England are currently without 320 caps through injury.
It’s a remarkable injury list, and apart from at hooker, Jones can claim to have a full XV of top-tier England internationals that he simply does not have access to.
Jones told RugbyPass last week, “It’s definitely a difficult situation but like every selection there are good players out there. We’ve tried to find the best players who can replace some of the established guys and I think we’ve done that.”
Here’s a ‘missing in action’ England XV made up of players currently unavailable to Jones, be it through injury or ongoing disciplinary bans being served. We’ve cheated at hooker, a bit.
15 Alex Lozowski
Technically, Lozowski could be free to play on Monday, 29 October, after being cited for of entering a ruck dangerously. As it stands he will be available for selection when the first 23 of the series is announced on Tuesday 30th, although the ECPR have appealed a decision to overturn a red card tackle on Ruaridh Jackson in his side’s win over Glasgow Warriors.
14 Anthony Watson
The 24-year-old initially tore his Achille’s tendon in the Six Nations clash with Ireland in March, with a six-month lay-off reportedly expected at the time. But Bath revealed in August that his operation was not a success and he instead re-tore the tendon, with director of rugby Todd Blackadder refusing to put a date on a return.
13 Jonathan Joseph
Jonathan Joseph’s 2017/18 season was ended after the centre suffered an injury to his left foot during the first half of Bath’s 41-6 defeat at Allianz Park in April. Speaking at the time, Bath Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, said: “JJ is going to need surgery to correct his injury. He will then need a lengthy period of time to rehabilitate.” Six months on and he is yet to return to the field.
12 Harry Mallinder
Northampton were dealt a massive injury blow this week with confirmation that Harry Mallinder likely to be out for the remainder of the season. Mallinder picked up a ligament injury in Northampton’s 41-20 home defeat to Clermont Auvergne in the European Challenge Cup ten days ago. He’s been on Eddie Jones’ radar – he was selected for the 2017 summer tour to Argentina and was in England’s 6 Nations squad for this 2018 Championship.
11 Marland Yarde
Although he seems off the menu for Jones, he won’t be available for selection thanks to an ECPR ban in any case. Even with the sanction being reduced by the maximum allowable of 50 per cent, he still has to serve a three-week suspension. He is free to play on Monday, 12 November 2018, so he will be unavailable for selection for at least two of England’s November Tests.
9 Dan Robson
This month Robson confirmed that he will need surgery on the ankle after being injured against Gloucester and expects to be sidelined until January.
1 Mako Vunipola
The 27-year-old prop, capped 51 times by England, suffered a calf strain in his club’s European Champions Cup loss to Glasgow Warriors on Sunday and Sarries confirmed he will be sidelined for “around six weeks”. As back-up in the injury XV, Ellis Genge is also currently sidelined. Genge suffered by a knee injury and not expected back for some time.
2 Jamie George
Although he suffered a broken nose against Glasgow Warriors, George has been selected by Jones and will be available come England’s first test against South Africa. Thanks Jamie, your availability has spoiled our team.
3 Jake Cooper-Wooley
While he’s yet to win an England cap, at 28-years-old the 6’3, 127kg tighthead is just coming into his prime propping years. He underwent surgery on a bicep rupture sustained during a previousPortugal camp and was given an estimated injury lay-off of six to eight weeks in late August.
4 Joe Launchbury
Wasps captain Joe Launchbury was last week ruled out for 12 weeks after opting for surgery to solve a recurring knee problem. A massive loss of leadership for England and Wasps.
5 Nick Isiekwe
Isiekwe suffered an ankle sprain and was assessed by a consultant, who diagnosed a syndesmosis injury of his ankle. He will miss the whole November Test series.
6 Chris Robshaw
7 Sam Simmonds
It was announced at the start of the month that Exeter and England looseforward Sam Simmonds is set for at least six months out after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.
8 Billy Vunipola
Vunipola is currently sidelined after suffering a fractured left arm against Glasgow and underwent surgery on Tuesday. The 128kg forward is expected to be out of action for around 12 weeks.
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