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Eddie Jones revealed player cull in brutal breakfast meeting - Charlie Ewels

By PA
England v Ireland – Autumn Nations Cup – Twickenham Stadium

Charlie Ewels has revealed that Eddie Jones warned his England players a cull was coming at a brutal breakfast meeting in Dublin last year.

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Ireland visit Twickenham on Saturday when the rivals will battle to take their Guinness Six Nations title bid into the final round knowing that the losing side will be eliminated from contention.

The clash will unfold a year after England were crushed 32-18 at the Aviva Stadium, bringing with it a chastening fifth-place finish.

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It was a moment that Jones has subsequently described as a “line in the sand” and although the Rugby Football Union had yet to conduct its review into the worst performance in its Six Nations history, Jones was already planning to sweep away elements of the old guard.

“We all got a pretty strong inkling there would be a reset first thing in the morning when he told us that in a meeting,” Ewels said.

“He literally said ‘that’s not good enough, you have got to make a decision. This is where this team is going, it’s up to me to decide who is here and it is up to you to decide to be here’.

“He didn’t make a secret of it – he obviously saw something and that is what he decided to do.

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“His challenge to the players was that we need to improve, the group needs to improve and therefore the individuals need to improve. So go away and make me pick you.”

George Ford and the Vunipola brothers were the biggest victims of Jones’ new vision for England’s future, while Jamie George and Elliot Daly have been given reprieves on account of injury and form.

“I left the meeting going ‘fair enough, that isn’t the team we want to be. That isn’t how we want to perform and this isn’t where we want to finish in a Six Nations’,” Ewels said.

Ewels started the Ireland collapse alongside Maro Itoje and the old England age-grade team-mates were reunited in the second row for the round three victory over Wales.

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Ewels recently posted on social media a photo of the pair together after an under-18 match a decade ago and the Bath captain insists they still share an empathetic partnership.

“I was in Maro’s shadow back then – and I still am now! He played the same way that he plays now – big, abrasive, a ball-carrier, getting stuck in. He’s just a heightened version of what he was back then,” Ewels said.

“In the moment in games we have a greater understanding of each other and of our strengths and weaknesses.

“Maro would probably say that his weakness is if he’s over-aroused, then he has a tendency to force things. I know that in him, I see that in him.

“I’m not going to pull him to the side, put my arm round him, but maybe there’s one brief word or moment in a break in play when we’re back together at scrums or before line-outs we’ll be talking.

“On the flip-side of that he’s one of the best players in the world at being in every play, competing.”

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M
Morne 31 minutes ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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