WASPS star Elliot Daly did not make England’s final Six Nations squad, but World Cup winner Lewis Moody says he could not have done any more and admits it was simply a numbers game that went against the exciting centre.
Daly was included in new England coach Eddie Jones’ extended 33-man squad last week along with team mates James Haskell, Joe Launchbury and Matt Mullan.
But like Mullan, the 23-year-old did not make the cut for the opening Six Nations clash against Scotland on February 6 after being one of ten players released back to their clubs.
For many this came as a surprise and disappointment after Daly scored an electric try as Wasps stormed into the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a 51-10 demolition of Leinster.
That try was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Daly’s claim for a Six Nations role and the No.13 shirt.
But Moody believes Jones’ concerns over the No.12 spot is what forced the door to shut in Daly’s face.
He said: “Elliot Daly is a great player but he is just unlucky that he is another one who is a 13 and not a 12.
“He is a promising young talent but it’s a numbers game and there are only so many players you can have for any one position and if you are more of a utility player then that can sometimes go against you.
“We desperately need Manu Tuilagi back in that England squad. England are desperate to get Manu back because the lack of 12s of his capabilities is a concern at the moment.
“We have a multitude of 13s now which is a nice position to be in and one England haven’t been in for a while.
“For many years England were heavy on the 12s and light on the 13s and now it has taken an almighty swing – which unfortunately spells disappointment for Elliot.”
All eyes will be on new head coach Jones ahead of his first game in charge as he looks to build England up again after they became the first World Cup host nation to exit the tournament at the pool stages.
And Moody believes Jones’ desire to stamp his own mark on the team has meant disappointment for Daly.
“I think a number of players are victims of change and coaches will have their preferences,” he added.
“And I think a number of those guys were questionable within Lancaster’s regime in terms of who was going to play and the new coach has been able to come in and say ‘this is who we want’ and ‘these are the changes we want’ and now they can put their stamp on it and cut away from the Lancaster regime.
“And the appointment of Dylan Hartley as captain is the biggest statement to date that we are away from the previous regime that this is us and we are making our mark.
“The statement there is he wanted an abrasive, aggressive, confrontational England side.”