AP – Eddie Jones has hinted England might make changes for Sunday’s Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome, and warned his team to watch out for a young playmaker he’s likened to Wallabies legend Stephen Larkham.
Jones opened his account as England mentor with a 15-9 win over Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend but said 23-year-old Italian five-eighth Carlo Canna was a dangerman to keep an eye on this weekend.
Jones coached Larkham, the champion five-eighth who led the Wallabies to World Cup glory in 1999, at international level – most famously at the 2003 World Cup where Australia were were pipped in the final by England.
“The young 10 (Carlo Canna), who plays with the headgear, looks a bit like Stephen Larkham,” Jones said.
“He’s got a little bit of promise and takes the ball to the line a bit more than a normal Italian. We’ve got to be right on our game.”
The Red Rose, alongside France, are one of only two teams still capable of winning the grand slam.
Jack Clifford made his debut off the bench in Edinburgh and head coach Jones may add pace up front in anticipation of the playing conditions at the Stadio Olimpico.
“We’ll pick the best 23 for Italy so we could conceivably pick a faster pack. It’s our next game. All I’m worried about is Italy,” Jones said.
Italy were edged 23-21 by France in Saturday’s Six Nations opener against France in a match that ended with flanker Sergio Parisse snatching at a last-gasp drop-goal.
“Italy have some young players and they traditionally play that European style of game, heavily focused around their eight and nine, their marquee players,” Jones said.
“The halfback Edoardo Gori is an outstanding player. Parisse, if he was playing for (New Zealand), would be rated one of the best in the world.
“They’re obviously guys we have got to be very careful of. And they’ve got some good young players coming through.”
The breakdown was one shortcoming of England’s game against Scotland and Jones admits it needs attention.
“The breakdown is one of the areas we need to improve without a doubt, but I don’t want to get obsessed by the breakdown. The breakdown is a product of the rest of the game,” he said.