Doran-Jones set for shock debut vs Pumas

Rookie front-row forward Paul Doran-Jones could make his Test debut against Argentina on Saturday after David Wilson became the latest England prop to be ruled out through injury.

Wilson will not face the Pumas at Twickenham this weekend after suffering a neck injury during England’s 18-9 home defeat by Australia last Saturday.

Now Doran-Jones is in line to represent his country against one of the most formidable scrummaging combinations in international rugby simply by virtue of being fit.

The 24-year-old has just 266 minutes of English Premiership action behind him following a pre-season move to Gloucester from second-tier London Welsh.

England are without four tighthead props in Phil Vickery, Julian White, Jason Hobson and Wilson – plus first-choice loosehead Andrew Sheridan.

And on Tuesday Bath veteran front-row forward David Barnes joined that lengthy injury list when he damaged a knee in training at England’s training base in Bagshot, south-west of London.

Doran-Jones, who can play on both sides of the scrum, now seems set to be included among the replacements when England manager Martin Johnson names on Wednesday his matchday 22 to play Argentina.

And if that’s the case, there’s every chance of Doran-Jones coming on at some stage this weekend to earn a first Test cap given the physical demands of packing down against the Pumas.

Duncan Bell, who replaced Wilson off the bench against Australia, is in line to make his first Test start since 2005 with Tim Payne staying at loosehead prop.

Meanwhile Stade Francais back-row forward James Haskell, an old school friend of Doran-Jones and a second-half replacement against Australia, is set for a start after Leicester No 8 Jordan Crane, who kicked-off against the Wallabies, was one of 10 players released back to their clubs by England on Tuesday.

Argentina, who are also set to name their side on Wednesday, are likely to field a front row featuring the powerful trio of Mario Ledesma, Rodrigo Roncero and Martin Scelzo.

But England scrum coach Graham Rowntree believes Doran-Jones won’t be overawed by the step up to Test rugby.

“The other coaches didn’t know what he looked like until Sunday night but I have been watching Paul all season,” said Rowntree.

“He can play both sides of the scrum and I think he is a true prospect for the future,” the former Leicester and England prop added.

“We could be playing against easier scrums this weekend for sure, it is the deep end. Paul is the next guy in and we get on with it.

“It is a big step up but Paul is good enough and that is what we will be telling him.”


Apart from Bath Rugby props David Wilson and David Barnes the eight other players released to their clubs were: Steffon Armitage (London Irish), George Chuter (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Ben Kay (Leicester Tigers), David Strettle (Harlequins), Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks), Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks).

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