Dean Richards has revealed Eddie Jones has finally found his way to Newcastle, despite having failed to attend any of their matches this season leading into tomorrow’s naming of the England squad to face South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australian next month at Twickenham.
There has been growing frustration at the Falcons at what was seen as a snub by Jones who has also attracted the ire of Exeter fans having not watched the former Premiership champions live this season.
Jones appeared at Kingston Park in the build up to Newcastle’s stunning European Champion Cup victory in Toulon at the weekend and it allowed Richards to champion players he believes need to be considered for England selection including back row forward Mark Wilson, centre Johnny Williams and hooker George McGuigan.
Richards will discover tomorrow if his advice has changed Jones’s thinking as the England head coach has largely ignored the Falcons even when they finished fourth in the Premiership last season to make the play-offs for the first time.
Richards, the Newcastle director of rugby, is preparing his players for Sunday’s home game with big spending Montpellier and said: “It was nice to see Eddie and he did come up last season so that was the first time this season.
“I have hopes for a lot of our players but ultimately, Eddie’s choice is Eddie’s choice and it’s how he wants to play that will determine his squad and you have to accept that.
“I am sure it is just circumstance that he hasn’t seen us live this season and you do ask him why because you would want him to also see the boys training but he does watch the games on video. If he didn’t he would ‘t be able to form an opinion about who is playing well and who isn’t. Hopefully we are going to get as many boys playing international rugby as possible.”
David Wilson, the Newcastle prop, won the last of his 44 England caps three years ago and believes McGuigan’s form deserves to gain England recognition and understands the frustration surrounding test selection. He said: “Maybe it is a long way for Eddie to come and he can’t be bothered! I am sure he looks at games on video but if I was a young player starting out I would want to be looked at more.
“If teams are at the top of the table then he will probably prioritise in going to their games.”
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