Elliot Daly has no qualms about returning to full-back when England face Grand Slam-chasing Ireland in a pivotal Six Nations clash at Twickenham on Sunday.
Daly will move across from the left wing to wear the No 15 shirt once again after a recurrence of a hamstring and groin problem saw George Furbank, England’s starting full-back in the opening two rounds of the Six Nations, ruled out.
Ireland are renowned for their aerial threat with Daly, for all his attacking ability, sometimes suspect under the high ball.
England, however, have won their two most recent matches against Ireland including a 32-20 success in Dublin last year that saw them start the 2019 Six Nations in style.
That was one of England’s best displays under coach Eddie Jones and a preview of the kind of form they showed in knocking out reigning champions New Zealand with a superb win in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
“It was a great game to play in,” said Daly as he recalled England’s win at Lansdowne Road last year.
“We spoke a lot in that game about doing the basics well and from there we tried to adapt our game and it went well,” added the 27-year-old, who scored the second of England’s four tries in that match.
This weekend will see Daly at full-back for England for the first time since November’s 32-12 defeat by South Africa in the World Cup final in Japan.
“It is a fairly easy switch for me,” said Daly. “I have played there a few times now and I am happy with all the systems.”
Ireland half-backs Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton are masters of the high kick, with wings Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale skilled at competing for the ball in the air.
“They (Ireland) have a very varied kicking game and two very good guys to do that in Murray and Sexton.”
Meanwhile, Jones bristled at suggestions the 44-times capped Daly had a weakness under towering kicks.
“We don’t feel he has got a deficiency,” said Jones. “Elliot has played a lot of Test football at 15, so he welcomes the opportunity.”
– ‘Make things happen’ –
Daly endorsed the veteran Australian coach’s words by saying: “I love getting out the back of stuff and trying to make things happen that way….trying to make good decisions on the edge. I think you do get more time and space to do that at 15 rather than on the wing.”
Victory for England in their first home match of this Six Nations will maintain their title bid after a 24-17 loss to France was followed by a 13-6 win over Scotland at a windswept Murrayfield.
“It’s obviously hard coming back off the back of a World Cup but it’s how you perform in the Six Nations that leaves a legacy for the year,” said Daly.
England’s form has dropped off since their stunning 19-7 defeat of the All Blacks.
“I think you can definitely get to those places (again),” said Daly. “It’s also about knowing how to get to those places.
“Against New Zealand we knew we had that game in us: that physicality and the way we tried to control the game,” he added.
“But that’s what you want to do every Test match. If we can get back up to point, it would be amazing.”