To prevent another catastrophic red-card scenario in Paris, England have been polishing their chop tackles in preparation for Saturday’s final Six Nations match against France, and Eddie Jones has left Max Malins out of his team.
In Saturday’s loss against Ireland, Charlie Ewels was sent off after 82 seconds for an upright, head-on collision with James Ryan, which the referee, Mathieu Raynal, considered a dangerous tackle. As a result, Jones’s team has spent this week honing their tackle technique and ensuring that they go low against the French, who are chasing a grand slam.
Jones, meanwhile, has left Malins out of the 28-man squad that went to Paris on Tuesday. Malins is one of just three players to have played every minute of England’s campaign so far. The 25-year-old impressed against Italy in round two, but with England scoring only two tries against Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, Malins appears to have paid the price for England’s misfiring attack. Although Elliot Daly appears to be the frontrunner to replace him on the wing, Louis Lynagh, Luke Northmore, and George Furbank have also travelled to France.
Following briefly joining the team, Jack Willis has returned to Wasps, implying that Sam Underhill would replace the injured Tom Curry at openside flanker, with Nic Dolly poised to replace Jamie Blamire, who has been left out after a botched lineout throw late in the match against Ireland. Alfie Barbary, 21, is back among the 28 as he waits for his big break.
Sam Simmonds stated:
“Our chop tackles need to be good and our second man needs to be good to wrap the ball up as well because they love to offload the ball, they are very good in unstructured play. That is probably where they get most of their momentum, offloads and unstructured and they are very good at that. That is something we have talked about this week, our tackle height and just chopping the big fellas down, making them get up and hopefully they tire towards the end of the game.”
If England loses in Paris, they will be in fifth place in the Six Nations table for the second year in a row, putting even more pressure on Jones. Jones recognized the increased scrutiny he is under on Monday, claiming it is in part due to his Australian heritage, but Simmonds insisted Jones has the team’s support regardless of Saturday’s outcome.