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Eddie Jones has admitted he had to take ‘risks’ in opting for an inexperienced 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, omitting Lions’ centre, Ben Te’o after a training camp altercation with Mike Brown and warning that there could be more problems ahead.
The England head coach revealed that it was the most ‘stressful and painful,’ part of the job to inform players that they had been left out and the calls were only made to those particular individuals on Monday morning following a two- hour management meeting on Sunday night at the team hotel in Chiswick during which Jones was persuaded to change his mind on one player by the four other coaches.
The chosen 31 only found out that they had made the cut on the coach down the M4 to their base in Bristol when their names appeared on a WhatsApp group created for Saturday’s game against Wales in Cardiff. Only two scrum-halves have been named. Jones conceded that decision ‘was a gamble.’
Jones refused to give specific detail as to the reason for the omission of Te’o but there is little doubt that the emphasis on discipline is vital ahead of a World Cup.
“We’ve had that conversation with Ben and he understands it,” said Jones. “Whether he agrees with it is another matter.”
Jones did not rule out the possibility that Te’o could get a call if there were a spate of injuries. The Australian is approaching his fourth World Cup campaign and is well aware that there will be bumps in the road ahead.
“I’ve never been confident in a team being smooth,” said Jones. “We’re like any family – everyone sits around the dining table but you know there are problems and we’re exactly the same. We’ve got 31 having nice conversations (but) you know potentially there’s a problem. All I can do is trust the players – they are adults, they’re responsible, they want to play for England and we could have some problems. If we do, we’ll deal with them. Every team has problems.”
Owen Farrell will lead the te
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