Hughes at seven too soon for England

Date published: November 18 2016

England head coach Eddie Jones believes that starting Nathan Hughes at seven against Fiji would have been too big an ask for his second cap.

Hughes has been named on the bench after winning his first cap last week against South Africa.

The Wasps back-row was expected to win a first start this weekend against the country of his birth, but has missed out with Northampton flanker Teimana Harrison getting the start.

Harrison was replaced after only half an hour in England’s win over Australia earlier this year, with Saturday being his first outing since then.

“Teimana has gone away after the Australia tour, worked on his game and built himself up a little bit, so this is a great opportunity for him,” Jones said.

“Nathan is a six or eight and while we could play him at seven, our preference is to play him at six and eight.

“He’s new to Test rugby so to start him at seven would be a big ask. He’ll come off the bench in order to get used to Test rugby.”

England have also named a new back-three, with Saracens full-back Alex Goode along with Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni coming in and Wasps back Elliot Daly shifting from outside centre to cover for the injury Jonny May.

Jones outlined what he hopes to see from the trio at Twickenham as England continue to try out more options in the side moving forward.

“We’re looking at the chance to increase the depth of the squad. It’s a chance for us to see Alex Goode play and to have a look at Roko,” Jones added.

“Elliot’s on the wing after he played very well for us at 13 last week. It’s an opportunity to see what he can do on the left wing.

“Roko has exceptional running skills. We want to see him with the ball in his hand and running.”