Itoje will learn from Ireland

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 16:51
Large maro itoje england tackles 800

SIX NATIONS REACTION: Maro Itoje will be a better player for the bitter experience of a Dublin defeat by Ireland, according to England coach Eddie Jones.

England saw their dreams of a record 19th successive Test win by a leading rugby union nation and back-to-back Six Nations Grand Slams end with a 9-13 loss to Ireland at a rain-swept Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

Having made his name as a lock, Itoje was deployed as a flank during the Six Nations in the absence of injured Saracens and England second row teammate George Kruis.

Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury took over as England's lock duo, with Itoje moving to the back row after former England captain and starting blindside flank Chris Robshaw was also ruled out through injury.

Nevertheless Jones entrusted Itoje, a 22-year-old politics student at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies as well as a professional rugby player, with the responsibility of 'calling' or organising England's line-out plays - an area where Kruis is an acknowledged expert.

England found life tough at the set-piece in Dublin, no more so than when some six minutes from time Ireland's Peter O'Mahony - who only started after Jamie Heaslip suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up - made a key line-out 'steal' off an English throw as the visitors went in search of a try that would have erased their four-point deficit and put them ahead at 14-13.

"That was pretty big," said Jones following what was a first defeat for both him and the 12-times capped Itoje on England duty.

"We will learn from that - we have got a young guy who is only 22, he is still studying at university. He is doing an essay this week on the socio-economic status of Ghana or something like that. I couldn't understand what he was talking about.

"That [this Six Nations] was the first time he has called line-outs at Test level - he had a hard day today. It is like being a tighthead prop, you learn a lot from failure and he [Itoje] will learn a lot from that today. These things sometimes help you in the long run.

"It's been a great learning experience for him, really beneficial, because George Kruis is an excellent line-out caller. To have him not in the side is difficult for us. So, Maro's now come through and he's the guy that we can call on to call the line-outs."

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, citing England's strength in depth, said Jones's men would remain formidable opponents.

"They'll continue to get better unfortunately for us. They were a whisker away from being better than us tonight and we really rolled our sleeves up," Schmidt said.

England's next Test assignment is a two-match series in Argentina in June.

They are set to be without several regulars because of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand that is taking place at the same time, with Jones forecasting that 15 England players could be in the combined side's squad to face the world champion All Blacks.

"For us, it depends on selection. We could be missing half our squad. It is going to be interesting for us playing Argentina in Argentina at full strength.  One game is in the middle of the Andes mountains - I didn't know they could put a soccer stadium in the middle of the Andes mountains, that is going to be quite a challenge for us," Jones stated.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 24 March 2018
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Fri, 30 March 2018
Chiefs v Highlanders 06h35 Hamilton
Rebels v Hurricanes 08h45 Melbourne
Scarlets v La Rochelle 17h30 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 31 March 2018
Blues v Sharks 06h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Waratahs 08h45 Canberra
Sat, 24 March 2018
Hurricanes v Highlanders 29 | 12
Sunwolves v Chiefs 10 | 61
Fri, 23 March 2018
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 18 | 20
Dragons v Cheetahs 17 | 29
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 68 | 7
Connacht v Edinburgh 22 | 29
Rebels v Sharks 46 | 14
Crusaders v Bulls 34 | 14
Mon, 19 March 2018
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 23 | 30
Wits v NWU-Pukke 31 | 35
Shimlas v NMMU-Madibaz 28 | 22
UP-Tuks v UJ 30 | 30
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 5 0 0 26
Wales 5 3 0 2 15
Scotland 5 3 0 2 13
France 5 2 0 3 11
England 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 1