The squad which will assemble at the Lensbury Hotel on Sunday, contains Premiership finalists Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Maro Itoje, Ben Moon, Billy Vunipola, Henry Slade, Harry Williams and Ben Spencer.
While Harlequins prop Joe Marler has been included after making himself available following his retirement from international rugby last year.
Speaking on the selections Jones believes that he has a squad with the ability to win the tournament and has been tracking players over the four-year cycle since the last World Cup.
“We can’t wait to have the full squad in place and to have players competing for those 31 places. It is a process of building the team up, building the cohesion, the tactical understanding of the team and our adaptability. We will need to get those things right to win the World Cup, and that is our aim. World Cup selection is a four-year process. We have looked at the squad carefully, tried to build up a squad that has enough experience, attitude and energy to be winners and I think we have that. In the process, we have left out some players who can feel unlucky. For those guys who have missed out, the door is never closed but they have just got to be ready, as you never know when the opportunity comes,” he said.
The squad has been training for the past two weeks with several players being brought in and cut out, and Jones thinks that the two camps have been hugely positive for the players involved.
“The last two camps have been a head start for us. It has allowed the guys who didn’t play in the semi-finals or final to get some good conditioning work in and also some fundamental skill work so we expect them to set a high standard when the rest of the squad join us on July 7. The players have come in the best physical condition I have ever seen an England squad. The attitude of the players is that they are excited and hungry, they want to do well for themselves, their family and for their country,” he added.
He closed up by discussing his decision to include Marler and admits that although he has been included, he still has a lot to prove if he wants to make the final cut and is also looking forward to the road ahead.
“I saw Joe during the Barbarians’ week and he indicated that he had a desire to come back. We have since had a couple of chats and we have given him the opportunity to do that. Now it is up to him to show us what he has got. For the fans it is the start of the journey so we want you to be with us; we are all in this together. We are looking forward to seeing your support,” he finished.
The initial squad also does not include injured trio George Kruis, Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola, but they are all continuing their recoveries and will be considered for selection in the final squad.
Meanwhile there are four uncapped players named in Willi Heinz, Lewis Ludlam, Ruaridh McConnochie and Jack Singleton.
They will then select their final 31-man World Cup squad and head to Japan.
Check Out the Full 35-man Training Squad Below.
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 10 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 58 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 71 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps)
Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps)
Brad Shields (Wasps, 8 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)
Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks, 13 caps)
Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 30 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)
Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)
Ben Te’o (unattached, 18 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 33 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)
In camp for rehabilitation
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)
Koroibete Praises Cheika After Award Win
Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete claimed the top prize at Australian Rugby’s yearly awards, but caused a little stir after praising former head coach Michael Cheika
Australian winger Marika Koroibete was awarded the John Eales medallist at the Australian Rugby awards last night and thanked former head coach Michael Cheika for helping him achieve the feat.
The award, which is handed to the country’s player of the year, was given to the electric winger last night after he saw of the likes of Samu Kerevi to be presented with the highest honour in the land.
However, the former Rugby League star, who switched codes after Cheika suggested the move, paid a heartfelt tribute to the coach.
“It’s such an honour to be named with all the great players who’ve won this medal before. I still can’t believe it. I wasn’t expecting this. Michael Cheika was the one who spoke to me. He’s the one who moulded me to be here wearing this medal. He didn’t force me to play early. He took his time and encouraged me, gave me things six months by six months, and this year I’ve been working very hard with the (Melbourne) Rebels coaching staff, they’ve supported me as well,” he said.
Cheika brought the 27-year-old into the Wallabies camp in 2016, but waited almost a year to hand him his debut as he tried to blood him into his new surroundings.
However, during his tenure as manager and since his departure there have been a number of players who have criticised the coach, although Koroibete continued to heap praise on his former manager as he showed his gratitude.
“(Cheika) is such a great man, he mingled well with the boys. I like him as a coach. He’s honest with you. If there’s something you need to work on, he tells you straight. He doesn’t beat around the bush. Unfortunately, he’s not here anymore,” he added.
It is a big vote of confidence for Cheika, who is currently being linked with a position at French Top 14 giants Montpellier as he looks to get back into the game.
Elsewhere on the night, Kerevi wasn’t to be denied an award as he won Super Rugby Player of the Year, while youngster Jordan Petaia, who only made his debut for the Wallabies during the Rugby World Cup in Japan received the accolade for Rookie of the Year.
Gatland Suspected Wales Player of Doping
Warren Gatland has been full of chat after leaving his post as Wales manager, but has made his most interesting statement yet since his departure
Former Wales head coach Warren Gatland has admitted that he had suspicions that a player he used to coach while he was in charge of the national side was doping.
Speaking to Off the Ball, Gatland, who also discussed his comments regarding England in the lead up to the World Cup final, has claimed he had a notion that one of his former players was using performance enhancing drugs.
“You know I haven’t come across personally any players that I’ve coached from a Wales perspective that I would – well sorry, maybe one. Maybe one, now that I think about it,” he said.
When asked about where he had coached this player, he didn’t give a definite answer but made it pretty clear that it was a Welsh international, but he made it clear that he had no proof of the claim so he couldn’t be certain about it.
“He may have done, yeah. It’s probably a little bit unfair of me to say I had suspicions about one of them because I’ve got no evidence or anything like that. Because it’s kind of like just saying, ‘Is there a possibility?’… It was more like a couple of people making jokes sort of thing. And you go, ‘Oh is that…,” he added.
It was a pretty big statement from the new Chiefs coach, with former Ireland international Neil Francis writing last week that maybe people should put an asterisk beside South Africa’s World Cup win due to there being a strong possibility that players were doping in his opinion.
His claim was linked to the fact that Springbok winger Aphiwe Dyantyi had been found to be using performance enhancing drugs earlier this year, after breaking onto the scene recently as well as studies done in the country.
However, Gatland’s suspicion will raise questions as to whether he was right and was this player an integral part of his time in charge, but for now we will just have to wonder who he is talking about.
Steyn’s Rugby Career Could be Over
Double World Cup winner Frans Steyn could be set to call time on his career early following his latest triumph
Springboks great Frans Steyn looks likely to at least pull the curtain down on his European career in order to return to his homeland.
The two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who managed to pick up medals from the 2007 edition of the tournament and this year’s one, beating England in both finals, is currently contracted to French Top 14 giants Montpellier.
However, it is believed that he has held discussions with the club about ending his contract come the end of January instead of when it is supposed to expire in July and speaking to South African news-outlet Volksblad, he seems keen on settling down in his homeland.
“Rugby has always been an inspiration for the Afrikaners, especially for farmers. If we had a bad week, if we watch good rugby on Saturday, then everything is better again. Only good rain, a good rugby weekend gives us the power to face Mondays again. It is a privilege that many farmers do not have. We know what to do in the future and what we need to have in place. We want to raise our children here and are attached to the rural feel that Bloemfontein offers. We want our children to have a good experience here as my wife and I had when one grew up here,” he said.
The 32-year-old has a family farm in Bloemfontein and it is understood this is not the first time he has made the suggestion to return to the area, but it now looks more likely than ever that he will get what he likes.
Steyn is expected to return to the French club next week, where he would play until January before his possible move back to South Africa.
At this time it is unknown whether the back would continue his rugby career with local professional side the Cheetahs, who play in the PRO14, or whether he will end his career early, having played at the top level for such a long time already.
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