Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Haskell Could Still Play for England Again, Claims Jones

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Haskell Could Still Play for England Again, Claims Jones

Article excerpt

EDDIE Jones insists James Haskell still has an England future despite omitting the veteran Wasps flanker from his training squad for the autumn opener against Argentina.

When fit Haskell has been an everpresent under Jones since the Australian took over in 2015 but the 75-cap back row, who toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions during the summer, has paid the price for a sluggish start to the season.

A thumb injury has proved troublesome and now he has seen Exeter's Sam Simmonds elevated above him in the pecking order.

Simmonds makes his first appearance in a senior England squad alongside more established prospects Sam Underhill and Tom Curry - but Jones insists it is not the end for a 32-year-old whose international career spans a decade.

He said: "I went up and had a chat to James on Saturday.

"He's just not playing well enough at the moment but the door is never shut on him.

"We know he's a great player and has been a great servant to English rugby for several years and for close to 80 caps. I am sure he can regain his form."

Simmonds was heavily involved in Exeter's Aviva Premiership title success last season and the 22-year-old has carried that form into the new campaign.

Jones added: "Sam has done really well for Exeter. He's a good young player. What I like about him is his work off the ball, his support lines, and he is very good defensively.

"I see him as a utility back-row.

He's probably going to struggle at number eight at international level because of his size but that doesn't mean he can't do it."

There were few surprises among the 34-man squad which will train in Portugal next week ahead of Argentina's visit to Twickenham on November 11.

Marland Yarde has lost out to Denny Solomona even though the rugby league convert was sent home in disgrace from England's training camp in August for engaging in a late -night drinking session with the now-injured Manu Tuilagi.

Jones said: "Denny is a human being. …

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