From excited fan to big hope… Barbeary is poised for England debut

‘It’s pretty incredible I might now get a chance to play in those games’: Alfie Barbeary recalls being an excited fan as England claimed Grand Slam glory in 2016… now the country’s new big hope is preparing to make his debut in the Six Nations

  • Alfie Barbeary remembers watching England claim Grand Slam glory in 2016
  • Six years on he’s told Eddie Jones he is ready to play a part in the Six Nations
  • Barbeary became one of six uncapped players in Eddie Jones’ 36-man party
  • The 21-year-old is at the forefront of what Jones called his ‘new England’ group
  • Barbeary has delivered against both Leicester and Toulouse in the last fortnight 

Alfie Barbeary vividly remembers watching England claim Grand Slam glory in 2016 in Eddie Jones’ first triumph as head coach.

Six years on, English rugby’s new tyro has told his boss he is ready to play a part in the 2022 Six Nations after becoming one of six uncapped players in Jones’ 36-man party.

Barbeary is at the forefront of what Jones called his ‘new England’, with the Australian continuing to plan for the 2023 World Cup in France.

Alfie Barbeary (above) vividly remembers watching England claim Grand Slam glory in 2016

The 2016 triumph (above) was Eddie Jones’ first major triumph as the head coach of England 

The 21-year-old Wasps back-row might be one of his country’s brightest prospects, but he is also producing the goods now. 

He has delivered against Leicester and Toulouse in the last fortnight. Now, Test rugby is on the horizon.

‘I watched England winning the Grand Slam in France in 2016,’ Barbeary said. ‘We had a family party and it was a really close game. I was just drawn to the TV. It’s pretty incredible I might now get a chance to play in those games.

‘I’ve just got to try to step up to that level. It’s going to be tough and being in that sort of environment you don’t expect anything to be easy. I’d like to think I’m ready for it.’

Six years on he has told Jones he is ready to play a part in the upcoming 2022 Six Nations

Barbeary (above) became one of six uncapped players in Eddie Jones’ 36-man party

Jones has hailed Barbeary’s ‘extraordinary ability to break tackles and carry the ball forward in close contact’. He is the likeliest of England’s six rookies to start the Six Nations.

His stunning form has been all the more impressive given he has only just recovered from ankle and hamstring injuries which left him in a ‘dark place’ last year.

‘It’s been crazy. I just couldn’t believe it,’ Barbeary said of his Test summons. ‘It was more disbelief than anything else. It’s the sort of thing you dream of — I’m very lucky.’

England captain Owen Farrell could yet start the Six Nations without a minute of action under his belt since November. He has been confirmed as Six Nations skipper by Jones and had been due back for Saracens at London Irish on Sunday.

He delivered against Leicester and Toulouse in the last fortnight. Now, Test rugby is next 

Meanwhile, England captain Owen Farrell (above) could yet start the Six Nations without a minute of action under his belt since November 

But Mark McCall, Saracens director of rugby, said he would make a late call on whether he takes to the field this weekend.

Farrell is continuing his recovery from ankle surgery after getting injured against Australia in November.

‘We’ll see towards the end of the week if he’s able to take part in the match,’ said McCall. ‘We’ll make a late decision.’

Sale have raised hope centre Manu Tuilagi could also feature for England as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

‘He will be fit during the Six Nations period,’ Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson said. ‘We are very sensitive about bringing him back too early because the goal is to push him towards the next World Cup.’

England start preparations for their Calcutta Cup opener with Scotland on February 5 in Brighton on Monday.




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