Eddie Jones picked Ollie Lawrence for his first Six Nations start, then made such a decided try to quell any hype around him that it prompted a clarification from Worcester hours later.
England’s head coach is notoriously cautious of younger gamers having their heads turned by untimely acclaim. He famously spoke in 2016 about wanting to flip the then-uncapped Maro Itoje from a ‘Vauxhall Viva right into a BMW’, earlier than launching a Test career which swiftly accelerated into the stratosphere.
As but, Jones has not used any automotive references in relation to Lawrence, however he’s clearly decided to protect the 21-year-old Warriors centre from inflated expectations as he finds his ft at worldwide degree.
Eddie Jones has tried to quell the hype around Ollie Lawrence ahead of his Six Nations start
So, after deciding on him for Saturday’s Six Nations opener in opposition to Scotland at Twickenham – as half of a midfield reshuffle which sees captain Owen Farrell restored to the No 10 shirt and George Ford demoted to the bench – Jones promptly caught a pin in the hype balloon.
‘Ollie is an efficient younger participant,’ he mentioned. ‘He’s actually creating effectively. He runs good strains, is an efficient defensive participant and he’ll add a bit of punch to the backline.
‘He is a bit of a project participant for us. He’s been given large raps at Worcester the place in 42 video games, he is received 4. So he is received a good distance to go in phrases of his growth.
England head coach Jones insisted Lawrence now has to show his expertise on a constant foundation
‘He’s a participant full of potential. Now what we would like to see is that expertise popping out constantly – and he is received the alternative on Saturday to do this.’
It did not take lengthy for Worcester to appropriate the truth cited by Jones, with steering from Sixways, that Lawrence has truly made 39 appearances and featured in 14 victories. The disparity merely proves how Jones is hell-bent on making the back-line novice earn any plaudits which come his approach.
In the acquainted English stampede to herald a brand new sensation, Lawrence has been repeatedly in contrast to Manu Tuilagi, who has far larger pedigree as a tried and trusted weapon of mass destruction.
Farrell was requested if that comparability with Sale’s thunderous Anglo-Samoan wrecking ball was justified and he echoed Jones by responding with warning.
‘Everybody is their very own participant,’ mentioned the skipper. ‘He’s in an identical mould, in bits. Ollie is a damaging participant. He hits arduous, he runs arduous and causes defences issues. He has received good ft as effectively. He is sharp. We need him to do what he’s good at. We need him to get into the recreation in the approach he has completed for his membership and he has proven in the Premiership and proven us in coaching.’
Jones has additionally underlined the significance of his ‘finishers’ on the bench for the Scotland conflict
There can be an intriguing sub-plot on Saturday when Lawrence goes head-to-head along with his good buddy and former England age-group team-mate Cameron Redpath, who can be 21. The Bath centre has been picked by Gregor Townsend for his Scotland debut. Farrell could have a close-up view of this rookie encounter with a personal dimension.
He mentioned: ‘As mates, you get aggressive. If one will get an opportunity to get one up on his mate, they will let him find out about it afterwards. I’m positive they are going to be aggressive.
‘They’re two good younger gamers. I’ve met Cameron however I’ve not been around him an excessive amount of. From what I’ve seen he is an excellent participant. He’ll be an enormous risk for them and hopefully Ollie can be for us.’
As ever, Jones emphasised the significance of his ‘finishers’ on the bench when requested to clarify the resolution to take away Ford from the beginning XV.
There was additionally rather a lot of speak about ‘stability’, which the England facet he has chosen definitely has.
The head coach did provide some pointers to his considering in midfield – with Farrell and Lawrence joined by Henry Slade at outdoors centre.
The coach mentioned: ‘It’s mixture of Owen’s tactical acumen, Sladey’s operating expertise plus his left-foot kicking and Ollie’s energy. We really feel that is proper in opposition to Scotland.’
Owen Farrell can be joined by Lawrence and Henry Slade at outdoors centre for Saturday’s recreation
When pressed on the revised deployment of his main fly-halves, Jones added: ‘Both of them are massively essential gamers for us. What we attempt to do is locate the proper stability.
‘Sometimes it is beginning each of them and generally it is beginning with one and ending with the different – or ending with each of them.
‘We really feel for this recreation it is about ending with each of them. And at the start, possibly we do not want each of them on the market.’
When he was requested whether or not it was loading an excessive amount of of a burden on Farrell asking him to lead the staff and likewise orchestrate the assault once more, Jones mentioned: ‘If I assumed it was a priority, I would not choose him at 10.
Jones can be adamant there won’t be an excessive amount of of a burden positioned on England captain Farrell
‘I believe he’s the proper man for the job and George Ford will do an amazing job ending the recreation for us.’
Another notable choice got here in the again row, the place Mark Wilson was included ahead of Ben Earl and Jack Willis. Again, it got here down to a balancing act, but in addition to the Newcastle flanker’s fervent dedication to forcing his approach again in.
‘Wils is a superb work-rate participant,’ mentioned Jones. ‘He’s massively dedicated. He’s one of these gamers who did not have an escalator by means of the pathway.
Mark Wilson is one other notable choice and has been picked ahead of Ben Earl and Jack Willis
‘He had to battle all the approach. Rugby means rather a lot to him and he is a fighter. He’s 100 per cent a fighter.’
The absence of Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler means one other start at loosehead prop for Ellis Genge – the match-winner in opposition to Scotland a year in the past – and a probable debut as a alternative for Bath’s Beno Obano, who has recovered from a savage leg harm to earn one other shot with England.
‘It has been a good distance again for him and I’m actually happy,’ mentioned Jones. ‘It is a superb reward for him.’