Eddie Jones Looks At RFU Rule To Help Replace James Haskell
The fact that James Haskell was man of the series in England's historic victory over Australia last month despite missing the final test shows just how well the flanker played down under. His injury will hit Eddie Jones' side hard and Jones might be looking at breaking an RFU rule to replace him.
Haskell has excelled under Jones moving from the six shirt to the seven and becoming in the head coach's own words a "six and a half," whilst former captain Chris Robshaw has taken the half away to become an actual six with equally good results.
However the Wasps back rower missed the final test of the whitewash series with a toe injury and that ailment requires surgery that will keep him out for six months meaning Jones must replace him for the Autumn series when England will face South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia.
And Jones is hoping to overturn the RFU's ban on players playing outside of England being called-up but it's not for Steffon Armitage. The Australian is hoping to get the chance to include Osprey's teenager Sam Underhill in the elite squad for the season.
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The teenager moved to Wales for university and has impressed enough to earn himself a place in Osprey's first-team squad. That means that he can't be picked for England because of the ban on players outside of England being picked for the squad, although the "exceptional circumstances" proviso would surely come into place here.
The problem is that Aviva Premiership clubs could block the move because of the rule, especially with the player not committing to return to England once his degree is over but by that time he'd have qualified for Wales on residency grounds, proving just how crazy two rules in rugby are.
Fiji born Nathan Hughes is also expected to come into the extended training squad and could replace his club teammate Haskell in the back-row after completing his own residency in England last month. Another option open to the coach is moving Maro Itoje into the back-row.
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