As a life-long supporter of England Rugby, I will always support England no matter what. The recent appointment of Eddie Jones is, I think, a good one and I’m excited to see how England do in the forthcoming Six Nations championship.
I wasn’t one hundred percent in agreement with Jones’ first squad announcement but, other than the dropping of Tom Youngs, there weren’t many decisions I’d take issue too much issue with.
That said, the dropping of Tom Youngs has set alarm bells ringing. Tom Youngs is a high quality, consistent, internationally experienced hooker who at twenty eight is about to enter his prime. How, despite being the Premiership form hooker, he has gone from England’s first choice to fourth choice I have no idea.
To top it off, Dylan Hartley has been picked as one of the three hookers. Yet Youngs always wins the contest when Leicester Tigers play the Northampton Saints and Hartley hasn’t even been the first choice hooker at Saints this season.
It’s not just that he’s in the squad though at Youngs’ expense; he is about to be named as England captain (if the reports are correct).
Youngs has missed over 50 games of rugby due to numerous bans for on-field indiscretions. He has repeatedly failed to control himself when pressure has been put on him. He may be a feisty player, but he isn’t the man to set the tone for the England team. He is a liability.
It is such a strange decision that I almost find myself wondering what Hartley has on Jones! I just don’t see what Jones is seeing in Hartley—either in picking him over Youngs or in making him captain.
And with such a huge blunder in his first few moves as England coach, it does leave me with some doubts about how suited Jones is to the role, even if I think he probably was the best choice available.
Like I say, I’ll always want the best for England, but I struggle to support the making of Hartley captain or the rationale in dropping Youngs.
As to who I would have as captain, I would probably go for Tom Youngs or Mike Brown.