England v Scotland: Eddie Jones says he will protect Joe Cokanasiga from hype

Joe Cokanasiga
Cokanasiga made his debut against Japan in November
Six Nations 2019: England v Scotland
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 16 March Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Scotland, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

England coach Eddie Jones says he will protect Joe Cokanasiga from media hyperbole after leaving the wing out of the squad to face Scotland.

Cokanasiga, 21, was named man of the match in the 57-14 win over Italy, with his power and pace drawing comparisons to All Black great Jonah Lomu.external-link

Jones said the comparison was "rubbish conversation" earlier in the week.

"The media has an effect on the player and we need to be conscious of that," Jones told BBC Sport.

"I think it is important, particularly in England, because I have seen so many good young players that start with this boom and then only play three or four Tests. I want him to play 100 Tests for England."

Jack Nowell replaces Cokanasiga on the wing, while there are also recalls for prop Ben Moon, centre Henry Slade and flanker Mark Wilson.

Ben Youngs will become England's most capped scrum-half in his 85th game.

Jones' side will win the championship if they beat Scotland and Grand Slam-chasing Wales fail to win at home to Ireland.

Six Nations table

If Ireland secure a bonus-point victory over Wales and England fail to score four tries in a win over Scotland, the two teams would be level on points at the top of the Six Nations table.

However, England's points difference, currently +83 compared to Ireland's +19, would be enough to secure the title, barring an improbable scoreline in Cardiff.

Wales will lift the title if they beat Ireland, with three bonus points awarded for completing a Grand Slam.

Jones said his players would not be able to ignore what happens in Cardiff before kick-off in their own game.

"We will be interested, that is human nature. We have not told the players anything about what to do during the game, they will each treat it differently. Some will want to watch it, some won't want to watch it," he added.

"It is going to be very tight. I think Wales are definitely tiring but Ireland are coming to a peak so it will be a close old game. But we need to be ready to play come kick off."

Jones taking care over Cokanasiga

Joe Cokanasiga
Cokanasiga was signed by Bath from relegated London Irish last year

Appearing in a Six Nations starting XV for the first time, Cokanasiga impressed against Italy, making more metres (107) and clean breaks (five) than any other player.

But Jones cited current England second row Maro Itoje and the undelivered promise of former wing James Simpson-Daniel as case studies in the importance of managing young talents.

Jones resisted calls to bring in a 21-year-old Itoje for his first cap against Scotland in 2016external-link and restricted his media activities once the Saracens lock's claim to a starting spot became irresistible shortly after.

As a 19-year-old, Simpson-Daniel skipped past Lomu to score a try on his England debut against the Barbarians, but retired in 2014 with just 10 caps to his name after an injury-blighted career.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We cannot control that. But what we can control is how we manage the player," said Jones of Cokanasiga.

"He's a good young player and we will bring him through.

"With all young players you have to look after them, sometimes they need to be exposed and sometimes they need to be pulled back.

"I don't need to test him. I know he is a good player, now it is about making sure he is a good player for a long period of time, not a short period of time."

Hostilities resume as Scots bid to end 36 years of hurt

Itoje and scrum-half Dan Robson have already been ruled out of Saturday's Calcutta Cup meeting with a knee injury and illness respectively and Jones is wary of the visitors' attacking threat.

"Scotland is a difficult side, they are always at you, they play with a lot of enthusiasm and effort and have got a lot of attacking strings to their bow. Finn Russell is an exceptional player at 10 and they have got some pace on the outside so we are going to have to defend really well against them," added Jones.

Scotland beat England at Murrayfield last season with Russell instrumental in a 25-13 victory, but it is 36 years since they managed to overturn their old rivals at Twickenham.

Last year's contest came with controversy as a scuffle broke out in the tunnel before kick-off and Jones was abused by Scotland fans on a train back home the following day.

Ryan Wilson and Danny Care get to the bottom of the scuffle in the tunnel at Murrayfield

Jones has said he "remembers everything" about "how they carried on after they beat us last year", but Russell has shrugged off suggestions that the meeting will be fuelled by memories of 12 months ago.

"Maybe it's just Eddie being Eddie," said the fly-half.

"That's all a year ago now, so surely he's not holding a grudge from that long ago, but you never know."

Scotland have won just once in this year's championship having been hindered by a raft of injuries. Blair Kinghorn, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour have all been ruled out of the final round with Hamish Watson one of six changes to the team that lost to Wales last weekend.

England: Daly, Nowell, Slade, Tuilagi, May; Farrell, Youngs; Moon, George, Sinckler, Launchbury, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Cole, Shields, Hughes, Spencer, Ford, Te'o


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