London - Head coach Eddie Jones wants England to adapt their style in
2018 to changes he expects teams to make ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The squad gathered in Brighton for a two-day training camp
ahead of England’s opening match of the Six Nations against Italy on February 4
As well as England aiming to be at the forefront of any
changes in the game, Jones says the squad must be flexible during matches for
different challenges in preparation for the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.
“The game is evolving," he said. "I think defence
is going to evolve over the next 24 months as sides have defended in a certain
way and I think that’s going to change because of law interpretation changes,
and we want to be at the head of that queue of how you want to defend.
“In attack, that will be a consequence of defence changing
that you’ll need to be able to attack in a number of ways.
"Knowing the variants of environments we could find in
Japan where our first two games are under a dome, so they’re going to be almost
perfect conditions, and generally in those sort of conditions a kicking game is
important and a running game is important, and that seems contradictory but
“Then at Yokohama and Tokyo we could be playing in pouring
rain and then your short game becomes important, and the ability to punch holes
and play through them, so developing that adaptability and awareness of how to
attack depending on the conditions is so important for us."
Bath prop Beno Obano and Newcastle Falcons flanker Gary
Graham were both called up to the England squad for the first time, while Henry
Thomas (Bath) and Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish) were added to the squad after
the weekend following injuries.
Despite the short time with the squad, Jones was pleased
with how everyone approached the two-day camp.
“Attitude has been absolutely first class, really impressed
by the players," he added..
“I’ve been really impressed by the two new blokes we’ve
brought in, Beno Obano and Gary Graham, they’ve done really well at the camp.
“Graham reminds me a bit of Robshaw so he’s not an out and
out seven but he’s a good tough boy, he’s got a nice demeanour about him,
hungry so very impressive."
“He’s [Obano] a good rap singer," joked Jones.
"He’s quite entertaining, he did a bit of a song in the first team
meeting. He’s a character and potentially he’s going to be a good player but
he’s got a hell of a lot of physical work to do."
Another positive from the Brighton gathering has been the
return to training of Saracens No 8 Billy Vunipola.
He has only recently returned to fitness following surgery
on his knee but Jones is unsure whether he will be available to play in the Six
“We’re always hopeful that he’s going to be fit and ready to
go as when he’s at his best he’s one of the best players in the world," he
“When you look at running metres per team, the top three
teams in the world are Australia, New Zealand and France and it is one of the
key metrics of winning rugby at the moment - we don’t feature in the top three.
“Running metres is a lot of it about athleticism and he is
one of our most athletic players as he’s a big guy, he’s fast and he’s got good
feet, so his ability to carry through traffic is just so important."