Eddie Jones says Jack Nowell could be an England flanker
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 18/01/19 9:58am
Eddie Jones believes converting Jack Nowell from wing to openside flanker is an option if England are to succeed in World Cup year.
Jones enters the Six Nations convinced that only left-field thinking, in combination with a strong command of the basics, can challenge the modern game's highly-structured defences.
Selecting a ninth forward is a possibility, but more likely is the elevation of versatile Exeter three-quarter Nowell into the back row, where Jones predicts he would thrive as a hybrid flanker due to his skill-set.
Moving in the opposite direction might be opensides Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, who the Australian believes have the athleticism to play a number of positions in the backline.
"Jack's a great player and is going to be the new breed of player. He's definitely an option at seven," said Jones, who feels the change could happen in time for the Six Nations opener against Ireland on February 2.
"He has great ball-carrying, great tackling skill and puts his head over the ball. He's a tough little bloke. He's a great option for us - he can play wing, 13, 15 and seven.
"The game has changed. A game used to last 80 minutes, now it lasts 100 minutes. The next change is you will have players who can play in the backs and forwards.
"Jack Nowell is the one who stands out. Tom Curry and Sam Underhill could be the opposite - they are as quick as Nowell and could play in a number of positions on the field.
"There are great opportunities in the game to change it and we are looking at those opportunities. Maybe one of the opportunities is nine forwards.
"There is no reason why you can't play nine forwards. The ninth forward could stand on the blindside wing. It's going to happen. The game is going towards it. Exciting, isn't it?
"The game has become so orthodox so we have to look at opportunities to change, while being really good at the core things."