Fit-again Elliot Daly pushing for England start in Georgia opener
PUBLISHED: 11:18 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:18 09 November 2020
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Saracens utility back Elliot Daly will be looking to reclaim the England number 15 jersey from George Furbank on Saturday (November 14).
Daly has recovered from a shin problem as England boss Eddie Jones rejected the possibility of fielding an experimental side against Georgia in the Autumn Nations Cup opener.
Jones was optimistic that Anthony Watson faces only a brief spell on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury against Italy, and the wing could be back for the visit of Ireland on November 21.
Ollie Thorley replaced Watson at the Stadio Olimpico and Joe Cokanasiga is also a possibility for the wing vacancy in the 36-man training squad.
Also back in the squad are fly-half George Ford and prop Joe Marler following their battles with respective Achilles and knee issues.
If Ford is ready to play it could result in another rejig of England’s midfield, while Marler will put pressure on Mako Vunipola at loosehead prop.
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“They’re all good, experienced Test players and we welcome that experience back because it puts more pressure on everyone in the squad to keep getting better,” Jones said.
Scrum-half Dan Robson will have further opportunities to add to his three caps over the coming weeks after Jones confirmed that Willi Heinz faces a spell out because of a calf injury.
Robson has been electric for Wasps this season and with Heinz out of the picture, he can stake his claim behind Ben Youngs.
Jones has a number of rookies pushing hard for selection on the basis of their club form, including Robson, Tom Willis, Jacob Umaga and Ollie Lawrence, but Jones insists they must earn their starts.
“Being an old school principle, I know that kids started in year seven, they worked hard and they had to do a year 12 leaving exam,” he said.
“If they did well at that, they got into university. If you get into university you study hard, you get your undergraduate, you go for a masters and maybe a PHD. Test match rugby is a PHD.
“Everyone has got to earn their spot. We’re not giving out caps willy-nilly, that’s not the way we do it.”
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