Bath midfielder Jonathan Joseph has laid bare fears that his nine-year England career is over after Eddie Jones excluded him from the 2021 Guinness Six Nations squad. The 29-year-old made the last of his 54 appearances in the November Autumn Nations Cup win over Wales in Llanelli.
A calf muscle injury ruled Joseph out of selection for that tournament’s final the following weekend against France, but the 2019 World Cup final replacement would have expected to have been involved again when Jones announced his 28-strong squad for the Six Nations.
In recent times he had demonstrated his versatility at Test level, playing on the wing as well as in his more familiar centre role, but that double-jobbing ability wasn’t enough to prevent Jones from axing him from the England squad and he now reckons it could be all over for him internationally.
“It is what it is, isn’t it? There is not really much to say on it,” said Joseph when asked about his England situation heading into this Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final for Bath against Montpellier. “Obviously, Eddie is the boss, Eddie has his opinions and his opinion is that I’m not good enough at the minute. All I can do is worry about my form and how I play at Bath and that is where all my focus is right now.
Another twist to Eddie's rugby terminology https://t.co/ErEp82i8at
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 13, 2020
“Not a whole lot (of feedback) to be fair, there has been bits and bobs but I don’t know. As a player, I’m a bit of a realist and there are not many players that drop out of that squad that get back in. There is probably only a handful of players I could name that have managed to get back in. I’m not waiting by the phone, waiting on a phone call. I’m at Bath, I’m loving it here and I’m trying to put in the best performances I can with this squad, trying to make this team a great team and to push on.
“Initially it was hard, first time properly being dropped. The first week was quite tough. It is hard to take but you get back on the horse and I’m still playing the game that I have loved since I was a kid. I’m at a great club with huge potential. Life could be a lot worse.
“I can fully focus now on just one thing and that is Bath. Being more of a senior player in that set-up, I feel like I’ve taken much more of a leadership role which I am really enjoying and helping a lot of the youngsters coming through.
“There is something quite rewarding about giving feedback and having discussions with players and players come up to you and ask for advice. It’s actually quite a nice position to be in. I really enjoy it and seeing those players grow and develop, it’s really enjoyable.”
This weekend Joseph will come up against Alex Lozowski, another player who has experienced what it is like to get left out of England set-up by Jones. He has been playing in France this season and is chosen at out-half for Saturday night’s semi-final.
“He is a very talented player,” said Joseph. “Even when he came into England I saw how he developed. He never was that good defensively and then all of a sudden working with Paul Gustard at England he started to be a real good defender, put in some real good shots. He has developed really well and he is a really good player. It’s a shame he didn’t get more of an opportunity as well at England but I’m sure he might get another chance in the future.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 29, 2021
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