EDDIE JONES is plotting a shock Six Nations shake-up – by converting star back Jack Nowell into a FORWARD.
The madcap England boss is considering turning the Lions and Exeter Chiefs winger into a ninth member of his pack.
Nowell couldn’t join onto an eight-man scrum as it would be illegal, but Jones is thinking about sending the 97kg speedster out to disrupt the forwards as a jackling threat.
By going Jack to the future the Aussie boss is inventing a new hybrid position that he could unleash on the Irish in Dublin on February 2.
Deadly serious Jones said: “Jack is a great player – he is going to be the new breed of player.
“The game has changed. The game used to be 80 minutes, now it is 100 minutes. The next change is you will have players who can play backs and forwards.
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“Do you remember Rod Macqueen? He used to talk about it. It is going to happen. If you could get him off the beach now he would tell you some great stories.
“It is going to happen. The game is going towards it. Jack is definitely an option at seven.
“We haven’t tried him out, but he is an option because he has great ball carrying and great tackling skill.
“He puts his head over the ball and he’s a tough little bloke. He’s a great option. He can play wing, 13, 15 and seven for us.
Jack puts his head over the ball, he’s a tough little bloke. He’s a great option. He can play wing, 13, 15 and seven for us. I’m 100 per cent serious.
“I’m 100 per cent serious. There are great opportunities in the game to change it and we are looking at it. Maybe one of the opportunities is nine forwards.
“There is no reason why you can’t play nine forwards. He could stand blindside wing.
“When Japan played Georgia in the final warm-up game before 2015 World Cup, we played nine forwards.
“No-one knew. It’s like in football. Mike Bassett. 4-4-2. Everyone used to play that.
“Then it became 5-3-2-1, of whatever it was, probably too many numbers, so there is no reason in rugby why there might not be changes in formations. Exciting, isn’t it.”
The Red Rose revolution could be tested in Portugal next week.
England fly out to the Algarve on Wednesday for a pre Championship mini-camp.
And they will jet straight to Dublin from there on Thursday week to prepare for their Aviva Stadium opener.
NOW MEET MAD OLLIE THORLEY . . .
By Jonny Fordham
OLLIE THORLEY is the crazy Gloucester winger who pranks people by pulling out his false tooth.
And it’s that kind of fun-loving attitude, twinned with his try-scoring habit, that prompted Eddie Jones to pick the uncapped star.
Thorley was named the Premiership’s player-of-the-month in November after scoring some world-class tries as the rest of his new Test teammates were tearing up Twickenham.
Now, Thorley 22, has the chance to do the same if he can continue his rugby education.
Red Rose boss Jones said: “He doesn’t know much about rugby, but runs hard and is fearless. I love him. His evolution as a player will be to start to get a feel for the game, but he is courageous, strong, powerful and he’s a bright lad to.
“He could that bit of an x-factor player who comes through at the last moment. He’s a very physical, direct player, but as we know in the game of rugby, you’ve got to have some subtly in the way you do things. He’ll learn that as he goes along.
“He’s got the right approach. He’s 100 per cent committed and wants to be the best player he can be. It’s quite exciting for us to bring him into the camp.”
Thorley was one of four uncapped call-ups that include scrum-half Dan Robson, who will most likely make his debut against Ireland, as well as hooker Jack Singleton and back-row Ben Earl.
Jones also refused to close the World Cup door on Thorley’s Cherry and Whites teammate Danny Cipriani.
He added: “Danny has had a tough time, hasn’t he? He’s been injured, he comes back, he’s been playing on the back of a pack that’s probably not going forward. It’s a difficult game for him.
“He’s got to hang in there, be at his best. His job is to be at his best, continue to be at his best and when the opportunity comes, be ready to go.”
With the Vunipola brothers both back fit after missing the autumn, as well as wrecking-ball centres Manu Tuilagi and Ben Te’o still in good shape, Jones also has just short of HALF A TON of extra bulk in his armoury.
He added: “It won’t change our game, but will change our ability to dent the line.
“The way the game is at the moment it is a massive part of the game to be able to dent the line.
“Everyone is defending with 13 or 14 in the line and the spaces between defenders are smaller because of that.
“Therefore your ability to work those space is more difficult.
“If you can have runners that dent the line like the Vunipolas or Launchburys or the Hugheses then it allows you to gain momentum, then you are able to play off the back of that.
“The only time we had it was the last 20 minutes against Australia and you saw what a difference that made – the ability to play, to hit through the line, to play off the back of that.”