Former England fly half Andy Goode has questioned Eddie Jones’ decision to take a number of young, inexperienced players in his 31-man squad to tour Argentina in the summer ahead of top Premiership performers like Christian Wade and Semesa Rokoduguni.
Speaking on The Rugby Pod, the flyhalf, who won 17 caps for his country, said it was commendable to look to the future but that England caps are special and shouldn’t be dished out to youngsters who haven’t earned them ahead of those playing well in the top flight of English rugby.
“A development tour is great but this isn’t a development tour. It is two fully fledged international games and boys are going to get caps that, in my opinion, don’t deserve them on form ahead of other guys who are playing exceptionally well in the Premiership,” said Goode.
“Looking long term is great but they’re England caps, you can’t just dish them out for free without players having grafted and earned the right to get them.”
Jones has picked 15 uncapped players for the two tests on June 10 and 17. The squad has 537 caps in total between them with James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Dylan Hartley, Danny Care, Matt Mullan, Tom Wood, Mike Brown, George Ford and Joe Launchbury accounting for 487 of them.
The selection of 19-year-old London Irish winger ahead of Christian Wade and Semesa Rokoduguni, who have scored 16 and 10 tries respectively in the Premiership so far this season, particularly rankled Goode.
“He’s picked Joe Cokanasiga, the London Irish winger, and he hasn’t played a Premiership game,” he said.
“A lot of people will say that Eddie Jones is brilliant for looking to the future but Christian Wade and Semesa Rokoduguni, who are the two top try scorers in the Premiership, haven’t got a sniff of the England tour.
“Cokanasiga is a big unit and a young kid and he will be a very good player but Wade is tearing up trees in the Premiership, as is Rokodoguni.
“With Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell on the Lions tour, they have got to be the next two cabs off the rank on form.”
Former Scotland second row and ex-England U21 international Jim Hamilton was also shocked that his Saracens team-mate had been overlooked in favour of Tom and Ben Curry of Sale Sharks, who have made just five Premiership starts between them.
“Jackson Wray is in Saracens’ starting line-up and has been one of our best players but England are picking the Curry brothers. They’re very good players and I can see what they’re doing but still,” he added.
The Rugby Pod is a weekly rugby union podcast, featuring Goode and Hamilton, that provides fans with news, views, interviews, analysis, transfer rumours and lots more. Download The Episode here
Will Collier (Harlequins, uncapped), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, uncapped), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, uncapped), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 3 caps), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap), Dylan Hartley – captain (Northampton Saints, 84 caps), James Haskell (Wasps, 75 caps), Paul Hill (Northampton Saints, 5 caps), Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 8 caps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, uncapped), Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 42 caps), Matt Mullan (Wasps, 15 caps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 55 caps), Sam Underhill (Ospreys/Bath Rugby, uncapped), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 50 caps).
Mike Brown – vice-captain (Harlequins, 60 caps), Danny Care – vice captain (Harlequins, 71 caps), Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish, uncapped), Nathan Earle (Saracens, uncapped), George Ford – vice captain (Bath Rugby, 35 caps), Piers Francis (Auckland Blues/Northampton Saints, uncapped), Sam James (Sale Sharks, uncapped), Alex Lozowski (Saracens, uncapped), Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints, uncapped), Joe Marchant (Harlequins, uncapped), Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 25 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps), Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, uncapped).
Unavailable for selection due to injury: Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Sam Jones (Wasps)
England’s two-Test tour to Argentina
Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, 10 June, kick-off 12.15pm (BST)
Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez, Santa Fe, 17 June,kick-off 12.15pm (BST)
Watch the June Internationals streaming live on rugbypass.com, home of the best online rugby coverage including news, highlights, previews & reviews, live scores, and more!