The 21-year-old winger was sensational against Italy last Saturday, picking up the Man of the Match award, as he left spectators speechless with the contempt he showed towards the Italian defence and the concept of holding the ball in two hands. Therefore, Jones’ decision to drop him from the squad entirely has confused many fans.
Jack Nowell replaces the Bath winger, while Ben Te’o is on the bench, as Jones has opted to field the closest starting XV to the one that beat Ireland in Dublin in the opening weekend of the Six Nations.
Cokanasiga obliterated the Italian defence at times last weekend, and while many people have noted that this was against a slightly suspect outfit, a lot of fans think that he warrants a place on the bench against Scotland.
However, a lot of England fans have come to expect Jones to move in mysterious ways, as he has garnered a reputation of being slightly capricious at times. The candid Australian has never been one to succumb to pressure from the media and fans, and this decision could be an example of him trying to explain that he knows best.
Jones has a lot of trust in Nowell, and he only missed out on an opportunity to play against Italy because of injury. Given that the England team that faced Conor O’Shea’s side were regarded as an experimental team, the decision to rest Cokanasiga does not come as a surprise to many.
With the return of Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes, the team starting against Scotland on Saturday looks to be Jones’ favourite starting XV at the moment, and perhaps at the World Cup later this year.
Despite the hysteria surrounding Cokanasiga, England fans expected Jones to remain resolute with his team. This is what they are saying:
You can’t compare Joe to Lomu and not expect a coach like Eddie to make a statement.
— Nutri-Train (@nutr1_train) March 14, 2019
He does what he wants….
— Ben Relle (@eggs_benedict) March 14, 2019
Knew he would do that, classic eddie.
— Ian Whitfield (@blocks2u) March 14, 2019
Nothing surprises me with Jones. His bizarre non selection of Goode and Cipriani means dropping JC after his man of the match performance isn’t in the least bit surprising
— James Connor (@jmconnor6) March 14, 2019
Not sure why anyone is surprised really…?
— Helen Bayes (@Helsbells_86) March 14, 2019
Eddie Jones has dropped Joe Cockanasiga for the Scotland game. I bet it’s due to the media referring to Joe as the next Jonah Lomu- Eddie wont want that going to his head, too much hype.
I still think he should play. #6nations
— Matthew Jeffrey (@go_rossi46) March 14, 2019
— Rob Ward (@robbo277) March 14, 2019
Classic Eddie Jones. Big Joe has been dropped by England… https://t.co/paq8vu1wHX
— Daniel Evans (@danielevans28) March 14, 2019
Eddie Jones dropping big Joe from the match day squad after a MOTM performance is the most Eddie Jones thing I have ever seen since Eddie Jones included Smith in the training squad over Cipriani which was the most Eddie Jones thing I’d ever seen since saying Nowell could play 7?
— The Rugby Debate ? (@therugbydebate) March 14, 2019
With Cokanasiga being lavished with comparisons to the great Jonah Lomu over the past week, these fans see his omission as Jones tempering some of that mania. Such extravagant comparisons may be too much pressure for a young player, and therefore, pulling him out of the limelight may be best for the player and abate the fans’ enthusiasm.
Of course, there is still a lot of criticism from fans on Twitter, which is understandable after such a dominant display from ‘Big Joe’, but England fans are learning that this is “classic Eddie”.
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