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Sunday 17 December, 2017
News
Farrell And Itoje Furious At Sitting Out England’s Date With Argentina
Nov.09.2017

Farrell And Itoje Furious At Sitting Out England’s Date With Argentina

Eddie Jones has revealed Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje were furious to learn they would sit out England’s autumn international against Argentina on Saturday, but he took the opportunity to remind the pair who is the boss, insisting he knows what is best for his outstanding duo.

Jones, who was on Thursday night dealt another injury blow when Tom Curry was ruled out of the autumn fixtures, has rested Farrell and Itoje because of their “exceptional workloads” after both played key roles in all three British & Irish Lions Tests against New Zealand over the summer. Elliot Daly and Anthony Watson also played in all three and have been named in England’s starting XV but Jones was adamant it was in the interests of the omitted pair to miss out, instructing them to focus on conditioning work instead.

Itoje started all of Saracens’ first eight matches of the season, Farrell five, but their fellow Lions George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Mako Vunipola, Jonathan Joseph and Dan Cole have also been heavily involved at their clubs and all start on Saturday. Jones, however, revealed he took the decision based on a “gut feeling” rather than statistical analysis gathered since last week’s training camp in Portugal.

“They hate it, which is a great reaction. They hate it because they want to play every Test,” Jones added. “They are proud of playing for England and they want to be part of a winning team. We have got to convince them that it is in their best interests for this period of time. They’ve had exceptional workloads. They’ve played all three [Lions] Tests, played consistently for their clubs, played consistently for us and we feel it’s in their best interests to do some conditioning work.

“They have got to understand I run the team. I make the decisions. It comes down to my gut feeling for what they need. It’s a bit like being a horse trainer. You get all this information but you’ve got to look at the person and see what they are ready to do.”

Henry Slade is rewarded for his fine start to the season with a start at inside-centre in Farrell’s absence, and has been joined in the squad by his uncapped club-mate Sam Simmonds, a late replacement for Curry. Simmonds takes his place is on the bench after Curry suffered a dislocated bone in his left wrist. The 19-year-old Sale back-row is due to be out for 12 weeks and is also set to miss the start of the Six Nations.
Daly’s selection is remarkable, considering only last week Wasps said he had damaged a knee ligament and was a doubt for the entire series. Jonathan Joseph, who starts at outside centre, revealed he has been given the nickname “Lazarus” and Daly has described himself as a “magic healer”.

“I had a couple of days off then came into the club and realised that my knee probably wasn’t as bad as we first thought. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t 100%,” Daly said. “I think technically there is probably a bit of a tear in the MCL [medial collateral ligament] but I think it is very minor. It feels really good, back to normal and ready to go.”

Jones also revealed George Ford will most likely take over as vice-captain but dismissed concerns that Farrell’s leadership will be missed. “The players on the field own the responsibility, it’s not Owen who owns the responsibility,” he said. “I’ve made it quite clear, from now on the players own the responsibility.”

England (v Argentina): M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), H Slade (Exeter), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), G Kruis (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins), S Underhill (Bath), N Hughes (Wasps).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), E Genge (Leicester), H Williams (Exeter), J Launchbury (Wasps), S Simmonds (Exeter), D Care (Harlequins), A Lozowski (Saracens), S Rokoduguni (Bath).

Source: www.theguardian.com


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