Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sparkling Jones Is Defending His Post

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sparkling Jones Is Defending His Post

Article excerpt


CHRIS JONES, the fastest forward in world rugby, has emerged as a key component in England's Grand Slam defence - and that's bad news for Joe Worsley, the London Wasps flanker.

Worsley's damaged hamstring allowed 6ft 6in Jones to make a try-scoring debut in Italy a week ago and handed the Sale forward a starting place in the 35-13 destruction of Scotland at Murrayfield in Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash.

Worsley will be fit for selection against Ireland at Twickenham on 6 March, but may have to be content with yet another appearance as a replacement. Having finally broken into the England back row at the expense of veteran Neil Back, Worsley looked ready to cement a place in the team until his hamstring gave way.

Now, Jones is at No6 and has made such a positive contribution that head coach Clive Woodward will struggle to find a reason to drop him for the Irish match.

Captain Lawrence Dallaglio played alongside Jones against Scotland and saw the youngster charge down kicks, put in heavy tackles, win lineout ball and nearly score a second successive Test try. Dallaglio said: "He came into the side for his first full game, away from home in a Calcutta Cup match where you are going to be severely tested and came through it well. I admire his confidence and the way he handles himself.

"He is a unique player in terms of the abilities he brings to the team and he did himself no harm with the way he performed." Not only does Jones pose a real threat at the lineout, he can sprint with the pace of a world class wing and almost poached a 70th minute try chasing a long kick that bounced just out of his reach over the line. The fact that he could still produce that kind of explosive running so late in the game highlights the natural athlete that England have added to their back row.

What Jones lacks is the sheer physical presence that marks Worsley out as Empics

a high class forward and the Wasps man has considerable Test experience to call upon in tight situations. …

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