Jones has no regrets over Harrison treatment

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 06:30

REACTION: England coach Eddie Jones defended his handling of back row Teimana Harrison.

He recalled Harrison 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 teammate 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 fly-half 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."

Agence France-Presse