Simon Amor: England’s Jonathan Joseph in contention to face Ireland in Autumn Nations Cup

England attack coach Simon Amor has said Jonathan Joseph is progressing well with his back injury and could be in line to face Ireland on Saturday, while adding the team are making progress in their style of play.

Speaking to Sky Sports News on Tuesday, Amor conceded though England’s attacking did not function to its best ability against Georgia last time out, or Italy before that, an all-court game between forwards and backs is in the works.

“It’s a work in progress, definitely,” Amor told Sky Sports. “We have made some small steps forward but we were a bit clunky in our attack last weekend.

“A few too many handling errors, we definitely left some points out there which was something for us to keep working on.

“But the connections between players, the understanding about running lines, about decisions they have to make depending on the picture in front of them, is improving all the time.

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“The [aim is] connections you start to see when people start to move together: so when the inside backs work with the outside backs and they connect up with the tight-five and the back-row, and you start to see that flow of movement together.

“That takes a bit of time of course, it also takes a clear understanding, and we’re just starting to see that progress in training, which is really pleasing.

“That’s where we want to get to.”

England’s Joseph suffered a back spasm while in the process of setting up a try for Elliot Daly in the first half of a 40-0 rout of Georgia last weekend and was in obvious pain as he was helped from the pitch.

The 29-year-old Bath centre-turned-wing has responded well to treatment, however, and could be ready in time for the visit of Andy Farrell’s Ireland, though the outlook is less positive for fly-half George Ford and prop Joe Marler.

“Jonathan (Joseph) is recovering nicely, so hopefully he’ll be in contention for this weekend, which is good for us,” Amor said in his wider press briefing.

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“George (Ford) is progressing nicely as well. We’re hoping he’ll be in contention in some part of this tournament.

“It’s an Achilles injury, which can take some time, but he’s progressing nicely so that’s encouraging. We’re not sure at the moment if he’ll be back for Saturday, but he’s moving in the right direction which is brilliant.

“Joe’s (Marler) another one who is progressing nicely and moving in the right direction. Hopefully he’ll be involved in some part of the tournament and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

“They’re just difficult little injuries, niggling little injuries and we’ve got to get them right.”

Joseph’s switch from outside-centre to right wing was a success as he took advantage of being given the freedom to roam across the backline, but if passed fit and selected he will find the Ireland defence less accommodating than
Georgia’s.

“Jonathan’s had one previous opportunity to play on the wing for us. We think he can have a bit more space and that fluidity moving between the positions,” Amor said.

“The opportunity to roam, the way the game is going, really plays to his strength. He has such a wonderful feel for the game.

“We know he’s elusive, he reads the game very, very well in defence and he has a wonderful feel in attack, so he provides a really good attacking option for us.”

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