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Ten years ago Sale Sharks’ Ryan Mills was preferred to Owen Farrell for England Juniors.

After leaving beleaguered Wasps, Mills is now playing on a wet Manchester night in the Premiership Cup and Farrell is lining up for his 100th England cap against the All Blacks.

I am here to report on Quins who, with so many on international duty, had to field a young scratch side against Sharks.

It was an opportunity for 19 year old wing Cassius Cleaves who has pace to burn but in truth the Sale  pack – in which Reuben Birch was outstanding – had too much power and ran out easy winners.

I was nevertheless impressed by Quins’ Tongan number 8 Tuilani who has a touch of Vunipola about him.

I cannot get that enthusiastic about England nor optimistic about their World Cup chances.

At the minute they are well behind France, Ireland , South Africa and New Zealand.

Eddie Jones persists in selecting players out of position. Thank goodness Maru Itoje has been restored in the second row to counter the formidable All Black locks.

The myth has developed that Jones produces his best at World Cups. Not so.

He has twice coached a team to runners-up status – Australia in 2003 and England in 2019.

He was only an advisor to South Africa, winners in 2007.

He masterminded  one-off performances such as Japan beating South Africa in Brighton in 2015 and England beating New Zealand in 2019, but his World Cup record is as undistinguished as it is in the Six Nations.

He has yet to resolve the problem of selecting both Farrell and Marcus Smith. Some say Smith’s day will come but he is 23 the same age as Ntamack of France, who is an established fly half.

Call me biased if you will, but I would like to see Alex Dombrandt, Marcus Smith, Caden Murley, Danny Care and Joe Marchant – whom incidentally is rumoured to be moving to France at the end of the season – all start.

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About Derek Williams

A recently-retired actuary, the long-suffering Derek has been a Quins fan for the best part of three decades. More Posts