Rugby-England's Jones changes mind on Itoje's captaincy credentials


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn International - England v South Africa - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - November 20, 2021 England head coach Eddie Jones talks to Maro Itoje during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - England head coach Eddie Jones has changed his mind on Maro Itoje's potential as a future captain, saying that he has seen the Saracens lock mature a great deal over the past six months.

Jones wrote in his book "Leadership" that Itoje was "too inward-looking" for the role, but told the Telegraph on Tuesday he was moving in the right direction.

"I've never seen a guy mature as much as he has in the last six months so it's been a really good period for him," Jones said.

"I'm going to contradict myself -- and contradiction's a big part of life -- but I've got no doubt in the future he will captain England. Whether that's in my time or someone else's time."

Jones also praised Itoje's contribution in England's wins over Tonga, Australia and South Africa last month, adding that the 27-year-old had been more directly involved in team communication in recent outings.

"He is really moving in the right direction and it was interesting the role that he played in the team during the autumn," Jones said. "He took on the role responsible for team communication.

"It is when the team get together to talk about things they need to talk to. And no one's done a better job than he has done so I'm really pleased with the way he is moving."

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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