Eddie Jones has been given the green light to invoke the ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause in the RFU’s overseas-player rule by picking Ospreys teenage sensation Sam Underhill for this summer’s tour to Australia.
The 19-year-old former England under 18s captain, currently studying economics at Cardiff University, has been hugely impressive in his breakthrough professional season with the Ospreys.
Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that England head coach Jones is keeping a close eye on the young flanker, who was outstanding in the Ospreys’ win over French giants Clermont Auvergne last Friday.
The RFU, acutely aware that Underhill could potentially be called up by any one of the USA, Wales or Scotland at the end of the season under World Rugby qualification rule, are desperate not to miss out on an exciting talent they nurtured through the age-group ranks.
‘He is certainly on the radar,’ chief executive Ian Ritchie admitted on Friday when asked if Underhill’s performances had convinced the RFU to invoke the ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause for the first time.
‘He has been in age-grade teams and is clearly a talented player and would want to make sure at how he stays in consideration for England. In terms of elite squad, if someone at a university and certainly need to look that something doesn’t artificially inhibit us selecting talented people. We’ll continue to look at that. He is very much on radar.
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