Eddie Jones set to name first England squad

Published: Wednesday 13th January 2016 by The News Editor

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Eddie Jones will name the first elite player squad of his England coaching reign on Wednesday.

But there will be no announcement of Jones’ RBS 6 Nations captain for another fortnight.

Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley is a clear favourite for the role, but World Cup skipper Chris Robshaw will remain an integral part of Jones’ plans, with a move from openside to blindside flanker in the England starting XV being widely touted.

Jones’ 33-man squad looks set to feature exciting newcomers like Wasps centre Elliot Daly, Saracens forward Maro Itoje and Harlequins flanker Jack Clifford, while Exeter back Sam Hill and Sale number eight Josh Beaumont – son of England’s 1980 Grand Slam captain Bill Beaumont – are also thought to have made an impression on Jones.

Although injuries will impact selection – Henry Slade, Jonny May, Dave Attwood, Ed Slater and Kieran Brookes are among those sidelined for some, or all, of this season’s Six Nations – head coach Jones has also left his own mark.

World Cup squad members Brad Barritt, Tom Wood, Joe Marler, Geoff Parling and Richard Wigglesworth could all miss out as Jones builds towards the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 6.

“There is a lot of good talent in England, and it’s about bringing it through,” Jones said. “We’ve got to back a few players, and hopefully they will develop.”

Asked what sort of playing style can be expected from England, Jones added: “We’re going to win.

“When you are coaching a team, you don’t move away from the natural part of the team.

“Successful England teams in the past have always had a good set-piece and a good defence. We want to have those things. We want a really good scrum, so we might bring some of the old blokes back.

“But we’ve got to add to that, we have to develop a much more adaptive attacking game. We’ve always got to have the mindset of wanting to attack.

“If you look at the Six Nations since 2003, England are ranked fourth in terms of trophies. So it would be nice to bring one home.”

There is likely to be a place in the squad for blockbusting Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi, who began his comeback after 15 months out with groin trouble during the Tigers’ thrilling Aviva Premiership victory over Northampton four days ago.

While Tuilagi is some way short of full match fitness and unlikely to be considered for England’s opening Six Nations flurries, his game-breaking quality makes him a pivotal figure, especially building towards a three-Test summer tour to Australia.

And two of the Premiership’s in-form wings – Saracens’ prolific try-scorer Chris Ashton and once-capped Bath player Semesa Rokoduguni – both look set for recalls.

Published: Wednesday 13th January 2016 by The News Editor

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