Eddie Jones insists England still has enough experience to win the Rugby World Cup in Japan despite dumping more than 250 caps by ejecting captain Dylan Hartley, Danny Care and Mike Brown from the 35-strong training squad announced on Thursday.
Regular captain Hartley (97 caps) has not made it back from knee surgery, while the Harlequins pair of Care (84) and Brown 72) have been deemed surplus to requirements as Jones begins the build-up to the tournament that starts in September.
Jones did use Stephen Donald, who was called into the All Blacks squad during the 2011 tournament and kicked the penalty that won the final against France, as an example of how things can rapidly change. However, it is highly unlikely that this scenario will be played out for Hartley, Care and Brown.
Jones said: “There have been some very good players left out and I spoke to all of them individually. There are a lot of disappointed players out there, but we have a squad here with enough experience to win the World Cup.
Eddie Jones names his 35 to train for the RWC https://t.co/D7fkaFya5C
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 4, 2019
“Danny Cipriani has an opportunity and it is about him taking it – we will have to wait and see. Joe Marler wants to come back and at his best, he is one of the top props in the world. We saw that in the third Test with South Africa in Cape Town where was outstanding and he played for 80 minutes.
“There are still players who could make the World Cup. Just look at 2011 where Stephen Donald was whitebait fishing and got the call from Graham Henry and kicked the winning goal in the final. Players have to be ready because you never know what could happen.
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— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 4, 2019
“We don’t know with Dylan Hartley and we are monitoring his progress, but at the moment he is injured.
“We are 100 per cent happy with Mako Vunipola, George Kruis and Jack Nowell and we are confident they will be fit in time for the World Cup. They are all progressing well and we will take it case by case with each player.”
WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on the many adventures that fans can expect to experience in Japan at this year’s World Cup
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