England vs South Africa: Brian O'Driscoll expects Elliot Daly to thrive on full debut alongside Owen Farrell and George Ford

Daly was named in Eddie Jones' XV ahead of Jonathan Joseph

Click to follow

Brian O’Driscoll is backing Wasps centre Elliot Daly to impress on the national stage after he was named in England’s XV for the clash with South Africa on Sunday.

Daly beat with fellow outside centre Jonathan Joseph to the 13 shirt and will make his first start for the Red Rose after the Bath man, who is named amongst the replacements, picked up a slight groin injury.

The 24-year-old has made five appearances for England so far in his career, all of which have been from the bench, but after a strong start to the season with Wasps Eddie Jones felt he couldn't ignore the centre any longer.

Jones named his team on Thursday morning with Tom Wood returning to the side for the first time in over 12 months as England make six changes to the side that completed the 3-0 whitewash over Australia during the summer tour Down Under. 

And O’Driscoll, who knows a thing or two about playing at outside centre, believes Daly's inclusion is an exciting one, with his raw pace and kicking game will make him a stand-out player in Jones’ team.

“I really like Elliot Daly, I admire the way he plays. A lot of what's good about Wasps comes through him. There's nothing quite like the afterburners that he's clearly got.

“Nothing matches raw pace, particularly if you're getting front-foot ball as a 13 and getting to run on to it because you've got excellent passers inside you like Owen Farrell or George Ford.

“You'd imagine that with the level of possession England's pack will provide, he'll be in a good place.

odriscoll.jpg
O'Driscoll says Daly deserves his chance to impress Eddie Jones

“He's got a lovely, educated left boot and it's nice to have that long range aspect with left and right footers for kick exits.

“There may have been question marks about him defensively in the past, but he's been very solid this season.

“I admire his game but he's had to be patient.

“He'd played over 100 games before he was even 21, which is remarkable. He's had to bide his time and it sounds like it's pure form he's been selected on and good luck to him, he deserves it. Everything good about Wasps has come through him this year.”

England team to face South Africa:

M Brown (Harlequins); M Yarde (Harlequins), E Daly (Wasps), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), D Attwood (Bath Rugby), N Hughes (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), B Te'o (Worcester), J Joseph (Bath).

Brian O’Driscoll is the ambassador for the new Thomas Pink Lions Collection. In stores now. www.thomaspink.com

Comments