Courtney Lawes asks for patience as England move towards 2023 World Cup

Courtney Lawes has asked for patience as England rebuild for next year’s World Cup by rolling the dice on selection for Saturday’s second test against Australia.

Eddie Jones has embarked on a radical revamp of the backline to try to keep the series alive at Suncorp Stadium by debuting center Guy Porter and flanker Tommy Freeman, as well as scrum Jack van Poortvliet as the first starter.

The fourth and final change to the team dispatched 30-28 in Perth sees Sam Underhill replace Tom Curry, whose tour was ended by a concussion.

Jones hopes Porter and Freeman, who were drafted at the expense of Joe Marchant and Joe Cokanasiga, will provide the midfield ball-carrying threat and finishing expertise that was missing from the first Test.

The England head coach has risked the ire of fans by continuing to identify France 2023 as the ultimate goal, even as his side try to avoid falling to series defeat in a match he describes as “the perfect practice for the Cup”. of the world”.

Lawes insists that the red rose’s senior players are fully supportive of the direction of the journey, despite Jones’s scattershot approach to selection, while stressing that progress will take time.

“Just because we have a new team and a new strategy, and we’re trying to find our DNA as a team, because we have so many new players doesn’t mean we don’t feel good enough to beat Australia. We certainly do,” said the England captain.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we win the series. But at the same time, yes, we’ve had the conversation that we’re making these changes for a reason.

Eddie Jones has bet on selection for the second Test choosing two rookies (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We think it will unlock our potential and we will be a better team for it. Maybe not now, it will take time to arrive and we will have patience.

“We’re going to go through ups and downs, that’s for sure. But as long as we build towards a final product that is at the forefront of our minds, that is the main thing for us.

“Off the pitch we are the most united team I have ever been a part of in an England shirt. That is 100 percent genuine. That is why we are all on the same page.

“We are fully confident that we are going to go out and win this weekend. But we also understand that we are going to make some mistakes, we are going to have to modify some things, we are going to have to discover some things about ourselves and we are going to have to continue to improve every week. in the week.

“Performance is more important to us. Definitely. I won’t take anything away from victory because we would love to win, but developing as a team and taking us in the right direction is definitely the first thing on our minds.”

England want Porter to bring power to midfield, reprising a role he has played successfully for Leicester during their run to the Premiership title this season.

The 25-year-old spent his early years in London before moving to Australia, where he came through the Wallabies academic system and landed a contract for the Brumbies, remaining in the Super Rugby team until agreeing to join Leicester in 2020. .

Freeman has been an explosive force for Northampton, using his 6-foot-2-16 frame to generate electric spin across the back three. Jones’s hope is that both players will go after the ball.

“Guy has had to fight to get to the top. His consistent form for Leicester was top class,” said Jones.

“He plays a good physical game and against Australia, who have a great defensive line, we have to be physical.

“Tommy is a good rugby player. He has a good sense of the game. We missed a couple of chances on Saturday and he is the kind of guy who could take those kinds of chances.”

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