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Sunday Oct 31, 2021

Eddie Jones shocks fans by naming one player to build his England team around

England head coach Eddie Jones joined the BT Sport Rugby Tonight panel on Sunday evening to answer questions from former internationals Austin Healey and Ben Kay.

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One of the most interesting questions came from Healey when he asked the Australian which player is first on the team sheet for England and who Jones would build a team around.

While the panel expected Jones to deflect his answer, he instead named flanker Tom Curry as the outstanding player for England and even compared him to legendary openside Richie McCaw.

“One player who’s done remarkably well for England is Tom Curry if you look at the way his game has developed,” said Jones. “Since coming into the side during the last Lions tour in 2017 he’s played six, seven and eight for us and I can really see his game developing to another level.

“He came in as a very strong defensive player, but I think he’s progressed his attacking play now in a similar way to what Richie McCaw did. I think there’s no limit to where his game can go.”

Curry, now 23, has earned 33 caps for England since earning his debut in 2017 and he played in all three British & Irish Lions Tests agains the Springboks earlier this year.

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His comparison to McCaw is certainly flattering as the retired New Zealand back rower played a remarkable 148 Test matches for the All Blacks and lifted the World Cup in 2011 and 2015, making him an all-time great.

England, and most likely Curry, are due to face Tonga, Australia and South Africa in their Autumn Internationals in November starting next weekend at Twickenham.

Jones was also questioned over the recent criticism of his selection ahead of the upcoming internationals, which saw high profile players cut from his squad including Billy Vunipola, George Ford and Jamie George.

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