being on the winning side on 16 occasions in his 39 Warriors appearances. 

Still, the statistical miscalculation didn’t take away completely from the general point that Jones was making about his Test level rookie, that the player is still very much learning on the job now that he has made it into the England set-up.

“Ollie is a bit of a project player for us,” said Jones after announcing a team to face Scotland in which the inclusion of Lawrence was one of four changes from the XV that defeated France in the Nations Cup final in December.   

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“He has been getting huge reps at Worcester where in 42 games he has won four, so he has got a long way to do in terms of his development. He is a player full of potential and what we want to see now is that talent coming out now consistently and he has got the opportunity on Saturday to do that.”

Lawrence’s two previous starts with England happened with the No13 outside centre shirt on his back, generating comparisons of him with Manu Tuilagi. He will now wear the No12 for the first time, but Jones tried to play down the significance of his change.  

“It’s just a numbering system. Sometimes he is going to get the ball off Owen and sometimes he is going to get the ball off someone else. It very rarely goes 10, 12, 13. But we could name him 13 and he would still play the same way. 

“What we try to do with both the centres is to find out where we can use their strengths the best and put them in those positions. Now the game’s not perfect, it’s not like playing 4-4-2 where you can work out what formations you are going to be in. 

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“Sixty per cent of the possession we get is unstructured so that means that players have got to find their position and we can’t coach them to find that position.”

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The remarkable stat that Eddie Jones miscalculated about 'project player' Ollie Lawrence

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