London - England coach Eddie Jones defended his handling of
backrow Teimana Harrison after recalling him for Saturday's international
against Fiji just months after taking him off barely half an hour into a Test
Jones has brought Harrison back into the fold in place of
Northampton team-mate Tom Wood in one of several changes to the side that beat
South Africa 37-21 at Twickenham last weekend.
New Zealand-born Harrison, 24, will be winning his third cap
after it seemed his Test career had come to an abrupt end in June.
Harrison was taken off just 31 minutes into the third Test
against Australia in Sydney, a match England won to complete a 3-0 series win
over the Wallabies, with Jones citing a lack of physicality.
But Harrison has taken the Australian coach's words to heart
and now he has been given the chance to show what he can do again at Test level
as Jones considers his openside options in the ongoing absence through injury
of James Haskell.
"Teimana is now physically better equipped. He has gone
away and put on a couple of kilos. He's worked particularly hard on his tackle
technique," Jones said.
He added: "I don't see it as a big deal him being
replaced against Australia and the team didn't see it as a big deal either.
Everything we do is about the team.
"Players play a certain amount of minutes. You play 30
or 50 or 70 minutes. Tradition says it's a big deal, but common sense doesn't
say it's a big deal.
"My job is to make the national team win. So I use
players and minutes in the best interests of the team."
Harrison will pack down in a back row featuring No 8 Billy
Vunipola, a nominee for the World Player of the Year award won by New Zealand
flyhalf Beauden Barrett.
Vunipola was one of a trio of players who eventually
overcame the fitness problems that led Jones to delay England's team
announcement by 24 hours.
Referring to Vunipola's family background, Jones said:
"Billy loves playing. My experience with Tongan players is that they love
playing and they want to play.
"If you don't pick them for games, you put them in a
situation where they won't perform for you in the next game."
15 Alex Goode, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13
Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben
Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5
Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Mako
Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler,
19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry
15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Benito Masilevu, 13
Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Albert Vulivuli, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Josh
Matavesi, 9 Seru Vularika, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Peceli Yato, 6 Dominiko
Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Api Ratuniyawara, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2
Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma’afu
Substitutes: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Leeroy
Atalifo, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Eremasi Radrodro, 22 Niko
Matawalu, 23 Kini Murimurivalu