Chris Robshaw to face France, Dylan Hartley on track for Wales, says Eddie Jones
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 17/01/19 12:25pm
Eddie Jones is hopeful influential forward duo Chris Robshaw and Dylan Hartley will be fit to return for England’s Six Nations games against France and Wales respectively.
Robshaw is recovering from the knee surgery that forced him to miss the November Tests, while Hartley has not played since December 21 because of a knee injury sustained while playing for Northampton.
Jones is hopeful Robshaw will be available for England's second game of the tournament, against France at Twickenham on February 10, while Hartley is aiming to return for England's third game, against Wales in Cardiff on February 23.
"We have taken a completely different approach to the camp this time," Jones explained.
"We are specifically focusing on the Ireland game so we are only taking players who believe will be available to play against Ireland.
"We are not taking any longer-term rehab players. Dylan is not going to be available for Ireland. At the outside maybe Wales we are looking at.
"Same with Robshaw, we have not taken him to Portugal for the same reasons. We will allow him to rehab and get himself right.
"He will hopefully be available for selection down the track. He could be a bit earlier [than Hartley] - France."
Jones selected only two scrum-halves in his squad, with Wasps No 9 Dan Robson selected ahead Harlequins' Danny Care as back-up to starter Ben Youngs.
Explaining that decision, Jones said: "Danny [Care] has been playing well for his club but we have always wanted to have a look at Robson.
"We want that fast half-back at the end of the game that can shift the ball quickly and make breaks when the defences are sometimes fatigued.
"We wanted to look at Dan in November but unfortunately he got injured so now is his opportunity.
"One of the reasons we are only taking two half-backs is we want those guys to have a lot of training time because with the way we play the game, we need them to train a lot to get them back into the England way of playing the game."
Jones also highlighted Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall as someone who has caught the eye of England's coaching staff this season.
"We have got a variety of options there, which is the great thing. If we need a third half-back, we have got a couple guys there who are sitting there," Jones said.
"There are a couple of good young players playing in the Premiership as well. There is a young guy at Bristol who we have been very impressed with so he is going to be competing for a spot.
"We have obviously got Richard Wigglesworth who is a great competitor. We can call on him at any stage.
"Danny Care is still in the mix. Certainly the door is not closed on him so there are some good options for us."
Leicester tighthead Dan Cole has also earned a recall after being left out of England's squad for the autumn Tests.
Jones wanted to see more from Cole in open play and is happy with the progress he has been making.
"He has always been a strong scrummager and he continues to be that but we have asked him to work a little bit on his defensive game and his attacking game and he has done that," Jones said.
"He is moving in the right direction. We want to make sure we have good competition in that tighthead spot.
"[Kyle] Synckler and Harry Williams did exceptionally well for us in November but Dan Cole will come into the squad and put pressure on them because he is an outstanding scrummager.
"It is a good opportunity for him to show he can be the number-one tighthead prop in England."