My uncapped England XV that Eddie Jones should choose during Lions absence
13. Luke Northmore (Harlequins)
Luke at 24 has a lot of potential. Barrel-chested, very fast, tough defender, creaky engine, I really enjoyed watching this boy play. Applause went to Marcus Smith, Danny Care and Alex Dombrandt, but Northmore is expected to get more airtime. Northmore puts an end to the trials and crushes the guys who go up his chain. The fact that Joe Marchant has to play on the wing should tell you everything you need to know.
12. Piers O’Conor (Bristol)
Defending another chance for Ollie Devoto is like I’m on the wrong tree. But Ollie has had his best season so far and at 27 he’s barely passed. I’ll throw Piers O’Conor into the mix here too. It reminds me a lot of Henry Slade minus the kicking game. O’Connor quickly pulls away from you if you show him a gap. When he’s surrounded by Radadra and Piutau, it’s hard to grab the headlines. But I rarely see O’Conor making a mistake. I like the fact that he went around; Ealing and Bedford are on his list of clubs he has played for. This gives the player an extra dimension. He had to graft himself for that and stick to it when certain prodigies offered it to them.
11. Ollie Hassell-Collins (Irishman from London)
He just puts his buddy Ben Loader in the front row of the queue. Ben has wheels and has adapted well to first-class rugby, but feels like it may take another six months for him to find his durability and confidence in the defense. Hassell-Collins reminds me of Josh Adams. He is a player who really grows in you. Can win you a win line with power but has pace to tear you apart on the outside. Ollie makes mistakes but comes back to action, dashes off the ground to fix it. Against some prominent Premiership wingers I really think this boy can mix physically and mentally.