Eng’s Jones shakes up squad for autumn series

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England have announced their 36-man training squad for the autumn series and there is no room for Danny Care, Joe Marchant or Harry Randall, who all toured in the summer to Australia.

Henry Slade also misses out having featured prominently since the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, while Joe Launchbury, Kyle Sinckler and Joe Marler are absent.

Eddie Jones has used the opportunity to call up uncapped duo Northampton’s Alex Coles and Saracens’ Hugh Tizard. Manu Tuilagi and Montpellier-bound Sam Simmonds return after recovering from injury, while Ben Youngs, Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans are also called up.

Care is omitted after having been substituted after just 37 minutes in the third Test against Australia. England would go on to win the series 2-1.

The squad comes ahead of England’s four matches this autumn, where they face Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham.

“With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress,” Jones said. “We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.

“It doesn’t mean that those who have been left out won’t be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We’ll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.

“We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we’ll build on what we’ve done there and continue that momentum.”

Alfie Barbeary, Nic Dolly, Alex Dombrandt, Charlie Ewels, George Ford, Sam Jeffries, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson all miss out through injury, while Raffi Quirke is also sidelined.

Discussing his selections Jones said that the current state of rugby, with multiple yellow cards, injuries and TMO interventions now becoming the norm, is delivering new challenges and is something he is factoring in to his player choices and coaching sessions.

“We need to be able to adapt to a different game — probably 25% of the game now is uncontrollable, through sin-bins, HIAs (head injury assessments) and uneven numbers in the game,” he said.

“We need to be able to adapt from our game to the game that’s going to be played in that time. That’s hard to do and I can’t name one team who can do it at the moment.

“We basically can’t get messages on the field any more so the players have become even more important in terms of decision making.

Jones added that recognising and playing to your own strengths while being ready to adapt to changing circumstances has become his most fundamental coaching challenge.

“The other thing we’re seeing, and will continue to see, is that difference in the referees’ interpretation of the breakdown that can decided whether it’s a highly contestable game or a fluid game,” he said.

Refereeing interpretation arguably has more impact on rugby than in any other professional sport and Jones recognised that learning to deal with them was a key aspect of game management.

“Referees are like humans, you have an idea of what they’re going to be like, but they can change,” he said.

“I’m sure you’ve all got a husband or a partner who says something, or the dog’s done a pooh on the carpet. You wake up and have this vision of it being a perfect day then you think ‘shit, this is going to be a terrible day’.

“Referees are like us. Someone could say something to them on the way to the ground so we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

England training squad

Forwards: Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Tom Pearson (London Irish), David Ribbans (Northampton Saints), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby,), Hugh Tizard (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Walker (Harlequins), Jack Willis (Wasps).

Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Will Joseph (London Irish), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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