England rugby legend, Emily Scarratt, says Eddie Jones has a good blend of youth and experience in his current squad.
Scarratt is the Red Roses’ all-time top scorer and is part of Amazon Prime’s coverage of the Autumn Nations Series this year.
Speaking to GiveMeSport Women ahead of England’s fixture against Australia, which can be watched on Prime at 17:30 BST this Saturday, Scarratt stressed she was impressed with England’s 69-3 victory against Tonga but that it was tough to know what was learnt because of the calibre of the away side.
“I thought the boys played really well. As I say, there’s been so much chat about playing a more expansive brand of attacking rugby and I don’t think we’ll know the true answer until they play some firmer opposition.
“But this is certainly a start and I think it was a really positive opening to this autumn international series for them.”
Jones announced his team for the Australia game this weekend today, opting to bring back captain Owen Farrell at 12 and move Manu Tuilangi to the wing.
Scarratt spoke of Jones’ selection headache centre prior to the squad announcement today and emphasised that the midfield combination is going to depend on what type of game the England head coach wants to employ. The 31-year-old revealed that she would personally have opted for Tuilangi in the midfield but that Henry Slade was also a viable option.
“Farrell’s your captain, so he’s always going to play if he’s fit and healthy. So then it’s the question of who you play at 13? I’m a big Henry Slade fan but obviously, he and Manu offer completely different things. I think that selection is dependent on the type of game you’re wanting to play and the opposition you’re up against.
“I think against an Australia side you need a man like Manu in the middle but that’s just my opinion.”
In this year’s Six Nations, Jones was subject to widespread criticism for his selection –– opting to pick experienced names who had been part of England’s World Cup journey, rather than upcoming and in-form talent.
Now though, Scarratt believes there is a good mix of old and new in camp, including a number of players at an ideal age ahead of the next World Cup.
“You look at Ellis Genge and how dynamic that front row is. They’re not early 20s but they’re certainly not knocking on the door of retirement. So that gives players like that a real opportunity to make their mark on those positions for a good few years.
“And yeah, I like the balance of the squad. I think it’s really positive in terms of how they’ve said they want to play. Martin Gleason has said some really good things about how he wants to shape the attack.
“But as I say, the next two games, Australia and South Africa will be the real test of how that all comes together.”
While England have started their Autumn in perfect fashion, the Red Roses are also in exceptional form and have defeated New Zealand in back-to-back tests in recent weeks.
Scarratt is suffering from an injury at present but has joined up with the rest of the Prime Video rugby team to offer her analysis. The England legend says she is honoured to be a part of the coverage and grateful to have been given the chance to get involved.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m struggling at the moment with an injury so I guess it opens up these opportunities. I would have loved to have been out on the field playing myself but when the opportunity came up with Prime Video, it’s just amazing to be part of it.
“Obviously, the coverage is fantastic. The wealth of games they're covering is amazing. And just to be at Twickenham with a full crowd at the weekend, as an English Supporter was amazing.
“And hopefully, you're starting to see a lot more women in these broadcasting and punditry roles now. So, hopefully, we're kind of paving the way a little bit.”
Emily Scarratt was speaking on behalf of Amazon Prime Video for its coverage of the Autumn Nations Series. To watch the Autumn Nations Series on Amazon Prime Video it costs £7.99 a month, while for new members there is a free 30-day trial.News Now - Sport News