With Earl injured and Vunipola ageing, who is England’s next No 8?
Ben Earl injury that makes him a doubt for Six Nations has forced Steve Borthwick to look at alternatives in a role that had also been a concern for Eddie Jones
Finding a suitable candidate to pack down at No 8 has been a recurring problem for successive England coaches in recent years. Steve Borthwick looked to have taken a significant step in the right direction with his choice of Ben Earl, whose energetic performances were one of the brightest elements of England’s progress to the World Cup semi-finals in France, but now Earl’s participation in the Six Nations has been placed in doubt by the knee injury he suffered with Saracens at the weekend.
Borthwick could be forced to look at alternative options in a position that has not been a recent area of strength in English rugby. Halfway through the previous World Cup cycle, Eddie Jones suspected that Billy Vunipola — the rock around