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'Dean has uncanny eye to pick out talent, they usually come through unusual pathways'

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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England boss Eddie Jones has praised the recruitment strategy of Dean Richards at Newcastle, an approach that led to the North-East club getting rewarded with the biggest representation of the seven clubs that have provided 21 uncapped players in the summer series training squad that assembles next Monday in London. 

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With players from the four Gallagher Premiership semi-finalists off limits along with the dozen chosen to tour South Africa with the Lions, Jones opted to massively refresh his England set-up following on from their disappointing fifth-place finish in the recent Guinness Six Nations.

Jones has chosen a 34-strong squad for next week’s five-day training camp and with seasoned internationals such as George Ford, Jonny May and Mark Wilson all rested, he has opted to give youth its fling as he attempts to find some fresh talent capable of performing at Test level. 

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Newcastle were the England squad’s biggest winners in terms of the number of newcomers as they had five uncapped players included, forwards Jamie Blamire, Callum Chick, Trevor Davison and Sean Robinson along with flying winger Adam Radwan.

Leicester were the next-best in the uncapped list, providing four players in Joe Heyes, Harry Wells, Dan Kelly and Freddie Steward, with London Irish, Wasps and Bath supplying three uncapped players each. The list was rounded off with two international rookies from Northampton and one from Gloucester.   

“It’s the quality of players,” enthused Jones when asked by RugbyPass about what he particular likes regarding what is going on at Newcastle, who are lying in tenth place in the Gallagher Premiership table with one match remaining in their first season back in the top flight following relegation.  

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“Dean (Richards) has got an uncanny eye to pick out talent and they usually come through the unusual pathways, not the usual way with (England) 16s, 18s, the 20s. They usually come through a more diverged pathway and he has got an eye for that talent. They have played consistently well and they are being rewarded for their performances.”

England’s summer series opens with an A team match versus Scotland at Leicester on June 27 followed by July Test matches versus the USA and Canada at Twickenham and it will be most interesting how many of these 21 training week rookies go on to earn a debut cap. Asked what his target of new caps might be, Jones replied: “As many that deserve it, mate. 

“We were lucky enough in the last series four years ago in Argentina to uncover talents like Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Mark Wilson and if we were able to have that sort of success in producing a couple or three really good Test players we would be delighted.” 

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'Dean has uncanny eye to pick out talent, they usually come through unusual pathways'

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