Lancaster praises leader Joseph

Date published: February 14 2015

Jonathan Joseph is becoming a real leader for England after his double against Italy according to boss Stuart Lancaster.

The Bath centre stole the show against the Azzurri in a 47-17 win, scoring two tries including a stunning solo effort in the first half.

He did all that despite being shifted onto the wing early in the game after Mike Brown's head injury forced a major reshuffle.

That didn't seem to affect the 23-year-old though, who was a constant threat with ball in hand, running great support lines off George Ford.

And having had to bide his time to get a chance in the England team, Lancaster believes Joseph is taking his opportunity.

"The 20, 30 minutes in the second half, we played some great rugby and scored some great team and individual tries. Jonathan Joseph takes the plaudits and rightly so," said Lancaster.

"It was a big shift to put him on the wing. 

"In an ideal world we wouldn't have put him on the wing but Browny's injury meant Anthony [Watson] went to fullback and JJ went on to the wing and did well.

"We assess players' performances over the season and we have scored them on a weekly basis. JJ has been top-ranked and so as the season's gone on his case for inclusion has been overwhelming. 

"We felt he needed to develop in defence and that has come on and he is showing himself as a real leader in our team and that's off the back of good work at Bath."