Eddie Jones has questioned whether some of England’s most experienced internationals have the will to win the Rugby World Cup.
England head coach Jones left a number of senior players out of his squad for next month’s internationals against Tonga, Australia and South Africa, as they begin their preparations for the World Cup in 2023.
Both Mako and Billy Vunipola, Jamie George and George Ford have all missed out on selection, even though they have been some of Jones’ most trusted players during his time in charge.
Jones was speaking at a press conference after naming his England squad and explained that he fears some players don’t have the hunger to go on and win the World Cup after lengthy international careers.
Eddie Jones on some experienced England stars.
“We now have a number of players who’ve been through two World Cup campaigns,” Jones said, via Planet Rugby.
“With the third World Cup campaign, my experience tells me that some players can want to go to the World Cup but they don’t really have the will to prepare to win the World Cup.
“It did strike me, the experience I had with Australia, post 2003. I kept some players on longer than I should have and that’s probably weighed in the selection choices that I’ve made in the last six months with England.
“One of the things I’m looking at is those players who’ve already been to two World Cups, whether they’ve got the will to prepare to win.
“We could have the most experienced side at the World Cup but whether they’ve got that will to go that extra 10 per cent and find that discretionary effort… that’s something I’m trying to find out at the moment.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 18, 2021
Axed stars still have time to prove themselves before World Cup.
While the Vunipola brothers, George and Ford have all been involved with England for many years now, none are particularly old and could still have plenty of years of test rugby left in them.
Saracens front row duo Mako Vunipola and Jamie George are both 30, while Billy Vunipola and George Ford are both just 28.
Although Jones is clearly looking to bring through plenty of youngsters, such as Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, the aforementioned players certainly won’t be too old by the time the World Cup comes around.
The four have all played well for their clubs this season, especially Ford who has helped guide Leicester Tigers to the top of the Gallagher Premiership table, and all could be back in England colours when the Six Nations kicks off next February.