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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Owen Farrell and Jamie George ruled out of England v South Africa due to injury

More worryingly, England look exceedingly short of experience up front against a Springbok front row that takes few prisoners. With Luke Cowan-Dickie also ruled out, the hooker options in the squad are Jamie Blamire, who has won just four caps, along with the uncapped Nic Dolly and Jack Singleton, who has three caps and has been brought in as cover for George.

The situation at loosehead prop is equally uncertain. Joe Marler also tested positive for Covid-19 but is due to return to the England camp on Friday. The Harlequin will not have trained for the better part of a fortnight going into a match against the most formidable scrummaging team in world rugby. 

The alternative loosehead options are Bevan Rodd, who made his debut against Australia, and the uncapped Elrington who was released last summer by London Irish.

Jones again decided against calling up Saracens loosehead Mako Vunipola, who boasts 76 caps including three Lions tour. On Saturday night, Jones again reiterated that he was not prepared to pick Vunipola however bad his injury crisis.

“We’ve decided to pick players we think can be outstanding at a World Cup in 2023 and those players who have been in the team and dropped off have an opportunity to go back to their clubs and find their form and find that desire,” Jones said. “We are looking at developing a squad that will win the World Cup in 2023. We are unabashed about doing that.”

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