(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
England head coach Eddie Jones has handed Jonathan Joseph a starting spot at outside centre for when Wales head to Twickenham on Saturday.
The Bath back was on the bench for England’s 46-15 victory over Italy last weekend but has reversed roles with Ben Te’o in England’s only change to the starting XV in Rome.
Throwing shade over the change in plans for the midfield battle, Jones took time to comment on the onslaught facing Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell at HQ.
“Every time Rhys Patchell looks up he’s going to see ‘JJ’ [Joseph] in his vision – it’s not a great sight,” Jones said of the Scarlets fly-half set to make his fourth appearance in the ten shirt.
“They’ve got to get the ball wide and Patchell hasn’t played much Test match rugby. He’s a young guy, he’s inexperienced and he’s their third choice 10. He’s got to get the ball wide and that’s going to be a big job for him.
England and Wales combined for 80 points in their opening day wins and Jones seemed adamant his side’s defensive gameplan would prove more complex for Patchell to break down than Scotland’s.
“It’s going to be different to playing against Scotland. Scotland couldn’t cope with the expectation and now he’s got to cope with the expectation of playing well. He’s got to find guys around him to help him because he’s going to be under some heat.”
While Te’o provides impact off the bench for Jones, 34-year-old Richard Wigglesworth adds experience and form to the replacements bench featuring five forwards and three backs.
15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley (Capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Sam Simmonds.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jack Nowell.