Owen Farrell Rugby news: Leaving out players from the World Cup squad was the hardest job!

Owen Farrell This is one interesting addon!

Eddie Jones faces some of the toughest decisions of his coaching career on Monday when he names his World Cup squad. He will never forget the calls he makes and nor will the players he leaves out.

Sixteen years ago I made the hardest call I ever made as a coach. Leaving the Leicester prop Graham Rowntree out of the party to go to Australia was horrible. Regret it? No. Forget it? Never.

Eddie has the same policy as I did. You never ring a player to tell him he is in the squad, you only ring to tell them they are out. And it is a dreadful thing to have to do.

Cutting Graham Rowntree from England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup squad was a tough call

It still nags me leaving Rowntree out but it came down to numbers. In those days we could only pick 30 players, as opposed to the 31 Eddie will be selecting, and it meant taking four props and having extra back-row cover or leaving someone such as Martin Corry or Joe Worsley behind.

We went with two specialist looseheads, Jason Leonard and Trevor Woodman, and two tight heads in Phil Vickery and Julian White. Rowntree was one player I did not want to leave out but I had to — and it hurt him and myself.

Graham had played all the big games. He had played in the Grand Slam match against Ireland in Dublin and the 15-13 win over New Zealand in Wellington on the summer tour. 

That was the night we were down to six forwards, with Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil Back in the bin, but Rowntree played all 80 minutes and kept New Zealand at bay. Next, he was not being picked for a World Cup.

Leaving him out was a job I would never wish on anyone else but you win the World Cup and you kind of get away with it. It was the hardest decision I made when coaching England. I still think about it.

When I see him on TV, when he has been with England, the Lions, Harlequins and he is now at Georgia, it still brings it all back. I hope now he is on the other side of thing

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