Too high risk? Eddie Jones World Cup team has a few surprise omissions and shock call-ups but England could still be in with a winning chance!
England fought to glory last weekend in the first match of the Quilter Internationals, defeating Wales 33-19 at Twickenham Stadium and now things are starting to get serious with the World Cup looming. Eddie Jones named his 31-man England squad earlier on in the week and it’s believed that the Australian has made some bold decisions.
The biggest surprises to the squad are Ruaridh McConnochie, Willi Heinz, Lewis Ludlam and Jack Singleton, who share just three caps between them with McConnochie being uncapped. All displayed promising and strong performances during the warm-ups and Jones is confident in their ability to help see the team through in Japan.
How many of you would have predicted that these players would be included in the squad over the likes of the more experienced Ben Te’o, Chris Robshaw and Danny Cipriani? Just to name a few.
The criticism for Ludlam seems to stem from the flankers struggle with injuries early on in his career. The former centre has had to constantly prove himself and rumour has it that he had considered retiring from the sport until the Quilter Internationals luck came his way. Many were touched by his emotional rendition of the National Anthem and Jones himself, has described him as a valuable player. He’s likely to be playing as a No6 in the World Cup, which was the position he played in his debut against Wales.
McConnochie is probably the one most will be quick to judge but the uncapped wing did walk away from the Olympic Finals in Rio with a silver medal and came second in last year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens. He has adapted to XVs extremely quickly and Jones picking McConnochie will definitely give the uncapped player a boost in confidence which can only help his performance in the pitch. He’s an agile and versatile player which is an advantage. Though he is often thought to be a touch too light for a Rugby player, many of his Sevens teammates insisted he works well in defence and has incredible one-on-one tackling ability.
Heinz will be one of two England scrum-halves in Japan. He’s the oldest man in the squad at 32-years-old and had already been given a great deal of responsibility in his debut against Wales, where Jones made him vice-captain. He impressed in the Quilter’s against Wales, being heavily involved in England’s first two tries and displayed strong leadership qualities which Jones was evidently pleased with.
Eddie seems to be refreshing the team with more youthful figures and we can only hope it works out for England. The Worcester Warriors hooker, Singleton also joins the 31-man squad after his successful 90-second debut at Twickenham in the victory against Wales. Singleton could be an important figure for England, perhaps now, or in years to come. We’ll soon find out!
Eddie Jones had to tackle with the toughest decision any head coach at international level must make as every Rugby player – no doubt – wants to be part of a World Cup. But after seeing how the selected few played in the England v Wales warm up, there’s no denying this England squad could go far with its strong team mentality.
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 72 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks, 13 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps)
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps)