Chris Robshaw may be making his first start at openside under Eddie Jones after Sam Underhill was ruled out of England’s Test against Samoa on Saturday.
Underhill departed the 30-6 victory over Australia in the opening quarter due to concussion and as a result is unavailable for this weekend’s Test. Tom Curry is also unavailable due to a wrist injury so the options left to Jones are Robshaw, Maro Itoje and Sam Simmonds.
Robshaw played in the position under Stuart Lancaster but Jones has used him exclusively as a blindside flanker having said in the past that he is a “six-and-a-half at best”.
When asked about his options at seven following Underhill’s concussion Jones said, “Robshaw might get the 6-and-a-half jersey out again! We can roll that out, or we can play Maro there. We can experiment with it because in the World Cup we might have to do that. It’s a great opportunity for us. Sam did well against Australia. He certainly comes into consideration. I was really impressed with him.”
Rather than following the return-to-play protocols for concussion Underhill was immediately ruled out for the Samoans’ visit to Twickenham. He received a blow to the head while attempting to tackle No 8 Sean Mc Mahon.
Jones said that they have decided that Underhill needs a rest this week, it is his second concussion of the season and Jones believes it isn’t worth risking him this weekend.
Samoa are probably England’s easiest opposition of the autumn but Jones feels that the team, which his suffering from financial troubles, needs as much support as possible.
“It’s important to keep island rugby strong because they bring a uniqueness to the game,” Jones said. “They’ve got these fantastic natural skills that, when galvanised together, produce a game no-one else can play. I’m glad we’re playing Samoa. It’s going to help Samoan rugby.”