Odogwu a world-class prospect says Jones

London (AFP) –


England coach Eddie Jones believes Paolo Odogwu has the potential to be "world-class" after selecting the uncapped centre in his squad for the Six Nations.

The 23-year-old has impressed with his line-breaks during Premiership runners-up Wasps start to the ongoing season.

Jones, recalling his time playing as a hooker with Sydney club Randwick under future Australia boss Bob Dwyer, said Friday: "I was lucky enough to be coached by a guy called Bob Dwyer and one of the things he always taught me about selection was, 'Look for those players that can be world-class at something'.

"And Paolo can be world-class in terms of line-breaking. That's the thing that's caught my attention all the time. He's got power, got a bit of an X-factor in power."

England are set to begin the defence of their Six Nations title at home to oldest rivals Scotland on February 6.

The corresponding Twickenham fixture two years ago produced one of the most extraordinary results in the long history of the Calcutta Cup.

- Russell threat -

Fly-half Finn Russell inspired a remarkable rally as Scotland came from 31-7 behind at half-time to draw 38-38, with ony George Ford's last-ditch converted try denying the visitors a first win at Twickenham since 1983.

And with the fit-again Russell set to return to Scotland duty after missing last year's Autumn Nations Cup after an injury against Wales in November, a wary Jones said: "They will bring Finn Russell back in who probably has the best short attacking game in the world so he poses a very difficult threat."

Jones' squad contains several players at Saracens, including England captain Owen Farrell, full-back Elliot Daly, No 8 Billy Vunipola, lock Maro Itoje and hooker Jamie George.

Saracens, then the reigning English and European champions, were relegated to the second-tier Championship last season following breaches of the Premiership salary cap.

But the impact of the coronavirus means the 2021/22 Championship season, unlike the Premiership campaign, has yet to get underway.

Jones, however, believes an extended break from competitive rugby could yet prove beneficial to the England contingent at Saracens.

"For those boys in particular who have been at the top of the game and played extra post-season games for the last three or four years, this time period is almost like a godsend to them," he said.

"They are able to freshen their bodies up and do some really good strength and conditioning work and come back as even better players. So I am anticipating those players will come back even better."

Jones, with the 2023 World Cup in France starting to come into view, was clear about what he wanted to see from England during this Six Nations.

"Obviously our goal for the tournament is to win it," said the former Australia and Japan coach.

"We want to continually develop our game, we want to keep adapting to the opposition and the conditions. And we want to be an impossible team to play against.

"We want to be a team that plays at a level that the other teams can't compete against."