Home Rugby Opinion: How Much Of Eddie Jones’ England World Cup Squad Is Already Decided?

Opinion: How Much Of Eddie Jones’ England World Cup Squad Is Already Decided?

According to England coach Eddie Jones, his squad for the World Cup is about 75% ready, but which spots are still to be decided and who could work their way into the Australian’s plans before the showpiece event in Japan in 2019?

For the 2015 edition of the tournament, countries selected 31-man squads, so just how far down the road is Jones’ squad right now? We take a look at each position.

In 2015 England opted for five props: two looseheads and three tightheads. Right now the men in white have two loosehead and two tighthead spots sewn up, which leaves just one prop spot left. There is a third hooker spot available but it would be surprising to see either Dylan Hartley or Jamie George dropped now before 2019.

Loosehead Props (2)

Certainties: Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler

Hookers (3)

Certainties: Dylan Hartley, Jamie George

Maybes: Jack Singleton, Tom Dunn, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tommy Taylor

Tighthead Props (3)

Certainties: Dan Cole, Kyle Sinckler

Maybes: Harry Williams

In the second row, it seems Jones’ options are already secured: he will likely take four locks.

Locks (4)

Certainties: Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury

In the back row, Jones will surely opt for Chris Robshaw and James¬†Haskell, but could bring in another openside option in Tom Curry or Sam Underhill, as well as Newcastle’s Mark Wilson. Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes will go as England’s two number eights.

Flankers (3)

Certainties: Chris Robshaw, James Haskell

Maybes: Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Mark Wilson

Number Eights (2)

Certainties: Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes

Jones may opt for only two scrum-halves in his squad or go for three with Jack Maunder the most likely to be chosen at the moment.

Scrum Halves (3)

Certainties: Ben Youngs, Danny Care

Maybes: Jack Maunder, Dan Robson

Fly-Halves (2)

Jones has stuck with two fly-halves for most of his squads so far, although he could bring in Alex Lozowski, Piers Francis or Henry Slade as a third option.

Certainties: Owen Farrell, George Ford

Wings (3)

Lions tourists Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly will both go, but a third winger spot is highly contested between the versatility of Jack Nowell, the pace of Jonny May and the raw talent of league convert, Denny Solomona.

Certainties: Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly

Maybes: Jack Nowell, Jonny May, Denny Solomona

Centres (4)

It seems Lions tourists, Ben Te’o and Jonathan Joseph will go to Japan, but if Manu Tuilagi can return from injury (a big ‘if’) then he could join the duo, as well as one of a number of candidates.

Certainties: Ben Te’o, Jonathan Joseph

Maybes: Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade, Alex Lozowski, Piers Francis, Joe Marchant

Fullbacks (2)

Mike Brown remains England’s only dedicated fullback in the squad, but Jones may soon look to the likes of Elliot Daly, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson or Alex Lozowski to provide back up in the position.

Certainties: Mike Brown

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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About Paul Wassell

Paul is an English teacher by day and an avid rugby fan the rest of the time. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or contact him at paul@punditarena.com