After the disappointment of the World Cup, Eddie Jones has announced the 33-man team he hopes will turn the England side around for the Six Nations.
Speaking at a recent press conference, a relaxed Mr. Jones expressed confidence in his choices, citing the enthusiasm, energy and hard work all players were committed to investing in the squad. He highlighted the dominant scrum and strong set-piece which are characteristic of England’s style, but also acknowledged that the team must also learn to better exploit space and improve in other areas.
There were several omissions to the squad, including Danny Cipriani, Joe Simpson, Tom Youngs, Brad Barritt, and Tom Wood. Jones refrained to comment on the decision, except to confirm that there had been discussions with these players regarding what needed to be done before they were reinstated.
One player definitely set to make the grade is Manu Tuilagi, but Jones refused to enter into any discussion regarding captaincy. He simply stated that the captain would be expected to set standards for all squad members on the field and off. Other mentions included Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton, Maro Itoje and, despite the recent injury, Henry Slade.
With just seven training sessions before the Murrayfield warm-up event, Jones rejected suggestions that there would be any radical changes in playing style. Instead, he stressed the importance of getting the formation right – particularly the front row.
Summing up the discussion, Jones finished with an assurance that players selected would need a strong desire to stand up for England and win.
Rugby has been growing in popularity in recent years, and as of press coverage increases, it has become as important as football in the sporting calendar. It is hoped that the latest competitions will encourage ordinary people to play rugby.
Forwards: Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Henry Thomas, Chris Robshaw, Matt Mullan, Joe Marler, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Matt Kvesic, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Paul Hill, James Haskell, Dylan Hartley, Jamie George, Jack Clifford, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Josh Beaumont.
Backs: Ben Youngs, Marland Yarde, Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell, Jonathan Joseph, Sam Hill, Alex Goode, George Ford, Osen Farrell, Ollie Devoto, Elliot Daly, Danny Care, Mike Brown, Chris Ashton.