Jones has no regrets over Harrison treatment

Eddie Jones (Getty Images)
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)

London - England coach Eddie Jones defended his handling of backrow Teimana Harrison after recalling him for Saturday's international against Fiji just months after taking him off barely half an hour into a Test match.

Jones has brought Harrison back into the fold in place of Northampton team-mate Tom Wood in one of several changes to the side that beat South Africa 37-21 at Twickenham last weekend.

New Zealand-born Harrison, 24, will be winning his third cap after it seemed his Test career had come to an abrupt end in June.

Harrison was taken off just 31 minutes into the third Test against Australia in Sydney, a match England won to complete a 3-0 series win over the Wallabies, with Jones citing a lack of physicality.

But Harrison has taken the Australian coach's words to heart and now he has been given the chance to show what he can do again at Test level as Jones considers his openside options in the ongoing absence through injury of James Haskell.

"Teimana is now physically better equipped. He has gone away and put on a couple of kilos. He's worked particularly hard on his tackle technique," Jones said.

He added: "I don't see it as a big deal him being replaced against Australia and the team didn't see it as a big deal either. Everything we do is about the team.

"Players play a certain amount of minutes. You play 30 or 50 or 70 minutes. Tradition says it's a big deal, but common sense doesn't say it's a big deal.

"My job is to make the national team win. So I use players and minutes in the best interests of the team."

Harrison will pack down in a back row featuring No 8 Billy Vunipola, a nominee for the World Player of the Year award won by New Zealand flyhalf Beauden Barrett.

Vunipola was one of a trio of players who eventually overcame the fitness problems that led Jones to delay England's team announcement by 24 hours.

Referring to Vunipola's family background, Jones said: "Billy loves playing. My experience with Tongan players is that they love playing and they want to play.

"If you don't pick them for games, you put them in a situation where they won't perform for you in the next game."

Teams:

England:

15 Alex Goode, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry Slade

Fiji:

15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Benito Masilevu, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Albert Vulivuli, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Josh Matavesi, 9 Seru Vularika, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Peceli Yato, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Api Ratuniyawara, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma’afu

Substitutes: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Leeroy Atalifo, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Eremasi Radrodro, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Kini Murimurivalu

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
44% - 5736 votes
Cricket
11% - 1424 votes
Football
19% - 2422 votes
Athletics
2% - 296 votes
Boxing
1% - 116 votes
Cycling
2% - 292 votes
Golf
5% - 635 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1024 votes
Tennis
3% - 404 votes
Water sports
1% - 112 votes
American sports
1% - 126 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 369 votes
Vote