Maro Itoje has been backed by his club Saracens to solve England’s crisis at openside.
Two contenders, Wasps’ Sam Jones (broken leg) and Leicester’s Mike Williams (broken arm), have been ruled out over the past eight days, adding to a list of sevens unavailable which includes Wasps’ James Haskell (toe) and Harlequins’ Jack Clifford.
The prospect of playing there doesn’t seem to phase the young lock, despite having never done so before for club or country.
I’ll play wherever the coach tells me to play,” said Itoje.
“I’ve been switching positions for a while now. I’ve played back row, I’ve played second row. It’s something I’m fairly used to. It’s not like asking a winger to play prop.”
His boss at Saracens has backed him to be a success in the role.
“Eddie wants a very destructive player at No 7, someone who gets over the ball,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.
“I don’t think Eddie is asking him to play a typical, specialised No 7 role. I think he is looking for somebody who is good at stopping the opposition, rather than being the old-fashioned openside.
Maro is very good at making a mess of opposition attacking breakdowns. He gets as many turnovers as anybody in the Premiership. He is a very destructive player and I think he would do a great job.”
Can Itoje do a job at seven? [Telegraph]