Lawrence Dallaglio has questioned Eddie Jones’ selection policy, arguing that it is harder to get picked for England than it is to get dropped.
Jones has stuck with largely the same team since England’s poor performance against a second-string France team in last year’s Autumn Nations Cup final, which went on to lose against Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations.
Dallaglio was speaking on BT Sport‘s Rugby Tonight show, and questioned how an out of form Billy Vunipola has been consistently selected ahead of the Gallagher Premiership’s top try scorer Sam Simmonds.
Sam Simmonds. England. Discuss.
“Has the England squad become harder to get out of, than it’s become easier to get into?”
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Dallaglio critical of Jones’ selection policy.
“I think we’ve lost sight of how you get picked for England,” former England captain Dallaglio started.
“Because certainly when Austin [Healey] and I played, albeit a long time ago, the England squad wasn’t announced before the start of the season and the first six Gallagher Premiership games of the season was a race to the start line.”
“If you didn’t play well in those six games you weren’t announced in that squad. Obviously, we’ve got to respect Eddie Jones and the players that he picks.
“But when you see people like Sam Simmonds who’s clearly the best number eight in England, clearly the best number eight in Europe and he’s not in the squad.”
Light work for @ExeterChiefs‘ Sam Simmonds 🤷♂️
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‘It’s a bit cosy for certain players.’
Number eight is not the only area where England are faltering, with captain Owen Farrell coming under heavy criticism, while the usually brilliant Maro Itoje gave away a raft of penalties against Wales.
Many of the players who have brought great success to England during Jones’ time in charge have failed to perform at the level required in the Six Nations, with Dallaglio questioning what exactly certain players have to do to not get picked.
“You ask yourself the question – has the England squad become harder to get out of than it’s become easier to get into? I think it has,” Dallaglio said.
“I think it’s a bit cosy for certain players. There are players that are underperforming in that squad – and I’m not suggesting that they should be dropped immediately – but if you don’t play well consecutively in the days that we played you didn’t get in the squad.”