Bath duo Jonathan Joseph and Kyle Eastmond tipped to shine for England

Bath Rugby's Guy Mercer tips Jonathan Joseph and Kyle Eastmond to shine fo England if selected by Stuart Lancaster

stuart lancaster
England head coach Stuart Lancaster Photo: The Sport Review

Guy Mercer has backed Bath Rugby team-mates Jonathan Joseph and Kyle Eastmond to shine for England, should they be called on by Stuart Lancaster for the autumn internationals.

With England regulars Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi set to miss out through injury, there are vacancies for a host of impressive centres across the Aviva Premiership to step into.

Eastmond – a former rugby league player – and Joseph, who signed from London Irish over the summer, have formed an explosive partnership at The Rec.

The latter touched down against his former club in Bath’s 33-18 win last weekend and Mercer, who bagged two tries himself, believes they both have plenty to offer at the top level.

“With the form that those guys are in and the talent they have got, they are really sticking their hands up at the moment,” said Mercer.

“I don’t think they would just fill gaps – they would add something different as well. JJ is adding to his experience and Kyle had played for Great Britain in rugby league so he has been in that arena before. It is not something that is foreign to them.

“Everyone was really happy, especially with the first-half performance – to get five first-half tries was brilliant. We are just hoping we can put two quality halves of rugby together.

“I just want to be doing my job in the team and if I go over the try line, it is a huge positive.

“I think it is just something that comes with a bit of work rate and being lucky and in the right place. I was just happy to cross the line. But I would rather play 100 games and not score if it meant we won them all.”

Bath travel to Sale Sharks on Friday night seeking their second away win of the campaign – they only managed one win on their travels last year.

Only an unbeaten Saracens side have got the better of Bath so far this year – a 31-17 win at fortress Allianz Park – and Mercer is eager to maintain the strong start.

“That was sort of a stat that ended up creeping up on us,” he added. “We are confident in ourselves and our abilities so we go to away fixtures believing that we will leave with a win.

“We have obviously been pleased with the games we have won but we had a couple of long meetings after the Saracens game, where a lot of difficult things were said.”

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