Jones sets high expectations for England´s new faces

20 April 2017 17:11

England will be shorn of 16 British and Irish Lions representatives for their tour of Argentina, but Eddie Jones is focused on finding individuals who are even better than his absent stars.

With the likes of Owen Farrell, the Vunipola brothers, Ben Youngs and Maro Itoje on Lions duty, Jones has named 15 uncapped players for two June Tests in Argentina.

There will still be plenty of experience in England's touring party, with captain Dylan Hartley, Geroge Ford, Mike Brown, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw and Joe Launchbury all included after missing out on Lions places.

Yet much attention will surround the new faces named by Jones, including cross-code star Denny Solomona and four teenagers - London Irish wing Joe Cokanasiga, Saracens lock Nick Isiekwe and Sale Sharks' 18-year-old back-row twins Tom and Ben Curry.

"What I'm looking to do is improve the squad and I feel these young guys can take the squad to a new level," said Jones, who said England's objective was "finding players who are going to be better than the 16 players on the Lions tour".

"We're looking to discover the best young talent in England and see how we can bring them through," he added. "To win the [2019] World Cup we need to have the best and that is our ultimate aim.

"We've got a great opportunity to take a combination of experienced players and some bright young talent that I'm extremely excited by."

The ever-quotable Jones was at his amusing best in a news conference on Thursday as he offered his views on England's new boys.

We take a look at some of his best remarks regarding the uncapped inclusions in his 31-man squad.


On fly-half Piers Francis, who will join Northampton Saints from Super Rugby franchise Blues for the 2017-18 season: "I've watched him play a fair bit. I know he played for Doncaster a few years ago, Auckland would have been a bit of a change."

On the Curry brothers: "I'm looking forward to working with the Currys because I want to find out if I can tell the difference between the two of them. I hear they're very competitive about everything: A-levels, their weight, their haircuts, their girlfriends, everything. I think we'll keep them competing against each other."

On Exeter Chiefs prop Harry Williams: "He is a big unit. He needs a haircut though, so I will have to chat to him about that."

On Exeter scrum-half Jack Maunder: "Maunder is an interesting player, a cheeky little b****r which is why I like him."

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21 June 2018


20 June 2018