Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Jones tells his England players to take the lead role this weekend

WOKING ENGLAND- NOVEMBER 07 Joe Moody of the All Blacks with an injury to his eye suffered during training during a New Zealand All Blacks visit to the Mc Laren Technology Centre Joe Moody of the All Blacks with an injury to his eye suffered during training Source Getty
Shannon Reynolds | 10 November, 2018, 10:11

The last game Ashton started for England was against the All Blacks - a side he has scored two tries against in five meets - and former club mate Itoje doesn't think he's been affected by the worldwide lay off.

"For me, it's a great part of the game", the No 8 added. "We have natural athletes who want to run and carry the ball and pass the ball".

But there were also the summer tours of 2016 when Jones offered Ashton only the second-grade trip with the Saxons to South Africa, and Ashton, whose partner had a baby on the way, declined.

England have won just seven matches against the All Blacks since they first met in 1905, but George has taken heart from the way the Lions drew a three-Test series 1-1 past year.

England enter the clash armed with possibly the game's deadliest finisher after Chris Ashton was given his first global start for four years, displacing Jack Nowell from the right wing.

But former Wallaby and Japan boss Jones insisted Farrell required the kind of protection referees routinely afforded by match officials to Ireland No 10 Jonathan Sexton. That, to us, wasn't successful.

The sport's governing body World Rugby has instructed teams to respect the performance, in which the New Zealand players bulge their eyes and poke out their tongues to unsettle their opponents.

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"He's a tough rooster, a warrior".

"The way I play is fairly on the line".

Ashton, 31, who came off the bench against the Springboks, has scored 19 tries in a 40-cap England career interrupted by suspensions and spending a season with French giants Toulon. "Wherever there's trouble, there's Ashton", says Jones.

New Zealand have picked their strongest available team, including a centre pairing of Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue, for Saturday's clash with England.

When Jones' comments were put to Read at New Zealand's team hotel in London on Friday, he replied: "We do the Haka as a challenge but it is more about us connecting as a team".

England were far from convincing in a 12-11 win over South Africa at Twickenham last weekend. "Our set-piece and breakdown were very good and we kept Richie McCaw and Dan Carter at bay, so if the current side can do the same, things will be written very differently".

Alexander Obolensky, a Russian prince studying at Oxford University, enjoyed a stunning England debut by scoring two of the greatest tries that Twickenham has seen, the 20-year-old wing twice leaving a trail of defenders behind him with brilliant runs. "If they want to be physical they can be, if they want to play wide and expansive rugby they can do that, so we'll have to wait to see which way they choose to play but we will be ready for whatever".

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