We take a look at seven players who will be keen to make an impression in front of Eddie Jones as England prepare to tour Australia this summer…
The expectation this year was that Slade would feature prominently for England during their first Six Nations campaign under Eddie Jones, however a broken leg quickly curtailed this possibility. Slade however is now already back in action and will be keen to break back into the England squad ahead of their tour of Australia this summer. If he can rediscover his pre-injury form then he could become one of the most vital players in the current England backline and allow Owen Farrell to step back into the 10 shirt.
Tuilagi is something of a known entity in the English midfield, however we are still yet to see if he can reach his previous heights after returning from a long-term injury lay-off. Potentially even more exciting however is the possibility of him slotting in at inside centre, a possibility that hasn’t really been explored previously. It is therefore vital that if he shows enough form over the next few months that he is given a chance to prove himself in the England 12 shirt where he can potentially nail down a regular starting spot.
After an outpour of support Daly was eventually elevated into the England matchday squad in the final two games of the Six Nations. Although he was only given a few minutes at the end of the game against Wales, Daly’s Premiership form must dictate he receive more game time during this summer’s tour. Jonathan Joseph has hardly been setting the world alight this season, and Daly possesses a skillset that isn’t currently present in the current squad. The fact he can also cover wing and full back is also a huge bonus.
Underhill is the one player who hasn’t been involved with the England squad under Eddie Jones, and yet he is potentially the most exciting prospect. Although it would be amiss to throw him straight into action against Australia, his form for the Ospreys over the past six months has been nothing short of phenomenal and indicates he could be the long-term solution to England’s lack of a genuine openside. James Haskell has done enough to hold down the shirt for now, but game time off the bench would be a huge boost for Underhill.
Clifford has only made a handful of appearances off the bench for England so far, but he has already shown enough to indicate that he has all the prerequisite skills to thrive on the international stage. The biggest question mark over Clifford now is where exactly he fits into the current England side given he can cover any position in the back row. This makes him ideal cover from the bench, however given his performances so far it would seem a waste to only give him game time in the final 20 minutes or so.
Unfortunately for George, Dylan Hartley has been appointed captain ensuring he will spend the majority of games on the pitch as England’s first choice hooker. As England’s leadership group continues to grow and develop however, George must be given more game time when he returns from injury to show off his undoubted talents. Jones must be mindful of having one eye on the future given the Saracens man looks like England’s long-term solution at hooker, particularly once Hartley has hung up his boots.
Whilst Dan Cole has been far from poor for England under Jones, he still remains a constant source of penalties which have caused his side plenty of trouble. Jones must therefore look at his options at tighthead and seek to establish whether Brookes can be the full time solution to Cole, especially if his high penalty count continues. If Brookes World Cup form continues then there is no reason why he cannot become a regular starter for England, he just needs a consistent run in the starting XV to prove it.
Some outside bets – Alex Lewington, Will Fraser, Paul Hill, Dave Ewers