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Jones: Watson may be back for Ireland clash

Jones: Watson may be back for Ireland clash

Jones: Watson may be back for Ireland clash

England coach Eddie Jones hopes Anthony Watson will be available to face Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup as he recovers from an ankle injury.

The 26-year-old will miss England’s Group A opener against Georgia at Twickenham on Saturday having picked up the knock in the Six Nations victory over Italy which secured Jones’ side the Championship.

The electric wing will be hoping his spell on the sidelines is a brief one and Jones has earmarked the visit of Ireland on November 21 as a potential return date, with his side looking to win further silverware and complete an autumn double.

“Anthony won’t be available for Georgia but we’re hopeful that he’ll be available for Ireland,” Jones said.

“But like with all these injuries you have to wait and see.”

Watson’s absence against Georgia opens up an opportunity to impress for those who have been waiting in the wings, with Ollie Thorley – who replaced Watson in Rome – and Joe Cokanasiga among the options.

Wasps trio Jacob Umaga, Jack Willis and Dan Robson are also hoping to seize any opportunities that may come their way but Jones has ruled out fielding an experimental line-up against Georgia, comparing Test rugby to ‘a PhD’.

“Being an old school principle, I know that kids started in year seven, they worked hard and they had to do a year 12 leaving exam,” he said.

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“If they did well at that, they got into university. If you get into university you study hard, you get your undergraduate, you go for a masters and maybe a PhD. Test match rugby is a PhD.

“Everyone has got to earn their spot. We’re not giving out caps willy-nilly, that’s not the way we do it.”

England have enjoyed comfortable victories over Georgia in the two previous meetings between the countries – at World Cups in 2003 and 2011 – but The Lelos have improved steadily since the most recent of those meetings and have won the last three European Rugby Championships without losing a match.

Jones has previously described their forwards as “the strongest scrum pack in the world” and will be taking nothing for granted against Milton Haig’s side.

“It’s obviously a big opportunity for them to prove their case to be part of the European showcase, which is where they want to be,” Jones said.

“They had a hit out against Scotland a few weeks ago and we anticipate they’ll be well prepared.”

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