England back Jack Nowell says he would be ‘over the moon’ if Eddie Jones picked him at outside centre for their NatWest 6 Nations game against Scotland next Saturday.
All 15 of his appearances under the stewardship of head coach Jones have come on the wing, but the 24-year-old is no stranger to the number 13 shirt, having worn it numerous times for club side Exeter Chiefs.
“If Eddie was to put me at 13 I’d be over the moon. For me it is just about being ready for whatever he wants and doing what is right for the team,” said Nowell. "A big thing for us this year is knowing every move from every position, so you are ready for everything.
“Whether I play 13, wing or full back not a lot changes, I’m in a very lucky position at Exeter and with England that it doesn’t matter what number I have on my back; in attack it is about popping up and getting my hands on the ball.”
Prior to this year’s NatWest 6 Nations championship, Nowell hadn’t played for his country in 11 months, having missed England’s tour to Argentina because of British & Irish Lions duty, and the Old Mutual Wealth Series courtesy of a fractured eye socket.
But two weeks and one try into this season’s instalment; Nowell has re-announced himself on the Test scene, and is looking forward to next weekend’s trip to Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup clash.
Scottish running threat
The tactical kicking game proved pivotal for England last weekend, as they ground out a hard-fought 12-6 win over Wales at Twickenham, to go two from two in the tournament.
Scotland in turn saw off France 32-26 in Edinburgh, and Nowell is all too aware of the threat posed by their back field in open play, and knows England must execute their kicking game perfectly once more to nullify the threat.
“Kicking is massive for us. When you have (George) Ford, (Owen) Farrell and Mike Brown in the back line, it is pretty nice to sit back and watch those boys plug the corners,” explained Nowell.
“We know with (Stuart) Hogg and (Tommy) Seymour there is some dangerous players in the Scottish side, and if you kick badly they will capitalise on it - they can turn nothing into something.
“So it has been an area we have been working on and something we will keep pushing, but Fordy and Farrell put the team in the right positions and we have full confidence in them.”
With no game this weekend, England took part in a two-day training camp with Georgia mid-week where forwards focused on set-piece, and backs on first phase play.
But despite the pause in international action, Nowell insists England’s tempo and intensity during the week was as high as ever. "We know it has to be tough"
“We have got to a stage now where we enjoy it being tough and we know it has to be tough,” added Nowell.
“We try and make it even tougher than a game and that is the best feeling going into a game knowing you have worked extremely hard in the week – it gives you confidence.”