Twickenham Hospitality Packages: As Eddie Jones prepares to take on his new role as Head Coach of the England Rugby team, we continue to look at the key areas and decisions the Australian has to make ahead of his first game in charge. Today we look at five players who could play a key role in the 2016 Six Nations Championship.
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Exeter Chiefs star Henry Slade is one of the most talented players England have produced in the last decade. His ability to create space and deliver the ball at the right time is something that has been sorely missing from the English midfield in recent times. He looks ready made for international rugby.
In the modern-era Slade is by no means the biggest player but he tackles with superb technique and his rugby brain puts him one step ahead of the opposition.
Jones has always favoured at least one ‘ball playing’ centre in his teams and Slade fits this mould perfectly. Despite playing most of his rugby at 13 for Exeter a run at 12 for England could be on the cards. The prospect of seeing him playing alongside the likes of George Ford and Jonathan Joseph is an exciting one for English fans.
Now while it may seem strange to say a player with just two England caps could be one of the team’s key players, but Kvesic is currently the best English openside in the Aviva Premiership.
Jones has already stated he will stick with the RFU’s policy of not selecting overseas players, which rules out the return of Steffon Armitage, meaning Kvesic is one of the leading contenders for the number seven jersey.
His work around the breakdown in a struggling Gloucester pack has been superb for the past two years and we all know about England’s problems in this area. His link play and work in defence will suit the way Jones will want England to play. Has to be considered.
Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola has become one of England’s most consistent performers over the past 18 months. During the 2015 Six Nations he was one of the standout players of the whole competition and he now has the chance to become one of the best in the world.
His destructive ball carrying allied with his ability to get across the gain line and offload make a handful for any defence. Since his debut in 2013 Vunipola has matured greatly as a player and has drastically improved his fitness levels.
Jones should relish having somebody of Vunipola’s talent and power in his team, if he is used in the right way he has all the tools to become the world’s premier number eight.
Watson is without doubt one of England’s most important players after an outstanding campaign in 2015, with eight tries in 15 appearances.
His potent mix of pace, athleticism and skill make him a danger to any team no matter where he gets the ball. Whilst he currently plays the majority of his rugby on the wing, many see the 21-year-old as a future full-back.
If Watson isn’t already considered as a world class player he will be within the next 12 months. Will surely be one of the first names on the team sheet under the Australian coach. Twickenham hospitality guests will be looking forward to seeing Watson in action.
After suffering with set-piece problems during the World Cup, England will be desperate to get Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley back into the international game.
Hartley is definitely a marmite character, but there can be no denying that when he plays for England he produces his best form and is a key man. His work at the scrum and line-out is known to all but he is also a powerful carrier in the loose.
Hartley has had his disciplinary issues but he has always been a dependable performer for England. Has to come back into the team.
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