Nowell has been doing this with Exeter for years. How ironic would it be if Jones were to take inspiration from Chiefs’ attack?
Should they generate quick ball consistently, onus falls on the scrum-halves to move the ball away – either delivering snappy service or threatening fringe defenders before they set themselves. Raffi Quirke and Harry Randall are snapping at the heels of Ben Youngs.
Players to fix it: Alfie Barbeary, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds, Jack Nowell, Raffi Quirke, Harry Randall
Problem: Midfield fluency
Once more, Owen Farrell is pointedly named as captain, with Jones outlining that vice-captains will be appointed prior to each game. The introduction of Luke Northmore demonstrates that England will continue to tap into the chemistry of Harlequins’ attack. Like the excellent Joe Marchant, he covers centre and wing.
Wherever Farrell fits in, it would seem counter-productive to break up a burgeoning playmaking partnership between Marcus Smith and Henry Slade at this stage. Both are in form. Maybe the explosive pair of Nowell and Barberary can balance a Smith-Farrell-Slade midfield trio?
Elsewhere, Max Malins adds intuition as another backline distributor. Ollie Hassell-Collins, prolific for London Irish, is the latest dynamic wing to come into camp. He joins Tommy Freeman, but you sense the positional nous of Jonny May is a crucial safety blanket.
Players to fix it: Owen Farrell (fitness and form dependent), Marcus Smith, Henry Slade, Joe Marchant, Luke Northmore, Max Malins
Problem: Re-establishing the scrum and lineout drive
This feels like a pivotal campaign in the coaching careers of Matt Proudfoot and Richard Cockerill. They can point to the Covid cases of Ellis Genge and Joe Marler, as well as injuries to Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George, as setbacks that disrupted November. Over a longer Six Nations campaign, however, scrummaging solidity is imperative.
Following a predictably dominant display against Tonga, there were wobbles against Australia and – after winning two crafty penalties out of referee Andrew Brace to begin the game – things subsided dramatically against the Springboks.