- Coach warns England’s fringe players ‘this is not a kindergarten class’
- Jones also claims his 23-man squad is now 30% fitter than those outside
Posted by nana saina Posted on 5:30 AM
England’s fringe players, including Danny Cipriani, have been warned they will not be mollycoddled and must work harder to break into the national squad. Eddie Jones has emphasised he is not running “a kindergarten class” and says the fitness levels of his current match-day squad are already 30% better than their club-based rivals.
To reinforce the point Jones has switched training this week away from England’s customary base in Bagshot to west London in order to keep all concerned on their toes. “It’s up to the players,” emphasised Jones. “This isn’t a kindergarten class. If you want to play Test rugby, you have to work hard to do it yourself. We’ll give them all the guidance they need, but they’ve got to do it.”
Wasps will struggle to accommodate Danny Cipriani, claims Steve Diamond
Jones conducted a session on Tuesday with the 10 squad players not involved in his match-day 23 and estimates there is already a difference in fitness between them and those who have spent longer under his more intense regime. “I reckon the gap is now around 30%, which is great. By the end of the Six Nations we’ll have a side ready to go.” The Australian does not see it as his job to offer reassurance to those currently on the outside. “I don’t have to keep them interested, they have to keep me interested. Their game has to be so outstanding that I’m saying: ‘Goodness me, I’ve got to get that guy in the squad.’ If they are not doing that, they’re not doing enough to get into England.”
Those not currently in the squad, such as the Sale fly-half Cipriani, have also been bluntly advised to do their talking on the pitch.
“He’s not good enough to be in the squad at the moment,” continued Jones. “We have two outstanding 10s at the moment in Owen Farrell and George Ford. To beat those two he has a long way to go, but he’s a capable player. It’s a matter of how hard he wants to work at his game.
“There’s no use talking to the press about it. You’ve got to play well, play like a Test player, dominate club rugby and show all the skills of a Test player. You can’t talk to the media about being a Test player, you’ve got to prove it.”
Despite the Rugby Football Union’s sizeable investment in a state-of-the-art training facility at Pennyhill Park, Jones has also decreed the national side will only use it during Test weeks. “When they go in there I want them to know it is special. And that is why I’ve made this delineation. It’s got nothing to do with cabin fever, it’s got nothing to do with boredom. It is about delineating what we need to have to prepare well.”
After two opening Six Nations wins against Scotland and Italy, the players have also been advised by their head coach that things are about to get significantly tougher on the field, starting with the game against the defending champions Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday week. “Look, we haven’t played anyone yet. We haven’t done anything yet this season, let’s be honest about it. The tests are to come. I want to be respectful, but we were playing Italy on Sunday. When we’re playing the 13th- or 14th-ranked team in the world, we should be able to give them a hiding. We didn’t quite manage that but we won the game convincingly and now we’ve got to be better than that.
“We’re playing against Ireland on Saturday week and they’re the benchmark of European rugby. It’s a step up because we’re going from one tier to the other. That’s the reality – Ireland are in the top tier of European rugby.”
Jones is particularly wary of Ireland’s aerial threat, joking that his squad will be practising by catching raw eggs and that he would be flying in the Australian Rules side Hawthorn to fine-tune their preparations.
“They kick 60% of their possession. If we can win that Aussie Rules battle, we will go a long way to winning the game. Ireland are a clever side and one of the best-coached sides in the world. They’ve decided to go that route, it works for them. Far be it from me to criticise it.”