What Does Jack Nowell’s Injury Mean For Eddie Jones & England?
Eddie Jones will be looking forward to the Autumn Internationals, with the England coach finally able to call on the majority of his squad for the first time since early 2017.
An inexperienced England side toured Argentina over the summer, whilst Jones’ big hitters were in New Zealand, playing out an epic British and Irish Lions series against the best team in the world.
But now it is time for England to regroup as Jones prepares his side for the upcoming internationals against Argentina, Australia and Samoa. Jones has named his initial training squad last month, but has recently been dealt a blow in learning that winger Jack Nowell is a major doubt for the internationals, having suffered several fractures around his eye and cheek socket in Exeter Chiefs’ recent victory over Newcastle Falcons.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) October 11, 2017
Nowell, who was a member of Warren Gatland’s Lions squad, has been a regular under Jones since the Australian’s arrival in 2015, and his form for Exeter in recent months has been nothing short of exceptional That potential absence is a crushing blow for England heading into the Autumn Internationals.
Of course, Nowell’s absence would give others an opportunity to impress Jones ahead of the Six Nations, where England will be looking for their third consecutive triumph. The Red Rose are currently priced as 4/6 favourites in the rugby union betting to lift the trophy once again.
It would have been interesting to see if Jones would have opted to experiment with Nowell alongside Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly in England’s back-three. The trio have all impressed on the wing previously, but all three are also capable of playing at full-back and offering an alternative to Mike Brown.
The number 15 shirt is now likely to be occupied by Brown once again, with Watson and Daly lining up on the wings, leaving Jones with a strong looking back-three despite Nowell’s absence.
The door is now open for Jonny May and Marland Yarde, who have both been named in Jones’ training squad, to impress the Australian and put themselves in contention for a starting berth and place in the matchday 23. Both players are different to Nowell, but whilst they do not offer the versatility or defensive qualities of the Exeter man, both have devastating pace, which could cause problems over the autumn.
Jones will be frustrated by the potential absence of Nowell, with England already missing the likes of injured duo Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi.
Under Jones, there is a feeling that England are already planning for the World Cup in 2019, and the Australian coach will want to use every opportunity between now and then to take a proper look at his squad of players after a distracting summer.