Saturday 25 January 2020

Jones: Te'o just not good enough

Ben Te’o
Ben Te’o

Eddie Jones explained Ben Te'o's shock omission from England's World Cup squad by declaring he was simply not good enough to be selected.

Until he was involved in an altercation with team-mate Mike Brown during a social event at the squad's warm-weather camp in Treviso a fortnight ago, Te'o was considered a certainty for Japan 2019.

The 32-year-old Test Lion was an ever-present under Jones, was picked to play for England even when having spent months out injured and toured Australia in 2016 before having turned out for his club Worcester.

But in dramatic fall from grace, he has been overlooked for the 31-man squad that will depart for the tournament on September 8, losing out to the unheralded Piers Francis who has been limited to five caps.

Jones said: "I'm not going to go into reasons why Ben Te'o hasn't been selected. We've had that conversation with Ben. He understands it.

"Whether he agrees with it is another matter. But we've had that discussion and he's not in our top 31 players at the moment."

Sevens specialist and 2016 Olympic silver-medallist Ruaridh McConnochie continues a remarkable year by being present as the only uncapped player on the strength of an impressive end to his debut season for Bath.

Flanker Lewis Ludlam has been plucked from obscurity at Northampton in another pick that would have been unthinkable as recently as May and he profits from Brad Shields' foot injury.

England - Forwards: D Cole (Leicester, 86 caps), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter, 12), T Curry (Sale, 11), E Genge (Leicester, 10), J George (Saracens, 37), M Itoje (Saracens, 27), G Kruis (Saracens, 32), J Launchbury (Wasps, 59), C Lawes (Northampton, 72), L Ludlam (Northampton, 1), J Marler (Harlequins, 58), K Sinckler (Harlequins, 22), J Singleton (Saracens, 1), S Underhill (Bath, 9), B Vunipola (Saracens, 42), M Vunipola (Saracens, 53), M Wilson (Newcastle/Sale, 13).

Backs: J Cokanasiga (Bath, 5), E Daly (Saracens, 31), O Farrell (Saracens, 70), G Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56), P Francis (Northampton, 5), W Heinz (Gloucester, 1), J Joseph (Bath, 41), J May (Leicester, 45), R McConnochie (Bath, uncapped), J Nowell (Exeter, 33), H Slade (Exeter, 22), M Tuilagi (Leicester, 33), A Watson (Bath, 34), B Youngs (Leicester, 86).

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