Mako Vunipola Eddie Jones’s Rugby World Cup checklist: What’s on England head coach’s agenda as countdown to tournament gathers pace

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Starting
today, the players selected for England’s Rugby World Cup training
squad have five weeks to show head coach Eddie Jones why they deserve
a place on the plane to Japan.

Last
Thursday Jones announced a list of 35, plus three injured players
receiving treatment, that he says will be whittled down to the final
31 by 12 August.

Jones
intends to decide his final World Cup squad three weeks before the 2
September deadline, allowing him to work with them exclusively in the
preceding summer internationals ahead of the tournament.

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“Each
match will have a purpose – of which we won’t be divulging –
but each match will be about how we can progress to win the World
Cup,” Jones said.

Mako Vunipola Only three places up for grabs

England
play Wales home and away on 11 and 17 August respectively before
hosting Ireland at Twickenham on 24 August and facing Italy at St
James’ Park in Newcastle on 6 September. They fly out to Japan two
days later.

The
injured trio remaining in camp are Jack Nowell, Mako Vunipola and
George Kruis, all of whom Jones says he is “100 per cent” certain
of being fit for the World Cup.

While
Joe Marler was the surprise inclusion in the training squad after
ending his self-imposed international exile, former captain Dylan
Hartley joined the experienced heads of Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw and
Danny Care in missing out completely, albeit due to a long-term
injury.

Mako Vunipola LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Joe Marler of the Barbarians runs with the ball during a Barbarians training session on May 29, 2019 in London, England. The Barbarians face England at Twickenham on Sunday June 2, 2019. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)
Joe Marler was a surprise inclusion in England’s World Cup training squad. Credit: Getty

Jones
offered hope to those who have not made this squad, including another
injured player in Dan Robson, by insisting he would have an
“open-door policy” over the coming weeks, although

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