Six Nations

Joseph ready for England centre battle

2018-02-21 23:14
Jonathan Joseph (AP)

London - Jonathan Joseph has learnt to live with the uncertainty surrounding his England future as a result of his battle for an outside-centre berth with Ben Te'o.

While George Ford and Owen Farrell are firmly installed as England's flyhalf and inside centre combination, coach Eddie Jones has varied his choice of outside centre depending on the nature of the opposition.

For example, the hard-charging Te'o, a powerful ball-carrier, was selected for Six Nations champions England's opener against Italy, while Joseph - more of a classic centre for whom pace and evasion, as well as a sound defence, are key parts of his game - was picked to start against Wales.

England won both those matches and they continue their quest for a Grand Slam against Scotland this weekend, with Jones set to reveal on Thursday his side for the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

"The competition is always right up there and it's been good with Ben. We both offer slightly different things, but it's healthy," the 26-year-old Joseph said.

"We're friends off the field but at the same time competing on it.

"It depends on each player, but I'm one who is never quite sure if he's playing until the team has been named.

"Every player wants to play, that's no secret. If Eddie has a reason why you might not be involved, you have to take that on board.

"It might be constructive criticism, it might be that he wants to look at another combination. You have to put your trust in him, he's your coach and his word is final."

Te'o made his first appearance after almost four months out with an ankle injury against Italy.

Although he played well at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Jones, fearing Te'o might be suffering from 'second game syndrome' after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, brought Joseph into the side against Wales in his place.

"In my own mind, I probably didn't think about it in that way but that was Eddie trusting himself and his experience," Te'o said.

"Eddie's the boss, he made a decision and that's how it goes. It doesn't matter. You just go with it. Of course I thought I could play. And could back it up, second game, third game..."

Meanwhile, the former rugby league international said there was more to his game than sheer brute force.

"I'd like to say there's a bit more to my game than carrying but let's be real, that's a strong part of my game," said Te'o.

"There's no shying away from that. I do enjoy doing it.

"You're always working on different things but if you get given a job of go-forward that's going to help the team, then that's what I've gotta do. I don't mind that."

Scotland were thrashed 34-7 by Wales before bouncing back to defeat France 32-26.

"We want to take our defence to a whole new level," Joseph said. "We're happy with where we are and will keep looking to push the boundaries.

"They're playing England, so it'll be the Scotland that beat France who will turn up. The crowd will be on our backs, but we're used to it now and almost thrive off it."



15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Gordon Reid

Substitutes: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 David Denton, 21 Ali Price, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Blair Kinghorn



Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  jonathan joseph  |  rugby

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