Eddie Jones explains his decision to omit several experienced England players

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has explained that England’s changing “character” is partially behind his decision to omit several experienced players from his Six Nations squad.

George Ford, Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola have all been left out of England’s Six Nations squad, despite their impressive performances for Leicester Tigers and Saracens recently.

There have been several other high-profile omissions, such as Sam Underhill, Elliot Daly and Manu Tuilagi, although each of them have been struggling with injuries recently and may feature later on in the championship.

Jones was speaking on the BBC Rugby Union Weekly podcast and explained that he believes many of his formerly most-trusted players may not fit into the new character of the current England squad.

Eddie Jones on the high-profile England omissions.

“That’s part of the reason. It’s a feel thing as well. What’s right for the team? Each team has a character. Each different team that you coach has a character,” Jones explained.

“Sometimes you’re just trying to balance what the right character of that team is. I think the current team that we’ve got is much more aggressive and want to take it to the opposition.

“Whereas the previous team we had, which was successful, was a much more grinding, ‘let’s fight it out’. And that was the era of club rugby. The England side tends to mirror what happens in club rugby.

“Most national teams are built on the basis of the two most successful teams at that time.”

There is still time for exiled players to return before World Cup.

Jones expressed his desire to bring in plenty of new faces in the Autumn Nations Series with one eye on the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and he has continued that trend by selecting six uncapped players in his Six Nations squad.

Many of those younger players impressed in November, with the likes of Marcus Smith, Bevan Rodd and Alex Dombrandt all showing their talents on the international stage.

It certainly isn’t too late for the likes of Ford and the Vunipola brothers to earn a recall to England’s squad, although their continued omission is surely cause for concern.

All three are staying in England for the foreseeable future, however, as the Vunipola brothers signed new contracts with Saracens while Ford is making the move to Sale Sharks, which means they will remain in contention for international selection.

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