Rugby

Jones eyes World Cup ahead of Samoa clash

2017-11-23 19:47
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)

Bagshot - England coach Eddie Jones believes a Test against Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday will be a "fantastic dress rehearsal" for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Jones has made nine changes to the side that beat his native Australia by a record 30-6 at Twickenham last weekend for what will be England's final international of 2017.

Having coached Australia to a 2003 World Cup final defeat by England and guided Japan to a shock win over South Africa at the 2015 edition, Jones is convinced squad depth is the key to winning rugby union's biggest prize.

To that end Jones, who has won 21 of his 22 Tests as England coach, has benched regular captain Dylan Hartley for the Samoa match, while first-choice goalkicker Owen Farrell is not even in the matchday 23.

Meanwhile the team will be co-captained by flyhalf George Ford and back-row Chris Robshaw, England's full-time captain before Jones took over following the hosts' first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

British and Irish Lions hooker Jamie George, all of whose previous 19 England appearances have come off the bench, finally starts now that Hartley is among the replacements.

"We want to play better this week and this is a great opportunity to show the depth in the squad and the depth of leadership," Jones said at England's training base in Bagshot, southwest of London, after naming his side to play Samoa on Thursday.

"We have a four-day turnaround in the World Cup and this game is a fantastic dress rehearsal for that.

Jones, who has made no secret that his ultimate goal with England is to win the next World Cup, added: "At the end of the day, the World Cup isn't going to be won by 23 players. The World Cup will be won by a squad of 31 players.

"The ability of a squad to adjust and adapt while putting in cohesive performances is going to be so important."

Turning to his change of hooker, Jones said: "Dylan has been doing a reconditioning programme this week and wasn't training with the squad.

"Jamie has sat on the bench behind Dylan and now it's his time to start."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00 SA time.

Teams:

England

15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford (co-captain), 9 Danny Care, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Chris Robshaw (co-captain), 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge

Substitutes: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Samoa

15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tim Nanai-Williams, 9 Dwayne Polataivao, 8 Jack Lam, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Chris Vui (captain), 4 Josh Tyrell, 3 Donald Brighouse, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Jordan Lay

Substitutes: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 James Lay, 18 Hisa Sasagi, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 JJ Taulagi

Read more on:    england  |  rwc 2019  |  eddie jones  |  rugby
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