Seven rookies in Jones' shaken-up England

LONDON • Eddie Jones has pledged to hoist English rugby out of its comfort zone and transform its mindset, after picking seven uncapped players in his 33-man squad for the Six Nations championship.

The Australian coach has ditched a third of the Rugby World Cup squad selected by Stuart Lancaster, opting instead to select players he believes can be world-beaters.

He is also warning his reshuffled squad to brace themselves for an intensive regimen that will require maximum commitment.

"They can all be better players in some way, but how long it takes... will be dependent on their attitude and work ethic," he said.

"Sometimes, if you play well in the Premiership and then get selected for England, you are quite comfortable. We have to make the players a little bit uncomfortable.

"We just have to create an environment where the players want to be absolutely fanatical about being in a winning England team.

"I have been employed by England not to be the saviour of English rugby. My job is to create a winning English rugby team.

"I have no doubt that in the first couple of weeks, there will be complaints coming out. I will be happy if that happens because then I will know we are getting change."

There is no place for the moment in Jones' current England side for 10 World Cup squad members, including Tom Youngs, Tom Wood, Geoff Parling and Brad Barritt.

Danny Cipriani, Luther Burrell and Joe Simpson have also been overlooked, in favour of youngsters such as Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford, Sam Hill, Ollie Devoto, Paul Hill, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Elliot Daly and Josh Beaumont.

Jones has urged the newcomers to emulate England's World Cup winners of 2003, who beat his Australia in the final that year.

"I have no doubt that in this squad of 33, there are four or five players who, if they change their mindset and they change their attitude, they can become world-class players," added the man who masterminded Japan's World Cup upset over South Africa last year.

"If we get four or five world-class players then we can be the dominant team in the world."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Seven rookies in Jones' shaken-up England'. Print Edition | Subscribe