THE Rugby Times understands that Owen Farrell is Eddie Jones’ long term first choice fly half, and that the make-up of the England back-line is reliant on the return to form of Manu Tuilagi.

The Scotland game last weekend was seen by Jones as a last chance for many of the more established England players, with Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler being two players under the spotlight, while George Ford would not have made the team had Exeter’s Henry Slade, whom Eddie also rates very highly, been fit.


Ford found himself at fly half to accommodate Owen Farrell at 12 in the absence of Slade and Manu Tuilagi, who Jones believes can be England’s answer to Ma’a Nonu.

The Australian is still undecided on a long term centre strategy, which centre’s around whether to play Tuilagi or Sam Hill as a ball-carrying twelve, or whether to play his traditionally preferred 2nd 5/8, likely to be Slade or Ollie Devoto.

It is believed that he is waiting to assess Tuilagi in the England 12 shirt before making a decision, but is hoping to shape his team around the Leicester centre.

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