England head coach Eddie Jones will name his first England Rugby squad for the 2016 RBS Six Nations tomorrow; as fans up-and-down the country wait with bated to see who the Australian will select at the start of England’s new era.
The Australian took the role on in December after the RFU parted company with former head coach Stuart Lancaster after the disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign.
Many expect Jones to bring a high-tempo approach to England, much like he did with Japan, who shocked the world beating South Africa in the World Cup. Jones has already outlined that he wants players to express themselves on the pitch and use their full range of skills.
Jones has stated that he will make England “the most dominant team in the world”. A bold statement.
But who will make the cut for the Six Nations?
Henry Slade the great hope of the English midfield broke his leg and won’t return to rugby for another few months. His Exeter teammate Dave Ewers was tearing up trees in the domestic game for 18 months before suffering a knee injury.
Kieran Brookes, the young Northampton tighthead was ruled out of the Six Nations, leaving England desperately short of players in form at one of the most crucial positions on the pitch.
Powerful lock duo Ed Slater and Dave Atwood, who were thought to be in line to make the squad and add grunt to the engine room were both ruled out. While this weekend saw injuries to Joe Launchbury, George Kruis and Jack Nowell but it is thought they will recover in time.
At openside flanker Jones has a plethora of talent to select from but none have truly experienced international rugby. Who will be the fetcher during the RBS Six Nations 2016? Gloucester’s Matt Kvesic and Harlequins Jack Clifford look to be leading the way, both are hugely promising.
Maro Itoje continues to impress with every performance and he has to be in the match day squad against Scotland. But will he be selected at second-row or flanker? The engine room seems the long-term aim but he has been equally destructive in the back-row.
Elliot Daly may have edged ahead of Jonathan Joseph at outside centre but it is very close. But who will wear the 12 shirt? Slade was a shoe in until his injury. Kyle Eastmond is out of form, Brad Barritt’s time has surely gone. Could Owen Farrell move across from the number 10 jersey?
At fly-half Danny Cipriani is in red-hot form and is the most talented player in the country. Will Jones trust him to steer the ship? George Ford is slowly returning to his best, Farrell continues to be Mr. Consistent.
These are fascinating questions which Jones will answer tomorrow.