Six Nations leaders England are set to hand a full debut to 21 year old Saracens forward Maro Itoje in this Saturday’s game at home against Ireland.
The forward made his senior debut in the 40-9 victory over Italy last time out as a substitute, coming on to play blind-side flanker.
But following the injury to Joe Launchbury, Itoje will slot in the second row, ahead of Courtney Lawes.
“Everyone is pushing hard to be in contention, so there were some tight calls on selection,” said head coach Eddie Jones.
England, who are joint top with France with two wins from their opening two games, remain in search of their first Six Nations title for five years, and their first Grand Slam since 2003.
Ireland, this weekend’s opponents at Twickenham, have made a poor start to the tournament following an opening day draw with Wales and defeat against France, leaving the current holders a lot to do if they’re to retain the title.
Back to Itoje, and it seems a good move from Eddie Jones in the majority of the media circles.
The 21 year old is a highly rated youngster, who has been compared to the 2003 World Cup winning captain, Martin Johnson amongst others.
Despite the comparisons to Johnson, the English fans must remain patient to see what effect this young starlet can have on the senior setup, but we must give credit to Jones for giving the Saracens star his opportunity.
England will be looking to make it three wins in succession as the country looks to bury last summer’s disappointing World Cup campaign, and begin 2016 with a positive start.