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The sobering career statistic highlighted to England's uncapped 12

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson - RFU/Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has broadcast a stark statistic that will have the dozen new caps involved in Sunday’s England matchday squad to face the USA on their toes to ensure this year’s summer series isn’t the pinnacle of their international careers and that there is much more to come from them.  

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With the Lions having picked so many of England’s first-choice players for their tour to South Africa and other seasoned operators such as Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, George Ford and Jonny May given the summer off, the door was open for Jones to get a raft of new players involved in his Test set-up. 

This is what has transpired, England coach Jones selecting a matchday squad that contains eight uncapped starters and has four more on the bench for a game where twelve of the 13 Gallagher Premiership clubs have at least one player chosen in the matchday 23, London Irish being the sole exception although they can claim they were the club that developed Bath’s Joe Cokanasiga who is selected on the England wing.  

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But as exciting as it is to have so many new players involvedCurtis Langdon, Joe Heyes, Josh McNally, new skipper Lewis Ludlow, Callum Chick, Harry Randall, Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward in the starting XV along with reserves Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Ben Curry and Jacob Umaga – Jones highlighted how tough a challenge it will be for them to go on and enjoy lasting Test careers. 

“It’s not about getting Test experience, it’s about those guys earning the shirt. The average number of Tests an England player plays is seven Tests so any guy that gets his opportunity to play for England wants to make sure he beats that average.

“To do that you have to perform well so there is an opportunity on Sunday for eight guys to take the shirt and if they don’t wear it again to pass it on in a better state, and if they do wear it again to make sure the next time they play to play even better so that the exciting part of this.”

The selection of recent Gallagher Premiership title winner Smith at out-half is something that many England fans have waited patiently for. It was June 2019 when Smith featured in an English XV versus the Barbarians but it has taken another 25 months for him to earn promotion to Test level. “We had really good competition for that spot between Jacob, Marcus and George Furbank.

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“All those guys have been competing hard. It’s a tight call but Marcus gets the nod,” continued Jones. “A No10 is a bus driver and a conductor, he has got to make sure that everyone is playing together and picks the right route and it’s no different for Marcus.”

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Tim 11 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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